What do your parents offer? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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#2 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 11:23 AM
 
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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!

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#3 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 11:38 AM
 
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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.
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#4 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 01:15 PM
 
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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

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#5 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 05:16 PM
 
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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

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#6 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 05:33 PM
 
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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!

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#7 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 05:41 PM
 
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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
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#8 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 05:51 PM
 
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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).
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#9 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 06:14 PM
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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.
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#10 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 06:28 PM
 
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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.)

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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.

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#11 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 06:33 PM
 
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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.
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#12 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 06:59 PM
 
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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
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#13 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 07:21 PM
 
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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

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#14 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 07:31 PM
 
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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.

Single WAHM to 5yo DD, 2yo DS, and forever 7 week old angel DD.
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#15 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 07:41 PM
 
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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.

Busy, hectic, HAPPY single mom to 3 awesome kiddos jumpers.gif DD1 (10) DS (8) DD2 (6)

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#16 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 08:04 PM
 
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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...

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#17 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 09:23 PM
 
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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.

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#18 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 09:46 PM
 
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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.

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#19 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 11:07 PM
 
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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.

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#20 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 11:11 PM
 
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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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#21 of 43 Old 03-01-2009, 11:25 PM
 
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The kids & I live with my parents right now. I am back in my high school bedroom. They're extremely supportive, financially and otherwise. I have regular childcare, but my parents definitely help as well - I get to sleep in for a bit (until 7:30) on the weekends while they give the kids breakfast, I can run out to the store if they are home, etc. I rarely ask them to "babysit" as in watch both kids so I can do something for several hours - they already do so much, and it's a lot for them.

Financially, they are helping me while I return to school for a career change. My previous career, though relatively lucrative was incompatible with single-parenthood. Client-driven, agency work that required travel, dinners, etc. So, I am embarking on a major career change so I will be able to make a good living with an in-demand job, and they're supporting me. It's extremely generous. They are in a position to do so, and are happy to do it, and I am eternally thankful.

In all likelihood, we will be living with them for at least the duration of my program - three years.

It has its challenges. It is also their house, and they are my parents. Though we are generally thick as thieves, there is not not surprising parent/adult child issues. There's also the sometimes sticky issue of having to deal w/my X (who does not see the kids on any regular schedule, but when it works out for him to visit), who has "wronged" their daughter, but everyone is behaving well to date.
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#22 of 43 Old 03-02-2009, 02:37 AM
 
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I have an interesting situation with my parents, in that we are both parenting kids at the same time. I have a brother who is 9, 18 years younger than me. My parents are young grandparents, and both are still working and raising my brother. Add to this the fact that my mom's a midwife and is on call all the time, and she's also working on completing a master's degree, and the fact that my brother has asperger's and recently dropped out of school for various reasons, and the fact that my dad is legally blind and can't drive (and my mom's not around much because she's delivering babies constantly) and they've got their hands pretty full already!

That being said, they help where they can. They have a rental that I rent from them for less than they'd rent to someone else (but it's understood that I will be on-time and not short on the amount. It's also understood that when I am more on my feet I will move out and let them make some money off the rental, if they can). They have also loaned me the initial retainer for my lawyer, and are letting me pay it back without interest, so long as I do it in a timely manner. And, because there's no agency that does third party exchanges here, and because of the issues I've had during exchanges with xh, they have been willing to have their home be the site for the exchanges. This doesn't always work out, because they're not always home, but it has been a blessing for the most part because I don't have to see xh at all when they are home. It also allows me to stay out an extra half hour, if I am out with friends one night a week. That is about the extent of any babysitting they do, however. They really don't have the time or energy for much else at this point. My mom will pick up an extra bag of groceries for me too, once every other month or so, and she picks out really useful gifts for the girls.

Emotional support is non-existant, unfortunately, as I have always had a difficult relationship with my mom, and my dad doesn't listen all that well. I do sometimes wish I had a shoulder to cry on, but I do my best to be grateful for what I do have.
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#23 of 43 Old 03-02-2009, 03:33 AM
 
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My daughter & I are a happy family of two and as a solo mama I experience all the joys and struggles that brings! That said, I work hard to nurture & build a community for our family of two!

We are blessed that my daughter has two grandparents, two great grandparents, two (teenaged) uncles, two great uncles & thru marriage one aunt who all LOVE her and are in good health! I also hand picked a godmother who I knew would be hands on & truly a help for us if we were ever in need!

My parents have been a tremendous help I live in their guest house rent free while I am in school but that has both its pros and cons. Because I live on their property and my daughter interfaces with them and her teenaged uncles on an almost daily basis I have to be careful to set clear boundaries! Very early on I established that my daughter was to be "loved by" not "raised by" a village. I am financially independent & any child care that is needed at this point, I pay a babysitter for!

My parents are lot of fun, and they would lay down in the road for my daughter, but they don't know how, or want, to be responsible for my daughter in the way I am. Positive discipline, limited TV & an organic whole food diet all require more work than my parents see the value in or are willing to adopt so it limits my ability to allow them to help with my daughter. As my daughter grows and is school age I envision her grandparents will be very involved in the sense that they would come to most (if not all) of my daughter's activities, ask to take her to on fun outings & possibly babysit a couple times a month. Honestly, even though sometimes the work of parenting solo is a challenge, I could not ask or want more from my parents...

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting." - Buddha.
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#24 of 43 Old 03-02-2009, 08:01 AM
 
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Great thread. My parents are healthy enough to take my kids from time to time. They are very involved grandparents as they take the kids to the opera, kids shows, dinner, have them spend the night sometimes and much more. My mom owns her business, so this limits the time my parents can be involved, but still they manage regular trips, outings and more.

They live on an 80 acre farm, and sometimes it is nice that they take the kids to their house for the kids to get some good country air and play outside where there is an abundance of space and safety.

I can't imagine life without my parents, and yet, I know they are getting up there (both around 75). I'm lucky they are well and able to be involved. They are my kids only grandparents, as the other set are dead now, but were never involved with the kids since they lived in India.

One thing going good for me is that my kids are getting older. They are able to hang out with the grandparents without special baby food, diaper changes or needing help with bathing, so my parents are able to do alot more with them. Last year my parents took my daughters on a trip. That was great for them, because they had some special bonding time.

Aside from fun times, my parents have cared for me when I was sick (very recently my mom spent the night at my house on the sofa because I had the flu, and was not able to care for myself or the kids. My whole family came over and helped out with the kids, my brother brought dinner to the kids, my brother and sister in law washed the dishes, and they would do it again if I needed their help. They aren't outwardly lovey dovey family, but when the moment calls for it, they are there, doing anything that could help me get through that difficult time.

I appreciate my parents and brother and sister in law so much more, for every day that passes. We don't always agree on political issues and child rearing ideas, but one thing we agree on...we are each others back up system.

My sister lives 5 hours away, and she often can't be here to help out, nor can I be there to help her (she just had a double mastetomy in November and is doing great), but she is an RN, and she grows a herb pharm, and she is always full of great advice when I need info about health situations ect.

I love my family!

However, I don't believe in grandparent rights. They have raised their children already, and these kids are for me to raise, make decisions ect. Times have changed since my parents raised us, and if they had to raise my kids, they would definately be stressed out, but so would my kids be. My dad has some strange ideas sometimes. I just tell my kids that as long as it doesn't hurt you, to be cooperative with my parents because they really do love them.

I don't think my parents would EVER go for grandparents rights, because I know they don't want to raise anymore kids! LOL

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#25 of 43 Old 03-02-2009, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the fabulous replies. It is good to get an understanding of what other single mamas are experiencing with their own parents.

For the poster who wondered if my questions were for a study -- only a personal study, a personal curiosity. I am imagining what I would do as a grandmother WRT my single-parent child, were I in that situation . . what I would want to offer and what role I would like to play in their lives. I already know that I want to be as available and present as possible. I want my children to feel supported as parents whether or not they're single, but especially if they're single.


So, hypothetically (or realistically), if you were a single parent who was of extremely modest means and had little to no paternal support for your child/ren and you happened to have a parent/parents who were very well-off and loved indulging in an extravagant lifestyle for themselves but made it clear they didn't want to be supportive in the way of resources for you and your children . . . would you feel comfortable in their presence? Would you trust them to be responsive to the needs of your (older) children for a weekend or even for a day without you? How would you feel about them? Would their choices influence your way of relating to them as your parent(s), assuming you are someone who respects people's right to choose what is right for them?
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#26 of 43 Old 03-02-2009, 03:38 PM
 
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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.
Yeah exactly in the same boat with the embarrassment. I'm desperately looking for a job and stressing out because I'll be moving into my own place in a few weeks. If I don't have a job then they'll be paying for all my previous bills plus new ones involved with a home. They were aware of this when I got the place and were fine since it was basically a deal I couldn't pass up. I'm stressing majorly over this but my mom continues to say "Don't get so stressed. We don't mind helping you out." But I DO mind. it's been close to 18 months now that they've been completely supporting me and my daughter. I feel horrible and will be definitely going on food stamps but still, this darn economy.... It doesn't help that Oregon's basically at 10% unemployment now. I've literally sent out close to 40 resumes in the past three months and haven't gotten even a phone call. It's depressing and discouraging but that's an entirely different thread all together.
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#27 of 43 Old 03-02-2009, 03:39 PM
 
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My parents are such a blessing to me and to my daughter. They help us emotionally, they are the first people to whom I turn when I have a problem that needs to be solved - or a listening ear. They have helped me financially (to retain ownership of my home after my ex moved out and wanted "his share" of the equity), with the understanding that I will pay them back by refinancing when I am able...

They help me with child-care for my daughter when I have plans, they just came to my house and stayed for two days when I had my wisdom teeth out, they're there for me in every way possible and I cherish them for that.
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#28 of 43 Old 03-02-2009, 07:15 PM
 
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nothing. i dont have any family in this country.

BUT my xmil and i are great friends. seh lives in another state. her emotional support has been invaluable. we are best friends and she has helped me thru my seperation and any hard times i have had with her son. she has helped me see certain stuff about him. she even went to teh extreme to say he should be on some medication for behaving the way he does with me. and she stays away from any medication herself. she always checks in with me if i am taking care of myself. she can tell if and when i lie - i usually never do. she will be coming down once the rain stops to visit us and see with her own eyes that i am indeed ok.

but i have found surrogate parents. like with whom i am living right now. paying no rent or no bills. they are there to provide any emotional support i need. even paid for half my car. have taken me under their wings and taken care of me as their daughter. so i feel i have found new parents. but they are not strong enough to take care of my dd. but to know if i freak out there is someone there to listen to me and reassure me is invaluable. when i had to prepare myself for talking to my ex he paid the mediation fees for me to talk to a mediator. he can tell when i am refusing help when i should get help and he and his wife make sure i open up and share what is going on with me.

my stuff really affects them so i dont try to tell them too much as it upsets them so. both my xmil and my surrogate parents. but when i cant cope they are there.

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#29 of 43 Old 03-03-2009, 12:47 AM
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So, hypothetically (or realistically), if you were a single parent who was of extremely modest means and had little to no paternal support for your child/ren and you happened to have a parent/parents who were very well-off and loved indulging in an extravagant lifestyle for themselves but made it clear they didn't want to be supportive in the way of resources for you and your children . . . would you feel comfortable in their presence? Would you trust them to be responsive to the needs of your (older) children for a weekend or even for a day without you? How would you feel about them? Would their choices influence your way of relating to them as your parent(s), assuming you are someone who respects people's right to choose what is right for them?
May May, you're asking general questions about specific children -- your own. The answers, I think, have much to do with who your children are, how they regard you, what they regard your obligations as being, and frankly how stable and grown they are.

I'm 40; my parents are both retired. Both of them, in many respects, had more fortunate lives than I did. Largely a function of when they grew up. Housing was cheaper, good jobs much easier to get, and two sets of inlaws who'd done well postwar. Access to good healthcare was never in question for them. And so on. Boomers through and through.

I think that if I were 25, a single mother, and I had parents like this who did not help materially or with childcare, I'd be FURIOUS. Enraged every day. Now, though, I'm more inclined to take them as they are, and recognize that, hey, they're getting on, and they're out there in the wind -- they've left their jobs, they won't likely get hired for that kind of money again, ever. Yes, they're clueless about everyday realities, though I'm afraid they're about to get educated in a hurry, given the current economic problems. I'm tired, taking care of my daughter, and I've got plenty of time and health on both of them.

I'm also more inclined to think about their everyday problems than I used to be. If my father hasn't called for two months, is it because he's a jerk? Sure, could be. Could also be that he's busy taking care of other people, or isn't well himself (again). Or that maybe for once he's busy doing something he enjoys, instead of battling the dept chair or taking care of a dying parent or inlaw, or nursing his wife back to health, or digging out to the main road after a snowfall. (I wish he'd stop that, he's getting on for 70.)

I think it depends on where they are in life, May May, and what sort of internal resources they've got. I will tell you this: Don't harm yourself to help your grown children. They may be terribly hurt if you don't extend yourself that far. But when we're young I think we often fail to understand how long it takes to recover from these things as people get older, and how even money doesn't protect you from that.
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#30 of 43 Old 03-03-2009, 01:17 AM
 
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I live on my own with my 2yo son. I get zero $ help from anyone. I'm not sure how I do it. I do get lots of help from my family. I work 2 jobs and go to school. My mother takes 2 nights a week of babysitting, my Aunt takes 2 more nights and my sister takes him during the days. I am so lucky. My father lives 3 hours away but does his Opa duty of showing up for birthdays and holidays. I do believe in the saying, It takes a village!
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