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I’m worn out and I really don’t think I’m not cut out to be a doting grandparent.

(100 Posts)
Tezhar Tue 17-May-22 14:23:37

Hi, I don’t think I’m like other grandparents. I can’t think of anything worse than being called on constantly to babysit. Now and then would be ok. But day in and day out would actually stress me out.

I have five children. One grandchild so far. And he’s adorable and shears out a smile on my face. I had my first child very young and have devoted my life to my kids. In fact I feel like I’m something to everyone. And nothing to myself. I’m 52. My youngest two children are both at uni. And I’m ready to put distance between myself and my growing family. I’m worn out and I really don’t think I’m cut out to be a doting grandparent. Just the kind that has quality time on occasions. Is this unusual? Am I weird? Cold hearted? Or is this more common than I think?

MissAdventure Tue 17-May-22 14:29:01

It's actually far more common than you'd imagine.
The first time I saw a thread like this I expected a storm of protest, but nope.... there are a few of us.

Grandmabatty Tue 17-May-22 14:30:17

A bit contradictory. You say you are worn out and don't want to be a 'doting grandparent' but then say you are just that. Are you being asked to provide childcare? Just say no. That's a different thing to being a doting grandparent. If you are worn out, then it's possible you have health issues or are going through the menopause.

MissAdventure Tue 17-May-22 14:33:31

Children are wearing.

Witzend Tue 17-May-22 14:38:56

After five of your own, I for one certainly wouldn’t blame you! I think a lot of grandparents feel they’ve done their bit with their own. I do hope you won’t be made to feel that you’re obliged to help with childcare, or that there’s something wrong with you if you don’t feel up to it.

I was 67 before the first grandchild arrived - she’s 7 now - and for some time we did one day a week with her, which was fine. But once it was a case of a baby and a toddler, I knew I’d find it too knackering, so we helped with childcare costs instead - not an option for everybody, I know.

I/we still do one-offs and emergencies - I will probably be doing one tomorrow unless the Gdc in question is well enough again for school - blasted tummy bugs doing the rounds.
And that’s still fine, but one-offs don’t happen very often. And just as well - I don’t think I could manage very much more.

Tezhar Tue 17-May-22 14:40:50

I think you’re right. I am going through the menopause. And I have lung disease. And husband that is wrapped up in work. I was also bright up in care and proud of what I’ve achieved with my own children. But I’m tired now. I see no joy in anything and barely leave the house. Pretty much depressed really I guess. No I’m not being asked for childcare. But I foresee this as more babies appear. My grandson is adorable. But I can’t see how my future at the top of the family tree is going to be. Everywhere I look grandparents are doting over there children and grandchildren. I don’t feel that way. I just see drama from the younger ones. Living in a field with trees, birds and my dogs would suit me just fine. And I’m not even fussed if I leave this Earth early. I’m no good at peopling tbh

SueDonim Tue 17-May-22 14:45:06

You’re far from alone Tezhar! Raising five children is a big task. I have four myself and now they’re all grown, I am done with childrearing. However, I do now have six GC and I love being a grandmother, too. Only two live near enough for me to see them regularly - usually fortnightly.

My dd doesn’t expect me to be another parent to them, although we have done small amounts of childcare which really is for both our benefits. We get fun time with the GC but then we hand them back and get to have a full night’s sleep. I don’t think I’m a doting GM, to me that denotes a sickly sweet relationship in which the child can do no wrong. I treat my GC as it did my children, which my dd agrees with, because as she said, she turned out alright! grin

Just offer what you feel able to and don’t feel pressured into accepting a role you don’t want.

SueDonim Tue 17-May-22 14:47:18

X-posted with you, Tezhar. It seems that there’s more to this than having GC. You sound very down about life in general. Maybe you need to find some help, life shouldn’t be that way for you. flowers

luluaugust Tue 17-May-22 14:48:54

My first GC followed on soon after my youngest had left home and I felt a bit like you, could I do it all again? I did some GC caring and babysitting but just enough I think. You do sometimes find that the very involved grans find it hard later because, of course, as the GC get older we are not needed so much anyway. Enjoy what you can it will soon pass.

Blondiescot Tue 17-May-22 15:00:47

Some of us have no choice in the matter! Given the choice, I wouldn't choose to be running around after a very active four-year-old, but if push comes to shove, most grandparents would surely step up to the mark and look after their grandchildren if they had to?

yogitree Tue 17-May-22 15:08:22

Tehzar, it's not an easy job looking after toddlers and babies. I have a newly 2 year old GD who I look after for 9 hours on one day a week with (apparently) no 'holidays' for me although she does sometimes go on holidays with her parents. She is a delight but exhausting and as others say, makes me smile a lot and find joy in life. Sometimes I take her on extra, odd occasions and that's OK, but it's becoming 'expected' and at 67 with several health conditions (I'm worn out too) it gets that I need days to recover and that limits what I can do with the rest of my life! There's an imminent new baby on the way too, so I'm worrying about this a bit. I don't want to lose contact but feel that if I refuse it will be held against me. I need a diplomatic solution! I don't think you're weird at all, just pragmatic!

Grandmabatty Tue 17-May-22 15:21:56

Tehzar you follow up post suggests more than your original one did. It sounds very difficult for you 💐 I would suggest you contact your doctor and explain how you feel, mentally and physically. Make it clear to family that you will be unable to provide childcare due to your health. I hope things get better for you.

Tezhar Tue 17-May-22 15:40:31

Hi all. (Sorry I’m not sure how you reply individually). But it’s good to hear that some of you don’t feel as maternal second time around. Social media can be the worst when scrolling. I see just the other day that a woman I knew at school has made a bedroom for her grandchild. I’d rather have a craft room!

My two youngest daughters who are at uni 19 and 21. Have brought me so much drama since they left home for London life. I expected to breathe out a little when they last one left. But it’s drama drama drama. I’m worn out. Being brought up in care myself and having a child at 16 I gave up my youth for what turned out to be five children. I wanted to put my family back on the map as I call it. And I’ve done a good job. But now I’m at a crossing point where I have nothing for me. I didn’t get a career. I do work from home for my husband though. I have been divorced twice before this. Happily married since 2009. I’m bipolar from genetic reasons plus trigger reasons so I find friendships difficult. I cut myself off from people. I’m very menopausal too I think. And I have COPD from smoking but still haven’t cared enough to quit. Because of the bipolar. I’m on meds. I seem to have hit a point where I’m just not into staying near family. I want to put about four hours between us. So I can enjoy the quality time when we’re do get together. I’m not built to be the hub that I thought I’d always become. I really don’t think I can be nanny of the year when they all start having kids. My worst nightmare. I’m tired. So it’s good to hear that it isn’t so unusual for mums/nans to be tired mums/nans

Thank you ladies 😊.

CoffeeFirst1 Tue 17-May-22 15:45:21

I’d love to be worn out after looking after grandchildren. I don’t think I’ll ever get them. Set boundaries I’d say.

VioletSky Tue 17-May-22 15:54:09

I have 5 too amd i work with children... Its pretty safe to say i love cnildren....

Yet when the time comes i dont want to be a childminder for my grandchildren... I want quality occasional time and just the fun parts honestly. Im up for occasional babysitting... Thats it

We all deserve a rest of thats what we need

sodapop Tue 17-May-22 16:10:14

Not everyone wants to or is able to offer regular child care for their grandchildren.
I didn't mind occasional care or for my daughter to have the odd weekend away but I didn't want to do more than that. So many grandparents seem to give up all their time to care for grandchildren I'm afraid I'm not that unselfish.
Obviously it's different if there is illness or an inability to care for some reason.
Do what you feel comfortable with Tezhar and don't commit to a lot of child care, with five children this could easily escalate.

Goodbyetoallthat Tue 17-May-22 16:11:29

I’m here too! 4 children, 3 grandchildren & still working. I don’t provide regular childcare but love spending time with them. Not sure what a previous poster means about having “no choice in the matter”.

readsalot Tue 17-May-22 16:13:16

I had my first at 18 and feel the same way. Just let the kids know that while you dote on dear GC, you are not available for child care except on your terms. You really have done'your bit'.
My mother was the same, having raised five of us. Time for being you, I think! Don't feel guilty as life is too short.

Audi10 Tue 17-May-22 16:20:44

Not everyone wants to look after their grandchildren! I don’t have a problem with it, I’ve looked after one of mine while my son and dil went to work in fact I’m looking after the same grandchild tonight while they go out for a few hours! My son and dil have always been very grateful for what I’ve done and do when asked which isn’t that often now as much older! If I didn’t want to do it I’d say as I’ve never moaned about it! It is hard work looking after children, you certainly aren’t weird or cold hearted! Everyone needs time to themselves op ,there are also a lot of grandparents who resent as they say having to look after their grandchildren! But there’s always a choice! If you don’t want to then don’t!

M0nica Tue 17-May-22 17:03:06

Tezhar Join the party! There are a lot of others out you who feel like that. including me, and I have none of the reasons you have for feeling you have done you share of childcare.

The first thing to say is that providing wrap round childcare is not a grandmother's duty. If your children are grown-up enough to have children then they are grown up enough to sort childcare out without expecting grand parents to take the load.

You also have a range of healthcare issues that should themselves suggest to your children that a lot of childcare is beyond your capacity.

Why not think through what you think you can do that will not affect your health and will respect your need to get out from under a life of childcare. It may be that being on call for emergencies is as much as you can manage, or may be a little more. Think it out and when you are clear in your own mind, sit down with your grandchild's parents and explain to them what you can offer. Be clear with them that you have health problems and have a life of child care behind you with your own children and cannot do the same for your grandchildren.

Making it clear about the first grandchild, and your other children will have fair warning that, much as you love them and your grandchildren, your physical and mental health problems mean that you cannot cope with anymore.

We have too many threads on GN from grandparents who have become their childrens and grandchildrens slaves to the detriment of both their own health and their relationship with their children.

You are in exactly the right time to stop that happening before it starts.

Perhaps a health review, if you can get one, in these post COVID times - and some counselling could help you make decisions about childcare or not and help you see your way forward to a quieter life.

Audi10 Tue 17-May-22 17:23:54

Great Post Monica

Blondiescot Tue 17-May-22 17:26:36

Goodbyetoallthat

I’m here too! 4 children, 3 grandchildren & still working. I don’t provide regular childcare but love spending time with them. Not sure what a previous poster means about having “no choice in the matter”.

That was me - a family crisis meant that we had no option but for our son and grandson (then just turned 2) to come and live with us, and because my son works shifts, we still have no option other than to look after our grandson when his dad is working. I love him dearly, but looking after him for long periods of time is very wearing indeed.

annodomini Tue 17-May-22 17:32:02

I was 51 when I had my first grandchild. As she lived close by, I enjoyed her company until she graduated and gravitated south to find work and join up with my son, her dad, and the rest of his family. I was never expected to babysit her and her half brother - not easy when I was still working and had committees on several nights a week. But we had lovely outings at weekends, after which I was able to deposit them with their mum. All 4 other GC have been brought up 150 miles away so I have seen them only at intervals, been on holiday with one of the families too.
Doting? Moi? Just wait until I see that first GGD, due in a month's time!

Callistemon21 Tue 17-May-22 17:40:46

I have five children. One grandchild so far.

If, for example, all your children had children themselves, that could be 5 -10 grandchildren (they may not, of course).

You wouldn't surely be expected to look after them all except for an occasional day or evening?

I'm sure you will dote if your DC don't expect too much of you.

I did look after a couple of mine (separately) for a day or two a week and enjoyed it immensely but if you don't want to do that just say No, that you're happy to babysit occasionally but you can't be main carer.

Callistemon21 Tue 17-May-22 17:45:24

SueDonim

X-posted with you, Tezhar. It seems that there’s more to this than having GC. You sound very down about life in general. Maybe you need to find some help, life shouldn’t be that way for you. flowers

I agree, perhaps a GP appointment?
You sound exhausted Tezhar

Good post Monica

I was asked and I agreed, it was not expected of me to care for my DGC.