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Absent grown up children.

(121 Posts)
Luckylegs9 Sat 19-Jan-19 05:49:42

A lot is talked about estrangement and the resulting heartbreak. it causes. What about when there is no estrangement but your grown up children have no room in their busy lives for you.?

Willow500 Sat 19-Jan-19 06:43:53

I guess that's just the normal progression of life. In past times families grew up and lived in close proximity to each other so saw each other daily. Men worked in the same towns and wives stayed home (mostly) and children's lives followed suit. Now the world is a smaller place and travel for work is commonplace. More often than not both parents work and also seem more involved in their own children's lives so their own parents have to take a back seat or even seem to get left behind. It doesn't necessarily mean they love them any less but their own families are more important which is rightly so. We have to accept that the modern world is much different.

I speak from experience!

silverlining48 Sat 19-Jan-19 10:41:38

* lucky* I have the feeling that there are more than a few of us who feel the same.

dragonfly46 Sat 19-Jan-19 10:47:44

Mine are similar although my son does ring at least once a week on his walk home. My daughter very rarely rings but chastises me for not ringing her and when I do she stops what she is doing. I try to maintain some kind of contact though through texts and Whatsapp. We have a Whatsapp family group which is where we share pictures etc.
I do know they care, however.

Katyj Sat 19-Jan-19 11:18:11

Join the club ! Both my dc live around the corner, one keeps in touch regularly, the other I haven't seen since Christmas, I sent a text, last week, got one back, that'll be it now until goodness knows when.I do know though if I needed them that would be here in an instant. I do miss them though.

Luckygirl Sat 19-Jan-19 11:22:44

They are so busy - mostly both partners work and somehow have to organise child care, shopping, cooking, etc. etc. It is a bit of a treadmill for them.

All my AC have organised it so that one partner works part time and takes on some of these tasks, and they have all found that this makes life a lot easier as specific tasks get done properly rather than having to cram stuff in as and when and finish up frazzled.

It is good that you are on good terms with them, even if the level of contact is lower than you might wish. In that respect both you and I are indeed lucky. grin

crazyH Sat 19-Jan-19 11:24:16

Luckylegs - I think we are all in the same boat.
But hey, they know where we are when they want help with something ....babysitting, schoolruns. As long as they don't ignore us altogether, that's fine.

merlotgran Sat 19-Jan-19 11:35:20

It gets trickier when the DGCs grow up as well. Trying to arrange visits around their schedules of sixth form, uni, holiday jobs etc., feels like planning the DD Day campaign.

A well paying holiday job needs hanging on to. Taking a couple of days off to visit granny and grandpa who live three hours away could mean losing it to the next student in the queue who would be only too happy to jump in your place.

They all keep in touch with their news though thanks to facebook and the feeling of pride in their achievements makes up for not seeing so much of them.

paddyann Sat 19-Jan-19 14:05:35

I think it has always been that way in some families.I know I was the odd one out when I said I saw my parents every day as a newly wed .And every day after on my way hme from work.I'm very lucky my AC spend a lot of time with us and we help with the GC .My GS is starting college soon and he'l move into one of our spare rooms during the week to make his journey shorter/easier each day .We've been married 44 years and never had a house without children or GC staying here ,sometimes I wonder what it would be like ,far too quiet probably .

grannyactivist Sat 19-Jan-19 14:12:26

Fortunately all my children do keep in touch and we have several family WhattsApp groups on the go. However, acknowledging that our children are now all parents and leading busy lives The Wonderful Man and I have decided to make it known that once a month we will be dining in a cheap accessible place that has room for any and all comers. Our thinking was that it will save everyone having to cook a meal and getting together won't eat into their own family times.

Our first such meeting was yesterday and attended by one son and his family. At the next it seems likely that both sons and families will be there along with my parents-in-law.

If ever no-one turns up then at least we'll have had a break from cooking a meal and will have a chance to catch up between the two of us. Our choice of place also means that we can also do some shopping nearby, therefore killing two birds with one stone.

luluaugust Sat 19-Jan-19 14:13:29

We keep in touch with everyone but they are all busy, everyone working full time and GC now growing up, exams, hobbies etc. and I do think it is important they try and see their friends as well, as we did. At this stage the occasional meal and phone call have to do.

GrannyGravy13 Sat 19-Jan-19 14:17:08

paddyann in all the years we have been together we have only had 8 months without a child living here!!!

Our AD moved back home when her relationship broke down, she was 3 months pregnant. Our GC is 4 next month and they are both still here. I know they will probably move out this year and I am dreading not seeing my GCs little face round my bedroom door each morning.

We speak to the other AC all the time, they pop into ours or vice versa, I meet up with DILs for lunch or a coffee and cake.

Telly Sat 19-Jan-19 14:51:52

All families are different, it is important to cut the apron strings. I sometimes wonder if too much is expected of family relationships. The normal course of things, if we have done our job right, is that children leave home and take responsibilty for themselves.

ginny Sat 19-Jan-19 16:36:51

Of course AC must lead their own lives just as ours do. Of course they are busy, children , jobs,friends. I do not think however that a quick phone call and a visit now and then is too much to ask.
One thought , do you ask when it would be convenient to visit and make a firm date? My In-laws were always quite happy to see us either at their home or ours but never invited us or asked to come. It made us really wonder if they were really bothered.
We are very lucky that our DDs and families are all in contact frequently, visits, phone calls, and holidays together.

PECS Sat 19-Jan-19 16:46:14

I do see my DDs at least once a week because I do some childcare. But if we had not moved to live near them I guess we would not. Weekdays are too busy with work, clubs, homework, living! Weekends they need time to be a family and do house/garden/friends stuff! I do ask them for lunch about every 6 to 8 weeks on a Sunday if we have not all been together for a birthday recently which is usually just involves a cuppa and a piece of cake..unless it is a 'significant' number. We communicate via messenger or WhatsApp quite often. DH and I quite busy too so we are, I feel, happy with how things are.

Namsnanny Sun 20-Jan-19 03:23:28

What a generous relaxed bunch most of you are!!

Whilst I understand on one level that everyone is busy.

Doesn't that dreaded phrase 'We're/I'm soooo busy' ring a little hollow to anyone?

Put it this way, as the advert for G & T says, busy busy SO busy! Too busy for a GnT? Oh no not THAT busy!

Surely they can find/make time to drop a quick call or more enjoyable, find 15mins to see one another?

It seems like there has been an emotional c-change, family isn't as important now. Well, that outside of the 2.4 (as it was).

Please don't jump on me with the evidence of how much time some of you DO spend together. I'm glad if you do. Of course everyone is different. My own AC's have individual attitudes over meeting up.

One likes pre arranged social engagements, another is in a spin and I don't quite know when or if I will see them.
But one is very hands on. Just calls on the phone for a 'catch up', very casual, and very enjoyable. The closeness builds with regularity. We don't have to talk about anything special, but the fact that they have put themselves out to think of me/us and act on it does warm the cockles of my heart. Makes everything between us....easier.
Whereas, the most difficult one is getting ever more hum...difficult! Not only does this make our relationship one sided (I bend over backwards trying too hard to keep things on an even keel) There is an ever growing....deadness around our relationship. I feel more like a maiden aunt than a mother. A duty rather than a loved one.

So even within my family the AC's have chosen their own way.
Maybe in the past, there was a vestige of, I don't know, an emotional need which made people visit parents more regularly? Not sure.
I know I wanted to build an adult relationship with my parents, my mother didn't so that's another story.

As I grew up everyone would say, don't forget your mother gave birth to you.......or you'll only get one mother...remember she's done such and such for you.
Of course this doesn't mean you have to be a hostage to deference, but these emotional nudges did bring home what our Mums did for us Thankless kids!

Now there seems to be more focus on the fact that as a good parent you should do more and more for your children. But not necessarily the other way around.

In 3 generations of my family we've gone from children leaving school early to get jobs and giving all the money they earned over to their mothers/family and getting pocket money back! To parents working 2 jobs just to get the children into uni!!

Maybe the emphasise of the family is reversed now. The parents (and by default the GP) are expected to focus on the younger generation therefore, when they become parents they just focus on their children etc. Not thinking much about the other end of the family.

I know I hate the I'm busy caveat.
Just feels like someone is saying 'I'm sooooo busy doing what ever, and you come down there at the bottom of all of it!'

I'm in a post Christmas dolldrum so ignore me if I'm barking up the wrong tree!!

Suffice to say, I hope my drivel hasn't depressed you, and someone else can give you some really helpful advice which jogs your AC's into action Luckylegs9. shamrock

Other than that treat yourself to something excessively comforting. wink

absent Sun 20-Jan-19 03:47:33

I do quite a bit of childcare, although not so much as I did when I first moved to be near my daughter. That's partly because the children are older and partly because I am. Some weeks absentdaughter flies in and out when delivering or collecting her offspring; others she has time to stop and chat. Weekends are family time that she and her husband can spend doing things with the kids, such as going to the beach or the guinea pig village, or simply coping with the accumulation of "stuff" that has to be done. If they are lucky, they can even have a little bit of time to themselves.

It is the long summer holiday here at the moment and temperatures have been in the high 20s and up to 31°C. A very demanding and responsible job and a 30-minute drive there and back with frequent traffic jams is not conducive to relaxing chitchat with me when she has to get home, prepare/cook supper, get the younger children in bed at seven o'clock, half past seven, eight and half past eight.

All this also has to happen during term time, plus preparing lunch boxes for five children and two adults before her own bedtime. (Yes, of course her husband helps with all of this.)

We do spend time together, although we would both like to spend more. However, we are very sensitive to each other's moods and emotions, so if she has concerns about my health or well-being, she will find time to be with me and vice versa. If I ask for her help with something, she will oblige and vice versa. The pace of life seems to me to be rather faster than it was when I was the mother of a schoolchild and infinitely faster than when I was a child.

I know that we love each other, I appreciate her – her husband's – attention to me when it is needed and I rejoice in the time I spend with her, my son-in-law and my six grandchildren. As far as I am concerned, my life here gives a completely new meaning to the phrase "enough is enough".

BradfordLass72 Sun 20-Jan-19 03:51:47

Namsnanny The thing is, it's not a quick call is it?

My younger son alerted me to how long we could talk when he had a time-controlled phone. Twenty minute flew by as we laughed and caught up with what we'd done that week. I could hardly believe we'd spoken so long, seemed like 2 minutes!
I accepted, when my boys left home, that the number of times they contacted me was not, in any way allied to how much they loved me.
Their caring attitudes and willingness to help, if I needed it, was what counted. They had separate lives.

Some wise person put it like this.
"When a child is born, the elastic between mother and child is very strong but as the child grows, that elastic is pulled a little more each year as they become independent. At 15, they are not as tightly bound as they were at 5. And at 25, even less so.
They may choose to cut that elastic eventually, or just let it form the loose thread which will always tie them to the mother they love."

We teach our children to grow in independence - and if they are, we've taught them well.

In this busy, demanding world, it is quite often, difficult to find as much time as mother was used to and still wants.

Luckylegs9 Sun 20-Jan-19 07:30:02

Thanks everyone💐

NanKate Sun 20-Jan-19 07:53:04

My DS sometimes phones me when he is getting and eating his lunch. I hear the microwave ping and all the clatter of of the utensils. He then chats whilst chomping away. My dear mum would have been none too pleased if I had done that. However I would far rather chat with a noisily eating DS than not chat at all.

Blencathra Sun 20-Jan-19 08:48:46

The answer is to have a busy life yourself and just enjoy any time you have together. We have a family WhatsApp group and that is very good for keeping everyone in touch.

Thirdinline Sun 20-Jan-19 09:23:06

Your post reminds of the song “The Cat’s in the Cradle”. It was written & originally sung by Jim Croce, I believe. Ugly Kid Joe did a cover version. X

Worthingpatchworker Sun 20-Jan-19 09:23:58

Just a thought.....what about people who don’t have children....they have no expectation of visits or phone calls and just have to get on with it.

NannySharonof3 Sun 20-Jan-19 09:29:59

My mum used to say to me that I didn’t see her or talk to her enough. But in my case it was always a one way street as she would never call me or hop on a bus or say hey are you doing anything tonight let’s have dinner. I have two daughters one in Australia and the other one and a half hours drive away. We all talk most days via what’s app so I don’t feel I’m missing out. I visit the uk one at least once a month and once a year with the Oz one. I’m moving closer to the uk one this year and when we had the conversation. I did make a point of saying I don’t expel you to invite me to everything I will go out and find my own life. This is my life but what I’m saying is I don’t wait for them, I go to them. And I get response and it keeps the relationship going. It is a two way street.

Coconut Sun 20-Jan-19 09:30:27

When we experience the empty nest syndrome we have to then fill that nest as best we can with friends and other interests. There is nothing wrong with letting AC know if you are struggling a bit, you just have to find a happy healthy balance between their lives and yours.