A grandmother is questioning whether she is justified in wanting to take a break from looking after her grandchildren. While grandparents typically enjoy spending time with their grandchildren, what happens when this desire is taken for granted? This is the predicament that one grandmother is experiencing. She has been regularly caring for her grandchildren overnight, but now that her daughter’s work schedule has altered, she wants more control over their time. However, her daughter believes that she is being unreasonable.
The Grandmother’s Perspective
The grandmother, who we’ll call ‘Sally’, is 50 years old and has three younger children of her own. Sally feels that she should have the freedom to choose when she has her grandchildren to sleep over.
“My eldest thinks I should take my grandkids overnight on request. I have 3 other children, aged 14, 16 and 18. My youngest 3 kids are now of an age where I can go out in the evenings to visit friends and leave them home alone.”
Sally mentioned that she had split up with her children’s father when they were younger. “I split from my partner when my youngest was just born and I would for the most part only go out when my children were on weekend access at there dads.”
Having her kids most days gave her little time to herself to do what she pleases. In 2019, she got full custody of her children, which restricted her ability to have time to go out even further. “If I needed to go out I would either take my children with me or get a sitter after 2019.”
Sally mentioned that her eldest (the mother of her grandchildren) sometimes would babysit her younger siblings after 2019. “I very rarely asked my eldest to sit with them although on occasion she has done so. She also looked after them for 5 weeks in 2021 when I was ill in hospital.”
The current situation
At present, Sally laments that she has been taking care of her grandchildren overnight quite frequently. Sally said, “My grandkids are 7 and 6 years old. Since they have been born I have had them overnight frequently.” She said that she even had them both for 13 weeks during the lockdown so that her daughter could work as she was an essential worker. “Since then I have had them overnight every Friday and Saturday every second weekend [when they were not with their father],” Sally said.
Recently, Sally’s eldest daughter has changed her work schedule so that she does not have to work Friday and Saturday nights. Because her daughter can now stay at home with her kids on the weekends, Sally feels she should not have to take care of her grandchildren on the weekends. I feel at 50 years old and having done the early mornings and staying home most evenings for 32 years I should now have the freedom to choose when I have them to sleep over.
However, Sally’s daughter thinks she is being unreasonable. “I don’t mind if it’s a special occasion and I’m booked in advance but my daughter thinks this is unreasonable and I should have them more than I do,” Sally laments.
Others Weigh In
Others have commented on her situation and agrees with her sentiment. “At the end of the day child care is not your responsibility. She needs to find a sitter if her work schedule changed. You have your own kids to cade for. And your own life. She took the job and assumed you would keep her kids. If you didn’t offer this is her issue to sort out.”
Another said that unless her eldest is paying her, she should not have to babysit on a whim. “Unless she’s PAYING YOU for babysitting, [you get to] set your own hours, take care of your younger three, and live your life. It’s time.”
One person said that Sally’s daughter is being selfish. I think your daughter is terribly selfish and entitled for trying to push you on this. You have already been extremely generous. You wanting to have a life yourself does not make you a bad mom, no matter how much she or anyone else tries to guilt you for it.”
What do you think of this situation? Do you think Sally is being unreasonable?