How much should a grandmother help with her daughters 4 children under 9???

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Kelly Kappen, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. Kelly Kappen

    Kelly Kappen Guest

    My daughter lives in another state. She has 4 children, boy 9, girl 7,
    twin boys 4. The twins start kindergarten next week. I have gone to her home and helped in different years and stayed 3 mons, 9 mons,
    10 mons, 6 mons! She has her hands full, the grandfather lives there on the dad's side - it is a large new home. She has to help with all their homework when they get home. Last night she came home from an aftn birthday party with the kids and both kitchen sinks were overflowing with pots and pans, the husband will not ever lift a finger to anything and gets mad if the home is too messy. My problem is that when I go there and daily clean the entire home, dishes and kitchen and keep things picked up all during the day, then she will sit down at the computer most ALL the entire day (on Moms Clubs chats on Facebook). Once last time I was there, seeing she hadn't done anything or picked up one thing in 3 full weeks, I said to her that I came there to HELP her and not to DO ALL her work for her, I didn't come to be a housekeeper, I came to merely "help/assist" her. About 4 times in 6 mons she'll get sarcastic for no reason, and I tell her that she doesn't talk to her friends that way, why me? And she replies that it's because I'm her mom. I've been away (1200 miles) for 9 mons now and because school is starting in 2 weeks, she wants me there again because she is totally overwhelmed, totally. I love being there, absolutely love it because I love each of the kids so, so, so much! I just do not like the fact that I work so hard from 6 a.m. to 7 pm every single day and don't get a single bit of help from my daughter. She picks the kids up from school, takes them to activities every day, faithfully helps them each with their homework - so she is good with the kids in those things. She also makes the meals in the evening for the family. I miss my grandchildren so very much, horribly much, but if I go there again, like she wants me to immediately, I'm afraid I will just be a housekeeper all day long, every day, not even having time to brush my teeth many days until evening. I put the kids to bed at 8:30 but now she has the twins in kindergarten so there's 2 more kids that HAVE to go to bed early. It's hard for her to control all 4 at one time. Forget the husband and grandfather, they will not lift a single finger to anything, EVER. Should I go and help her out for a while and see if she refrains from ALL housekeeping and picking up after herself, and if she doesn't help, just leave?? She really needs help badly - I know, I've taken care of all 4 kids at once and it's hard to totally care for them, the house, the meals, by yourself. I've laid down the rules for her before and when I get there, she gets totally lazy again and doesn't help me at ALL. WHAT SHOULD I DO??
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    If you want to go, do so, and help only as much as you want to and have the energy to, after scheduling fun time with the grandchildren, and stay only as long as you want. She obviously wouldn't be working her fanny off from 6 am to 7pm when you're not there, so don't feel obligated. If you can't cope with the mess or her behaviors 24/7, check into a hotel to give yourself a break.

    Does your grown daughter or any of the grandchildren have mental health or developmental issues that make her incapable of managing things? If it's just a matter of a lot of young children and that she desires to spend her time on facebook, then I think she won't take care of what she needs to as long as she has free live-in help for months on end.

    I'm just not understanding why she has her hands so full. Women have been handling children and the household without a lot of help and single moms do it all the time. I'm not saying it's ideal, but is there a specific reason she's having so much trouble? The kids aren't that young and she's likely had two in school except for summers.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Obviously the decidion is entirely yours. Based on your description it sounds like a predetermined shorter stay might
    work out better. Two to four weeks would give you a chance to enjoy the children, give your daughter a break and
    give you a light at the end of the tunnel. Grandparenting is more of a challenge than we ever expected it to be, isn't it? ;) DDD
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think she needs to talk to her husband about getting a part-time house keeper if he wants her taking care of everything at home, and for his father too, and not lift a finger to help her. I can see where she could get overwhelmed with that many young children and two grown men who won't lift a finger. I agree with SRL about going and doing only what you are confortable with. I'm not sure you want to interfere or suggest too much about how they run their own household, but it honestly sounds like the problem lies between the adults in that house and what they expect from each other.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I"m a grandmother too.

    Go if and only if you want to go. Do only what you want to do. You don't owe her anything even if she's did it when YOU were a mom and bet you didn't get around-the-clock help and I KNOW you didn't spend all your spare time on the computer. It's too bad her hub is not helpful, but she married him. Maybe they need counseling and to make sure they have no more children.

    I personally want to enjoy my golden years, so I am very strict with my grown kids. I think they respect me more for making sure I take care of myself. And you should in my opinion take care of yourself too. Four kids is a lot!!! Good luck :)
  6. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I agree with klmno - the problem is not when you go or how long you stay or what you do while you're there. The problem is right there in the house with her already - she has a husband who won't lift a finger to help with HIS OWN CHILDREN and still expects perfection out of her! Under these conditions, I would be very reluctant to "help out" at all, especially since she is verbally abusing you and you are being treated like a servant! Sorry, but I just couldn't do that! There is no reason for him to help out if you go there for months at a time and slave away all day and in to the evening! He thinks it's OK for you to travel 1,200 miles to help out with HIS kids and HIS house ... while he's sitting right there like a big, useless lump? Her husband and his father are treating her like a servant and she has transferred that title on to you! You're being guilt tripped, hon.

    If I'm reading this right, she has four children, and all four will now be in school all day? And I'm assuming, from what you said, that she does not work outside the home? Still not easy and still a lot of work but she will now have all day to concentrate on her household chores. If this were my daughter, it would be a cold day in Hades before I'd be doing all the housekeeping while she was on the computer all day! The only way I would ever agree to go and help her would be with the understanding that she is doing the lions share of the work and that you are merely "helping". She doesn't have to do anything either because YOU are doing it for her! And if she feels free to verbally abuse you while you're busy doing HER housework ... again, if it were me, that would be when I leave! Ain't happening! And can the kids ride the bus to school instead of her chauffeuring them back and forth to school? That would help a little anyway.
  7. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    We, moms, tend to want to make all things right. Unfortunately, you are not allowing your daughter to grow to be the responsible parent and spouse she should. Why would she branch out if it's easier to continue to act like a child. She chose to have 4 children. They are loved and nurtured by your daughter but isn't so keen on house work. She needs to solve that problem on her own or with her husband. You aren't her housekeeper so stop acting like one. They can hire help or they can have a less spotless house. Is she afraid of her husband? If not then she needs to work on her own marriage. Enjoy the grandchildren, pitch in with daughter in the daily chores but no way should you let her make you the "mom". She is the mom.

    Visit the grandkids when it suits you. Be too busy when it's not convenient. If you feel put upon(and you should) then don't do anything for the house. Just enjoy the grandkids. Your daughter will either rise to the occasion or not but it's on her shoulders and not yours. You raised her right, now she needs to act on what she learned.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Fran, your post hit a chord. I have a friend who still supports all of her grown children while also raising her two granddaughters because her daughter will not raise them and is dysfunctional. None of her kids act like adults. Although ranging from 27-21, they still expect her to pay their car insurance, heck, GIVE them her cars, buy them and pay for their cellplhone bills, run over to their houses whenever they are upset, etc. She never fails to exhaust herself or beggar herself to do all this too. Her adult kids will never grow up if she doesn't let them. I have to bite my tongue!

    Being a grandparent is what you make it. Grandparents aren't obligated to wear themselves out and get sick doing it. We are supposed to enjoy the kids at our leisure. JMO.
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    You said you laid out the rules this time...what did you lay out?

    What did you say you would do and not do?

    And if she gets lazy, you must must MUST follow thru, or she will learn that your rules are meaningless.

    Beyond that, go and help if you want. Enjoy the grands, and if/when she crosses the lazy-line-in-the-sand? Just stop, and walk away. Mean what you'll be glad to help, but there is a limit to it.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    My house isn't as "perfect" as my Mom would like. With my two, plus husband, I am sure she doesn't exactly get it. I wasn't a perfect child, but the rooms I am in... I usually keep my stuff neat.

    However... Occasionally I will ask her to come over and help (she offered; now I just accept it's her way of helping ME). Once she was here for about 6 hours, and we got the house presentable if not perfect. And a few weeks ago we spent 4 hours on the workroom in the garage (of course, I needed something to DO).

    Regardless - I am much neater now than I was when I first moved out. And her husband needs to help, or find someone TO help. I can see being overwhelmed so much she does nothing. But 4 kids - well, that's a huge handful. She needs help. And she needs to have some of the kids help - they ARE old enough. Small things for the smaller ones. Folding laundry is a good start - theirs, so no one much cares how it's folded. Plastic dishes until they get a bit older.

    YOU, on the other hand, should do just as much as you see fit - not a bit more. If you're frustrated by the mess, do a little and announce you're done, that you'll (help with homework, whatever) while SHE does some stuff.

    And if she gets nasty? Point out SHE asked YOU to help, you didn't descend on her like an avenging angel...
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Grandparents are the ones who give the children unconditional love and acceptance, and to enjoy the grandkids.

    Grandmas are NOT Martha on the Brady Bunch.

    When you visit it should be to enjoy your grandkids, to celebrate special days, to take the time to read to them and play with them and take them out for ice cream right before dinner once in a while. To make each child feel special and loved as an individual and as part of the family that you love.

    You raised your kids, didn't you? If your daughter is that overwhelmed then maybe she needs to find a part time job to pay for a housekeeper - she could work a few hours while the kids are in school and the cleaner could come in while she is gone.

    If you keep doing this for her, you are going to miss the special times with the kids AND keep your own kid from dealing with her own responsibilities.

    She chose the hubby, the kids, the house and to let the other gpa live there. It is HER job to create the life she wants and wants her kids to have.

    Until she shows some signs of taking control, I would stay at a hotel and not do a single chore at her house unless you want to AND she is working with you.

    Otherwise she will perpetually be this irresponsible and it will set a bad example for her kids.

    Do you think she would do this for her kids when they are adults with families?
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am also a grandma and I couldnt do for mine what you are doing. Actually, I need my kids to come in and do for me what you are doing!

    What I think you should do is change places with your daughter. You be the one to help with the kids. You pick them up from school, help with their homework, take them out to a fun place now and again, be a grandma. Maybe cook if you feel like it. Let Momma do the cleaning and housework. You could help a bit if you wanted...maybe help fold some clothes...teach the older ones how to keep their rooms tidy.

    I keep my oldest granddaughter a lot. I certainly couldnt do everything for her. I just do what I can.
  13. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Couple of thoughts.....

    Sounds like my sister in law when her kids were young. Her husband did not do much around the house and so her parents were always stepping in and helping out and of course they didn't like him because of it. It just allowed her to keep living in a not so great marriage and have more kids. It didn't really help her figure out how to make it all work well for her.

    The other question I have is are your standards for housekeeping different than hers. She might not mind a messy house even if her husband does. She somehow manages the house when you are not there, either it is just ok messier or she manages to clean it.

    My mom used to come and visit for me for a month or so at a time. I always loved her visits and I loved her help with the kids... and the house, although we both goofed off on housework and played scrabble instead.

    My suggestion would be to write your daughter a heart felt letter about how you love to visit and you love spending time with your grandchildren. However you don't have it in you anymore to do housework all day every day alone. Give her a list of the ways you are willing to help out and then don't visit for more than a month at a time. In that list I would include a lot of child oriented stuff rather than house work.

    You definitely don't owe any housework to her. If you are visiting you should enjoy your visit and not just feel like a servant.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    In past generations it was not uncommon for a grandparent to live with her child and her child's family. My childhood bff, D, had the privilege/curse of having her Gma live with them most of her childhood. The Gma and Mom both worked very hard as housewives. Their home was a place no speck of dust DARED to enter. The housework was always a shared thing, just like getting the kids ready for school, or helping with homework. Unless one of them was ill, it would NOT have happened that Gma would have labored all day while Mom did nothing!!

    Your daughter may be thinking it is like when a mother in law came to live with the family the way it was done in past generations. She just hasn't grasped that when that happened the Gma (mother in law) didn't do all the chores. They worked together and when Gma needed a rest or couldn't do something the mother picked up the slack.

    Maybe she should read how it works in the Janet Evonovich books - the Stephanie Plum ones. She would get an idea of what a Gma really should be doing if she lives with her daughter or visits long term!!!!
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I really think I get where you are coming from on a personal level. Whenever we go visit my son and daughter in law which happens on a much shorter period of time, my daughter in law tends to behave just like your daughter. She shoves her kids off on everyone else, except bath time which she loves, and she sits her behind on the couch and facebooks all day long. However, she does that even when she has no outside She does a whole lot of not paying attention to the kids, either letting them cry or get into everything and getting mad, or her favorite thing is to call my son and tell him he better get home and deal with it!