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No such thing as a retired grandparent?
Old 01-23-2011, 06:42 PM   #1
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No such thing as a retired grandparent?

My mom is retired, two of my aunts are retired, one of my wife's aunt is retired and guess what those 60-70 year old retirees do all day?

They babysit their grand children. "Ah the joy of grand-motherhood! Those are the lucky ones who get to enjoy time with their grand children!" Well except that they are starting not to anymore. They are exhausted, they are stressed out, they have no time for themselves and they sometime break a hip while chasing the little one through the house.

The problem is, my mom and our aunts have de facto become nannies. They are expected to take care of the grand kids several days a week. DW's aunt is actually a live-in nanny, spending several nights a week away from her husband in order to relieve her daughter-in-law from the stress of motherhood. The grandmothers feed the kids, bathe them, take them to school, take them to the doctor and even meet with teachers. So where are the parents? Are they employed in some high flying careers with little time for child rearing? Nope. In every single case, one of the parents is a stay-at-home parent. That's right. But the stay-at-home-parents dump the kids on granny's lap so that they can have some "me time". Time to surf the web, take a nap, go shopping, go to the movies with friends, etc... I mean, when your kids are in school all day, how much more free time do you need to goof around? It seems crazy to me.

I do feel bad for my mom. My retirement, at age 36, is a lot more relaxing than hers, at age 64. I love my niece to pieces, but after babysitting her for 4 hours straight, I am so exhausted I can barely keep my eyes open. How can my mom possibly do it at her age, day after day after day? Well it's more than a struggle.

So why don't they just say "no"? Guilt is certainly involved. They don't want to "reject" their grand children. And little Timmy is "so happy to spend time at granny's", how could they possibly refuse? And just like that, they have lost control of their retirement.

*I am a worthless, childless infidel who knows nothing about the joy of parenthood. I thought I'd put it out there before some well-intentioned poster felt the need to remind me of that fact.
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:53 PM   #2
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Holy cow! I am going to shut the h*ll up on the subject of my son's bachelor status the next time he comes for a visit!
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:32 PM   #3
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Your explanation of your mom's schedule for baby sitting her grand daughter is confusing. Do I have the story straight that she baby sits all day, everyday so that a stay at home parent can have all day, everyday off from parenting duties? Your description makes it sound that way.

Was it your mom or one of your aunts or all of them who broke their hips while baby sitting?
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:50 PM   #4
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Your explanation of your mom's schedule for baby sitting her grand daughter is confusing. Do I have the story straight that she baby sits all day, everyday so that a stay at home parent can have all day, everyday off from parenting duties? Your description makes it sound that way.
My sister's stay-at-home partner drops my niece at school in the morning and then has the day free. My mom picks up my niece at school every afternoon and babysit her until my sister can come pick her up on her way back from work (usually around dinner time). About 2 days a week, my niece spends the night at my mom's, in which case my mom drops her off at school the next morning.

My niece has a day off school on Wednesday and spends the day at my mom's on that day as well. When school is off, my mom babysits my niece pretty much all day, every day.

Basically, the stay-at-home partner takes care of my niece only on nights and weekends.

I am pretty sure I have the story straight as I just spent several weeks with my folks and witnessed the process with my own eyes.

Not that it matters much but it was my aunt who broke her hip.
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:57 PM   #5
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Sounds to me like you sister need to talk to her partner to step up and do some parenting... or move the heck out!!!

I could understand a bit if you were talking about a single mom... but if there is a partner involved it is THERE responsibility to be the child's caregiver...


I am not saying that granny does not want to see the kids at anytime... but it should be a mutual agreement...

In my family... I do have a sister that takes care of the grand kids 2 or 3 weekends a month... but it is usually something they want to do.... not that my niece and her DH are that responsible... I guess that is another reason they take care of them.... they know that the parents are not that great at doing their job...
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:05 PM   #6
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The grandmothers feed the kids, bathe them, take them to school, take them to the doctor and even meet with teachers. So where are the parents?
I don't see the problem. Are the grandmothers unhappy? Maybe they and the kids are just as happy without the parents.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:06 PM   #7
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Just out of curiousity, is your sister's stay-at-home partner the other parent, or someone your sister is in a relationship with? If the latter, then they may not want to take care of your niece...and really have no obligation to do so. In which case, I would not only wonder what my mother was doing....I would wonder what the hell my sister was doing (being with someone like that). But it is hard to judge, not knowing the whole situation.

Anyway, DH was an only child and his mother was a stay-at-home mom/houswife. I would have loved for her to be my full-time babysitter. But, she made it clear early on that she was going to be a grandmother, not a babysitter. She was always there in a crunch (babysitter sick, DS/DD with chicken pox in back to back weeks, etc). As time went on, I understood why she took the position she did. But we never played the guilt trip on her either.

On the other hand, some grandparents actually do enjoy doing this.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:07 PM   #8
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My sister's stay-at-home partner drops my niece at school in the morning and then has the day free. My mom picks up my niece at school every afternoon and babysit her until my sister can come pick her up on her way back from work (usually around dinner time). About 2 days a week, my niece spends the night at my mom's, in which case my mom drops her off at school the next morning.

My niece has a day off school on Wednesday and spends the day at my mom's on that day as well. When school is off, my mom babysits my niece pretty much all day, every day.

Basically, the stay-at-home partner takes care of my niece only on nights and weekends.

I am pretty sure I have the story straight as I just spent several weeks with my folks and witnessed the process with my own eyes.

On the surface, the arrangement seems unusual, that is, a high level of extended family involvement in child care without an obvious reason. At least no reason you've mentioned. And it's difficult to try to understand actions or motivations without being familar with all the family dynamics. Since you're using the word "partner" instead of husband to refer to your sister's roomie, perhaps there is something non-traditional there which motivates your mom to provide all this support. Dunno....... And that detail is probably not appropriate for discussion here. But if your sister's "partner" is not her husband or perhaps not your neice's father, that would leave a world of possibilities open as to why your mom feels so compelled to be involved to such an extent.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:12 PM   #9
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Don't have much to contribute other than when I was a child both my parents worked and my Grandmother took care of me every weekday until I started school. She taught me more than almost anyone else in my life. I wouldn't be where I am now without her.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:13 PM   #10
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I have met several women who love to do this . I love my grandson and my SO's grandchildren but have no interest in babysitting them all they time . If your Mom enjoys the babysitting ignore the situation . If not she needs to take control and make some rules .
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:21 PM   #11
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I don't see the problem. Are the grandmothers unhappy? Maybe they and the kids are just as happy without the parents.
They may not be "unhappy" but my mom and aunts were steaming about the situation when I saw them over the holidays. Let's say, that's not how they envisioned retirement. Setting boundaries has proven difficult.

Note: I am not the one ranting about the situation here. My mom and our aunts are. I live thousands of miles away from my folks and I don't have a dog in that fight.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:59 PM   #12
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So why don't they just say "no"? Guilt is certainly involved. They don't want to "reject" their grand children. And little Timmy is "so happy to spend time at granny's", how could they possibly refuse? And just like that, they have lost control of their retirement.
Ann Landers (or was it Dear Abby?) used to say that no one could take advantage of you without your permission.

At least these grandparents followed through. My parents-in-law spent over five years living a few miles down the road from us, perpetually telling us of their grand plans to whisk away their only granddaughter for trips to the zoo and the park and the mall and the toy stores and weekend sleepovers and... it only happened a couple of times.

Our perception was that they didn't try very hard and gave up at the first hint of trouble. But by God we were expected to feel grateful that they were "there for us".
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:20 PM   #13
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Note: I am not the one ranting about the situation here. My mom and our aunts are. I live thousands of miles away from my folks and I don't have a dog in that fight.
So your mom and aunts asked that you post the situation for discussion on the FIRE forum? Sort of like asking you to write Ann Landers for them.........


Quote:
Setting boundaries has proven difficult.
If you're really concerned that your mom is being taken advantage of by your sister and lacks the will to set boundaries to improve the situation, you'll need to speak to either your mom, your sister or both. Your intrusion may or may not be welcome. But you will have done what you can to correct a situation you see as wrong.
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:41 PM   #14
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So your mom and aunts asked that you post the situation for discussion on the FIRE forum? Sort of like asking you to write Ann Landers for them.........
I guess I shouldn't have posted the story. Sorry for wasting your time.
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:58 PM   #15
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I guess I shouldn't have posted the story. Sorry for wasting your time.
The story is interesting FD, it's just tough to try to help, or even understand what is really driving the particular family dynamics you described, with the information we have. Only you can tell if it will be possible for you to help your mom set limits on her involvement or if you could work with your sister to help her understand that she's asking (apparently) too much from your mom.

Clearly the situation is bothering you and you're worried about your mom. Hopefully it will be resolved for everyone's sake. But at arms length it's impossible to tell why your mom lacks the will to say "no" or why your sister asks for too much. I hope it works out.......
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:39 PM   #16
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I guess I just don't understand why your mom or the aunts don't just say no thanks. I don't have grandkids yet but my husband does (even great grandkids -- he married young) and I can't imagine him putting up with something like that. My position is that I've raised my children and at the time I'm sure I'll want to spend time with grandchildren but if I didn't want it to be a full time job I would have no problem saying so....
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:17 AM   #17
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I find the story interesting as well.
I am the parent of 4 kids and while I will love grandkids one day, I have made it perfectly clear (and hopefully DW won't sabotage this) that as grandparents we are more than happy to visit and have fun with the kids but we are not raising them, we have done/are doing that now.
I always hear the nice thing about being the grandparent is when the kid(s) become fussy or messy, you can always hand them off to the parent

We plan to be the type KM describes
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:50 AM   #18
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It takes two to tango....

The morale of this post is IMHO:
As a future grandparent learn early to set your boundaries and help your partner to do the same.
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:05 AM   #19
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Common lament.. Two working spouses get grandma to do the day care. All kinds of good reasons for grams to do it... except it turns into a full-time job.

Fine if grams wants to do it. Not fine if she has been coerced (through guilt).

While some people are in situations where they need the help because they cannot afford day care... those that can afford it should not just assume that grandma = day care facility.


I have also wondered how many of those grandmas (who commit to being day care) get shuffled off to a Nursing home the first problem they have instead of DD or DS taking them in and caring for them till the end! My observation is that it is rare.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:37 AM   #20
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This just sounds like a dysfunctional bunch of people. Both the kids and the grandparents. A lot of grandparents take care of the grandkids either because they want to or feel they have to because their kids can't handle it financially or otherwise. But, in this case, there is no compelling reason to do it and the gramps don't like it. So grow a spine and stop for goodness sake!

And as to the thread title -- yes there are lots of us.
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