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Grandparenting

Do you “Mind ?”

(81 Posts)
basslady Thu 21-Jun-18 12:26:24

Sorry if this has been posted before I did search but couldn’t see anything.

My dilemma : I retired a year ago, age now 63, following breast cancer ( not moaning just info ) with no pension until age 66 ( grrrr) however After 40 years working and bringing up a family with all the usual mix of fun and traumas I am really enjoying having time to get healthier, sing, travel & indulge my arty farty interests, I’ve even started a bit of writing - always a dream.

Anyhoo : my DD is now preggers with her first child ( am thrilled to bits ) and I feel like I should offer to help out with child minding as they both need to work. However having only just gained my freedom I don’t want to make a regular commitment that “clips my wings”again, so to speak.

I am happy to help out but just not on a “regular day” or every week as we go away a lot, woohoo ! I feel so selfish tho....

Any advice or ideas ?

Btw my daughter is amazing and wouldn’t dream of asking me to give up my freedom, it’s me who feels perhaps I should...

Willow500 Thu 21-Jun-18 12:36:47

Congratulations on your impending new arrival - new babies are such a welcome addition to the family.

I was lucky enough not to be put in the position of child minding when my eldest granddaughter was born nearly 21 years ago and her sister 4 years later. Their mum didn't work until they moved away when the girls were a bit older so although I was happy to look after them as and when needed it wasn't very often. My other small grandsons were born in NZ so I've missed out on that too,

There are no hard and fast rules which say you have to look after your new GC when he/she arrives and you certainly shouldn't feel guilty for not wanting to give up your new lifestyle. I'm sure the new parents will just be grateful to know you can be there in an emergency and will no doubt put full time child care in place before your daughter goes back to work.

Cold Thu 21-Jun-18 12:53:40

Congratulations on your future grandchild!

Don't get tied down to a regular arrangement if that is too much for you. Would you be able to offer to be on call to look after the GC if they cannot go to childcare for some reason - for example minor coughs and colds or if the childcare is closed for some reason?

silverlining48 Thu 21-Jun-18 12:53:50

I would go with general babysitting as and when and emergencies. If you start with a regular commitment as i did, it tends to sort of be assumed and expected and awkward to get out of. Then guilt really comes knocking.
Most of my friends never committed to a particular day and if I had my time again I would probably do likewise.
No need to feel guilty, just be there when needed and do what you want to do. It’s your time. You deserve it.

Luckygirl Thu 21-Jun-18 13:02:46

I did commit to regular days with GC nos.6 and 7, as I could see that working at least 3 days a week was going to be a financial necessity for my DD. And also it is not easy for me to be out and about because of caring responsibilities at home a lot. So I was very happy to do this and it is one of my life's greatest joys. I have a really close and special bond with these 2 GC and feel very privileged in that.

However, if I had been in a position for my OH and I to lead a broader and more interesting life outside the home (as you can do) then I might have made different arrangements.

My DD is totally understanding and never ever critical of me if I say that there is a normal care day I cannot do - I always give her lots of notice if I can. She and her OH appreciate what is done for them, and I am flexible for her if she needs a change of day.

For us,it works well I am glad to say. Only you can decide what is right for you; but the important thing is that whatever arrangement you decide should not be a source of rancour.

Good luck as an impending Granny! Just enjoy!

luluaugust Thu 21-Jun-18 13:27:42

I also did a regular day a week for some years, with some flexibility, we look back on it as a very special time. If I were you I would wait and not say anything about baby care yet your DD may have her own ideas about what she intends to do, also you may have different feelings when baby arrives. Good luck, enjoy it all flowers

Greyduster Thu 21-Jun-18 14:44:36

We have been caring for our GS for ten plus years while DD worked two days a week. This worked well because she always had the flexibility to fit in with us if we needed to change our days, or wanted to go away. She has never asked us, or expected us, to give up anything to accommodate her needs. Last year, she had to seek a new job and now has no flexibility at all to change her hours to accommodate us. It is just one of those things. We are there two days a week when GS comes home from school, and he spends time with us during the holidays when his mum is working, but in a year or so, he will be old enough to be given a bit more independence so will not need us so much. As others have said, it has been a very special time, and a privilege, to play a hands-on part in his formative years.

agnurse Thu 21-Jun-18 15:34:23

Whether or not you offer to baby-sit is entirely up to you. Sometimes it's actually easier not to have family baby-sit as there is less potential for problems to arise.

Definitely agree that you may not want to make it a "regular thing", for two reasons:
a. There is always the possibility that something could happen making you unable to provider care; and
b. Some day care and childminding facilities don't offer part-time spots.

FarNorth Thu 21-Jun-18 15:42:20

No need to feel guilty about not offering what hasn't been asked for.
Tell your daughter you'd love to babysit now and again and she'll thank you very much and all will be well.

Eloethan Thu 21-Jun-18 16:53:49

If the pregnancy was planned, presumably your daughter and her husband feel confident that they can either reduce their hours/work more flexibly, or that they are in a position to pay for childcare.

I can quite understand that now you have the time to pursue lots of things that you are interested in you are reluctant to take on regular child care responsibilities. Unless your daughter asks you to do so, it shouldn't really be an issue. As others have said, helping out when needed will, I am sure, be very welcome.

Since our granddaughter was a year old (she is nearly 8 now) we have had her and her younger brother for two or three days a week - now only after school and during the holidays. It's true, it does tie you down a bit but, although I didn't yearn for grandchildren like some people do, both me and my husband have so enjoyed forming a very close relationship with them. When we were working parents, we were so busy and had no other support so it was really not as enjoyable as it should have been, but now we are retired it is so nice to have the time to chat and play with them.

I still have time to go to two choirs and an art class, as well as visiting my Mum - some distance away - once a week. But we can't really do things on the spur of the moment, like booking a few days away when the weather is good. So, as you say you like to travel, if you possibly can I would avoid taking on a regular commitment.

sodapop Thu 21-Jun-18 17:10:27

No need to feel as if you should offer child care basslady.
Talk to your daughter and tell her how you feel. I'm sure she will be glad of help on an ad hoc basis with no regular commitment from you.
Don't make any decisions yet though as you may well feel differently when the baby arrives.

Jane10 Thu 21-Jun-18 18:02:15

Wait till that baby arrives. Other priorities might fly out the window. They're only little for such a short time. One day a week won't exactly cramp your style but you may be asking for more!

basslady Fri 22-Jun-18 06:33:10

Thank you all for your advice and sharing your experiences and yes I expect when baby arrives I shall be besotted.

It is a privilege to be part of their development and growing up.

I will wait and see and be there as very loving backstop. Flexibility would be ideal then I can do more.

So helpful, thanks again all.

OldMeg Fri 22-Jun-18 07:11:02

You’ll fnd two schools of thought on this. Firstly, it’s their child and it’s up to the parents to pay for child care or secondly, those who are delighted to child mind their grandchildren on a regular basis.

I fell, recluctantly, into the second category but ended up loving it. As Jane10 says they’re not young for long and now they are at school and I’m just needed for the occasional school run I miss all that.

Grab the opportunity to mind your grandchild with both hands but....beware there are pitfalls too. Some parents have very defined ideas about child rearing, especially the first child.

Homemade butternut squash (organic or course) stew for GC1....by the time others came along ‘have you any fish fingers in your freezer?’ 🤣

Crazygran Fri 22-Jun-18 09:30:42

When the baby arrives you may feel different.
As mum in law I was worried that my DIL wouldn’t want me to babysit but shouldn’t have worried. I am now very close to my 2 GDS 8 and 4 and love it! They grow up so fast and before you know it no more sleep overs, mid night feasts(at 8 pm) you will never have this chance again so make the most of it and enjoy.

pen50 Fri 22-Jun-18 09:35:43

One of my co-workers finds herself, in her fifties, working full time and then spending all weekend looking after her small grandchild because her daughter works weekends. My advice is, emergencies only!

GabriellaG Fri 22-Jun-18 09:46:11

Don't forget...there is another set of GPs who'll be on hand, no doubt, to offer their services.
Women seem to do all the worrying about which set sees GC most often but I'm sure you'l cone to some amicable arrangements when your daughter goes back to work. It's a year away so no need to panic, a lot can change in 12 months.
I think females are very put upon in many ways. Looking after home, cooking, shopping cleaning etc as well as having children and a job, then caring for GC so parents can go back to work and often looking after elderly parents too. Men get off far too lightly as regards all of the above.

GabriellaG Fri 22-Jun-18 09:46:59

* you'll come blush

Millbrook Fri 22-Jun-18 09:52:20

As others have said - you have to wait and see how you all ( parents and you) feel when the baby arrives - nothing will ever be the same again anyway!

Cambia Fri 22-Jun-18 09:52:22

We never committed to days each week but offered to be there for all holidays, emergencies etc. Fortunately they were earning enough to pay nursery fees which does make a difference. Now they are 11 and 15 we don’t get called on so much but we have a lovely relationship with them. Don’t feel you have to tie yourself down, it is now your time to enjoy. You never know what is round the corner and you must do what feels right for you too. There are lots of half terms etc as they get a little older and you can work around these.

Aepgirl Fri 22-Jun-18 09:55:11

My daughter made it very clear at the start that I would always be the first she would ask to 'babysit' etc, but that I was NEVER to give up anything - she watched me rebuild my life after my husband walked out. However, I just love the time I get to spend with my grandson and help whenever I can. Enjoy the baby, but don't forget you also have a life.

Gma29 Fri 22-Jun-18 09:59:28

I would go with what you feel comfortable offering, and not what you feel you should do. Any “obligation” can soon start to weigh heavy, and spoil things.

I didn’t get involved in regular childminding when my grandchildren were babies, but I did commit to a couple of days a week school collections when they were primary age, and for a couple of years I looked after them in the school holidays. We had lots of little trips out, and I baked with them etc. I really enjoyed it, and was glad of the time with them while they were quite young.

It all fitted around my life too, which might sound a bit selfish, but I think that is the key to a successful arrangement.

trisher Fri 22-Jun-18 10:00:28

I help with my GCs care regularly but would say that whatever you commit to remember it isn't by any means permanent. So she might appreciate help for a couple of years until the free nursery care chips in (at age 3+). I started with two days, cut to one and now do a pick up. And when the baby. starts school it will change again (I know it seems ages away but it passes so quickly) when she might like help for the school holidays. Be flexible. talk about it and choose what suits everyone, and be ready to change as the baby grows up. Congratulations to you all by the way.

NfkDumpling Fri 22-Jun-18 10:04:50

What about the other GPs? Do they want to do a regular stint? Share? Or just for treats.

Jane10 Fri 22-Jun-18 10:17:51

It's actually a treat for me! DGS aged 7 is coming for the weekend and we're so looking forward to it. Most likely more than he is!!