This topic contains 9 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Stillrunning 2 months, 1 week ago.
June 7, 2018 at 3:02 pm #756163
I’ll try and keep this as short as possible… my mom lives about 8 hours away, and has always enjoyed coming to visit on a regular basis and watching our kids. She used to stay with my dad, but he died about 18 months ago, so now she stays with us. She also raises my 18 month old nephew about 80% of the time. She’s a very healthy 66 year old woman but is definitely starting to show her age. She continues to want to come up and watch both of my kids for full days, especially over the summer when they’re on breaks (we have not asked her to do this, as we’re fortunate that while summer care is expensive for two kiddos, we’re comfortably able to afford it).
It has gotten to a point where it’s just not sustainable any longer because she’s simply not able to care for 3 young children for prolonged periods of time, especially our 5 year old. He’s very easy going at home, and we’ve never received any complaints from other care providers, so I’m not sure what the problem is, but I do know that it’s not working.
I don’t really know how to have this conversation with her though. Our relationship has been very fraught, as she has a very challenging personality, and has very poor relationships with both of my sisters. My oldest sister hasn’t spoken to her since our dad died (this sister and I are very close), and my sister doesn’t plan on ever communicating/seeing her again. She is immensely defensive and has an incredible mean streak.
I would love any helpful advice! Thank you!June 7, 2018 at 3:42 pm #756171
I’d of course just phrase it as nice as possible, “mom, we are so grateful that you have watched the kids and want to. Suzy is a bit of a handful these days and i see it’s just a bit too much for you”. Even if Suzy isn’t a handful. Sounds like that’s the nicest you can say it and she just may get mad. People who act that way you just can’t controm it. You just can do the right thing on your side.June 7, 2018 at 4:24 pm #756185
Can you make it not about her? Commit the kids to camp or something and just say that they really like it, you want them to go swimming, etc?June 7, 2018 at 4:38 pm #756187
Can you instead plan a time to take a long weekend from work and take the kids to see her over the summer? This way she doesn’t have to drive 8 hours, she gets time with the kids but you also get to be there.
Forgot to add, that this way if she brings up coming and watch your kids for days that you can say that’s unnecessary but they’re really looking forward to seeing her in such and such amount of days/weeks.June 7, 2018 at 7:01 pm #756207
What about hiring a nanny or a sitter who can be there with her, when she comes?
You can ask the sitter to focus on your 5 year old and handle maybe…chores and let grandma do as much as she wants.
I have had to learn to just look out for my own (and then my immediate family’s) best interests. I have a very fraught relationship with my mother that’s not getting any better. It’s hard and awkward and might make her act out, but just tell her explicitly, “No mom, that doesn’t work for me.”June 7, 2018 at 8:08 pm #756220
At a certain point, though, when someone is very difficult, you do have to accept that sometimes you can’t please them unless you just give in on everything. And child care isn’t something that you should really give in on just because someone is difficult.
There are lots of ideas about how to handle this indirectly, but if those don’t work, then you may have to give yourself permission to do what’s best and not take responsibility for her not being able to accept that.June 7, 2018 at 8:40 pm #756226
Yeah, allow her into your functioning family life only on your terms.June 8, 2018 at 10:14 am #756334
Aww. I am so sorry. This seems like a hard boat to row whichever way you choose to go. But it does seem like a kind explanation of how you guys are feeling is best… maybe making sure to include she is free to visit every other weekend or whatever you are comfortable with. You and the kids could possibly visit her once a month to lessen the shock of the change. Good luck!June 9, 2018 at 5:54 pm #756579
Thank you for all of the suggestions! I have already started the kind/more subtle ideas, and am hoping they work. If not, I’ll just have to be more direct.
We do try and get down to visit her at least once a year, but for various reasons, that’s not an option this summer.
I would be okay generally just speaking to her occasionally via text, but she is generally a good grandma, and I try and keep the relationship up for my kids as much as possible. Not to mention, we are able to keep our nephew while she goes out to do things when she stays at our house, which my kids love, and it gives her a break.
Thanks again.June 9, 2018 at 11:34 pm #756601
Does the incredible mean streak apply to the sister or mother? If it’s your mother, then I wouldn’t leave her alone with children. If it’s not mom, then let her down easy and do what you think is best for your kids.