I’m struggling with looking after my two young daughters and my parents keep backing out of our arrangements at the last minute, a reader writes to Coleen Nolan
I’m a woman in my 30s with two young daughters, one of whom has health issues, which means we have to attend quite a few medical appointments.
To cut a long story short, I’ve asked my parents to look after my eldest daughter a couple of times recently, while I go to an appointment with my other child, but they’ve let me down at the last minute on both occasions and it’s not the first time this has happened.
My husband has a long commute to work, so he’s never around and there’s only so many times I can ask one of the other mums from school to help out.
I feel really let down by my parents if I’m honest. I’ve always been independent, but the situation with my daughter means I really need more support now.
The last time my parents did this, they called to say they’d decided to stay an extra night on their holiday, so wouldn’t be back in time.
I hate whinging, but I don’t think they see the bigger picture and how hard it is for me to juggle everything.
Am I being unreasonable or should I say something?
I think you should let them know you’re struggling, but not in an accusatory way. Up until now you’ve been very independent, so unless you’ve been clear that you’re struggling to cope, then they might assume that you’re fine because you always do everything on your own.
So be honest and ask for help directly and, if possible, give your parents more warning, so they can adjust their schedule. That way, there’s less risk of being let down at the last minute.
Also, look into a more permanent solution for childcare, which I realise is easier said than done, so that you’re not completely relying on your parents or a school mum.
Maybe there are clubs at school for your other daughter or you could find some paid-for childcare or babysitting? There might be occasions where friends can help out, too, if you have appointments in the diary.
While it might not be ideal, could you bring your other daughter with you to some of the appointments?
If you’re a very independent person, it can be hard to change your mindset and reach out to others for help, but unless you’ve told people what your situation is, they won’t know you need support.
My main message is, don’t be worried about being honest that you’re struggling – most people will be happy to step in and help if they can.