Could use some advice - FamilyEducation
Could use some advice
12/10/2007 at 15:05 PM

Hi all,

My daughter, her husband and my three gorgeous grandchildren ages 4, 3 and 11 months, will be visiting for Christmas soon. I could use some advice here....

When they visited for Thanksgiving for five days, and on previous visits, my daughter pretty much leaves everything up to me and/or her husband, when he comes up with them,  in regards to her children. I enjoy and love my grandkids very very much, but would rather have my time with them spent laughing and playing... not disciplining and cleaning up after them. Am I wrong to think she should take care of their meeses and stuff? When she is here she sits and reads or naps 85% of the time. I do not know how to tell her to do the mom thing so I can enjoy the Grandma thing. She is quick to anger, and I am afraid that if I do not do this correctly she may get angry and withhold the kids from me altogether. I live 300 miles from the grandkids and only get to see them a few times a year as it is.


It sounds to me like your daughter may be exhausted and/or depressed.  I remember when I was exhausted with a 3 year-old.  She took off running at the cafeteria where we were grabbing lunch, and all I could do was yell at her to get back here, like a bad mother in a TV show, I was just too tired to get up and do something about it. 


Start pointing out what she needs to do. She is taking advantage of the situation. She is not exhausted or depressed, she is handing off her duty to you.


I tend to agree with what someone else said about her being exhausted. I used to feel like that when I'd get around other people after being alone with my child all the time and I only had one. She has 3 little ones so she probably is pretty tired. If you feel like you are being  taken advantage of and are worried about what she might say then maybe you should approach it from the, "hey I know you must be exhausted having three of them", or "I know it must be nice to get a break", but "I could really use your help a little  bit in looking after the kids." The naps she is taking she probably never gets regularly. Once we have children people don't want to see us anymore they want to see our kids. ha ha She might not even realize that she is leaving everything to you persay. She goes off to do her thing and lets you spend time with them. Part of that is disciplining and cleaning up after them. But you are right, you shouldn't have to do all of that. If she's a stay at home mom and this is the only break she gets maybe it's suppose to be her husband who is doing this looking after and he's falling short. I think as long as you approach it in a way that isn't accusing her, but more of a I need more help with these things she'll be receptive. You may even want to approach her husband first and see what he says. 


 But you are right, you shouldn't have to do all of that. If she's a stay at home mom and this is the only break she gets maybe it's suppose to be her husband who is doing this looking after and he's falling short.

  Is Dad a stay at home deadbeat dad? This is her break and Dad is suppose to be taking care of the kids? I guess Dad does nothing. Oh wait if she is a stay at home mom that must mean dad works , which enables her to be a stay at home mom. I was a stay at home Dad with two toddlers. I wish I could go back to it. Now I am the custodial parent with both kids. When there is something that needs to be done there is no time for naps or reading a book. Its 10 pm and I have lunches made for tomorrow, laundry is done, and dishes from dinner are put away. I'm ready for bed, but not exhausted,or depressed. Your opinion is so one sided. Why is it so hard to believe that Mom is taking advantage of the situation? It cant be that mom is slacking. It must be a clinical diagnosis of exhaustion or depression. And if that doesnt work , well then it must be the husband. Lets just be clear here, mom is taking advantage of being back home, and is expecting the grandmaother to take care of things.


I never said she couldn't be taking advantage....if you re-read my post I clearly listed many possibilities. I don't mean clinically depressed...I don't think I even ever said she was depressed. I said she was tired. It's hard to raise 3 little ones. If she is a stay at home mom and dad does work that means he gets less time with the kids than she does. How could it be so impossible to believe that they have worked something out to where dad does more hands on things with the kids when he's home and they have vacations together, etc since she does it all the time? This is IF she's a stay at home mom. If they both work then clearly dad should be sharing this disciplining role with her anyway. Like I said I just mentioned it as a possibility. And if she is taking advantage of it the grandmother mentioned not wanting to anger her. I was just offering her a couple ways to approach it so the daughter doesn't feel like she's being attacked even if she is in the wrong. 


Wow... thanks all... lots of insights here. She is not a stay at home mom, she and her husband both work. The husband also voluntarilly teaches karate to under-privelaged kids twice a week. My daughter teaches Sunday school once a week... so yes, I appreciate that she is busy and could be tired, but at home she has lots of help. Her husband is a very hands on father, and his Mother is at their home several times a week. When they visit, if I am not in the room, he does the diaper changing and stuff. The gal that watches the children while they work also cleans my daughter's home daily. So... I do not think it is exhaustion. I just think it is general attitude. I will try the gentle approach I guess, and see what happens.


I hope it all works out for you. I think if you take the gentle approach but be firm she'll be receptive. Start going to her every time there is a mess or whatever and maybe she'll get the picture. Do you spend any time with her while she's there? Just curious. Maybe you could do things with her and the kids. Also is it just you and her family or are there lots of you? I know from our family get togethers (20+ people in one house for a weekend) it's hard telling where the kids are at any given time cause they are running all over and every one in the house is disciplining the kids. Whoever happens to be there when it happens is on duty. ha ha Happy Holidays!


Thanks Trisscity! Happy Holidays to you too!!! In the evenings after the little ones are down for the night when she visits, she and I usually sit in my hot tub together for some Mommy daughter time. I love that! When they come, it is usually her, her hubby, the three little ones, plus my other daughter and son (ages 20 and 16) my husband, my two dogs, my cat and she usually brings her dog up with them (Chaotic... but over-all I love it.) Problem is... no matter what the kids are doing or where they are at, if they are into mischeif, it seems I am the only one that pays much attention. Occasionally I'll tell my son-in-law something like ,"The kids are near the pond outside and I am trying to cook... a little help please." He will go check it out once in a while, but more often than not I am the one trying to do everything at once... I have tried that approach to my daughter and as if she was still a 13 year old... well... it's like she doesn't hear me. I am convinced that the notorious "teen-age selective hearing" never goes away! In any case.... thank you and to everyone else here. This board is becoming my link to sanity! You all rock!


Kudos to you SnglDad! You sound like a wonderful father.... much like my son-in-law. I was a single mom for a long time and can appreciate all the work you put into your kids and keeping things running smoothly in the home so they have a loving stable environment. Way to go! Happy Holidays to you!



That is so kool how u bound with your grandchildern


I raised two children, worked two jobs and owned my own business with my husband. You want to talk tired. I was tired and depressed. But the one thing I didn't put off in the hands of someone else was the raising of my children. And with all that to do my husband and I still managed to be there for our kids. Don't tell me it can't be done. You want to use depression and being tired as an excuse for not taking care of your own child, stupid concept. Seems these days we all want children, but no one wants to raise them. They would rather place them with the Grandparents so they can read books, and take naps. How sad, this mother is lazy and this group sees room to make excuses for her laziness. I'm disappointed. And it should have been the Father and Mother setting the ground rules while visiting, Grandma and Grandpa’s house, not the Grandmother and father. Where is the backbone of parenthood these days?

GPK It sounds like you have lots of life experience to offer on this board. Welcome!

I don't recall making excuses for her laziness.

GPK, I have to agree w/ you to an extent. There shld be no excuse for not taking care of your own children's needs, especially at someone else's house. I'm curious what this mom's upbringing was like. Was she spoiled and tip-toed around every time she threw a tantrum, or was the family just disfunctional? We can't totally rule out depression, though. I've seen it first hand in my family. It's debilitating. I always wished my father wld do the things he said he wanted to do, but he just cldn't get himself motivated. I know that sounds ridiculous, but unless you experience it first hand, you really don't know how bad things can get. All the signs are there. In my opinion, this mom is either extremely spoiled, or she is truly depressed. This hit home for me when the grandma said she's quick to anger. Either way, I agree that it was wrong to have the grandparents doing all her dirty work. That's not fair to them at all. There's just not enough info given about this woman's upbringing and her current situation to determine what's really going on w/ her. Maybe the focus shld be on not so much what's wrong w/ her, but on how we can help her improve. I know some people will say she can get off her butt, while others may feel she needs counceling. Any thoughts?