Three days a week Finley spends his day with his two sets of Grandparents. We drop him off in the morning and pick him after tea but he spends his whole day with them, all day long for about ten hours. This is because we both have to work full time and we are seriously lucky to have two sets of parents who can step in and help us in this way. I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t have the help that we do and we are aware of how fortunate we are in this regard.


However, I do think that society wants me to feel bad about this set up. In that I should feel guilty for abandoning my child, burdening our parents and skipping off to work without a care in the world. I get this vibe from the media, from other parents and from people who comment about how much time my son spends at my Mum and Dads house. The implication of course, is that our parents shouldn’t have to raise their children’s children. 

Well no, they shouldn’t.
But allow me, to let you into a little secret…most Grandparents are falling over themselves to spend more time with their Grandchildren. Most Grandparents would stab themselves in the eye with a bingo marker if it meant they could be more involved in their Grandchildren’s lives. 
We have not held our ‘poor old’ parents hostage, forcing them to feed and spend time with their Grandson. They are not aged and doddery and incapable of making their own decisions. They are glad to have him, thrilled in fact if I remember back to when we first asked them when I had to go back to work after maternity leave. You see, they actually like spending time with him, because well you know – love and stuff. 


Now obviously there are times when they regret this decision, when he chucks his dinner on the floor or throws a Choo-Choo at their heads. When he has a screaming, face-plant-the-floor-fit-with-his-leg-up because he can’t have exactly what he wants. There will be times, when they wish they could do the shopping in peace or have a wee without him banging on the door. He is two after all and an expert in Toddler-Tormenting but by all accounts (Finley’s and the Parentals) 99% of the time, everyone has had a pretty awesome day. They’ve been swimming or to soft play or for a walk in the woods. They’ve washed the car, planted the bulbs, made a cake. They’ve definitely eaten a huge fish pie and too much chocolate and probably played farmyard animals and watched Noddy. 

So no I don’t feel guilty. 
If anything I feel envious. 

I’m jealous, because everyone’s off having this awesome time, without me. We’re at work all day, every day and we’re missing out on all fun. Yes I know, there’s the argument here of choice, that we chose to work blablabla, but that doesn’t mean we’re devoid of human feeling, of doubt or regrets. But what we do know is, that feeling of envy isn’t important. 


Whats important is this invaluable, one on one time that Finley gets to spend with his Grandparents. This pre-school period in his life will never come again and unlike my relationships with my Grandparents, he will form bonds with them completely independent of Mum and Dad. He wont just visit them once a month, in a staged and awkward ‘meeting’ where he has to sit around and talk about his school work and his achievements. He’ll have actual, tangible relationships with them because they helped raised him and contributed to his early years. 
He also gets things from them, that we can’t give, like different experiences, different foods, different activities and meeting different people like they’re friends and neighbours. We see this as valuable input into the person he will one day become and we are indebted.


So the next time you frown at the volume of photos on my Dad’s Facebook page of Finley or you dismay at how much his Nanny obsessively talks about him, its not actually what you think, they don’t need rescuing. He isn’t there all the time, its not “as if he lives there” and they are not over burdened by the pressures of caring for him. 
Its actually just the hallmark of proud Grandparents, who actively participate in his life and are enjoying doing so.

So no, I don’t feel guilty. Not one tiny, little bit.

Grandparent Guilt

48 thoughts on “Grandparent Guilt

  • October 12, 2015 at 8:18 pm
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    Love this! I wrote today about not feeling guilty about being a working mum and my littlies being cared for by family or nursery/school some of the time! I hope you're not getting any noses stuck up at your choices, they're the worst. But like you so carefully wrote, you have no reason at all to feel guilty. You didn't even have to justify it but in doing so may help others shrug off the enforced guilt!x

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  • October 12, 2015 at 8:18 pm
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    Love this! I wrote today about not feeling guilty about being a working mum and my littlies being cared for by family or nursery/school some of the time! I hope you're not getting any noses stuck up at your choices, they're the worst. But like you so carefully wrote, you have no reason at all to feel guilty. You didn't even have to justify it but in doing so may help others shrug off the enforced guilt!x

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  • October 14, 2015 at 12:14 pm
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    This is a great post, I know my Mum would love to have the kids more and wishes she lived closer. I have a really good relationship with my grandparents, I even lived with them for a bit. As long as your family is happy then just ignore everyone else! #MMWBH x

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  • October 14, 2015 at 12:14 pm
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    This is a great post, I know my Mum would love to have the kids more and wishes she lived closer. I have a really good relationship with my grandparents, I even lived with them for a bit. As long as your family is happy then just ignore everyone else! #MMWBH x

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  • October 14, 2015 at 1:00 pm
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    There's no reason to feel guilty. I'm surprised anyone would think there is! I know there are grandparents who feel that they have raised their kids and, while they love their grandkids, are not up for repeating the work and responsibility of caring for them for long periods of time. & I think that is valid and reasonable, and no reflection on how they feel about their grandkids. But there are loads around who are also very happy to spend some of their time caring for grandkids and enjoy doing it. & I think we can safely assume that grandparents who do look after grandkids while parents work probably generally fall into that latter category, so I can't see how anyone's losing out. It used to be very common for grandparents and extended family to be very involved in caring for kids. It is just modern times where many people do not live near family that has changed that I think. But if the arrangement is available to and works for your family, I can't see a problem. I think it makes complete sense to want the grandparents to do it if they are able to and want to. #MMWBH

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  • October 14, 2015 at 1:00 pm
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    There's no reason to feel guilty. I'm surprised anyone would think there is! I know there are grandparents who feel that they have raised their kids and, while they love their grandkids, are not up for repeating the work and responsibility of caring for them for long periods of time. & I think that is valid and reasonable, and no reflection on how they feel about their grandkids. But there are loads around who are also very happy to spend some of their time caring for grandkids and enjoy doing it. & I think we can safely assume that grandparents who do look after grandkids while parents work probably generally fall into that latter category, so I can't see how anyone's losing out. It used to be very common for grandparents and extended family to be very involved in caring for kids. It is just modern times where many people do not live near family that has changed that I think. But if the arrangement is available to and works for your family, I can't see a problem. I think it makes complete sense to want the grandparents to do it if they are able to and want to. #MMWBH

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  • October 15, 2015 at 8:44 am
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    Alas, I will never know grandparent guilt. One set live 100 miles away and the other set 400 miles away. Crucially, the guys living 400 miles away are simply too old to help out in this way. You are lucky to have this set up. I think our family life suffers because we don't have that support. #MMWBH

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  • October 15, 2015 at 8:44 am
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    Alas, I will never know grandparent guilt. One set live 100 miles away and the other set 400 miles away. Crucially, the guys living 400 miles away are simply too old to help out in this way. You are lucky to have this set up. I think our family life suffers because we don't have that support. #MMWBH

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  • October 15, 2015 at 9:59 am
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    No reason to feel guilty at all! If the grandparents enjoy doing it, why not?
    Hi! Stopping by from Mom Bloggers Club. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

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  • October 15, 2015 at 9:59 am
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    No reason to feel guilty at all! If the grandparents enjoy doing it, why not?
    Hi! Stopping by from Mom Bloggers Club. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

    Reply
  • October 16, 2015 at 11:21 am
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    Great post! You really can't win with this one, whatever you do the “holier than thou” crowd will be there judging. If you send him to nursery rather than his grandparents people will judge you for not letting his grandparents have him. And heaven forbid you should choose not to work, that'll really get them talking! #effitfriday
    Debbie

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  • October 16, 2015 at 11:21 am
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    Great post! You really can't win with this one, whatever you do the “holier than thou” crowd will be there judging. If you send him to nursery rather than his grandparents people will judge you for not letting his grandparents have him. And heaven forbid you should choose not to work, that'll really get them talking! #effitfriday
    Debbie

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  • October 16, 2015 at 11:32 am
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    Great post! No reason to feel guilty – if my parents lived closer I know we'd have a similar set up, and I know they'd both kill to have more time with my little one!
    #effitfriday

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  • October 16, 2015 at 11:32 am
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    Great post! No reason to feel guilty – if my parents lived closer I know we'd have a similar set up, and I know they'd both kill to have more time with my little one!
    #effitfriday

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  • October 16, 2015 at 11:36 am
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    I used to beg to stay over at my grandparents house and I had a wonderful relationship with them and many happy memories. My son now does the same and I think it great. As someone with no grandparents left in this world I encourage my kids to spend as much time with theirs as possible. You are right that you can't force them to spend time. They are doing it because they want to. My parents can't get enough of my boys. My father-in-law has only seen the big one twice (and not for 5 years) He has never met the little one. His loss. #effitfriday

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  • October 16, 2015 at 11:36 am
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    I used to beg to stay over at my grandparents house and I had a wonderful relationship with them and many happy memories. My son now does the same and I think it great. As someone with no grandparents left in this world I encourage my kids to spend as much time with theirs as possible. You are right that you can't force them to spend time. They are doing it because they want to. My parents can't get enough of my boys. My father-in-law has only seen the big one twice (and not for 5 years) He has never met the little one. His loss. #effitfriday

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  • October 16, 2015 at 6:43 pm
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    I think it's wonderful that your son gets toe spend so much time with both sets of grandparents! Unfortunately, my kids will never have that experience and it's quite upsetting at times. You're very blessed to have such good relationships that you're able to trust your son with them!

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  • October 16, 2015 at 6:43 pm
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    I think it's wonderful that your son gets toe spend so much time with both sets of grandparents! Unfortunately, my kids will never have that experience and it's quite upsetting at times. You're very blessed to have such good relationships that you're able to trust your son with them!

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  • October 16, 2015 at 8:50 pm
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    My Dad, when he is in the UK, will gladly spend as much time with his grandchildren and will
    Step in to babysit/care if he's needed. If he didn't want to, he wouldn't offer. I think if grandparents are happy and capable of being carers to help their children then it's the best of both for all round. Also, what people forget is that it used to be that family did help each other. My great gran looked after my Dad so my gran could work when my Grandad lost his job and had health issues. It was normal. I'm glad you've got parents who can be there for you! #effitfriday

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  • October 16, 2015 at 8:50 pm
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    My Dad, when he is in the UK, will gladly spend as much time with his grandchildren and will
    Step in to babysit/care if he's needed. If he didn't want to, he wouldn't offer. I think if grandparents are happy and capable of being carers to help their children then it's the best of both for all round. Also, what people forget is that it used to be that family did help each other. My great gran looked after my Dad so my gran could work when my Grandad lost his job and had health issues. It was normal. I'm glad you've got parents who can be there for you! #effitfriday

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  • October 17, 2015 at 4:40 am
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    I used to go to my Grans house for a week every summer for a holiday, all the way up to when I was 16. When I moved closer at 21 I used to nip round to see my Grandad once a week letting myself in with my key. My mum doesn't have my boys because we live in different countries but I definitely ask her to babysit them when we are in the same country. She has had the Toddler overnight on numerous occasions! I think like you, it's a beautiful relationship. Oh and even without regular childcare my mum is a grandchild bore 😉 thanks for linking with #effitfriday

    Reply
  • October 17, 2015 at 4:40 am
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    I used to go to my Grans house for a week every summer for a holiday, all the way up to when I was 16. When I moved closer at 21 I used to nip round to see my Grandad once a week letting myself in with my key. My mum doesn't have my boys because we live in different countries but I definitely ask her to babysit them when we are in the same country. She has had the Toddler overnight on numerous occasions! I think like you, it's a beautiful relationship. Oh and even without regular childcare my mum is a grandchild bore 😉 thanks for linking with #effitfriday

    Reply
  • October 17, 2015 at 2:39 pm
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    Hi Heather, yes I read your working mother post it inspired my 10 Reasons Why Being a Working Mother Sucks Balls article! Thanks for the support x

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  • October 17, 2015 at 2:39 pm
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    Hi Heather, yes I read your working mother post it inspired my 10 Reasons Why Being a Working Mother Sucks Balls article! Thanks for the support x

    Reply
  • October 17, 2015 at 2:44 pm
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    Well you know, some people can be jealous and interfering its always indirect/ passive aggressive comments that I generally just tolerate but it gets on my nerves! Yes it used to be common place and I think its a really positive arrangement x

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  • October 17, 2015 at 2:44 pm
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    Well you know, some people can be jealous and interfering its always indirect/ passive aggressive comments that I generally just tolerate but it gets on my nerves! Yes it used to be common place and I think its a really positive arrangement x

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  • October 21, 2015 at 10:38 am
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    It's lovely you've got that support and it sounds like he's lucky to have some amazing grandparents!
    Thanks for linking up to #Picknmix
    Stevie x

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  • October 21, 2015 at 10:38 am
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    It's lovely you've got that support and it sounds like he's lucky to have some amazing grandparents!
    Thanks for linking up to #Picknmix
    Stevie x

    Reply

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