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What do your parents offer?

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
I am wondering about the roles grandparents play in the lives of their children & grandchildren with regard to single parent families. Specifically, single-parent families that are very challenged and/or stressed out with a heavy load.

I want to clarify that it makes sense that for grandparents who are challenged themselves, it would not be possible for them to offer much in the way of support. That is understandable. So I am wondering about the single mamas here who have parents who are well-off and/or healthy -- are they supportive to you and your children and how so?
post #2 of 43
I don't have parents. So, no support of any kind. I am truly a solo parent (and quite proud of that).

If I want that rare night of babysitting, I pay for it. If need financial help, I get a commercial loan. And if my family needs an adventure, I lead it.

But the upside of no grandparents is exactly the same as the upside of having no co-parent: freedom! There is no drama or strings attached to support one purchases or provides oneself.

I can't really even imagine what it would be like for my family to have any external support! Huh!
post #3 of 43
I have an odd situation and to be honest I feel a bit ripped off. I've noticed how much help my friends have from their parents and I'm surprised my parents don't feel like offering the same.

I'm close with my parents and we get on great. I'm particularly close with my mum. They live in a big house in the country with lots of room and good amount of land right on the water. The kids have a ball when we visit.
But my parents don't babysit. My mum says she's already done her raising and now it's my turn. I know kids are a lot of work. Heck I know, I do it 365 days/year.
Financially they don't help me either. If I was stuck and needed money I'm sure they'd help me out. But I'm stubborn and won't ask until it's absolute last ditch effort. They know my financial situation and (rightfully I suppose) figure my head is above water so I'm fine.

I wish I had those parents who are dying to get their grandkids for sleepovers. Heck knows I could do with that every once in a while.
post #4 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seasons View Post
I don't have parents. So, no support of any kind. I am truly a solo parent (and quite proud of that).

If I want that rare night of babysitting, I pay for it. If need financial help, I get a commercial loan. And if my family needs an adventure, I lead it.

But the upside of no grandparents is exactly the same as the upside of having no co-parent: freedom! There is no drama or strings attached to support one purchases or provides oneself.

I can't really even imagine what it would be like for my family to have any external support! Huh!

I am sorry Seasons! That must be so tough


I am lucky (although I wasn't always in reguard to GP's)
I have always been at home with my Mom, but she up until 2 months ago NEVER did any babysitting or taking ds out by herself. but she still rarely does maybe once ever 6 weeks she will take all the GC to a movie My X's parents are soo super involved now (at one point the took me to court for Gp rights then after 2 years dropped it) Now that they respect me they take him whenever I call them. I have them take him maybe 2 times a week but normally at least once on staurdays. They know that if they allow him to talk to X not only because it is illeagal but they will not beable to see Ds anymore. X has done more than his share of crazy stuff I do not get much financal support I do pay my mother rent and buy my own food and Ds's clothes and mine. I buy my own gas and such if my van brakes down I know if I needed I could ask family. But Ihave been told that I have an oddly close family
post #5 of 43
I am very fortunate that my folks have let me live with them while I get "on my feet" without restriction, which means that I've been able to invest in my businesses and really lay the groundwork for having a good life once we leave here.

Season's post made me smile, because there are many times when I feel desperate to get out of here because my mother can be a PITA and there's always the sense that we're guests in her home and shouldn't be ungrateful for her meddlin... I mean, support
post #6 of 43
My parents both died many years before DD arrived. I regret that hole in her life. They were awesome incredible grandparents.

My best single-mom friends doesn't live w/ her parents now, she did when her kids were little. They are an incredible support system for her that she couldn't survive without (although her perspective is the opposite for some reason). They are support for her kids and just for running her life (ex: her dad put up all her outside and inside Xmas decorations). I don't begrudge her, of course, but I am admittedly insanely jealous!
post #7 of 43
I don't know where I'd be right now if it weren't for my parents. They've supported me and my daughter completely since before she was born. I had a very high risk pregnancy and couldn't work so I had to move in with them in October of 07. I'm still depending completely on them while I'm struggling to even find a job. And not a complaint or lecture from them. My mom helps me with my daughter whenever she can so I can have a break and I'm completely grateful for it.

I'm getting closer to becoming self sufficient but I know for a fact if I should ever need anything in the future, they'll be right there for me and my baby
post #8 of 43
My mom isn't healthy or well-off. But she helps as much as she can.

We lived with my mom until right before my daughter turned 3. Since then, my mom takes her overnight about 2-3 nights a week. She makes small loans to me when things are desparate (usually some money for gas or whatever).
post #9 of 43
SSS, I don't think Seasons was complaining or saying she felt her situation was especially hard.

My dad will usually help out financially if I ask, but I don't count on him for it. He's retired, and while he's been careful to save, has a good pension and Soc Sec etc., he's got probably 20 years to run without working. He might -- might -- be able to get rehired now, since he's very good at what he does, but he's an old guy, out of the main currents of his field, and frankly very difficult to work with.

My mother has sent dd three presents over 5.5 years.

I've never had offers of childcare help from either of them. They live far away, and frankly they're both getting old. Even if we lived nearby, it's only now that I'd have been willing to ask them to look after dd for any significant amount of time. She's school-aged now and is old enough to try to be a good guest, etc.

My situation's slightly unusual in that I waited to have a kid until I felt I could support her on my own if necessary -- in that sense I'm more like SMCs. I've got good community resources and don't need help getting launched.

May May, if this is for a study, I think you may find that a lot of single mothers are truly doing this on their own, with casual help now and then from either a family member or a small circle of friends. Most of us are also doing it without benefit of full child-support receipts -- delinquencies ride at around 80-85% of all cases, according to HHS.

What does it mean for policymakers, well, I think it means that they have to stop wishing and pretending about that support.

If a child's sick, there's probably no friend or family member who's going to come over and watch the child, or even pick her up from daycare; Mom will have to go, and risk her job.

If there's a school play scheduled outside of school hours without childcare, the child may not be able to participate -- Mom may have other children to look after, and she can't leave them with the non-existent grandmother so she can go to the older child's play.

If there's a PTA or school board meeting that's held without childcare, single mothers may not be able to attend without paying a heavy price afterwards in terms of exhaustion and crankier/more tired kids.

If there's a birthday party or other event that requires kids to have their parents nearby, the parent may need to bring other kids, or the requirement may mean that they skip the party.

If there's a community organization that doesn't want children at the meetings, or a work meeting scheduled outside normal childcare hours, the single parent may not be able to attend.

If an older child needs emergency care, the mother will show up in the ER with all her children, and the hospital will either need babysitters or have to allow the mother to keep all the children with her.

To all the policymakers who desperately want single mothers to have broad, reliable support from family and friends -- we wish it too. We really do. But it isn't there, and you have to pull your heads out of the sand and plan accordingly.
post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by ginger_rodgers View Post
SSS, I don't think Seasons was complaining or saying she felt her situation was especially hard.
Correct. I just meant that while I could whine, I choose instead (most of the time) to be grateful for a rather amazingly free, full life. Who else has someone to hug each night, yet where you are absolutely in charge, except a single parent? Way cool. (I purposefully wanted to derail any "who's got it worse" competition, y'know? Being single, or solo, actually has many upsides.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ginger_rodgers View Post
To all the policymakers who desperately want single mothers to have broad, reliable support from family and friends -- we wish it too. We really do. But it isn't there, and you have to pull your heads out of the sand and plan accordingly.
Agreed. I think it's a VERY complicated issue and I am not in favor of state-paid daycare (any more than I am state-paid maternity leave). But I think there have to be some other options, other than the ones many of us have chosen: living with our parents, getting remarried in a hurry, or taking a giant step down on our career ladder in order to have a 9-to-5-with-plenty-of-sick-days-for-kids'-sicknesses job, for instance.
post #11 of 43
None. My dad passed away years ago and my mom is very mentally ill and lives far away. I have zero financial help and zero physical/emotional help. Hopefully my kids do ok growing up without a father and without any family other then me.
post #12 of 43
I do get a lot of support from my mother. When I first found out I was going to be a single mom (a few months into my pregnancy), I talked with her and she told me - I'll help you out as much as I can. She's been amazing about it.

She is not the other parent. We live with her rent-free and she offers to babysit every now and then so I can take care of myself. She works full-time and wants to chill out when she gets home. Sometimes after a bad night, she will take DS in the morning so I can get an extra hour or two of sleep. I LOVE when she does that!

I go to school online and DS goes everywhere with me, pretty much. But my mom is there for emotional support and she helps out a lot at home with him.

BUT I will be leaving DS with her overnight in a couple of weeks for a conference. I am so nervous about it -- hoping for the best
post #13 of 43
Seasons I did not think you where complaining at all I was just sending you a hug. Because I can not imagine not having my mother. We are "abnormally close" as some of my friends would say, and I just felt for you and that is all.

I do not know why anyone would think I thought you were complaining
post #14 of 43
My dad will watch the kids for an hour or two, in a pinch, but he doesn't offer, and I don't ask much. (I think he's done it twice, both when I was doing interviews.)

My mom would take my kids anytime...except she's a toxic UAV and I don't want her anywhere near my children.

As for money....ha! We've been living with my dad (in his otherwise empty 4 bedroom house) for a year now, and my mom decided that she'd uphold the divorce decree (they got divorced two years ago) and force him to put it on the market. Because now is a great time to put a house on the market. To do that, the kids and I have to get out. Trying to find a place to live that I can afford, and isn't in a scary part of town, has been quite the adventure.

My grandmother set up her bank account so that I would get part of it when she died. And in one of her dementia episodes, one of my aunts took her to the bank and forced her to change it back. I swear, the woman is rolling in her grave now that she can see that we're on food stamps. She never would have let this happen to me. I'm now working with an attorney to sue my aunt, but by the time we go to court and get it all taken care of, it's not going to amount to a whole lot. (Better than nothing though, and I'm willing to do it on the principle of the matter. But I digress...) If she were alive, she'd happily send me money.

I try to look at the positives, as Seasons mentioned, but there are some days when I would just like to not have to worry about coming up with the cash to cover a sitter when there's something I need to do. Unfortunately, that isn't the way it is, and it isn't the way it's going to be for the forseeable future, and while there are some days that I sit around feeling sorry for myself, there are many others where I'm glad I don't have to go through some of the crap that other single/married parents do.
post #15 of 43
My mom will loan me money when I ask, but I hate asking.

When I first got separated and STBX was more than happy to tell me and the kids that he wasn't paying any bills (I was a student and SAHM with NO income), my mom kept me afloat until I got my student loans and government help lined up. When STBX takes his time and decides that he doesn't actually have to pay daycare, I can ask her for more loans.

She sends them gifts and little packages and cards. They don't know how hard things are for me financially, because they still get treats and taken to dinner for their birthday, etc.

She did those types of things pre-divorce, but they just take on a whole new meaning now, it seems.

All the help I'm getting from her I'm looking at as loans. If I ever get done with school and back on my feet, it will be repaid just like my student loans.
post #16 of 43
Well, embarassingly enough - I guess I'm spoiled rotten for the most part.

I'm the oldest of five kids, my mum was a SAHM and my dad's an upper level management guy for a huge mining company.

I can pretty much borrow any amount of money at any given time. It's never a gift though, my dad keeps clear ledgers on what child has borrowed what. Both my house and my vehicle are in their name; safe from stbx that way.

My mother babysits about 40 hours a week right now while I'm in school. She's watched both my girls from age one up (when my mat leave was over)

Having said that, she is getting worn down and my youngest is starting daycare in two months. I think it'll be good for my mum to get back to being 'Nana' and not a f/t caregiver.

We have a rock solid/super tight family. I can go to them in any situation, any time of day - for anything. Moral support, a shoulder to cry on, financial support. My parents will also lead a battle charge if one of their kids is in need.

They know a lot of people, so I haven't really ever been !@#$% with. Oddly enough, even though stbx is pretty scared of them, he seems to be forgetting that lately...
post #17 of 43
Mellisa, I feel as you do, often: that getting so much support is embarrassing. It really shouldn't be... but there it is.

Yukionna, you and I have a lot in common, apparently.
post #18 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by kokonutmama View Post
Mellisa, I feel as you do, often: that getting so much support is embarrassing. It really shouldn't be... but there it is.

Yukionna, you and I have a lot in common, apparently.
Part of it stems from the fact that I have so much admiration and respect for those that do it on their own; at this point in my life I really don't know if I could. Especially because of the twelve hour shifts - there's almost no child care here on a twenty-four hour clock, and I'd be doomed without my mother.
post #19 of 43
I don't even know where I would be without my parents. I live with my mother rent-free and just having someone to take DS when I've reached the end of my rope is so helpful.

And my dad, well, my dad has completely taken over the "father" role in DS's life. He refers to DS as the son he never had, nevermind that he already has two older grandsons. My Dad already has "custody" of DS every weekend while I'm working and then asked me for overnights on Thursdays as well!

My family is just great to me and my son.
post #20 of 43
My mom is awesome!

We (myself and my 2 kids) live with her and she shoulders a huge amount of the financial burden in regards to the home. I pay her "rent" but if I am short any given month, she doesn't nag me about it

She does babysit once a week so I can work but if I needed some time other than that for myself, she'd not bat an eyelash if she was available. If I really needed $, she'd also give it to me without expectation of repayment (I always repay it, though!).

She is especially close to my ds so they often do things together like go to the movies which gives me a break from 2 kids at once.

I am certain that she'd be the "love to have the kids overnight once a week" kind of gparent if we didn't live with her.

I really don't know what our life would be like without her there for support.

On the flip side, I expect her time will come when she'll need help doing some (a lot of) things and I will be there for her without a second thought.
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