I've never really had the privilege of Grandparents that look after my children. So when (on the rare occasion) they do look after them it always fills me with dread. I feel as if we've asked for the earth. I also lay the law down with my children almost threatening and bribing them to be the most delightful children ever (no pressure there then- ha). Their grandparents proceed to spoil them rotten and swiftly hand them back. The relief once the ordeal is over is immense. So grandparents for us are a last resort.
How lucky she is to have grandma there to take care of the children. Mine did but occasionnaly and it was such a luxury when they did ... be good for your nana ... is something I said. If you have the support of grandparents on a regular basis I should imagine working life ... as a woman is easier ... I always felt frazzled getting them to the nursery then picking yo after school clubs ... especially working in an institution where the workload was huge and I was expected to be there from early in the morning until late.
I suppose having regular family support ... both emotionally and practically ... can really help ... but often i found i was trying to cope alone. I have my husband, but I didn't want to put pressure on him ... I sort of just got through. If working life would have been less demanding and the people I worked with in terms of management more supportive of family and offering some flexibility that woukd have helped. But there was no flexibility at all ... when you are balancing it all ... and PhD study ... it does no doubt make you stronger and you did deep inside for every reserve ... but as a mother, wife, worker and back when my girms were younger PhD student ... having more support would have made it easier. But my mum had me at 16 and we are in many ways more like sisters and with that brings a different way which is not regular childcare and emotional support. But the love is there so with that maybe that is sometimes enough ...
The notion of the extended family being geographical situated is problematic ... mt husband's family are located on the other side of the country and we see them around 2 - 3 times a year. It always great ... but would have been helpful to have them nearer ... but life is life ... and we deal with what we uave ... grandma care or not
Bless you - how strong are you! X
I would be totally lost without my parents being able to pick up their grand children from school, take to birthday parties and attend school plays. I work freelance hours, no work no pay! 14 weeks holidays is the most difficult time and so without the grandparents taking on the childcare for me, I would not be able to continue my work or study.
Yes my parents have always been incredibly supportive and I moved house to be only a few miles away from them we started our family, just for those purposes. One of my sisters was a childminder so looked after all my children when I started back to work part time. That network feels like a cushion and a cheer squad all at the same time. When the children were little there was no way I could do this sort of job without their support. In fact when I think back I've delayed my masters and PhD for when my children were all in secondary school, before then I think I wouldn't have had the brain space. Although my husband did his PhD when the children were little and I look back and wonder why that was the case! But really I know why, I wanted to be there for my children when they were young just like my mum had been for me, it feels like I repay her when I take that role. Getting weepy thinking about all this!
My parents have done school drop offs, after school collections and holiday care when needed since I returned to work. When I was pregnant we discussed options and there was no way my mum was going to let anyone other than her look after them! I am so grateful that she wants and is able to do this as I haven't really had to worry that my children are ok when I am working. Generally my 2 are good for Grandma (thank goodness)!!
This is an interesting scenario as I have experience from both perspectives.
When my first child was born I could not have survived without my Mum. I was a single parent and in order to work I needed childcare. (The options for childcare in 1978 were very limited.) I have a brother who is much younger than me and he had only just started school so I felt very guilty that my Mum had to give up her new found freedom to look after her Granddaughter. I also felt really upset at leaving Jacquie, but took comfort in the fact that she would be well looked after. Feeling secure with a trusted carer is essential for all working mums. Of all my children, Jacquie has the strongest bond with her Grandma which is lovely and the silver lining to that early dark cloud.
As a Grandma I love looking after my Grandchildren and the bond we have is extra special. Being a Grandma is not without guilt as I do not have as much time to give them as I would like to as I work full time in a demanding job and have 2 teenage daughters who also need me. Jacquie has a wonderful mother-in-law who provides childcare for Ava 2 days a week and picks up Ellis from school every day. I feel very envious (jealous/guilty) that I cannot provide this support for her. Shelly has just returned to work and has a childminder for Bobby. I was shocked at the cost of full time care and feel very guilty that I cannot offer the regular help that she needs although I have been able to look after Bobby in the school holidays as the child minder is term time only. I do provide lots of support, babysit often, help with sports events etc and LOVE sleepovers but there is as much guilt in being a Grandma as there is in being a Mum. Having the opportunity to share so much love as a family is worth it.
I never had any family members near by enough to help out with childcare - on the very rare occasion they did it was always made clear that it was a bit of a burden and the logistics of getting the children there and picking them up negated any benefit. I think I was really lucky as negotiating for my husband to change his schedule was not contentious (though not always possible) and he took a full part in looking after our children - but this didn't always work. I did have wonderful friends who were in similar positions and we would share our childcare, it meant that we all always had someone's children but also that at real pinch points there was always a fall back.
I too have this from two perspectives - as a working mother I could not rely on parents as my mother passed away when I was 18 and my father and his new wife lived in a remote part of Scotland, whilst my husband's parents lived 3 hours away. Initially I arranged someone by recommendation and remember I took my son round to their home and walked straight out with my son after cutting through the thick cigarette smoke!
My husband often travelled abroad with work with his offices in Yorkshire, Birmingham and London, so was unable to help. Fortunately I found someone who has become a lifelong friend - a mate - who looked after him for me. Fortunately working in a school did make things easier but very stressful times. As a working grandma I love picking up and taking the children to school - but this is very rare - because I work - but I don't think it is something that I would want to do regularly anyway - I like the novelty of it. My daughter in law does not work - and is choosing to wait until the fourth one is old enough before starting work herself and my daughter works in a nursery and is able to drop off and pick up her children.
I find this the hardest of all 'guilt issues'. This is mainly due to the upbringing I have had and the relationship I have with my remaining parent. I am in the position that I look after three children on my own but had, perceived or otherwise, virtually no support. My mother doesn't work, never has, but it too tired and/or busy to have my children unless it is an absolute last resort and I will turn myself in knots to not have to have any child care I haven't paid for. I have to admit a flash of jealousy when I see wonderful grandparents having their grandchildren because they enjoy their company not because they have had their arms twisted.
My mother-in-law looked after my two children for one day a week when they were little which brought a whole new level of guilt..I don't think I would have felt so guilty if it had been my own mother? I would have loved my parents to be involved (and they would happily have helped) but geography being what it is, this scenario wasn't possible. Grandparents can be such a great support and this set up seems to work well if everyone is really clear about expectations. I wish my mum and dad lived closer...
I have been extremely fortunate to have not one but two sets of grandparents who saved us a fortune with childcare. My two are 7 and 10 and grandparents still help with after school care. They are amazing at weekends too when needed. They have the children to slee over and never make me feel like it is a chore.
I did struggle with this initially- feeling so guilty at asking th to babysit ever when they had looked after them whilst we worked . Hating that they had to be part of 'bringing them up' but as the years have gone on, I feel less guilt. I know they love their grandkids and I can trust that the kids behave- possibly because they have been so instrumental in raising them.
Some grandparents seem so much busier these days; indeed, many are still working. I have really fond memories of being with my Gran and spending time with her. I don't think she saw it as a chore to spend time with us-we built strong ties with her like this. I don't know-the whole pace of life seems to have changed...
My experience of my parents' support with my child was actually associated not with my working week, but with the weekend. I managed to cope during the working week with the help of a nanny, who collected my daughter from school at 2pm and looked after her till 6pm, when I was back from work. So I did not have any feeling of guilt during the week, as my daughter and I managed to have time together every night, sharing our daily news and watching movies. However, the weekends were difficult! By the end of the working week I felt so tired that taking my daughter to my parents every Friday night was like a holiday for me, while for my daughter it was not a particularly pleasant experience. My parents were old school and very strict, so being there probably felt for my daughter like being in prison. These were the moments when I definitely experienced a strong feeling of guilt, as I felt selfish, subjecting my daughter to my parents' authoritative regime. Nevertheless, emotionally I felt so exhausted after a working week that my need to recuperate overpowered my feelings of guilt and frustration.
My parents are elderly so I haven't asked them to look after my child. I have had one emergency however where they travelled 180 miles to take my child to school because my child's father had gone awol and I had already taken too much time off at work or rearranged things too often. I felt I couldn't do it another time for fear of looking even more incompetent or fear of management using it as an opportunity to manipulate me out of certain roles.
As for the phrase be good for grandma - it has never been an issue with my parents but the inlaws are different. I think they expect a child to be seen and not heard but my child is not like that. My child is vibrant, creative and talkative. So although polite, perhaps not good enough for grandma's expectations at times which is a mine field I am currently negotiating
My mum always encouraged me to do further education and would help out when she could as my family were far away. My daughter enjoyed being with her nan, so I felt comfortable leaving. I usually said 'have fun and enjoy your day' and not 'be good for grandma' as i knew it would be ok. We only had one incident when my daughter refused to give back nan her handkerchief and it took a while for my daughter to hand it over. My mum told me about it and we ended up all laughing.
Well, my first child was "torn"from me and I was forced to take my first night out when he was a couple of weeks old. This was one of the few times I ever left him. I never had the luxury of grandparents wanting to help. My best friend helped but I was never comfortable to leave him for any length of time. I was back in work full time when he was 12 weeks old (bad old days) he's 20 now. Anyway, grandma was never a luxury for me! Childminder and now much appreciated Denise Lawton however, was my life saver ... and me hers at times. We found a friendship in difficult times for both of us.
I have been extremely lucky to have my parents to look after my children, no other babysitters were ever needed only family members were involved in their care! This did make life a lot more bearable when I needed to spend so many months in hospital with my eldest! I only had to worry about a few school runs!! I realise that this is getting extremely rare now as literally everyone works right through to retirement!
I feel a twinge of sadness that my mum died before my son was born. I envy when I see people whose parents are happily involved with their children. I became a single mum when my son was 4 months old, and my in-laws weren't an option at that time either. As a result, I cultivated a network of other single mums around me and found support that way. But I do still secretly wish things had been different...
I would be lost without my parents as I know my son is always in good hands with them. They don't have him often so I dont feel guilty when have him.
Not a parent and not a granny so my views are only as an onlooker. I do see many of my contemporaries heavily involved in child care from which I have no doubt they gain huge fulfilment, some though, however much they enjoy the task, do hint that they feel that they HAVE to offer support - I wonder if there's another source of guilt for grandparents! There was an interesting item on Woman's Hour this morning about families who move abroad and the effect the separation has on grandparents. One woman said she felt guilty about the effect her decision would have on the grandparents. Phew - so many sources of guilt!
My parents never offered to help and having had children late, they were probably too old to want to. I am sure that they would have stepped in in an emergency but were never keen to have very little ones without me. I do remember when I moved nearer to them when I was expecting my second child I was asked how often was I expecting to see them. This is not to say that they have not been loving and supporting to my children - they just don't want to be burdened with looking after them.
I feel this image stirs many emotions within. Firstly I would always envy those women who had their mothers to turn to, cook for, watch the children. This would create resentment for my mum who moved to another country when my four sisters and I started to reproduce. My dad lived away so my three boys never had those 'sugar induced sleepovers' with grandparents and I felt upset as they deserved to experience the closeness and security I had done as a child.
This then added to the roles I felt I had to try and create, as they don't have a decent father figure and they are with me most of the time. I struggle daily with different mindsets "let them have it, they don't get spoilt by a grandparent" or " they need extra cuddles or affection as they don't get it from anyone else" then there's " you need to model patience and control as you don't want them growing up spoilt and lacking in life skills". Although I acknowledge this image and can relate it to personal feelings I also believe my own inner strength and determination to be succesful is grately due to having no other option. And children will grow and develop dispite the number of adults that they have regular contact with. As long as those adults remain consistent and showing them they are loved.
I get most help with my children from my mum and feel guilt on all fronts. She works full time but still helps out every week, which means she's often having to rush around herself. Then as I'm so busy I don't get to spend time with her and sometime feel like I treat her as a babysitter instead of a mum or nan. On the positive side, my children have a very close relationship with their Nan and I know that she loves spending time with them. I've promised I'll look after her when she's an old lady 😉
I had to manage without regular childcare from my mother but whenever I was desperate, she would travel across from quite a distance away. My children loved having her and used to tease her and build forts with her inside. I would spend the whole time away worrying about what mischief was being caused. These experiences, whilst rare, left such lovely memories and were recalled fondly fairly recently when my Mum died. Now I am a Grandma, semi retired and with two grandchildren about 30 miles away, I get across whenever I can. My daughter fully understands that I am back up childcare, and not regular childcare, as I have friends who are very tied to childcare and this would not suit our situation, not least because of the travelling. I feel that I do need to be a little selfish, having brought up 3 children on my own for years, which overlapped with a good 18-20 years looking after an elderly mother. I do think women carry many responsibilities. It was a privilege to bring up my children and to look after and look out for my Mum, but I used to be exhausted! Now, life is more leisurely.
I consider myself fortunate that my parents have readily provided invaluable childcare. However, it is not without my feelings of 'guilt'. I am appreciative of their support, my sibling on the other hand takes my parents for granted when it comes to childcare.
We've had to manage with no routine family support, which can be lonely at times, especially when the kids were small and partner also suffered bout of depression and I was caring for him too. But, making connections and support networks with other parents in a similar position has really helped. All my emergency contacts on school forms are friends, rather than familyl.