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Guilty feelings

(32 Posts)
Bungle Thu 23-Feb-23 11:19:06

Hi there, I've been feeling guilty lately about sometimes not wanting to look after my grandchildren.
I have them 2 times a week as my daughter and son in law can't afford childcare.
I love them to bits, but sometimes feel I don't want to look after them
I would never say this to my daughter, but just feel guilty thinking that.
Anyone else feel like that.

vampirequeen Thu 23-Feb-23 11:31:11

Don't feel guilty. You did your childcare stint years ago. Now should be your time but you feel obliged to give it up to look after your grandchildren. I know you love them to bits and don't mind helping your DD but at the end of the day you know in your heart that there are plenty of other things you'd rather be doing. It's natural to feel a but put upon.

Theexwife Thu 23-Feb-23 12:12:38

I felt the same, I wanted to ask to have grandchildren to stay when I wanted to have them, and have random days out or just over for tea.

If possible I would try to change these arrangments or you may become resentful and not enjoy seeing them as much.

GagaJo Thu 23-Feb-23 12:24:37

There are times I feel overwhelmed by working and also being my DGS's childcare. I do feel a bit guilty, because I adore him, but he exhausts me.

But it's my choice. I could not do it but they're little for such a short time. I'd regret not doing it and missing out.

Elless Thu 23-Feb-23 12:25:30

Definitely not, we don't look after our grandchildren unless it's an emergency or there is no one else. I haven't got the patience and have a lot of aches and pains so it is difficult. Today's children are hard work, you can't just get toys out for them anymore. Don't feel guilty.

tanith Thu 23-Feb-23 12:32:39

I’m glad the baby sitting now falls on my daughters’shoulders as mostly my GC are grown up with children of their own.
Don’t feel guilty it’s hard work looking after little ones.

sodapop Thu 23-Feb-23 12:44:12

Many of us feel the same way Bungle but are outnumbered by the grandparents who provide great amounts of care.
I love my children and grandchildren but I also like my own life and activities. I do find child care very wearing. Like tanith my grandchildren are all grown up now so I am not needed.

Redhead56 Thu 23-Feb-23 12:53:24

I helped with my GC sometimes twelve hours ago it aged me ten years. I had to stop in the end it tired me out and my arthritis did hinder me. I do make the effort when really needed for odd occasions though.
I know you will feel guilty it’s in our nature but try not too just do what you can. It’s better to do what you can if you do more then it becomes a chore. Then it’s not as enjoyable and you will feel more tired and more guilty it goes around in circles.

LRavenscroft Thu 23-Feb-23 13:10:28

Depends on age and how long. If they are difficult and exhausting then perhaps it is time to speak out. If they are just run of the mill lower infant/junior children, I would plough on as they won't be there forever. Also, depends on how much control the parents have over their days with you. If they come armed with nappies, food, special drink etc, I may say something, but if you have free reign, then just enjoy them. As I say, it all depends on the relationships, pragmatics, and situation.

Blondiescot Thu 23-Feb-23 13:26:22

I totally understand how you feel. Our GS lived with us for a couple of years and even now (he is now 5), we regularly have to look after him - taking him to school or picking up, sometimes overnight stays, sometimes whole days because both my son and his partner work shifts. There is no other option. I love my GS to bits, but he is hyperactive and very hard work. I'm exhausted - DH and I haven't had a holiday or even a short break for four years now, and I just can't see an end to this. This is not how I saw my role as a grandmother, to be honest - and I do feel guilty for feeling this way, but as I say, we have no choice but to continue.

Norah Thu 23-Feb-23 13:40:28

We told our daughters we were done raising children, they could raise their own. We don't child mind on a schedule.

If our daughters or granddaughters have a need with child care, we try to be available - but we don't change our plans.

They can easily make their own way - we did. No guilt.

Farzanah Thu 23-Feb-23 13:49:09

Do retired grandfathers feel guilty if they don’t look after grandchildren I wonder? I’ve noticed friends who look after their GCs have to work their own activities around them, but their OHs carry on their usual routines and activities.

Grandmabatty Thu 23-Feb-23 13:51:29

I look after my two grandsons two days a week. I love them dearly, but they are hard work! I completely understand what you are saying.

Sara1954 Thu 23-Feb-23 13:55:24

I’ve been having my local grandchildren once a week for the last ten years.
It’s on my day off, so limits the amount of time I have for myself, also, for three of those ten years, they lived with us, so obviously a lot more was required of me.
The last one starts school in September, and I have mixed feelings. On the one hand I’ll be very happy to reclaim my day off, but I know I’ll really miss her, and I’ll look back on those years with rose tinted glasses.
But don’t feel guilty, circumstances pushed me into helping more than I would have liked to, and with my children well spaced out, I feel like I’ve been looking after children for ever.

Hetty58 Thu 23-Feb-23 13:58:15

Bungle - all the time! I don't have a regular arrangement (I'd really resent that) - but had one set three days over the half term - way too much. I think 'Another day wasted' as there are other things I'd rather do - but then I make the best of it. Yes, I love them and enjoy their company but I find it exhausting and I'm not a childcare provider!

Blondiescot Thu 23-Feb-23 14:32:49


We told our daughters we were done raising children, they could raise their own. We don't child mind on a schedule.

If our daughters or granddaughters have a need with child care, we try to be available - but we don't change our plans.

They can easily make their own way - we did. No guilt.

But what if they can't? What if there is no other option?

Sara1954 Thu 23-Feb-23 14:38:16

Agreed, sometimes things just don’t go as you planned, what can you do? You can hardly stand back and say, your children, your problem.

Grandma70s Thu 23-Feb-23 14:47:51

I’ve aways felt it was my children’s job, not mine, to look after their children. I was very happy to care for children once, not prepared to do it twice. Luckily they live too far from me for it to be a possibility!

silverlining48 Thu 23-Feb-23 15:12:27

Its the regular commitment which can get you down especially if you need to rest the following day. I 'resigned' after 11 years and hoped my AC would be ok about it. They could be a handful and I was just too tired.
Would always have preferred an 'as needed' casual /in emergency arrangement. Much more flexible.

Skydancer Thu 23-Feb-23 15:20:15

I think a lot depends on how old you are. As most of us know, we haven't got the same energy at 70 that we had at 50. I was in my 50s when I became a grandmother and loved every second of looking after GC but 20 years later I couldn't do it as I would get too tired much as I love them.

sodapop Thu 23-Feb-23 15:59:14

That's very true Skydancer I couldn't cope with young children at 77.

Sara1954 Thu 23-Feb-23 16:15:37

And now I’m just told about three days of teachers striking, so I guess I’ll be covering that!

lyleLyle Thu 23-Feb-23 16:22:27

Don’t feel guilty. You have raised your children already. You love your daughter and your grandchildren, but love doesn’t require us to run ourselves into the ground with the responsibilities of other adults. It’s okay to be tired of regularly caring for children at some point in life.

Your daughter is an adult. She will adjust to this responsibility of sorting childcare the way millions of parents do every day. The great thing is that she doesn’t have to figure it out alone. She has a partner who is equally responsible for sorting childcare for the lovely lives they brought into the world. If I were you I’d start thinking about a realistic way to transition out of the arrangement, or at least reduce. Obviously you don’t want to leave your family out there abruptly, but do start thinking of gradually reducing their dependence on you. You will not be around forever. Your daughter and her husband will have to adjust to managing their family life without you at some point.

Blondiescot Thu 23-Feb-23 17:29:57


And now I’m just told about three days of teachers striking, so I guess I’ll be covering that!

Exactly - I've got that to look forward to as well!

Luckygirl3 Thu 23-Feb-23 17:47:15

It seems we all have different feelings about this. I looked after my youngest grandchildren from 9 months to starting school for two days a week; then when there were 2 of them for one day each.

I made it clear what I could and could not manage, e.g. when they were small I said I could not have them both together - I was also caring for a sick husband.

At present I pick them both up from school on a Friday and give them tea. And also help whenever needed in the holidays.

For me it is all a great joy and I feel sad that I am not fit enough to do more.

But there is no obligation to feel that way. I know many grandparents feel they have done their bit - that is not something to feel guilty about. And the presence of high cost of living and child care does make grandparents feel a bit as though they would like to help. Young families are pretty strapped for cash at the moment.