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On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

Posted by covingtoncat (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 22, 14 at 14:41

I would appreciate your thoughts. My eldest now has an 8 week old and I was asked to take care of him this summer while on school break. He will be dropped off at approximately 6:30 am and picked up around 3:30 pm. Both parents work full time. They were expecting me to do this without being paid thinking I could help them out and spend time with my grandson. To me there is a huge difference between bonding and daycare. I have no problem with a few hours here and there so they can have date night or run errands or what have you, but this to me is a job. I said I wanted to be paid and asked for the same amount I paid my child's grandmother 20 plus years ago. This is causing some resentment in the family on all sides. From them, my spouse and my other children. For Grands who provide childcare, do you require payment? Please note that I usually have a summer job for budgetary reasons.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

First, do you want to babysit this child that many hours each week? If it is too much then say that. I'm in my 40's I that would be too much for me.

Do the parents have a financial hardship situation? If so then I would consider trying to help them out for free for at least a while. If there is no financial hardship then suggest one parent take some time off over the summer.

When DH and I had children I worked part time. Each grandmother would watch the kids 1 or 2 days per week. When my 2nd turned one my mom could not longer do it and I was laid off at the same time so stayed home the next two years.

The budget was tight so we did not pay either grandmother. They were both were financially solid so that was not an issue.

I do remember times when one grandmother would be sick and couldn't do it so they would need a backup plan.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

If they were expecting you to be the full time babysitter did they discuss the details before the baby was born? Some grands watch the kids for free, but I don't see anything wrong with asking for pay, especially when it is a job (not just an occasional Saturday night).

Even with pay though, if you don't want that type of commitment then don't do it. I know a grandma from my son's preschool who resents that she has so much required time with the kids. She has voiced to me on several occasions that she feels taken advantage of and wants her own time back. She loves the kids but is just too tired to be the primary caregiver.

Good luck with this. I'm sure it is a tough decisions since you want to help, but be sure to think if what YOU need and want too.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

Gosh, that was assuming a lot. Surely they know you normally work in the summer and if you stayed home to "babysit", it would mean a loss of income.

At my age, there is no way in the world I could care for an infant for that many hours a day. There is a reason why we have children while we are young.

Perhaps it would be better to say that caring for the baby would be too hard for you and then get your usual summer job, rather than asking to be paid. Perhaps they will put two and two together and offer to pay you then.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

Unless this was discussed WELL BEFORE your summer break started, prefrably before the child was born, it's rude. And presumptuous! And dare I say ... entitled?

Tell them that you need the summer job to make ends meet, and that while you'd love to see your grandchild, you can't take care of him and work your summer job and to be blunt, Granny NEEDS THE MONEY! . Find out what infant daycare costs in your area and ask at least half that.

And to those who are feeling resentment - the spouse and other family ... are they willing to have him dropped off at their house at approximately 6:30 am and picked up around 3:30 pm? Will they chip in and help pay for your time? Let's share some of this burden around the room, folks.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

I think assuming you would care for an infant for that period of time without pay is extremely inconsiderate especially as you already have a job. Offering this as an opportunity to bond and help out is very manipulative. If anyone should be resentful, it should be you. If you do not want to do this, don't. Offer a day here and there if you like but this is their child to raise, not yours. If anyone wants to be angry, so be it. And if it's your spouse that's upset, tell him he can give up his job in the summer and he can watch the baby.

Don't be strong-armed into doing what you do not want to do.
Mothers are often manipulated into giving in; don't. Respond with a nice, "Gee, I'd love the chance to help out and bond with my grandson but I have other obligations just now", and then refuse to be brought into an argument.

Let us know how this turns out.

Linda


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I see no problem with asking for money, esp since this is full time work and prevents you from taking other gainful employment. If they don't like it, then they can make other arrangements. And if you don't want that job, they should make other arrangements. As I understand it, the emancipation proclamation included grandmothers too.


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I think they should have arranged about child care before they had a baby! I think it's really dreadful to think about a 2 month old baby in the care of strangers instead of family - it seems like one of the parents should take the summer off and care for their child - and beyond (in my opinion). If they can't "afford" that, then they should understand why you can't afford to do it for free.

That said, my only child (son) and his wife had a baby 4 years ago and the other g'ma and I began to share child care duties. It was bliss to have that bonding time with my grandson at such an early age and it's affected our relationship greatly - we adore each other. The other g'ma is seriously ill now so I do it all and it's a lot - but the best thing I've ever done. I never thought of asking for $ and they never offered it, but I don't need the $. If I did, they'd have to tighten their belts and either care for their own child, or pay me.

I don't think you are out of line for expecting it - you shouldn't have had to ask, they should have offered.


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I've never understood this…I would NEVER have expected my mother to watch my children, for free or pay, so that I could work. That is expecting so much, especially asking you do to it full time for the entire summer. This should have been discussed with you before they even decided to have a baby, if that was indeed their expectation all along.

When I had my first child, I was working FT. My job required some odd hours as I was a meeting/events planner at a local college. Dh started a new job right after my maternity leave ended, came home a week later and said, "Uh, they want me to go Asia for three weeks." For the next four years, dh regularly traveled and would be gone for 2-3 weeks at a time. My mother did help me by watching my dd the times I had to work outside of my daycare provider's hours (it wasn't often), but had she not offered, I would have found a babysitter. When I had my ds less than two years later and dh was still traveling, I decided during my maternity leave that it was too difficult for me to manage the job and daycare so I chose, and thankfully had that choice, to stop working. Never did it cross my mind to ever expect my mother to carry such a burden. She is retired, she raised her kids, this is her time to enjoy and do what she wants, not be tied down to watching a baby.

MIL, OTOH, is essentially my SIL's nanny. It's a long story, and w/o getting into the details, MIL feels guilty that SIL is alone (single mom by choice, has twins from a sperm donor, never married). They are now in school FT, but MIL shuttles them to all of their activities, watches them after school every day, watches them FT in summer when not in camps, etc. MIL is exhausted but won't admit it (she's in her mid-70s). Dh and his siblings are all upset about it but when they test the waters to suggest that this is not good for her health, they are quickly shut down. It's also unfair to dh and his siblings b/c MIL's first priority is to SIL, so if anyone else wants her to come visit, etc., it all has to be worked around SIL's schedule. But, at least in MIL's case, she claims she wants to do it. And on the plus side, the kids are extremely close to MIL, a bond/relationship my kids will unfortunately never ever have with her.

I'm sorry this is causing such friction in your family, even with your other kids. As someone else said, it smacks of entitlement, something unfortunately, so many of the younger generation seem to suffer from. I hope you can get it worked out but I certainly wouldn't at all feel badly by expecting to get paid if you do agree to watch the baby.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

No way should they expect you to watch an 8 week old full-time. Entitled is an understatement. They are not honestly trying to say this is helping them out and letting you bond with the baby, are they? They are taking advantage and using you. I teach, too, and the last thing I want to do in the summer is get up at 6:30 every morning and spend every day with a child who is at an age that allows very little down time. I look forward to being able to run errands during the week rather than only on weekends. I look forward to some flexibility and being able to get doctor and dentist appointment out of the way,

You are absolutely right to say no or ask to be paid. I am appalled that your other family members don't get this. Yes, ask your DH to take off if he feels so strongly about this. Stay strong and don't cave on this. You won't return to school in the fall feeling refreshed if you do. Few people get how difficult teaching is. You need this break!


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

Since you have a summer job, I'm surprised they would even ask, much less expect not to pay you. Do they think you work in the summer for fun?

Only if you want to do this, I would tell them they need to pay you what you would earn with your summer job at the very least. Why should your finances suffer?

If anyone gives you grief for either not wanting to do it or asking to be paid, suggest they offer to babysit 45 hours a week all summer for free.....that should shut them up.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

Sorry, double post

This post was edited by cyn427 on Sun, Jun 22, 14 at 18:11


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts and support. Financially I am NOT in the position to do this for gratis. I was very clear with them both about the payment. It is a pittance (less than $3 per hour) compared to what I would make if I had outside employment. From my perspective that is a sacrifice I am willing to make and is my way of helping them out. I doubt they see it that way.

During the school year I work mornings M-F and will pick up extra hours a few days a week doing other programs where the hourly rate varies between $11.50 and $13.50. My income is strictly secondary but it is necessary as we have two others still in college.

I have been watching him in the afternoons the last 3 weeks when his Mom had to return to work sooner than expected. I think I made a mistake there but they were caught unprepared. I remember the nightmare of having to leave a brand new baby with strangers. I did not ask for any payment because I was told it would only be for a couple of hours between his and her shifts, but the two hours I agreed to were actually four or more which to me is a half day. I did feel taken advantage of and was glad that I had insisted upfront about being paid for the summer.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

I think anything done on a consistent, regular basis requires payment. Because I work at home, I have a sibling that thinks that I should be able to watch her kids easily. The 7 year old would not be a problem as I have a son his age, the 6 month old is another issue entirely. I have had to say no on numerous occasions. This same sibling has received childcare from my mother for years and years for her oldest child and was taken advantage of. While she and that child do have a wonderful bond, my mother is tired and just wants to be a grandma rather than an overworked caregiver.

I think it was generous of you to do it for the rate you stated and a good thing that you established the boundaries that you need. This will help to set the tone for your other children in the future as well.


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It was good of you to pitch in when DIL had to return to work unexpectedly, but I assume that is over now.....so you can feel good you helped them in a pinch.

$3 an hour.....are they kidding?! It sounds to me like they finally realized how expensive daycare is and now want mom to do it for next to nothing. Did they not call around and get the costs of childcare BEFORE they contemplated having a baby or at least during the pregnancy? I don't know where you live, but here couples have daycare locked in before the baby is born, especially if it's a center...you usually have to get on waiting lists.

Of course you need to decide if you want to do this or not, but this seems like a slippery slope....2hours in the afternoon temporarily turned into 4 hours for weeks, now it's babysitting all day all summer...don't be surprised if they want you to quit your school job come September.

You already feel taken advantage of because 2 hours turned into 4 hours. Imagine how you will feel at the end of a 45 -50hour week. I think you need to say no for your own sanity, finances. You will resent this arrangement with each passing day. You will be exhausted and not have your normal funds at your disposal. Offer to be an emergency back up but tell them you already have summer employment and need to earn more $ due to college expenses. And don't apologize or feel guilty about your decision. Good luck!


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

If your spouse and other children feel the family should provide free child care for this baby, why aren't they volunteering *their* time to take care of him/her?

1. The parents should have discussed this with you beforehand, not sprung this on you last minute.

2. They should have offered to pay from the start.

3. They know you work over the summer. Did they really think you work for the fun of it and don't need the money?

4. They have set a bad precedent--telling you that they'd leave the baby with you for two hours and not picking the child up for four hours. How's that going to play out over the summer? Will they call daily and say they need to stop by the store, run to the gym, pick up a friend, etc., etc., etc.? Your time is valuable, too.

In your shoes, I'd work out the least amount of money I could accept and still have enough money to cover expenses. I'd tell the parents I'd be willing to watch the baby only if I could earn that amount of money, which would still be considerably less than they'd pay for regular child care. I'd make it clear that diapers and all food and other baby supplies would be provided by the parents, or the amount I was paid would be increased to cover those costs. I'd draw up a contract and clearly state the hours I'd be watching the child and the overtime I'd be paid if the child wasn't picked up on time.

And I'd sit down with my spouse and inquire ever so gently how he expected to cover our monthly expenses if I worked for free all summer long. And how much time he'd be willing to spend watching this child.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

" they were caught unprepared."
What were they talking about for the _nine months_ they were expecting the baby? Clearly not childcare.
What camlan said, except I'd want to be paid what I would be earning at my regular summer job, or at least closer to it than the minimum needed to scrape along.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

Some daycares charge overtime by the minute when parents are late picking up their kids. Like a dollar a minute for every minute the parents are late.

To be nice, since the rest of the family seems to think you aren't being nice enough, you could change that to $5 every 15 minutes the parents are late.

Either they will be on time, or you will accumulate a lot of cash by the end of the summer.


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Oh my GOODNESS. There is just so much wrong with this.

My mom did watch my daughter when I had to student teaching for a few months (I planned to hire someone, but my mom insisted), but that is it. We rarely ask her to babysit in general. I never would EVER have expected her to watch my children full-time, esp. without pay. And $3 an hour? That is hardly pay.

I know of some very wealthy people (as in, own a home that was bought for close to $2 million) that rely exclusively on the child's grandparent (close to 80 yrs) to care for their child. No pay, of course. I shake my head at this . . .I completely understand not trusting strangers, because I have a hard time with it myself. But, really? The hours are so very long with a young child, for anyone. Arrangements need to be made ahead of time that are fair, period, even if it involves a lot of sacrifice on the part of the parents.

I am so sorry you are going through this. What a very tough situation to be in.


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My sister runs an at-home-daycare and when her DD1 had her first child she offered to give up a paying space and look after him BUT that was because her DD's husband was in school fulltime and so they had tuition costs and only 1 income. Her DD2 just had a baby and DD1 is having her second and so now what - does she give up 3 paying spots for grandchildren?

No, she figures that giving up one spot over the last 3 years has cost her $30,000. She will be charging everybody 75% of the going rate. As much as she loves everybody for her, just like for you, she needs the income.

There is no way I could look after an 8-week old and all of their fussiness full time.

And if they don't now have daycare arranged for September SAY NO regardless of the arrangements they make with you now..


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

I have already told them I would not be available in the afternoons when the school year begins, as I need to be available to earn extra money. Dad has already asked (of course for free, again).

Sad to say, but many home daycare providers make very low salaries. When my kids were little I was a licensed day care provider and the daily rate for infants (under age two) was $25 per day, which is what am asking them to pay me. Currently the local rate is double. Thankfully to care for my own Grandchild I am not required to be licensed. Nor do I need special insurance.

Eh, this is getting so complicated. They are genuinely surprised (and somewhat offended) that family would ask to be paid. Other Grandma sits for them one day a week for no money. She also goes to their house and apparently "helps out around the house while the baby sleeps."

I should clear up that my other family members support, not resent, me asking to be paid. My other children believe their sibling is taking advantage, as does my spouse.

Again, I thank you all for your responses. It does help to confirm my position and I am grateful to hear your points of view.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

Fine for other Grandma if she has the time and can afford to babysit for free. You are not in that position and if your DS and DIL don't get it, they are remarkably obtuse. Why not suggest one of them go without pay and stay at home to care for their own child?


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

I adore my grandchildren but babysitting them for whole days is a lot of work, as much as the bonding time is nice, I like my free time. I don't live in the same city as my 2 adult children so they cannot rely on me all the time, but when we did live in the same city I would babysit for them to go on dates and to help out with appointments, etc..
Now when I or they visit, I help out when I can.

I'm surprised that you have such a dilemma on your hands and that everyone around you is surprised that you want to get paid.

My take is that we've raised our children and sacrificed for them, now it's their turn to organize their daycare and their family life.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

When one of my nephews was born, my SIL assumed my mother/parents would watch the baby while she went back to work. This was never discussed with them either. SIL was extremely mad about this. My parents always watched all the other grandkids for early dismissal, illness, etc., but no way to full time care. Plus, at the time, my mother was probably in her mid-60's.

They need to look for affordable daycare options such as churches or a referral to an in-home. For example, my oldest niece and her DH use a home daycare where it's all teachers' kids. You can say you will help them out for x weeks and then they must have their own set up. Usually daycare needs to be set-up months on advance.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

I had a similar situation. I was a SAHM with a toddler. Close friends who lived next door had a baby. The mom worked regular hours, the dad attended school. A few days a week there was a 45 minute window where neither could be with the baby and I offered to watch her.

Well, the dad would come home and go for a run, take a shower, do homework, whatever and then get the baby. My 45 minutes turned into a few hours and I never knew when the dad would come get her.

After a couple of weeks of this, I finally had to have a very uncomfortable conversation with them. I'm not sure the mom even realized what was going on. And I'm not sure if the dad ever realized how presumptuous he was being. Everything turned out okay but it was very stressful time for me.

I get the same vibe from your son as I did from my friend. You are heading down a slippery slope if you don't set ground rules. You are perfectly justified in feeling that his expectations are over the top. Some people just don't get it.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

When my 1st grandchild was born I volunteered to go to their house twice a week. 20 min. drive each way.

I was exhausted when I came home. Every bone in my body hurt. lol

When the 2nd came along I cut it down to only one day a week. Thankfully they had a wonderful woman who babysat the other days.

I didn't get paid (which was my treat to them), but if I had to do it 5 days a week, I'd probably want to be paid a little bit.

My concern for you is this is your summer, your time to relax and do things for yourself. If you watch an infant 5 days a week, you will be exhausted every evening, and drag yourself out of bed every morning.

It is hard work! Especially at our age. :) If you don't mind watching them that many days, I don't think it's unfair to ask for a salary.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

My sister-in-law now has 8 grandchildren. She made it quite clear from the birth of the first one that while she will help in a pinch if her schedule permits, she would not do anything approaching day care, and never has. I think the key to the successful arrangement for her was stating her position from the beginning, and sticking to her word.

I would say that your offer to work (for very, very little) is extremely generous. As for those who would criticize you, perhaps they could share the burden by either caring for the baby themselves, or by helping pay your children's college tuition. Really, how selfish and heedless! I'm sorry you are going through this difficult patch, but being forthright and direct will help everyone. And it's a teachable moment for these new parents.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

I have watched my neices, they are cousins not sisters, who are 1 and now 3,since they were infants and I charge each family 200 per week for 40 hrs of care. It is a fraction of what my friends pay for daycare and it keeps our relationship balanced. I teach, desipline and run my day like a daycare school and I provide, at my own cost, breakfast, snacks and lunch. They provided formula, whole milk, diapers and wipes.

Since they pay me I am also more willing to be flexible to their whims, diet preferences and parenting styles and requests. You may wish to point that out to your son and daughter in law.

Good luck and stand strong. As a mom you already put in your time as a taken for granted childcare provider, now it is time to be appreciated as well as fiscally compensated.


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I'm surprised they would want their baby to be cared for by someone they don't seem to respect enough to show as much courtesy as they would a stranger keeping their child!

We've heard quite a few stories like this lately and I just marvel at the poor planning skills, attitudes and coping mechanisms of the young parents.

**edited because original post meaning was not as clear as it should have been, it was worded in a way that could have been misinterpreted as criticism of OP when I have only sympathy for her situation and empathy for the difficult decision she has to make,

This post was edited by kswl on Tue, Jun 24, 14 at 6:25


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

being a "free" unpaid nanny is only workable if

1) you can afford to do it and want to; or

2) parents provide your room and board and support. Then, it's a fair exchange.

This post was edited by Violet.West on Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 13:05


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

Today was a very long day. I feel every one of my years this evening. THIS is why babies are for the young, lol!

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and stories. I appreciate the camaraderie.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

I'm reading this as DGS naps. I've been keeping him since DD2 returned to work - 32 months now. Her original days/hours varied and were long, but this last year has been easier at four days a week, and I'm home between 5-6pm. Sometimes earlier, but it's usually 12-13 hours after I wake up. I enjoy every single moment. She receives no support (not getting into details, but it's for the best) so she can't afford to pay for childcare. I don't need the money, so it's my pleasure. I don't have all the free time I used to have, but I don't miss it at all... and I miss him dearly on days I don't see him! For me, this is a one time thing - other current grandchild and any future grandchildren from any of our three adult children doesn't and won't receive. I'm only getting older. ;)

In your case, you work and they know it. So to be asked (or expected) to provide childcare is just ridiculous. There are two of them that work, so it seems like they could certainly afford daycare. Might not be what they want, but they should have planned ahead. We cannot see the future, but some things should be worked out ahead of time. Life's curve balls require changes that cannot be foreseen, but it's up to them to figure those out and they shouldn't expect anyone else to do it for them. Volunteering to provide childcare and being expected to provide are two entirely different subjects.

This post was edited by allison0704 on Tue, Jun 24, 14 at 15:55


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

I also had a home daycare when my kids were little

And like you my infant rate was $125 per week.

However I watched 5 other kids who were toddlers and preschoolers. So the total revenue made available to me was more than just $3 an hour

You are being asked to Nanny. One child. The rate for a newborn nanny is much higher.

I am sorry that your family put you in this uncomfortable situation. But IMHO If they had ANY manners, once you stated that you needed to be paid, they should have been insistent that you wage was equal or better than the going market rate for a newborn nanny. Which anyone knows is NOT $3 an hour. To not at least offer you that is rude.


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RE: On Providing Childcare for Grandchildren

Covingtoncat, you've received plenty of justification for why this expectation is out of line. I agree, too. This is the type of situation that can work for some families, but all the conditions have to be right, on both sides. In your case, they are not.

I might suggest, though, that your kids (the parents) are in a very self-involved period in their lives. This is their first child, right? The first pregnancy, the birth, and then having a newborn is utterly exhausting. I'm a few years past those days, but I do recall the angst of it all. I didn't have it in me to think of others' feelings because my DH and I had a hard time managing our own. I bet your kids aren't being purposefully dismissive of your needs--they're just so overwhelmed by their own that they're coming across as inconsiderate.

Frankly, I'd have a sit-down with them and begin by acknowledging how hard this time is for them, and that you understand what they're going through. Then discuss some options that would be workable for all of you.

But just remember that they're not purposefully being rude and inconsiderate. They're just clueless newborn parents. We've been there, too. Good luck!


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