Gransnet forums


Is she too demanding or am I too soft?

(53 Posts)
dreamspirit Sun 31-Mar-19 16:07:00

I was standing behind the door when they handed out spines, with the result I have had neck problems, knee problems, shoulder problems, lower back problems, you name it, all my life: nothing major, just different aches and pains requiring osteopathy, physio, chiro etc. to keep me 'upright', as I put it, (lol) since I was a teenager. Now, at 72, naturally these problems are not improving! However, I take every step I can to alleviate them. Every morning when I wake, I have pain somewhere - it might be my neck, my shoulders, my hips etc. etc., but I can gently unfold myself and do various appropriate stretches, until I reach reasonable mobility. If I'm still not reasonably comfortable, I take anti-inflammatories. I then go out walking my dog - which, of course, oils my joints and helps a lot. I follow that with yoga. Now .... I have explained to my daughter, who lives 35 minutes away, that I can no longer 'jump' out of bed and tear around as when I had to get to work, and I need more time to 'unfold', or I have more muscle spasms to deal with. She, of course, only sees me once I've got everything moving and I'm quite a 'sparky', fit granny. I have explained to her that I do not want to babysit at 9 a.m. which requires me to get up at about 6.30 a.m. to do all the above, including walking the dog, in order to leave my house at 8.20 to get to hers. I love seeing my grandsons and am happy to start at, say, 10,30, but, I've just received another request list from her of possible school holiday 'duties', starting at .... yes ... 9 a.m. again!! I'm exasperated! How many different ways can I explain that I just can't do it? I made the mistake of making an exception once in an emergency (for which my back suffered!), but that set a precedent, so I laid out the law and and told her 'sorry, but no babysitting before 10.30 because I can suffer for days otherwise', but now, this request from her AGAIN! It makes me feel mean and I hate that. How on earth can I make her understand? We have a good relationship and she's a wonderful daughter, but this seems to be a complete blank spot, and she doesn't seem to realise how much pain I'm in most of the time, presumably because I'm slim, active (once I'm oiled!) and don't LOOK decrepit! Any tips, without us falling out?

trisher Sun 31-Mar-19 16:17:03

I think GPs and their children with children live in two different worlds. In hers 9am is later the day usually starting around 6 or 7 am. In yours 9am is ridiculously early. I think she really doesn't realise either how early it is for you or how difficult you would find it. You on the other hand think she's being unreasonable asking for 9am before you get going. Perhaps if you both wrote out time tables for your days you woud realise how differnt they are and you would try to compromise.

Day6 Sun 31-Mar-19 16:37:42

I remember my dear old Mum saying to us "Oh the aches and pains that come from being old!"

She too had a myriad of things wrong with her, and I know we probably didn't appreciate that this cheery 75 year old "can do" positive mother found everything much more difficult as she aged. We just didn't think about it because we hadn't experienced it!

Now I know exactly how the body isn't the same in my 60s as it was in my 50s! Why do my ankles hurt coming down the stairs first thing in the morning? Most of us have to work hard at remaining mobile and doing all we can to not let 'old age' take over, if we can possibly help it.

I think you have to be frank and tell her that you have to start your day slowly in order to be mobile and feel ok later on. You have to be blunt and say you are no good to anyone first thing in the morning, that you're stiff, you ache and you experience pain.

Tell her you'd be happy to help with a later start. There is no getting away from it, is there? Perhaps you could point her in the direction of your post dreamspirit? No one knows what it's like to experience the aches and pains of aging until it happens.

EllanVannin Sun 31-Mar-19 16:46:26

Our families don't think we ever get unwell or incapacitated because we've always done what we did no matter what.!
Therefore it can either come as a complete shock or go in one ear or out of the other.

I think most of us have to " gather ourselves together " in some form or another first thing in the morning and it's more difficult for some than others but it's not as it was 40/50 years ago.

Not for anyone or anything could I now leap out of bed in a morning and start tearing around---------it would certainly take me all my time now even if there was an emergency.

As has already been mentioned, this will have to be thrashed out between you while considering your own health.

shysal Sun 31-Mar-19 16:49:55

Most schools have holiday clubs these days, so surely this would be an alternative, even if you picked them up at lunch time or some other compromise. I too have a lengthy morning routine to ease my aches and pains so fully understand your dilemma.
Goos luck!

H1954 Sun 31-Mar-19 16:56:19

Would it be more practical for you to have the GC stay overnight, then you need not have such a demanding start to the day? Just a suggestion.

Baggs Sun 31-Mar-19 17:32:00

I think the suggestion of sending her a link to this thread is a good one. I used such a device via Mumsnet when DD3, still at school at the time, was causing me a lot of stress. Mumsnetters' replies to my plea were very down to earth. I think it made DD realise that what we expected of her was not unreasonable.

In your case, your DD will hopefully understand that what she wants from you is unreasonable.

Good luck.

FlexibleFriend Sun 31-Mar-19 17:43:15

If she needs you to babysit because she works, 9am is quite late to start and if she has to get someone else to mind the kids from 9am she might as well get them to do the whole day. So I can see it from both sides 9am may well be too early for you but from her view point it's rather late.

mumofmadboys Sun 31-Mar-19 17:45:36

Could you stay with her the night before each baby sit?

rosecarmel Sun 31-Mar-19 18:08:06

It is a blind spot - I've been through similar - Being patient but persistent I think is key - As a young mother she is still growing and needs your firm example to follow, to learn now how to conduct herself as she ages and manage her own limitations in a healthy manner - Don't delay responding when requests are made! I've made that mistake more than once - It can become a "Why didn't you tell me days ago?" situation even though you've expressed your limitations and willingness several times before - The little child inside an adult child emerges during such times - smile

Jane10 Sun 31-Mar-19 18:16:56

If she needs cover so she can get to work then that's the way it is! How about you having an earlier night so you can get up earlier and do your stretches etc and still get round in time to help your daughter? A compromise? You might need her help one day and it might not be very convenient for her but I bet she'll be there.

rosecarmel Sun 31-Mar-19 18:27:12

The "way it is" is that the answer is "no" - smile

notanan2 Sun 31-Mar-19 20:01:18

I dont think there is anything wrong with asking and I dont think there is anything wrong with saying no.

TBF you cannot offer any help with school holidays childcare if you cant do office hours so I think you may be confusing things by offering it with a "but..".

notanan2 Sun 31-Mar-19 20:08:23

"Tell her you'd be happy to help with a later start."

Why? Thats not "help" thats just asking to see the GC in a very inconvenient way.

It is far harder to bridge a 2 hr gap in the morning than it is to just book them in somewhere all day.

The OP shouldnt be offering any "help" if she cant help. The childcare is needed at 9am. OP cant do it.

If that message isnt getting to the Dd its prob because the OP is wasting the DDs time by saying she will help in the holidays, sort of, even though she cant..

...this tactic wont end well if by the time it gets cleared up all the holiday club spaces are full...

M0nica Sun 31-Mar-19 21:48:31

Some years ago when applicants for Attendance Allowance had to get their form signed by their GP, one of my clients went to see her GP who read the form and then said 'You do not have any problems getting in and out of bed.' She turned round to him and said 'Come round one morning and watch me.'

I suggest you do exactly the same. Invite your DD to come round one morning at the time you usually get up and let her see the problems you have.

Bijou Mon 01-Apr-19 11:18:01

These days younger people rely too much on their parents to help. My mother only helped by having my daughter when I was giving birth to my son and likewise I only helped my daughter in law when she was giving birth.
Trouble is that you cannot actually see pain.

Craftycat Mon 01-Apr-19 11:40:02

Suggest she pops over one day at your getting up time so she can see for herself how much effort it takes you.
Adult children can be very selfish because they just do not understand. Of course we always put on a brave face to them- we don't want them worrying but they do have to face up to it that we are no longer spry all the time. They still believe we are just as we were when they were still at home.
I think it is time for you to bring it home to her. I'm sure she is not uncaring- just not aware.

jaylucy Mon 01-Apr-19 11:41:41

Is there any way that you could stay over with your daughter and her family the night before she wants you to babysit? At least you wouldn't have the travel and if you could also take your dog.
It would give you a chance for your daughter to see for herself that most days it is a slow start for you and then she might appreciate how hard a 9am start would be for you!

gillybob Mon 01-Apr-19 11:43:20

Most schools have holiday clubs these days

Not where I live Shysal. Ditto breakfast clubs, that people seem to assume every school has....they don't.

harrigran Mon 01-Apr-19 12:11:11

GD's primary school has a holiday club but they are quite expensive especially if you have more than one child attending.
We will be doing odd days over the Easter break for the youngest, eldest is going abroad with the school.

Kerenhappuch Mon 01-Apr-19 12:49:03

I'm afraid the only way to get it across is by use of the word 'No'. If you've explained the pain you suffer in the mornings and that isn't enough to get you off the hook, I don't think any other argument is going to work.

My experience with small children was one set of grandparents living a 2-hour drive away, so obviously no use for day to day child care, and the others moving nearby to see more of their DGCs but very unwilling to give up their own activities to provide routine childcare. So we just got on with it and used childminders, nurseries, after school clubs etc. I don't understand why some parents seem to expect their own parents to leap in and cover any child care gaps.

BlueBelle Mon 01-Apr-19 12:53:20

Bujou it’s not as simple as to do with ‘these days’ you didn’t get much help from your parents but I got plenty when I was left on my own all those years ago, my parents regularly helped with school runs, overnight sleep over and holiday cover my dad even became a Boys Brigade leader to get my son involved
I too think you staying over the night before or having them to sleep over is the answer as your daughter obviously needs help if she needs to be at work for a certain time she’s not doing it to be awkward then the kids can help take the dog for a walk with you

Saggi Mon 01-Apr-19 13:29:56

Oh my goodness Dreamspirit.... you an incarnation of me! I am 69 and have three prolapsed discs in lower spine... arthritis in my wrists...hands ...and slightly in my left knee and hip! I get up at 6.30 to leave my house at 7 to get to my daughters at 7.30 by bike as I don’t drive and buses are unreliable at that time. Once I’m there I am quite mobile with help of two painkillers and get my grand kids off to school as she has to leave at 7:45 to go work. I do this just three days a week . I then cycle home to look after an immobile husband, and get his and my lunch , then cycle back to daughters and pick youngest up from school wait for eldest to come in then get and supervise their dinner. Mum comes in at about 5:30 , is extraordinarily grateful if I’ve cooked for her as well, she always looks more shattered than me I have to admit. We chat for 15 mins while she eats or talks to kids...then I leave to cycle home. I get into my house about 6:30 and must then get our dinner. My hubby refuses to help in anyway. But if I say means no. She is always keen to keep me onside, as as she puts it, a viral lifeline for her to carry on her career. I do it for love of her and the kids. But it can be wearing. She knows this and bends over backwards to help me when needed. But you must explain again to her and just say no to anything before 10:30 if that’s when you’re mobile. Luckily I’m an early morning person...catch me at 8 in evening and I’m ready for me bed.

muffinthemoo Mon 01-Apr-19 13:46:12

She needs to figure out (and yes, that probably does mean pay for) childcare in the school holidays that doesn't involve you.

You are not fit to be looking after children at the time she wants them looked after.

It will be possible for her to manage. If you were living on the other side of the world, she would figure it out without involving you. There are always solutions.

crazyH Mon 01-Apr-19 14:09:06

My daughter is similar to yours dreamspirit - her brother says she lacks emotional intelligence - she says and does the most ridiculous things. I worry that she has a mental issue. She has a very responsible job, which she is very good at. I do the school runs for her etc etc She didn't come to me on Mother's Day, came the day before.
You can't have decent conversation with her. She dresses erratically. For instance, she'll go to macdonalds drive through dressed beautifully, but for her birthday party in February, she wore a tatty old jumper and jeans. I don't feel close to her anymore . I feel guilty that I am closer to my (especially my younger son's wife). There you go - we've all got these issues, in one degree or another.