Babysitting at 60: No thanks 3



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I always regarded babysitting as something for special occasions.

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 always regarded babysitting as something for special occasions.

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.

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 100kms away. I find this is close enough to see the children but not close enough to be accused of being selfish.

Gill Johnston

  1. I wholeheartdly agree. Babysitting should be a pleasure for us, not at the whim of the parents who cant seem to get through everyday things and look after their children at the same time.We are both mid 60,s and still working part time and want to enjoy our grandchildren (who we love desperately) whenever feel like it.

  2. My thoughts exactly, Gill. I always feel so sorry for women of my age (63) , dragging a handful of little kids around the supermarket, obviously filling in for their daughters who are off at work. They never look as if they are “enjoying quality time with the children” !

    I was a working mother myself – with a feckless husband I was obliged to work all my kids young years to keep the family afloat. I used day-care mothers to fill in when I couldn’t be there, and I never thought of asking my own mother to do it. She was there for the special times – not for every day.

    I’ve always let my kids know that I’m not there for the everyday babysitting, and thankfully they both live at some distance so when I’m with the kids it is for “special times only”. Consequently I spend happy times with them, and I’m not exhausted after they leave. No doubt some people love to do this, but its not for me.

  3. Thanks for this article Gillian. I agree with you and get quite upset when I hear my children say “Mum is retired now, she could mind the kids more!” Retired? I am doing so many things now I don’t have enough time for myself. However, I do mind them … ENOUGH!

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