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Unsolicited Advice: Grandparents Are
Not Obligated to Be Babysitters So
Plan Accordingly

Original Article

Posted By: mc squared, 2/21/2020 1:23:52 PM

Welcome to Unsolicited Advice, the weekly column in which I dispense advice no one asked for to people who don’t even know who I am. /snip/ This week a theme began to develop as I combed the internet looking for unsuspecting people to thrust my unwelcome wisdom upon. It seems there are a few young parents out there who are righteously indignant that their own parents do not wish to share the burden of childcare for their grandchildren. Here we see a young mother who is so upset that her in-laws refuse to pick up her children from daycare that she is thinking of denying them access to the


We know several retired friends who would do well to read this. It is straining our friendship that when we/they visit, the young children are in attendance too. Young mothers go about their business and grandparents become au pair girls.

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Reply 1 - Posted by: DVC 2/21/2020 1:33:42 PM (No. 325481)
This is why living at least a hundred miles away (a few hundred is better) is a really good idea.
28 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: earlybird 2/21/2020 1:46:58 PM (No. 325491)
My late, wonderful Mother was happy to stand in years ago when I found myself having to go to work when the children were still in elementary school. It did not go on forever. It was a loving gift, greatly appreciated. Later those grandchildren were a great aid and comfort to their Grandmother when their Grandfather had passed on. Every situation is different. They were fortunate to have loving friends who understood the situation. Anyone who didn’t would have been considered to be less than friends and therefore disposable.
24 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: earlybird 2/21/2020 1:49:25 PM (No. 325494)
Before anyone jumps, the operative word is “Need”. If working is just an alternative to staying home with children, discretionary but not needed extra income, the grandparents should not be on the hook unless they want to be. Some do.
24 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: Daisymay 2/21/2020 2:06:06 PM (No. 325505)
This could be happening in my family as we speak. My granddaughter, and her husband, live in a cute little town full of coffee shops and Restaurants in walking distance for the young college educated crowd who are now working full time. They want to keep the college vibe going, but they are now married and beginning to raise a family. Did I mention the home they bought is in the highest tax county in the state and is 40 minutes from either set of parents? So, now they have a 2 year old and yep, and new baby. For the past two years dad has shuttled toddler son to grandma's house for day care, then picked him up for the 40 minute drive home. This means dragging the baby out at 6 am, in the cold and snow. Now we have dad at a new job (the other direction from grandma's) so grandma is expected to drive half way every day and pick up two babies, keep them for the day, then drive half way and meet up with dad or mom for the ride home. I think this is asking a lot! I also think If you want kids, you should arrange your finances and living choices (maybe closer to grandma) in such a way so you can stay home and raise your own kids. I had to! I raised three kids under the age of five while hubby worked! I got to go the grocery store one day on the weekend, by myself, which was my treat! Yes, we could have had a much nicer lifestyle if I had gone to work, but I felt it more important that I raise my own children. I'm not a bit sorry I did it that way. Now days the young college grad thinks they can have it all. They can, but it comes at a price. Maybe grandma doesn't want to raise another generation. Maybe she would like to play Bridge and go to lunch with her friends instead. If you want to work, pay for day care, or delay having a family until one of you can stay home with the kiddos! Grandma needs to learn to say no!
39 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: Maggie2u 2/21/2020 2:16:44 PM (No. 325508)
A little off topic but two things...First, everything you ever heard about being a grandparent is true. Second..The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is because they have a common enemy.
32 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: AltaD 2/21/2020 2:22:57 PM (No. 325512)
Seriously considering sending this to my sister-in-law. She is one of those people who is truly living paycheck-to-paycheck, works six days a week and on her one day off, she babysits her grandson. Her daughter and son-in-law were in their 30s when they became parents, they're not young foolish teens. They're gainfully employed and could easily afford daycare or a nanny but instead they rely on grandma for free daycare.
11 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: janjan 2/21/2020 3:18:05 PM (No. 325543)
This hits close to home. I am preparing to retire in 3 months and my daughter already expressed her glee that I can take over daycare for her two kids, 4 and 6 months. I love my grandchildren dearly but had to gently explain to her that I have no plans to become her nanny. I have worked very hard to enjoy my retirement years and if that’s selfish of me so be it.
49 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: MuncsSister 2/21/2020 3:52:14 PM (No. 325571)
Fortunately, muncsmom was not an enlightened feminist liberal who degraded the most important job in the world like so many of my contemporaries parents did. As a result, I apply my college education at home as a stay at home mother watching my own children. And she is not their nanny. You reap what you sow.
15 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: LadyHen 2/21/2020 3:56:58 PM (No. 325574)
I'm a stay at home mom. We raise our kids. We make time for them to see their grandmothers and their grandmothers make time for them. We are a team. That's what family is. More often than not my dh and I get asked to drive to the suburbs (45 mins one way) to help out our mom or mil with any number of issues. We don't whine about it. We just do it because that is family. Maybe our country runs too deep but kin is kin and that is all.
25 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: DVC 2/21/2020 4:10:15 PM (No. 325585)
#4, maybe Mom should stay home and take care of her kids instead of pushing it off on Grandma? One way to force them to grow up and act like adults is to move farther away, like at least 100 miles, better 150. Then you can visit on weekends if you want, but "darn it", it's just too far to drive every day twice to drop off the kids.
11 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: earlybird 2/21/2020 4:35:21 PM (No. 325597)
Parents should not have to move to get out of being taken advantage of by their children re the grandchildren’s care. It should be possible for the grandparent(s) to simply, lovingly, say “No”. The choice should be up to the grandparents. If it is their choice to do it, there should be no whining. If they do not, then it is simply “No”...
13 people like this.

Reply 12 - Posted by: MMC 2/21/2020 4:39:24 PM (No. 325600)
Are you kidding? I am agonizing the fact my adult children live a thousand miles from me and each other. When the day comes for grand babies- I want to be a part of the babies lives.. never ever wanted to be a Skype grandma.. however, my children are independent,hard working and would not think that I was mandatory child care.. nope.. shame on parents for raising entitlement thinking..
12 people like this.

Reply 13 - Posted by: jalo1951 2/21/2020 5:31:09 PM (No. 325638)
They are your kids you figure it out.
7 people like this.

Reply 14 - Posted by: Kate318 2/21/2020 5:45:39 PM (No. 325655)
I was wondering when the culture would take notice of this phenomenon. I have dealt with it, as have a number of my friends and clients. One client, who is divorced and works full time, actually took a second job so that she could have an excuse not to be the only source of childcare. I believe a lot of us are trying to compensate for the guilt we felt when we had to work outside the home in order to help support the family. The options for childcare were either abysmal or unaffordable. We don’t want our children to have to experience that. But, #12 makes a good point. I focus on how much I love my grandchildren, and how lucky I am to have them close to me. I’m also grateful to be an integral part of their life. But, the fact is that raising children is a lot more of a challenge at an older age.
10 people like this.

Reply 15 - Posted by: ControlFreak 2/21/2020 6:54:05 PM (No. 325703)
There must be something wrong with me. I now live 2 minutes away from my three grandsons and am loving every minute of being around them. For the last three weeks, we have had one, two or three of them with us while they were sick and could not go to school (unfortunately now I’m sick, too) but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. For a lot of years they lived thousands of miles away from us, then they moved two hours away. We retired shortly after that and got tired of making that drive three times a week to help out, so we moved closer to them. I love being a big part of their lives, and they love us, too. Sweet grand baby love, nothing better than that.
14 people like this.

Reply 16 - Posted by: MeiDei 2/21/2020 8:12:37 PM (No. 325755)
Financially, is the reward of working, tax liability, maybe union dues greater than the cost of daycare? Factor in the cost of transportation, travel time, special clothing, etc. and if it is substantially less than daycare - lucky you, If the cost is close you are better off at home and could probably watch a neighbors kid for pay or another arrangement (legal & moral of course). Some mothers want the kids but not all day/every day. Makes me wonder what the sons & daughters would do when Mom or Dad gets sick and in need of help. Will they come to help?
5 people like this.

Reply 17 - Posted by: zephyrgirl 2/21/2020 9:04:35 PM (No. 325775)
I have several friends who are full or part time caregivers for their grandchildren, all for no compensation. One even confided to me, "my wife has taken care of her grandchildren for seven years now, and while they're in my house I've paid for every morsel of food put in their mouths, and every diaper put on their bottoms. Not once have her daughters [from a previous marriage] offered to pay a dime for their upkeep." Any grandparent who doesn't set boundaries right up front is asking to be taken to the cleaners. People don't value what they perceive to be "free."
5 people like this.

Reply 18 - Posted by: padiva 2/21/2020 9:38:22 PM (No. 325781)
And it is not the grandparents responsibility to buy all the diapers, clothes, formula, crib/bed/furniture etc.
7 people like this.

Reply 19 - Posted by: anonymous 2/21/2020 9:50:00 PM (No. 325782)
It irks me to see how grandparents have become quasi-parents in the name of babysitting duties.This is the result of the actual parents wanting to work to earn a lot of money and/or lead a social life based on feeling single again. It's very unfair and the grandparents are often put under stress, not only physically but also emotionally because they don't want to offend by saying "no" to the duties.
4 people like this.

Reply 20 - Posted by: Wendybird 2/21/2020 10:46:39 PM (No. 325802)
Taking part in the care of grandchildren, with exceptions no doubt, is one of the great joys and privileges of life.
6 people like this.

Reply 21 - Posted by: Chuzzles 2/21/2020 11:19:04 PM (No. 325811)
Date night for the parents is okay. Watching the kids while mom and dad maybe go on a trip for a few days. But daycare provider? No. The grandparents raised their kids, it is time for those kids to do the same.
8 people like this.

Reply 22 - Posted by: texaspast 2/22/2020 12:49:53 AM (No. 325833)
I am 65 and remember my grandmother with great love and fondness. Both my parents worked (at least after I was 5). We did have an older lady who would come and stay with my brother and I until my mother got home from teaching school (1 mile away). My grandparents lived 20 and 40 miles away - but it never crossed my parents' minds to ask them to be daycare for us! I would spend time with them during the summer and occasionally weekends. One set - the ones way out in the country I liked better than the other, although both sets were absolute salt-of-the-earth people. They taught me a LOT, especially the country folks. But I clearly remember my country grandmother saying (after one of my cousins did some minor acting up) that she had raised six children of her own and wasn't going to raise anyone else's. That stuck with me. When my kids were little, my mother-in-law volunteered to come a few miles to stay with them until they got into school, but we never asked. Later I found she thought it was an imposition. So here's the lesson I learned from that: If you don't want to do it, DON'T VOLUNTEER! Now my wife and I have a 19-year-old grandson living with us so he can go to college here. But it was our idea, we volunteered, and he knows that if he messes up here, he's out. Got to grow up sometime!
3 people like this.

Reply 23 - Posted by: ARKfamily 2/22/2020 7:58:28 AM (No. 326034)
Children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren etc. are part of a family unit. Sometimes I wonder if the problems we have in our society are attributable to the mindset used in the title of this article. Obligation? Take for instance the example given by #6. Maybe grandma finds it rewarding to take care of her grandson and doesn't want money for doing it. It sounds very much like she has a very good work ethic and so does her child along with the spouse. After all, they are gainfully employed. Obligation? Nope. Rewarding? Yep.
2 people like this.

Reply 24 - Posted by: franq 2/22/2020 9:54:19 AM (No. 326221)
There's a whole new breed on the street.
0 people like this.

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