38 answers

Grandmother Being "Forced" into Babysitting

My son (29) and his girlfriend (29) had my first grandchild November 2012. GF has a 3 1/2 y/o son from a previous relationship. I have babysat my grandson on several occasions, either for the day while they work or for a few days at a time while they go to functions on the weekend. I have also watched the older son a few times. I have no problem with this, unless I am busy. Now, i am also being asked to watch the 3 1/2 y/o a few days a week because their daycare bill is so high and son is laid off for the winter. (He is working full-time) until his great paying regular job resumes. Here is the problem: The older son has behavioral issues. He constantly tells you he hates you, throws things, won't leave his little brother alone, will NOT listen, can not play without constantly making LOUD noise, spends most of his time in time out, laughs when you punish him. The parents have friends that will not go out to eat with them or visit them because of his behavior. The list goes on and on.

Here is the problem. My son has recently asked me to watch both boys 2-3 days a week to save on their daycare bill. I DO NOT want to watch the older son. I can't handle him, its exhausting and am a nervous wreck by the end of the day. I have offered to watch baby 3 days a week to save them a lot of money. My son said "no", that they are brothers and I have to watch them both or I can't watch my grandson. I feel like I am being forced into watching the older son. I go to sleep and wake up worrying about this. I don't know if he thinks because I am in my 40's that I have all the energy it takes to do this. I am on permanent disability for a reason due to a health issue. He knows this but it's just like he doesn't care. He has also told me that if his GF finds out that I feel this way, she will never let me watch my grandson.

On another note...they also expect MY mother to help out babysitting. She is retired and has had heart surgery and other health problems. We both feel taken advantage of and don't know how to settle this!

I'm so torn and upset. Need help on what to do!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your quick responses!! They have ALL been helpful. I will keep you all posted as this progresses.

Featured Answers

Unless they go to an in-home daycare they will be in separate rooms because of their age difference any way. I think it was more than generous of you to watch the baby. This would still save them roughly 1/2 of what they will pay if they have to enroll 2 kids in daycare.

You are not up for it so you will just have to say no.

5 moms found this helpful

Sounds like he is giving you a choice. You can watch both kids or neither. You will have to decide what you want to do. I think he is correct that if his girlfriend finds out how much you dislike her son, she wont want you to spend time with her children, either of them. If you want to watch the kids, watch then, if you dont, dont. If daycare is too expensive for them, they have plenty of options, including working opposite shifts, which is what my husband and I do, so we dont have to pay for daycare.

4 moms found this helpful

Call him on his bluff. I would tell them that you cannot watch both at the same time, you are sorry that he feels this way, and you leave the option to watch the baby open at any time. Be firm about it.
They are just trying to strong arm you into getting their way. But once they realize how much full-time is for a baby AND a child, they will be singing a different tune. Trust me.
They have put you in a horrible situation and should be ashamed. I'm sorry. :(

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers

If he's laid off, why do they have the kids in daycare at all?

8 moms found this helpful

This is ridiculous!! When did parents expect their parents(grandparents) to raise own kids. I just don't get this nowadays. When I was a kid parents watched their own damn kids. Poor kids nowadays being shuffled all over the place.

How about you tell your son to marry his girlfriend and they should watch their own kids.

This is not something you should lose sleep over. You raised your own kids to adulthood....now he needs to learn the lessons of adulthood. Your son should be the one losing the sleep trying to figure out how to financially take care of the babies he has made with these women.

You can only be forced into doing something if YOU allow it. Don't allow it!! You know you are being taken advantage of...so does your elderly mother. But it sounds like you have created a history of this. Talk to your son and tell him kids ARE expensive. Childcare will be expensive but that is the choice he made for having kids. As grandmas...it is not your responsibility.

If he shuts you out of his life over this then it shows low character on his part. If he is understanding then it shows he loves you(and grandma) and cares for your health and peace of mind. It will show you raised a man. If not, it will show you raised a spoiled, self centered boy.

I really wish you the best. I am just fed up with hearing about people letting other's rule their life when the other person is using guilt, manipulation and threats. Just sickens me to see grown kids acting this way to their grown parents.

Good luck and best wishes. Standing up for yourself can be scary at first...but ohhhh so liberating. Have grandma camp one weekend each month and enjoy your grandkids...not merely looked at as a free babysitter.

7 moms found this helpful

If he is laid off and money is tight, why does he need daycare? Doesn't laid off mean he is home?

It's not your responsibility to handle your son's children (and the older one is his, as long as he is with this girl). You could try to sit them both down and discuss why you can't handle them both, you've got a disability, you're not capable of keeping up with a kid that simply doesn't respect or listen to you and you shouldn't be responsible for trying to turn this kid's behavior around.

Your son must know that the child has behavior issues, and honestly it sounds like by telling you that "well, if GF hears that she won't let you see the baby" is an attempt to manipulate you. GF isn't the only person who can decide if you get to see the baby, she needs to accept and take responsibility for the fact that her child needs some behavioral therapy or something, and it's not your job to try to undo the parenting mistakes that she did and it definitely shouldn't be a condition of your being able to be a loving grandma to the child that is a blood relation. Just let them know that when the older child can control himself and respect you as a figure of authority he is welcome at your home. It is their job as parents to raise that kid into being able to control himself, into being able to respect the fact that when you are in someone's home and they say, "please don't bang on that" that you shouldn't bang on it.

It makes me sick, honestly, when young people have kids and then expect their parents and family to help raise them. Having family around to help is a privilege, not a right.

7 moms found this helpful

They're blackmailing you-watch both boys or you don't see your grandson. The only way to deal with blackmail is to refuse to play along. It is hard because you will likely not be able to see the baby for a while, but you CANNOT allow them to force you or your mother into doing anything you're uncomfortable with. Chances are, if you agree, they'll continue past the winter and their demands will only increase. By refusing, you take the power away from them. It's the only way.

6 moms found this helpful

Oh my lord...what terrible spoiled brats. Unfortunately they are not alone. I have seen so many kids expect this of their parents. Bet you many reading this right now are a few. Its a sad reflection on my generation and I think it is terrible. This excpectation that our parents should be our free babysitting service is robbing our parents of what should be a wonderful time in their lives. And furthermore its just not safe for our kids. So please just tell your son that you just are not able to do this for him. NO drama and no drawn out apologies-just matter of fact. Theses users do need you so you will see your grandchildren again I guarantee you.

6 moms found this helpful

I would just stand firm - they are not forcing you into anything, you are telling them what you can do and these are the choices they are making. They need to act like adults and come up with some other solutions - if money is that tight for them, is he collecting unemployment while laid off? Can they qualify for some kind of government assistance with child care?

Actually, what I don't understand is, if your son is laid off for the winter, why do they still need day care at all? If he's home, why isn't HE watching them? Our daughter is in kindergarten and on days when we both work, she goes to after-school care, and we have to pay for the time she is there. When my husband is laid off for the winter, she doesn't go - there's no need for it if he can pick her up right after school.

6 moms found this helpful

Unless they go to an in-home daycare they will be in separate rooms because of their age difference any way. I think it was more than generous of you to watch the baby. This would still save them roughly 1/2 of what they will pay if they have to enroll 2 kids in daycare.

You are not up for it so you will just have to say no.

5 moms found this helpful

ETA; Wow, HD, just wow. Your MIL is "disabled and on disability... heart problems and is pretty much paralyzed on her left side because of surgery from breast cancer and radiation" and you expect her to watch all of your kids. AND you call her lazy. Just wow...

J., pay close attention to that post and don't let your son treat YOU like this poor MIL is getting treated.

I'm sorry that your son is being a butt here. He is trying to force your hand. HE'S acting like his 3 year old. PLEASE just shake your head and say "Son, I'm sorry. I'm not as young as I used to be, I have physical problems that I just cannot ignore, and I cannot handle junior's behavior. I will watch the baby for 3 days a week until your job comes around. That is all I can do. You will have to keep junior in preschool." When he says you can't take care of the baby, tell him that is up to him. Close the conversation.

If you cave in to this, your son and his wife will have no reason to work on this child's behavior. They are ignoring the elephant in the room, grandma. They shouldn't be.

It is not your responsibility to fix this child. If you allow them to push you into this, then you become part of this child's PROBLEM. You would be helping your son and his wife ignore their son. They HAVE to toe the line at the daycare. If the daycare tells them that his behavior is affecting other kids and they need to get a counselor to help him, then they will have to do it. Nothing you say will matter. Don't enable them to be bad parents, grandma. Just say no.

Your son is just trying to scare you into doing what he wants. Do you really think that it is appropriate for him to talk to you this way? It isn't. Don't let him get away with it. Don't talk to your daughter-in-law about it. If she asks, just say that you don't feel well enough to handle both kids. If she gets angry about it, it's only because she, like your son, is having a tantrum over not getting their way.

You have to ignore this and take care of yourself. Your mother has to take care of herself too. How to settle this is for both of you to just say that you cannot do it. Your son needs to stand on his own two feet. If they try to punish you two, then that's on them and you should not let it bother you. Quite honestly, if both you and your mother stand firm together on this, they will end up HAVING to let you see the baby because they won't be able to afford paying someone to watch both children full time. Right now, they are blowing smoke and making threats. Ignore the threats. If they start yelling, just say you're sorry they feel that way, and hang up the phone.

This is what you should do, and I hope you and your mother will do it.


5 moms found this helpful

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