Spending time with grandkids is a special part of life and one that no grandparent takes for granted. However, sometimes caring for the little ones can become overwhelming and disruptive to their social life.
Saying no to babysitting duties is difficult for anyone, but for one grandad, it’s his partner’s commitment to her grandkids and willingness to help out at the drop of a hat that has put a downer on his retirement and now leaves him feeling lonely and “resentful”.
Expressing his concerns via The Washington Post’s Ask Amy advice column, the upset grandad said while he understands grandkids are important and he himself helps out with his own, his partner Kate seems never to say no.
“I said [to kids] I would not be a built-in sitter; I would not commit to sitting every week on a set schedule. This has worked out just fine for me and my family,” he said about his own grandkids.
“Kate has four young grandkids – two boys and two girls. She babysits constantly for her daughters – weekdays, weekends, etc. Her daughters will ask her to sit at the drop of a hat. They take advantage of her. This has disrupted our life together tremendously.”
Feeling incredibly upset by the situation, the grandad added: “I find myself sitting home many nights alone – weekends included. I deeply care for this person, but find myself resentful and lonely many days (and nights).”
‘Amy’ responded by suggesting Kate should set boundaries as he has done, but urged the man to speak to his partner about his concerns.
“You should talk to Kate, calmly and without complaining,” Amy said. “Ask her if she is willing to set aside inviolate ‘couple time’ where you and she can count on being together.”
The response then became a little more blunt, telling the man he should occupy his time with other interests.
“You should find worthwhile things to do with your own time. Sitting at home and waiting for the sitter to come and sit with you isn’t the best use of your own freedom in retirement,” it added.
This begs the question, how often is too often to care for grandkids? And should there be a limit on the amount of times parents can call upon them for babysitting duties?
Only recently an upset grandma took to online forum Gransnet admitting she’s reluctant to give up her “freedom” to care for her new grandkids, despite being “thrilled about the news.
The 63-year-old, who retired early at 62 following a breast cancer diagnosis, admitted she has been enjoying her new-found freedom which has given her time to focus on her health, as well as indulge in her hobbies such as art and travel.
“My darling daughter is now preggers with her first child, I 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,” she wrote.
“I am happy to help out but just not on a ‘regular day’ or every week as we go away a lot. I feel so selfish though. Any advice or ideas?”