The announcement of a new baby is news that some grandparents wait on tenterhooks for, but one soon-to-be grandmother has revealed she’s reluctant to give up her “freedom” to care for her new grandchild, despite being “thrilled” about the news.
Posting on the online forum site Gransnet, the anonymous woman asked for advice about the situation after finding out that her daughter is expecting her first child.
The 63-year-old, who retired early following a breast cancer diagnosis, admitted she has been enjoying her newfound freedom which has given her time to focus on her health, as well as indulge in her hobbies such as art and travel.
“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,” she wrote on the forum.
“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.
“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?”
Advice flooded in for the concerned poster, with many people suggesting that she shouldn’t feel guilty about not wanting to lose her freedom, while others said caring for their grandchildren was “life’s greatest joy”.
“There are no hard and fast rules which say you have to look after your new grandchild when he/she arrives and you certainly shouldn’t feel guilty for not wanting to give up your new lifestyle,” one user wrote.
“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.”
Another said: “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. ”
While one user, who regularly cares for their grandkids, said: “I did commit to regular days with grandchildren number 6 and 7, as I could see that working at least 3 days a week was going to be a financial necessity for my daughter. 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 two grandchildren and feel very privileged in that.”
And another user wrote: “I 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 daughter 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!”
The anonymous woman went on to say that her daughter, who she described as “amazing”, has not asked her to give up her new found freedom and that it was her who felt obliged.