I Dont Want Grandma to Babysit (Alone) Anymore

Updated on May 11, 2011
A.G. asks from Albuquerque, NM
17 answers

I need some advice. Grandma watches my twins once a week. -this was a decision made by my husband without consulting me first. I have tried to be ok with it, & remind myself that she is their grandma and she loves them and wouldnt intentionally harm them . BUT.........
I have noticed the last few weeks that she seems frazzled and cant wait to leave when i get home and i think that she is overwhelmed at taking care of 9month old twins that are teething & crawling but is too stubborn to admit it. I have asked her if she needs us to start taking them to our regular sitter and she is adamat that she can handle it. I dont think she can. Both kids are wet tired & hungry every time. They dont nap because she says they cry when you put them in their crib and she cant bear to let them cry, so she just lets them go napless. For whatever reason when grandpa comes with her ( which is about once a month) things seem to be ok and both have naps and are not starving & wet when i get home. I have a few other reasons that im uncomfortable with her being alone with them. One is her health she has RA badly in her hands- they are deformed and she has a hard time most days doing simple things like holding a cup, and she has allmost burned the house down while using the stove ( on several occasions) My husband thinks im just being a b***h and that i dont want her watching the kids because its his mom...so not the case, so of course he wont say anything. I would be ok with her watching them IF grandpa could always be there but he cant. Do i just start taking them to the sitter? *Edit* Grandma is 64. I know her RA can be painfull and i think the watching the kids makes it worse. She wouldnt except help, i tried having my sister there once to help out and she wouldnt even let her touch the kids - grandma sometimes forgets that kids should be enjoyed by everyone, not just their paternal grandma.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My SIL wants grandma to be the sitter, but now that she had two kids, grandma can't handle it because she's well into her 70's, So SIL hires grandma an extra set of hands and grandma and sitter tag team it. Best of both worlds. Grandma gets the bonding time, but doesn't get wiped out.

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answers from Charlotte on

Oh, bless her heart. You husband is in denial. Her RA is painful, and I mean painful. She is a trooper, but give this sweet woman a break from her having so much on her plate. Get the sitter.

Tell her that you want her to be a grandma rather than a daycare provider. Grandmas get to have fun with their grandkids, and don't have to be responsible for them. Tell her just that. And make time for them to be together after nap time.

Ignore your husband. When he gets RA and is her age, THEN he gets to make the decision that HE wants to watch his 9 month old grandkids.

Thinking of both you and grandma,

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answers from Appleton on

You don't say if you are paying grandma to watch the babies. It may be too much for her but she loves them and both of you and doesn't want to say no. One solution might be to hire a teen from the neighborhood to come in and help out. Explain to Grandma that this young person needs a job and can't find one so would she mind if the young person (12-15) would come over and help out. This could be a win-win grandma is still feeling useful and you are helping a young person. Of course explain to the young one that grandma wants to do the babysitting but it's too much for her, but not to hurt her feelings by saying so.
As fo me I do babysit my grandchildren but I don't want to be tied down. I raised my own kids for 34 yrs and am now taking care of my Mom, with the assistance of a hospice team. As much as I enjoy my grandchildren and my Mom, I am looking forward to the freedom of not being tied down.
You could also explain to both grandparents that even when you get the babies into regular daycare and then school there will still be plenty of chances to babysit. It seems as though every couple of months I have one of them here because they are sick and the parents need to go to work. Which is fine I don't mind being the emergency sitter.

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answers from Chicago on

Do what feels right in your heart. The primary concern here is your twins. Your husband is 2nd and your MIL is 3rd. Has your husband been the one to come home first ever? Maybe he needs to see the situation with his own eyes. Have a heart to heart with him...he should hopefully understand.

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answers from Orlando on

Get the sitter & ask Grandma to babysit one or 2 nights a month while you have date night. That way its only for a couple of hours & she won't get so worn out & encourage Grandpa to come with her.

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answers from Hartford on

It sounds as if caring for small, active twins is wreaking havoc on her health and thus her nerves. I feel really bad for her because this must be a very sore point of pride for her. :-( And I would bet dollars to donuts that your husband doesn't want to think of his mother as unwell or incapable or as aging and therefore unable to watch the babies.

However, the babies' safety must come first. I have a feeling that this was supposed to be a way for your MIL to spend frequent and regular time with the twins, but now it's time to come up with a different way for that to happen. You're going to have to appeal to her in a way that doesn't feel like she's being attacked for how capable she as a person or a woman.

Perhaps you can phrase it as if it's a matter of the twins needing to spend time at the babysitter more consistently because the current schedule is disruptive for them. It wouldn't be lying because it's true... her physical inability and her emotional upset about it without being able to admit it is disruptive... but mainly for her, the poor woman.

I'm sorry you're in this position. Just be as loving toward her as possible and let her know you appreciate everything she's done for you. Reassure her that she'll still get to see the kids frequently for extended visits.

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answers from Tampa on

Yes, you have to stop letting her watch them alone...it is clear. Try to be as kind as possible,but know that you are likely going to hurt some feelings. It is sad that you have to do this, but your children's safety comes before anyone's feelings...

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answers from San Francisco on

Yes, start taking them to the sitter. You won't be able to relax if they are with her, so I don't know why you even have a question about this.

There is nothing to say to her, she's just obviously too old and infirm to be taking care of babies any more. Get a sitter.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

or hire help for grandma in the form of a housekeeper. Someone to cook and help out.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

When grandpa is there, it's better because they have man-to-man coverage! haha

How old is she?

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answers from Phoenix on

I haven't read the other responses...You sound very clear and reasonable about the dilemma and I am truly sorry that this situation isn't working out. You both sound like lovely people who have given this childcare scenario a fair shot.

What about a compromise? Is Grandma capable of getting the twins to the sitter say before or after lunch? She could have a little morning time, then pack them up and drive them to the sitters? But only if you feel she can handle the packing up and driving them over and dropping them off. If the sitter starts to report that they haven't arrived by an agreed upon time, that would be an indication that she's not organized enough.

I hear only true concern in your voice for all parties and am disappointed that your husband goes as far to call you names over this babysitting dilemma. He has got some serious denial going on, as your thoughts are clearly compassionate towards all.

Why do you think he cannot see what is happening? If he continues down this road of denial, you will have to have a heart to heart with Gram's without him.

I would also recommend that you layout meals and snacks before hand for Gram's so that she isn't watching kids and figuring out what to feed them. That will ease her load. Prepare anything ahead of time that will ease her time.

If you find that even prepping the home and food for her ahead of time, still leaves her overwhelmed and your babies are still in said condition, then you will have to step up and be the 'bad guy' in your relationship and change the daycare arrangements.

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answers from Phoenix on

The safety of your children is first and foremost. If you do not feel they are safe in your MIL's care when she is alone with them, you need to do something. It might ruffle some feathers, but what if something happened to your beloved children? It's not worth it. Trust your instincts. Don't worry about being called a "b." Your husband needs to understand that you value your MIL wanting to spend time with the kids (and make sure she still sees them for quality time if she is not babysitting), but that you want to have someone who is healthier and more capable of taking care of two active babies. They are only going to get more active and become more difficult for her to handle as time goes on. Find someone you can rely on and trust to babysit and tell Grandma she is welcome to visit, but not babysit. It might hurt some feelings, but in the end, she might actually be relieved.

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answers from New York on

Your first priority is making sure your children are warm, safe, and well tended. It's too much for her and yes she's too stuborn to admit it. She's trying to help out her son but 9 month olds are a lot of work.

Since your hubby seems to be overlooking the toll this is taking on his mom I'd probably speak directly to her about it. Let her know that you are concerned with her health. Let her know that you would love to have her spend time with her grandkids but you feel that at this time it's physically too demanding on her. And then make arrangements to take them to the sitter.

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answers from Boston on

I agree with other posters, 9 month old twins would be hard for anyone to watch. I feel bad for Grandma because I'm sure she loves the kids and wants to help but you have to make sure they are well taken care of. How long a day are they spending with grandma, if it's a full work day that might explain them being tired/hungry when you come home...you could write out a schedule for her telling her when to feed them. You could also just have a sitter come to the house to help her...or maybe have Grandma do a half day while the sitter does the other half. Hope it all works out!


answers from Los Angeles on

I think 9 month old twins would be hard for any older person to be able to take care of adequately, personally; especially if she has RA. Clearly this is the case if all runs smoother when there is a second person on hand (grandpa). I would definitely not be comfortable with this situation and it sounds like you really need to have a heart-to-heart with your husband.



answers from Cumberland on

Can you get a mother's helper to come in while she is there?


answers from Kansas City on

I am editing to add... I am 44 years old, almost 45. I've had fibromyalgia for as long as I can remember. I've suffered many aches and pains ranging from irritating to almost debilitating. Yet, I've kept my daycare open 7 days per week, 24 hours per day for 25 years. I love what I do and I would be upset with anyone if they tried to insinuate that someone younger and more fit could do a better job. So please be careful in the way you approach it. I like the idea of hiring a part-time mothers helper to help grandma part of the day...if it's possible.

You haven't said how old she is. 9 months is a hard age to have 2 babies no matter what a persons condition is. I wouldn't blame you for looking for someone younger. But.. I also wonder if she can handle it just a little longer. Have you watched her change diapers? Is it difficult for her. Are the babies getting rashes?

As for the kids being hungry, that might mean a lot. You may just get home around the time they would be. I have a 10 month old in care that just about always falls asleep around 3-4 and then when he wakes up he can't be bothered to eat. He wants down to play. When his mother comes in he's just starting to work up to wanting a bottle or food. But we don't want to get the mess started 10 minutes before she walks in the door. We work with the sippy cup some at that part of the day or give him a few finger foods so that he'll wait until he gets home. We've tried changing the schedule and he's stuck on this one. As for the wetness.. Again..we change these kids every 2 hours and when we smell them and just before naps, when they get up and just before they leave. Even with all those times they often get changed and wet again minutes before parents arrive.

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