lindaanderson's picture

sick grandparents watching grandchildren

I need some advice. My parents, who are 69 and 74 have 4 daughters, me being the oldest. We are married and all have 2 children each. My children are the oldest and in college. My second sister is a stay at home mom. My third sister has a great job and has her kids in an on site daycare. My youngest sister "Jane" works full time, and her kids go to school and a daycare after school. "Jane" has been at her job for almost 20 years. At her workplace, she is able to carry over any vacation/sick days not used. So, right now she has months and months of time available to use, but she does not unless she decides to take a day off for herself, not her children. When "Jane's" kids are sick/getting out early, she calls my parents to pick them up and take them home or their house and stay with them until my sister gets home. The kids even call my parents on their cell phones to have them pick them up. Myself and my other 2 sisters are so fed up with this whole situation. When my mom had pneumonia last year, she was still babysitting for "Jane's" kids. Our mom has a problem with saying no to Jane, no clue why. Her husband is the biggest loser on two feet. They has been married for about 15 years and he has been fired from so many jobs. Our parents would cover for him when he lost his jobs. They would still babysit even though he was out of work. This has been going on for years. Our parents always keep it a secret when they have Jane's kids when they are sick/no school. Our sister will not use any of her accumulated time to stay home and take care of them or spend their days off together with them. The do go to camp in the summer, but it is only for about 3 weeks for a few hours, and of course, our parents go and pick them up and take them home, wait for our sister to come home. Of course, my parents will have the kids on all of the other summer days they do not have camp. I really don't know why my parents feel obligated to do this. They complain and complain to me all the time. My sister takes advantage of them so badly. She makes the kids call them up so they feel guilty. Today was the topper. My dad has been sick for a couple of days now. He has been coughing and hoarse. I have been calling him and checking on him. He sounded terrible all weekend. I called this morning and he really sounded terrible. I asked him if he called the dr. He said no. I told him to call dr and get checked before it gets even worse. I asked him if my mom was there. He gave her the phone. I asked her if she called dr. She said she would call. My mom insists that my dad is thick headed and won't go. I told her I would take him if I had to. She called dr and called me back and said that she would have him ready in 1/2 hr. I went to their house and my dad was waiting in garage. I took him to dr. Found out it was bronchitis. Took him home and found that Jane's youngest son was there. According to mom, he didn't feel well and was staying with her, even though my dad was sick. I was kind of mad, but didn't say anything. I told my dad I would go get his meds and go to store for them. I went home and made him a huge pot of chicken soup and brought it over to him about 2 hours later. When I got there, my OTHER nephew was there, his brother. I don't know if my mom went to school to pick him up or what during the time I left and I came back. I was so mad that not only one, but both of them were there even though my dad was sick. I cannot believe that "Jane" had the nerve to ask my parents to watch her kids while she worked and to add, that my mom agreed to watch them even though my dad was sick. The thing that made me mad even more was the fact that if I did not call my dad and insist that he go to dr and that I would take him, is that my mom did not plan on taking him because she was too worried about Jane's 2 kids instead of her sick 75 year old husband. Jane has plenty of time to use to stay home and take care of her kids. I am appalled that my mom didn't tell her that dad is sick and needs to take him to dr that she couldn't watch her kids. Can someone please tell me if I have reason to be mad? Who is to blame here, Jane or my mom?I need some advice. Thanks

2xstepmom's picture

There is no one to "blame" here. You love and care for your parents and do not want to see your sister take advantage of them. Possibly your parents like to feel needed and useful. Though your mother complains, you ned to realize your parents are adults and fully capable of saying "NO" to your sister if they chose. My parents continued to care for my sister's children long after everyone else in my family felt they should not be caring for children. Then, after my oldest niece turned 18, my sister moved to California. My parents both became depressed and their health deteriorated. They felt they were no longer useful. A good friend of the family asked my parents to tutor (babysit, we felt) her children, my mom gave the girls piano lessons and eventually the girls moved their horses onto my parents property. We were all as upset as you are now, and though my parents complained, they had the option to say no at any time. You need to step back and consider that your parents do this because they WANT to do it, as my parents did.

By the way, my parents never, ever took care of either of my children for even 5 minutes. That was my choice, you have the right to make your choice and your parents have the right to make theirs. I hope this helps you put things into perspective.

Coachann's picture
Hello Jane! I am sorry to hear your frustration. My mom is almost 70 years old, has a touch of Alzheimers, Emphysema, athsma and severe depression since my dad died. My brothers like to walk all over my mom. She has even had a couple of Seizures due to severe stress from my brother. They like to hold my mom responsible for all the bad things they do, rides they need, money, and the trouble they get in. My mom lives on a fixed income and can just take care of herself. You cannot stress about this. There is nothing you can do. If I have learned anything, it is that people treat you the way you allow them to. If your mom cannot say no and speak up, you have to stay out of it. I know its hard but you got to bite your tongue. You don't want to fight with family and especially if your mom is allowing it. Your anger won't change it. I cover topics on this in my free tele-seminars for my other fellow moms, your not alone! Coach Ann & Mom of 2