dealing with uninterested grandparents - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 03-24-2012, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi All-

 

Not sure where to post this exactly, because it's not necessarily a kid related issue, just me feeling so overly frustrated with my parents and their (mainly my mother) lack of interest in 18 month old DD.  I know that every family has their issues, all of our parents drive us crazy, and with any luck our kids will be saying the same thing about us one day, but honestly, I think my mother might just be the worst grandmother and I'm not sure how to handle it at this point.

 

my parents live 5 miles down the road for starters, and my mother hasn't asked ONCE if she could babysit.  Due to our own relationship, I knew she was never going to be one of those gushy gushy grandma's and I have come to peace with that, but never once asking in a year and half to babysit?  So in other words, she has no real interest.  DH and I work opposite shifts so that we rarely need to use childcare, but with number 2 due in 10 weeks I'm trying to pick up as many shifts as possible to save a little extra cash.  I sent my parents an e-mail (yes this is how we communicate) asking if my mother could do 9-1 today and my father could do 1-5.  They both said no problem, and we confirmed it through e-mail several days later.  She calls me yesterday and says that she's confused about when she's supposed to babysit, isn't it 2:00-4:30 she asks?  Uuummm, no, it's 9-1 I told her.  This isn't the first time that she responds this way so I've just gotten used to it.

 

Last time she babysat, which was three weeks ago and for 2 hrs I might add, I mentioned that we don't want DD watching t.v. during the day (we know that my mother turns it on so she doesn't have to interact) to which my mother replies, "oh man, you're going to make babysitting hard"  I said I'm sure she could handle it for the whole 2 hrs, and that was that.

 

 Now today, I'm at work and DH is away at a conference.  I sent my mother very simple, very explicit instructions on how to get DD to take a  nap.  To start things off, she told DH when she first got there, that he needn't bother showing her where her coat and boots are because they wouldn't be going outside because she only got 2 hrs of sleep last night and didn't have the energy.  Didn't have the energy to what?  Take a fricken walk down the driveway?  SO anyway, obviously there's already going to be issues.  DD is easy to put down -quick bottle in the rocker, give her a paci and blankie, close the door on your way out, 15 minutes later she's out.  Apparently, via texts that I initiated from work because naturally i was worried, my mother was on her 2nd hour of trying to get DD to go to sleep.  She said there was lots of crying (which has NEVER happened for anyone else) so she gave her toys in her crib (which has NEVER needed to happen before) and still she wouldn't go down.  I considered driving home and putting her down myself at this point because I was so frustrated but left it alone.

 

Long story made short, by the time DH got home this evening (I'm STILL at work, 24 hrs shift) he not only found toys in her crib, but a couple half eaten cookies. What the hell?! So essentially, my mom was too lazy and too....whatever to deal with DD. so she just gave her a bunch of toys and cookies and stuck her in her crib?!  And then when I asked her why she did that, she denied it, and said that those things weren't in her crib when she left at 1:00?!

 

Anyway, the details of my mother are far too complicated to explain here, it's just that today was the straw that broke the donkey's back for me.  On average my mom spends 3-4 hrs a month with DD and knows NOTHING about her, and obviously doesn't seem to care.  Unfortunately, we really could use the help, and with them living so close by, it's infuriating to not be able to ask for it.  I guess what I'm asking of all of you is, how are your kids relationships with their grandparents? Do they live close by, and if so how often do they babysit? Do you think this is an unhealthy relationship to expose DD to, and should we stop asking (even though it's so minimal) for any babysitting and see how long she actually goes without seeing DD?  I dunno, I don't want to feel like I'm depriving DD either. What do you all think?

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#2 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 12:29 AM
 
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Not everyone is comfortable with little ones, and it sounds like that's your Mom. That doesn't make her bad. And a lot of grandparents don't offer to babysit. Many do, but a lot don't. I know someone who babysits her granddaughter one day a week, but only because she was asked to. Why? She works F/T (plus), has teh entire family over every Sunday, so that 7th day is the only day she has free to do everything else that needs doing. So yes, watching her granddaughter is difficult for her.

 

Also, a LOT of little ones don't respond to others the same way that they do to Mom or Dad. I have watched numerous kids, and it was never as easy to get them down as the parents said it would be. Even with following their exact instructions. And yes, that IS stressful.

 

As for the cookies in the crib... Uuuummm... Wasn't your Dad watching kiddo after Mom was? How do you know it was Mom who gave them to her? I think you're being a bit harsh assuming it was her.

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#3 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 03:02 AM
 
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My parents lived across the country when my son was little.  When they came to visit my mom just wasn't a kid person.

 

If you are asking someone to babysit for you, you need to realize they are going to do things differently.  Your mom may not want to take your child outside.  Your mom may want to watch TV, your mom is going to have a totally different routine than you have.  Its just fact, no 2 people do things the same way.

 

Chances are your child will be just fine with the sitter, possibly a bit cranky from a different nap schedule but fine.    A couple of hours of TV isn't going to damage the baby.

 

As the PP said kids do react differently to others than mom and dad.

 

Honestly, if you make this so uncomfortable for your sitters they will not want to come back, grandma or not.


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#4 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 05:54 AM
 
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How's your dad as a babysitter?  If things go more smoothly with him, would it be possible to have him be the babysitter and just leave your mom out of it (would she be relieved to not have to bother, or would she get upset at being excluded)?  Is your mother's way of babysitting your DD similar to what you remember from your own childhood?  Or do you think maybe she could be having medical/mental issues as she ages that are manifesting themselves (you mentioned she's sometimes confused about when she's supposed to babysit, and maybe she thinks she didn't give your DD cookies and toys in the crib [is it possible your DD threw some stuff in there?]...or maybe she did it but doesn't want to admit it b/c she doesn't want to deal with your disappointment/criticism)? Is she on any medications that might be interacting strangely?  Or is she really just indirectly trying to tell you that she doesn't want to be involved/provide free childcare?  Some people only really like spending time with children when they're old enough to hold a clear conversation and take care of their own bodily needs, so maybe in another 4 or 5 years your mother and DD might have a completely different relationship....

 

Basically, you can't change your mother.  You'll either have to learn to accept her where she's at/the care she provides, and work with what's available, or seek out other resources for childcare.  However, your DD is young enough that I don't think it matters too much whether she sees her grandmother every week or not.  While it's nice to establish connections while your DD is young, maybe give it a few months, or a few years.  If your mom's health is okay (nothing terminal), then you've probably still got some time left for your DD and mom to develop a closer relationship.

 

Also, on not asking to babysit--are your parents the type to take the initiative in general (non childcare related areas)?  Or do they tend to be more passive?  My mom has never asked to babysit either, but it's b/c she thinks that when we need/want her to, we'll ask her (as in, we know our lives/tolerances, and we will clearly communicate when we're ready for help).  She's happy to support us when we need her to, but she doesn't want to overstep any boundaries and be seen as someone who's trying to parent our child (she came to visit after DS was born to take care of me so I could take care of my DS).  Clear communication, clear expectations, and clear boundaries are beautiful things--but when dealing with difficult personalities or clashes of beliefs, it can be very hard to establish and maintain them.  Have you tried asking your mom why she seems uninterested?  Maybe she doesn't perceive herself that way at all.  Or maybe she has an explanation that you're having trouble accepting/believing.  Maybe your value systems are just too different right now.

 

My mother lives hours away, but she's an awesome babysitter.  She works with young children for a living, so she's familiar with all sorts of ranges of behavior and methods of interacting.  She's also the only person I trust to babysit (I admit I've got trust issues).  We get along really well, and she totally respects our parenting philosophies/choices.  I don't expect her to do everything exactly the same as DH and I do, but I know she'll keep DS alive and well while we're out of the house for several hours, and that's what's most important to me.  She visits maybe 3 times a year, and some years we drive down to see her once, or take a few days' vacation together.  Although DS doesn't get a lot of face-time with her, he knows her, he's comfortable with her, we talk about her, he likes her, and sometimes she sends him random postcards to let him know she's thinking of him.  She definitely puts forth an effort to stay involved in her grandson's life (and she makes a similar effort with by brother's son, who lives halfway across the country, except she flies out to see them instead of driving--which is why I'm content with only seeing my mother 3-4 times a year--I know her resources of time/money are divided).

 

My MIL is a nice person, raised half a dozen kids, and regularly babysits for her nearby grandchildren (which is all of them except for DS, basically), her work schedule permitting.  However, she lives farther away than my mother does and she doesn't drive, so we only see her once every year or so (when we make the long drive out to see DH's family).  I've never asked her to babysit (for a variety of reasons, but it boils down to that she's so busy with all her own projects/chores that she wouldn't necessarily give DS the amount of supervision I'd like).  Now that DS is almost 7yo, it's less of an issue b/c DS is way more independent and capable of self-entertaining than he used to be.  DS knows who she is, but he doesn't really know her as a person.  She sends cool hand-made Christmas decorations to us every year, but other than that we don't really hear from her.  It's not that she doesn't care about DS (I send out monthly online photo albums/emails to keep our family and friends updated); it's that she's got a big family all around her, a very full life, and a limited amount of hours in the day and finite energy to draw upon.

 

HTH!

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#5 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 06:34 AM
 
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Your mom is doing you a huge favor and possibly isn't even being in asked in a way that she feels comfortable declining. Hard to say "I'd rather not" when you get emailed with a schedule and saying no means your daughter can't go to work. I'm not sure why people think grandparents should provide child care for their children. Sure it's lovely if they want to help out by babysitting but one shouldn't assume they will. My mom has never volunteered to babysit ds. She will if I ask which I only do if I can't work something out with dh, basically just for dentist appointments. My mom and ds have a lovely relationship. She always responds to him, comes to see what he wants to show her, loans him her things, keeps him company somewhere, etc.

 

My MIL, on the other hand, wanted to babysit but more on her terms. She probably would have liked to suggest a time that was good for her and have me leave the baby there for a couple of hours. But ds was fussy and breastfed as an infant and would have been too much work for her as a toddler. She couldn't lift her husbands grandson so she wouldn't have been able to lift ds.


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#6 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 06:49 AM
 
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Some people don't like to babysit.. If they are willing to babysit for you they are doing you a FAVOR, its not a prerequisite of being a grandparent. They don't have to babysit and it doesn't make them bad grandparents if they decline. Your mother obviously doesn't really WANT to babysit, shes doing it to help you out. You could at least make it a little easier on her. Is it going to kill your child to have the TV on? Is not going out one morning going to stunt her growth? Its not like you are hiring a nanny to take care of your child, your mother is doing you a favor by being willing to help out. A lot of older people find it hard to keep up with children so there needs to be allowances for that.

 

We use to live 10 minutes down the road from my in laws. There weren't interested in babysitting except on their own schedule. I wasn't interested in keeping the children up past their bedtime so they never babysat the children. My SIL did a few times and my only rule was no going into the pool since there was more than double the number of non-swimmers than swimmers. To me its a safety issue so I was pretty strict about it and she knew that it was my line that I had drawn. The only other rule was no formula for the baby, I never left for more than an hour so it was never needed.

 

My father has seen my children less times than I have fingers on one hand. He has never watched them for more than 2 minutes for me to run in and pay for gas. He openly admits even if we lived down the street he would never want to babysit because hes past a time in his life where he can easily keep up with children. My brother watched them for maybe an hour once because I was sick and they spent the time playing video games together, is it something I wanted them to do? Nope, but my brother was nice enough to take them for an hour so I wasn't going to complain about how he kept them occupied.


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#7 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 07:07 AM
 
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If it makes you feel better OP, my parents are the type who feel they raised their own children, and now it is THEIR TIME.  They don't take kindly to the idea that they are expected to fill in the gaps. I live far away from my parents but my brother lives in the same town as them with his five kids.  My parents complain loudly to me that my brother and SIL impinge upon their "ME" time with requests to take the kids.  Frankly, I feel as if families have lost a sense of responsibility to one another, but I don't think my parents' attitude is unusual, at least where I come from.  On the other hand, I live in a community in the city which is largely Italian, Arab, etc., and the culture here is much different than the culture that I grew up in.  Family here means a lot to the people around me, but I don't expect my parents or other people of their generation and place to change because of that.  My parents will always feel that they have already done their part by raising my siblings and me and they have no responsibilities beyond that.  It is just the way it is...at least for my family.

 

I agree with others that when you ask someone to babysit, whether family or others, that it is a little much to ask them to do things exactly as you may parent.  Part of the thing of babysitting for me is that you are trusting others to keep your child safe and to not do anything too out of the ordinary which is negative to the child's growth or mental well-being.  Otherwise, I trust and let be.  


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#8 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 07:17 AM
 
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My MIL doesn't ever watch the kids either.  It seems weird to me since my mom always wants to watch them.  Anyway- MIL used to watch DD- but that was when my FIL was still alive and he was the driving force behind it apparently.  I am getting to be used to it.  I mean after all we have a lot of kids and they are all wild- so it is a lot to handle.  I ask randomly- and she declines- but I don't want to exclude her.  But the awesome thing is I have the worlds best SIL who watches my kids when I need it- at least on a weekly basis.  She is full of energy and things never are done the way I want them- but they all have a blast- and I get a bunch of stuff done that would be impossible otherwise.

 

And mama- you gotta chill out about the toys and cookies and tv.  I get it- I really do- but she is doing you a favor- and most likely an unpaid one at that.... And she was going on little to no sleep- so as long as my kid wasn't like playing with knives I would be pretty content.....


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#9 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 08:11 AM
 
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My mom lives 20 minutes away and has never once offered to baby sit. My oldest is 9. I do and have asked, she almost always does it but with a sigh, and a "I guess I could.". So I rarely ask. I just went well over a year without asking and still got the same response. We used to live 2 minutes away and got the same treatment. My mom likes kids, loves having grandchildren, my children are the only ones she will ever have, but does not want responsibility of them. She has a lot of limits on what kind of interactions she will do with them. The oldest 2 go over for sleepovers once in a while, but only 1 child at a time, for one night, they have to be over 3, out of diapers, on and on. She isn't older, and would actually be considered a young grandmother, but just doesn't have the interest level in them that I thought she would. We now hire regular baby sitters and I will only ask my mom if I am in a real bind and can not work anything else out, she is my last, last resort basically. And yeah, you have to let things go when others watch you children. If they are safe and healthy at the end of the day, that is really all you can ask for. A nanny or something is different but even then things are never going to be 100% of how you would do it yourself. 

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#10 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 09:09 AM
 
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OP, you are saying 3-4 hours a month. It would be easier to just get a baby sitter for these times. Do not expect your mom to change. She won't. And if you stop expecting her to be more involved, you won't be disappointed when she does not. You will feel better in the long run. Yes, it is frustrating she lives so close and does not care. But she has her own life, and babysitting is not on her priority list, for whatever reason. 

 

We get a baby sitter about 4 or 5 times a year. Almost all rules go out the window when we do. I think it is almost a "special" time, so if my kids get a coke or watch some tv at that time, I let it fly. They don't normally have coke, so they think WOW, fun. And the baby sitters job is also a bit more fun, not having to be rigid with rules or a whistle-blower. HOWEVER, if my kids were baby sat every week, then we would have to find a proper baby sitter and establish some more rules. For sure! Though I would still be more flexible than when it is me and DH.

 

We use friends as baby sitters. My husbands parents are 2.5 hours away, and elderly, and in poor health, so they can not baby sit. They did baby sit their other grand children when they were younger. My parents are over an ocean, so obviously can not. Though one year, all daycare places in the whole city went on strike for 5 weeks. No way both DH and I could take all that time off work. My parents got on a plane and flew over and babysat for two weeks. It makes me cry just thinking of it, the support and love they gave, and the bonding they got with my kids, was fantastic. While there, I wanted to make sure they got fed, and a nap. Anything else was a bonus. I let them do it their way. 

 

I have another two relatives that are closer but are really not kid-centered at all. Clueless, almost to extreme. I would not let them baby sit ever, unless my kids were 10 and could basically take care of themselves. 

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#11 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 09:12 AM
 
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I'm sorry for you OP, I understand your frustration. I also wished so deeply that my parents would care about my children, instead, as other PP mentioned, they feel it's not their responsibility to help raise their grandchildren. I feel so saddened about it, because I was raised by my grandmother as a toddler. My dad says he's not a "kid person" and he sees no benefit in spending time with children (his own, or his grandkids).

 

Anyways, what I wanted to say is that it's their loss. I finally came to terms that my parents will never be the grandparents I wished for my children. Do you have a MIL or FIL who is more involved? Just ONE involved grandparent will be enough for your child. I'm lucky that my MIL and FIL want to spend time with my dk. I'm so happy and sad at the same time that my dk ask about them and miss them, and wish so much that my parents could have been that important in their lives.

 

As for babysitting, I'd just hire a babysitter and not expect anything else from parents. Don't wait for them to ask, you might get disappointed and frustrated.

 

Hope this makes sense.

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#12 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for everyone responses so far, I feel a little misunderstood though.  I wrote my OP late at night after a long day so I didn't make some things clear.  I totally understand that a nanny/babysitter wont do things exactly the way I or DH will, and that's fine with me.  I have done childcare myself for over 10 yrs, and thoroughly understand the differences between how kids act with their parents and how they act with others. However, when DD goes down for three different babysitters in various locations with no problem, but spends two hrs screaming with my mother, it leaves me wondering...what's going on?  You mean to tell me that none of you would wonder the same thing?  Or maybe worry?  The real issue lies deep within the relationship I have with my own parents and my sadness at their lack of interest in myself as a kid and how that has now stretched into their grandchild.  This doesn't surprise me, in fact we expected it, but it's still hard. 

 

I NEVER expect my mother to accept a babysitting opportunity.  I simply tell them some open times that I'm looking for help, and I always say, "if it works for you or is something you're interested then great, if not no worries."  I ask them first because yes, they are free, but they often say no and then I hire a sitter.  They NEVER feel pressured. I'm always appreciative of when they babysit and I tell them so.  It's not just about babysitting, it's the whole package.  When DH, DD and I go over to their house, just for a quick visit, my mother doesn't even say hi to DD or interact with her in any way.  She doesn't know when her birthday is and is constantly referring to her age and is waaay off base, which leaves me wondering, how can you not know how old she is?  She admits that she isn't a fan of very young children, and she prefers them after the age of 5 or 6 when you can really do things with them.  I understand that, and she has the right to feel that way, but it's still really hard to have your own mother feel that way about her only grandchild.

 

My mother has always been a deeply depressed person and is not currently on medication.  I know that in the end this is her issue and I have worked for yrs in therapy to get over the negative effect that her distance has had on myself as a person.  I guess what I'm wondering is, considering she isn't motivated to have a relationship with DD right now, should I just leave it?  Should I stop asking her for help?  And is it maybe better for DD in the long run to not be around someone who isn't really interested?  I think it can be very damaging and confusing for a child, regardless of age, to get that type of feedback from a family member, and kids are sensitive, they know when someone doesn't really want to be around them.  

 

 

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#13 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 10:43 AM
 
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So, let me get this straight: You dont have a great relationship with your mom, she seems to be totally uninterested in your DD, and you know she isnt going to respect your parenting decisions about how to watch your child (no tv, rocking to sleep, ect.) and you still chose to leave your child with her? And you were surprised when she left your kid in a crib full of toys and cookies and didnt have the energy to take her outside? Why are you surprised?

Im sorry you have an uninterested grandparent, that sucks. And I know how much help you probably need right now, and how much you are going to need once your LO arrives. Believe me, I just had a baby with little to no help and a 22 month old to deal with too. It could be worse, but it is draining. But, it doesnt sound like leaving her with grandma is going to be much help unless you let go of being in control of the situation while your mom is watching her. Is it possible that your mom doesnt offer to babysit because she thinks it to be too much of a PIA to follow all of your rules? I know when DD was little MIL never watched her, and the few times she did she called for me to get her because she was crying. eyesroll.gif. Now that she is older and can interact with MIL more, they have a blast together and MIL is always wanting to watch her. But this time last year, it was awful. She still refuses to learn things like how to heat up breastmilk properly and how to install a carseat (we have to install it everytime we leave dd with her). Basically, she wants to do the fun stuff, but nothing that is "too much trouble" or "too much energy". I have a lot of issues with DD going over there, but honestly, I need the help. Either you have to come to terms that your mom isnt you, and isnt going to treat your kid as awesome as you do, or you have to not want your mom to watch your kid.

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#14 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 03:44 PM
 
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At this point in time, I would stop asking your mom to help out.  Wait a few years, until your DD is older/more self-sufficient, then try again.  That isn't to say you should cut off all contact, but if your mom won't even acknowledge your DD's presence when you go over to visit her, then I definitely wouldn't want to risk my child's emotional/physical well-being by letting your mom babysit her.  Especially knowing that she has mental health issues and is not taking her meds/getting treatment.  That would be a safety issue for me.

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#15 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 04:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fritz View Post

At this point in time, I would stop asking your mom to help out.  Wait a few years, until your DD is older/more self-sufficient, then try again.  That isn't to say you should cut off all contact, but if your mom won't even acknowledge your DD's presence when you go over to visit her, then I definitely wouldn't want to risk my child's emotional/physical well-being by letting your mom babysit her.  Especially knowing that she has mental health issues and is not taking her meds/getting treatment.  That would be a safety issue for me.

ITA. I wouldn't be comfortable leaving a toddler with someone who was "deeply depressed." And if the crying thing only happens with your mom, I would really not leave dd in her care. It sounds like your mom isn't in a place right now where she can care for or take care of dd. It's sad for sure. I wish my ds had more loving relatives, too. My mom is the only grandparent who has seen (or talked or sent a letter to) him in the past 8 years.
 

 


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#16 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 08:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by brneyedmama View Post

 

I guess what I'm wondering is, considering she isn't motivated to have a relationship with DD right now, should I just leave it?  Should I stop asking her for help? 


 

yes, leave it and stop asking her for help.


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#17 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 09:10 PM
 
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She is who she is.  As much as it is painful to have to deal with the fact that she is not and probably never will be the grandparent that your DD deserves (and the mother that you deserved), better to just accept that now.

 

If you don't like how she babysits, don't ask her.  If you need a babysitter, there are other methods;  even if you have to pay someone or have someone who is (at first) a "stranger", at least you will have more of a chance for getting what you want, especially when you are clear and ask for it specifically, than you ever will with your mom.  It sucks, but I have a feeling it is the truth.

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#18 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 10:15 PM
 
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Even with super attentive and generally respectful grandparents, I have found that if I want things done MY way, I should hire someone I pay.  If I have my parents or ILs babysit I give in on things because they are doing it for free and they are older and it is harder for them to keep up with the kids (and they are grandparents and like to indulge them).

 

So usually I know what I can accept and I know who I am dealing with and if I will get that from them.  If I can't handle what I'll get, I hire someone who I know will give me that.  If I can deal with the compromise, I go with it being a little less than perfect, but free. :)

 

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#19 of 29 Old 03-26-2012, 06:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by brneyedmama View Post

The real issue lies deep within the relationship I have with my own parents and my sadness at their lack of interest in myself as a kid and how that has now stretched into their grandchild.  This doesn't surprise me, in fact we expected it, but it's still hard. 

 

 

My mother has always been a deeply depressed person and is not currently on medication.  I know that in the end this is her issue and I have worked for yrs in therapy to get over the negative effect that her distance has had on myself as a person.  I guess what I'm wondering is, considering she isn't motivated to have a relationship with DD right now, should I just leave it?  Should I stop asking her for help?  And is it maybe better for DD in the long run to not be around someone who isn't really interested?  I think it can be very damaging and confusing for a child, regardless of age, to get that type of feedback from a family member, and kids are sensitive, they know when someone doesn't really want to be around them.  

 

 



We have a similar situation going on with DH's  mother.  She lives across the country so distance alone has solved most of the should we or shouldn't we try to do more to facilitate a relationship.  (We don't)

 

Addressing the bold from my own childhood/experience - I was forced upon one set of grandparents (parents of bio father who completely checked out of any relationship with me) because my mother was desperate for childcare at times.  My grandmother was a nice enough person (yet awkward) and seemed to enjoy having me around some of the time but I have strong memories of my grandfather ignoring me.  I can't say it was damaging but it did hurt my feelings and yes, I was confused why he wouldn't engage with me but seemed to adore the other grandkids. 

 

I would recommend not asking your mother or father to do anything with your kids unless you have absolutely no other options.

 

Other posters have brought up the fact that some grandparents don't want to babysit.   I know plenty of "normal," loving families where the grandparents show up for all the sporting events, school functions, holiday meals etc. but have absolutely no interest in babysitting.  They are busy during their thing.  One of my close friends used to have to beg her in-laws for even an hour of babysitting when she had no other options.  I know her in-laws, they are nice people and love their grandkids, they just don't want to watch them.  My mom jumps at every chance she can get to spend time with DS and many, many friends and acquintances comment to me about how lucky we are.  So don't feel too bad about their unwillingness to babysit, I think it is more common than we realize.


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#20 of 29 Old 03-26-2012, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I can totally understand how grandparents wouldn't be excited to babysit necessarily, and who knows I may feel the same way one day.  I guess because it's the ONLY interaction that my mother has with DD that leaves me questioning things.  There are no other times that our family gets together, not because I or DH don't want to, it's just that my mother never seems interested or if we do plan something she's often in a really sour mood or my parents are fighting and it's totally enjoyable to be around, so we've kind of formed the habit of either going over there very sparingly for a quick hello, or inviting them to do things on our turf.  The only holidays they celebrate are thanksgiving and Christmas, but they're often very low key and as short as possible.  SO it's not so much that I can't understand why she wouldn't be a fully engaged babysitter, it's that those 3-4 hrs a month, are literally the only time she would see DD anyway.

 

And as far as placing requests or wanting everything to be perfect while I'm away, I don't feel like I have those expectations at all.  All I said to my mom before I left that day was, she tends to nap around noon and we're not doing t.v. during the day.  It's not that I think t.v. would ruin my child for an afternoon -hell, I'd love to turn it on myself sometimes.  The thing is, since DD has discovered television, she is OBSESSED.  And when I say obsessed, I mean, she will sit there for hours, and when you finally turn it off there is sobbing and hysterics, a full blown temper tantrum, and then she will continue to go to the t.v. every half an hour asking for it to be put on and going through the same hysterical scenario all over again when you say no.  One day a few weeks ago, DH and I were sooooo sick with a stomach bug so we let her watch it a bunch more than usual cause we had no other choice.  It literally took me 2 weeks to get her back on track form not freaking out when I said no to t.v.  So we have found, that she knows she gets to watch it for 30 minutes, right before her evening tubby, and that's that.

 

 I just feel like the minimal amount of time that my mom would be spending with DD isn't worth the saga of me having to deal with screen withdrawal for the next several days, so I didn't think it was that HUGE of a request to not have it on.  IN regards to the cookie in the bed, yeah I'm with you all, in the grand scheme of things who he heck cares?  again, it isn't the cookie or the toys in the crib that bothered me, it was that once I put the picture together, what she did was put DD with snacks and toys in her crib, and left her there for two hrs because she didn't want to have to interact. THAT was my biggest issue, and then to lie about doing it is even WORSE.

 

Anyway, it seems clear to me now that I wont be asking her to babysit anymore.  Yes, this may very well mean that DD literally never sees her, or at least in the most minimal way, but perhaps that isn't such a bad thing right now.

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#21 of 29 Old 03-26-2012, 05:32 PM
 
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I think you should just stop asking her to stop babysitting -- but don't cut her out of your DD's life or anything! Could you just ask them to come over for a relaxing dinner? And not worry too much if they don't interact with DD, but this way DD can still get to know them a little & won't be complete strangers to her as she gets older. Your mom can socialize with you & any other adults & still be around your DD without the stress of having to entertain her or keep her safe.

It sounds like you have a very specific view of how grandparents 'should' act. I think that's actually how many people think grandparents act, but they aren't all like that. Some grandparents just aren't into babies. Some aren't into kids of any age. Some have other priorities. Some are too old or sick or worn out from a rough life to be able to give their all to a little tiny helpless person. And if your mom is depressed, only getting 2 hours of sleep a night, etc. I really don't expect her to even change out of her pj's, nevermind come over & babysit! And as someone with a chronic illness, I can understand why she might be too tired to even take a walk in the driveway.

My own parents aren't currently a part of our lives but my mom was similar to yours in that she didn't interact with DS. I guess she wanted to see him but didn't want any of the work involved in engaging or playing with him. She straight up told me that she would never be able to watch DS while I work like other grandparents she knows do for their grandkids. She just isn't very high-energy, she wants to watch TV and stuff. Neither of my parents are allowed to see DS right now though, for unrelated reasons. DH's parents invite us over and claim to be eager to see DS but when we're there, they hang out in the other room drinking while I play with DS. I'll be honest, I don't always see the point in visiting, I can play with DS at home lol, but we do it anyway because at least he will sort of know one set of grandparents. None of DS's four grandparents have ever babysat him. Not all grandparents can be the warm, cuddly, tell you stories & bake cookies type! I'm so sorry, though, that she is not able to be the grandmother you want for your DD.

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#22 of 29 Old 03-26-2012, 08:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brneyedmama View Post

 I guess what I'm asking of all of you is, how are your kids relationships with their grandparents? Do they live close by, and if so how often do they babysit? Do you think this is an unhealthy relationship to expose DD to, and should we stop asking (even though it's so minimal) for any babysitting and see how long she actually goes without seeing DD?  I dunno, I don't want to feel like I'm depriving DD either. What do you all think?

I think you should find someone you are actually comfortable with to babysit and stop trying to get your mom to be that. Just take your children for visits without leaving them alone with her.

It may be your mother will be better with your kids when they aren't so young.
 

My mom died last year. She was the only grandparent who ever babysat dd as a young child. We lived very near her for about 4 years but in a different state for the rest of the time. When we lived nearby I tried not to take advantage of my mom so we didn't ask her to babysit often. She was an awesome grandma and very involved in her life even though it wasn't babysitting. She did things slightly differently than we did with dd.

Dd's other grandparents never ever babysat dd. I never would have left her with them. They have not been super involved grandparents. One can't even remember how to spell her name. We visit as a family a couple of times a year.

All my grandparents died when I was quite young or before I was born so it makes me sad  that dd's grandparents are the way they are. I can't force them to have the grandparent/grandchild relationship I think is best though. They are the ones missing out not dd.

 


Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#23 of 29 Old 03-27-2012, 05:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by transylvania_mom View Post

I'm sorry for you OP, I understand your frustration. I also wished so deeply that my parents would care about my children, instead, as other PP mentioned, they feel it's not their responsibility to help raise their grandchildren. I feel so saddened about it, because I was raised by my grandmother as a toddler. My dad says he's not a "kid person" and he sees no benefit in spending time with children (his own, or his grandkids).

 

Anyways, what I wanted to say is that it's their loss. I finally came to terms that my parents will never be the grandparents I wished for my children. Do you have a MIL or FIL who is more involved? Just ONE involved grandparent will be enough for your child. I'm lucky that my MIL and FIL want to spend time with my dk. I'm so happy and sad at the same time that my dk ask about them and miss them, and wish so much that my parents could have been that important in their lives.

 

As for babysitting, I'd just hire a babysitter and not expect anything else from parents. Don't wait for them to ask, you might get disappointed and frustrated.

 

Hope this makes sense.

hug2.gif


Boy oh boy could I have written this. I feel the same way about my parents and spent a lot of time being horribly disappointed and sad until I made peace with the fact that they will never be the grandparents I'd hoped they would be.My folks never even ask to see my kids and they live 5 minutes away. And I'm an only child so these are their ONLY grandkids. Sometimes DS1 even forgets about them. Thankfully MIL is an angel to my kids and treats them the way they deserve to be treated.

 

I found that not asking them to babysit did wonders for my stress level in many ways. Paying someone I trust is much easier and I didn't feel the hurt I did when I asked my parents and they would hem and haw about it like it was between babysitting or performing brain surgery.
 

 


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#24 of 29 Old 03-27-2012, 06:03 PM
 
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I can relate in so many ways. My own mother is probably worse, like she prefers to spend time with me alone, when my son is around it seems nerve racking/annoying to her. She has said things about my brothers small children that indicates she doesn't have a realistic perspective about how small children behave and how to interact with them.

I went to a therapist for a while that really helped me sort out my "mommy issues" when I was in college and it really helped me let go of any expectations or dissappointments I had regarding the type of parent she was and is to me. Thankfully, that alone has allowed me to deal with what kind of grandparents she is.

By the way, I would never consider her to babysit, it would be asking a lot to her, not worth it to me.
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#25 of 29 Old 03-28-2012, 11:56 AM
 
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i'd drop it and not ask, and not even push for them to have a relationship. it sucks to have a child who knows a grandparent doesn't like them...if i had a do-over i'd have stopped even trying long before. i know it hurts having parents who don't want to spend time with their grandchildren. i grew up with all of my grandparents and spent time with them, up to a week at a time. my mom loved having my older two kids, then #3 she just does not like. after that started showing, none of my kids stayed with her anymore. my kids have my in-laws and i'm happy for that. they don't ask to babysit but their house is always open, and we do the same for them(they are raising my neice).


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#26 of 29 Old 03-28-2012, 07:50 PM
 
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I'm another in the disappointed camp, although I should have known better, as I don't have a great relationship with my parents either.  Like yours, they live nearby, but rarely ask to see DD, and have only watched her a few times.  They sometimes ask us to go visit, but then my mom just sits in her chair and stares and my dad babbles away about various personal things while I'm struggling to control a bored toddler and totally ignoring him... I'm usually the one that ends up entertaining DD when we go there, and I usually can't even manage to keep her in the living room with my parents while I entertain her.  It's frustrating because we moved here specifically to be near family.  Honestly, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but my folks seem to get a little nutsier each year, so I guess I should have updated my expectations before we uprooted ourselves :)  Now my sister has a little one and she's really upset about our parents not being a part of her baby's life.  At this point I've just counted them out.  I've had to accept that the mom I knew in childhood is just plain gone, and she's not going to be there for my daughter either.  Usually I don't think about it, but at times like now (writing this post) I remember how excruciatingly sad it makes me. 

 

I mean to say by all this that I know where you're coming from and how hard it is to accept that your parents are not going to be the grandparents you envisioned for your child, even though you KNOW that that's just how it is.

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#27 of 29 Old 03-29-2012, 10:28 AM
 
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My parents are all over our kids. They live fairly far away, but make every effort to see them, call them, etc. My father used to be terrible, but as he's gotten older, I think he values family a little more than he used to.

 

DH's dad is so-so, but his mother really wants nothing to do with them. We used to live about a ten minute drive from DH's mom, and she told us the day that our oldest was born that we shouldn't expect her to babysit, ever.  I thought that was a bit rude and piss poor timing, but whatever. She's selfish.  It really used to bother DH that his parents were so uninvolved. He's just used to it now.  I am not surprised, to be honest. They were piss poor parents. Why would they be good grandparents?

 

Having said all that, I would never assume that my parents would want to babysit my children. I think that it's fairly presumptuous to think that just because you're related to someone, they should be on call for childcare duty.


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#28 of 29 Old 03-29-2012, 11:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Alphaghetti View Post

It really used to bother DH that his parents were so uninvolved. He's just used to it now.  I am not surprised, to be honest. They were piss poor parents. Why would they be good grandparents?

 



DH and I often have the conversation on why he had higher expectations for MIL and FIL (DH's step-father)?  Nothing they ever showed him would have given any indication they would be involved/interested yet he is still so angry that they aren't.  When I asked him why he expected anything different from them, he replied that he just hopped they would do better the second time around, meaning a grandchild would be a second chance.    They are hyper-involved with the other grandkids, who live nearby them, and I think that adds to the sting.

 

For the first year or two, I made an effort to send pictures but never once got a response or a thank you so I stopped.  We visited twice and certain events (surprisingly not relating to their relationship/lack of relationship with DS) transpired that really, really turned us off on visiting again so unless they come to us, I don't know when or if DS will ever see them again. 

 

DH's aunt (sister to MIL) is horrified by all of this and never passes up the chance to scold her sister about it. 

 


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#29 of 29 Old 03-30-2012, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It really moves me to read that so many others have the same type of experiences.  I too, knew deep down that uninvolved parents would most likely transpire to uninvolved grandparents, but there's always a hope in there somewhere, ya know?  I think what adds to the sting, is that DH's father died 15 yrs ago, so this will be our kids ONLY grandfather, and DH's mom lives in S. Africa and desperately wants to be the "Grade A" grandparent, but can't be.  She always asks on skype, "oh your mom must be over ALL the time."  I don't have the heart to try and explain it.

 

Anyway, thanks everyone for your input.  I'll certainly stop asking her to babysit, and we'll just go with the flow.  #2 arrives in a couple months so I'm already setting extra $ aside for paid help.

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