October 10, 2010,
A.R. asks from Newark, DE on January 02, 2010
Grandparents Too Busy for Their Grandchildren
Hello, I am a mom of 3 little boys, my husband and I both work full time. My parents live 2 hours away and his live 24 hours away. We do not have family in DE. We have 2 boys who are in school but my baby is in daycare. My mother does not work and my father does; however, why do I feel like I have to beg them to take their grandchildren or let them stay with them, even if it's for a day or so. They shop like crazy for them when they see them, always buying toys, clothes etc. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but I don't care about that stuff, I want them to help a little. When I was growing up, my parents traveled the world and I stayed with my grandmother, who is no longer living. I am resentful and I cannot help the way I feel. Does anyone have a similar situation and if so, how do you deal with it? How do you smile and act happy? My kids love their grandparents. My oldest is 7, then 6 and 14 mths.
So What Happened?™
Hello moms! Thank you all for the advice. Just to be clear, I have mentioned this to them and they were around a lot for for a two month period and then that was that and this occurred about two years ago. My husband and I have tried to accept how things are, and we try to make time for us when the kids are sleep, but it would be nice for a weekend away or even a night. I won't complain about it anymore because things won't change, it' just a shame because the boys are getting older and they miss their grandparents. ~ Thanks again everyone
J.Y. answers from Pittsburgh on January 04, 2010
Have you tried talking to them about it. Not in a confrontational way, but say I love you and appreciate the things you do for my children, but I would really love is for you to spend some more time with them, and maybe give my husband and I some time away. Its hard I know. We moved 19 hrs away from my family and are now near my husbands. My mom would give anything to be with her grandkids, and my mil just doesn't seem to care. I hope things work out.
K.B. answers from Harrisburg on January 03, 2010
If your parents dropped you off a lot to go travel, sounds like they weren't built to "parent" their own children, let alone grandchildren. They feel more comfortable showing their love buying things, and some people just are like that. But they've got a proven record as parents, so what makes you think they'd change as grandparents? They're not going to be the same as your grandmother, as they're obviously different types of people. You can't get more out of them than they're able or willing to do, unfortunately. All you can do is ask and offer. If they don't you'll have to try to accept their faults, but also embrace their good points. It could be a lot worse, as patronizing as that sounds.
mom to 5 including triplets
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M.S. answers from Pittsburgh on January 05, 2010
I am a grandma to 2 beautiful baby boys, 2 years and 9 months. I live 45 minutes away the other grandparents live 30 minutes away. M. and dad both work full time jobs and so does the grandparents, on my off days I go up to the boys house and stayover night and watch them for the 2 days that I am off. The other grandmother watches them during the week when the M. and dad work the 2nd shift. It just works out and that's what you do for family. I have so much fun when I am there with my boys, they keep me young.I love being a grandma.
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M.R. answers from Philadelphia on January 04, 2010
When I read your letter I thought how can she expect her parents to just drop everything and help. So I read the responses first. Made me see the light!
I don't know if either your husband or you could work second shift. My husband went on second shift when I went back to work after our first child. That worked for us - as he was home with the baby - my job was a first shift only job!
I cannot imagine not spending time with my grandchildren! They are the best thing since sliced bread!
I would talk and talk about all the things they do and have them call and draw pictures for them and let them see the wonderful little people that they are. Spending time reading and playing - making cookies! They are missing so much! This not just about you getting a break - it is about building memories for the future. My son became a chef and one of his greatest gifts to his grandmother was going to her house with a bag of groceries and cooking her a special meal. At her funeral so many of her friends asked, "Are you the chef you grandmother always talked about?"
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T.D. answers from Pittsburgh on January 04, 2010
You said your grandmother raised you because your parents travled. So they relly don't want to be grandparents, hands on ones, they think buying things make up for it. it is their loss i have a mother-in-law that has never let her grandchildren stay over night and my oldest is 16. but tht is her loss. and that is the way they are so just enjoy your kids while they aer small they grow up too faat.
take care and good luck T.
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S.O. answers from Anchorage on May 16, 2010
I know this is long overdue but I am just glad to know that I'm not alone. I have three kids and live in SE Alaska - my parents live in another town not far but on a separate island. I have many stories like yours - my mom would even promise to watch the kids and let us have a night out on at least three occasions (two happened to be our anniversary) but they never followed through. We are now heading to Seattle for a cousins wedding and stopping in their town first and they aren't sure they will be in town. Both retired, they are going to the wedding too but are thinking of leaving early. Then they want us to get a hotel near where they will be staying in case they want to see the kids but its nowhere that would be where a young family would want to be. I too try to blow it off, have let go of the idea of an occasional babysitting never mind us going somewhere alone - but just an attempt at wanting to see my kids would be nice. I am thankful for my small family and that I appreciate them and it is a lesson for me to think about the kind of grandparent I want to be. The other good news: my kids are now 9, 7 and 3 and already I see them growing fast I know they will leave us with plenty of time all too soon. Not the best solution but at least we appreciate what we've got!
K.W. answers from Philadelphia on January 04, 2010
Well, you can't change who people are. Everyone has different priorities in life. It sounds like your parents didn't have you as the priority in the first place, so how could they possibly have your kids as a priority? It also sounds to me as if you've maybe never resolved the issue you have with them about your own childhood. Maybe you need to start there before you become resentful about more & transfer those feelings to another situation.
You're right, you shouldn't have to beg, but you can request and be honest with them about your feelings & with what would help you the most. Talk to them about what bothers you, but don't expect a big tremendous change in their actions. Be specifc & if they are open to it, you could get some positive results.
S.V. answers from Philadelphia on January 04, 2010
So many thoughts came into my mind when I read your posting. I think we all have an expectation that grandparents should want to be around their grandchildren all of the time. And that, naturally, grandparents will take the grandchildren for hours or even a couple of days. Then there is reality. Each grandparent is different, has a different idea of what kind of grandparent they want to be, what their role should be, etc.
Expecting your parents to help you is, in my mind, not realistic. You and your husband decided to have children together, and you need to figure out how to make it work. That was the advice my mother gave me before I had children, and she was right. My parents were very loving and very good grandparents, but they just could not handle babysitting. If that meant we had to stay home instead of going on a date, then so be it. This all may sound harsh, but both of my parents were gone when my "baby" was 5 years old. If I had come to rely on them to get me through every day life, my loss would have been doubled.
So, for what it's worth, enjoy your parents as they are for the time you have with them. Let them buy stuff for your kids if that's how they show love. Find back up care and play groups (as one other poster suggested) among your friends, church groups, etc. And don't make yourself crazy trying to change people that you can't change.
Best to you.
N.I. answers from Philadelphia on January 03, 2010
I totally understand. I am in a similar situation. My parents live and hour away and my in-laws live about 5 minutes away. Niether see my kids that much. IT IS SO FRUSTRATING. My parents spend a majority of their time with my sister and her kids and expect me to beg them to come see my kids! Even when I do ask them to come or ask them for help they decide spending time elsewhere is more important then my children. I told them that these are the years that matter most because once my kids are teenagers they are not going to want to spend time with them. It does not seem to matter. I have a hard time hiding my emotions around people so when the actually do visit with my children I keep myself busy around the house. I have told them all how I feel and they do not seem to care. It is hard and I am also resentful at times, but I decided to take my grandfathers advice (a great man) and focus on my family that I created with my husband because that is my immediate family now. I hope it works out for you because I know how much it hurts when you ask for help and it never shows up!!