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  #1  
Old 12/05/07, 09:15 AM
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grandparents how do you feel about babysitting

I'm struggling issues of guilt because I do not want to be a full time babysitter for my grand kids. I know a lot of grandmothers that don't seem to mind and that makes me feel even more guilty about not wanting to.
Its really hard to put family issues in one post and get to the heart of matters but I'm going to try, first i want to say I love my son and his wife and I love my grand daughters I don't want to give the impression I don't, that being said, even though we love somebody we sometimes don't like the way their attitude
They both decided that she wanted to start working, of course they both have the right to make that choice in their lives, she starting job hunting and landed a job... now all of this is well and good, but.. they also decided that I was going to babysit without even asking me how I felt about it. Dil came to my house all excited telling me about her new job and talking about how I wouldn't have to watch the kids all day most days ( my son doesn't go in to work early most days) I first reaction was just stopping washing dishes and just kind of staring at her and saying this is the first Iv heard about any of this, she acted shocked and said, really? well your son was suppose to tell you.. then went on to say how happy she was and how she really needed this and some other stuff that I'm not sure about because to tell you the truth a was still a bit stunned and wasn't listening at this point..

so there I was having to make a snap decision that would really change my life.. and wondering why if she had been hunting a job for weeks she didn't even bother to ask how I felt about the whole thing. This is not a doll that I'm not close with I have known her since she was in the first grade, when she and my son has problems she comes to me before her own mother so why all of the sudden would she not talk to me about getting a job?

I guess to some would think I'm being selfish but we just now are really getting into raising some animals I'm still raising my own 12 yo daughter, I run our painting company and make candles and bath products when I can and I would really like to get to a point in my life that I can do things I want while I'm still able to enjoy them and don't want to be tied down with a 2 and 3 yo.
when I tried to tell them both this what i got from both of them was she really needs to be happy and this will make her happy, my answer was, well when your a parent sometimes its not about your happiness so why cant you wait till the kids start school to pursue what will make you happy, Iv been waiting 26 years to get to this point and I want to enjoy farming, making candles and bath stuff and enjoying what we worked our whole married life for, you both have only been raising a family for 3 years you might as well pace yourself.
So please give me your honest opinions about keeping grand kids. Am I being selfish here?

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Last edited by dixiegal62; 12/05/07 at 09:18 AM.
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  #2  
Old 12/05/07, 09:19 AM
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You are not being selfish.

You are not obligated to be her babysitter (paid or unpaid, and it sounds unpaid).

And until and before starting work she should have consulted you to see if this is something that would fit in YOUR life right now, they had no right to assume that you would back them in this manner.

This does not mean you love your grandchildren any less, but there is a reason they are GRANDchildren and not your children.

Good luck on straightening this out.

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  #3  
Old 12/05/07, 09:26 AM
 
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I could not agree more with Angie!


I am so amazed that today parents seem to think that THEIR parents are automatic babysitters. I am 34 (dh is 37), have a 4 year-old dd. I am a SAHM. Even if I were to work outside of the home, I would not ask my parents or my inlaws to babysit for dd...paid or not. I know MANY people my age with young families who drop their kids off at their parents or inlaws just about every day. Only one is *legitimate*, as her mom runs an in-home daycare.

I can't imagine asking my parents/inlaws to take on a job they have already done (raising a family), because that's basically what it is. I see SO many grandparents taken advantage of in this department. Now, if someone WANTS to watch their g-kids, that's a whole 'nother ball of wax. But to just assume that your parents/inlaws have nothing to do all day so hey, why not have them watch my kids....no way.

I'm going to stop now because I could go on and on about this! I hope you get it all straightened out!! And a complete *ditto* to what Angie said!

Shawna

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  #4  
Old 12/05/07, 09:29 AM
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No, you're not being selfish.

Why is she working? I may get flamed for this, but I think a woman with children should stay at home and raise her children. I'm assuming that they're not really hurting for money or you wouldn't have been shocked that she's getting a job.

In your position, I'd refuse to provide childcare. When they find out what it costs, I bet she stays home and accepts her responsibility. I would be royally ticked if my children pulled this stunt. We give up a lot of our own wants and time to rear our children and now we're supposed to give them up for our grandchildren too? I don't think so.

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  #5  
Old 12/05/07, 09:32 AM
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Ditto the above. My mom will watch my kids if I have a doctor appointment or something, but she said she raised her kids & does not plan on spending the rest of her life raising her grandkids. She did watch my niece everyday until she started kindergarten when my sister died. I think it was more be close to a part of Janet than anything. She now spends most of her days quilting. Don't feel bad. You raised your kids, they should do the same.

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  #6  
Old 12/05/07, 09:37 AM
 
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No you are NOT being selfish or rude but those young parents ARE!

I think that my DD, Zookeeper16, would agree with me that if she would have pulled that stunt, I would have refused too.

Your DIL never consulted you! I can't believe any adult wold be so rude!

I don't blame you for wanting your own life now. You've put in your tme raising children and now is their turn to do the same.

Good luck on handling this diplomatically. She'll get over it eventually.!

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  #7  
Old 12/05/07, 09:40 AM
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my mom was never into babysitting her grands,and she had an in home daycare....i kinda wish she was more available, but then again, it would have caused problems cause she and i wouldnt always see eye to eye


the clincher here are they ASSUMED..and no you are not being selfish, but if i were you i'd be a litttle more than resentful at being responsible for dil's happiness,,, tell you to get a sitter like everyone else and pay them

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  #8  
Old 12/05/07, 09:41 AM
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The way I figure it, we've already done our job.

I don't understand why our children count on having free babysitting just because we love our grandchildren!

I disabused our son of that right quick!

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  #9  
Old 12/05/07, 09:50 AM
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Actually you were a lot nicer than I would have been. I think my gut reaction would have been to blurt out a big HA,! No bleep'en way!! ( Sometimes I'm not too diplomatic and a little too quick with a knee jerk reaction)

At this time in our lives (grandparents) it's OUR time to do what we want and not made to feel guilty about it.

I only babysit when I offer to watch the kids or if they have an emergency.

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  #10  
Old 12/05/07, 09:51 AM
 
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I'm sorry your DIL feels that she "needs" to dump her kids on you and work. I am a SAHM and I'd sell my soul before I'd stop being a SAHM. I'm PROUD to be a SAHM. I work hard at home like MY (depression and WWII era scrimp and save) grandmothers taught me so I can afford to stay home. I'm definitely not the "gotta have" kind or the "my career" type like everyone seems to be nowadays. But that's just how I feel, not how your DIL feels apparently )-: I would not be excited about working outside the home, I'd be so upset you'd probably feel sorry for me and keep my kids out of pity <laugh>. But that's just me and I could care less if someone disagrees, they can do what they will with their OWN children.

It IS a bad situation, you don't want to make them mad at you for not keeping the kids but it WAS wrong for them to assume you'd be their exclusive babysitter. My MIL is kind enough to keep my son when I ask her to and I honestly think she'd like to keep him more than I let her <smile>. But I've told her many times before when we've talked about working outside the home "he's my boy and I'm going to raise him, not you or anyone else".

You might or might not want them going to a daycare either (I get the feeling you would rather she stay home and raise her kids and not work outside the home). Honestly that is THEIR decision (even though I am quite opinionated in that matter).

Your DIL and son have two decisions the way I look at it (based on what you wrote), and this is what you're going to have to tell them. 1. Put the kids in daycare, or 2. Quit the job and stay home with the kids. Simple as that. You could bring up the fact that with gas prices they way they are now, I'd be seriously costing that out to see if it's worth it working outside the home. Also bring up the fact that those kids will be ready to start public school in a few years so after a few years of "suffering at home", mom could find a job during school hours <sigh><grumble>.

OR, if you felt like you'd be willing to compromise and watch them a day or two a week that would be a good alternative to keep the peace and also spend some time with your grandkids. But I don't blame you for feeling the way you do. If it were me I'd probably "break it down" if she were my DIL and tell her she needs to take care of her own, but heck, my son is only two (-;

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  #11  
Old 12/05/07, 10:05 AM
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Oh, no, no, no! Your DS and DIL are VERY wrong here!

As others have pointed out, it was incredibly presumptuous for them to assume that you'd put your life on hold so DIL could be made "happy." What about what makes YOU happy?

Everyone is responsible for her own happiness. As soon as your son and daughter-in-law figure this out, they'll be happier AND (Bonus!) they will be able to teach it to your grandchildren.

Stick to your guns. By compromising or giving in, you'll just encourage the behavior.

You are NOT being selfish, BTW. You have your own life, and it just blows my mind to think that people would be willing to completely disrupt your world so they don't have to deal with theirs.

JMO, of course.

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  #12  
Old 12/05/07, 10:15 AM
 
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I am full time daycare provider, unpaid, for my granddaughter BECAUSE I VOLUNTEERED. No one expected it. I volunteered because s-i-l is now disabled, dd must support the family, and his illness makes him out of the question caring for a three year old. They cannot afford daycare, and I LOVE DOING THIS.

All that said, I would in your shoes just tell my son and daughter in law that I do not want to be their daycare provider and will not do it.

If they want her to work outside the home, they have to come up with daycare. Simple as that.

Really, not your problem. They get to live their lives as they see fit and SO DO YOU.

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  #13  
Old 12/05/07, 10:19 AM
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I agree with what everybody else said: NO WAY!

Especially when they didn't even have the consideration to ASK you beforehand. NO WAY!!! If that isn't a foretaste of things to come, I don't know what is.

I would put my foot down right now--don't even consider it. Tell her you will be a backup if the children get sick or something like that, if you feel you can--but you cannot take on the responsibility at your age.

I think Cathy put it really good. Young people nowadays need to realize that raising children take SACRIFICE. And that their parents aren't going to jump in there and raise their kids for them.

My daughter is a SAHM right now...and believe me, this was a big switch for her--she had a well-paying career. Now her husband has a good income--but they live outside of NYC and have to scratch to make ends meet. Well, not like you and I think of scratching--but for THEM!

But you know what, she still can afford to go out for a latte every day.

If your DIL wants this job and it will make her soooo happy! Fine. But she is going to have to also get the worries over who has her kids, and what if they get sick, and all of the other things that go with daycare. You are NOT going to take over HER responsibilities.

Besides, what does your DH say? I'll bet he's in agreement. You two deserve to have some PEACE ON EARTH (LOL)... and enjoy your young 12-year-old.

Now, if the kids were in dire straits--well that would be different. They're USING YOU as a convenience, my dear.

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  #14  
Old 12/05/07, 10:33 AM
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Oh, no. I don't think so.

Time for a very frank and open discussion with your DH, your son and the DIL around the kitchen table. A preview of how the conversation is *GOING* to go with your DH might be a good idea, too. Make your wishes VERY clear to him and make sure he's going to back you up.

Sounds to me like a little girl needs to grow up -- and I'm not talking about your 12yo!

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Old 12/05/07, 10:41 AM
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All I can say is "thank you, thank you" for telling me I'm not a bad grandmother! My dad years ago said "I raised you kids and I don't plan on taking care of yours". when he said that I was a teenager and not even involved with anyone. I felt really bad. But, when I had kids and went to work, I was fortunate enough to have very good day care availablity and used it instead of my parents. Very infrequently, I would ask my Mom to watch them (ie. Dr. appointment etc...) and I felt really bad because I remembered what my dad said. NOW, I understand. I raised my kids and I basically told my kids the same thing. I told them I didn't mind baby sitting every once in a while , but hey, I still work full time and wanted time to myself now that they were grown. So, there would be no dump and run.

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Old 12/05/07, 10:45 AM
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Its your choice so no need to feel guilty you do have a life after all.
we are blessed that both my mother and the wifes mother live near by and enjoy spending time with our girls.
We would certainly never demand they do so.
As my mother puts it she doesnt come to baby sit she comes to play with her girls. My children are the first she has had time to just play as when we were kids and my siblings had children she was working full time .
Both grand mothers are free to do as they please , we have never asked them to baby sit though I admit to asking my sister to watch the girls while I work on her house or need to run somewhere. But often since the eldest is in school I'll take the youngest with me even on jobs she like to help Dad .

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Old 12/05/07, 10:45 AM
 
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I agree with everyone else. We do not have children yet and our parents live too far away to be daily babysitters, but even if they were close I would never just assume they would be the ones taking care of the kids! I definitely think you need to have a sit down with them and explain some things. Like has been said, if a child is sick and can't go to the sitters, offer to keep them then (only if you want to that is). Maybe you could offer to help your DS & DIL find a good daycare as a way of helping her be able to work the job she wants to? Or maybe have a list of possible daycare providers prepared for her when you have the sit down? (I know this would be work on your part that they should be doing, but it might make things easier?) Good luck!

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Old 12/05/07, 10:47 AM
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Thank goodness! I thought for years that I was the only Nana that didn't like to babysit. I don't mind it now and again, but not all the time. My mother, on the other hand, liked nothing better than to have the house filled with her grandchildren. Probably why I fought with guilt all these years. LOL

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Old 12/05/07, 10:47 AM
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I couldn't even imagine assuming my that my mother would watch my children full time. She would have laughed at me and if she thought I was serious she probably would have turned nasty My mother and I are very close and she loves her Grandchildren dearly. When I was a very young SAHM she would pick me and the little ones up maybe once every week or two and we would go to the store to pick up some essentials or go have lunch (if we could with the little ones, depending on the age). Every great once in a while, like my anniversary, she would watch them so that my husband and I could go out to dinner. She lived with us for 6 months and we hardly ever left them with her. Of course we don't do much and one of us is almost always home so it's not like it came up very often.

Now that my older girls are 14 and 11 she lets them come spend the weekend with her sometimes. She laughs and says there is no way she's watching the 3 year old, maybe when she's 10 . She is actually watching her on Saturday so that my husband and I can have a mellow day with our older girls while we go to 4H and do some Christmas shopping. She volunteered and is happy to do it. It is a real treat for us and the older girls to get out without the toddler.

Anyways, my entire point is you should NOT feel guilty. I can't even believe they asked you, well didn't ask you!, to do it. Maybe someone should tell them that being parents is about sacrifice. If they need the money they need to work it out amongst themselves so that one is always home. If the budget is only really tight then they should buckle down and really cut back. I am not the only one on here that has lived without a phone, garbage service, cable, only had one car, or other non-life essentials because we had small children and couldn't afford it.

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  #20  
Old 12/05/07, 11:03 AM
 
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First, if you feel it is an intrusion, don't do it. Grown kids need to realize that Mom and Dad have a life.

In my own situation, I retired from teaching, my DD is working full time and taking 15 college hours this semester, net semester she will be taking 19 hours. Her children go to day care, but must be picked up by 6. I am on call three nights a week to be sure they are picked up. Her ex gets them on Wed. so that is covered most of the time, she picks them up on Thurs. and drops them off to me. On Mon. we started out with I would get them on alternate weeks and her Mom would get them on the other Mondays. That worked for about 6 weeks, her Mom is too busy with her "others" to be involved. This is working out pretty well, her soon to be husband comes to me, whereever I am, as soon as he gets off work and picks the kids up, takes them home, bathes and get the homework done for the oldest.

It isn't much of a problem for me to do this and I still have my days free and most of the evenings, the lady I am dating ( another teacher) loves the kids like they were hers and I usually take them to her house for a short visit before they are picked up.

I am happy to do this in order for my DD to finish up and get her teaching degree which she wants badly. I get to see the kids twice a week to be a Grandpa, and I don't have to be a "parent" with rules and discipline as they aren't with me long enough to act up.

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Old 12/05/07, 12:15 PM
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My mother has watched my kids twice since my son was about a year old. Once I had to be in court for three days and she was ok with just my son but the day she had my daughter my kid ended up hiding in my room crying. I had to get someone else go rescue them. The other time my mom and step-dad wanted them to come to a family dinner that I couldn't attend due to work, they offered to keep them over night. My father watched the kids once for a few hours when I was at the ER and once I went on a date. Oh my step-mom watched my son once when I took daughter to ER because he had class. That's it, I have friends to watch my kids that I pay. Though for the first year or two of their life their other grandmother and my aunts took turns watching them so I could work.

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Old 12/05/07, 12:19 PM
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I think there are some other points I need to cover here. I was in a rush earlier and left out some key info. Its kind of hard when dealing with issues that have been going on awhile to cover everything. son and dil have been married for 3 years, my son was 16 when they got pregnant she was almost 19, they had been dating for a year but have been friends since they where both in the first grade. It was very hard for me to accept that my son was going to be a father at such a young age, and even harder when when it found out it was planned because dil came from a home with problems and wanted out. I kept my hurt to myself and welcomed her into our family (which she was pretty much already a part of and I do love her like a daughter)
they married when their daughter was 1 month old my son was 17 still a child. It was very bittersweet and hard knowing they where so young and made a hard road for themselves. My son was still very much a child and is just now coming really coming into manhood mentally. Less than a year later my dil told me she wanted another child, neither her or my son where working, they where living in our old trailer for free. I was letting her work up here ( which I didnt need the help, so she could be with her baby and make some money to help with the bills we where paying, dh gave them a 2 yo truck that was payed for. I tried to talk to her, telling her we couldnt pay more bills, they needed to wait till they could take care of themselves they where too young, maybe 2 months later they told us they where expecting the 2nd child. My son started working but had too quit because she would get mad when he would go too work and leave her with a baby while she was so wiped out from being pregnant. I told my he needed to stand his ground and be the man of the house but he gave in and we went on trying to help. 2nd gd was born with this going on pretty much the whole time, he would get a job and it would cause problems he would quit.
About 5 months ago son found another job at a local tractor supply store, the pay is not good but he loves where he works and hubby and I told him as long as he tried we would pitch in and help with the bills. Several times they have split up since then because of him working and not being at home to pull his share with the kids ( her words not mine)
then she decided to go to school nights ( he works most nights, most days he goes in anywhere from 1 to 3 and works till 11 helping stock when they close and working the floor when they are open. Now shes needing to work to feel fulfilled. I dont see how if shes schooling at night and working days its going to work, and deep down I cant help but feel its to somehow make it hard for my son to work, I dunno maybe Im jumping to conclusions here but it seems to be a pattern.
Now as far as money goes they do need it. Sorry to be long winded but I think it would better help to understand how this has been going on. I cant explain her thinking on why she doesnt want son working except to say it seems to be about control and her mother treated her husband pretty much the same way.

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Last edited by dixiegal62; 12/05/07 at 12:21 PM.
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  #23  
Old 12/05/07, 12:26 PM
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Sounds as if she wears the pants in that family, out in the open or by mipulation. Even she rules at your place.

As bad as it sounds, those chips need to fall where they may, and you need to let them grow up and take the consequences of their own actions - including bills and children. I'd just watch out for the children and call interference if they get harmed.

She's a master mipulator. And your son, he needs to grow up some more...

Angie

PS: This sounds just like welfare mom's having children and being supported, but you and your hubby are the state.

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  #24  
Old 12/05/07, 12:38 PM
 
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sounds like tough love time

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  #25  
Old 12/05/07, 12:41 PM
 
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It certainly is astonishing that they would be so presumptuous. I agree with everyone else that you are absolutely not being selfish!

I wonder, though, why everyone is jumping all over the DIL, when (according to DIL) your son was supposed to have told you before she ever got the job? Sounds to me like the son still has a lot to learn, too!

Anyway, keep your foot firmly planted! If they still don't get it, well ... no one says you have to be home on her first day of work! Make sure you take yourself out to breakfast that day!

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  #26  
Old 12/05/07, 12:45 PM
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didn't make me change my mind.

You have done a lot for these kids to help them. At what point do you let them grow up? I'm sorry, but you are enabling - perhaps out of good motivation, but still enabling. they are young and irresponsible. They wanted another child while not able to provide for number 1. What if they decide they need #3?

I would say, "NO" to the babysitting - now, today, right away. Perhaps they can find someone else that they can trade sitting with. It is time for them to grow up and learn some idea of what life is like. You have shielded them long enough from reality.

I love my grandkids. I have no intention of being a babysitter for my kids on a regular basis. I have already served notice. I will have them over, they can spend the night. We will have a great time. But grandparents are grandparents - not parents. I have a role to play in my family's lives. I will stick with being grandma-not mom.

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Old 12/05/07, 12:48 PM
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I think it's wonderful that you've helped your son and his family as much as you have but now it's time to step back. This young couple needs to grow up. And you need to set some boundaries and guidelines for them. I think it's great that you are helping them financially but maybe it's time to start nudging them to stand on their own. You'll continue to help financially as long as your son is employed. And then start weaning them off your bank account.

Your DIL needs a big wake up call. I'm sorry that she feels that she needs this job to be happy but the world doesn't revolve around her, other peoples happiness is just as important. She made the decision to become a parent, parents often have to put their dreams and wants on hold. It's time she realizes this.

The way they treated you here is appalling to me. Your parents should be treated with respect and they aren't doing that. If you agree to babysit for them I think you'd be doing them a disservice, instead of learning to face their responsibilities they'll just be learning to lean on you more. And, you'd come to resent time spent with your grandchildren and that's just not fair.

If I had children I would only ask my Mom or MIL to babysit on very rare occasions. It definitely wouldn't be a routine situation. I have wonderful memories of staying with both sets of grandparents but those were fun "special" times, my parents weren't using them as babysitters.

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  #28  
Old 12/05/07, 12:58 PM
SunsetSonata's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Upstate NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dixiegal62
Dil came to my house all excited telling me about her new job and talking about how I wouldn't have to watch the kids all day most days ( my son doesn't go in to work early most days) I first reaction was just stopping washing dishes and just kind of staring at her and saying this is the first Iv heard about any of this, she acted shocked and said, really? well your son was suppose to tell you.. then went on to say how happy she was and how she really needed this and some other stuff that I'm not sure about because to tell you the truth a was still a bit stunned and wasn't listening at this point..
IMO the person who should have asked you about babysitting was your son. Pretty bold of either of them to assume you would take on this responsibility.

But GOOD FOR YOU for stating your feelings outright! There's so many people who would've hemmed and hawed, knowing they didn't want to do it but refusing to come right out and say so. You have your OWN life to lead. I'm sure you're willing to help out When You Can. That does not mean sacrificing everything else dear to you.
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  #29  
Old 12/05/07, 01:07 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posts: 5,487

The biggest problem isn't that they wanted you to watch the grandchildren - it was the fact that they didn't consult you and ask if you would be available before hand.

I work from home and on my busiest days mom watches my two kids - which usually amounts to a few hours a couple of times a month. Usually she knows well in advance what days I will need her, although she is open to short notice too - like yesterday when I got a swing set on freecycle and needed to go pick it up ASAP. The kids napped at her house while I went and got the set. I try to be vey aware of how much I ask her to babysit, and try to time it so that it includes nap time to reduce the amount of energy needed.

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  #30  
Old 12/05/07, 01:36 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 14,830

Oh good Lord! Let those kids grow up! Quit enabling her manipulating games!

If DS is old enough to make babies, he's old enough to deal with all the consequences of his actions and that includes who he chose to be his wife!

Say NO, NO, NO about the babysitting and stand your ground! You and your DH have far exceeded helping them out! She'll get over it! And maybe, just maybe she'll grow up!

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