Should I give up my life so theirs can be perfect? 225



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Tracey knows how lucky she is to have her mum around to help with the children.

Having moved from distant Tasmania to the house literally next door, Sue picks her grandkids up five days a week from school and prepares their evening meal; up to six nights a week, she is tucking them into bed just as one of their parents gets home from their shift, before popping next door to make dinner for her husband who, at ten years her senior, is slowing down a bit.

But not Sue. No, she is full of energy and life – most of the time. By the end of the week, on her one “day off”, she is exhausted, often choosing to mooch around the house rather than get out and enjoy the beach or a social activity.

When school holidays roll round, Sue has the kids full time, which is fun but can be tiring.

Meanwhile, the caravan is gathering dust in the driveway. Sue says she wouldn’t want to travel during school holidays anyway, but she feels she can’t just abandon her daughter during term time.

Sue’s other daughter, Louise, tells her she’s being exploited. That Tracey and her husband are getting the best of both worlds – working hard to pay off their Gold Coast home, with plenty left over for new clothes, two cars and meals out, and knowing that their children have their grandmother to look after them.

Sue remembers what it was like when she was raising her daughters and their brother. How they had to scrimp and save, never had anything new, and crammed into a too-small house until she was able to go back to work when they reached high school.

A seed of resentment is growing inside her, but who is to blame? Are Tracey and her husband taking advantage? Is it Sue’s fault for being too agreeable, she wonders? She’s not one to play the martyr, after all.

Sue knows in her heart that the situation is unsustainable, particularly as her husband’s health is declining. She’s heard the term “sandwich” generation, but didn’t imagine it could mean being sandwiched between responsibilities to your children and your husband.

Can you relate to Sue’s experience? What advice would you give her?

Do you have a story to tell? Contact [email protected]; your privacy is respected and names are changed to protect your identity.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. No you fall over backwards for your kids then they get the huff over something and don’t talk to you

    2 REPLY
    • Really? If my kids don’t want to talk to me because I won’t do what they want, then the are probably not nice people so I figure they are doing me a favor. I am sure one day they will get over themselves.

      1 REPLY
      • Thanks Beri Vera, I really needed to hear this today. My daughter has just suddenly decided not to talk to me. Who knows what I’ve done or said – although it doesn’t need to be much. I thought at 45 she had grown up, but apparently I’m mistaken. Onwards and upwards!

  2. I don’t have an answer, and I also spend my days from 5am to 3.45 pm, with a little one. I love her dearly but miss my time to do my own thing. Only thing is my hubby works, so now that we are having holidays, the family have to work around us.

    3 REPLY
  3. I work, I’m 70 to help my daughter who is soLo she has a high performance athletic trains 20 hrs a week and he is flatting and studying in Auckland she is in Chrristchurch you do these things but you get the enjoyment when he does well.It the overseas trips that kills it.As his sport does not put any funding in to help

  4. Sue, your responsibilities to your children ended when they decided to make a life with their partner, it is up to them to work out life’s challenges. This situation is not fair on your life partner, the one who stood by you through thick and thin and now has a shadow for a wife. Your daughter decided to have children she should be the mother. Pack up that caravan and get your life back on track before it is too late and your husband is gone. They children both yours and your daughters will survive.

    1 REPLY
    • well put – I agree wholeheartedly with what you say. I help out with my great grandson but I will let family know I also have other activities which require my time if times they want me to help clash with my own activities

  5. No that is unfair her responsibilities is to herself and husband first . Her daughter is all grown up now and needs to take care of hr family. In our family we help a bit with my son and daughter in law kids my ex , daughter , other grown up grandchildren and my self have a share during the holidays I will never do it full time and they would not expected. Sue needs to put boundaries and enjoy her life while she and her husband can.

  6. Sue and her husband should take a long holiday. Her daughter would have to make other arrangements for the children’s care, she is after all, their mother. Sue needs to step back, it is great to help out but you have raised your family and your husband needs you. What about Sue’s friends, does she have any? She obviously needs to be needed but if her daughter suddenly moved away what then? Sue you need to be more realistic. It’s hard but I hope you can make the break for everyone’s sake, including your grandchildren.

    2 REPLY
  7. And here is why we have childcare, so it takes a bit longer to pay of the house, butter they are their children, why have them at all if you cannot take care of them, I suspect this grandmother made a rod for her own back, so now she feels guilty because she created this awful situation, tell it’s not working, dad’s sick, he needs to get away and your going with him,they will be fine and you will be happier.

    1 REPLY
  8. They arenot her children to raise .It is her time and her husbands Now !

    1 REPLY
    • These people are extremely selfish, they have five kids they are using their parents while they live it up. this woman is being some kind of martyr.

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