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Estranged grandparents

(45 Posts)
GrannyFoxx Thu 29-Oct-20 20:05:20

I have two grandchildren aged 2 and 5. I have been babysitting about every other week once a day. It requires getting up at 4 am due to my son’s work schedule and keeping them until 9 pm. I’m 60 now and it is more tiring. When my DIL asked me to also keep them every other Saturday I declined but agreed to every other Friday. I just need to sleep in on weekends. I also have a teenage son still at home. Yes I’ve been a busy bee for years. I have arthritis now etc and just lower energy. The upshot was that not accepting ALL days was not acceptable. I’ve now not seen them for three months and my son and DIL no longer speak with me and my son told me I don’t care. No issues on her mom’s side which is sad for me. I feel like I was used. Really struggling with depression now. Anyone else dealt with this? Thank you.

welbeck Thu 29-Oct-20 20:08:56

i'm sorry, but i think you were used.
this is not unusual.
you have to have a life too, not merely an existence of never-ending drudgery, and increasing pain.
put yourself first for once.
and get your son to make you a cup of tea,
that's a start. good luck.

OceanMama Thu 29-Oct-20 20:58:22

Your son and DIL are being entitled and unreasonable. Childcare is their responsibility and anything you gave them should be viewed as a bonus and favour that they should be grateful for. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this.

GrannyFoxx Thu 29-Oct-20 21:09:30

Thank you. My conclusion as well.

GrannyFoxx Thu 29-Oct-20 21:10:24

Thank you. It is nice to be validated.

M0nica Thu 29-Oct-20 21:25:32

The care of children is the responsibility of their parents. Sometimes, grandparents are willing to help, but sometimes this is not possible and it is up to the parents to sort out the care for themselves.

As others have said, your son and wife are acting as if they were entitled to treat you like a skivvy, which you are not, you are a mother and grandmother and their behaviour is unreasonable.

PECS Thu 29-Oct-20 21:53:16

Sorry that your DS and DiL are behaving like a pair of stroppy kids who can't have their own way.

It appears that they have made thoughtless assumptions about your grandparenting role and are put out when they discover it is not what they thought.

In my experience communication is always at the root of these issues so maybe they misread /misunderstood what you were happy/able to offer re childcare or maybe, in the distant past, you casually said you would be happy to do more if needed.
Can you write to them and clarify what you can offer to help them out and invite them over for a meal .. or are they determined to be awkward?

Silly of them to reject your support, a sad for you they have reacted this way. The kiddies will be missing you.

Izzy13 Thu 29-Oct-20 22:28:54

I messed up and told my daughter (who I had a very good relationship with).. that I didn't like her husband in a fit of anger brought on by his disgusting behaviour towards me which I won't go into.
She in turn has told my grandchildren this.. ages 21 and 13.
They.. not surprisingly have no contact with me now. Unfortunately they have not heard my side of the story nor do I want them to hear it. Obviously I have no intention of bad mouthing their father whom they adore.
I miss them so much and would really love them back in my life.
I would like to reach out to them and ask if our relationship could be about us and not necessarily the father.
I would really like to hear some opinions on this and possibly how to do it.

Izzy13 Thu 29-Oct-20 22:35:54

New to this ...not sure if I have posted this in the correct place.

GrannyFoxx Thu 29-Oct-20 23:19:26

To PECS. I have reached out by phone. No response. Sent pleasant messages confirming my happiness to keep them some still. The DIL blocked me. My son and I had discussed my lack of energy just prior to this when he said they would need me less. I felt then was a good time to mention it. Good conversation. So was surprised at the request from the DIL. And even more surprised when my son became angry. I really have no idea what changed or why. He is rather hen pecked which I have never mentioned to them! Only thing I can think is he is following her lead. Hopefully things will sort out but the more time that passes the less likely. To everyone thank you for the encouragement and suggestions!

welbeck Fri 30-Oct-20 01:07:36


New to this ...not sure if I have posted this in the correct place.

well a 21 year old is not an infant. so not up to his parents.
so you could approach him, if you wanted to.
but then you take the risk, of going from bad to worse.
it is tricky. have to tread carefully. less is more.
good luck.

welbeck Fri 30-Oct-20 01:11:39

GrannyFoxx writes,
I have been babysitting about every other week once a day. It requires getting up at 4 am due to my son’s work schedule and keeping them until 9 pm..

those hours equate to domestic slavery.
anyone who let you continue doing that, let alone asking for more, is not reasonable to say the least.
would you have done that to your parents, or to anyone else for that matter.
you are a human being, not a runner bean.
look after yourself.

Hithere Fri 30-Oct-20 01:48:00


Is this the first time they try to take advantage of you?

Nansnet Fri 30-Oct-20 06:02:59

Expecting a grandparent to take charge of two young children, and having to get up at 4am to do so, is a very big ask. Does your DiL also have a very early start for work? If so, I can understand how difficult it must be for them to arrange childcare at that time, as Nurseries wouldn't even be open. But, if she starts work at a more reasonable time, I fail to see why you were having to take charge so early. Were they dropped off at your place, or did you have a long journey to get to them, hence the early start? Either way, I think you're a saint for having agreed to it in the first place.

You say that there are no issues on your DiLs side of the family ... I'm just wondering where her mother comes into all of this? What childcare support does she already offer?

It's very sad that after all you have already done for them, they expect more, and because you are unable to offer it, they have excluded you from their lives. How selfish of your son and DiL not think about the impact that taking care of 2 young children would have on your life, and for such long hours.

Did you have a good relationship with them beforehand? ... I assume so, otherwise they wouldn't have been asking you to help with childcare. That being the case, after 3 months of not seeing them, or your grandchildren, I would have to approach them, and try to sort this out with them. Whilst you're only 60, I can totally understand how you feel ... after helping out with my own grandchild for a while (I'm 58), I felt so exhausted ... it's definitely a young person's game! Tell them how upset you are that you no longer see them, and you never thought it would come to this. You tried to help them out with childcare as much as you were able to, but you need to explain again how difficult/exhausting you were already finding it, and you couldn't have coped with extra days (even though you'd also offered to take them on a Friday).

I do hope that they can see reason, and realize that you have not done anything wrong. What a terrible shame for your grandchildren to be estranged from their grandparents because of this. I wish you luck in sorting this out.

Smileless2012 Fri 30-Oct-20 10:09:50

You have been used GrannyFoxx and there's been no thought of the love you have for your GC and the love they have for you from this selfish, entitled and immature pair.

Finding childcare that requires the carer getting up at 4.00 am I would think is virtually impossible unless a family member is prepared to step in as you have done.

They may find they're unable to manage without your input and come back because they need you. I hope if they do that you stick to your decision and do what you feel able to do and no more.

It's outrageous how some parents use their children to get what they want from their parents/p's.i.l. by taking them away if they don't get their own way.

I hope that things improve but am sorry to say there's little you can do but wait.

Smileless2012 Fri 30-Oct-20 10:12:48

As your oldest GC is 21 there's no reason why you can't contact him/her directly Izzy and in your position that's what I would do.

Toadinthehole Fri 30-Oct-20 10:18:58

Oh my goodness, how sad for you. You must have been exhausted. That was taking liberties to a whole new level. Focus on the son you have at home, and leave time for the dust to settle, and for your other son to come to his senses....which he either will or won’t. If he doesn’t, I would maybe start contact by letter, in perhaps three more months. There are two possible scenarios I think. You’ll either not see them, but start to feel physically much better, and in time mentally too. Or you stay as you were, and risk real detriment to your health. The former gives you a better chance. It sounds like your DIL has a severe case of selfishness. Bless you, I do hope you manage to sort it, but it’ll never be right if you’re not in a good place with your health.💐

GrannyFoxx Fri 30-Oct-20 10:31:54

To answer comments-the 4 am start was to enable me to travel 45 min to pick them up. My son came to me in evenings. My DIL is now working two nights a week as RN and wants the Saturdays to sleep not for work. She is actually working less now! Her mother has split some of the duties but not so much lately. They get up early to drop off to her. Totally different for her. I agreed to pick up due to an episode a year ago over a minor disagreement between my son and I over something else and I was threatened to no longer see the GC unless I apologized to my DIL-and the disagreement nothing to do with or about her! I’m afraid this has been in the offing since they were born. Tolerated and trusted to use but not treated fairly. In the past my son has urged my DIL to continue letting me get them. This time has not happened. As one of you said I agree. If things change I will suddenly be needed again. If that happens I will not agree to more than I feel able. It’s a no win for me unless my son decides to intervene. That is not likely at this point. I will continue to send general letters/cards to maintain contact but my hands are tied. I feel like just a total lack of respect. Poor children. They are the big losers!

Izzy13 Fri 30-Oct-20 10:58:53

Thank you Smiless that's something to consider.

Izzy13 Fri 30-Oct-20 11:02:58

Thanks Wellbeck but it would at least give me a chance to explain things from my point of view.

Toadinthehole Fri 30-Oct-20 11:07:23

I can’t see how you could keep going like this. Constantly worrying you’ll be cut off, and like you say...those poor children. It does sound like your son needs to do some serious’ manning up’. Yes, keep in general contact, then at least your grandchildren will know you always cared and loved them. Look after yourself.

Summerlove Fri 30-Oct-20 11:11:18

grannyfoxx I’m sorry, this sounds like a tough situation. I’d try to wait it out a bit

Izzy13, what did the 21 year old say to you before they stopped communicating? Did they talk to you about your dislike of their father? I can absolutely see how they could’ve taken that as a personal insult. As you dislike somebody who makes up half of them. You can try to reach out, but be aware they might choose to have nothing to do with you from their own hurt from your words. I’m sorry.

Izzy13 Fri 30-Oct-20 11:16:15

Hi Granny Foxx I just want to give you a hug you sound like a lovely person who has been used and abused by two very selfish ( narcissistic) people. I think these two are the losers not you. Maybe time to put your foot down. ❤️

Toadinthehole Fri 30-Oct-20 11:16:21

Izzy, just seen your post. I had a great relationship with my granny, and talked to her about everything and anything from about 12 years old. I would definitely talk to the 21 year old. He/ she is an adult, and it may help. Then it can be passed to the 13 year old if appropriate. To withhold something about their father may be more damaging in the long run, but only you are the best judge of that. All the best.

Izzy13 Fri 30-Oct-20 11:21:58

There was no discussion between me and my GC so they just have the one side of the story.
The sad thing is I had a wonderful relationship with my daughter and my two grandchildren.