5 yrs ago I received custody of a 5 yr boy and a 3 yr old girl grandchild. I was in a bad marriage at the time and my decision to take this on ended that. At the time I thought it was only temporary as my son and their father was in prison and planned to take care of them when he returned home. Their mother at that time had lost them to CPS for using, cooking and selling drugs. At a point a few months into this I realized my son would never be able to support them financially and would have continued difficulties staying out of trouble himself. Their mother is now sober according to her but is unable to care for the four kids she has. Since they have come to my home they have both been diagnosed with ADHD. I am all these kids have as far as security and I’m miserable. My friends are out enjoying the years after their kids are raised. My family is offering no emotional support. Cousins get together for meals out and don’t invite us. My brother plays it down as if I’m imaging it and making a bigger deal of it than I should. They think I should be more patient with the kids. I find dirty underwear both of them stuff into their dresser drawers. They know I like a semi clean house but I still continue to find dirty clothes stuffed in drawers and the back of closets. Everyone tells me they are kids. I believe I should be able to live in an odor free clean environment yet it hasn’t happened yet. I consistently take privileges away to no avail. It seems the kids have better support than I do. I’m tired of being miserable, unhappy and lonely. I’m on wellbutrin 300 mg (it keeps me from crying constantly) and I’ve done the therapy thing on more than a few occasions and they all say the same thing, “take better care of yourself and get a support system.” To someone who isn’t concerned with the financial and logistics of babysitters its just that simple. I’ve looked for grandparent support groups till I’m blue. I don’t know how much longer I can hide my distress.
A: I think it is time to get children’s protective services (CPS) involved. If you don’t deal with this issue proactively you are likely to become depleted and overwhelmed, and not be able to care for them in the long run.
Let CPS know what you are struggling with and find your daughter-in-law’s caseworker. He or she may be able to help offload the burden of responsibility from you. He or she may also be able to help you manage legally and in the coordination of services. Take a strong proactive approach to getting as much responsibility back on to the children’s parents as is possible with ancillary support services from CPS.
What I am suggesting is to start finding ways to deal with the fact that you have to have others take more responsibility so you can take better care of your needs. If you become depleted and can’t care for the children what would happen? That is the scenario you must use to guide your need for greater self-care. Ultimately you may be in a better, stronger position if you can be a support person rather than primary.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Jul 2011
Tomasulo, D. (2011). I’m raising my grandchildren alone and I’m miserable. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 18, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/07/06/im-raising-my-grandchildren-alone-and-im-miserable/