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Feeling neglected unless needed for babysitting

(63 Posts)
SuzieHi Sun 10-Sep-23 21:53:37

We only live 10 mins drive from daughter & husband. They have 3 children - our grandchildren, ages 5, 8, 10.
We helped a lot until COVID hit. We are in our 70’s so had to be careful during that period until the crisis was over, & we’d been fully vaccinated. They’ve had Covid 3 times in all. Us twice- not from them I might add.
We feel we all missed out so much in that period- it broke our bond somehow. We’re sure the parents thought we were being stupid over it all ( & annoyed we couldn’t help them etc)
Yes, the children have got older & have a lot of after school activities and friend dates now so harder to fit us in.
However, SIL makes sure his family have regular visits and annual holidays together, with the children,
each year. They even seem reluctant to visit us at weekends now. If they come it seems to be for the minimum time & the atmosphere is not very relaxed. We feel SIL challenges nearly all of our opinions. We feel like the oldies who know nothing. We are feeling neglected, not valued & generally are being ignored unless they want “ free”babysitters for a night out or weekend away.
They hardly invite us to their house now unless it’s to pick up ironing or do watering when the6 are away.
I’ve sent them an invite for a lunch date today & no reply at all- even though I know they are on their phones constantly!
Anyone out there with advice? We’re feeling sad about the situation.

Primrose53 Sun 10-Sep-23 22:11:34

It must be tough for you but I know several people in the same position. Often one set of grandparents get favoured over the other. It is really sad and unfair. I don’t really have an answer for you but maybe somebody else will.

nadateturbe Sun 10-Sep-23 22:25:06

Primrose is right, this happens often.
Why don't you ring and invite them? And suggest a holiday together and see what response you get.

Hithere Sun 10-Sep-23 22:44:08

Anything happened between your daughter and you?

To be honest, families with kids have hectic weekends, and with three kids - even more hectic.

About the lunch invite - how far in advance did you send the invite?

Your sil and challenging your comments - what kind of comments are we talking about?

You can always say no to their requests if you feel you are taken advantage of

Allsorts Sun 10-Sep-23 22:59:11

I had to accept that's how it was years ago, I expect nothing so not disappointed. Pointless saying anything, young families have so many pressures now that we didn't have. I just want my son to be happy and I think he is, not needed for babysitting as children grown and busy. Grandchildren send the odd text, but rarely see them, I know they want yo be either their friends now after missing out so much due to Covid. If you can make the most of your time with your partner and if you can afford it go away on holiday. do things the two of you enjoy,whilst you can.


CocoPops Sun 10-Sep-23 23:08:52

I agree that Covid has changed some relationships.Maybe you can discuss this with your daughter and son-in-law and tell them that you feel sad about not seeing them quite so often.
Perhaps you can be pro-active and ask them if they'd like to commit to something regular eg. a weekly or monthly meal at your place. How about looking at holidays and suggesting one for you all? Do you do fun things with the children eg baking, swimming or 10 pin bowling?. How about suggesting you all go to the pantomime together? Or you could just take the children.
If the parents aren't keen to socialise, I suggest you forge ahead with fun things to achieve a close bond with your grandchildren.

Romola Sun 10-Sep-23 23:27:17

Good suggestions from CocoPops.
And - this is an expensive suggestion - the way you'll get a family holiday is if you pay for it. We used to have weeks in the UK in very special really big enough self-catering houses or castles. Much cheaper than going abroad, more comfortable, more interesting for us all.
It was appreciated.

V3ra Sun 10-Sep-23 23:27:48

Sorry but I'd feel inclined to say they could bring the ironing to your house, along with the children, when you next babysit for them.
Then send it back again, unironed, as you were having such a good time with the children there simply wasn't time to do it 🫢

Seriously though, what an entitled pair these parents are! 😳
Are you able to have a heart to heart talk with your daughter about how you feel?

rafichagran Mon 11-Sep-23 00:22:07

I would definitely not be ironing for these two entitled individuals.
Why does your daughter not step up or visit?

crazyH Mon 11-Sep-23 01:23:08

Romola is very right. The only way you’ll get a family holiday is if you pay for it. Every Christmas, I take the family 6 adults and 6 children, away to a nice hotel , overnight stay etc. The little cousins get to play with one another etc. This Xmas I will probably take them all for a nice meal in the New Year….that’s it. No overnight stay. They are all high earners. They should be treating me , not the other way round. I am tightening my belt this year.
Having said that, I don’t do much for them during the year. Babysitting and school runs are mostly done by the other younger grandparents. Of course I do the occasional school run.

Drina01 Mon 11-Sep-23 03:53:48

Gosh this could be me OP ! Very similar - though SIL favours his family who live 10 minutes from them and we live an hour away. I do school pick up 2 x week but feel he deliberately comes home early to prove a point. I have always supported my daughter but over the years feel his influence is so great on her she has changed so much. ... Though when he's not around she can revert to her old self. Anything I have a view on he now has a negative response. My husband has been poorly with major surgery yet he never asks/asked about him then or now. Since Covid he seems to think he's rather important and have to say drinks/eats rather a lot and encourages daughter to do the same resulting in her being rather overweight and not the same girl she was. My mother and I were so close and she helped me a lot and I had hoped for the same. The oldest child is only just 9 and I looked after her 3 days a week from age 1 as daughter was working and retraining ( and taking regular exams which I paid for) and SIL had strict working hours. Since Covid this has resulted in the now 5 year old sitting on his tablet/switch constantly which he encourages. I gave them money for their first house, and always paid for holidays until I recently retired. She now is the higher stable earner. I haven't spent Xmas day with her (or them) since 2005 when she first met SIL as he didn't want to come to us and she does everything he wants. He regularly goes off on holiday with his mates leaving her to cope. Bottom line is I complained slightly a few months back as he really upset me and totally was ignoring me ( he regularly comes home early and goes into dining room to play online games - he shouts 'goodbye'), which resulted in my daughter getting upset and not seeing my point of view. I've had to back down and become an observer. Bit heartbreaking actually. ... I also do ironing OP though SIL has had an opinion on that too ! ... It is almost as though since turning 70 we've been discarded .... I try to keep positive and do my own thing but sometimes it's hard.

nadateturbe Mon 11-Sep-23 04:18:32

CrazyH I think you have been very generous. I hope they realise when you tell them you're not doing it his year. Good for you.
Drina01 very sad for you. SiL sounds like a piece of work.

HappyZebra Mon 11-Sep-23 07:12:25

I wonder whether they would be more receptive to something like a park date or picnic? You could say you'll teach the kids boules or play cricket (bowl, bat and behind the wicket are roles with minimal physical exertion). Most situations diffuse when you aren't sat around in houses, the outdoors is good for everyone and you are less likely to end up talking about topics that cross hairs.

Or are you able to suggest an outing to the zoo, a petting zoo, bird of prey centre, an event or something else?

Or would your daughter come alone with the kids? Say yoh miss your tumr together. Another way of keeping the atmosphere pleasant.

I mention the outdoor stuff because as a kid I loved my grandparents but much preferred running around outside than being indoors on a weekend.

Calendargirl Mon 11-Sep-23 07:25:24

We did a lot for our son, DIL and two GC when the GC were younger.

Collected them from school twice a week, gave them tea, took them to dancing and football classes etc, had them stay overnight babysitting on occasions.

When Covid hit, it coincided with GD just starting at secondary school, her brother is two years older, so apart from the pandemic restrictions, they were growing up and not needing us as much.

We have never really got back to our original quite close and useful relationship. GC now 18 and nearly 16, we don’t see a lot of them or their parents although we only live a few minutes walk away. We come in handy to feed the Guinea pigs when they go on holiday.

But they are all busy with their lives, and we are just not needed like we once were.

Our DD and family live in Australia, so have never had the same connection with them as with the local lot, and it is a bit sad, but that is just how it is.

Primrose53 Mon 11-Sep-23 09:11:10

Gosh! I am so glad we never shut any of our kids grandparents out. We lived hundreds of miles from one set and just over 100 miles from the other set so we got no help with babysitting, school runs etc.

We used to go and stay with both sets but I always took loads of food and always helped with washing up etc as I didn’t want them to feel put upon. We moved closer to my parents when the kids were at primary school but I never used them as child minders as they had just retired and for the first time ever, had time to themselves.

It doesn’t sit right with me for grandparents having to pay for very expensive holidays so everyone can get together otherwise they don’t!

silverlining48 Mon 11-Sep-23 09:31:03

flowers for anyone feeling upset about constantly ‘busy’ families.
We were parents of children and were busy too, but I always prioritised time for my mum.
I can only say keep yourselves occupied and try not to dwell on things which only make you sad.

Primrose53 Mon 11-Sep-23 09:36:00


flowers for anyone feeling upset about constantly ‘busy’ families.
We were parents of children and were busy too, but I always prioritised time for my mum.
I can only say keep yourselves occupied and try not to dwell on things which only make you sad.

You are so right silverlining48

I used to write to my parents every week without fail before they got a phone at home. I had small children and was really busy but I made the time. I am so glad I did.

SuzieHi Mon 11-Sep-23 09:37:23

Thanks for all replies- seems like we’re not alone - a sign of the times maybe. Appreciate family life is busy for them - just wish we felt more valued and were included more often!
They probably would agree to a holiday if we paid for it all. They are all very high earners & could pay for us!

tickingbird Mon 11-Sep-23 10:05:04

“Pick up the ironing”?

Are you seriously saying you do their ironing? Maybe SIL should get his mother to do the ironing seeing as he likes to have them round so much. Don’t behave like a doormat and you won’t be treated like one I’m afraid.

Primrose53 Mon 11-Sep-23 10:09:48


Thanks for all replies- seems like we’re not alone - a sign of the times maybe. Appreciate family life is busy for them - just wish we felt more valued and were included more often!
They probably would agree to a holiday if we paid for it all. They are all very high earners & could pay for us!

Don’t do it!

My late MIL looked after her grandson from birth until he started school so his parents could go to work. They were both very high earners and he drove a brand new Porsche but my MIL used to buy all the BOGOF foods and cleaning materials and take it to them!!

As soon as the boy started school they washed their hands of her.

Primrose53 Mon 11-Sep-23 10:11:37

Not only did she look after the kid but while he was sleeping she used to do all their cleaning and ironing and prepare their evening meal!!

maddyone Mon 11-Sep-23 10:26:27

Is there any element of coercive control going on? Is your sil coercively controlling your daughter, and has used lockdown to reinforce this? It sounds possible to me but I may be wrong. It’s just a thought as I have experience of this and what you describe fits a pattern of that type of behaviour.

Mamasperspective Mon 11-Sep-23 17:36:37

When you say, "Challenges your opinions" what do you mean? Is it just general opinions or opinions on their kids or something else? Why don't you speak to your daughter and tell her you need to talk to her and want to go for a coffee one on one?

luluaugust Mon 11-Sep-23 17:54:20

I can only agree that a bond did get loosened during Covid. Our GC are now more or less past needing any care and all the AC work full time. We are lucky in that they check up on us but while we can lead an active life I think they let us get on with it. I do an occasional Sunday lunch and WhatsApp the GC regularly but they are much older than yours

Cambsnan Tue 12-Sep-23 12:35:59

Maybe you could take your daughter out on her own and gently tell her you miss seeing more of the children. Maybe you could
Agree some contact that helps them and gives you a chance to rebuild that closeness.
You are not alone in feeling that covid stole our precious time with small grandchildren.