Do your parents/inlaws come over when kids are sick?-- grandparents pls chime in...

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Posted 2/19/2013 by 14U14ME in NSBR Board
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PeaNut 223,678
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:11:18 PM
I dunno what the "norm" is -- My inlaws are not in the picture.. we see them, maybe 1x a year. My father lives locally (and my mother but that is another can of worms) so he comes over weekly to see the kids (4 of um) Now he is a healthy, active (he is a road cycler), 70 year old. He still works, but makes his own hours -- and has no boss to "report' too.

In talking with some other moms at preschool I had to ask a bigger community.. so the peas it is. If your kids are sick.. do your parents/inlaws come over? Would they help out with stomach bugs? fevers? colds? etc. I just have to mention that we have a stomach bug in the house and my father just says see ya next week then? or a fever or cold. My hubby says he is a "fair weather grandparent" --- Now some of my friends say their parents are all.. 'we will be right over to help"-- REALLY? i was floored. Whats the norm? help out or run the other way?

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PeaNut 114,614
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:14:04 PM
My parents stay as far away as possible, if we think we are getting sick, are sick, or have been sick in the past few days.

They did take each of our older daughters for nearly a whole week each when they had the chicken pox, since my parents are both already immune and it wasn't gross.

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PeaNut 245,376
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:15:24 PM
First off I'd say at their age in their 70's I may not encourage them to come over as their systems aren't as strong as younger people. with that being said I will do for my grandkids no matter their illness, but I am younger than 70 too. I am also one of those grandmothers that adore and worship their grandkids. My inlaws I couldn't get them to come see their grandkids in a perfect world.

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PeaNut 134,808
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:15:36 PM
I don't go anywhere that I know I'll be in close contact with highly contagious people. Grandkids or not. Why would you do that particularly when you see them every week???


PeaNut 573,120
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:15:36 PM
I'm a grandparent and my husband and I go as soon as we are needed--sometimes even if it's to get dgd out of the house so they can rest and recover. We just do whatever is needed.

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PeaNut 7,171
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:16:51 PM
My mom is the only grandparent who lives locally. If I asked her for help she would come. She wouldn't be the first one in line begging to come though.

I hardly thinks this makes your father a fair-weather grandparent and think that's a little harsh. I'd say fair-weather was not wanting to be around if one of the kids had a tantrum or something. Sickness is different IMHO. Whether he has a boss to report to or not the man is 70 yo. Maybe he just simply doesn't want to get sick. I think your DH response is odd.

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PeaNut 52,817
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:18:18 PM
I can't imagine expecting grandparents to expose themselves to illness intentionally.

I don't know any grandparents who do that. That seems like a parent gig to me.


PeaNut 434,313
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:18:22 PM
My mother comes or I go over there if I get overwhelmed. I usually only ask for help if I am sick too and it is in the middle of the week.

She would gladly get sick if she felt she was being helpful to the kids and me.

Edited: I don't expect her too though and I would not expect anyone else too. I think ultimately they are my kids and family so our job.

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PeaNut 174,150
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:19:18 PM
I don't blame him at that age for not coming over. Elderly and young children need to be careful with their immune systems. I would never expect anyone to help out unless we were dying or something like that. What a rude comment from your husband.


PeaNut 161,999
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:23:55 PM
Not just come over to visit - no, but to watch a sick child so a parent could work- yes. And if the parents were sick as well then yes to help keep the house standing both my parents & mil would- fil can't bc he has a poor immune system & can't risk infections especially those related to lungs.

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PeaNut 31,617
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:27:23 PM

Whats the norm?

Why does it matter? Your dad does not want to get sick and so is staying away. I don't blame him, I wouldn't either...and I'm not that old yet!

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PeaNut 226,155
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:27:39 PM
When you were a child, was your dad the "sick care" parent? My dad wasn't; when one of us were sick, we wanted Mama, not Daddy. Daddy was as likely to throw up with us, more likely actually, than he was to hold us or clean us up when we were sick. When Mom and Dad were still married, Dad would bring Mom to the house to help us and he would run whatever errands needed running, or even wash dishes, but he never actually had contact with the sick kids.

Now that Mom and Dad are divorced, I don't think it would occur to my dad that I would need or want his help when one of my kids was sick.

My mom lives with her mother and she wouldn't offer to come unless someone was in the hospital. My grandmother's health is very fragile, and Mom is her sole caretaker and can't leave her alone overnight, so Mom has to be very careful. Mom would WANT to come help, but she wouldn't be able to at this time.

Of course, this is pretty much moot for us since my oldest is 25, married, and lives all the way across the country with just his wife. My youngest is still at home, but will start college in the fall. The days of needing someone's help are pretty much over here.


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PeaNut 20,301
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:28:59 PM
Only if my DD is sick would I go over to help. DH and I cannot afford to get a stomach bug if it's known one of the grands has it.

I am a very involved grandmother, but also a very smart one, not a fair weather one.

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PeaNut 295,424
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:29:12 PM
As the grandmom, I'll come if you ask for help. I'll even offer some sort of help (dropping off groceries, etc.) But I am going to try to limit my contact with your contagious house. Just as I'm going to have you limit your contact with my neutral zone house. There are four grandkids in three houses. If you bring your sick baby to my house, or I go to your sick baby house, all those other babies are going to get sick. Or worse. I'm going to get sick.

We try to be helpful, but maintain common sense for the good of our whole big family. And I don't think that makes me a fair weather gramma. I think that makes me the smart one in our family

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PeaNut 99,833
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:29:29 PM
I keep our DGS every day and live downstairs from my son and his family. If DS or DIL are sick, they keep our DGS, otherwise, I get him, sick or not...unless it is some kind of respiratory infection. I have asthma and it is not a kind thing for people to expose asthmatics with a respiratory illness.

I think it depends on the grandparent and what their immune system can bare. I always stop at the Chinese for and pick up soup for them.

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PeaNut 472,567
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:29:42 PM
Unless I was so ill with the flu AND my husband was so ill with the flu that we both cannot get out of bed, AND my child was young enough that a functioning adult was required, I would NEVER ask my parents to come over and help. If they offered, I would tell them no.

My parents are in their 70's with various health issues and I would not want to expose them to the flu.

As a grandparent, if the stepkids needed help, I would come over and help, but would not offer beyond, "Is there anything I can get you from the store?"

I guess I view taking care of your children when they are sick and you are sick as part of the parenting "package".

And anyone who thinks that the person is a "fair weather grandparent" is just plain ridiculous.

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PeaNut 201,774
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:31:47 PM
I think it's strange to expect grandparents or anyone who's not the parent to be around sick, contagious kids if it's not an urgent situation for some reason. Calling your dad a fair-weather grandparent is ridiculous. It just makes your DH sound spoiled and entitled.

ETA I want to clarify that I think it's fine if grandparents want to be around for sick kids/that's how a family works things out among themselves. My objection is to EXPECTING the grandparents to carry that kind of load, and being offended if they don't want to.

I am also one of those grandmothers that adore and worship their grandkids.

(And in case that isn't clear, it's because nearly 100% of us grandparents adore and worship our grandkids. There's nothing special about your case.)

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PeaNut 20,301
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:31:53 PM
I only remember calling my mom once when DH and I both had a stomach bug and needed my mom to help get the kids off to school. Other than that one time, I took care of my kids without outside help.

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PeaNut 387,904
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:32:30 PM
I go over if needed. I always offer. There have been times when dil or ds has been sick and I go get dgs so she/he can rest and the healthy parent can go to work. I've also gone over when dgs is sick to help out. Just last week dgs , age 3, had the stomach flu. He got sick while his parents were at work and we were taking care of him for the day. We did call dil and she came home from work to take care of dgs.


PeaNut 69,597
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:32:48 PM
What the what?

First, I'd like to say the 'norm' is whatever works for you. If you have parents who drop what they're doing to come over and help, more power to you. If you don't, there's nothing wrong with that.

I don't think it's even safe for a 70 year old to be around someone with the flu...but you know what?

My parents live very locally, only about 20 minutes from me and they quit stopping by to see my children on a regular basis about two weeks after they were born.

And the only time they really helped with sick kids was if I happened to be sick at the same time and my husband couldn't work.

Would they be there every day if we were talking serious illness? Absolutely.

But to stop by just to help out with a common cold or flu? No. And I wouldn't expect them to. That's my job.



PeaNut 69,597
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:34:04 PM
Oh, and fair weather grandparent? That's a bunch of crap.


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PeaNut 217,886
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:34:28 PM
It really depends. If I really desperately NEED help, my FIL and my mom would both step up and be there for us. My FIL has stayed with my puking son more than once when I've had exams and dh has been out of town.

My mom is also not at all concerned for her health (in those circumstances).

My MIL is generally not very healthy and she avoids us. My FIL tries to stay away if we don't NEED him. (He also lives 45 mins. away so it's not super convenient for him either) My mom also works full time.


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PeaNut 90,200
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:36:43 PM
If I really needed help, say we were all down with a bug and so no one was able to take care of anyone, my mom would come in a heartbeat (although she'd wear a mask and gloves, seriously).

But in general? I hardly get near my own kids when they have a stomach bug. I'd never expect another person to do so. Certainly not a 70 year old.

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PeaNut 52,817
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:37:04 PM

Oh, and fair weather grandparent? That's a bunch of crap.

Yeah, no kidding. Besides, isn't that what being a grandparent is all about? They GET to be fairweather. That's why being a grandparent is awesome. Parents get it all, grands get the good stuff. That's the the payoff for getting through the hard stuff with their own kids.


PeaNut 223,678
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:38:30 PM
"Parents get it all, grands get the good stuff. That's the the payoff for getting through the hard stuff with their own kids."

that is what i told DH-- apparently his grandparents were over all the time when he was a kid sick/well whatever, his opinion and mine are very different!

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PeaNut 171,221
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:43:04 PM
Why would there be a norm? Everyone is different and has different circumstances. Besides, there is a middle ground to "go help" and "run."

While I see my grandkids a couple of times a week (I live about 15 minutes from them), I would not normally specifically "go help" when they are sick. They have very capable parents. I will however, "go help" when my DIL is sick. Or I might make up a batch of soup or other comfort food that my DS would pick up and take home. However, I do not avoid them because they are sick either. While I may not go to help, I may pop in to rock a child with a fever. I also still kiss, hug and cuddle snotty little cold bug babies. LOL

However, if I have a lot to do at work and the illness is the real, actual flu or a ferocious stomach bug, I will purposely stay away.

My DIL sometimes wants relief during a minor run or after a major run of illness, and she'll drop the kids off for a weekend. And, (this will probably blow your mind LOL), if one of the kids is already slated to spend the weekend at my house and gets sick, that illness does not prevent them from coming over. I know, right?! I have a DIL who actually thinks I'm perfectly capable of caring for a sick child. LOL

DIL's mom on the other hand bitches at her if a kid turns up sick during a visit. (They live about 1.5 hours apart) DIL won't take kids to her mom's if they so much as sneeze because her mom will act like a shrew about them being sick because she doesn't have insurance, and she also runs to the doctor for every little sniffle.

My grandkids' grandfathers (we're all divorced) are between the two of us grandmas. They'll be around the kids when they are sick, but not to "go help" and I'm pretty sure they've never held my granddaughter's hair back while she's puking or cleaned up DGS during a stomach bug, which I have.

So, there you have it. There is no norm.


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PeaNut 479,777
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:45:58 PM
I wouldn't expect it at all. I'm capable of taking care of my kids when they're sick. There have been a few times when we've had a grandparent take care of one because we had to take the other somewhere, but that's it.

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PeaNut 18,334
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Posted: 2/19/2013 1:58:13 PM
Depends on what they are sick with... I've got a very easy queasy gag reflex. I can be feeling just fine, someone in a movie heave and gag. I'll be about 15 seconds behind them vomiting.

I don't visit if there is vomiting or diarrhea going around. Snotty noses and "wet" mucus sounding coughs will all set me to gagging too. So for most stuff kids get sick with I stay away from them.

But my kids remember when they were small and I'd have to throw up several times while trying to help them so they don't expect me to help with the grands. Their daddy was the one to do vomit duty with them.

Was he around as a dad when his kids were sick? That would be a clue. My ex was a good nurse in that respect.

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PeaNut 441,981
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Posted: 2/19/2013 2:04:20 PM
Your dad is at an age where a bug like that can really put him down. Don't take it personally it
is much harder on an older person to recoup from stomach bugs and flus. I am 57 and finding that out more and more.


PeaNut 393,905
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Posted: 2/19/2013 2:08:31 PM
My xdh's parents - no. His dad hasn't seen or talked to the kids for about 7 years and his mom sees the kids when its convenient for her.

My current inlaws - no. FIL and his wife live 3 hours away so it isn't feasible. MIL lives several states away and hasn't ever seen our little one.

My parents - gosh yes! I don't work anymore, but when I did work, if one of my kids was sick my parents would come over and stay with them so I could go to work. They would take kids to doctor apts, dentist apts, to and from after school activities, etc so that I didn't have to miss work. It was a God send, honestly! I know that I was/am very lucky to have that and I never took it for granted. They were not at my beck and call....if they had an apt they wouldn't cancel that to take care of my kids, but they would come over before or after so I only missed a half day or so of work.

I don't think it is a grandparent's responsibility to care for or transport grandchildren, but I think it is very nice when they do.

My parents are amazingly wonderful grandparents!

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PeaNut 79,412
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Posted: 2/19/2013 2:14:13 PM
No. Not only is it dangerous in the situation you described (70?), but because it's part if my job as a parent. They did that, with me. Now they get to sit back and just be fun, without having to worry about taking care of sick kids, making them clean their room, or working on book reports with them.

And I would be really weirded out if my in-laws tried that.

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PeaNut 52,841
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Posted: 2/19/2013 2:14:28 PM

I think it's strange to expect grandparents or anyone who's not the parent to be around sick, contagious kids if it's not an urgent situation for some reason. Calling your dad a fair-weather grandparent is ridiculous. It just makes your DH sound spoiled and entitled.

No Kidding. I am really getting tired or reading the crappy grandparent comments on 2Peas if a grandparent is not doing EXACTLY as the parents of the grandchild want. Grandparents are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

If I were the OP father, I wouldn't go over either. I have an uncle that died a few years ago. He was very healthy, or so he thought. He got the flu. A couple of days later he was in ICU and a couple of days after that, he died. He was about 69ish. I am not that old but I don't knowingly expose myself to other people's sickness, no matter who they are. If there were major extenuating circumstances, I might expose myself but under most circumstances, no.

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PeaNut 38,823
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Posted: 2/19/2013 2:22:29 PM
My parents and inlaws would help if we asked them to, but why would we? I'd feel terrible if we got them sick.


PeaNut 27,295
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Posted: 2/19/2013 2:24:13 PM
In the camp it's not good for his health to be around illness.

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PeaNut 101,638
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Posted: 2/19/2013 2:25:09 PM
All the grandparents are in generally good health and in their 60's/early 70's.

My parents (mom, dad & stepmom) stay far away until the sickness has passed.

My MIL takes care of SIL's kids all the time when the are sick. She is the primary caregiver when SIL needs to be at work and her kids are sick. I was telling MIL how my parents keep their distance, but she said she has no problem taking care of SIL's kids. (though I do know numerous times they have caught what is going around)

Many of the families I know, the grandparents seem to be the caregivers when the parents have other obligations or work. They babysit in sickness too.


PeaNut 31,845
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Posted: 2/19/2013 2:25:38 PM
Unless you were all sick, why would an elderly person subject themselves to illness?

That's not being "fair weather" that's thinking things through.

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PeaNut 220
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Posted: 2/19/2013 2:38:14 PM
My parents stay as far away as possible. As do we if they are sick.

I have a weak immune system and my parents are older so when they get sick it really knocks them for a loop. Years ago the kids, DH & I all had the flu for Christmas. My mom was having a fit WE ruined her Christmas by not coming over even though we were all sick. They lived 90 miles away. DH felt sick to his stomach so he couldn't handle the drive and stayed home. I drove out and made mom's Christmas. Guess who ended up getting sick too? She was sick for nearly 6 weeks with several trips to the dr and many missed days of work. That was the end of that. Now if we are sick we stay away, no hard feelings.


PeaNut 191,815
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Posted: 2/19/2013 2:44:53 PM
My FIL is definitely one who will come around to help if needed when the kids are sick.

The last time this came up was about a month ago, when DS came down with that icky flu. He's 14 years old, so I left him home alone when I went to work (it was a Friday and I was getting home early from work). FIL insisted on coming over to bring DS food, check on him, etc. I told him it wasn't necessary, but he wouldn't hear of it. Now my mom, on other hand, is not an involved grandparent at all, so I don't see her doing this. No biggy.


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PeaNut 196,615
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Posted: 2/19/2013 2:45:06 PM
I'm a grandparent and I wouldn't expose myself to the illness. I take care of a child with medical problems. I'm not going to risk exposing her to anything. Things that land my grandchildren in bed for a couple days could lead to a hospital stay for her. My family all know this and stay away if they are sick.


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PeaNut 16,712
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Posted: 2/19/2013 2:58:12 PM
We're very involved grandparents but we don't go visit if it's a stomach virus, DH had some heath problems 6 years ago so we stay clear for that. I try and avoid having him get anything.

So I would say unless I was really needed I wouldn't be in the middle of it.

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PeaNut 294,285
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Posted: 2/19/2013 3:00:06 PM

I only remember calling my mom once when DH and I both had a stomach bug and needed my mom to help get the kids off to school. Other than that one time, I took care of my kids without outside help.

This. But, I have gone over and helped out in the past. Now I can't as DH has a suppressed immune system.

I definitely think a 70 year old grandpa should stay away.


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PeaNut 163,613
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Posted: 2/19/2013 3:03:26 PM
My parents don't and MIL would but she lives 45 miles away.
MIL would be happy to have my sick family at her home if I wanted to send them to her to care for

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PeaNut 465,236
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Posted: 2/19/2013 3:03:53 PM
Why would anyone selfishly want to expose the grandparents to an illness when it was not absolutely necessary? If I was so sick myself I couldn't care for my kids, my mother would come over in a heartbeat. But she has her own schedule and life to lead and is in her 70's...she does not need to be getting ill for no reason and disrupt her routine and possibly have it lead to pneumonia or something else more severe than we would might get.
IMO your dh sounds like a selfish baby. I'd be telling my parents to stay away! In fact that's exactly what I tell them when one of the kids is sick.


PeaNut 328,277
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Posted: 2/19/2013 3:13:47 PM
Your DH's definition of fair weather is my definition of smart thinking.


PeaNut 25,268
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Posted: 2/19/2013 3:18:04 PM
My parents don't live in the same state as we do, so this has never been an issue. When my girls were younger, my MIL would help out on occasion if the girls were sick and dh and I had a signficant work conflict. That was very, very rare, though. She only did this a few times (probably 1-3 times total), and only if asked. She wouldn't just stop over to help.

I was totally fine w/that. Taking care of sick kids is the responsibility of parents.



PeaNut 237,062
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Posted: 2/19/2013 3:21:34 PM
We have helped our DD when both her and our DGD were ill and her husband was out of the state. We went and stayed and took care of them---bad colds and strep. We did not get ill.

Last year we went and picked up our DGD and brought her to stay with us (she was healthy) while her little brother had pneumonia. The our DD and DSIL could focus on his care.

But now I am the primary care giver of my father who is in his last days. I go nowhere around ill people----I can not afford to get ill nor can I take it to him. My daughter 1000% understands. Now neither of us like it, but it is just the way it is right now.

I have had colitis since I was 5----I would never willingly go around someone with a stomach bug since that type of thing seems to hit me for longer than the average person.


PeaNut 335,105
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Posted: 2/19/2013 3:36:57 PM
Some days I wonder if parents, particularly young parents, know
how to manage without the direct hands on involvement of grandparents.

I see it here. I choose to be a SAHM/WAHM by choice. People tell me they don't know how we do it financially without both of us working FT.

The only reason they can do it is that grandparents babysit for free, take the child to the sports practices, games, doctor's appointments etc.
And it's almost expected of grandparent's in this small town. This afternoon school pick up only 2 of the 20 or so folks standing in the alcove where parents, all the rest were grandparents. My parents raised me and I would never expect them to help raise my kids.


PeaNut 136,677
March 2004
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Posted: 2/19/2013 3:39:46 PM
My parents, especially my mom, would help out with whatever we needed, but I wouldn't ask unless I absolutely had to.

I don't think I will be the same what though. I will help with colds, but stomach bug, no way!

Miss Ang
I'm a Toilet Paper Pea. Are you?

PeaNut 26,443
January 2002
Posts: 12,621
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Loc: Illinois

Posted: 2/19/2013 3:40:30 PM
We are very close with my parents and I talk to my mom on the phone or in person every day. We live less than a mile away from each other.

When one of our kids are sick my parents always call and ask if there is anything they need. (gingerale, crackers, chicken noodle soup, jello, Gatorade, medicine) Even if we don't need anything, they always stop by to check on the "patient" and give a hug and a kiss. They don't stay but a few minutes but they always call and come by. My kids are 13 & 17 and my nieces are 13 & 16. They have always done this with all 4 grandkids.

I don't know why. Neither of my grandparents on either side did this. They just want to let the kids know they care, I guess.


Peaing From Podunk

PeaNut 45,443
August 2002
Posts: 16,554
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Loc: North Dakota

Posted: 2/19/2013 3:40:51 PM
As a very involved grandparent age 60, no way would I purposely expose myself to sick kids and my DD would never expect me to. And no way would I ever be considered a fair weather grandparent, just a smart one.
I find the things some adult children expect of their parent ridiculous and wonder if they'll feel differently when they are the grandparent


Mother Goose's Meandering Mind

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