It starts with the actual giving birth process. Were you with a partner or with your mum, or with both? (my mum wasn’t there, in case you were wondering.) Then comes the days after and the support offered by your parents during this hazy period where I was genuinely terrified by the size of my boobs; did they come bearing dishes of cooked food, ready to put ten loads of washing on or just take the baby for 30 minutes so you could have a shower? How much did they do? How much should they do?Sam and I were incredibly fortunate in that we received a lot of support from both sets of parents in the early days, and after I returned to work both with Jack and then with Sonny, the boys were cared for 1 day a week by each set of grandparents – such a wonderful gift from them, meaning they could bond with the boys and it of course saved us substantial cash on childcare fees. It was also a huge source of some stress relief as I knew Jack and Sonny were in great hands and I didn’t need to worry about being 5 minutes late at the end of the day if a meeting overran. Our parents became our first port of call for babysitting and when we went away without the kids for a wedding last Summer, they were the ones who stepped up and took care of our children for four nights. Four nights! That’s a lot, hey? Or is it? Where do you draw the line? What should we expect? These days, my in laws still look after the kids one day a week and my parents help out sporadically; but it’s sort of become a grey area, if I’m honest. Whilst both of our parents are fit and get all over the place, they’re busy (my parents run their own business) and they have their own lives, and our mums both have their own mums to care for as well as of course other siblings. In so many way, their lives are so much busier than ours and yet we expect them to help us with our children. Mainly, I’m just extremely grateful for any support we get.
And yet, I’ve got friends whose parents will drop everything to help out with their grandkids.
There’s definitely no one rule for all and it’s so dependent on circumstances. And then of course outsourcing childcare to family members brings its own’ issues : my use of reusable nappies on Sonny go out the window, for example.
How much help did your child’s grandparents provide? How much do you rely on your parents? Do you think we depend more on our grandparents than we should? I’d love to hear your opinions!
Thanks for reading, Emma xxx
I’m so glad you brought this issue up as I’ve been thinking about it lately. My mum has my daughter one day a week and I have a 6 month old too so it really helps. Mother in law is about one afternoon a week too. There’s the odd sparadic pop in here and there which is nice. Basically though I feel bad to ask for any more. They both have their elderly mum’s to look after too, and their own lives. I wish I could have more help but then feel guilty as I know so many mum’s amazingly, somehow, do it all; some times completely on their own. I ask; is this better? Although harder they must be stronger..? Should we be doing everything ourselves? Or what about communities where all family members live together? I guess my nagging question to myself that keeps rearing it’s head is; why can’t I do it all?
I’ve never had any help from my family my in-laws live fairly close by but are not family orientated in the slightest and my mum isn’t in a position to help due to her age a d health, so it’s always just been me hubby and the two kids. This has meant that my husband and I haven’t been out together alone in over seven years, if I’m ill or need to be somewhere there’s no one to take or pick up the kids, school holidays can leave me beyond exhausted and mentally hammered. But we make it work (because we have to) I very quickly learnt that I have to prioritize myself and carve out lots of time for self care even just 5 minutes to have a coffee and listen to a song in the kitchen, and to make the most of anytime I have to myself even if it’s just sitting and enjoying some silence, sometimes I feel like a terrible mother for stuff like giving them to much screen time or fish fingers and chips for tea 2 nights in a row, or scrolling through my phone when they’re talking at me but I know my limitations and I can’t be “on” all the time My husband and I have an amazing bond and work really hard on engaging with each other and giving each other time off at the weekends. It has caused a bit of a bad feeling and bitterness towards the grandparents like the time my in laws had made plans to go to the theater so couldn’t watch my son when i gave birth to my daughter which meant I was alone at the hospital whilst hubs stayed home with my son. Sometime I can feel really resentful towards other mums who have grandparents on hand to lighten their load but I’m genuinely happy to be around my kids all the time and can honestly say I am freaking awesome (even when I’m failing)
ah i love you Jess! you ARE freaking awesome, and i love that you know that (and i hope – im sure he does – your hubby does too) sounds like you are an amazing team together and i bet your kids are a real example to all the hard work you’ve put in. And it matters ZERO AMOUNTS that they have fish fingers two nights in row, it sounds like they have love in abundance. thanks for reading and for being here x
Aww thanks Emma, I only discovered your little slice of the internet a week or so ago and your whole vibe and attitude to life, parenting, and charity shops is so refreshing xxx
yay! so good to have you here 🙂
We don’t have any regular help (both my parents have passed away-although they wouldn’t have been able/wanted to help anyway). I never met my mother in law. My father in law is elderly and has Parkinson’s so he’s not able to help practically. I feel sad when other people get lots of help, and when I see children have that bond with someone other than a parent. But you have to learn to deal with what life throws at you I suppose. I think having lots of grandparent time is good, as long as the parents appreciate it.
thanks for sharing your story sarah and yes, everyone has such particular stories don’t they. im sorry you never got to meet your mother in law and that you own parents weren’t around but im sure you have such a strong immediate family bond. thanks for reading and for being here x x