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Help! Grandparents

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  • neilpeartgal 09-24-12 | 12:26 PM
  • This is my first post here, and I joined actually to get some feedback from you all on kind of a delicate situation about my parents. Sorry if this is long but I wanted to give you the full picture so you can really help - because I need it.

    My parents are nearly 70 and 66. They have two older grandchildren (both in HS) and now my daughter Emily who turned 2 in July. I knew when I conceived that they likely would not want to keep Emily overnight; they are in good health overall, but my dad had a kidney removed about 2 months before Emily was born and just gets tired more easily than he used to. My husband is a stay at home dad; he emigrated here from England so his mom and sister are both back in the UK.

    What I didn't expect was for them to NEVER ask for time with her. The only time they see her is when I take her over there most Saturdays. At that, I am always there unless I have a quick errand to run. My sister and her two teenagers are usually there too and help with Emily. The only times they keep her beside that is if my husband has a doctor appointment or the rare times I asked them to keep her for a few hours so we could go to dinner and a movie, etc.

    Any 'overnight' visits have been handled by my good friend Karen. The last one was two weekends ago when we went up to Chicago on a Friday morning. My mom had told me that they'd like to pick Emily up on Saturday and have her for a few hours which was fine by me. They had her from 11 - 4:30. However - when they dropped Emily off with Karen, they proceeded to tell Karen how my husband and I 'had no idea how exhausted it makes them' to keep Emily.

    When Karen told me that, I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I have gone out of my way NOT to overburden them with babysitting and have only asked when we have no other options (I am working and he has an appointment) or when Karen can't keep her and we'd like to go out for a few hours and have a date. I thought that's what grandparents were for. Not to mention that I didn't even ask them to come get her on the weekend we were gone - they volunteered!

    At this point, I am angry and frankly hurt by their selfishness, let alone the way they sort of dogged us out to our babysitter instead of saying such a thing to my face. I can't tell you how hurt and upset I am to be made to feel like my child is something to be endured, not enjoyed. I could see it if we thrust her on them every time they turned around, but that simply is not the case. My husband never gets a break from her, and has been so down about it lately that I made him go to the doctor for depression. Given my work week and commute time, there are about 45/50 hours a week that I simply can't help him either.

    In the face of this, I want to stop making the 'every Saturday' visit a routine thing and I also want them to know their 'message' got back to me. I feel if they want to see Emily, they should ask for time and it shouldn't always be when it's easiest for them. But how do I go about this? I don't even know where to begin or what to say. I'm still so stung by it that I've had to avoid talking to them all together because I'm afraid I'll say something I'll regret.

  • 2babygirls 2babygirls's Avatar 09-24-12 | 12:53 PM
  • Ok Breathe.

    You bring Emily to your parents every Sat so they DO spend time with her. Just because it is your decision to take her that day doesn't mean they don't want to to do it...and maybe they feel that since she is your child it is up to you to schedule her activities.

    Also, a 2 yr old IS very tiring..they were probably just being truthful or making conversation but it doesn't mean they do not want to do it.

    I think you and your parents need to talk calmly about how much both of you want them involved in Emily's life. Its possible they do want to see her more but didn't want to seem pushy. Can you afford a babysitter a few days/week so your husband can have some free time? If so, tell your parents you are thinking about getting one and see if they would like to watch the baby instead.

    Breathe! You sound very stressed!
  • neilpeartgal 09-24-12 | 01:23 PM
  • You're right - I am very stressed - sorry. My husband and I both are, and I feel very guilty because I can't do much to help him during the week. Even on weekends, he really doesn't have anywhere he can go on his own to get away because he either has no friends or the one he does have is away. So then to hear from a third party that my child exhausts them when I rarely impose her on them just really sent me reeling and frankly ticked him off.

    I don't question whether or not they want to see her on Saturdays - I'm sure they do. But part of why they do is because there are at least 3 other people there who can help with her besides them, so they get to see her and be relaxed about it at the same time. My husband has told them numerous times that they can see her WHENEVER they want - all they have to do is call...but they never do. Seemingly because she will 'exhaust' them. I'm not saying I want them to take her when it would stress them out or be hard on them either - I just don't understand why we can't find a happy medium. Surely 3 or 4 hours on a weekday afternoon to take her to the park or a movie can't be THAT hard on them, not to mention that they may just have a good time.

    We can probably afford a babysitter, but my husband wouldn't let me spend that money when he is free and able to do it. Honestly though I may make him let me spend that money for his sanity. But maybe that would be something I could say to sort of start the conversation. But what I actually expect them to say when I propose that is 'That's a good idea'. LOL!!
  • MrsS1stbaby MrsS1stbaby's Avatar 09-24-12 | 02:50 PM
  • Oh, honey, I know how you feel. My own parents are 66-67 age range, and not the the greatest health or shape. When my first child was born, they were my daycare and it was a blessing! But as she got older and got into things, you could tell it was getting harder on them. Mainly my mom would be the one who would huff & puff, or sigh, and say things that I thought were hurtful and sometimes a little rude. I ended up placing her in "real" daycare 2 days a week when she was 18 months old, and then shortly before she turned 3 she went to full time as I was due with baby#2. While I think it is awesome that your husband is able to stay home with your daughter, if you can afford it, I would look into at least part time day care. It would allow your daughter socialization with other kids and your husband a much needed break.

    And now that we have 2.....ugh, date nights are slim and sleepovers at the grandparents are a thing of the past. Initially I didn't want them both to stay the night b/c my son was still waking a lot during the night, but now he is almost 16 months old. But of course if I bring up it, I hear "oooh, stay the night? Both of them? I don't know..." It's very frustrating.

    Hopefully you can come to a understanding, or at least you and your husband can come up with a solution that works for your family. I know it's hard; you hope and expect your parents to act a certain way now that they are grandparents, but really they just people with their own set of faults and issues and sometimes you just have let it go. I have to remind myself this pretty often.

    Oh, and welcome to TBC! Hope to you see you around~
  • neilpeartgal 09-24-12 | 03:04 PM
  • Thanks so much for your reply. I'm sorry you're going through it, too, especially having two children.

    I struggle not to sound ungrateful to have parents who live close by and are happy and healthy; but at the same time, I don't think a few hours one day a week to help take some of the pressure off my husband is too much to ask, esp. when they know money doesn't grow on trees for us (it sort of does for them).

    I was hoping we could hold out for a preschool/day care until she turns three next summer, but now I'm thinking it may be time to start thinking about alternates for my husband. I think it's pretty clear that my husband and I are going to have to figure this out with no help from them. I did just email my mom back in a reply to her email - she had heard my husband had gone to the doctor so I told her it was for depression/being burnt out. I still don't expect that to help the penny really drop.

    You probably are very wise about recognizing them as people with their own faults/issues and letting it go. I hope I can do that once some of the shock and hurt wears off. I think I would be better at that if I could come home, push my husband out the door and say 'go see your friends'. He doesn't have any.

    I hope to be a regular contributor here - thanks!

    Last edited by neilpeartgal; 09-24-12 at 03:05 PM.. Reason: clarity