My only geographically close family that can help me with very occasional informal childcare (during the pandemic – as babysitters are a no go at the moment) is my dad and step mum who I have a complicated relationship with, as I didn’t grow up with my dad.
I am incredibly snowed under working full time and studying at the moment and frankly feeling very drained most of the time. I haven’t had more than a few hours off Mummy duty in over a year as my ex lives abroad and can’t see my kids at the moment.
So when my dad and step mum offered to look after my kids today, I jumped at the chance to actually study and catch up on some burning assignments for a few hours.
Problem is, my kids don’t really want to go – I have to talk them into it usually reminding them how I need to work etc effectively guilting them into going without an argument.. however, they usually return with at least one of them upset -as was the case tonight when my younger boy who is 9 was in floods of tears for some time because my parents had been mean to him ..
My older son agreed that they appeared to be picking on his little brother and that he himself had only not gotten into their crosshairs as he had assimilated to their expectations regarding behaviour in their presence etc.
Yes my little one can be a pain and not listen as I’m sure all 9yold boys do at times, but should he be so upset coming from what was supposed to be a fun day with his grandparents ..?
Parents are quite conservative and strict, with very high expectations and unfortunately no experience in parenting between them (my dad left us when I was 3 and she never had her own kids)
I’m torn between wanting my kids to have some contact with other family members (and they are the only ones nearby) and of course the occasional child care relief that comes with that all be it very rarely, as well as maintaining at least the feeble relationship we have but I don’t want to traumatise my kids .. am I overreacting? I’m interested to hear other single parents thoughts on the subject, what would you do?
Been there done that.If it’s the only relief you’re going to get just take it.However old fashioned and strict the grandparents are ,if they’re not hurting the kids,let them get to know them I would say.Yes even with occasional tears,it’s not real ‘trauma’.It might be helpful to explain to your boys that the old folks are strict and what’s expected of them.Hopefully it will make You more popular when they get home.🤔Good luck.
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