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" You don't love your grandchild enough!"

(154 Posts)
Day6 Thu 09-Mar-17 23:29:25

I am in a bit of a quandary.

So is OH. His son and he have had an argument that escalated quite quickly into son saying he thought we didn't love his five month old baby enough, didn't make many arrangements to see him, and didn't dote on him as he thought we would.

We are quite upset at the accusation and wonder perhaps if he has unrealistic expectations of how life should be now he's become a father.

We love the little fella. He is a very contented, happy baby and since his birth we've done lots of baby sitting, given them opportunities to go out together and helped out when there have been childcare issues. The baby really is sweet and a joy to be with.

However, a fortnight ago they were talking about DILs return to work. She is only going to be doing two days a week, and son has a good salary so the nursery fees are manageable. They asked us if we'd like to look after the baby for one of the days, and we said no, but nicely.

OH and I have both recently retired and we have lots of plans to get involved with local community clubs, travel, go out for lunch and generally make up for all the years we were working and raising our families.

I know this is a bit contentious too, but I also find full on childcare quite tedious and boring. Please understand I love our little ones dearly and delight in cuddles and treating them, and I also adore my own children, but I'd find a whole day commitment a tie, and so would OH.

I think we really have upset son by not seeming too keen to take on the baby for a whole 7am-6pm shift.

We've patched things up but this has created a bit of an awkward situation. OH and I both feel guilty now.

Should we?

Luckygirl Thu 09-Mar-17 23:35:13


Bibbity Thu 09-Mar-17 23:53:20

NO! You've done your time now it's time for you to be free!
What if you want to spontaneously go abroad?
What if you want to stay in bed all day?
They had this baby now it's thier turn to sort themselves out.
They're trying to emotionally blackmail you.
'Be our childcare or you don't wove us boohoo'
Tell them straight but sickingly sweet that while you love them all unconditionally and completely this commitment doesn't fit in with your plans. And then bean dip (change the subject and end that conversation)
'Sorry DS/DIL as we've said childcare just doesn't work for us, bean dip?'

Starlady Fri 10-Mar-17 00:16:44

Sigh... sometimes it's hard for us gps to "win." Usually, the problem is the opposite, that the gps want more time, more babysitting than the parents want to give them. Maybe ds (dear son) even expected you to be that way and was surprised to see you aren't.

Most likely, his outburst was just an immediate reaction. He probably was so sure you would say yes that he was shocked and disappointed when you said no. In his mind, he probably thought he and dil just had one more day to cover and now he saw they still had to cover both.

But, apparently, he's over it and you have "patched things up." No need to feel guilty. You and oh have a right to enjoy your retiremenent as you've planned. Ds has to learn that he can't automatically turn to you for babysitting, etc. Perhaps he's learning already.

live7 Fri 10-Mar-17 00:20:59

Also.. no. It is surely much better to be honest at the beginning. That would be a big commitment and mean changing your plans considerably. It doesn't mean you won't be very involved in the baby's life - but in a way that suits you. It sounds like you've already been brilliant at babysitting. You shouldn't feel guilty - most children aren't looked after by grandparents and you never agreed beforehand to care for the baby one day a week... Your son probably just needs a bit of time to get used to your decision. Take it as a compliment that they asked you. You can still be there to help out in emergencies but I don't think it's ever a good idea to take on a (long term) commitment when your heart is not in it. You can then end up feeling resentful instead of enjoying your gs.

Cindi Fri 10-Mar-17 01:11:39

No, never.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

Grandma2213 Fri 10-Mar-17 02:51:30

Day6 I am glad that you have patched it up but please don't feel guilty. I have found myself in a situation where I have 3 DGC more than I would wish. I am finding it increasingly difficult as they get older and more independent stroppy ! I love them dearly but I would like a bit of 'me' time now I have so little time left to do everything I want to do. More importantly I am not giving them the 'fun' time they should be having with me as I cook, wash, clean up, do packed lunches, break up fights, do homework nag. Yes live7 resentful is the word.

My advice is make the time you have with them 'quality' time. Good luck.

Grandma2213 Fri 10-Mar-17 02:52:50


BlueBelle Fri 10-Mar-17 05:23:36

Well I personally can see why the son would feel a bit hacked off, one day a week isn't much to ask, and a lot of grans (me included) would have jumped at it leaving you six days to do all your community socialising but its obviously not your thing and of course it doesn't make you any less loving and I admire you for being honest and not just resentful

Grandkids are little for so short a time that a day a week would seem so precious to me (as mine all hit teenage years and doing their own thing)
The main thing is you and your husband are singing from the same hymn sheet and the son although shocked will get over it

Oh boy Bibbity 'trying to emotionally blackmail you' what an over reaction Surely the first thing you do is ask a family member you trust and the original post said 'he asked nicely if they WOULD LIKE TO look after the baby' so no demands I would imagine the son is disappointed not so much in the arrangements ' he can afford nursery fees' but a feeling of rejection ( wrongly of course) of his baby but it sounds as if he's getting over his shock and all will be well with the family and the ground rules have been set

nina1959 Fri 10-Mar-17 06:49:02

No, it's all designed to make you feel guilty. Stand firm and don't be put on a guilt trip,

Greenfinch Fri 10-Mar-17 07:14:47

I think the feelings of all of you are genuine and have to be respected and accepted by both sides without feeling guilty.Is there a compromise. Could you do it now and again rather than regularly? If your son earns a good salary,the mother obviously could look after the baby herself.Why not? Does she not love him enough?The tables could be turned here though in no way do I suggest getting into another argument but you have no need to feel guilty. He is their responsibility.

Riverwalk Fri 10-Mar-17 07:21:32

Oh boy Bibbity 'trying to emotionally blackmail you' what an over reaction

Not an over-reaction at all ... the OP has been accused of not loving her GS enough because she declined the offer.

Norah Fri 10-Mar-17 07:24:08

No, you don't have to babysit. OH's son's baby is not your responsibility, enjoy your retirement.

Nannarose Fri 10-Mar-17 07:30:37

I have done one day a week for some years, and would not have missed it for the world, but as I get older and more creaky, I know that I would struggle with a baby / small toddler for a whole day. The 2 I care for now are 3&5, so I am busy, but not so much picking up / carrying about etc.

So I have decided that when/if the next baby arrives, I will offer a half day. Not as helpful as whole one, but still something to keep the relationship going.

I can see Day6, that would still be a 'commitment' that you would have to work around, so it may not work for you.

I would also say I have a close relative who their whole adult life has found small children 'tedious and boring'. He was rather disparaging to me (and I know you weren't, I am just relating the tale) about the way I chose to live my life and the job I did. Now he is a grandfather and decided to do a course on child development. He now delights in lecturing me on the fascinating things that children do! But he has also had the grace to say that he now understands what I have spent my whole life doing.

Riverwalk Fri 10-Mar-17 07:31:02

Grandma2213 it seems you really are being imposed upon by not having time to do the things that you want to do. Providing regular care for three GC must be tiring, apart from time-consuming.

You need to speak up and have discussions with your DC.

Rinouchka Fri 10-Mar-17 07:31:32

You have been brave in making the decision that is best for you. Do not feel guilty. You will do what you can to help but on your own terms. Your son will understand in time. Enjoy your retirement and your GS!

Lillie Fri 10-Mar-17 07:32:41

It's only one day a week and, although a tie, I would have thought that is easily feasible. You could organise your community events and lunches out around the other four days. You may even find the day with the child gives you a fuller perspective on life.
As has been said, the baby will grow up fast and those precious times don't last forever. Also when your DiL returns to work she and her DH will probably be going out less, so you won't be needed so much for baby sitting.
I don't think your son has unrealistic expectations, it was a very normal request on his part. I would have felt honoured to be asked, but I do appreciate not everyone thinks the same way.

Anya Fri 10-Mar-17 07:37:03

Oh dear! You ought to have had this discussion before the baby was born!! Indeed I'm surprised you didn't hmm

it's a privilege not offered to all to be asked to mind our grandchildren. Some on here would jump at the chance. But in the end it comes down to personal choice and you have the right to refuse if you have other things you'd rather be doing.

cornergran Fri 10-Mar-17 07:38:05

Of course it's OK to make your own choices, its also worth remembering that once the precedent is set it's hard if not impossible to refuse similar requests in the future whether from this family or your other children. Be pleased to be there for social babysitting, ad hoc days, emergencies and also the important times when you just want to see them all. For a long while I was sad we couldn't help with regular childcare for a variety of reasons, but just coming out of three months of ill health I am relieved not to have had that responsibility and the worry about letting family down.

Hilltopgran Fri 10-Mar-17 07:42:20

I was in a similar situation, DIL returning 2 days a week and I said from beginnjng when son first suggested I do childcare that I would not be happy to that level of committment, not that I do not enjoy spending time with GD. What I have offerred to do is be an emergency contact for the nursery and collect GD on days when son is away on business and DIL will not be back in time to pick up. I have also offered to go over half a day a week and look after GD whilst DIL has some time to do things she wants on her days off.

I have helped whilst DIL is on mat leave and have to say caring for a baby is hard work, and two days learning to socialise at nursery should be a positive experience for the baby.

vampirequeen Fri 10-Mar-17 07:46:59

No. don't let him emotionally blackmail you. One day could well turn to two then three and before you know it you're doing five days a week plus extras.

It's your life and you have plans.

NfkDumpling Fri 10-Mar-17 07:59:23

Has your SiL really thought this through? The commitment of providing regular child care is a big one. And it's long term, it won't stop when your DGC starts school as someone will have to be there to take and collect. And then there may be siblings. That's assuming that you're both going to stay in perfect health! The responsibility of staying well and available and not letting them down is a big one and they should realise you've done your bit and your beloved DGS would be a lot better off with other children, better integrated, and they'd be more relaxed knowing reliable childcare was always there.

We agreed to be stand by support the same as Hilltop. We're there when DGC are sick and not able to attend nursery/school. (Unless we're away on holiday). And take our turn in school holidays. That way we enjoy our time with the DGC and they enjoy us. It's a treat for them.

BlueBelle Fri 10-Mar-17 08:13:07

Gosh some really negative thoughts on here One day will turn to two or three ! Why ? Emotional blackmail !!!!
The bloke asked a perfectly feasible question put in a perfectly nice way 'Would you LIKE to....'
I bet all the many grans who don't get to see their grandkids at all would love to be in that position
However the original poster and her husband have made an honest decision and portrayed it to the son in law who whilst shocked and probable disappointed has accepted it as it's reported 'its patched up' Why on earth are some of you so harsh to the young man

When I had my young babies the first people I would trust with them are my Mum and Dad they were happy to help out but had they not been I would definitely have got over it and not fell out but would have been really disappointed and upset at the time

It's such an honour to be asked to help out and one day is so little time in a week if they were asking for five day child care I would understand the anger of posters

Riverwalk Fri 10-Mar-17 08:26:04

Bluebelle you now twice ignored the fact that the OP was accused of not loving her GS enough.

If that's not emotional blackmail I don't know what is!

Norah Fri 10-Mar-17 08:26:50

I'm sorry I don't consider working long hard hours an honour, unless you mean GPs are honouring their AC by saying yes to childminding. Tedious it is.