Gransnet forums


Looking after grandchildren

(11 Posts)
Nancwtch Sat 05-Oct-19 20:40:29

Hello, I!m new to Gransnet, in fact I haven't been on a forum before.

Wondered if there was anyone else out there who feels the guilt I do at the moment. My daughter had a baby 6 months ago. She has just gone back to work part time and asked if I could look after the baby for one day a week.

I am still working, more or less full time and retirement isn't to far in the future. The other grandparent does work, but is able to swap days around a little and offered like a shot.

I have had ill health for over a year and have to be careful to keep myself healthy, rest being an important part, when I can squeeze that in!

I would always help out in an emergency, but can't commit regularly. I also feel anxious that something will go wrong while I am looking after the baby and also I struggled with my two children in the first 6 months and for some reason it is like going back in time and relieving the absolute fear of being responsible for something so small.

Christmas we were all going to be together, but haven't been invited as it was thought I wouldn't mind and would be doing something else and that the other grandparent did lots already and will be coming for Christmas. We all live close by and the first Christmas with a grandchild is a very special one. The other grandparents have a grandchild already, but this is my first. Just to let you know, we do all get on.

I'm just wrestling with all this and trying to see it from my daughters perspective, but finding it hard and that I have let her down.

Anybody else out there who feels the same or may have some experienced grandparent advice to give?

geekesse Sat 05-Oct-19 20:58:10

Don’t feel bad. I love my kids to bits but I hated the business of parenting babies and small children. I warned my offspring when they started producing that they should count me out of child care. Instead I whistle in every so often, do the dotty granny bit, and then leave. If grandchildren come to see me, one parent or the other comes with. On the other hand, I’m good with stroppy teenagers, and as the kids get older, I’m a lot more practical use.

Being honest about who we are and what we offer or not means we all know where we are, and no-one feels resentful or put-upon. Of course, they know I’d help out in an emergency without moaning.

Feelingmyage55 Sat 05-Oct-19 21:00:10

If you get on well, could you just tell your daughter the truth about your fears looking after such a young baby? Then - if it is the case - that you are keen to help out once your DH is say 18 months. Could you tie it in to when you retire? Is your daughter aware of your health issues or are you like me and “protect” her from them so she does not realise we are middle aged. Perhaps you could offer to babysit regularly in the evenings while she goes to the gym or out with her partner and the baby is sleeping. I guess I am long windedly saying that perhaps there is something else you can offer and make it clear how much you love them all and just don’t want to risk making a mistake. Others will be along with good advice.

Sara65 Sat 05-Oct-19 21:30:32

I don’t think anyone should feel pressured into looking after their grandchildren, we have done our bit, and how much we help out with the next generation, should be our decision.

However it’s not always that simple, due to circumstances I’ve helped a lot with one daughters children, I adore them all, and have special relationships with them that I don’t think I would have had otherwise, but it wasn’t really my choice.

You might just surprise yourself, I find the babies easiest, and of course you will be handing them back, I know it’s tough when you are working, I’m constantly playing catch-up, but it can be a very rewarding relationship.

agnurse Sun 06-Oct-19 02:29:03

Your daughter doesn't have the right to expect you to provide child care. That's not fair to you. I don't see a problem if you explain to her that you don't feel able to do it right now, and for the reasons that you describe.

You may like to see if there is a grandparenting course available in your area. The aim of such courses is to advise GPs of current best practices that may have changed since they had children (e.g. later introduction of solids, putting babies to sleep on their backs, possibly current CPR guidelines as those have changed in recent years also, etc.). This is not to say that you didn't do a good job raising yours! Rather, it's a recognition that as we learn more, we do better, and best practices today tend to be based on newer scientific evidence.

As far as the Christmas thing, please do not make grandparenting into a competition. I always say that the time another person spends with someone else is really not your concern. Insisting on everything being "fair" only serves to create envy and jealousy, and to add stress where it doesn't need to be. The reality is that your GC isn't going to remember this Christmas anyway. While it will be special for you, it won't mean anything to them. There will be other Christmases.

SueH49 Sun 06-Oct-19 07:11:13

I find it unreasonable and inconsiderate that you are asked to mind the child when you are still working more or less full time. If your daughter needs child care because she is working why on earth would she ask you who is also working.

GagaJo Sun 06-Oct-19 07:59:52

I think it depends on your personal situation. I find my grandson (1 1/2) much easier to deal with than my daughter, frankly and do a lot of caring for him. He's the only one I'm ever going to get, so I cherish him. I'm still working full-time but try to have him at least a couple of afternoons a week.

Whether you want to have the baby or not is up to you, but it is natural for a child to ask their parents to help out.

In China, the grandparents do full-time childcare and it is lovely to see.

Maggiemaybe Sun 06-Oct-19 08:11:17

I don’t see anything wrong in the daughter asking if mum could help. Perhaps she thought Nancwtch would be hurt if she asked the other grandmother and not her? By the same token, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Nancwtch saying no. You mustn’t feel any guilt about that, OP.

I don’t understand the Christmas thing though. You say you were all going to be together but now you haven’t been invited. Was your daughter right in thinking you are actually doing something else?

luluaugust Sun 06-Oct-19 13:04:44

Your daughter probably thought she was doing the right thing by asking both grans if they could help out, I don't see the asking as a problem. I am wondering if she knew how ill you have been over the past year as mum's often don't say much. I can understand your worry over the caring I was much the same when confronted with a screaming three month old after years of no babies but she won't know this if you don't say anything. With regard to Christmas if you not going means you are on your own I would just tell her, easiest and quickest way to sort it out. A chat is called for.

Starlady Sun 06-Oct-19 21:51:54

Welcome Nancwtch! Sorry you're facing these problems but glad you reached out here!

I agree w/ those who say it was ok for DD to ASK about childminding. And that perhaps she felt it was only fair to ask both GPs. How would you have felt if she only asked her MIL and not you?

However, I also agree that it's ok for you to decline. IMO, we GPs are not automatic childminders. Besides, you still work and are entitled to your days off. And then there are your health issues to consider (sorry about that, BTW). You need to take care of yourself or you won't be good for anyone else. IMO, you should let DD know what you told us, that you'll be available for emergencies but can't commit regularly. It just won't work for you.

As for Christmas, I'm another one who doesn't understand the situation. So I hope you don't mind if I ask some questions to get a better picture. Did you know for sure that you were "all going to be together" or did you just assume that? It's early yet, how do you know you aren't going to be invited? Or that the other MIL is invited? And why did they think you would be "doing something else?" Did you give that impression? Is there something else you usually do on Christmas?

I understand your being concerned about this b/c, IME, GPs usually are included in a baby's first Christmas, especially if they live close by. But I agree w/ agnurse that you should avoid comparing what each GP does/gets to do or making grandparenting a "competition." Please just enjoy the time you do get w/ your new GB (grandbaby) and don't keep score.

BradfordLass72 Mon 07-Oct-19 08:44:33

Don't be shy about telling your daughter you'd love to have some part of Christmas with them - if indeed, you do want that.

It would be a shame to leave them in the dark about your real feelings miss this special forst year Christmas, and then feel sad about it.

It would be better to tell your daughter the full truth: health issues, your fear of harm coming to baby if you were ill etc.

And if it's hard saying, it, write her a note.

Clear the air smile