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Were we so busy that we had no time for parents

(65 Posts)
lippyqueen Wed 01-Dec-21 17:20:14

Hello all, I just wondered what your thoughts were with regard to time spent phoning, visiting or just general thoughtful acts towards your own parents.
I must admit that my DD’s generation just seem to have very little time to do any of the above. I know DD has a busy job with their own business and 2 teenage children who are very busy themselves but it seems that as time goes on there is a smaller amount of time allocated for us as the grandparents! Perhaps I am just being a bit needy as suffering from the “super cold” but I do feel that unless I push to see them that visits happen very infrequently. I get quite a few what’s app messages which are pretty easy to do and take no time at all which is something that was unavailable for us. For some reason our children’s generation also think that as we get older we are incapable of any sensible thoughts or opinions. 😄 😉

nanna8 Thu 02-Dec-21 09:21:15

I used to phone them a lot but we lived too far away to see much of them. About every 5 or so years we would go on a long visit or they would visit us. After they retired it was slightly more frequently. We got on really well at a distance and had a good relationship but when I lived at home my mother and I never got on at all.

Madwoman11 Thu 02-Dec-21 10:50:32

I put a similar post on last week, and most replies were good but a few had a go at me asking if I had my children to keep me company in old age ! I do hope responses to you are nice ones
My point was that hearing your loved ones voice is a boost especially if you live alone. I think it's sad people don't call each other anymore, and by the time texts have gone back and forth a call may be quicker 😊

mar76 Thu 02-Dec-21 10:56:31

One of my sons lives 400 miles away but every Friday he zooms me and our grandchildren come on after we have spoken. He also texts during the week. I think he realises how much we miss them all with living so far away. Hopefully we will visit THIS Christmas.

4allweknow Thu 02-Dec-21 11:08:16

I had 3 older siblings who had teenage children when I just had mine. I moved to be near my parents who were in their 70s at that time and due to health issues I knew they were needing a bit TLC everytime I travelled home to visit. I took them to appointments, my DM shopping once a week and helped with a bit of housework all whilst working part time with 3 children, one just started school. The older siblings had much more free time but chose to do their own established thing, just couldn't seem to break out of their routines. Parents lived for another 5 years. I was glad I had helped them.

Dearknees1 Thu 02-Dec-21 11:09:53

I had a conversation with my DIL recently in which she spoke a little wistfully about the time when extended families lived close by and women weren’t under such financial and career related pressure to work full time. We live an hour away and help with childcare so see them quite regularly . Her mum lives 300 miles away and comes to stay for a few days about once a month. Obviously I don’t how this will change once our granddaughters are older. When my son was young we lived near both sets of parents and I worked part time until he was eight. Those were choices we made. Our children have made different choices and, inspite of what my DIL said, I don’t think she really regrets her choices. It’s how the world is now.

Larsonsmum Thu 02-Dec-21 11:13:53

I spent a lifetime pandering after my very flawed parents - it was expected of me as an only make that - demanded of me. In their final 17 years I was there every day to visit/do things, take them shopping, take them to appointments etc, etc,.

This was as well as working part-time, helping run our IT business, doing some freelance writing, taking my then teenage daughter to all activities after school, (as we live rurally), caring for our dog, doing all household chores, cooking, gardening etc, etc, and visiting my late M-I-L and also taking her to appointments. All this with ME and numerous other chronic illnesses, and it took it's toll on me.

Nobody would ever dare accuse me of not being a devoted and dutiful daughter, especially given that my parents treated me so badly all my life.

At 64, I am now rather selfish - if you want to call it that - but putting myself first and looking after No 1 in what years I have left.

Elvis58 Thu 02-Dec-21 11:24:40

I live 180 miles away from parents and children.We facetime weekly the children and grandchildren,they visit twiceca year and we go down twice a year and l phone my parents and mil weekly.
But the parents or mil never reciprocate by ringing
That suits us all fine.l dont want or need constant contact they have their own lives as do l.

Juicylucy Thu 02-Dec-21 12:13:37

By reading most of these posts I appear to be very lucky. One dd and family live 10 mins away and the other 5 mins away she’s recently relocated back to UK from Australia. One daughter phones me every morning the other most evenings, all be it, it is usually on there way to or from work. But to be honest I have a busy social/ work life myself so I understand, and certainly don’t expect them to check in with me, they do it because they want to and I appreciate how busy they are with work and families to raise.

sandelf Thu 02-Dec-21 12:44:06

Of course - having own career and children. The important thing is were we 'too' busy on purpose when they needed us? I hope not!

katy1950 Thu 02-Dec-21 13:24:49

I worked full time most of my life my husband was a long distance lorry driver who was only home at the weekends I had 3 small children life was very hard my mum rarely help us but in later life I can see that I should have made time for her in my life she must have been quite lonely although she seemed always to be rushing around doing stuff i really feel guilty now I've reached that age myself

Bridie22 Thu 02-Dec-21 13:54:45

I think its a lot easier for our children to keep in touch these days, they might not have as much time to visit in person but landlines, mobile phones, whats app, zoom, facetime etc were not around when I was away from home.

Caro57 Thu 02-Dec-21 15:15:43

When I first left home at 18 in the mid 70’s I was so busy with ‘life’ that I didn’t go home for almost a year - I never realised it was that long until my brother pointed it out to me. Rightly or wrongly time just passes unless we are mindful of it in relation to our actions

Cedardove Thu 02-Dec-21 15:27:35

I see my son and his partner every weekday because they live close by and we walk their dogs while they work from home. I really like the normality of our chats - not long ones but everyday things. My son is not always well so it’s a good opportunity just to support and catch up. Another son and his wife live in the same town and we often have a meal with them or a phone chat - about once a week. It’s easy going too. Another son and his partner live further away and have children. Unfortunately it is much harder to stay in communication with them - he texts every so often and we go to look after the children occasionally but although I am close to my son his partner won’t speak to me and is just generally making life very difficult. It’s very sad and depressing. I just hope things will improve.

Kate1949 Thu 02-Dec-21 15:36:25

I used to do everything with my daughter. Theatre trips, cinema, shopping, days out. Then when our granddaughter came along it ws the three of us doing similar things. The last few years, nothing. It stopped. I try to suggest things but they're always busy, so I stopped asking. Quite hurtful but there we are.

Dinahmo Thu 02-Dec-21 16:01:39

My Father died when I was in my early thirties and my Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers shortly afterwards. During the early stages she and I would meet up sometimes in London for a concert or to go shopping but the day arrived when she got on the train going in the wrong direction and was a couple of hours late at Fenchurch Street so that was the end of our outings. My sister and I took it in turns to visit her each weekend and sometimes I and my OH would take her out for a drive.

I remember whenever I went into M & S in Oxford Street seeing the women my age with their mothers and felt very envious.

After leaving home when I was 19 I kept in touch regularly. My OH and I during our twenties rarely went to either parents over Christmas, preferring to either stay at home or to rent somewhere with friends. My in laws were quite relieved because they enjoyed going to an hotel for a few days over the holiday. When they became ill we would visit them. I remember one year, after my MIL died we shared Christmas with another couple. We collected my FIL and our friends brought their mother/in law. It was sweet watching my FIL being chivalrous to the other MIL.

I do regret not seeing my grandparents as often as I could when they were still alive and I was living in London. This was when I was in my early twenties. I still feel a bit guilty about that, 50 years later.

I think that sometimes people forget that children are (or should be) brought up to lead independent lives. The downside is that they develop other interests and have families which will come first. Some of the interests that I have now were developed by my GPs taking me to museums, the ballet, castles etc etc and I have been grateful for that ever since.

Thisismyname1953 Thu 02-Dec-21 16:11:45

My children are in their 40s . I see the eldest 2 at least 3 times a week and my younger DS about once per month which I’m happy with . I do school pick up for youngest DGD 3 times a week so that’s probably why I see her dad so often grin. Once she goes to secondary school in 2023 I will not be seeing them as much grin

Ginpin Thu 02-Dec-21 16:28:23



Hello all, I just wondered what your thoughts were with regard to time spent phoning, visiting or just general thoughtful acts towards your own parents.
I must admit that my DD’s generation just seem to have very little time to do any of the above. I know DD has a busy job with their own business and 2 teenage children who are very busy themselves but it seems that as time goes on there is a smaller amount of time allocated for us as the grandparents! Perhaps I am just being a bit needy as suffering from the “super cold” but I do feel that unless I push to see them that visits happen very infrequently. I get quite a few what’s app messages which are pretty easy to do and take no time at all which is something that was unavailable for us. For some reason our children’s generation also think that as we get older we are incapable of any sensible thoughts or opinions. 😄 😉

I have four children and 5 grandchildren and they are in my face 24/7 we all live near each other so that will be a factor as well as they all need childcare so this may tail off as they start school.I love them all but sometimes just want two minutes of peace on my own!

Absolutely, Betterlatethannever.

I have three 30 something daughters ( and sons in law)

Youngest ( 6 minute drive away) has just 2 yr old girl and 5 week old girl. We had a year of looking after the older child, 2 days a week and often more as my daughter was very, very sick in her pregnancy. We did think we might see less of them as she is on maternity leave atm but they always seem to be around here.

The middle daughter also works 2/ 3 days a week and we have to do childcare for 11 and 9 yr old girl and boy after school twice a week and all day during holidays. Also some weekends as her husband is in the Navy based in Scotland and we are in the Southwest.

Eldest daughter is an hour away with an 11 and 9 yr old girl and boy, just like her sister. She also fosters a 7 yr old girl who calls me Nana as well as the other grandchildren doing so.
We see less of them but I do spend money on holidays where we can all get together in a large holiday home.
Bude over the New Year if Boris lets us !
Sometimes though I am really exhausted despite Grandpa 'helping' !
So, as you say, two minutes peace would be lovely.

With regard to my own mum ( dad died 23 yrs ago at 68 ) I have rung her every day for an hour for the past 23 yrs but I look forward to it as much as she does. Mum lives alone and is 2 hrs away but we try to see her as much as possible.
Even when I was still teaching, I fitted that hour phonecall in before I left home at 7am.
When I am 91 and no longer able to provide childcare I do hope the girls will ring me or visit !
Oh, by the way, childcare does not tail off, you then have to drive them to their clubs etc !!!

Nannina Fri 03-Dec-21 00:35:17

After reading some of the comments I do feel extremely lucky. I’ve always been close to my two sons and the pandemic has only strengthened this. Both ring every day, I see my eldest 2-3 times a week and my youngest, who lives in another city, comes to stay every other weekend. My only cause for concern is my relationship with my granddaughter, which was always very close, seems more distant since she’s hit the teenage years although I still see her every fortnight.

Sheilasue Fri 03-Dec-21 08:56:44

Both my parents are dead now but when I was younger with two young children my dh and I managed to see our parent’s fortnightly but that was back in the 70s/80s when work wasn’t so stressful, life was a better time,
My daughter has moved to the end of our road not just because of our ages but because it’s a lovely area where we live.
We don’t see her every day as she is working from home but she rings us every night and we meet up fortnightly to shop.
My son died in 2007 so a lot of things sadly are on her shoulder she has a lovely partner who is very supportive too.

esgt1967 Fri 03-Dec-21 10:27:37

My lovely mum died 2.5 years ago and I so wish I had taken time out of my "busy" life to see her more. We spoke at least weekly and I saw her once a month, sometimes more but now she isn't here, I miss her dreadfully and wish I had made more time. She always said "I understand you're really busy" - working full time and bringing up 3 children and running a home but as always "I always thought we had more time" so when she was taken away from us at the relatively young age of 74, 4 weeks after a terminal cancer diagnosis, I was devastated.

She only lived 25 minutes drive away so we could easily have fitted in more visits but as with other things, you never really appreciate what you've got until it's gone.

Sago Fri 03-Dec-21 10:29:45

My horrible mother put enormous pressure on me to go and stay with her.

She once insisted we go as a family for my 40th birthday.
We suggested us going to a restaurant with the children “early doors” she said she had a meal planned.
It was Tesco value beans,sausages and chips.

She then said during the meal did I have any nice recipes for salmon as my pescatarian cousin was going to stay with her.

I never ate another meal in that house again!

As a result of my mothers behaviour we don’t put any pressure on our 3 AC to visit.

MayBee70 Thu 30-Dec-21 22:17:38

I was only thinking about my relationship with my children the other day. My parents were quite old when I was born and they were of a different era. I thought that I would be more like a friend to my children. We went to gigs together: liked the same films, music (still do). So I thought I would have a different relationship with them to the one I had with my parents. But I just feel that it’s turned out more of it being a case of me being the uncool friend that they don’t really want to spend time with. I know that the pandemic has changed a lot of things because I used to just go round to my daughters for a cup of tea. And I sometimes used to take them all to a pantomime and we don’t do that any more. So I don’t really know what my relationship with them is any more.

Ali23 Thu 30-Dec-21 23:13:46

An old colleague once said to me that the greatest gift we could give to our children is their freedom. My mum never dreamed of giving me my freedom. I vowed to give my children their freedom, but I still struggle to get the balance right... I’m sure I miss them more than they miss me, and yet I’m sort of pleased that they have gone off and developed the close relationships and friendship groups that I was never encouraged to have.
Not really sure that I have the balance right yet, but I’m determined that they don’t end up feeling under obligation to me every day.

Mamie Fri 31-Dec-21 07:31:59

We both left home to go to university and never lived near our parents after that, but we were still in the UK and kept in touch by phone and visits. Our son moved to Spain after university and then we moved to France. Daughter and family are still in the UK.
We keep in touch with messages most days and FaceTime a couple of times a week. When I retired and the granchildren were young, I used to go back to look after them in school holidays and we also took them away on holidays with or without their parents.
Covid has made it all much more difficult, because at least one of the three countries always seems to have border restrictions in place. That is hard, but unless you live really close I guess visits are difficult for everyone.
I think it is a worry as you get older though. We have good social care here in France, but not sure how we will feel in ten years time!

Pumpkin82 Fri 31-Dec-21 08:04:39

It is very different for our generation than our family’s in a lot of cases. My MIL didn’t work from when she had her first child, so she was a stay at home mother/unemployed for 40 years until she received her state pension. She only had two children. My own DM was a stay at home mother/unemployed from when she had her first child until I was 12, which was the best part of 20 years. That’s literally decades of time without a full time job to factor in. And now we have children later again, so parents are often more elderly when we have young children who are pulling us in different directions. My DM became a grandmother at 65, her DM at 48 etc. we had largely flown the nest before my grandparents needed more company, but my DM is at that point now and I have a one year old and work full time, as does DH.

PIL don’t do phone calls so we never speak on the phone and they aren’t interested in me so occasionally message DH. My own DM I have to berate because she doesn’t let us know if she isn’t well or needs help because she doesn’t want to bother us. We message daily and I probably see her every couple of weeks. DH sees his parents every couple of months or so.