109 answers

Grandparent Babysitting

I have a question to ask and I don't know if any one else feels this way or am I being selfish. I'm a grandmother to several wonderful grandchildren and I love them with all I am. I enjoy being with them taking them places and just sitting and watching them be. I raised my children and I told my children that I wouldn't mind watching their children from time to time but that I don't want to watch them on a full time bases because they work. I know many grandparents watch their grandchildren but I don't think it's fair that many in this generation think it's owed to them that you take care of their children. I don't like feeling that it's my duty to do this. I feel taken for granted and don't like my children "expecting" me to watch their children. I don't know if they even appreciate it. My one child says to me, I just got my work schedule. Look it over and let me know what works for you!! The other grandparents don't seem to feel as I do unless they do and they don't voice it. I know I haven't voiced it to them. I know many grandparents do watch the kids but they don't love it either and just go with the flow. I guess I just want to know how others feel. And are there any thoughts as to how to let your children know that you don't want to watch them while they are working. I don't know...maybe someone out there will understand where I'm coming from. I love my children and grandchildren I'm just not really in to babysitting. Help....

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I Want to thank everyone for responding to me about babysitting grandchildren. It was nice to see that I wasn't alone in my thinking. There was a ton of wonderful advice and feelings. I am going to try and get back to each of you individually because I think when someone takes their time to write to you that you should do the same with writing back to them. It will take me some time because...I got an over whelming number of responses. AGAIN, thank you for your time and responses. I love this site and the ladies that take the time to care with their hearts and suggestions. xoxo DebbieS

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Hi D.,
i am 65, i have 10 grandkids and 1 g.grand and i do not babysit....i do for a wedding if they have to go or for an anniversary....i worked hard all my life and love my time... Finding things i never had time to do.....grandmas today are not like yesterday, they have outside activities and friends to have lunch with, or sit and read, etc....there's a book that's called "don't feel guilty when you say no".....
Once in a while is great and at family gatherings you see them...my 3 girls live nearby and i see them weekly but not for babysitting.....love them all and they know for years that this grandma works, and you have to make an appointment for me to do this.....cold-hearted.....no....just todays grandma

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D.: As a grandma to a 5 year old with Stage 4 cancer, I will tell you that I will babysit every grandchild anytime and cherish each and every second. I would walk to the end of the earth to spend just one second with any of the 12 grandchildren I have or any other child.

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I think you have every right to feel the way you do. I am a working mom of a 19 month old girl and have both sets of grandparents close by. My parents watch her one day a week (and it's only from 2-6 or so) and my husbands parents watch her one day a week. They worked hard at raising their children and it is not their responsibility to raise mine. They love spending time with their granddaughter, but do need some time to themselves. Honesty is the best policy and my parents do that and it works well.

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Thanks for sharing. Wow, after reading some of the responses I am surprised at how many people, even though they support your decision to do what you want to do, feel that this is the "norm" in our generation for grandparents to watch their grandchildren while their adult children work. My husband and I made a choice for me to stay home with our children, and had to make some serious financial sacrifices to do it. At times we were like "two ships passing in the night," and there were times when my husband was working two jobs to pay the bills, but we did it because it was our responsibility to take care of our own kids. It is evident with what is happening with our economy that people have and expect too much.
Kids just want to spend time with their parents....they don't need a bunch of materialistic things. We made it work and we have two beautiful daughters who are 10 and 6, and have never been in day care or in full time care by their grandparents. Yes, their "Nana" watches them on special occasions so that my husband and I could have a night out together, but that's it!
As a result, my daughter's grandparents have been their grandparents, not their babysitters. I think too often grandparents are guilted into watching their grandchildren, or they feel threatened by the fact that their grandchildren will go to daycare if they don't watch them. Well, as far as I am concerned, that is the parent's decision, and they must deal with the consequences of their decisions and actions.

I say do what you want to do....enjoy your retirement, and quality, special time with your grandchildren. Your years of raising children are over!

God Bless You!
ps-I'm also married to the most wonderful man!!!!!:-)

5 moms found this helpful

I know you have gotten a lot of advice. The only thing I have not heard in the 10-15 responses I read to your request, is this: I hear you are not being clear about your needs to your self or to them and have never been. I would never hand my mom nor my mother in law my work schedule, they would hand it right back to me. Clearly when they have taken advantage of you in the past, you allowed it, and said nothing. All of us teach people how to treat us. When we act like a door mat, people treat us like a door mat. When we act in our power and set our limits, people respect them. I know I feel guilt when I say no, and I work on it everyday. Once I stopped feeling guilty for saying no, people stopped acting like I was selfish for it. It is all in how you approach the subject. State your needs, and what you will accept lovingly, and they will respond in kind. If you have never had boundaries before they will be upset in this seemingly sudden change. Don't give in, it will take time before they see that they prefer the happier and more loving grandma who is no longer (secretly) resentful, even if it means she sets her boundaries. They will adjust. Good Luck!

4 moms found this helpful

I never thought about it before. I live overseas so this doesn't apply to me in the day to day sense but now it is on my radar, so I thank you for that. When we are back in the States it is usually for only a short time but I remember buying a small thank you gift when my Father's wife baby sat for me. This way she knew I did appreciate her doing me the favor. I knew she would not accept money and if I did offer she would have had her feelings hurt.
Great post!

3 moms found this helpful

Lots of great advice already, but I guess I'll add my two cents. You are definitely entitled to be Grandma, not Mommy - round 2. My mom and I have an agreement: I can ask, and she can tell me no at any time, NO QUESTIONS ASKED. Anything on a regular basis (if I were to go back to work, for example) means I pay her competively. It is my job to raise my kids, not hers. She already put in her time and deserves being a Grandma with all benefits included!

It works for us, because we are being completely honest with each other. She doesn't feel like she has to come up with "excuses" and I don't feel bad for unknowingly "using" her more than she's comfortable with.

Please let your kids know what is too much for you - physically, emotionally, whatever. Did you raise them to be thoughtful and courteous of others? Yes? Then they probably have no clue that it's wearing on you and think you love it. They may feel bad getting another sitter thinking you may be hurt if you didn't get first dibbs on the kiddos.

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late comment here. But maybe something new to add.

If your kids are asking you to babysit grandkids because they TRUST you more over strangers, then take it as a compliment. BUT, make sure you are offering your services on YOUR terms. Grandma time should be special time where you get to name the time, place, and activity (with parent's permission and agreement too). If you WANT to sit for them 1 night or morning/week, or be the emergency back-up on days kiddos are too sick for school, then offer that and do it cheerfully. If not, don't offer.

If you are already feeling like they expect you to step in as daycare, tell them, "Honey, I'm willing to help you out in a pinch, but I'm not looking for a part-time childcare job. I love spending time with my grandkids, but not as a daycare provider. I'd be happy to let my friends know that you are looking for some in-home care in case they know someone who is available that is really trustworthy."

I am willing to treat you and your spouse to a "night out" for some special occasions, because I love you and understand that parents need some time to recharge away from kids. But, I'd like that to be a gift I give to you, rather that a regular obiligation that is expected of me. Please try to understand. I want my time with your kids to be special and fun. I can't muster the energy for that on a daily basis. It will be better for everyone's relationship if I can keep my "grandma" role, and not also be the daycare provider too.

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I can not believe Stephanie B's response ... "you will have all the ME time when you die" ... unbelievable. We're in the US, not in some 3rd world country as she suggests for raising families and no other sufficient care is available. You have shown that you are a loving parent by taking on the responsibility of caregiving for your grandchildren without speaking up. I have parents who are young (in their early 60's) and we used to joke about my mom needed to go ahead and retire so she could keep our kids. She would look at us and say "HA!" She loves us dearly and loves our kids very dearly, however, as a mom myself, I can totally relate - I am raising our children and since ours our getting older now, I too enjoy the free time and lack of care that I need to provide to them on a full-time basis. Babysitting is very tiring and me, my brother and sister all arrange for professional care when we are working. It's not our moms responsibility. She raised us with enough compassion and sense to be able to hire someone for this job. Yes, she loves when the grandkids spend the night on special occasions but she LOVES her time to enjoy her own life. ENJOY your life after kids now and maybe give the adult kids a few "babysitting tokens" as a Christmas gift to be used as needed during the year (maybe 2-3 for each year) and when there's no more tokens, only for special reasons should they expect you to sit. This is the norm in most families anyway.

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My mother-in-law gets out a calendar at the beginning of the month and tells each of her married kids, "pencil in your activity for the month." That way, we can know she'll be there for that big event of the month, but it's quite clear that she isn't going to be there every minute of the day. Maybe instead of your daughter handing you her schedule, you should hand her yours. :)

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Hi D.,
I completely understand what your feeling. As a matter of fact I don't always want to babysit outside of their work schedule either. My guilt lies in that I am raising one of my grandsons who is also a special needs child. So the guilt runs deeper for me at times because of this. I also love my several grandchildren & children more than life itself! However I enjoy them more when I choose the times I take them than when I am asked. I think my kids understand , but I tend to give in because I feel bad. I'm sure your children will understand if you find the right way to inform them. What happened to babysitters & daycares ???? I don't always trust these options , but through the right sources its not out of the question. What did we do !?!?
CLN

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As your kids' mother you deserve to be treated with respect and not taken for granted. However unfortunately, this type of behavior is not uncommon with a LOT people in my generation, they think many things are owed to them and not just by their parents. It is not your obligation to take care of your grandchildren. Let your children know how you feel.

3 moms found this helpful

I've got one more response for you, without reading the rest. First, let me tell you about my in-laws. I gave them their first grandchild. We didn't live near them until he was a year old. Then we moved 2 miles away from them. Then when baby brother came along, they had two little guys. It was so wonderful to have them close! MIL would watch them when I had to go to a doctor's appointment, when I wanted to go buy Christmas presents for the older one (so he wouldn't see them), etc. I am a stay-at-home mom.
Then BIL was engaged to a flighty, materialistic girl (a perfect match for him) who kept talking about wanting a baby. She worked all the time to pay off all her consumer debt, and was racking up more all the time. She wanted a baby like she wanted a puppy, and she totally expected MIL to raise it for her. She's from a different religious background than the rest of us are, and she was raised by her grandmother, so she had some very different ideas about all of this. Luckily, MIL saw what was coming and told them flat-out that she will not be a babysitter. I was there and cringed, thinking about all the times that I sent my kids over. Luckily she explained that she meant daycare. And not even free daycare. She meant any daycare!!! She absolutely refuses to do it. And I'm so proud of her for standing up for herself!

Then there's my mom. My sister ended up with a baby and no husband after some foolish decisions. My parents felt strongly that the baby needed some stability in her life, particularly a male role model since her father disappeared. So my sister quit her teaching job, changed states, and moved home. She got a job at the local high school. My mom did plan on being "daycare" but she insisted on being paid. She said that old women can't have babies for a reason! They're too exhausting!
My sister paid rent and a portion of the utilities, and while she didn't really pay my mom for babysitting, she paid for a maid to come every week, since my mom spent her cleaning time and energy with the baby.
You'll have to set some limits, tell your kids and their spouses that you are not a free daycare center, but you'd love to have your grandkids visit sometimes and they can go out on a date. Or whatever limits you want to set. If you do feel like you want to watch some of your grandkids, set limits to a few days a week, and make sure that they know that it's not an open-ended deal. That you reserve the right to cancel the arrangement at any time.
Because it's not fair to you.
Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

D.,

I know you have tons of answers already, but I HAD to comment on this one. I am a grandmother of two lil boys, and I watch them all the time. My daughter is a single mom and works full time. I started watching the boys to help her out, and I am still doing it. She has access to daycare and even have it paid for, but here I am.
I love my grandson's to no end and would be there for anything. My problem is, I am in pain most days and by the end of the day I can hardly walk. I have the boys most days from 1pm til midnight, and I am exhausted by the time their mommy comes to take over. I laugh sometimes and wonder how I made it through raising mine lol. They keep me on my toes!

I raised 4 of my own and was a SAHM. My one and only son has severe mental illness so it was a daily challenge to care for him, but I did it. My parents rarely ever watched my kids, they went everywhere with me. On occasion my mother would "Volunteer" to watch three of mine while one had a appt, so I didn't have to take all four. I am pretty sure my mom would have watched mine so my hubby and I could go out or something, but I NEVER asked.
I totally understand how you feel. Right now I feel more like thier parent than their grandmother. My daughter even gets upset when her oldest runs to me for everything when she is home, instead of her. I know being a single mom is tough on her, and I want to help as much as I can, but 9 to 11 hours a day is way to much for me!
Let them know how you feel about it all. You have a right to enjoy your life now, and do as YOU want. My daughter would NEVER hand me her scedule, but I understand in a way why they are. They are, in their own way asking if what is there, is ok with you. But I also agree with the other person who commented.. Hand them yours and tell them to work around you.

I don't like the idea of my grandbabies being in daycare, but at this point, there is no other choice. I can't handle all the pain after chasing and carrying them all day. My sis n law has offered to babysit for my grandbabies too. So I was thinking, maybe we could share the job LOL. Just until my daughter is settled and the boys are a little older.

Good Luck Grandma, and don't feel too bad. Your not the only one going through it. Best Wishes!

T.

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Dear D., I must agree with you. I am a grandmother to six grandchildren, and a mother to five children. I worked extremely hard as a single parent due to the divorce of me and my husband, and after my youngest child turned 18 years old, I fell down on my knees and thanked God for allowing me to successfully raise all of my children to adulthood wherein I could turn the torch over to them all now, and feel free to come and go as I wanted. To be 61 years old, and to now have the freedom I did not have for all those years raising my babies, I could not take on the similar, awesome responsibilities of raising children AGAIN! It is our time to be free and to come and go and enjoy life without being tied down. I love the idea of being able to come and go, travel if I choose and not worry about "whose going to care for my children." We paid our dues. Since I love my grandchildren as much as I love my children, all of them unconditionally, I love being with them and they love being with me, and I do look forward to seeing them as often as I can, and caring for them occasionally. If I am asked every now and then to watch my younger grandchildren for a day or overnight (every now and then), I will do so, but I will not agree to be a full-time babysitter. It is not fair. It is now our time to sit back and relax and enjoy the freedom of life we had to sacrifice when we were raising our babies/children.

Good Luck!!

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D.,

I agree with you. I do not care what position a parent is in. It is not a grandparents job to watch grand children. They have already done their job. I never thought it was a fair arrangement. I have a 2.5 year old daughter, and I have a son on the way. My family lives near by, but my daughter goes to daycare. My mother raised three kids. My grandmother raised six plus me, and a few other grand children. I watch my grand parents struggle with little toddlers (my cousins) and I always thought it was so unfair and I vowed NEVER to do it. I have no clue why people think that parents owe their kids something. Does it ever end? My parents gave me all the tools to survive...including raising my own family. I give my parents all I can in appreciation for raising me the right way. Not drop my kids off at their doorstep.

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Please don't feel you have to reply back to me. I just wanted to add my 2 cents regarding how we work things with our children, and their grandparents. My inlaws live nearby, as does my sister-in-law's family. My inlaws are wonderful, loving grandparents who enjoy spending time with us and their grandkids- and we do lots together as a family, and they offer the occasional babysitting as well. They made it clear, right off the bat, that they will help us out if we are in a pinch (something out of the ordinary where we need someone to help watch the kids- due to emergency, or other unforeseen circumstances.) They also have offered to us and my sister-in-law's family ONE evening per month each, where they will babysit so that we can have an evening out. But they also made it clear that they were not going to be babysitting on a regular basis, while we work. They want to live their own lives and do their own things! I completely respect and applaud them for that- they've already had their own children, this is the time of their lives where they should be doing what they want- projects and leisure.

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Hi D.!

I know this is a little late, but I wanted you to hear from the "other side" of the fence. I am 37, married to a wonderful man and have 3 kids. I NEVER just expected my parents or my in-laws to babysit. They raised US now we are responsible to raise the children that we have created. If they want to spend time with the kids, they are always welcome and encouraged, but there should never be an obligation just because they are related to you. I can relate to you wanting to spend this time with your husband and I dont think you are being selfish. I love my kids with all my heart, and when they move out and start their own families I will move into the next phase with my husband - enjoying each other! Good luck, stay strong and just keep communication open with your kids.

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I have 8 grandchildren and I told my children I would love to babysit if they want to go out for a little while. I also told them that if they want me to babysit while they are making money that I expect to be paid also. And I expect to be paid whatever the going rate is. Its only fair if you are going to be tied down that you be compensated.

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I see many people taking thier parents for granted these days, and I think that is what your children are doing. When I was a child, both of my parents worked. Both of my grandmothers lived close by and would take care of us from time to time, but it was on their terms. My maternal grandmother would only take us as a group (all three of us) and she would include us in the farm work she was doing during the day. My paternal grand mother would only take one grandchild at a time because she wanted it to be a special time. We also saw both grandmothers as a family, with my parents present. I think this aspect wasimportant because they didn't feel used, they knew my parents enjoyed their relationship and wanted us to have a relationship with them as well. I will also say that neither of us was a primary care provider for any of us. my parents use professional care givers and the grand parents could choose to take us if it suited them.

I will also say that it will be a bit different with my parents and my future child. Because my spouse is in the military, my parents and I are on opposite coasts and it is more likely that we will be arranging blocks of time to visit in both directions. However, I plan on accompanying my child to visit the grand parents unless they specifically request some concentrated grand child time. My parents have worked hard to take care of me and now it is my turn to do the same for my child. Make clear bourdaries for you children and expect them to respect your boundaries. You deserve it!

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I know you have already gotten enough info on this but I had to post. My mother is a grandmother to my child and my brothers two children. I have occassionally asked my mom to watch my daughter - maybe 3 times and she is two. But my brother lives right next to my mother and he completely takes advantage of her. It really makes me upset especially because she watches his two children every friday night and my brother doesn't even have the courteous to come home until 3 or 4am. My mom is too nice to stick up for herself and constantly lets it happen. And it is free for them. I am not jealous, I just feel that my brother is inconsiderate. I think grandparents should babysit when they want too and on their terms. Enjoying your grandkids should be a pleasure, not a chore.
So, if you occassionally want to do it, then go for it, but don't feel like it is your job to have to do it. And your kids should understand that it is not an expectation.

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hi D., you are not being selfish at all, just honest. i have both sets of grandparents to watch my kids, and i am eternally thankful for them, i dont know what i would do without them. it would really hurt financially to have a babysitter, but even more so, i just dont trust anyone these days. i dont leave my kids much, i hardly have a social life anymore, but just for things like doctors appts or events, it is such a blessing that i have them, and i always tell them. please be honest with your kids. my mil lives a few blocks from me, and would do anything to be with my kids, but it goes too far sometimes. i am not being ungrateful at all, she is a lifesaver for me, but i just want to illustrate the point... she has recently become more of a caretaker for her sister, who, imo, does need help but takes advantage of her. she needs help for some things, but sometimes just wants company. which of course is fine, and more importantly is none of my business. so, if i ask her for help with the kids, she has to cancel on her sister. but she will never say no to me. i wish she would just be honest with me and tell me when she cant do it. but because i know she will always cancel to be with the kids, now i always feel funny asking. she complains to my husband that she doesnt see the kids, the kids are asking wheres grandma, and every time i ask her, she tells me what she is supposed to do with her sister but she will cancel, she insists, and then does so. so now im thinking of her sister, who i do love, sitting alone upset. so i hardly ever ask anymore, and everyone feels bad. on the other hand, my dad recently had some health issues and watching my kids was too much for them, and they simply told me so. i know they love my kids to death, but they have lives too, and i have no reservations about asking them for help because i know that if they cant, or simply dont want to, then they will decline. you arent being mean by being honest, you are keeping everything on the level and keeping the lines of communication open. also, my own sister works part time, she has 2 little ones, and my parents watch her kids once a week. its perfect, its just enough that they have a nice, full day with them, but not too much that it is a burden. i have seen how close they are with my sisters kids, they have a different relationship with them than they do with my kids, and though they may see my kids as often, i think that watching her kids on a regular, dependable basis as an expected part of their schedule has made for a different kind of relationship with them. maybe something like that is an option for you? either way, i recommend being straight with them about your feelings, you dont want issues or resentment building up. best of luck, D.

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Hi, okay, okay I know you have had an awful lot of responses but this is one I could not pass up. Although my mom is gone I would have never done this to her! My sister didn't either. And I pray to God that we will raise our children to think they can't do it us. When I have grand children(please, Lord, let it be a very long time from now), I want to enjoy them! I want to spoil them rotten! I want to feed them candy and cookies and lots of other sugary treats that their parents don;t want them to have. I want to be able to bake with them, to spend time with them just hanging out and teaching them all my wonderful wisdom! I DO NOT want to parent them! When the last of our children leave home, my husband and I already have plans, we are going to enjoy each other, we are going to travel and probably on occasion bring a grand child along. Raising children is no where in the picture. Enjoying grandchildren, however, IS in the picture. It is totally unfair to expect our mothers to run daycare's for us, they have raised us, they have done their job. Let's face it, raising kids is a very tough, exhausting job. I know at the end of each and every day I am zapped, barely have anything left to give to my husband. Can you imagine how grandparents must feel? Our older(no offense intended) parents must feel? I am sorry, but I just think it is wrong and you should not feel guilty.

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You already raised your children, now you can enjoy your grandchildren and let them do the raising. My mom told me the exact same thing when I had my first - she would babysit occasionally, but certainly NOT be my daycare!! Stick to your ground.

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Hi, D.,
I am not a grandparent yet, but my children are grown and one is engaged-- I did not expect my parents to watch my children, and am sort of appalled that people do expect grandparents to do that. Certainly if it were occasionally, or if you had offered to do it, that would be one thing. I have a friend who watches her infant grandson one or two days a week, but she had offered that and looks forward to it. And it's just one child. I think you need to set some parameters- but that could be hard if you've already been taking care of them regularly and your child now expects it. What if you just told her what you told us- that you love them and want to do things with them but you don't want to babysit? You've raised your kids and deserve time off from that now!
If your children can afford day care, maybe you could offer helping to find a good one, or watching the grandkids while she visits daycare centers. If they can't afford childcare and are depending on you because of that, maybe you could offer to find out what the your state has to offer in help for paying for day care.
It's tricky, but you have to be true to yourself in this, and not resent your child or grandchildren,.

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No. You should not feel guilty. My mom watched our children for years. She lived w/ us, we pd. her $160. wkly and her health bills and her car insurance. When she decided she wanted to move on her own and get a job, I left my job, because it is MY responsibility. Do not let them make you feel guilty. You need to be happy to watch them --- not burdened by having them.

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D.,

I too am a grandmother of 8 grandchildren from ages 14 to 7 months old. I have 3 children of my own that I raised while working. You have to let your children know you have your own life, and you didn't raise them, so they could have their children, to repeat the process. Tell them that is what pre-school, day camp and babysitters are for. My husband and I have a wonderful peaceful life, and see our grandchildren at OUR request, only. I don't babysit while my children go out and have fun, UNLESS I WANT TO, most of the time I am never asked. This is the time for you and your husband to enjoy, peace, quietness and happiness. You already gave up your youth to nurture them and get them started in life and you refuse to grow old raising their children or being on a time schedule. I love my grandchildren and I would die for my own children, BUT, I will not die raising their children. ENJOY YOUR LIFE, we never know when God is going to call us home.

2 moms found this helpful

I feel the same way. There was not that special time anymore when my grandchildren came over, so here is what I did. I see both my daughters every morning for about 1/2 hour. I see my grandchildren everyother weekend for a special outing with along with my daughter. It's not babysitting. I do watch them once in a while if they go out to dinner or a game. But its not all day. I still have time for myself. I enjoy them more now.
My other daughter wanted me to watch her two kids for her but I worked out somethings better for both of us. She drops them off for a half hour m-f until the babysiter can pick them up & takes them to my daughters house. I agreed to pay half of the babysitting amount. This helps them out, I still see them everyday but still have time for myself & the kids get to eat & sleep at their own house & bed. At least I can help out. My parents never would have thought to help or help pay. This is my way of staying young. L. in Iowa

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D., I know you already have a million responses but I wanted to tell you that I have a mother that feels the same way you do. She will not watch kids if the parents are working. She said she will watch them when we go on dates ect.... but not for working. She thinks if we have to work or choose to work then we can choose to find and pay for a sitter. So, I think you are perfectly ok to tell your kids this. Tell them you love the grandkids but it is too much for you to watch them all the time like that and that you will watch them when they go out on dates but for them working you just can't help them all. My mom said, "If I help one of you while you work, then I will have to help all of you when you work and I can't do that." So, she won't do it at all unless it is occasionally for an emergency. I would rather my mom want to see my kids then feel burdened because she has to. She needs to spend the quality time with them and if I was working and she had to watch them and didn't really want to then my kids would be the ones suffering. hang in there and let me know how your kids take the news. They should understand. They wouldn't want to tend the neighbors kids while they worked all day long would they?

2 moms found this helpful

D.,

You have every right to feel blessed to be with your grandchildren and to babysit them but not on a full-time basis and it should not be "expected" of you. Your children chose to have children. Part of the adult responsibility is to figure out time management and financial sacrifices to ensure their children are taken care of. Not just to expect you to fill in. I have a 3 year-old boy and would love to have his grandma around more often. However, I cherish the time they have together and feel he appreciates time with her so much more. Just stand up for yourself and let your children know where the line is drawn.

2 moms found this helpful

my best advice would be to be more direct with your kids. i know my mom and mil, like yourself, absolutely love spending time with my kids. claim its the highlight of their week. and i can tell you as a very busy mom, that it is often easy to take that for granted. sometimes it seems like then everyone wins! its not until i step back and say "maybe its too much? maybe they want to decide when they see them, rather than me tell them?" that i realize it. so be direct, b/c chances are they're just "expecting" you to b/c of how much you enjoy the kids, and feel that this way everyone wins. good luck :)

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Wow...
My parents watch my two girls (3 yo and 9 mos old) full-time while I work. My mom knew my schedule and was completely fine with it. So, I do try my best to not have her watch the kids on the weekends or evenings and pick them up promptly.

You DO need to make your expectations clear to your family - call a family meeting and explain and that you want to help, etc. but you need to have some time to pursue your own interests too...offer to find them some help or maybe help them pay for daycare (if you can afford it).

My mom always wanted to watch the grandkids. Even before my husband and I bought our house, we talked with my parents, to ensure they they wanted to watch them full-time and they agreed. If they did not, then we would have bought a less-expensive home as we would have had to factor in day care costs.

Hope this info helps - your kids are relying on you, not just for babysitting, but I'm sure, financially as well. Any changes that you bring up, will "shock" them and if you can help with the transition, I'm sure things will take time to settle down into a new routine.

Best of luck!

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**update** I just got off the phone with my mom and she told me she has had 1 or both of my sister's kids for 3 days and nights straight. Just thought it was fitting for this discussion.

I'm late to this also, but here's my take. I think parents use the grandparents as a sitting service because it's the easy thing to do and they most likely won't say no. My 2 sisters live close to my mom in Ohio and I live 11 hours away here in Georgia.
I have noticed that when they had kids their lives didn't change all that much. They still go on "dates", they still do weekend getaways, they still do just about everything that they did before having kids because Granny is too afraid of hurting someone's feelings by saying no.
I don't see my parents too often because of the distance between us, but she was willing to cancel our plans because my sister wanted a sitter. When I asked her why, she said that she promised to be there and help my sister out with the kids. My sister was 27 when she got pregnant and her son is now 6 and she goes wherever she wants and has basically the same as her pre-kid life and y mom gets used nearly everyday.

I don't think you should feel guilty at all. Having kids changes your life dramatically, and I see too many kids "using" their parents, as I said, because it's the easy thing to do because they want to . I have 2 kids and my husband and I rarely get to do anything together and only go on dates maybe 2 times per year. And I do all the christmas shopping by myself as well as many other things due to the expensive fees of a babysitter/daycare. It's hard, but we chose this life. Occasional help from a grandparent should be a gift, not a right.

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I know exactly how you feel. When ever my daughter calls the first thing she says is "what are you doing". I love my grandsons very much, but I just don't have the energy I had when my children were growing up. I am 50 years old and still working full time. Hopefully I will be retiring in 5 years. When I do watch them for a couple of hours it turns into 4 or 5. Their other grandmother doesn't know how to say no, and seemed to have the boys all the time. My daughter and her boyfriend are very social and go out all the time. I have talked with her about taking the boys on family outings and making memories instead of leaving them with someone. This has worked. I am not babysitting as much on weekends and either does the other grandmother, because they have been taking the boys with them. I told her that I don't mind an occasionnal sleep over, but I cannot have both boys (ages 4 and 6) at the same time. So they take turns once a month.
Hope this helps. Memere

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I think you have every right to feel the way you do. I am a working mom of a 19 month old girl and have both sets of grandparents close by. My parents watch her one day a week (and it's only from 2-6 or so) and my husbands parents watch her one day a week. They worked hard at raising their children and it is not their responsibility to raise mine. They love spending time with their granddaughter, but do need some time to themselves. Honesty is the best policy and my parents do that and it works well.

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For your children to expect you to take care of their kids is just not being a good child. My mother-in-law got stuck raising a lot of her grandchildren and now she's petrified that one of the grandchildren will get pregnant and it will start all over again; however, it is her choice. She could have said no. These children and grandchildren can be ungrateful too; like it's expected.

You need to voice your opinion before it's too late. If you wanted to it's one thing; once in a while is fine. Not sure how old you are and not that that matters; but you have reached a point in your life where you can have free time and do what you wish, you shouldn't be tied to anything.

My parents live 1500 miles away. I know that they would like to watch my son for a few hours once a week but not every day and not all day.

I decided to stay home with my son. I haven't been to a paying job in quite some time. I can't even write some of the books and notes that I have wanted too. I have a journal for my son; I'm so busy with him that I can only write in it when I can remember to sit down to write. This is actually not too often as Ethan and I have lots of fun together.

I'm not saying anything about parents who work. This was my choice. We do with a lot less and travel less but that's OK My son is only going to be this small once. I cherish every moment. If you don't, you need to speak up. Your time is yours and you have earned it. You have raised your children.

R.

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When I had my chidlren I told my parents that I wanted them to be Grandparents and not my childrens day care provider. My parents watch my children when they want but I always give them an option of my hiring a sitter. (I ask them first if they want to babysit.)I am never hurt or upset when they simply say "we would rather not this time". I would never ask them to watch my kids on a full time basis. I would tell your children that you simply want to be a Grandma and not a full time babysitting service. That you will help them out when you can but you can not provide full time care. Tell them to never hesitate to ask you first for the emergency things or "date nights". I feel my kids are closer to my parents becuase they are Nana and Pappy and they do not go to them for day care. My sister-in-law has my mother-in-law watching her children and MIL finally had to say I can only do this 2 days a week so the other Grandma does it the other 3. She feels strapped sometimes. She is retired and can't ever do anything she wants unless she gives advanced notice. I think Grandparents should be Grandparents and not the primary care givers. They raised their children it is not their responsiblity to raise ours. Does that make sense?

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I work part time and when I went back to work five years ago (my children are now 7, 9, and 11), my mom babysat for us 10 hours a week and we paid her $10 per hour. More recently she babysits like 1-2 hours per week (one morning before they get on the bus, not at all in the summer), and she insists that we don't pay her anymore. When she babysits for us in the evening (maybe once every 1-2 months), we don't pay her and we do appreciate her SO MUCH! She decided on her own 4 years ago that she did not want to babysit for us but would rather just be "grandma", so we found alternative child care providers and regular sitters/nannies part time in the summer. I hope you can work this out. Does your daughter pay you? I think having grandparents who live close to us is such a gift! It is not something I grew up with and I think it is wonderful for our children.

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I read a quote recently, but don't remember where.... "If God wanted Grandparents to raise children, he would not have created Menopause." Be honest with you children so you do not have hard feelings.

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Hi D.,

Please do not feel guilty. I am a mother of a 3 year old little girl with my own mother living down the street, and although I do appreciate it greatly when she does want to help out from time to time, I would NEVER expect her to do it regularly like your children are expecting. You, as well as my folks have had your time, you've more than paid your dues in raising us. It's now time for you to enjoy yourselves doing what you want to do. If that involves watching your grandchildren on occasion for a day, evening, or even a over night from time to time, great, but that's it. Some GPs offer to be a full-time caregiver while Mom and Dad go to work, and that's great if it works for everyone. But it is very selfish for any child to feel like it's their parents duty to take on the responsibility of caring for their kids on a regular full-time basis. I don't feel like there is any problem in explaining this to your children, exactly how you stated it in your request. The best of luck to you!

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Hi! I know you have received many responses but I am a new 1st time mom and getting ready in 2 weeks to go back to work. My mom does not live in the same state, so I don't have the convienence of her being close but I would NEVER expect her to take care of my son. My boyfriend and I have searched and searched and found and in-home daycare provider for him that we both like very much....I want Grandma time to be fun and exciting - I want my mom to "GET" to spend time with my son....not to "HAVE" to! So go ahead and stand up for yourself - don't let your kids walk all over you....just because you don't work doesn't mean you aren't busy....my grandfathers favorite saying was "I need to go get a job again so I have more time to relax, this retirement is exhausting!"

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Have you explained to your children how you feel? My mother has the same feelings as you & explained so to me & I totally understand! Her "job" is done, now she just wants to have fun being a grandparent & that relationship changes if you are a constant care giver! Let your children know that!

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D.:
I know you've already gotten plenty of responses on this, but I wanted to put in my opinion. My parents do not babysit either, unless it is for a very good reason. My parents raised my sister & I, and had a hand in raising their first granddaughter. When I had my son 5 1/2 years ago, it never really occurred to me to have them babysit all the time. He was in daycare until he started Kindergarten this year. They only babysit if it's something special or the few instances when the daycare had to close, for example, one day the a/c unit went out & carbon dioxide was in the building. My parents want to ENJOY their grandchildren (now they have 2 grandchildren & 2 great-grandchildren). My mother still works full-time and my dad will babysit as needed. But I don't ask very often because he is MY child and MY responsibility. His father & I take care of him 24/7 and when we need a break, then we ask for a babysitter. I see many people who take advantage of their parents and I just can not do that to mine. They raised me to take care of my responsibilities, not pawn them off on someone else. So, YOU ARE CORRECT!!! Today's society should take notes from you. Grandchildren are a blessing, not a burden!

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D.: As a grandma to a 5 year old with Stage 4 cancer, I will tell you that I will babysit every grandchild anytime and cherish each and every second. I would walk to the end of the earth to spend just one second with any of the 12 grandchildren I have or any other child.

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Hi D.,
i am 65, i have 10 grandkids and 1 g.grand and i do not babysit....i do for a wedding if they have to go or for an anniversary....i worked hard all my life and love my time... Finding things i never had time to do.....grandmas today are not like yesterday, they have outside activities and friends to have lunch with, or sit and read, etc....there's a book that's called "don't feel guilty when you say no".....
Once in a while is great and at family gatherings you see them...my 3 girls live nearby and i see them weekly but not for babysitting.....love them all and they know for years that this grandma works, and you have to make an appointment for me to do this.....cold-hearted.....no....just todays grandma

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I completely understand where you are coming from. I was lucky enough to grow up with my mom being at home with us until I was in middle school. That was always my plan for my own children. Unfortunately, being a stay-at-home-mom is not an option for me at this time. It breaks my heart. I feel like we're not really raising our daughter since we're only with her half the time. My parents watch her for us while we work. I want to pay them, but they've refused every time I've tried. I know they are doing us a huge favor and I'm incredibly grateful. It is difficult not to take advantage - it's not like we get charged extra when we're running late to pick her up - but we try very hard to ease their burden when possible. On the upside, if I can't be the one raising her, I'm so thankful it's my parents and not a generic center. It also gives them the opportunity to form an incredible bond with her. She's not nearly as close to her other grandparents because she sees my parents so often. But I think you are completely justified in your decision, and you should revel in the joys of being the spoiler! Just tell your children exactly what you said - you love the grandkids, but want them to remain the grandparent - not the caretaker.

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the way I see it is...you raised your kids now it's their turn. I have 5 little boys and no one to watch them, so if I can't pay for it or trade with a friend they come or I don't do whatever it is I wanted to do. You're not a daycare provider, you're Grandma but if you don't voice your thoughts they WON'T be heard. Tell your grown children what you're willing to do...if they are in a pinch(ie daycare cancels or someone is sick)you're there but you want to be fun Grandma not full time parent stand-in...these are you're Golden years...get involved with other things and groups (that way they don't have hurt feelings that they think you'd rather sit at home than spend time with their kids and you're out having fun). Keep in mind how lucky you are to be close to your Grand kids...my folks are 2 days drive away...and make sure that when you have this conversation with your kids there are NO kids around and that you have it BEFORE you get angry and explode. Good luck and don't feel bad for your feelings, just be honest...who knows maybe your kids would rather have them in a more structured daycare but don't want to hurt your feelings...

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Hi D..
I only have one grandchild and my daughter, son-in-law and baby are out of state. When I have the opportunity to be with them, I relish the time I have alone with my grandson.
If I was around them all the time, I'm sure I would change my mind regarding the frequency.
We are not our parents. We are younger thinking and still have active social lives.
Our children seem to forget this.
I have friends w/grandchildren though, who have experienced exactly what you're talking about.
I guess the best suggestion would be to make yourself unavailable from time to time. They'll get the hint.
Good luck!!!!

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I don't think that you are being selfish at all. You have raised your children and now it is time for you. Can you help your family out? Yes. But, make sure that you get your time that you want too. Maybe do a day a week or so, but I think that it is selfish for your children to think that you are an on call babysitter.

I would also like to comment on another woman's response who said she "felt sorry for you" not wanting to spend time. I think that is ridiculous and sad that she sees it that way. There is no doubt that you want to be with your grandkids and spend lots of time and be in their lives tremendously, but that does not mean your life has to be theirs. I commend you for putting you first and knowing it is ok. I am sure that if they needed it you would be there in a moment. I find it sad that people have to put down others for being more independent.

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Please don't feel guilty. When we have children they are our responsibility. I only asked my mom to watch my children when I was in a pinch or she offered because it was my birthday or anniversary. When I worked they were in daycare. If my mom were to watch them on a daily basis, then I would have paid her. I wouldn't want my mom to have to watch them. She raised her children.

I would talk to your children and honestly tell them that you love them and the grandchildren. However, you are at a stage in your life where you need time for yourself and your husband. You don't mind watching them for special occasions or when you invite them to do something special, but not daily or weekly.

Good luck.

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I have a three month old baby, and very willing in-laws as far as babysitting is concerned. But even though they are willing to help out from time to time, it is quite clear that they have their own lives and I would never take advantage of that. You have every right to not be treated as a "sure-thing"--you have your own life and have earned some time off after raising your kids!
I would just tell your kids, "here are some times that I can help out, let me know what works for YOU" haha, that will turn it around on them. If you don't just open up your entire schedule to them, you should be able to create some boundaries. But you have to stick to your guns!
best of luck and much peace,
E..

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You must let them know how you feel. The last thing
they should want is someone feeling any sort of resentment
while taking care of their kids. It is their duty to
their children to find someone to watch them on a daily
schedule. They should understand how you feel. You might
let them know that on special occasion you will be
available, like if they are sick, to help with the care.
But not on any daily schedule. I was a stay-at-home mom.
When I needed a sitter at night, I didn't plan too far in
advance due to the fact that at last minute, if my scheduled sitter got a better offer, like a date, she might resent having to watch my kids. I wanted a sitter
that wanted to be there. Of course, I took a chance that
I wouldn't be able to find a sitter and would miss out
on a date with my husband, but we all have priorities. Good luck with understanding kids.

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Maybe when she asks what works for you, tell her only one day works for you and suggest she do daycare part time. My Mother-in-law only watches my baby 1 day a week. And she has no problem saying that she doesn't want to raise anymore children and she is only willing to help us because she knows we are working hard and we appreciate her. She says it quite often and I am not offended at all. I do appreciate that I can call her if I need her, but I got the message that I shouldn't expect her any old time. Speak up. You deserve a break!

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Hi D.!

I completely agree with you. I am 33 years old and have a 9 month old daughter and have NO expectations of my parents stepping in and becoming my "daycare", regardless of whether or not I pay them. When my husband and I decided to have children we fully understood that if this were to work, we would either have to be able to withstand the loss of my salary for a few years OR be able to pay for/deal with the arranging of daycare if I returned to work. That was a MAJOR issue in the decision and planning of our family.

Grandparents should be allowed to have that special bond with their grandchildren that is not contingent upon them becoming the "hired help" of the family. That is not to say, that some cases grandparent may choose to offer up their services because it works for their lifestyle/schedule. The cases I know that functioned in this manner were done for mostly part-time work schedules or on a limited time basis and were in instances where all lived/worked in a relatively small radius.

Raising kids (or even just one infant) is hard work, takes much energy and really requires a huge commitment from all parties involved. I love my parents dearly and they adore my daughter. I know they would do their absolute darndest to keep her safe and happy (as they have when they have watched her on a few occasions) but they simply do not have the stamina to keep that up full time. Why would they be able to? They had their kids 30 years ago when they had the energy/time/flexibility/desire to chase, play, discipline, feed, bathe, clothe, soothe, etc... There is a natural cycle to life and isn't that the reason we all grow up, leave home, start our own families? Nurture a career, raise children, foster marriages, move on to retirement?

No one should put you in the position of defending your desire to have a grandparent (as opposed to primary caretaker) relationship with your grandchildren. You owe your children nothing in that regard. I'm sure you raised your kids using everything you had (emotionally, physically, financially, intellectually) at your disposal to the best of your ability at the time. Your children may feel free to do the same.

I am sorry to hear that some (one) of your kids has put you in such a position, but that being the case, I would spell it out for them. I would tell them, in no uncertain terms, that you adore them and your grandchildren to pieces, that you look forward to years of bonding and fun times with all, but that you are not comfortable OR willing to become the "nanny".

Good luck! HTH

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Hi D.!
I would suggest to talk to your kids and let them know that you would prefer not to babysit all the time. That you are here for backup if they really need you. My parents and mother-in-law babysit when our babysitter schedules time off or last minute type of things. It isn't all the time and lately I've been getting back up because it is tough with an 18 month old all over the place. I also think it is important to be the grandparents and not the main disciplinarians. Your job is to "spoil" and enjoy the kids NOT so much discipline all day. I personally feel that kids need other kids to play with so another babysitter or daycare could be better for the kids too.....

Good luck. I'm sure it will all work out.
S.

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I don't think you're being selfish at all. I am a SAHM mom with 3 kids, another on the way. It's really hard watching my mom tend to my kids, I know if I am as tired at the end of the day, how does she feel?? She doesn't keep our kids on a daily basis, but will have them over on weekends sometimes when we have too many irons in the fire. My MIL is older, in her 70's, has some medical problems, I don't usually ask her for help unless I just have to. She usually will keep one of my older two (school age) if they are too sick to attend school, she doesn't seem to catch too many bugs. But she just can't handle the babies, it's just too much. My grandmother (their great-grand-she's 86 years young!!) is still with us, lives with my mom and she will sometimes watch my older kids for an hour if I have a Dr. appt, since my mom still works. But this is not an expectation, it's a wonderful gift to my husband and I, helping out when we do need it the most. Thankfully, the older kids will just veg in front of a show or play on the computer, so they are pretty low-maintenance.

I know if my kids were too much on my mom, she would definitely tell me. We have a very open relationship, I feel I can tell her anything too. I think you should open up and let them know how you feel. It can be hard to find a good babysitter, but they shouldn't rely solely on you. I always wondered how my mom did it, I know her MIL rarely kept us, but always kept my cousins. And then her mom was still busy raising her younger brothers. We actually only saw both sets of my grandparents on holidays for the most part. And they didn't live but maybe 10-15 miles away!! Stop feeling guilty!!! My mom says she wishes that our g'parents had spent more time with us, and my answer is this - I don't even remember that they didn't (I'm almost 40 now). So don't think that they will feel slighted by the fact that you didn't keep them when they were 4!! Sorry I'm going on and on.

When my kids are grown (A LONG TIME AWAY!!), I am looking forward to spending time alone with my husband again (and actually having an adult conversation!). We'd both like to travel, if we can, so I know there are things that you would like to plan or do, and just can't because of this situation.

I do have some friends whose MIL doesn't EVER watch or even visit with their child, but makes time for the other grandchildren. So definitely try to spend the "quality time" that you do crave with each of them (or each family of grandchildren).

Good luck straightening this out!!
K

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D., I babysit my grandchildren but I also get paid for it. They would have to pay for a sitter so why not me. They know also that the kids are safe. And it also help money wise. But I know where you are coming from.

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I don't blame you one bit! I think too many people expect it is their parent's duty to care for their children and that they should be honored to spend so much time with their grandchildren. That is not fair to the grandparents at all.

I do not live near my parents but my sister does and my mother babysat her first son full time for a long time. My mom is almost 60 and loves her granchildren more than anything in the world, but we could see that caring for an infant was taking a toll on her. She worked her entire life and is now finally enjoying traveling and living her life on her own terms so to be working around a child's schedule was a difficult adjustment. She never admitted it, but thankfully my sister and I could see how exhausted she was - and how limited she was with her personal time - so my sister found someone else to care for him.

I get the sense from you it's not about being paid (as others have suggested) it's the principle. Feeling appreciated would certainly help matters and it sounds like you feel taken for granted. I like what another person said about having your children "ask" you if you're available. I think that's a great way to start a conversation on the topic.

As for these responses to your query... Mamasource is a forum for people to seek and receive SUPPORT. I think it's terrible that someone would post a response accusing you of taking your grandchildren for granted. You obviously expressed that you feel YOU are being taken for granted. You deserve a lot of credit for actually admitting what most people don't dare say out loud. You are not being selfish, just honest. I'll be thinking of you and wishing you lots of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I know you have had numerous responses already, but here's one more! My mom had the same fears when my first son arrived. My husband and I were desperate for help. But I shared my mom's concerns. I didn't want her to feel taken for granted either. She watches my boys-- two now-- one day a week. We work closely together to keep open communication lines and stay in touch with one anothers expectations. It's hard and we each put the other out, so to speak, from time to time. Over all though it is worth it. I very much want my mom to be an influence in my boys lives ( my dad too!) and she wants to be. I'm grateful for it! But open communication is the best way to make it work.

1 mom found this helpful

I understand how you feel. My mother-in-law has watched all three of my kids for me. She didn't have a lot to do when my oldest was born so she watched her everyday. When my son came along, she was busy with volunteer work, so she watched him 3 days a week. When my daughter came along, she said it was just too much and she watched her 2 days a week. I organized my childcare and preschool around what she was willing to do. Childcare is very expensive so I appreciate anything that she can do for me. With our busy lives, she would have very limited time with the kids, and it wouldn't be one-on-one, so it's been a great bonding experience for her and the kids - she loves spending time with them. Don't stop babysitting altogether, just tell them you can only do it twice a week, or even once a week, whatever works for you.

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I am right with you - you did your job in raise your grandkids!

I think that is one of the problems with the WORLD today... we don't think as a society that it is our responsibility to raise our own kids and pass on the good morals and values that we need to.

I have been a stay at home mom ever since we started having kids... don't always LOVE it - but am glad I did. WHO knows what values and morals IF ANY are being taught to your kids when they are being raised by others or grandparents (Who think it is a privledge of theirs to spoil them!)?

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I do not know how old you are but when we as grandmothers get to be a certain age we should be able to do what we want.
We raised our children and worked hard to see them through school perhaps college and even military.
I am 60 years old now. Twelve years ago my first grandbaby was born. I chose to watch him because I did not like the idea of daycare.I was taking care of elderly people in their homes at the time. I brought the baby with me and the elderly loved it.Then five years later another baby came and I did the same thing. But that was my choice and
I definately loved it. You should do what makes you feel comfortable and at peace. When asked what works for you you might respond I am doing D. and her health and well being right now. You know we mothers have to take care of ourselves sometimes. You should not feel guilty about anything you choose.

1 mom found this helpful

I was a single mom for several years and my mother watched my kids while I worked and while I went to school. I had been married and my husband left me and the kids, so we lived with my mom for a while.
She would complain to others in the family about having the kids when I was gone, then when I'd find someone else to watch them, she'd complain because she could keep them....it drove me nuts!

She also ended up treating me like I was a young kid again.... when I got my own place she'd call me everyday and remind me of doctor appointments or of needing to call the doctor, or whatever else was going on...she wanted to be in control. It took me several years to get her to stop doing that. and I got really upset with her over it. She even continued after I got married again.

I always appreciated her keeping the kids for me and although she'd never let me pay her, I always bought her little gifts of appreciating to show her that I was thankful for it. Sometimes I'd take her out for lunch too.

I am still grateful she kept the kids for me, I could never have afforded daycare and I was on public assistance for a while... they don't cover enough to help out.
I think it's great that you are helping your kids by sitting for the grandbabies. But I think you should be honest with them about it and see if they can come up with an alternative for the most part.
Remember, if you start having feelings of annoyance at it, you will not enjoy the time with your grandbabies and eventually it will effect your relationship with your kids.

1 mom found this helpful

My mother passed away 3 wks before my first daughter was born so my mother-in-law would help out, but that's just it - HELP out. My sister-in-law on the otherhand would think nothing of leaving her children w/her for 12 hrs at a time - when I returned back to work part-time I paid my mother-in-law just about what I was paying my daughter's school - I think that it's great that grandchildren grow up w/their grandparents in their lives, but sometimes that takes away from the fun to be together all of the time. Often times my mother-in-law would argue with me about taking the money, but this way she got a little bit out of it too and it was never for more then 4 hours a day. Good luck.

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You have every right to the respect of your children - shown through acknowledging that they are PRIVILEDGED to have you watch their children during those special times or when it's absolutely needed. We have NO RIGHT expecting other people to stop their lives for the decisions we've made to have chidren.

You have to be honest with your children and tell them that you enjoy your grandchildren, but that children ARE a huge responsibility, and that leads to stress REGARDLESS of how much you love and enjoy them. You've raised your own children, and it's now their responsibility to do the same.
You'll definitely be around in emergencies, but aside from visits that you personally plan... the responsibility is wearing on you physically and mentally.

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Dear D.,I feel sorry for grandparents like yourself. I have seen so many older people taken advantage of and I dont think they mean to but todays society warrants such behavior and I think it is very sad. My mom would never stand for it and I hope that I never will either,I understand wanting to help your children and be with your grandchildren but lets face it, you have worked long and hard to enjy your retirement so for your sake DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!Go on vacation. T. D

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My parents watch our 10 month old every Monday and she goes to daycare Tuesday through Friday. It is an arrangement that we have all been extremely happy with. My parents look forward to their "Katie time" every Monday and seeing her is fun, not a chore. They arrange their schedules to leave Mondays free, and aren't tied down for the rest of the week. Of course it helps that we have a wonderful daycare provider who doesn't charge for days our daughter isn't there! Maybe you could work out an arrangement similar to this with your children?

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From a parent's point of view, I think you've done your tours of duty and you shouldn't be expected to do another go-around. While I would love to have my mom closer so we could have a trusted baby sitter *once in a while*, I understand that she has her own life to live. She's still *her*, not just *mom* or *grandma*.

I have no other experience in this area; just wanted to say I don't think you're being selfish at all!

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Hi D.,

I understand your feeling and fell really bad for the situition your children have put you into. I'm a 26 year old single mom with two boys, ages 2 and 4, and I still don't realy on family to watch them on a full time basis. During the day both my kids are in school/daycare-the odlest does school half days already and daycare afterwards, which the school bus provides transporations, so I don't have to go back and forth. Either way, there is no way I would EXPECT my mom or anyone for that matter to watch my kids on a full time basis, especially if they weren't getting paid.

You have every right to feel this way. You raised your kids, now it is their time to raise theirs. Visits from grandkids should be a time to celebrate how they've changed since you last had seen them, not an obligation to care for everything they do.

Are you retired or working? That can make a big difference.

If you really feel that guilty, and do love spending time with your grandchildren, maybe sit down with each of your kids and explain to them that this is YOUR TIME. You could offer to watch one set of grandchildren on Monday, and the other set on Wednesday, or what ever days you wish, but other than that your children need to be responsbile enough to get childcare on their own. If they can't afford it, then there is always public assistance, and no one better say they are too good to ask for help!

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Hi D.,
I saw your post and wanted to tell you that my mother in law did NOT EVER babysit for us when we lived in the same town and once I accepted that I was ok with it. But she also was uninvolved and that made me sad for her and my kids, she passed away last year and it is too bad the kids won't have alot of memories of her. My own mother does not babysit much either, so my husband and I have learned to do thngs on our own and that has made us stronger people. In fact we have also been financially independent as well which has also made us stronger and as I mature I am so glad we have done this all " on our own". With that said I do remember those day's when I was practically in tears from exaustion and I wanted a break and my mom would not help me at all. it would have been nice for her to have seen my tiredness and helped me, even just for a few hours. As far as an entire day while parents are working, that is a HUGE comittment for you and really should not be expected in any way! You are right, you raised your kids and they need to figure this out on their own! Also, it wouldn't be fair if you did it for one and not the others! So if you can give your kids a break so they can rejuvinate or do something healthy for themselves and also you can enjoy the grankids that is awesome for everyone!

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When my son was born, my mom wanted to baby sit. She works full time, but wanted to leave and just baby sit. I was very hesitant, my mom is very loving but sometimes too loving and anything goes with my son. In any case, I went along with it, and she came to the conclusion that it wouldn't work for her after a couple of months. It was great that I could leave my son with someone I trusted, but watching a child full time is hard work and very limiting. I ask my mom to baby sit if I can't get the regular babysitter for when my husband and I go out, other than that I bring my son over or they come by, and we al spend a couple of hours together. We see them often, 2 to 3 times a week, and my son loves them. I think their relationship would not be so wonderful if they were the child care providers. My parents look forward to seeing my son, and my son is the same, and when they baby sit occasionally everyone enjoys it and it's not a chore. Did you ever have a conversation with your son about watching the kids while they are at work? How did they come to the conclusion that you'd watch the kids? What have they been using till now?

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I am a 35 yr. old mother of 2 and I could not agree more!! My parents and in-laws have raised their kids, earned retirement, and I would never expect them to be full-time babysitters. It would take away the magic of visits with Grandma & Grandpa! I pay 75/day to the most wonderful friend, another mother to my girls, and wouldn't have it any other way. In my humble opinion, you are right on, so stay strong!! If we have children, we are, by default, choosing to figure out a way to care for them 24/7. This is OUR job - not our parents'. ;o)

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D.,

I agree with you, your job is done. My mother did help me out when I was in a pinch and watched my kids full time, but I paid her. I GREATLY appreciated her help and made sure she knew that if during that time she needed to go anywhere to let me know and I would either take off or find someone else. Make sure your children know this before you begin to resent both them and your grandchildren.

Good Luck
L.

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Hi D.,
I do understand your point of view. I have 2 children 11 and 13. I work part time to be able to be home with them. We eat dinner together as a family every night at 5:30. My mom does help me out on school days off and during the summer. I do not feel that it is her responsibility to watch my children all the time. That is why I do not work full time. I appreciate the time my mom does help me out, I do not know what I would do without her!
It is NOT your responsibility to baby sit your grandchildren all the time. You are supposed to be able to enjoy them. It is not your job. You did your job and now is time for you to enjoy the grand children.
I think it is horrible how my generation lets the grandparents raise their children. When will we ever get back to Mom and Dad raising the children. Having dinner together every evening. Look what our society has become because parents do not have time for their children.
I know people that care more about making money then spending time with their children, they feel they can "buy" the children. The grandparents raised the kids and when they were "old" enough or at least the parents thought they were old enough (8) they were on their own. They never sit together as a family and have dinner. It is a sin!!!
Stand your ground!!!
Good Luck!

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D., I was reading your note and agree that you should not have to watch the children unless you care to, although when I have grandchildren I want to be there. But that is my choice because I love kids a lot and that is what I do. Admittedly my mother (there are six children in our family) has never, ever watched my children but appears to love her grandchildren in her own way.She however, met another man, remarried later and is having fun doing whatever she thinks she didn't do when she was married to my dad and had us. But I think she loves all of us. But she shouldn't have to take care of our children as we chose t have them. However, when I was growing up we had to watch eachother all the time and this opens a different can of worms: What I would never do was force my children to watch each other more than possible as she had us do that for ourselves and I never had a childhood. I am the one that chose to have the children, not her and she was the one that chose to have us. Not me. So although I do not feel there should be a babysitting obligation, you truly did your job, I think I want to put out a feeler on how people had to take care of their brothers and sisters like we did. I am just about fifty one and although I was a very responsible person, I do not think I should have had that responsibility. Well, have fun, I hope you have an adventurous life!

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D.,

i worked part time at night after my son was born, my husband worked for his father and was suppose to come home so i could go to work and provide benefits. My FIL constantly came up with last minute jobs for my husband the 3 nights I worked and what was suppose to be in case of emergency childcare became a 3 night a week job for 1 hour or so. It helped take a lot of pressure off me and my husband. When we had our second child my mom told me she could not handle both kids at dinner. My husband told his father either provide benefits or he would have to leave for me to be on time for work. It didn't last long him getting out on time and I quit my job. My parents watched us struggle and offerd to watch my daughter if I could find something a few mornings a week. I was able to do this and it worked for everyone. My parents were NEVER asked to babysit for us to go do "fun"' things if we couldn't find a babysitter we didn't go. I feel very fortunate that my folks were honest with me and told me that it was too much but also so happy they did watch me kids while I worked. Both my kids (now 18 & 14) have unbeleivable relationships with my parents because they had the one on one tiem with them. When both my kids went to school full time I went back to work full time and my parents again stepped up to the plate and became the sick house. When anyone stayed home that's where they went.
Looking back on everything i have to say my parents were young grandparents who could afford to help out and offered. My in laws on the other hand did their best at making it impossible for us. The hardest times we had in our marriage were asking them to babysit for important "family" things like weddings and funerals and on several occassions they backed out at the last second, usually to sit for my sil so she and her husband could have a "date night or weekend away".

BE HONEST....it's best for everyone.

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Hello D.,

I am not a grandmother myself - my kids are just 9 and 13. When they were born, I used daycare. There was no local, non working grandmother. I would never have assumed that a granparent wanted to spend their days fulltime caring for babies/children. They had already done that with their own kids. I believe that when you have children, as a parent you are the only one with an obligation. I think it is selfish of the grown children to assume that you have nothing you'd rather do with your day than babysit grandkids. Most grandparents are not babysitting while their grown children are at work, because most grandparents are working themselves. There is nothing wrong with letting your kids know that you have other things that you do during the day. If grandparents babysit fulltime, it is a job, not a favor. Whenever someone has watched my kids when I've been at work, I view it as if I'm at work and making money, the other person should be making money too. If a grandparent babysits fulltime, they should be offered pay, the same as any other daycare provider.

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Hi D.,

You have every right to feel that way, you put your time in, now it's your children's turn. Helping from time to time is reasonable, but to be expected to be the main caregiver while they are at work is not, in my opinion. Please don't take this the wrong way, but since you are older I am sure it takes a lot of energy out of you to watch your grandchildren all day. I am speaking from experience because my mom helps me from time to time and I know she is beat after a day with my son! I couldn't imagine her having to do it 5 days a week. She also told me a long time ago before she was a grandmother that she would always be happy to help but she doesn't want to be the main sitter, or nanny, or whatever you want to call it. Neither my sister nor I have ever expected that of her or my father for that very reason, because they were clear with us a long time ago, and I don't resent them for it either.
I'm sure it's not easy to discuss with your children, but did you remind them of your statement to them about this? How about saying to the child who handed you his or her work schedule that none of it works for you, or only one day a week if you are willing to do that? Remind them of everything I just wrote to you -- you put your time in, now it's your job to sit back and enjoy your family, spoil your grandchildren, and not have to be the discipliniarian, caregiver, etc.
Good luck, I don't think I had any great advice for you as to how to handle it, but I really wanted you to know that it's ok to feel the way you do.
- D.

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I have two very young children (3 years old and 11 months old) and my husband and I bot work full time and commute to NYC. My parents live locally and adore my kids and see them all of the time. That said, I would NEVER ask or expect them to care for my kids while we work. I realize that good childcare is extremely expensive, but this should be a consideration before you have children (I personally arranged for childcare as soon as my first tri-mester was over so that it was all arranged for before my children were born). Additionally, children benefit from exposure and structure from non-family members. It allows them to grow socially and learn to listen to other people. It is not your responsibility and you are absolutely correct to feel put upon. Best of luck with this!

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Guess part of it is not to think of it as babysitting... I am so enjoying my granddaughters being here, holding them close, because in this ever changing world of children moving and living further away, I want to be there with them now. Our oldest son and his wife live in Philly, and our youngest is still home. As part of the Sandwich generation, I am caring for my Mother in law, who missed being here all the time with our kids. She has Alzheimer's and it brings a smile to her face when I bring the kids over to the Assisted Living Center.
I was a full time Mom, working a family business most of the time, and don't want to take that away from the kids, but if they are going to classes, or need to drop the kids for an hour or two I am all for it. They are ages 5, 2, and newborn.
Having my own life is important, but these little ones trump it right now... I see my folks, without the little ones, and they miss some of it, and at 80 plus aren't into babysitting...they need their own rest...
My kids are talking about moving to Conneticut, so I am enjoying it now, trying to be the Grandma they will remember as being there for them...Grandma M.

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I do not think you are being selfish at all. My mom offered to babysit my daughter after she was born and I really think I started to take advantage of her. My daughter is very close with both of my parents and I really appreciate the fact that she was cared for by a relative, especially my mother who did a great job raising four children, but she is entitled to live her life too. You can still love your children and grandchildren without being the daycare. My sister told me that my mother felt taken advantage of in regards to babysitting. I made sure I called her up and told her how much I appreciate all she does for me and my daughter.

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I'm sorry for not seeing your post earlier, and apologize if someone else already wrote what I'm about to. I didn't read all of the responses, but some that I did read would clearly make you feel guilty. I feel much the same as you. I love my grandangels as much as any other grandparent loves theirs, but I will NOT be taken advantage of by their parents. I'm the youngest child of nine and I watched my mother be passive/aggressive on this issue and many times she would say, "I'm a grandmother! Not a built in babysitter!" but she would never say it to my siblings. Having already raised a houseful of children, she was tired and needed her own adult time and A LOT of it. When I had children, I seldom had her watch them. When I went to work after I got divorced, things were really tough...paying for day-care, having a good day-care provider, etc. Only once during that time did I have to ask to watch them, and it was only for one day. I have watched a friend do day-care for her grandchildren and it doesn't allow her to be their grandparent. You have to get into the "raising" of the child when you do that. I will be the first one to tell my grandchild if they are out of line, or not doing something that is acceptable, but a grandparent can do it in a way that is so loving and nurturing and not necessarily have to be the disciplinarian...if you are the "built-in baby-sitter you don't have that luxury. My vote for you is to help your children realize that you want to be the grandparent and you want to have the option of spending quality time with your grandchildren and let someone else do the day-care. Best of luck!

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Please be honest with your children and tell them how you feel. Do it kindly but tell them you love them and your grandchildren but don't want to babysit unless you ask for the kids. They should understand that. Let them know you were happy to raise them but the joy of a grandparent is picking and choosing to entertain the next generation. You may (or may not) feel that they could call you to babysit IN A REAL PINCH and tell them that. I have a 7yo and a 2yo and my parents are a driveway wide away. I am a SAHM but my 7 yo is at Grandmas all the time. She even sleeps over there (summer and some weekends during school) but that is my Moms choice. She will tell me when she wants some alone time. The 2yo goes over too but only with me. I will ocassionally ask her to babysit for 20 minutes to go get milk, mail and money! (They are just down the road) but I feel that I gave birth to them and they are MY responsibility. My Mom is honest with me and it helps our relationship because she has no resentment of me. Just because your home does not mean you have a responsibility to babysit for your grandkids. You raised your kids now is the time to enjoy!!! A.

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You said you told your kids that you did not want to babysit on a full time basis, but would from time to time. It sounds like it is time to define "from time to time". To me, that means in case of emergency, or on the occasional special occasion, such as an anniversary dinner, a special event or date night. Why not just tell them the way you told us? You love your grandkids, but you just are not really into babysitting. Be honest! Say you can no longer babysit during their working hours unless it is an emergency. You must let them know, and soon. Even if the initial talk is a bit uncomfortable, it will be said, and if they are reasonable, mature people who love you and care about you, there will be no problem. The longer it goes on, the harder it will be to stop. Just get it done. You will be so much happier after it is done!

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I don't blame you. Maybe you'll just have to be painfully honest with your children. My mom was maybe a little TOO honest--long before any of us were even married, she told us that she wouldn't watch grandchildren full-time because she had "raised her children." I agree with her, and would never even ask her to, or assume that her, or my mother-in-law for that matter, would want to. And from my end, I really wouldn't want either of them to. They both have very different parenting ideas than I do, and then there's the issue of pay--I'd want to pay them, then they're almost like an employee, but if an issue arises it can be awkward--it's all just too much, and would make me feel uncomfortable. Anyway, you're not a bad grandmother--you've worked hard all your life, and want to be able to come and go on your own schedule. You deserve that.

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Before my kids came along, my mom said, "I'll quit work and watch your kids!" Then, they came. My mom still has to work (I wish she could retire for her benefit). We pay for full time daycare for 2, but my mom takes them anyway on Fridays just to have "grandma time". I used to think that I wanted her to watch them all the time, but I know how hard it is to do that in terms of energy... I'm tired, myself! Now, I like that they are in daycare - they get structured play time inside and out, story time, music time, art time, even swimming! They are around other kids. I know that my mom couldn't handle providing all of that for my kids. I do love that they get grandma time - my brother and I grew up being watched after school by my grandparents (maternal). We had a VERY close relationship with them as a result. My daughters' middle names are after them. My mom says that she loves watching them, too. When my mom can't watch them on a particular Friday, it's no problem - I just take them to the daycare. Likewise, if they're sick, my mom is able to do a morning with them, and then I take a half day for the afternoon.

Do you think that you and your children would be able to reach a "middle of the road" scenerio such as this? It isn't that you even have to do that, but at least you would feel like you CAN have a life, and your kids really couldn't argue with you if they felt like you were meeting them half-way. The other thing: just make sure that you give them enough time to find good day care... that can take awhile!

Good luck!

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You sound like a very loving mother and grandmother. I think you are absolutely right to feel the way you do. My parents rarely babysit for me but when they do, I make sure they know I'm grateful.
Here's the problem I find that most working parents come up against: cost of child care. I think that's the biggest reason so many kids are left most of the day with grandparents, and why the grandparents allow it even if they don't want to care for them day-in day-out. One of the reasons I have chosen not to work right now is that my entire paycheck would go simply to child care. Another reason many parents want grandparents to watch their kids is because they're family and they can trust them - or at the very least know what to expect from them. It's extremely difficult to leave your child all day with a stranger.
You need to decide what's best for you first. And then you need to speak directly to your children about what you're willing to do. And if you still feel taken advantage of, maybe you should take a break from all babysitting until you feel up for it again (if at all).

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Hello D.,

I don't know the ages of your Grandchildren, so what I say may not apply to your situation. I have 5 Grandchildren ranging from 1 to 7 years old, I also watch them due to work schedules of the parents. I did not readily volunteer to do so, and it was not forced upon me and quite frankly didn't want to, but took a look at the big picture and sacraficed that freedom of not having small children anymore. It was my decision so perhaps that is where it is different for you, but at some point you must have been asked and not told to take this on, so if you are truthful to yourself, you created the situation just as I did, but now have some regrets, just as I experience at times. The infant and pre-school years are hard work, as I'm sure you remember and may be going through again, we tire more easily now and have had that taste of being free from the hard work, vigilance and self-sacrafice of being responsible for little one's. It will get easier in some ways, physically and metally, just as it did with our own children, as they get older. This is just another season of your life, make the best of it or get out of it, either way I agree with other's you can't live in quite desperation to have it differerent. When I am on my death bed, will I remember those afternoons running around or those little hands in mine? Sometimes it's all about an attitude shift as other's have said.

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Hi! Watch your grandchildren when you want to (and because you are happy to be with them, I'm sure it would be often) But when you don't want to, for whatever reason, just be upfront and let your children know that you're not available... you have other things to do... They shouldn't take advantage of you. You know, they are probably totally oblivious about how you feel, and they might appreciate your honesty. Just deal with it before you feel resentful. Take care of it now and everything will work out!
Wishing you the best
K. (mom of 3)

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Hi D.
Another late response but really wanted to say something.
It just shocks me that adult children can be so selfish - this is your time and it's up to them to raise their own children. I have three children - two grown and one still in school - as a young parent there was no question of help from my parents as they were both still working. Even when they retired the time they spent with my children was mostly together with all of us because I love them all so dearly. I did go out to work when my children went to school but had to pay for child care after school. You sound like a wonderful caring grandparent with adult children who just need to grow up a bit!
I really feel that these parents who use their own parents so heavily are very
wrong and need to join the rest of us in the real world.
Good luck.

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D., you sound like so many other grandparents in your generation. I know that when I was little, my mom worked part time and my grandparents watched me and my two brothers while my mom worked. And my husband spent more time with his grandparents when he was growing up then he did with his parents. They didn't do it because they felt "obligated", they did it out of love for their children and grandchildren and it made it easier financially for our parents because they didn't have to pay for daycare or private babysitting. I now have two children of my own, eight and four years old, and until my mother-in-law passed away 5 years ago, she watched my 8 year old every day while my husband and I worked full time. My daughter meant EVERYTHING to her. Since she passed away, I have quit my job and have not gone back to work. I enjoy being home with my children, but I admit that if I still had that luxury of having my mother-in-law watching my children, I would probably still be working today. I, like many parents today, do not trust daycare centers with my children. They don't care for and love them the way a parent and grandparent does. My daughter absolutely adored her grandmother and loved spending every day with her. Now that she's deceased, my children rarely see their grandfather (maybe twice a month) and see their other grandmother (my mom) once a week. It's sad to me because I know how much time I spent with my grandparents when I was growing up and I feel like my children's grandparents should be spending more time with their grandchildren. I think a lot of the baby boomer generation has forgotten how good they had it when they had young children and their parents helped out. I just hope that when I become a grandparent that I can be there for my children and grandchildren whenever they need me.

HI D. - My knee-jerk reaction to your question was "Of course it's not your responsiblity to care for your grandkids, you didn't make em." But it really got me thinking about reponsibility and what it means to be in a family. Now, first I should tell you I'm Spanish, so culturally our expectations on what it means to be part of a family is probably different then what most believe. So here's some of the thoughts going through my mind. I hope they are helpful.

I'm assuming you're a boomer, i.e. the sandwich generation. Just when you thought your golden years had arrived you are bombarded by demands for your time from your kids and possibly your aged parents. Not to mention your concerns for your own health and that of your spouse. It's not an easy time, and golly you've worked so hard all your life, when on earth will it get easier?

Every generation has challenges. Back when you and your hubby bought your first home, it probably cost about twice one salary. Today, for that same modest home, it costs 4-5 times one salary. Inflation hasn't matched the increase in salary. Your kids might be financially squeezed. And it may not be easy for them to ask for help. They are asking you, because they trust you will always do what is in the best interest for their kids. And in the not too distant future they will likely be presented with the same challenges that you are facing today.

When we have kids we pretty much have no idea what we're getting into... not when they're infants, not when they're teenagers and not when they're adults. I am acutely aware that within the next 10 years or so I will be in a situation where I will need to care for my parents, make decisions for them, shuttle them around - at the same time while raising my teenaged children. It won't be easy. There is no law or code of ethics that says I have to do it. But I'll do it. Because I think that's what being a part of a family is all about. Enjoying the beautiful moments and having someone to cry and share in the hard moments too.

That being said, at any point you can say, "This week or month isn't good for me." And you are always in your right.

I hope this helps.

Hi D.,

I dont think it is selfish that you want to babysit occasionally. I feel the same way. My parents live 50 minutes away (used to live in the same town as me but moved a few years ago) and my in laws live in my town except when they fly south during the winter months. So I don't use them as daycare b/c they are not around. However if they were I might have asked them if they wanted to sit for me a day or 2 during the week to help me save on childcare. Things are so expensive now a days, every little savings helps. So is childcare costs an issue for your children? If so then maybe sitting 1 day a week can be helpful. My mom always asks to sit more for me but I tell her that she has a life and things to do, so she goes out and enjoys herself. Once in awhile we call upon them or my in laws to sit so my husband and I could go out. Since my husbands parents live in town, he always tells me to call his mom when I need to do something but the kids are holding me back. I tell him no, I dont want to take advantage of them and really only use them if there is an emeergency. Your children might have the same attitude I have towards this whole babysitting thing. You might just not know b/c there hasn't been an opportunity to express it. Talk to them about babysitting. Tell them you want to once in awhile but do not want it to be an everyday thing. I think they would appreciate knowing how you feel. Like you said you raised your children already. You need to tell them that! My mom had told me that my grnadmother had told her that when she had kids. (Now was that my mom's way of telling me herself without hurting my feelilngs... could be... but I could see my grandma saying that to her as well.)
Bottom line communication is important here. They may ask you to sit often b/c they think you like it. I would talk to them about it. Good luck and enjoy your grandkids!

Sorry I know that this is late but I needed to respond. My first bit of advice is to tell your children. No parents wants their child watched by someone who resents the situation. They want to know that their children are safe ad loved. Resentment can cause a person to say and do things that they wouldn't have done in other situations where they feel appreciated. My Second bit of advice is to be careful how you approach this withyour kids since it is obvious that you love them and your children. They may not be aware of your feelings. They may not have a good alternative readily available to them. Chances are they work because they have to. I lived on the other side of the country from my grandmothers, (my grandfathers both passed away before I was born)so I only got to see them maybe once a year. Luckily at the time my parents had great people available to watch us since they never had the option to use my grandmothers for babysitting. My mom is dead and my father lives in a whole different state and I am not sure that I would use him to babysit either because of choices. My In-Laws though frequently complain because I do not ask them to babysit very often. I am a stay at home mom and luckily don't need them like that. But because the few times that I have asked them to babysit they have canceled I am not sure that I would ask them even if I needed them. My siblings and I are there for each other and if I have a choice will go to them or my neighbor next door that I know love my daughter and have time for her. I know that they respect how I feel as a parent. But it is give and take. Since I am home more I watch my neices and nephews more then I leave my daughter with anyone. Right now I don't watch them as much since schedules are changed. At times though I miss the opportunity to have them in my home frequently. Although I enjoy seeing them for an occassional sleep over at my house more. So seriously think about what you want because you will never get this time back.

Hi D.! I was reading through lots of your messages and I think it all boils down to doing what is best for yourself. Definately let her know how you feel about when to watch the kids or not at all. If you never let her know than you really can't complain b/c people cant fix what they dont know is broken. My mom gets asked a lot to watch my bro's and sis in laws girls but they never come to just visit (all of the family) And she really resented my SIL for it. But then I asked her if she ever said anything. She hadn't. Once she did everything changed. =0)

Hi, I am a family daycare provider in my home and have been for 20 yrs. I have a 26 yo dtr and she lives with me and she has a 2 yo that I watch while she works. When she comes home she takes over. Over the years I have watched up to 8kids at a time but due to the times and me not advertising as much and relying on word of mouth I only have her and another 2 yo. Financially it is not good so my dtr. gives me 100. a week which I really feel guilty taking but also she reminds me that if she had to pay a stranger or a facility she would pay much more. But when it comes to the weekends I am off duty, lol. I also have a son and he has a 2 yo and a 5 yo that her mother watches more than they do. I think it is a sign of the times. The only thing I really want to say is that maybe they feel safer with you watching them and also maybe they can't afford daycare. I also agree that they shouldn't take advantage of you or just assume. Actually that is what my son and his girl do to her mother and I yell at them all the time.

B.

I am in the a predicament such as yours. Feeling very guilty today about not wanting to babysit 19 mos old and 4 year old. two days a week. I did it yesterday for 8 hours and today I could hardly get out of bed. I am 65 retired, took care of my Mom who died of Alzheimers just three years ago. I was her caregiver until she went into a nursing home. Before that my daughter and her infant son lived with us for 6 years. I am burned out with care giving. I would like to life a little even if it means doing nothing. Thank you for sharing this post with me. It helps to know someone else is feeling the same way.

Thank you for saying this out loud !

Hi D., after raising 5 and working in the public schools for 13 years I retired early to babysit my grandchildren full time. You are you and I am me. Yes, sometimes I feel I'm too old for this but deep down I know my daughter has to work (things are not as they were years ago) I was poor but I stayed home with my own children. I wanted them to have My values not some daycare. WHO do I trust my precious grandchildren to ??? You should only do what you want to. If you babysit and you are resentful then you are not good for the children. They will feel it. My best advice from my heart, Grandma Mary

D.,

i would just tell your children - i would want my parents to tell me. yeah, babysitting your grandchildren once in a while is fine. i would never EXPECT my parents to watch my child full time.

maybe you would feel differently if they ASK you, instead of assuming that you would do this for them. just tell them that you didn't raise them this way and you'd appreciate it if you were asked once in a while instead of being TOLD you're watching them.

or the next time your daughter gives you her schedule to "look over", just say to her, "i can't this week, i have stuff of my own to do". you have a life too. like you said, you raised your children already, this is your time with your husband. your children need to respect what you say and if they don't, OH WELL.

hope this helps a little.
nikki c

Hi D.
I was beginning to think I was the only grandparent on here. Thanks for asking. Our first grandchild is due Aug 1st. We won't have the opportunity to baby sit him because our son and his lovely wife now live 7 hours from our home.
I read your question and say she feels used. Are the kids paying you? They would have to pay others. It isn't my business, but that is usually why people feel used. They don't ask and they don't pay!! No one should feel used.
I am a retired preschool teacher type, & would love to watch my grandson, but it is my personality & it isn't a reality. My homeschooled twin girls are headed off to college, and I will be an empty nester after 37 years of raising kids.
Write me at ____@____.com
God bless you as you make decisions
K.-- married 38 years, SAHM having preschoolers, and foster kids in our home most of those years as we raised our children. Boys were 19 and 14 when our girls were born.

so, are you saying you'd rather come over and spend time when your child and their kids are all home...rather than watching your grandkids when your child(ren) are working or want to go out? My parents and in-laws are the opposite. They practically kick us out. They want alone time with our daughter. It's sort of annoying the entire other. My friends tell us how lucky we are, and I know that it true. I have many friends who don't feel their parents are involved. It's hard to really make a judgement or form an opinion on this. I think, like anything, you have to decide where you stand, what you're comfortable and stick with it. There could be consequences you don't like. But, if it means that much to you, then do it. I think from your child's perspective...they're strapped...for time, money, sanity. You watching the children is a HUGE help with all of that. Also, you have to consider the parenting philosophy. Many parents believe it takes a whole family to raise a child. So, perhaps they're looking at it like that. It's not clear to me in your posting "why" you don't want to babysit. The only thing that stuck out was that you don't want it to be expected of you, that you resent that expectation. I understand that. But, culturally, I think that is more the norm. So, maybe you can invite them over all together. Or start suggesting picnics or trips to the zoo together. They'll get the message soon enough.

I too am late in responding because I have just been too busy to check in on this website. I didn't know there were so many grandmothers left that had the luxury of choice. When our daughter become ill with brain tumor, we took her, her husband and preemie baby into our home. When she passed away, we became full time caregivers for our grandson. After some very nasty situations which I won't go into, the courts took the child out of an abusive sitation and put him in our care and we eventually adopted him. He is now 18 and a great kid. By the way, I am not alone in this. There are over 4.5 million children being raised by their granchparents in the U.S. today. Studies show it is the biggest change in the traditional family since the 1950's. We didn't ask for it, it came to us. So, if you have the luxury to complain, God love you. You are blessed. Don't get me wrong. We have no regrets, it sure would be nice to have it the old way.

I know exactly how you feel. I have been watching my grandson for 14 months, since he was 6 weeks old. from 7 to 5:30 5 days a week. I am 57. I love him so much, but this is too much for me. At 16 months he needs more than I can give him. I don't get to do anything, I have no life anymore. I dread every day lately. My house dosen't get clean like I like it, I never cook dinner for my husband anymore, that takes too much thought process. I really can't take it any more. I was a stay at home mom to my 2 kids. It is not fair that I have to do this again. They don't pay me and I don't want them to. I just want my life back. I would love watching him occasionally or when they needed a night out, but this is destroying me.

When my grandaughter was born, i took her with me every chance i got. I was always there at the drop of a hat. when my daughter ran into problems with the father and he was abusing drugs, the situation got very difficult and my grandaughter was at risk, we went to court and because i was so active in her life the judge granted me custody. My daughter and I worked through this together. She was pregnant for her son at the time and was not in a possition to care for the her daughter... anyway, I took my grandson every chance i got too. Now my daughter is mad at me and i see very little of the kids, but i am greatful that i had the time to spend with them and the time to instill the memories of coming to grandma's house. No matter how long it takes for my daughter to come around, my grandchildren will never forget me. the other grandparents --- they would never take the kids for fear of giving her a chance to work or do something --- my grandchildren do not miss them because they were hardly there in thier lives. So, the just of this is --- be glad to take the grandchildren so you can instill them with wonderful memories of you, if you were to pass away tomorrow, will you want them to know you spent time with the because you love them or because you felt obligated or guilty. My grandchildren know I adore them and they are always welcome in my home and always will be loved. They know that they come first. They know that Our home is security and that they can always come running to grandma and grandpa's house. Just look at it from your relationship with them and all the rest is not important. I love to sit and watch a movie with them, string beads, play cars, play dolls, plant flowers and the list goes on. Those are the things that matter to them. And to hear the cries "G-R-A-N-D-M-A-A-A-A-A!" when they see me. I get to spoil them and send them home, I could not do that with my children, lol. That's what grandma's are for. Well have a blessed day. T.

Also remember your grands are with you and not with someone that might not have the best interest of the children at heart and only putting on a fake front to get easy money in their eyes.

I am not a grandmother but I am a mother of two. My in laws told us(my husband myself and my sis in law) that they wouldn't mind watching the kids so we could have an adult night out here and there but they wouldn't watch the kids so we could work. I never had a problem with that until my sil started a new job and now my in laws watch my nephew every single night and even on weekends for her. They don't ever spend time with our kids and the funniest thing is we are planning on moving to Florida next yr after my daughter turns 4 so you would think they would want to watch them and be with them. When ever we ask them they are always like what about A.'s parents, its got my nerves every time. Maybe if you told them that you would watch them here or there for a special night out they would understand. My parents have never said anything to us about it but usually we don't ask my people to keep the kids for a day or a night. My dad usually comes over and just ask if he can have the kids over night. Which I love but I don't expect them to do it. My parents are not young parents at all and I know physically it hurts my mom to pick up my youngest who is 18 months old. I think you need to sit down and confront your children on when you will baby sit. Like to special nights out for them or watch them when the child is sick but not everyday.

D. you certainly do not owe it to anyone to babysit even if it is for your grand children. Your right that they probably do take it for granted and don't really appreciate it.My mom let me know from the start that she loved my kids but did not want to babysit all the time. She will do it from time to time but its not gonna be a routine by any means. It's probably more difficult for you now that it has become expected. I think you need to have a heart to heart with your kids and let them know exactly how you feel. If that doesn't work you can always come up with some fake ailments of how your not feeling well LOL. Good Luck .

D.,

Just one thing to think about when you get frustrated... My mom lives far away (3 hour plane ride) and would love to spend time with her grandchild. She only gets to see him every couple of months (and only because we've made a lot of effort to get home). Set clear guidelines for your children, but know that you are blessed to have your family so close. My mom would love to have this issue.

hello D..I am 59 years old happy 36 years married to the father of my only one daughter.I gave all my time to raise her. She is Psy.d, married with 3 children.4 years ago they moved to Ca, not being able to be without my grands me and my husband quit our jobs(57, 56) and moved to be with them. My husband had found a job, but I lost my income. For 3 years i was fitting in my daughter and my son inlaw work sqedule to babysit my grands, i was in their hous at 7 am(from Valencia ca, it is not easy task to do, spending in the car 1-15 hour! one way)Then i would come home to be with my husband.2-3 times a month we would have 2 drand to sleep over, kids just love being with us.
Then 2 years ago my son in law choses to stay home, when it happens he start to picking on me, demanding staf, i was used as a nanny, he would say unplesand things, putting me down(with ALL support of my daughter.)I speak out several times, but received a masedge that I am being too sencitive.
I was suffering and treated very poorly, my grands was waching their grandma being insolted in front of them.And they still want me to come and help them.
My paind and not respet toward me finally get me to make a deceigion. I told my daughter , that I am not going to come to her house any more because of such a painfuul treatment. I am going to take my grand baby(2) to my house on Mondays, and bring him back in the evening.(nobody offer mme to drive him at least back!)And I am goung to pick up 2 gilrs from shcool on tuesdays(the school ends at 1,30)and bring them back at 4.30.
My daughter took it very bad, they stop calling us, stop invite us to kids b-days, we do not selebrate holidays together anymore.
it is very painfuul for us, but as we know-we can't change anybody-we only can change ourselfs.
it is very scarry to look forward in life, being in our 60s and having all other family members in other country.All emotional support we received from phone call and emails of our friends and family from abroad.
This is my story, the mother-that happily raised her only daughter all my life , we wheresoo very close-as a sisters, everybody envy our strong connections.I would never think it will happens with me!
S..L

D.,

In almost all cultures around the world it is the norm to watch the grandchildren and you are lucky to be in a position to do so. BUT, if you really don't like it or you don't have the energy, perhaps you can help your children find a babysitter and just fill in during holiday times.

It's a pity that both parents need to work so much. I once read a breakdown of how much it costs to have the wife working and it was very little (on average, unless a woman has a really great-paying job) once you calculate the extra wardrobe, travel expenses like having two cars, child care, eating out that wouldn't normally be done, etc. In some cases once the expenses are deducted it might only be an extra $50 or $100/week! If you think this could be the case you might want to suggest she downsize her job.

I feel for you. I don't think I'd like it much either and would probably offer a few half days a week and if possible (if necessary) perhaps consider offering to contribute to pay a babysitter or pay for summer camp.

Hope you get this worked out to everyone's benefit.

S. Hoehner
www.sharethecause.com/detoxqueen

Spending time with your grandchildren is a blessing. On the other hand you are not the sitter. It is OK to tell your children "NO!" (In a nice way of course.) I know many people who are grandparents and I have seen the following work...1) set schedule a few days a week to care for grandchildren, 2) back-up daycare if the child can not go to school (ie sick or holiday), 3) set your own schedule of time with the grandchildren ahead of time so your children can plan their errands, outings, etc during that kid-free time. If you are getting paid for the care that changes the equation, though if you are paid your children could pay a sitter...Good luck!

My mom left her daycare job because she wanted to watch all of her grandchildren, but she made it clear it was only to be a part time basis (2 days a week). My sister's only worked part time so they worked around what worked for my mom and swapped with one another if they worked extra days that week. Since I work fulltime, my son goes to Grandma's 2 days a week and daycare for 3. About once a year she'll have a sleep over with each family of grandkids. Any other nighttime babysitting or even weekend babysitting we work out amongst the sisters if we can help one another and we all have our own neighborhood babysitters. I hope we are sucessful in letting her know we appreciate it, but I know in the end, the relationship she has with the kids is what really shows her that her babysitting help is worth it. They all adore her. What I think worked for our family was the clear communication about boundaries.
p.s we all provided diapers, formula, food and pay Grandma for her daycare services

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