38 answers

Grandmother Being "Forced" into Babysitting

My son (29) and his girlfriend (29) had my first grandchild November 2012. GF has a 3 1/2 y/o son from a previous relationship. I have babysat my grandson on several occasions, either for the day while they work or for a few days at a time while they go to functions on the weekend. I have also watched the older son a few times. I have no problem with this, unless I am busy. Now, i am also being asked to watch the 3 1/2 y/o a few days a week because their daycare bill is so high and son is laid off for the winter. (He is working full-time) until his great paying regular job resumes. Here is the problem: The older son has behavioral issues. He constantly tells you he hates you, throws things, won't leave his little brother alone, will NOT listen, can not play without constantly making LOUD noise, spends most of his time in time out, laughs when you punish him. The parents have friends that will not go out to eat with them or visit them because of his behavior. The list goes on and on.

Here is the problem. My son has recently asked me to watch both boys 2-3 days a week to save on their daycare bill. I DO NOT want to watch the older son. I can't handle him, its exhausting and am a nervous wreck by the end of the day. I have offered to watch baby 3 days a week to save them a lot of money. My son said "no", that they are brothers and I have to watch them both or I can't watch my grandson. I feel like I am being forced into watching the older son. I go to sleep and wake up worrying about this. I don't know if he thinks because I am in my 40's that I have all the energy it takes to do this. I am on permanent disability for a reason due to a health issue. He knows this but it's just like he doesn't care. He has also told me that if his GF finds out that I feel this way, she will never let me watch my grandson.

On another note...they also expect MY mother to help out babysitting. She is retired and has had heart surgery and other health problems. We both feel taken advantage of and don't know how to settle this!

I'm so torn and upset. Need help on what to do!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your quick responses!! They have ALL been helpful. I will keep you all posted as this progresses.

Featured Answers

Unless they go to an in-home daycare they will be in separate rooms because of their age difference any way. I think it was more than generous of you to watch the baby. This would still save them roughly 1/2 of what they will pay if they have to enroll 2 kids in daycare.

You are not up for it so you will just have to say no.

5 moms found this helpful

Sounds like he is giving you a choice. You can watch both kids or neither. You will have to decide what you want to do. I think he is correct that if his girlfriend finds out how much you dislike her son, she wont want you to spend time with her children, either of them. If you want to watch the kids, watch then, if you dont, dont. If daycare is too expensive for them, they have plenty of options, including working opposite shifts, which is what my husband and I do, so we dont have to pay for daycare.

4 moms found this helpful

Call him on his bluff. I would tell them that you cannot watch both at the same time, you are sorry that he feels this way, and you leave the option to watch the baby open at any time. Be firm about it.
They are just trying to strong arm you into getting their way. But once they realize how much full-time is for a baby AND a child, they will be singing a different tune. Trust me.
They have put you in a horrible situation and should be ashamed. I'm sorry. :(

3 moms found this helpful

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If he's laid off, why do they have the kids in daycare at all?

8 moms found this helpful

This is ridiculous!! When did parents expect their parents(grandparents) to raise own kids. I just don't get this nowadays. When I was a kid parents watched their own damn kids. Poor kids nowadays being shuffled all over the place.

How about you tell your son to marry his girlfriend and they should watch their own kids.

This is not something you should lose sleep over. You raised your own kids to adulthood....now he needs to learn the lessons of adulthood. Your son should be the one losing the sleep trying to figure out how to financially take care of the babies he has made with these women.

You can only be forced into doing something if YOU allow it. Don't allow it!! You know you are being taken advantage of...so does your elderly mother. But it sounds like you have created a history of this. Talk to your son and tell him kids ARE expensive. Childcare will be expensive but that is the choice he made for having kids. As grandmas...it is not your responsibility.

If he shuts you out of his life over this then it shows low character on his part. If he is understanding then it shows he loves you(and grandma) and cares for your health and peace of mind. It will show you raised a man. If not, it will show you raised a spoiled, self centered boy.

I really wish you the best. I am just fed up with hearing about people letting other's rule their life when the other person is using guilt, manipulation and threats. Just sickens me to see grown kids acting this way to their grown parents.

Good luck and best wishes. Standing up for yourself can be scary at first...but ohhhh so liberating. Have grandma camp one weekend each month and enjoy your grandkids...not merely looked at as a free babysitter.

7 moms found this helpful

If he is laid off and money is tight, why does he need daycare? Doesn't laid off mean he is home?

It's not your responsibility to handle your son's children (and the older one is his, as long as he is with this girl). You could try to sit them both down and discuss why you can't handle them both, you've got a disability, you're not capable of keeping up with a kid that simply doesn't respect or listen to you and you shouldn't be responsible for trying to turn this kid's behavior around.

Your son must know that the child has behavior issues, and honestly it sounds like by telling you that "well, if GF hears that she won't let you see the baby" is an attempt to manipulate you. GF isn't the only person who can decide if you get to see the baby, she needs to accept and take responsibility for the fact that her child needs some behavioral therapy or something, and it's not your job to try to undo the parenting mistakes that she did and it definitely shouldn't be a condition of your being able to be a loving grandma to the child that is a blood relation. Just let them know that when the older child can control himself and respect you as a figure of authority he is welcome at your home. It is their job as parents to raise that kid into being able to control himself, into being able to respect the fact that when you are in someone's home and they say, "please don't bang on that" that you shouldn't bang on it.

It makes me sick, honestly, when young people have kids and then expect their parents and family to help raise them. Having family around to help is a privilege, not a right.

7 moms found this helpful

They're blackmailing you-watch both boys or you don't see your grandson. The only way to deal with blackmail is to refuse to play along. It is hard because you will likely not be able to see the baby for a while, but you CANNOT allow them to force you or your mother into doing anything you're uncomfortable with. Chances are, if you agree, they'll continue past the winter and their demands will only increase. By refusing, you take the power away from them. It's the only way.

6 moms found this helpful

Oh my lord...what terrible spoiled brats. Unfortunately they are not alone. I have seen so many kids expect this of their parents. Bet you many reading this right now are a few. Its a sad reflection on my generation and I think it is terrible. This excpectation that our parents should be our free babysitting service is robbing our parents of what should be a wonderful time in their lives. And furthermore its just not safe for our kids. So please just tell your son that you just are not able to do this for him. NO drama and no drawn out apologies-just matter of fact. Theses users do need you so you will see your grandchildren again I guarantee you.

6 moms found this helpful

I would just stand firm - they are not forcing you into anything, you are telling them what you can do and these are the choices they are making. They need to act like adults and come up with some other solutions - if money is that tight for them, is he collecting unemployment while laid off? Can they qualify for some kind of government assistance with child care?

Actually, what I don't understand is, if your son is laid off for the winter, why do they still need day care at all? If he's home, why isn't HE watching them? Our daughter is in kindergarten and on days when we both work, she goes to after-school care, and we have to pay for the time she is there. When my husband is laid off for the winter, she doesn't go - there's no need for it if he can pick her up right after school.

6 moms found this helpful

Unless they go to an in-home daycare they will be in separate rooms because of their age difference any way. I think it was more than generous of you to watch the baby. This would still save them roughly 1/2 of what they will pay if they have to enroll 2 kids in daycare.

You are not up for it so you will just have to say no.

5 moms found this helpful

ETA; Wow, HD, just wow. Your MIL is "disabled and on disability... heart problems and is pretty much paralyzed on her left side because of surgery from breast cancer and radiation" and you expect her to watch all of your kids. AND you call her lazy. Just wow...

J., pay close attention to that post and don't let your son treat YOU like this poor MIL is getting treated.

I'm sorry that your son is being a butt here. He is trying to force your hand. HE'S acting like his 3 year old. PLEASE just shake your head and say "Son, I'm sorry. I'm not as young as I used to be, I have physical problems that I just cannot ignore, and I cannot handle junior's behavior. I will watch the baby for 3 days a week until your job comes around. That is all I can do. You will have to keep junior in preschool." When he says you can't take care of the baby, tell him that is up to him. Close the conversation.

If you cave in to this, your son and his wife will have no reason to work on this child's behavior. They are ignoring the elephant in the room, grandma. They shouldn't be.

It is not your responsibility to fix this child. If you allow them to push you into this, then you become part of this child's PROBLEM. You would be helping your son and his wife ignore their son. They HAVE to toe the line at the daycare. If the daycare tells them that his behavior is affecting other kids and they need to get a counselor to help him, then they will have to do it. Nothing you say will matter. Don't enable them to be bad parents, grandma. Just say no.

Your son is just trying to scare you into doing what he wants. Do you really think that it is appropriate for him to talk to you this way? It isn't. Don't let him get away with it. Don't talk to your daughter-in-law about it. If she asks, just say that you don't feel well enough to handle both kids. If she gets angry about it, it's only because she, like your son, is having a tantrum over not getting their way.

You have to ignore this and take care of yourself. Your mother has to take care of herself too. How to settle this is for both of you to just say that you cannot do it. Your son needs to stand on his own two feet. If they try to punish you two, then that's on them and you should not let it bother you. Quite honestly, if both you and your mother stand firm together on this, they will end up HAVING to let you see the baby because they won't be able to afford paying someone to watch both children full time. Right now, they are blowing smoke and making threats. Ignore the threats. If they start yelling, just say you're sorry they feel that way, and hang up the phone.

This is what you should do, and I hope you and your mother will do it.


5 moms found this helpful

I had to respond to this message because I find it completely unfair that some are calling you out for not wanting to watch the stepchild. As a child of divorced parents (multiple times), this is not true. If the boy causes you that much exhaustion, then you DON'T NEED TO WATCH HIM. Bottom line. Offer what you can and WANT to do for them and then stand firm.

I believe it would be helpful to point out his behavioral issues again, and maybe even sit down with the GF and have a serious, heartfelt conversation about it. She may not be mature enough to understand or do anything about it, but at least you will know you have done all you can do.

And please tell your son that Grandma is off-limits. Period.

Good luck and please be sure to put yourself first. You had your children and raised them. It is up to them to do the same.

4 moms found this helpful

This is what I would do.

"Son, I would really like to help you out with M, but I'm afraid that trying to deal with them both would be too much for me. When I have them both I feel like neither one is getting the attention they need. I'll still be more than happy to take baby for a few days a week to help you out but I think M would be happier with someone who can divide their attention better than I can."

Just make it all about how your concerned about the boy's welfare and you're just afraid you're not up to it. How can they be mad when you're just doing what's best for the boy?

4 moms found this helpful

Sounds like he is giving you a choice. You can watch both kids or neither. You will have to decide what you want to do. I think he is correct that if his girlfriend finds out how much you dislike her son, she wont want you to spend time with her children, either of them. If you want to watch the kids, watch then, if you dont, dont. If daycare is too expensive for them, they have plenty of options, including working opposite shifts, which is what my husband and I do, so we dont have to pay for daycare.

4 moms found this helpful

I would bet your son has trouble telling his son, no, because you have trouble telling your son, no.
When you feel like you are being taken advantage of, it's because someone is taking advantage of you. You can't be forced into anything. You are an adult and have the power of no. You can say,

No. (It is a complete sentence.)
I don't feel comfortable with that arrangement.
That's not going to work for me.
I love your kids and love to help you out on occasion but I can not be your full time babysitter. You will have to make other arrangements.

Don't give excuses, that just gives them ammunition to convince you that you can do it. Stick to no.

I can understand that the girlfriend might be hurt, thinking that you prefer your blood grandson. But that's really not what's happening here. You don't have the skills and energy to take on a screaming, undisaplined 3 yr old along with a baby. Ask the mothers of those ages on here and the will tell you it very hard at their age, much less with a disability.

I think this is a manipulative bluff thing going on here and you need to call their bluff. Stand your ground, his words are empty. They have no money for a babysitter on those occasions when they need to go out and you can bet on them showing up with the baby for you. You will still see your grandchild. And they will grow up a bit and stop thinking of you as a sap.

4 moms found this helpful

Easy...then don't watch either of them. It really is their loss if they don't want to accommodate you. Remember you are helping them not the other way around. Its not too unreasonable to explain to your son that having both of them is overwhelming to you. And if they want to use their kids as a bargaining chip then so be it. Yes this means less time with your biological grandson, but you can't put your own health and mental stability in jeopardy.

I'm sure in time your son will come crawling back to you for help anyway and if not its really his loss.

4 moms found this helpful

you are being used and manipulated, and you know it.
tell your son honestly how you feel.
the GF may get in a huff and deny you access for a while but she'll likely get over it. especially if your son is a decent human being. surely he has a say.
but no way would i ever allow myself to be manhandled this way.

3 moms found this helpful

I have been in your son's shoes. I can understand his point about watching the 2 boys instead of just the baby. He doesn't want there to be 'favorites'. I get that. I understand. You should too.

It sounds like the 3 1/2 year old needs a structured daycare to help with the outbursts. Don't get me wrong, I am all for kids having freedom of choice and expression, etc. but sometimes too much freedom is worse.

However, your health comes first. It is wrong for him to insist that you watch and older child that you are not up to watching, in order for you to watch the younger one that you are up to watching. My advice is that if he doesn't want to let you choose what you know that you can handle, then choose just 1 day a week, or not at all. Only as a backup for illness.

My mom was in her 50's when I had my first child. She offered to watch him because she was stressed at her job and wanted to quit. I paid her $100 a week, that she and I claimed on taxes. As my child got older and more mobile, she started having more problems, became stressed. She couldn't keep up with him because of health issues she was going through.
When she got sick or went on a tirp, I had to take time off of work because I didn't have a backup sitter. It got to the point where it just didn't work for either of us. So I finally changed Grandma to 'backup' status and moved him to a private daycare. Yes the cost was more, but it worked better. Grandma got her days back. Her life back. She was able to watch him when he was sick for a day or two and couldn't go to daycare, but then her life would go back to normal.

What I gather from your email is that they have a part-time sitter situation. Yes child care is expensive. They should have been saving towards it during the pregnancy. There are things that they can do to help that they may not have thought about.
1. Increase your job withholdings. You son should increase his W-2 withholdings by 1. This will get him a little bit extra in his paycheck each week.
2. The GF can apply for WIC to get help with food and formula (if being used) for both kids and herself.
3. Depending on the financial situation, they may be able to apply for child care assistance.

3 moms found this helpful

I give this lecture to my girls all the time. I hope it sinks in with them. Nobody can make you do what you don't want to do. It's that simple. I'm trying to teach them at an early age to set boundaries and to be true to themselves. If you don't look out for yourself you can not count on others to and people will run ramshod over you.

The same applies for you. Lay your ground rules (strictly what you are comfortable with) and let the piece fall where they may. Look at this as THEIR problem NOT yours!

3 moms found this helpful

Hand them the paperwork for child care assistance. They need to fill it out and turn it in. They will get assistance if they are truly low income.

I had parents of one family that both worked in good paying jobs. They each made over $10 per hour. They had 3 kids. One was in school all day, one was 4 and one was a toddler. They paid about $400 per month total. They didn't have to pay the hundreds over that that the bill actually was.

3 moms found this helpful

Call him on his bluff. I would tell them that you cannot watch both at the same time, you are sorry that he feels this way, and you leave the option to watch the baby open at any time. Be firm about it.
They are just trying to strong arm you into getting their way. But once they realize how much full-time is for a baby AND a child, they will be singing a different tune. Trust me.
They have put you in a horrible situation and should be ashamed. I'm sorry. :(

3 moms found this helpful

Tell them no. That's it. Daycare is their financial responsibility , not yours. It is wrong of them to take advantage which is exactly what they are doing. If dad is unemployed for the winter then they don't even need daycare. They already have a stay at home parent.

3 moms found this helpful

I would absolutely stand firm that you will only watch the baby. Young infants (non-walkers) are much easier for grandparents to take care of than 3 year olds (especially when they don't listen). If it's all or nothing, go with nothing. Tell your mother to do the same. They can pay daycare for both boys for awhile, then I'd bet they'll end up leaving the baby with you again. They're trying to force your hand. It's not fair, so don't let them!

3 moms found this helpful

Grandma, I'm just going to send you a hug.

Stand up for yourself, you have every right to do that!!! They have children, they need to handle the situation.

Take Care,


3 moms found this helpful

I, too, would like to know why they expect you to watch their children when your son, the father, is unemployed currently. I also agree that they are blackmailing you, big time. They're going to play the "you don't love this grandson as much as the other" BS and that's not fair. Have you point blank told them that you aren't able to handle the older son? Based on the fact that they also have friends that don't want to be around their oldest son, this should come as no surprise that he's difficult to handle.

Listen, my MIL watches our daughter, too. She also watches my two nieces. One summer she couldn't do all 3 at once because the younger two were very young and needed constant attention. Guess what? My SIL had to find another option for her oldest child that summer. That was just the situation and my SIL made it work.

You are providing your family a wonderful option of at least taking one of them. My opinion is that the oldest child should now be attending preschool. His energy needs to start being corralled and focused on learning. If I were you, I'd stick to my guns on this one. They will eventually come around. Sorry you are going through this.

2 moms found this helpful

Sounds like emotional blackmail to me. I would say no to this. It is completely disrespectful to you. It is unfortunate that the kids have to get caught in the middle.

2 moms found this helpful

ETA: After rereading the post, you should not watch the children especially the older one. HE needs help and you cannot correct him. Counseling should be considered as he has issues with authority and now not being the only child. When your friends won't go out with you, you have a major problem. This kind of stress is not needed.

Original: Your health comes before your son's request. When your gone they will find someone other than your mother to watch both kids.

Put your foot down and let him know that you can do is what you can do. You are NOT obligated to help them. Remember the prhase "I raised my kids now you raise yours"? Might be time to put some distance between son and grandson(s) for your physical and mental health.

Whatever you do don't let anybody bully you into doing something you feel is not right even if it is family.

If son feels this way about you. Have him send you a picture or two of the baby and be done. Life is too short to be USED and many parents and extended grandparents are used and abused. Another story and soapbox for a different day.

There is a word to say loud and clear NO and no definition is needed. You are the adult parent and he is the adult child who must learn to deal with his issues.

Good luck to you and may you sleep well at night.

the other S.

PS Yes this hurts but this too shall pass.

2 moms found this helpful

I have two young children and an older stepdaughter. I have the good sense to break up my children when I politely ask my family to watch my children. It only makes sense to me. My kids are overwhelming as a pack. Individually or in pairs works much better. I would most certainly not tell someone he or she had to watch all of my children or they don't get to see them. That is manipulative and blackmail. Stand up for yourself, call your son's bluff and do what's best for you. A happy child minder is better for everyone involved. Good luck and no stressing over what is really a cut and dried situation.

Oh, and no way would I ask my grandmothers to watch my kids. Heck no. Between health and age they have earned their time off from child minding. Brief visits are best for everyone. Some people have no common decency when it comes to what they ask for/expect out of others.

2 moms found this helpful

You might be the best thing for the 3 1/2 year old. Sounds like he needs some tough love. I have, and I hate this term and do not use it, stepgrandchildren. I also have biological grandchildren one son married, one not. I consider ALL these children, my grandchildren. Could the fact that the 3 1/2 year old is not your sons, be playing into your decision.

2 moms found this helpful

Say that you cannot watch the children (or the older son) that often. Lay it out that you sympathize that their daycare bill is high (that's how it goes with little kids) and encourage them to look for child care assistance programs. Say you will watch x child(ren) x days a week. You may have to be upfront that their older son is too much to handle and it would benefit HIM as well to be in the daycare with different caregivers. Quite often children need to be in different care situations (my friend has her baby in a home daycare and her older son in preschool + aftercare somewhere else). Is your son worried about the older son feeling left out because he's hers from another relationship? I would address what is fueling the "they have to be together" since it's obviously more than money.

Bottom line, though, is you (and your mother) make your offer and they take or leave it. You are not forced to do anything and anybody who makes a child a pawn or weapon needs to grow up and stop acting like one.

2 moms found this helpful

Tell him you can't do it. Don't worry - they will be angry for a while and you may not see your grandson for a minute, but it will blow over.

I would just tell him no and then carry on as usual. Call, text, whatever, like they never asked and you never said no. Tell your son that you can't do it because of your health issues. It seems to me that they need a lot of babysitting help if you've already had your grandson for extended visits and he's only a few months old!

Don't worry - they will "need" your help more than they don't "want" to call you soon enough.

Stick to your guns!

2 moms found this helpful

You need to learn how to tell them no. They aren't "forcing" you to babysit if you go along with it. Tell them that you are sorry, but that you can't handle both kids, that you'd be happy to keep the baby a few days a week since that day care bill is the most. If they don't like that offer then they can figure out how to pay for full time daycare.

I'm sorry you are going through this, I would never to this to my mom.

1 mom found this helpful

You need to say "no." Sorry, but your son is being an a**hole. How dare he blackmail you.

Okay then, let them spend the money on a sitter. You absolutely should not give in on this, because frankly, your son needs to learn some manners.

Don't let them blackmail you and your mother into this. They are being unbelievably rude and selfish. Don't worry, they will want the free care eventually, and you will see your grandchildren, just not as often. Say no, and then agree to watch both children during the times when you feel you have the energy for the older child.

If the 3-1/2 year old acts up in your care, put him in the bedroom by himself for a while.

1 mom found this helpful

There is no way in hell those two are going to keep you from seeing your little Grandson-they are too dependent on you-are you kidding? Tell them you are happy to help with the baby-but not the toddler unless they will employ a mother's helper to be there when he is there-you physically don't have the stamina required. After four days with my little Grandsons, who are the joy of my life and very well behaved little boys-I look and fell like I am 100 years old! I know how you feel-all the best!

1 mom found this helpful

I hate negotiating with emotional black-mailers but I wonder if you could offer to take one boy one day and one boy another day. Start out with 2 days a week total. You have health issues that you cannot ignore - but if you want to help, maybe this might work.

That way you can have time with the baby and also try to help the 3 1/2 year old with his behavior issues. It may be that he belongs in a more structured environment and the change in his weekly routine won't help, but at least it gives you the opportunity to watch both boys 'equally'.

But I would have a conversation with your son and his GF and lay it out there - that your reluctance to have both isn't because one is not your biological grandchild and that you LOVE them equally - but it is because you just don't have the strength or energy to care for them both at the same time. Tell them that this would be a trial period and you need to be able to be open and honest about how things are going and they need to support you in changing the bad behavior (BTW.. do they even acknowledge the older son has some issues or do they think "I hate you" is normal and brush it off).

In the end, this is their issue - of course you want to help - but the way they are doing it is just WRONG. You need to take care of yourself first!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Here's my perspective. A bit different from the others because I'm younger and have been through something similar.

It sounds like your son is trying to keep his stepson from being ignored or not included. Would you still be so unwilling to watch the child if he was your blood grandchild? Blood or not, the child IS a part of your family now. And maybe your son thinks being around you will help the child's behavior. Maybe he doesn't want any sibling rivalry started early over grandma's attention. Maybe he wants the children to spend more time together WITH YOU.

Also, if your son was laid off he needs to have that time to himself to find a new job. Looking for a job is a full-time job in itself.

1 mom found this helpful

J., I was starting to think, "Hmm, this lady should be more willing...." UNTIL I got to this vital statement: " I am on permanent disability for a reason due to a health issue."

Your son and his girlfriend are being selfish. Of course you'd like a relationship with these kids, but the adults -- not really acting or thinking like adults -- are basically blackmailing you: "If you don't take both, you can't see either, so there! If you don't take them you will never see them again!" Not mature. Not fair on you with the health issue. And as for your mom -- you and she must simply flat-out say that she never will babysit. She can visit while YOU babysit, sure, but age and health mean she should not be in full charge of kids this young. Heart surgery and they expect her to babysit?!

Be aware that son and GF may feel that your real, unspoken reason for not wanting to babysit the older boy is because he is not your son's biological child and is unrelated to you. There are grandparents out there who would, in your case, reject the older child because he is not "family." I'm assuming here that this is not your case, BUT you really need to see how your son and GF could assume the opposite and be thinking, "She just dislikes Boy because he's not Son's blood and the 'bad behavior' is just an excuse she uses...." Please consider ways to ensure that you are clearly making the boy as welcome as possible, and praising him when he's good, and spending some time with him. Not babysitting, just taking the initiative to see him, but not for hours. For a kid like you describe it sounds like a very, very busy, structured and occupied visit is best, where he is doing something every second and not able to get into his own trouble. Just be aware that though he does have these issues of behavior and others see the same problems you see, it will come off to son and GF as if you are just rejecting the boy because he's not Son's child -- especially if you say you are OK with taking the baby who IS son's biological child. I'm not saying here that YOU feel that way, but it is very, very likely that is how the parents will see it, no matter what you tell them.

If you want real backing for not sitting as a regular "job," go to your doctor and ask if your disability precludes it. Your doctor may confirm that your health would be affected. (If son doesn't believe you, you can then legitimately tell him what your doctor said.) And if you are drawing disability pay, could that actually be jeopardized if you are seen to be looking after a rambunctious toddler and a needy infant two to three full days a week? That's something to consider as well. It might be that even an unpaid babysitting arrangement would be viewed as meaning you are more able than your disability arrangements allow.

I would tell them you love both kids, but cannot babysit them because of the disability, period. Then I would invite just the older child on an occasional special (and short) outing, or find a six- or eight-week session of a once-weekly class you and he do together for an hour.

When you say your formal no to sitting either kid, you could at the same time offer the parents a list of lower-cost care options -- do some research to present to them. In other words, keep the doors open and show that you do care about the kids and want to help them lower their child care costs, but you are not an option as a sitter.

I would not take the baby and say no to taking the older boy, though. This is what your son means when he tells you they're brothers and you have to take both or neither -- your son is already feeling you are rejecting the older kid and not because of behavior, either. But I think your health has to come first and sitting just the baby won't help your health. Say no but stay involved on your own terms.

1 mom found this helpful

Well, don't watch either of them. Looking at it from the parents' point of view, they have given you choice, whatever your choice, they'll have to wear it. It is apparent from your language that you don't consider 'the older son' part of your family. If I were the mother, I would be very hesitant to send a favourite to be babysat and exclude their brother. Eventually that little boy, nomatter how naughty he is at 3 years old will feel a difference. They seem to be doing it this way for the sake of a child, and I think that's OK.

1 mom found this helpful

Just say no...it's your right. Don't feel guilty, and there is no way they would withhold your grandchildren from you. As a mother of 2 boys (Age 10 and 3 1/2), in my opinion I understand watching the baby, but honestly the 3 1/2 year old should be in a preschool or mother's day out program where he can learn and socialize with preschoolers his own age to prepare him for kindergarten. My 3 1/2 LOVES his school and kids at this age learn alot from each other. Maybe check in to some Mother's day out programs or church preschools that have reduced rates in your area? Just a thought!

1 mom found this helpful

i understand you being asked to watch both or none of them, due to now showing preference. but you have the power to say no.

I don't have a solution, but I want to say that we have one of those in my family. I heard my cousin has her Grandparents (in their 70s) watching her daughter. Her family didn't want her to have another baby, but she did and then when Great Grandma tried to decline watching the new baby, my cousin threaten to take away her daughter...well, Great Grandma is watching both kids last I heard. My family is completely against this, yet it doesn't seem to change my cousins thinking (she can afford daycare). How people feel so entitled to something...I just don't know.
It's wrong to be forced into a situation you don't want to. If they need help, then you need them to help with their son's behavior. (but I have been around certain kids that are really great, but just don't stop moving or touching and can't be entertained with something for longer than 2 minutes...and I haven't found a solution for that except waiting for them to grow up)

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