I am a 52 year old single woman who works full time and my 21 year old daughter and grandaughter live at home with me. My daughter suffers severe anxiety and depression, the last time she saw her physciatrist he was swaying toward her being bi polar. This was over a year ago just after my grandaughter was born. Her mental health is of great concern to me as is the welfare of my gorgeous little 1 year old grandaughter. my daughter will not seek help for her condition and just keeps getting scripts for the same meds she has been on for just over 4 years. Unfortunately they don't seem to work and she stops taking them all the time only because she runs out and it can take her up to 2 weeks to fill another script, I usually end up doing it. She is extremely lazy, which she blames on her illness. I am concerned for the welfare of my grandaughter. Not that my daughter would physically harm her but I feel that she is being neglected as my daughter does nothing for her, I work a 40hour week and come home everyday to a mess, dishes piled on the sink, food all over the floor, i cook for all of us so I know the baby is eating a decent meal everyday. Don't get me wrong she does feed her but just sits her in her high chair and gives her packet things and things the baby can feed herself, but she is not getting the nutrition she needs. I then clean up the mess and vacuum and mop every night. I spend time interacting and playing with the baby as my daughter just gives her some toys and is on her phone non stop She doesn't do any washing, so I wash the babies clothes and mine, hers are piled up in the laundry for weeks on end, she goes sometimes a couple of months without changing her sheets if I don't do it for her, I keep the babies room and bedding clean but she sleeps the baby in her bed most of the time because she is too lazy to get up to her in the night, or if she is in her cot and wakes during the night she leaves her to scream herself to sleep, I usually get up to her as I have to work and I need to sleep. She also goes out a lot and leaves the baby with me, I have said no but she just leaves the baby with friends that have no idea how to care for a child, so for my granddaughters well being I keep her at home with me. She drinks alcohol a lot more than she should and just assumes I will look after the baby when she is intoxicated, and I do again for fear of the baby's well being. It has gotten to the point that my grandaughter wants to be with me all the time and screams if I leave the room. I pay all the bills and buy all the food, I spend a lot on food for the baby that I know is easy for her to eat, so I know she is getting fed.
my daughter has also bought a dog home and now I am the one feeding, bathing and cleaning up after it also.. I am exuasted and just at my wits end, if I say anything to her she just shuts off and tells me she is leaving, and it scares me that she will, as I know she cannot care for the baby on her own and I have no rights to take the baby from her. I am exausted and frustrated and angry, I try so hard to bite my tongue but sometimes I just boil over..
I don't know what to do, but I do know I cannot let things continue down this path I am just at a loss as to where to go.. where do you start with this sort of thing... My main concern is for the baby at the moment and making sure she is ok..
sorry for the novel but it does feel like a bit of a weight off to put this in writing..
Hey there @Wittsend, firstly I am so glad you've joined our community here - and really happy to hear you feel a weight has been lifted in being able to write all of that out. I am so sorry about your Daughters behaviour right now, I can imagine you feel really frustrated with minimal rights over the little one. And of course, you're a really resilient and incredible person to be there for your Grandaughter. It is understandable she has this attachment to you given the level of neglect you have described.
You've been very strong to name it yourself for what it is, which is neglect. Regardless of complex mental health issues, the welfare of the child is paramount and some of the things you've described are of concern, so it is most definitely the right thing to do to seek some further support and take action to help support the little one and yourself. A few options that could help, you could phone Parentline for information about the different child neglect laws and supports available, they have a number for each state here (scroll down not too far and it should show up ) There's also further information here on definitions of neglect I would recommend you look into.
Of course, our little forum community is here to hold space and listen as well . You're not alone, it can be challenging at times being the loved one of someone with complex mental health issues - however protecting the child sounds like the first port of call at the moment.
How are you feeling about reaching out to some of the above services? Hope to hear from you soon.
If you need urgent assistance, see Need help now For mental health information, guidance and referrals, see the SANE Help Centre SANE Forums is published by SANE Australia with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health SANE Australia ABN 92006533606 PO Box 226 South Melbourne 3205 Australia