Issue with inconsistent grandparent visits/childcare
07/03/2012 at 21:57 PM

Hey everyone, just joined up, and I'm looking for some advice.

My wife and I are both full-time/Monday to Friday people. My wife's mother has graciously offered to help us out on most days of the week with childcare for our 3 year old.

My own parents have offered to help out one day, as well.

In the case of my mother-in-law, she has taken a 'sick day' once in the last 2 years of helping us out, and has generally been easy to work with (save for the usual MIL issues - she's not Mary Poppins, but she's damned close).

In the case of my parents, they've just recently (last 3-4 months) taken on the once-a-week help, as well, but I think their view of it differs wildly from ours.

While my MIL is retired, and helping us a great deal, my own parents are 'semi-retired' - my mother is down to 'just' one job, with Tues/Weds off, and my father works 2 days a week, as well.

Where my MIL sees what she does as childcare for us, and takes it very seriously, my own parents seem to see it more as a 'visit', and have been kind of inconsistent with it (calling up 4 days prior, telling us they 'can't do it', etc...), while knowing that we both work, and my MIL is busy the one day she doesn't do childcare during the week.

While I greatly appreciate the help my own parents provide, it's frustrating that they don't seem to understand that, to my wife and I, this is our solution for childcare, though I've told them as much. My mother's response was 'well you just need a backup plan!'.

It doesn't appear to me as though they have the same mindset regarding this as my wife and I, and I find it frustrating and difficult to deal with - on one hand, any help is appreciated. On the other hand, unreliable scheduling makes for a difficult navigation, especially with a 3 year old, and it causes stress whenever this happens (usually once a month). Add to this the fact that my parents seem to still view me (33 years old) as a 'their child' as opposed to 'an adult', and speak to me as such in this matter, and I'm having a hard time here.

It's obviously a stress to myself and my wife, and I need to try and get some perspective here. While I don't want to sever ties with my parents (we've got twins on the way right now, and they've offered to help when they arrive), I really need them to take a more serious view of what childcare means to myself and my wife.

Can anyone recommend any pointers here? My relationship with my parents has always been one of 'we're right because we're the parents', and at this point, I'm getting really frustrated, and I don't know if they can appreciate that.

Thanks in advance,