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family issue questions
Old 12-07-2017, 06:34 AM
  #1

When you have children, is it normal to expect...

Some type of involvement (family outings, help, babysitting, etc..) from your parents?

What do you do if your parents can't provide that?


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Old 12-07-2017, 10:34 AM
  #2

I think it depends on your family dynamics. I was blessed to live next door to my in-laws while my oldest two were young and they babysat for me. I or my husband would ask though. My parents live over an hour away and would help if needed, but obviously not as much.
A friend would get upset that her in-laws wouldn't ask to come get her baby and spend time with him, BUT I think that was how she and her mom would do for her younger cousins. She ended up hurt because the husband's family didn't have that same type of personality.

If your parents can't do what you would like, then you find someone else. It can be a trusted friend, babysitter, daycare, etc.
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Old 12-07-2017, 10:54 AM
  #3

Hmm - none here.

Both DH and I were the babies of our families; he was born when his parents were in the 40s and me when my parents were mid-30s. We waited til about 30 to have kids. So, the grandparents are quite a bit older. And we live 1000+ miles away. Our kids are older now (16 to 23) but even when they were little the most help we got was keeping an eye on the baby for an hour as we took a walk around the block or drove to the grocery store.

So what did we do, we paid nice people to watch our little ones - or sometimes we'd swap with other families in the same situation.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:01 AM
  #4

I don't think you should expect help from family at all. They have their own lives, health issues, hobbies, and other things going on. It all really depends on the family and the dynamics. It could be distance/travel that keeps grandparents more or less involved.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:05 AM
  #5

Nope not a lot of support from either side for me, nor a lot of other help either as I did not have a lot of close friends either. What did I do? I dealt with it and made a lot of what I considered "ME" sacrifices, which I would do anything for my children. We did not go out, no babysitter and fit our schedules around what needed to be done.


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Old 12-07-2017, 11:06 AM
  #6

I don't think it's really normal to expect that because so many people live far from their families. We swapped with other families who were in the same situation. Even if they live closer, many grandparents are still working full time and have just as many outside commitments as the parents do.

My parents were retired so they were able to do things from far away if I gave lots of notice. For example, when I was matron of honor in my friend's wedding they came to visit to keep track of the kids the weekend of the wedding. They came to help with older child when younger child was born. My mom came to help with my younger child while DH, older child, and I packed and moved to a new house across town. It was great when they could help out like that, but it wasn't expected.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:39 AM
  #7

When older two were babies we lived across the country from family and they did not come to help because they were still working. Third child was born here where in laws live they did baby sit DD for 3 months until she went to preschool. They did not attend school plays or kids ball games etc. Just not their style.

Grandkids in TX were little when I was still working and had an active teenager at home so few visits. I'm glad DD in Germany has MIL to help. She kept the baby all the time DD was in language school. Takes 1 child at a time to her apt for a weekend and takes them on holiday for a week at a time.

In town grandson I babysat one summer when he was an infant too little for day care. Loved on him BIG TIME! Baby sat some although in-laws were next door. Always took him NEW YEARS DAY so DD#1 could sleep off their partying . Then they got too old too party. When he was 6,7,and 8 I did "Camp Grandma" and kept him summers and school vacations then he out grew me.
Now we are retired we run a taxi for orthodontist, ball practice, dr. appointments and enjoy every moment of it. We go to his games and even bring snacks for the team to away games.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:51 AM
  #8

Quote:
What do you do if your parents can't provide that?
My husband and I are raising our kids. No, I don't think it's normal to expect others to help. They are my children and I chose to have them. Only my husband and I have a responsibility to them.
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:08 PM
  #9

Every family is different.

When my kids were young, my FIL was deceased , and MIL was not in good health so she never had the kids alone. If her health had been better she would have been involved as she was with the older grandchildren.
My mom and dad were still working. They'd keep the kids if we had a wedding or adult function, and came to some games and school events.
We used sitters for the occasional date night.

I had always envisioned being the grandma who babysat and took the grandkids places. But, it was not to be. I don't have any biological grandkids. DH has a daughter with two ( he is the only living grandparent). Stepdaughter and her husband usually only let us babysit if they bring the kids to our house and we agree to stay home. Twice we were allowed to take them to a holiday event. Once we could take them to the zoo. And this year, for the first time, we were allowed to take the oldest (age ten) shopping for her birthday.

Everyone has expectations. As a parent you have an expectation of what the grandparents will do. As a grandparent we have expectations of what our relationship with the grandparents will be. I think it's normal to expect some involvement from your parents, but if you don't get it, you have to accept what you get and change your expectations.
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:43 PM
  #10

My husband's mother would come and live with us for 6 weeks during the summer. She loved being with our daughters and we saved up our "date nights" for when she was here. This started when our kids were about 3 and 5. Now my kids, who are older, go to see her. Karma.

My parents did not exert much effort. They did not come for extended stays, did not invite us to their home, saw one swim meet and one soccer game.

To be honest we did not expect anything from the parents as we lived quite far away. We were thrilled with MIL involvement.

When the kids were 5 and 7 we found a great babysitter. Other than that, we took our kids to outings.


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No expectations
Old 12-07-2017, 01:07 PM
  #11

We lived 7 and 14 driving hours away from our respective families for the first 4 years of DS' life. Now we live 2 hours from his paternal grandparents. The have babysat on occasion, all well planned in advance as 2 hours is too far from impromptu activities.

Growing up, I can remember 1 occasion where my grandparents watched me. Fourth grade, my mom was in the hospital and I would ride the bus to their house and stay until my Dad got off work. And we lived within 2 miles of each other.
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Old 12-07-2017, 01:35 PM
  #12

I agree with Zia.
Parents/grandparents have had their turn raising young families.
I don't think there is an expectation for raising their grandchildren.

I did not live close to my family when my kids were little so I had to quickly figure out how to find trustworthy babysitters or other moms to swap childcare responsibilities.

I live about an hour away from my 2 grandchildren. I am happy to drop everything and help out when DS & DIL need me but distance limits my short notice availability. I wish I could do more but DS & DIL do not expect anything and appreciate everything we are able to do.

We are always invited to anything and everything that involves our grandchildren --- games, school assemblies, dance recitals etc. We try very, very hard to attend every event. Our kids and grandkids come first.
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Old 12-07-2017, 01:45 PM
  #13

Iím very fortunate that my parents live near by. They are retired and wonderful about helping and spending time with my kids. Itís just me so itís a big help. I try not to ask often as I donít want to impose. I know that they have their own lives, friends, commitments, etc. I do not expect their help in any way but Iím grateful for it. Before they moved close by we had a trusted teenage babysitter.
My own grandparents often cared for me when I was a child and I have cherished memories of that time spent with them. I'm glad that my children will have the same.

Last edited by FancyFish; 12-07-2017 at 03:37 PM..
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Family dynamic and distance
Old 12-07-2017, 02:28 PM
  #14

I think you cannot "expect" anything but would hope that nearby family would be involved. My grandmother on my mom's side was wonderful and I LOVED spending weekends with her. She was widowed, so I kept her company. My parents didn't ask her, she asked them.

My mom kept both of my kids during the day before they went to school. She was a stay at home mom to us and was happy to do it so that they weren't in daycare. My parents are very involved and go to all of their games, concerts, etc. but it is their choice. Honestly sometimes I'd like a little peace and quiet!! lol Now that they are 12 and 17 my mom feels like she never sees them anymore even though she does just not as much. I guess I am very lucky from what the consensus seems to be!
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Old 12-07-2017, 03:06 PM
  #15

If your parents can't provide help, sitting, outings the only choice you have is to accept it and find those things from other people.

If your family won't provide help, babysitting or outings it's another thing entirely. It might be time for an honest visit with them and find out what's hindering the relationship. What can you do to resolve the issues? Are they willing to do what it takes to resolve the relationship blocks?

Either situation is painful but both require action on your part. Relationships are tough business and messy but you can deal with this.
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Old 12-07-2017, 03:11 PM
  #16

Well, when ours were born we lived about an hour from DH's parents and about an hour and a half from mine. My parents helped each step of the way and still do. My family including my parents moved to AZ when the kids were 2 & 4. They babysat when the kids each got the chicken pox. I look back and don't know how we did it. My parents attended all of my kid's activities. My dad is so proud that he picked the boys up from day care. We never expected them to do it, we asked.
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Old 12-07-2017, 04:24 PM
  #17

No, I don't think you should expect all that involvement. My parents didn't do any of those things for their grandchildren. They had a nice relationship with them, but it consisted of getting together with the whole family.
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Old 12-07-2017, 04:33 PM
  #18

Iím not a parent but I will say some of my fondest memories are staying with my grandparents and spending time with them. That said, we also had babysitters. They had their lives of their own.
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Old 12-07-2017, 04:33 PM
  #19

When I was raising kids we lived far away from relatives. Over time we used nannies, day care, babysitters and occasionally my Mom flew here to fill in on an emergency basis.

I want to be an involved grandparent so fun field trips, outings and good times wth my grandchildren will be in the picture. I know that grandchildren will be the highlight of our lives.

Hubs and I have talked about what we will do concerning day care when babies arrive. I decided that I will be happy to fill in for occasionally for babysitting or day care but not every day or week. We are young recent retirees, very active and want to travel. We need time to do what we have waited so long to do. Dont get me wrong....if I am needed for any emergencies I will drop whatever I am doing and help out. Just not on a regular basis.
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The kids are YOURS
Old 12-07-2017, 04:46 PM
  #20

Unless you had some sort of clear arrangement with the grandparents before you even became pregnant, you should not EXPECT any particular help from them with the kids. If you (and your spouse) can't handle kids on your own, don't have kids.

Now, grandparents' love and involvement in the children's lives is more than welcome. I don't think that it is possible for a child to have too much love. And grandparents' love tends to be freely given, not dependent on behavior, academics, or a clean bedroom.

If they offer to babysit, and you want them to care for the children, accept with gratitude--and consider paying (or funding a special trip or ...).

When our kids were young, my mother told me she would not be our babysitter. Most of those early years, I was a stay-at-home mom and we hired a sitter when we wanted to go out (or used a babysitting coop I belonged to). However, they were available for emergencies, such as taking #1 in the middle of the night when I went into labor with #2. We saw them often and our grown kids are still close to their one remaining grandparent.

If parents can't (live too far, health issues, working themselves) or don't want to be highly involved with your kids, you accept it. You make sure, to the best of your ability, that the occasions when you are together go well for everyone. You make phone calls, send cards, skype. And you hire a child care provider (or find a good child care center) and take care of the children that you decided to have.
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I live 3 hours
Old 12-07-2017, 05:07 PM
  #21

Away from family so I could never ask for help. Iíve managed just fine and DS is a wonderful 21 year old.

My coworker/friend at school has always lived 5 minutes from her folks and has always EXPECTED her parents to help a lot with her 2 teenage kids. In fact, she gets angry if they donít or canít.

Life would have been a bit easier had I lived closer to my folks but Iím the one who got a job 200 miles away. Itís all good!
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From both sides
Old 12-07-2017, 06:20 PM
  #22

We lived across the driveway on the same farm from hubby's parents. Sometimes they babysat (especially for very short periods of 2 hours or so), but as the 4 boys got older and more active, we hired babysitters. They were older grandparents, so the boys were rambunctious. And they wouldn't come to our house to sit, so bedtimes were problematic. Long story.

Flip side now. I watch my three local grandkids when parents go on vacation or out to dinner (if I'm available). If I am not subbing, I will watch sick kids. I usually go to their house. The three that live 3 1/2 hours away get me a few times a year when their parents manage to get away for a weekend. My two NJ grands get their abuela, as she watches youngest son's kids while the parents are at work. They usually find a reason to escape for at least one afternoon/evening so I get them alone (only one so far, the other is 2 weeks old).

This may sound weird, because I adore my grandchildren, but sometimes I wish the local kids had another sitter more often. They have a couple of sitters for short periods, but prefer me if they are going to be out late. It can be tiring if it is too often. I admire my NJ DIL's mom, because I don't think I could do it daily.
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Old 12-08-2017, 03:15 AM
  #23

Hmmm...my parents and in laws help us out a lot! I canít imagine raising DS without them to be honest. That is just how our families work. I remember spending Monday-Friday with my grandparents when I was little. I ate dinner with them every night, not my parents. They were working. Ds eats with me and dh every night but he sees my parents every day. They are at my house every morning getting him ready for school and drop him off for me. I am so thankful for my parents and in laws.
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Old 12-08-2017, 03:36 AM
  #24

My parents raised me without grandparents helping/babysitting because of distance. My husband, however, was raised by his grandmother so his mother and father could work. It has created tension because we don't allow my in-laws to parent our kids in the way my husband and his sibling were raised. I think it is odd when parents become too dependent and grandparents end up co-parenting with grandchildren. I like parenting my own kids.
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Old 12-08-2017, 06:55 AM
  #25

I donít think you should expect it. Theyíre your kids. But if you do get some help, appreciate it. Our first grandchild will be here in a few months. I canít wait to help out! But itís not my obligation to do it.
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It's...
Old 12-08-2017, 07:19 AM
  #26

It's really hard to not to be a jelly hater when you have little ones...

Your mom is dead.
Your dad has checked out for his own reasons.
You in-laws had a brain fart moving 400 miles away for no other reason other than why not.
You brother and sister's lives are an on going tire fire and can't help.

And you see/hear other mom's talking about their wonderful relationships with their moms/MIL/extended families. Baby sitting, paying for extras, just coming over to take the kids for a few hours. It's hard not to get stabby

Then you think which part of Karma is biting you in the butt for having so little stinking support.

Life is not fair and we can't control others. Parents had a life before you were born. Some love the nurturing gig. Some feel like they put their 20 odd years and that's a wrap. It's me time. Me time means I'm done with poopy diapers, snotty noses and screaming.

I paid for baby sitters and juggled schedules. My really good friends helped me out with my DD. Not any different if I moved to New Zealand with DD.

If you are out living your life, and making your own adult choices, I don't see why you would expected parental help. Unless you and them had a discussion when the kids came along they would be totally there for you. Even then, situations change (health/money) and people who promise suddenly can't make good.

I hear more and more parents yodeling about MIA/selfish grandparents. I think social media distorts expectations. My two grandmothers only saw me on major holidays and an occassional birthday. One was too damn sick to worry about grandkids (in and out of ICU), the other was busy vacationing in Florida 8 out of 12 months. This was in the 1970s.

Also when much is given, much is expected. Sometimes all that fabulous help comes with golden hand cuffs. I have friends who will spend their time holidays under the thumbs of their moms and MILs.

I'd rather do my own thing. Golden handcuffs suck.
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Old 12-09-2017, 06:29 PM
  #27

If you have asked for help and have always been a helper to your parents, then when you need help and none is provided,there may be a problem. If you have always been independent,not ever that receptive of your parent's needs and now you expect help and outings for your child, that is a problem too.

Ideally,all family members should be fully willing to help no matter the issue however all family members should understand reciprocity is a 2 way street.
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