Full Time Babysitting Grandma Can’t Take It Anymore

Updated on August 05, 2019
P.C. asks from Lake Charles, LA
16 answers

When my daughter left her partner and wanted to join the work force I offered to watch her two children temporarily. It is now four years later and there are three children. I am a quiet person and need my calm space. I have the children 9 hrs a day in the summer and One full time and other two after school. I just want my life back! I love my grandchildren and want to see them often but this is killing me. My husband is not happy either. When I tell my daughter this she says if I don’t watch them they will all end up living on the streets and/or she will have to move back where she was living which is 100 miles from me. Help! I want my life back but I also want the best for my grandkids

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answers from Boston on

As I age, my extended family is my everything. But the person I’m dating (long distance) is not into family. Can you find another full time G. friend to swap baby sitting with you? My ultimate goal would be to keep my grandkids near. There is an upside to being a single senior hmmmm

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answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to mamapedia.

While i'm not a grandparent. I understand what you are saying.

Where does your daughter's money go?
Does she pay to you watch her kids?
If she's got ANOTHER baby - would assume she's got another partner?? Where is HE in all of this?

She is using guilt to continue to use you.

You really need to sit down and talk with your daughter and tell her enough. You can do some research before hand, and get her numbers to government access/help so she can pay for child care if she can't afford it.

I'd give her a date that she needs to have other arrangements made for child care. This is the tough love part of parenting. If she has enough money for a new baby? Then she has enough money to start taking care of her own kids. Or she's spending her money where she doesn't need to spend it.

I wish you luck and peace. I am sure this won't be easy.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Sounds like you need to practice some "tough love" parenting. Call her bluff and see what happens.

You are allowing it to happen. I know you know this and are trying to stop it. But enough is enough for you, right? Now you need to tell her you need your life back. You love her and your grandchildren, but you need a life. If there is a compromise like only taking care of the kids AFTER SCHOOL ONLY and she needs to find summer camps and summer care.

The youngest? Needs to go to daycare. There is help all over the place for her. She just needs to give the information and take the initiative to do it. With you being there? She doesn't have to.

While you're making great memories with your grandchildren? You need a break. You're not supposed to be raising them. That's HER job, She's the mom.

I don't understand if she got back together with the first two kids dad or she has a new one. I don't understand why he isn't manning up and being a father and providing for his kid(s)???

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

How lousy of your daughter to put you in this position! So she had two kids, couldn't afford childcare and asked you for help, then managed to have another? I'm sure you love her and your grandchildren, but that's infuriating.

She's taking advantage of you. Rather than give in when she throws a tantrum about boo hoo, poor her, she can't afford this, she'll have to move, blah blah blah stay calm and respond with something like "I hear you, but it sounds like you're not hearing me. I cannot do this. So what's your plan? Let's figure out next steps."

If she has a partner in her life, then they need to grow up and figure this out. If she is single and low income, she needs to research what kind of aid she can qualify for, if any. And needs to get child support from the children's father(s) and put that toward childcare. Or move to someplace more affordable. You've raised your child(ren) - she's responsible for raising hers.

Are you in a position to help out a few days a week instead of full time? Maybe you have the kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays and she pays for childcare on Monday, Wednesday and Friday? Or are you financially in a position to assist with paid childcare if she can't get a voucher and can't afford full time care? She should be able to use a before and after care program for the school-age kids and really only have to pay for full-time care for the younger child. It's not like she needs to pay for full time care for three kids.

FWIW, I live in an area where the cost of living is ridiculous and full-time childcare is $1500+ per month per child and the average family pays almost $30k a year for childcare. There was no way I could afford that (even when I was married) so my parents helped out a few days a week and it was a nice compromise. I saved money, and they got to spend time with their grandchildren but not all day, every day.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I hate to even bring up the possibility of you guys helping to subsidize daycare for the kids. Is it possible?

If you were just offering after school care for the two kids that might be fun but full time care for a toddler, plus after school care for two more?? AND all summer....

Here in Texas there are after school programs that keep kids at their elementary and middle schools safe and entertained until 6pm. (They are even sometimes on a sliding scale adjusted to income...but there can be a waiting list to get kids enrolled).

Full time daycare is expensive but there are daycare vouchers to help with cost for low income families. If your daughter qualifies for those that would help with cost. And maybe you might be able to help a bit with the expense as well...for your peace of mind.

Then you can be there for the days they are sick or just for fun times and trips.
Good luck!! and hugs!!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Your daughter (and the father(s)) of her kids need to pay for day care.
It's part of being a parent - and part of being able to afford the consequences of deciding to be sexually active.
You didn't get her pregnant.
She's had 4 years to figure this out - she needs to budget for daycare - just like rent and everything else.
If she's not making a lot of money from her work she might qualify for assistance for daycare.

You and your daughter need to sit down and have a good long talk.
Do it over coffee in public if she's prone to drama.
Tell her that you've helped her and your willing to continue helping her BUT she needs to recognize that you are not as young as you use to be and a new arrangement needs to be worked out.
Figure out what everything will cost, what aid is available to her, what child support is being paid (and if it's not she needs to lawyer up and get that in place).

Also figure out how much time you are willing to spend with the kids - half days? 2 days a week? Can you drop off / pick up from daycare?
Summers need to be figured out ahead of time - daycamps typically start sign up at least a month before school is out.
Besides your daughters schedule - you should be able to plan a vacation where you inform your daughter that you will not be available and she has a baby sitter or drop in daycare available as a backup.

It's possible that she'll pack up and move no matter what you do.
It's her choice - though it would be foolish for her to leave when you can help her some of the time - just not as often as she wants.
She would be cutting off her nose to spite her face.
But don't allow her to hold you hostage to the threat of her moving away.
Call her bluff but be prepared for it to go either way.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Don't put up with this. Your grandchildren need an alert and alive grandma, not a hospitalized one headed for the grave.

Offer to sit down with your daughter with her paycheck stubs and her bills. Or perhaps you can offer to pay for a financial counselor/bookkeeper to sort things out and set up a budget.

Maybe she needs help with getting child support. She has a 3rd baby now, so somehow she planned to have a third. (She knows how to prevent pregnancy, I assume, so this was intentional.) Somebody should be supporting these children - maybe 2 additional people should be.

Even so, they are not your responsibility. Give her a deadline - 30 days, 60 if you can, and then have a 2-week trip planned and don't tell her where and don't cancel it. Go see a friend, go visit cousins, anything. But do not be home.

And work with a counselor yourself to figure out a way to stand up to her without giving in to the guilt. "No" is a complete sentence. Guilt is not something anyone puts on you without your cooperation and acceptance of it

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

it's awful that your own daughter is guilt tripping you to this degree. that's just ridiculous.

it sounds as if your daughter has made zero effort to find affordable child care. if she's indigent while working (a depressing truth in today's america) there are programs to help.

i don't know what help to offer you. after four years of full time child care i can totally sympathize with your desperation to get your life back.

but i don't see how you can unless you're prepared to push back against your daughter's manipulative and cruelly controlling attitude.

it's a risk.

easy for me to say 'take a stand' and that's what i want to say. but if your daughter is as awful as she sounds, she might well refuse to let your see your grandkids.

i guess it depends on which awful situation is less awful.

i'm so sorry.


6 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Absolutely, what you are doing is exhausting. You need to set limits as to how much you can handle. Can you do one day a week, two, or no long days at all? Get clear in your own mind what you are willing to do. Then sit your daughter down and give her notice. Be very clear and give her a date to make other arrangements by. Plan a little vacation and be out of town for a bit after that date. It is up to her to figure out how to care for her own children. She may or may not move but that is her decision. Good luck Grandma.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Well, you could let them move 100 miles away and then visit them regularly instead. That's just a 2 hour drive...sounds perfect to me. I would tell her it's getting to hard for you now and offer to watch the kids 2 days a week but she has to find something else like a home day care the other days. She could look into summer YMCA day camp or the after school program. Our town has many options. At a certain age they are old enough to stay home by themselves in the summer.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

You have been very generous to provide child care as long as you have. I am sorry your daughter threatens moving to keep you in check. Instead of being grateful, she’s resenting the possibility of change.

You state your husband isn’t happy either. That’s a red flag and it’s your responsibility to protect your marriage first.

One of my favorite phrases to say if a loved one is being difficult is “as you wish” (princess bride). There’s nothing to argue about. You can’t continue with things the way they are. If she throws a fit or takes the kids away, you can either try to be strong or let her hold you captive, risking your health, sanity, and marriage.

I would be tempted to tell her when she threatens to move or be on the street “well that’s certainly an option I guess, but there’s help for single parents (assuming she’s a single parent or low income) and I’m sure you’ll figure it out. Let me know if I can help you look up information. I’m sure you understand I need to be respectful of my husband and proactive for my health.”

How she reacts is on her. When you’ve told her this before, you’ve caved to do what’s best for the kids. But your health suffering (physical/mental) is ultimately your responsibility and it is absolutely okay for you to make yourself a priority here. ❤️

I’m sorry you’re in this position. You can do this and for your sake and your husband’s, please do.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I am not able to babysit my grandchildren full time because I have to work. However, I told my kids I would take the grandchildren on an emergency basis. If I had the day off and the child was sick I would help out. If an emergency happened and I could help I would. BUT I am not the full time babysitter.
I raised my kids and took care of my mom on hospice until she passed. Now it's my turn to live my life and have fun.
It's not selfish it's self care and I deserve it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

While I get that your daughter is taking advantage of you, there are no victims, only volunteers. As long as you keep saying yes, she will continue to take advantage.

Personally, I'd set a deadline (perhaps school start) and let her know that you will no longer watch the kids. The two school aged kids can certainly partake of before and after school care starting then, and she will have the entire school year to figure out how to afford full-time summer care starting next year.

We only having things happen to us that we allow to happen. Like the saying - "nut up or shut up" - you don't get to complain and then do absolutely nothing about it. I see so much of that in my line of work. Parents to complain about being "beat down" by their kids by being "blackmailed" into doing daycare, making mortgage payments, letting adult married children (with families of their own!) live with them, the never ending payment of expensive cell phones, cars, etc. Sure, you can throw the kids under the bus, but whose fault is it really? Who is allowing it to happen?

Take charge of your life.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You are not doing your daughter any favors by allowing her to manipulate you into doing something you no longer wish to do. She needs to become a fully functioning parent, which includes securing appropriate child care for her children. This will hopefully strengthen her confidence in herself as an adult.

If she is a low income person there should be child care assistance in your state to help her pay for day care and/or after school care. Many schools offer after school programming. You can try to steer her in the right direction, and encourage her to seek support from a social service agency who can give her more resources and help her obtain child support if she isn't already. Counseling could also be helpful for her so that she doesn't have to fear ending up on the street. I suspect she is just saying that to manipulate you, but you can talk with her about this as a concerned parent, that you want better for her.

Maybe you can offer to pick the children up from day care once or twice a week. I know you love your grandchildren, and this would give you and them regular contact with each other.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

Before my daughter was born my mother told me she would watch her 3 days a week and I would have to find someplace for her to go the other 2 days. Fortunately we had a friend of the family that watched her the other 2 days. Maybe you could do that. I know with the cost of daycare it will probably put a huge strain on your daughter financially but she needs to find a way to make things better for you. Watching kids takes up a lot of your time and patience. If you are at the end of your rope then there needs to be some kind of compromise. Good luck!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

That’s really crappy of her. And at this point she is taking advantage of you.

And instead of maturing and getting her life together ( getting more education, better job etc) she is borderline telling or holding you responsible for her failures if you don’t babysit???!!!!

Where on earth is this father of the kids?! How on earth is he feeling taking advantage and just producing more kids with your daughter not being able to take care of them??!!!

You know you need to talk to her. Tell her the truth! Love my grandkids but I raised my kids.. I am tiered, your father and I need our lives back. Meanwhile your daughter and her “partner” can put on big girls and boys underwear and play house .. maybe they will stop reproducing and start taking care of their own kids.

Ps no matter what you will come out with what it sounds like birthing their feelings and wallet.. but you need to relax and enjoy your life too! And parents need to be parents not take advantage of free baby sitting ( at this point this long with this many kids you are playing the parents role and that’s not fair!) lots of luck!

2 moms found this helpful
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