I never really thought that babysitting duties might be a requirement of having children. I always regarded it as something for special occasions. In my day we stayed at home and looked after our own kids when they were young. These days the mums either have to or want to work and sometimes babysitting is too expensive for both the mum and dad to maintain jobs.
I did not expect the assortment of requests and when first asked to babysit it was for a special occasion and I did not mind. I found three kids for a number of days was however exhausting. Both my husband and I are not fit people and the running round and lifting of kids did take its toll.
What I did not expect was the barrage of requests and comments that came over the next year. I think I have heard them all….”she does not work so why can’t she babysit”, “you are missing out on your grandchildren”, “what is your program like this week Mum?”, “Dad can babysit and he is enjoying his grandkids” “you should really live near us”, “ you can move in downstairs Mum”, “ are you free on a Friday?”. For a start Dad was too busy working when his children were around so is he making up for a missed opportunity in earlier years.
Personally, I have spent 32 years bringing up five children and really do not want to devote my senior years to babysitting on a regular basis. I don’t mind babysitting for special occasions and as much as I dearly love my grandchildren, I do not really want to do anything more. I do not consider it a duty that must be done. I consider babysitting a pleasure when able to be done at leisure.
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In addition, I have six grandchildren and work full time and am quite tired when I get home from my own routine. I find babysitting three kids all at once for a number of days, quite exhausting. Although I do not advertise the matter, my health is not what it use to be. So I live slightly out of reach, about 100km away. I find this is close enough to see the children but not close enough to be accused of being selfish.
Do you agree with Gill? Do you do a lot of babysitting? How do you handle it?