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Grandparenting

Taken for granted

(47 Posts)
GrannyIvy Mon 04-Mar-24 22:24:58

I give everything to my daughters, always available to help, do childcare etc 24/7 but when I say no and give reasonable notice I am not available I am made to feel guilty putting myself first. Anyone else feel the same. Just feel hurt tonight …

Jaxjacky Mon 04-Mar-24 22:35:54

No, because I set the expectation when the grandchildren were born and I was working full time. I or we are there for emergencies or planned sleepovers, but never committed to regular days.

Shelflife Mon 04-Mar-24 22:43:25

Your children are behaving very badly! Too many AC take their mums for granted when it comes to children care . I ' hear' this so often on GN and it infuriates me! You obviously give a great deal and you are entitled to your own life. They have no business making you feel guilty, talk to them and explain how you feel, hopefully they will realize how unreasonable they are being. Their children their responsibility - not your children of your responsibility. Just tell them .

NotSpaghetti Mon 04-Mar-24 22:45:57

We were the same Jaxjacky - it's tough to say "no" but I was also working when the grandchildren were born.

I think you need to offer less in order to have some time for yourself.

Gwyllt Mon 04-Mar-24 22:47:27

My grandkids don’t live that close so not a problem but you have every right to put yourself first.
Try asking why you shouldn’t have some me time everyone deserves it

Maggiemaybe Mon 04-Mar-24 23:11:23

We committed to regular days and have never regretted it. Then again we feel very much appreciated for what we do, are never taken for granted and have wonderful relationships with all our grandsons. And yes, we manage to “have our own lives” as well. If this doesn’t apply to you I’d say you need to rethink how much you do, GrannyIvy. Your family life should be a joy, not a millstone.

Catterygirl Mon 04-Mar-24 23:22:43

Hmmh, I am 72. I still work selling stuff on eBay which is quite time consuming. I am not a nana and my son and partner don’t seem in any hurry. He is 34 and we understood her to be the same age but she just revealed on her birthday that she is 37. Time is running out without resorting to IVF. I gave birth at 37 and was considered very old 34 years ago. Thing is I wasn’t planning to have a baby so maybe that relaxed attitude helped. I’m happy to become a grandma but wouldn’t have the energy to help out much. I can offer lots of advice re au pairs etc though.

Maggiemaybe Mon 04-Mar-24 23:22:43

And I meant to say as well that I hope you sort things out with your daughters, GrannyIvy. thanks

keepingquiet Mon 04-Mar-24 23:53:27

You need to set boundaries.

Eloethan Tue 05-Mar-24 00:38:22

Don't feel guilty. When people start thinking that you exist merely to make their lives easier, you need to start saying no more often.

So sorry you are feeling hurt GrannyIvy.

Bellasnana Tue 05-Mar-24 04:24:12

GrannyIvy, yes, I know just how you feel. 💐

flappergirl Tue 05-Mar-24 08:43:44

My mother babysat my son "by appointment only". She adored my son but she was very strict and I had to stick to the letter of the law. If she told me to collect him at a certain time, there would be an awful row if I was half an hour late.

She would also only look after him for things she considered essential (work, health etc) and socialising was usually not one of them. It was her time and her rules and I was always extremely grateful.

Cabbie21 Tue 05-Mar-24 08:54:15

Your first sentence says it all. You have been too freely available so your daughters have come to expect it. You have to tell them you need time for yourself now, and draw some boundaries. You don’t need to feel guilty. Try making them feel guilty for taking you for granted.

Georgesgran Tue 05-Mar-24 08:58:42

When my DDs arrived, my Dad was nearly 80 and already my Mum’s carer, so they were physically unable to help. Dad could take them out for walks, if I sat with Mum. The Outlaws might babysit very occasionally, but with such ill-grace that we soon found a lady we could rely on.
When my DDs ask me to babysit/childmind, I’m there in a flash! I’ll change my plans if necessary, because these are days I’ll never get back. I’m the only available grandparent and got to say, they are both very appreciative.

Cossy Tue 05-Mar-24 09:01:01

We only have one grandson, my lovely step-daughter’s son. They live about 1.5 hours away and she’d never dream of behaving like this. Put your foot down and please don’t allow yourself to feel hurt!

Greenfinch Tue 05-Mar-24 09:06:16

What happened to baby sitting circles that were quite prevalent when my children were young? I belonged to one and we babysat for them and they for us when needed so that I didn’t totally have to rely on my parents.

25Avalon Tue 05-Mar-24 09:10:03

“Make yourself a doormat and people will wipe their feet on you” - old Chinese saying. Please don’t feel guilty when you can’t help. I think some are short wired to feel guilty when they are not. Do you ever ask DDs to do something for you so they realise you have needs too?

Primrose53 Tue 05-Mar-24 09:25:49

Sorry you feel hurt. my late SIL was made to feel the same even though she was a very unwell person and had lots of hospital and GP appointments. Apparently she should have arranged these around collecting kids from school and giving them tea etc! Even though she had no immune system they would bring their kids over with dreadful colds and hacking coughs. No consideration at all. She passed away very suddenly aged 66.

This should be a lesson to anybody. Make it clear in a polite way as soon as babysitting is mentioned what you are willing and happy to do.

Mama2020 Tue 05-Mar-24 18:30:38

What is the arrangement? Is this daily childcare while they are working? So many grandparents graciously offer to provide childcare while parents work, but they forget that most parents don’t have flexibility at work. Even if you give ample notice that you aren’t going to be available on a given day, the blessing of being able to rely on you so often means they might not have much in the way of backup (babysitters, etc). This was one of many reasons we stuck with daycare. My mil would always try to dissuade us from hiring babysitters. When I went back to work, she tried to push to provide our regular childcare. But she has a healthy social life (as she should) and we knew there was a high chance we’d be left in a bind to find care with this arrangement.

There is nothing at all wrong with having your own needs, but it does put parents in a bind if they rely on you with regularity. When you do so much for them that they never have to learn to make other arrangements, you may be shooting both of you in the feet.

GrannyIvy Tue 05-Mar-24 19:05:36

Thank you everyone. I really appreciate the comments I currently collect from school two nights one week and three the next. I help with after school activities one of those days as my DD is a single parent and classes overlap in different venues. I will always help if I can if children are sick or she needs a babysitter. I love my grandchildren dearly and treasure and enjoy my times with them. Sometimes though if we are planning to be away or have friends visiting on committed days DD not happy even with prior notice. I need to be more firm in these situations. My other DD lives away with older children and I won’t go into the problems there very different ones! I am my own worst enemy really as really want to help and always be there for my girls. Find it very hard to say no and sometimes really need too !! The DD I help on a weekly basis is very loving and appreciative of all I do but doesn’t like changes to arrangements… although she can change them at short notice😂

polnan Wed 06-Mar-24 11:28:04

strange, the differences, I was never invited or wanted to babysit my 4 gks.. mum was a stay at home mum, so didn`t need me, they never stayed over.. so sad... only once when her mum was dying. oh well, we are all different.

loopyloo Wed 06-Mar-24 11:36:03

Know how you feel. Have done loads for my Dd regards child care but this year have not been invited to the dance concert.
Have outlived my usefulness.
Apparently.

sazz1 Wed 06-Mar-24 11:37:00

My DD lived with us until DGC was 4. I was expected to look after her for the first 2 years while DD was at uni which I agreed to as I had recently retired. This increased to her going out several evenings and days when she was out with friends. I finally told her to find a child minder and said I would only cover 2 days a week. There were numerous rows and arguments over the 4 years and it was a horrific time. Fast forward we retired and moved 100 miles away. I now have a great relationship with my DD always chatting on the phone and they stay with us regularly. We stay with her too quite often now she has her own house.
My advice to you is set which days you want to do and stick to it. Remind her you are doing it as a favour and don't put up with any abuse. I should have been firmer and regret not doing that. Best wishes.

Labradora Wed 06-Mar-24 11:43:50

As Greenfinch says , "what happened to babysitting circles ?"
When I was much, much younger , I babysat my niece and nephew whenever I was asked but everyone was grateful , I was never taken for granted and a great fuss was made ( M &S heat up dinner and bottle of wine and I stayed overnight).
I was not asked that often because of a local babysitting circle of young mums in the immediate neighbourhood that my sister had joined. They bartered sessions so no money changed hands. It seemed to work very well and I honestly think that my sister preferred it because she could just treat it as "business" and didn't have to feel beholden plus my B-in Law wasn't lumbered with "the in laws" after a long week in the office.... Not that I saw it as a burden , God Forbid , I didn't take her preference for "The Circle" personally........

Eirlys Wed 06-Mar-24 11:46:12

Agree with Sazzi : you set the days you can help and that's it!
I know one couple who deliberately lived MILES away from their Offspring to prevent this sort of thing. Holiday visits were arranged and all was amicable.
However now the husband has died the wife has decided to move near her Offspring as she is beginning to have problems!!