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Can't Commit to being Babysitters - Are we being unfair?

(181 Posts)
PeterTD1 Sat 30-Mar-19 19:02:37

My wife and I are loving grandparents and love spending time with ouf son and his family. My daughter in law works part time and has childcare and my wife who also works part time often helps out. We are due to retire this year and have lots of plans especially travel. Problem is DIL wants to work full time and has more or less presumed we will have children 2 days per week. However we dont want to commit. We have worked hard and want to be able to have freedom to book a week in the sun and go the next day. We would of course help if we are at home but we want to live our own lives and have freedom. Her own parents never have the kids and only visit sporadically (and only live 6 miles away) and son and dil think they are wonderful but never ask them to babysit for reasons never explained. Are we being unfair?

LovingLola Sat 30-Mar-19 19:03:34

Do your own thing.

HarrysOwl Sat 30-Mar-19 19:04:16

Is this a reverse?

Fr3d Sat 30-Mar-19 19:04:40

No, and I would let them know your plans asap so they aren't assuming you will be around and can make their own arrangements. Enjoy retirement.

HogMother Sat 30-Mar-19 19:05:27

I don’t think you are being unfair, but equally, you seem to have this as a dil issue, rather than a son issue. Presumably if he didn’t agree with her he would tell her.

welshweasel Sat 30-Mar-19 19:05:41

Of course you’re not being unreasonable. It would be lovely if you wanted to babysit for the odd evening so they can go out, or be on standby for emergency childcare if you’re free, but unless you have suggested it I think it’s extremely presumptive to assume you would do regular childcare.

gamerchick Sat 30-Mar-19 19:06:37

No but nip it in the bud now, well in advance.

Purpleartichoke Sat 30-Mar-19 19:06:45

We would never ask grandparents to provide regular child care. Help out in a pinch? Greatly appreciated. Let us have a date night? Incredibly generous.

If nothing else, If grandparents provide regular care they can’t serve as backups.

SharkSave Sat 30-Mar-19 19:07:12

I don't think you're being unfair at all.

ooooohbetty Sat 30-Mar-19 19:07:11

You need to tell her ASAP. Perhaps a compromise where you'll have the children in emergencies but tell her what your intentions for retirement are. Not fair not to tell her now. I'd love to be able to look after my grandchildren.

AlunWynsKnee Sat 30-Mar-19 19:07:17


PennyMordauntsLadyBrain Sat 30-Mar-19 19:07:29


My parents dote on my two young DC, but ever since I was a teenager my dad has made it clear that they didn’t want to be used as regular childcare in place of a crèche or childminder. They’re more than happy to help out by taking the dc for overnights to give DH and I a break, but don’t want to be tied to an arrangement.

I respect that, and want them to spend their retirement going on late minute holidays and faffing about with their hobbies, not reluctantly chasing after two toddlers.

RicStar Sat 30-Mar-19 19:07:57

Are you sure dil has assumed and not your son has said it will be ok etc or indeed that your wife has not half offered? Or course you don't need to commit / do regular childcare it's a huge ask imo -offering to be emergency care when you are in the country would be nice but of course none essential. Perhaps her family don't want to do regular childcare either as you don't which is also fair enough.

CalmdownJanet Sat 30-Mar-19 19:08:13

More or less presumed? What did she say? Surely your reply was "no way will we be committing to regular childcare no matter how many days". That's a pretty huge assumption and yanbu but you need to speak up immediately and be straight before she goes full-time

sackrifice Sat 30-Mar-19 19:09:29

Problem is DIL wants to work full time and has more or less presumed we will have children 2 days per week.

How do you know this?

How did you respond when you found out?

I recommend hysterical laughter and showing her in a dictionary the definition of 'retirement'.

RandomMess Sat 30-Mar-19 19:11:42

YANBU but I wonder if your wife has given the wrong impression by "loving looking after the DGC" and "always happy to help"...

Sallycinammonbangsthedruminthe Sat 30-Mar-19 19:11:49

Not unreasonable at all...Enjoy yourselves and have fun ...Your time now to relax and unwind...

Whoops75 Sat 30-Mar-19 19:12:25


Enjoy your retirement

Asta19 Sat 30-Mar-19 19:13:42

I don’t think you’re unreasonable. But yes the conversation needs to be with your son.

However, while I understand you want the freedom to book last minute breaks, realistically how often will you actually do that? If your wife has been helping out up until now, I can kind of see why your DIL thinks this would continue. So I’m not entirely sure she’s been unreasonable either, maybe more she has misunderstood the situation. I feel like maybe there’s a compromise to be had here.

Fairylightsandwine Sat 30-Mar-19 19:19:03

The problem is these days childcare is so expensive that a lot of grandparents take it on. Pretty much all of my friends’ parents do some weekly childcare. I have one friend who’s poor Mum looks after her 2 very young children 5 days a week every week!
I have 2 (soon to be 3) DC and whilst my parents absolutely help out on an ad hoc basis, they made it very clear they wanted to enjoy retirement and that meant not being tied down with childcare. I completely understand and respect that.
YANBU but you do need to have the chat sooner rather than later.

hayf Sat 30-Mar-19 19:27:48

I think you're being unfair for singling out the DIL. Your son also works full time and is therefore equally responsible for the fact that they need more childcare.

However, there's nothing wrong with saying no - we haven't made plans for our retirement and think it's better that you make regular arrangements for DC. That way we would be better placed to help out with emergencies, school holidays or when you want a break at the weekend etc but we couldn't do both. Explain that you understand and don't want to say no, but you don't want to say yes knowing that you would likely have to let them down.

Riv Sat 30-Mar-19 19:30:32

You are totally right to your own time. That’s what retirement is for. You have worked hard and brought up your children.
For what it’s worth, my parents only looked after my children once or twice in their lives (DCs are now in their late 20s), they loved the children but they had “done their bit” bringing up us. DHs parents did likewise- they lived further away though. We never thought that they should have done more, not did it change the love we had for them.
I worked full time as did DH. We just had to factor in (very expensive) full time child care from the end of my maternity leave. Our children, our pleasure and problem, not theirs.

Hazlenutpie Sat 30-Mar-19 19:30:49

Enjoy your retirement, you've earned it. You are not obliged to provide childcare, so definitely do your own thing.

81Byerley Sat 30-Mar-19 19:30:59

Tell them you have retirement plans so you can't help!

Love51 Sat 30-Mar-19 19:32:56

There is a massive difference between 'babysitting' (and hoc out of working hours), 'helping out' (doing odd days so the part time parent can attend a training course or take another child to the hospital without siblings) and being a substitute childminder. When I was a child my parents used a babysitting circle, so my expectations were pretty low, but I can't imagine assuming any of the above without a conversation. Replacing a childminder or nursery though, clearly requires a lot of chats about logistics and finances (because taking toddlers out saves sanity!)

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