Worried about looking after Grandaughter - PMRGCAuk


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Worried about looking after Grandaughter

Attic profile image

My Grandaughter starts school tomorrow and my Husband and I will be picking her up two afternoons a week. She also visits for four hours on a Sunday. My Husband has announced that he is going to volunteer to look after in the school hols to.

As much as I love her, I don't feel that I can cope with this as I have Pmr,severe Kyphoscoliosis which is restricting my oxygen levels and have suffered numerous Spinal Fractures due to Osteoporosis. I am also nearly 70.

When I told my Husband he said he was doing it come hell or high water and I could like it or lump it, very upsetting indeed don't you think.

Attic x

24 Replies

Have you discussed this with the grandchild's parents? (One of those parents must be your child!) They should not want their child to be in the care of someone who has severe health problems which will make it very hard to do all the things a lively child will need to do. Or are they all right with allowing Grandfather to shoulder 90% of the care? They must be made to understand that this is the situation as much for your grandchild's sake as yours.

I hope your husband is prepared to see reason and to compromise.

Attic profile image
Attic in reply to HeronNS

Thank you Her on, sorry to type your name like that, my machine keeps altering it. My Husband is very good indeed with my Grandaughter and does shoulder most of the responsibility, but even so, in the holidays it will mean she is here for about thirty hours a week, which will be exhausting to say the least.

Attic x

HeronNS profile image
HeronNS in reply to Attic

Yes, I was thinking it would be the holidays which would be so difficult. There's a reason parents are happy when summer vacations, etc, are over! And they are usually relatively young and hale. :D I'm not a grandparent, although I'd like to be, but I think the joys of being a grandparent include not having to perform all the parental duties! I have many friends who are grandparents and I do envy them some of what they do, but I know at least one of them (a healthy 60 something) found her own life becoming quite restricted by the childcare she performed when her grandsons were young. On the other hand, as they have grown older, you can see the wonderful bond which exists between these boys and their grandmother, so I think she found it has been worthwhile. They are all much older now, although still in school, so they are more independent and don't need that after school care any more. I just feel bad for you because of your physical limitations, not least of which is the fatigue of PMR.

Valnvaughan profile image
Valnvaughan in reply to Attic


This is tricky. I love looking after my grandchildren, 8 & 4 year old girls but you need to be fairly active to do this. We travelled 500 mile round trip to provide care. Your offspring will have holiday they can take to reduce hours per week, organised clubs can be found for certain hours a day, sharing care with the child's friends on an exchange basis ( when parents are on leave they care for friend, not you). Is there a second set of grandparents.

Given all that, I have been ill having hip op and waiting a 2nd and have not done any care and they managed.

A good sit down talk with husband and parents is needed. Good luck.

Life is compromised without your health.

As you will be involved - whether you are able or not - in the care of your grandie- you must discuss this with your son/daughter explaining the circumstances. The fact your husband feels he is capable doesn't mean this wont impact you as well if you are in the same house or location. Children of that young school-age ARE a handful and even for their own safety and care your own children should take account of YOUR health - although they 'should' be doing that anyway. Sometimes the 'problem' is we just don't want to say "no !" because we'd really LIKE to be able to help - we want to - but simply are not (always) able to do so - and that's the reality.

Best wishes


Then leave him to shoulder most of the caring for her...sounds harsh, but we have done it,...but mostly my husband who is very fit!....I just did food etc or quiet games....he can do the physical...if it gets too much, go and lie down...it can work....but only you know how you feel...other option, husband takes grandaughter to her house to look after her...good luck....

Oh gosh this is a tough one. I reckon the only time I get really worked up is when I face how useless I am with my grandsons. The other nana does heaps with them. I can’t. I get wiped out within half an hour. You are in a difficult situation and I feel for you. I have no advice as I feel inadequate but honesty has to be your best bet. Does your husband fear losing his precious time with the little one? Xxxx

PMRpro profile image

I agree with Longtimer - in particular about him spending at least some of the time with her at her home, especially in the school holidays. She will have "her" space and "things" under supervision while you will have yours at home in peace and quiet. You can join in when you feel up to it.

When I lived in the NE of England I saw so many elderly people dragging themselves around the streets with young grandchildren and it was obviously too much for them. I think you need to sit down with her parents and explain to them how you feel, that rest is essential for you to cope at all, so that they don't get the huff. Mind you - they needn't get the huff, you will be saving them a load of money for childcare.

As far as your husband is concerned - it may be a mid-life crisis a bit late! He probably thinks he'd like to catch up on things he now realises he missed when his own children were small - but hasn't stopped to think about the fact that he is 30+ years older (I assume) and it will take it out of him. I was in my late 40s when I became a grandmother and I struggled with the children on my own - I was young and fit then. So feeling as you do at 20 years older than I was and with significant health problems is perfectly understandable. Maybe that is beginning to occur to him and so he over-reacted to your very realistic assessment of the potential situation.

What CAN you do? You will manage to do quiet things - and believe me, even today's children need some quiet, mine were ready to sleep after a day at school and they were 6 when they started! She will need/want to read (I hope) or practise things from school - you can manage that too. Your bedroom must be out-of-bounds without an express invitation - so you have somewhere to retreat to.

It will be fine - but you have to state your red lines (to coin a phrase) and him indoors will have to learn to understand.

I can’t be of any help to you at all because I envy you from the bottom of my jealous heart. Theo and I watched Thomas the Tank Engine when we were tired. He liked me to paint while he played with his tracks. You could have a trial run. I suppose it kind of depends on your granddaughter’s nature. I could not have coped with my Nephew for half an hour, when I was young.


I am in the same situation. I have learned to say no when I need to. There is another set of grandparents that can help so I am lucky that way. I simply can't do most of what I use to. It would be impossible for me to deal with a young child. Just can't happen. It is quite the bummer! I hate being this way, but I make do the best I can. I am a new me and that's just the way it is. The more I accept it the better things are for me.

Take Care

Feel Better


Your husband said he's going to do it anyway come hell or high water, and you can like it or lump it?? Really Attic? What?? It's clear where the root of your problem lies! Has he listened to a specialist confirming the pickle you are in? Probably not by the sound of things. I frankly don't know what to suggest without being very rude indeed.

There are many activities that I used to love that are non-negotiably impossible now. Luckily I have a family with enough common sense to understand this.

I would be tempted to put some preds in his mashed potato for a while - then he may cotton-on and start to think of you - but you mustn't do that of course.

If I come up with a sensible thought, I will write again.

What a thing!

Good Luck

Attic profile image
Attic in reply to arthur463

That really made me laugh, arthur463. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to reply with some good suggestions.

I think it would be a good idea for him to look after her in her own home, but for some reason he won't hear of it.

Oh well, we will have to see what happens, thank you all again, it is nice to talk to people that understand

Attic x

PMRpro profile image
PMRproAmbassador in reply to Attic

He might change his tune when he discovers the quantity of her stuff she will want with her and he has to pick it all up at the end of the day! It may be a steep learning curve!

arthur463 profile image
arthur463 in reply to PMRpro

Good thinking PMRpro. What can Attic add to the list of stuff to make it even more burdensome? I am so cross with that man!

Longtimer profile image
Longtimer in reply to Attic

I will say one last thing through experience, your granddaughter will almost certainly get used to your quiet, laying down times, start it straight away and it will become normal part of the routine whatever house you look after her in...ours did, and husband will have to get used to it to!........

arthur463 profile image
arthur463 in reply to Longtimer

Yes - that's right.

PS Attic - Just a thought:-

I think that you should make an appointment to see a specialist - about your osteoporosis maybe. Maybe a Muscoskeletal specialist. Enlist your Doc's help in the plan.

You should ask your husband to take you along to the appointment

You should ask him to keep you company while talking to the specialist.

You should outline all your pains and difficulties to the specialist in front of your husband, and relate the difficulties you have regarding grandchildren etc and that even their presence can be taxing too. Take a list of your problems with you

Any decent specialist should tell you to minimise or stop all this if you can't tolerate it just now, and may even invite your husband to give you some back-up, if you are lucky.

Anyway - your husband will hear these home truths - that he appears not to have thought much about so far.

As I say Attic - Just a thought. It's no use getting old if you don't also get crafty.

DorsetLady profile image
DorsetLadyPMRGCAuk volunteer in reply to arthur463

My mother’s favourite saying! And it’s so true.😉

arthur463 profile image
arthur463 in reply to DorsetLady

The old ones are the best ones DorsetLady.

Yes I do think , ultimatums never worked with me . No way on this earth could I do now what I did 9 years ago with my grandkids. Last week had grandchild on her own ,it worked ok because the time was split and the quiet time was mine alone . Yes we do love them .

We have two grandchildren 6 yrs/ 4 yrs who are lovely and lively, my husband and I have looked looked after them since babies 3 mornings a week other grandparents 2 mornings. We had to stop with the oldest 18 months before she went to school as my husband had cancer and three years of treatment. I was really upset I could not carry on with looking after her but my daughter said to me "they are our children so our responsibility to get them looked after DO NOT WORRY ABOUT IT". Does your husbands insistence on looking after them at your home mean he is looking to you to clear up afterwards? I should make some rules. My sister bemoaned the fact that people are having children later and later and we tend to be older grandparents with more health problems. One saying that comes to mind is "a willing horse" and I think you have to have some rules that will help everyone know where they are, you, your husband, parents and child it will save a lot of confrontation and also less stress on you which is IMPORTANT. I do so wish you all the best and hope everything works out better than you hope. Please do not be bullied into taking on something that will make you ill. Lots of love Take care Angie xxx

PMRpro profile image
PMRproAmbassador in reply to saffron52

That was what my daughter said to me from day 1 - we were 4 hours drive away and both working. Her MIL was just down the road and also working. Don't think she ever helped my daughter (but then, nor did her son ;-) ) and criticised me - but I dropped everything and got up in the middle of the night to drive there on occasions when a child was ill so couldn't go to the childminder. I couldn't have done it week in - week out. Nor did i really want to I confess.

Thank you Angie and to everyone who has replied. It really means a lot.

Attic x

I am sorry Attic that your husband does not seem to understand how this condition makes you feel,l hope that this does not mean that he will eventually do less with her which will leave you having to do more than you feel able too.l looked after my grandsons a lot when they were little and my husband would disappear to go to the gym.,saying he had to keep to his schedule.They are old enough to look after themselves now and that is a relief because l would find it difficult to cope . l love them dearly and l never minded looking after them,but l would find it very hard to do that with PMR.l hope that the situation turns out well for you in the end,love from Patricia xx. I must add that my husband did take them out to play football when he came home from the gym !

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