View Full Version : Grandparents looking after grandchildren.

05-11-2012, 05:34 PM
A year and a half ago my husband and I were blessed to be the proud grandparents of 3 beautiful grandchildren. We love these kids to bits, they are everything but I'm not the healthiest, so feel run down and tired looking after them more than I expected to. I think I've been with them thru most of their flus, child diseases, teething and colic and what not. I've even caught some of the same illnesses and had down time.

Although it's not everyday, it's often, some days 10-11 hours per day. I'm not as young as I use to be and my joints hurt and my energy level after so many hours is exhausted. It's mainly myself who is the sitter as my husband is either working or getting on with his day.
When my children ask me to look after the grandkids, I cannot say no, I feel bad for them and too guilty to say no, like I'm a bad grandparent or something. It's catching up with me. Where does a grandparent draw the line? Why do some kids automatically assume that it's a grandparent's duty to look after their kids?

05-12-2012, 06:56 AM
... Where does a grandparent draw the line? Why do some kids automatically assume that it's a grandparent's duty to look after their kids?

You could let them know, ahead of time, the "babysitting" schedule that would be acceptable. If it's two days per weak, no more than 4 hours; or if it's three days a week no more than 6 hours, etc.

What type of a deal would you want to work out with babysitting your grandchildren? Your kids might be assuming that you will do all of their babysitting requirements because you haven't laid down rules and limitations.

Perhaps if you post the babysitting duties that would be acceptable and enjoyable to you, you could come up with reasonable rules and limitations; which would also be acceptable to both you and your kids. Plus..... others might be willing to give their opinions, and help you form the rules and limitations AND how to present those rules and limitations without you feeling guilty and without causing any difficulties between you and your kids.

05-13-2012, 06:24 AM
They think that because you've not put any limitations on them. I think it's great that they think of you and that you would want to spend time with the grandchildren. However, it is up to you to determine the parameters. There is no need to feel guilty. They chose to have these children and it's their responsibility to care for them....not yours. You already did that with your children. It is not your job to give them free baby sitting. Am not sure where you got that idea. Just be honest with them. Tell them how long a notice you need, how many hours at a time you can baby sit, hours that are acceptable (Not before 9 AM and not after 9 PM of whatever suits you), etc.

05-13-2012, 12:07 PM
As for the length of time, it's mostly all day because parents are at work.

I feel bad for bringing this up, maybe I just need to vent and get this off my chest. I also need the courage to come to a solution without causing hurt feelings in our family.

These children are all between a year and a half, to almost 2 years. They are all very busy and grandma is on high alert running after them because they are getting into everything.

05-13-2012, 12:36 PM
SO you are their day care - not actually "looking after" the children. Those are two entirely different things. Maybe it's a communication issue. So, you need to be totally honest with them., You are doing them NO FAVORS by doing this for free under these circumstances. Simply sit them down, tell them you love them but that full time day is out of the question. I doubt your mother did it for you. So there is no reason why you should do it for them. It isn't teaching them responsibility for their own actions.

05-13-2012, 09:33 PM
Thank you. I appreciate the replies and know they make sense, but I have a hard time saying no.
I just got a call from the mother of the children saying the kids are sick and need to be seen by a doctor tomorrow and would I mind taking them after they come back so she can go back to work. How can I say no, it's so hard because the kids are sick.

I am not charging anything for looking after the kids I just wish they wouldn't take my help forgranted and expect it from me.

05-14-2012, 04:52 AM
How could you say no? By saying it! She most likely is working at a job covered by FMLA so taking off work for a sick child should not be a problem. I don't mean to be harsh here but you came to us for advice. You need to give serious thought to what you are willing to do and what you aren't - and learn what benefits they have with regard to work and their children. Then decide what you will agree to do - and tell them. In no uncertain terms.

08-02-2012, 04:46 AM
Hi Dorrie....I am a grandma, too. I'm 54 and my 10th grandbaby was born 3 weeks ago. I have 8 children, with all grown except two teens. I learned within the first five years what I would do and would not do when it came to my grandchildren. First off, I took care of my children, and when I worked, if dad was working at the same time, I paid a babysitter to care for my children..or daycare. My mom NEVER had my kids unless she asked to have one to spend the night. I will not care for the grandchildren while the parents work, they can pay a sitter. It's really really hard on grandparents. It's not entitlement because we had our own children. I do not have the patience to "babysit", or the desire, I just want visits, and maybe the occassional couple hour stays. I want to enjoy my older years, and I want to enjoy my grandchildren without being a disciplinarian. I want to shower them with love, and cookies and the occassional special meal. They will remember us much better that way. I do not want to bathe kids, do two or three meals, run after them to keep them out of things. Sure, they get older, but there are other things with getting older. I had one daughter wanting me to watch her two yr old so she could clean out her car and wash it...she said he didn't do well at the wash place...I told her to take him with her anyway. He is now 13 and deals just fine lol. Sometimes the kids use to try to get me to watch the kids so they can grocery shop...I did it with 6 kids many times...deal with it, put them to help working. They had the children...the children need to go most places with the parents, that is what parenting is all about. We give up certain things and it's not all about me, me, me. That is why so many grandparents end up with the grandchildren. Even if you tell them that you are busy with other things and cannot babysit. It's not a lie...maybe you planned on grocery shopping, or mowing the grass, or doing laundry, or going to the gym, or a doctor appointment, etc. These things are important to you! You count, too. I will watch them here and there, just not on a regular basis. Then they EXPECT it. They just might like having a real babysitter or a daycare. It will make for a very happy grandma in the long run, and it will keep down all the stress you might have. It will end up being a win-win situation...after they get use to the idea. Do not feel guilty...it's hard...but you need to get past that part. Good luck to you

08-02-2012, 09:13 AM
Thanks for the wisdom. Although it was getting better and I did cut down on babysitting, unfortunately I couldn't say no all together to my kids, now it all caught up with me, because the last couple weeks I'm ill and cannot do it at all for the time being. They know on their own not to bring the kids here now but I am rethinking a lot of things on my sick bed. I would love to be just grandma, come and visit and not have to babysit, and give me a choice, yes, I would like that. I also would like the kids to come for shorter periods so I can enjoy them, not be committed to babysitting, and not have to stress out or get tired with them being here too long...yes, I would like that.

As grateful that I am to be a grandma and to have those lovely children in my life, I'm not cut out for looking after them any length of time. I think it's okay to say that. Looking after babies and toddlers is downright hard tiring work and maybe if I was healthier or younger, I could do it, right now I can't.

08-02-2012, 07:12 PM
Dorrie. I so know that feeling. I so enjoy the grandchildren so much more when I'm not responsible for their day to day parenting. And the g'kids do not want me to be the "mean" g'ma, and I feel that is what I would become if I did the watching and caring all day long. The stress can aggreviate so many conditions. I can sit and hold the little ones, but bending over and picking them up.. not, the back and my legs just give me fits all the time now. We love love love these children, and just because we don't want to raise them doesn't mean we love them less. You are on the right track.