Everytime I watch my grandchildren my daughter and her fiancé always take advantage of my time. I will say be back in 3 hours and they come back in 5. now my daughters fiancé is saying i cant see my grand babies because i got angry for them being late yet once again.

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Mary - posted on 01/25/2013

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I'm completely with Kelly on this. No one, not even a grandparent, owes you childcare, or the opportunity for a "break" from your kids. If my dad is willing to watch my daughter, I am GRATEFUL for whatever time he can give me, and I sure as hell don't take advantage of his generosity by showing up two hours later than he expected me. If I did, I'm pretty sure he would have ceased watching her years ago. Not because he didn't enjoy spending time with her, but because of my continued inconsideration and lack of appreciation for him.

If a parent pulled this habitual two hour late crap with either a daycare or a paid sitter, it's pretty much a given that they would cease to work for you after the 2nd offense, even though you were paying them for their time.

The fiance utilizing access to her grandchildren as leverage to get her to be a doormat in this matter is just utter crap. I'm utterly flabbergasted that any of you would think that this was an acceptable, expected, or appropriate response. If I (or my husband) pulled that shit with my father, he would be FURIOUS with me - and rightly so. I owe my dad a whole lot more respect than that. Not to mention, the true victim of that behavior would be my daughter; she loves spending time with her grandfather, and using her in that manner is simply deplorable.

As for the "3 hours isn't enough time" argument...really? In my world, 3 hours of free childcare is a whole lot better than nothing. In three hours my husband and I could have a nice leisurely meal, or get some serious housecleaning done, or get a ton of errands accomplished. Or we could just stay home, have some wild kinky sex, and still have time for a little nap afterwards. Perhaps those of you who don't see 3 hours as enough need to work on your time management skills a little better.

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Did I miss something? I never saw where she said she didn't like kids, or where she said she would only watch them for specific obligations either. I was under the impression that she had offered to watch the grandchildren on several occasions, her daughter had left the children stating that she would be back at a predetermined time, but was often very late without calling. It sounds to me like she would be happy to watch the kids so her daughter and her fiance could have a date, but only asks that they are honest about when they are coming back so that she can plan.

Are you all saying that you think you should be able to drop the kids at grandma's house anytime she offers you her time for a few hours, and leave them for as long as YOU like, be dishonest about your return times, or not tell her at all when you plan to return, regardless of her other commitments? I think that's rude.

I also don't think not liking kids makes someone a "selfish bitch". I don't like kids. I don't babysit anyone else's kids unless it is an absolute emergency, because it makes me uncomfortable and I don't like doing it--even my nieces and nephews.....I guess I am a selfish bitch, but I never saw myself as such.

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I would never take advantage of a grandparent's generosity like that--sorry, but just because they are grandparents doesn't mean they have nothing on their schedule and are free to watch J all the time. J is lucky that he has grandparents close by who love to see him, and my husband and I are lucky that our parents are glad to watch J for any reason, but we still have to be considerate of their time. If we leave J with MIL and say "We'll be back in 3 hours" she might plan to run errands afterwards, or have a doctors appointment, or just have plans to meet a friend for dinner. Sometimes, we are late, if that happens we CALL HER and ask her if she can keep him longer or if she has plans and needs us to come get him on time. Most of the time, she has no problem keeping him longer at all and is actually very happy to do so, but sometimes she has plans, and we totally get that and are thankful that she allowed us the time we had. Plus, she doesn't even let us pay her!!! So honestly, how can we complain that someone who is babysitting our kid for FREE wants us to be on time??

That said, my husband's brother & his wife used to do exactly like you described--they would drop off their two boys and say they'd be back at a certain time, and often they would be 4 or 5 hours late, and sometimes they would wait until almost bedtime to call and ask if the boys could stay the whole night. This frustrated her to no end. It wasn't that she didn't like spending time with the boys--she absolutely adores them!!!--it's just that she would make plans and was constantly having to cancel or rearrange things because she had them and couldn't reach the parents. She didn't mind having the boys, but she needed to know up front how long she would have them so that she could plan accordingly.

So, I guess my advise is to tell your daughter that you love having the children, and you are more than happy to watch them as long as she needs you to, you just need to know up front how long it will be so that you can plan accordingly. Maybe she says she'll be back in 3 hours when she really needs 5 because she is afraid you would say no to 5 hours?

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/24/2013

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Well, Mary Jane, I guess I'm with Little Miss. So, the actual result is that you got to spend more time with the grandbabies.

Sounds like you're fine with watching them for "obligations" that their parents have, but you don't want to watch them so that their parents can have a little alone time, and that's your right to decide. But, if you decide that you are only available for "obligations" such as dr. appts, etc, and won't bend on the "just because" times, don't expect your daughter or her fiancee to be happy with your ultimatums. And do expect them to find other arrangements for all of their childcare needs.

I'm not saying that you should feel obligated to watch the kids at any time, by any means! It is, after all, your life. But, by setting those limitations (I will only watch them while you have a scheduled appointment, but if you want a date night, don't call me), you are actually limiting the time that your daughter will want to spend with you.

My mom was the same way. She actually doesn't like kids (or so she told me after my second was born), so she really doesn't want to spend one on one time with her grandkids, and would rather that we (her children) not ask, so as not to put her in an uncomfortable position. I was rather glad that she finally told me that, because I thought she was just a selfish bitch who couldn't be bothered to take the time to spend time with her grandkids. I still think that she's a selfish bitch, but it's her loss. My kids learned early on that Grandma R would rather not be bothered with them, except during family gatherings where she doesn't have to really interact with them. They actually make her physically uncomfortable..

So, your daughter should be thankful that you're at least being honest with her. If she decides to limit contact with your grandchildren, don't be surprised, though. Because we all would like all of our parents to be the "cool" grandparents...and when you tell us differently, it does hurt our feelings. We do get over it, though, I promise. And we do find other ways to keep in touch. At least most of us do, anyway.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/24/2013

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Well, don't get mad at them for trying to spend time alone. So....you got to spend 2 extra hours with your grandchild. If you don't want to spend time with her, don't offer to watch her. My mom only ever offers to watch the kids when she has to, (when we must have a sitter for an appointment or whatever) and not a minute longer. We never get time alone. We never get dates. When we were living by my in laws, My MIL begged to watch the kids any chance she got. She didn't care if we were out 1 hour, or 24. She just wanted to spend time with them.

23 Comments

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Lucy - posted on 02/21/2013

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I am always shocked when I see responses to this kind of question which berate the grandparent and suggest that they should be grateful for the opportunity to be disrespected and taken advantage of!

As far as I can see, Mary Jane hasn't suggested that when she baby sits there is an arbitrary limit of 3 hours. In fact, she makes it pretty clear that she would agree to a lot longer than that- she simply wants to know how long and know the agreement will be honored so that she can plan accordingly. What is so wrong with that?

If I had arranged to go out with friends in the evening and my husband had agreed to be home from work in time to care for the kids and he was 3 hours late, I would be pissed off! That doesn't mean I dislike spending time with my kids, but I do dislike having to rearrange things to take into account someone else's inconsiderate behavior. To me, Mary Jane's situation is just the same.

For those of us (like Mary Jane's daughter) who are lucky enough to have wonderful supportive parents who are prepared to babysit just for the love of their grandchildren, without any payment, we should simply be grateful. My Mum is fantastic with my kids, they love her to bits and vice versa, and she often babysits for hours at a time or even over night. I would never abuse this cherished relationship by coming home later than agreed, or not showing my appreciation.

Angela - posted on 02/21/2013

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I would write to your daughter and without snideness or sarcasm point out that as much as you love to see your grandchildren, you've had to cancel other plans through them returning late to collect them. Ask when they return for their kids when HIS parents are looking after them!!

I have this feeling that your daughter's partner wants you to back down somehow. Like a few weeks of not seeing the kids means you'll be willing to agree to anything if only you can see them again. Don't fall for this!

I would also (when things get back on track) make it very clear when they first go, exactly when they should return. Don't say "please be back in 3 hours". Look at the clock & say "Well, it's now 20 past 10am - can you be back by 1.30pm? That gives you slightly over 3 hours ... So see you at 1.30pm - OK?" That way you've stated a precise time for them to return!

Good luck.

Julia - posted on 02/19/2013

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It seems like there is a lot of specific focus on the time issue when usually what is going on goes deeper than that. Is there some type of power struggle that goes to deeper issues? This why in my last post I brought up that new Billy Crystal movie. I think it gets to the heart of parent grandparent issues in a funny way. In my family time is a pretty relative topic we all have basically no concept of it, but other issues come up and they are rarely as simple as the issue at hand. Our reaction to the issues and sometimes the reasons they are hard to work out often go back to family dynamics. Sometimes it is worth laying the ground work and setting firm expectations up front. It seems like if your daughters fiancé is not going to let you see the kids over your pointing out they were late there must be more to it. How did the conversation go down? What are your daughters perceptions? This is not to say that 3 hours late is ever exceptable baring a trip to the ER or a car break down. But failure to at least try to see why the other person is reacting the way they are and putting yourself in their shoes is a sure way for an issue that might start out as simple to become a battle of the wills that leads to irreparable damage to all the relationships involved. Sometimes you have to be the bigger person and try to step into the other persons shoes. As doctor Phil says the only common factor in relationships that you can control is you. Again this isn't about whose right or wrong (assigning blame rarely works to correct a problem). It is about everyone feeling heard. I have one girlfriend who brought her parents with her to family counseling and they were able to resolve some issues that were a drain on their relationship.

Theresa - posted on 02/19/2013

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This is really sad. What gives our older children the right to abuse our time and kindness. I love looking after all my grandchildren. they are the best thing to happen to me but i work full time and I'm getting older. my health issues don't even come into their minds. its all about how tired they are. Aren't we all. Please younger parents be considerate to your parents most of whom love their grandchildren very much.

Julia - posted on 02/16/2013

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See Parental Guidance. It is funny and can open up a conversation about parent and grandparent expectations. Maybe watch it as a family. I'm a Late Lizzy (not 3 hours). I have been late on my mom. She is a Late Lizzy too...the apple didn't fall far. When she has something to do she just says sorry I can't babysit today because I can't count on you being on time. When she wants to take my son for a visit and I have things going on I do the same. But in our case we are good at knowing the other is like that and the offenders can usually laugh it off and say yeah I know another day then.

Stifler's - posted on 02/07/2013

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If you have something important to do tell them "I have an appointment at this time... don't be late back".

Stifler's - posted on 02/07/2013

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I stay out later than I said I'd be. My parents just go out and leave my brother with me when they're here without asking so I do it to them when I go to their house HAHAHA.

Dee Dee - posted on 02/03/2013

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OMG, I thought raise a teeager is hard. now I am not looking forward to be a grandma. My dream to take good care my grandchildren is discouraged. I had the fear that she and her husband would tell me how to take care the kids, what to buy and follow their schedule. If I talk to her and set the boundary, they will get mad and we can't see the grandkids any more. I guess my fear are not alone. It could be reality for any one of us, any time. I would negotiate with her. Talk to her about babysitiing, whenever you want see the kids. offers one hour, if you have 3 hours to spare. if they want more private time, there is daycare, other paid baby sitter....I understand your daughetr take you for granted. what's the deal with her fiance? whenever he complains to you, you ask for fair wages for babysitting. He may start to appreciate your work and love for the kids. Don't get angry about whatever they did. talk to them rationally or stay back for a while until your angry set aside. it is hard to do but angry complicate things and doesn't help. you are not mad of me now, r u? :-)

Nancy - posted on 02/02/2013

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It's a matter of common courtesy to at least call and say you're running late.I agree with Kelly about calling.They chose to have the kids.If they want you watch the kids so they can have alone time,then all they have to do is ask.I can understand that running errands may take longer than what they thought,but a phone call would be nice.Talk to your daughter about it.I'm sure you could straighten the problem out with her.

Kristi - posted on 01/29/2013

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I'm so sorry, Mary Jane. I won't go into details but I have a son and his father has done the same to me. I have legal visitation rights but I'm not going to physically force my son (now 18, then 10) into my car. I have missed his whole life. They turned him against me and now nobody will take my calls. So, I understand your pain. Just hold on to your presents and/or mail her a card, that's about all you can do for now. Stay strong.

Mary Jane - posted on 01/29/2013

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Yes, he is the father.ssssigh... I mean he's a good dad and a good provider but I see him as manipulative and soooo unfair. They still won't answer my calls and today is my grandson's 4th birthday. Go figure... I'm just hoping my daughter will come to her senses and not let herself be controlled by his irrational behaviors.

Kristi - posted on 01/28/2013

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I'm ringing in with Kelly and Mary N. I don't think this has anything at all to do with the love she has for her grandchildren or the joy she gets from the time she spends with them. It is a matter of respect. Clearly her daughter and fiance have none for her.

If I'm not mistaken, Mary Jane was saying if they were late because they were at the drs or an appt, of course that would not upset her. I don't think she was saying that was the only time she was willing to watch them.

Whether or not she has plans is irrelevant. The fact is it is rude and inconsiderate to take advantage of anyone, not just grandparents, that way. Even though she doesn't mention it here, I bet before this became a habit (and maybe even still) Mary Jane got worried sick about her daughter not showing up or calling for 3 or 4 hours after she said she'd be back. And as wonderful and as sweet as grandkids must be, 2-4 hours of when is mommy coming back, is not wonderful and sweet. How hard is it to pick up a phone and ask or say we are running late or do you mind watching them until... That is a courtesy that should be afforded to anyone watching your children period.

I find it repulsive that they would use their children as pawns. There is no logical explanation to give a 3 and 4 year old why they can't go to grandma's anymore. Although I suppose in this case they probably just told the kids their grandma doesn't love or want them anymore.

I'm sorry you are being put through this Mary Jane. You deserve to be treated with respect and to be shown some gratitude, not to be shut out by some selfish, irresponsible, immature, disrespectful control freak. I hope things turn around for you soon.

Kathryn - posted on 01/25/2013

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I think you have done nothing wrong.
My mother made it very clear, she was not going to be a babysitter. My children stayed alone with her and my father, at their invitation. That was fine with me. I didn't feel the need to be away from my children.

Maybe you can have a private conversation with your daughter. It isn't the fact you don't want to see your grandchildren, but you want to be treated with respect.

I'm curious, is the fiance the father of these children?

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/24/2013

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Well, see, Mary Jane...he's only vocalizing what I figured he would. They don't like your ultimatum about time spent.

I see your point, and agree, that they should adhere to the times that they originally tell you. If they say 2 hours, then they should be back in 2 hours, or have the courtesy to notify you. But, if they don't set a time that they'll be back, then they don't know how long it will take. And if you arbitrarily tell them to be back at a certain time of your choice, it limits them and their choices of activity. Really its something that should have been decided on before you ever watched the kids to begin with.

So, he's just voicing his disapproval. The "banning" most likely means that they are never going to ask you to watch the kids again, and will probably only bring them to family functions. If he takes it beyond that, I'd consider him a controlling asshole (personally). I mean, even I (and I'm a bitch) will go to family functions with my mom, I just quit asking her to help with taking care of my kids when they were that age.

Mary Jane - posted on 01/24/2013

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I hear you both and you are actually right, I am an enabler due to me watching (e) grand babies 4,3 and 4 months old. I can understand how draining that is and you are right i am pretty blessed to be able to spend time with my grand babies, but I would rather it be quality time and not quantity. I find people have a difficult time saying one thing and doing another. I really do appreciate the feedback, but do you think that its fair that her fiancé is "banning' me from seeing my grandchildren???I think that's going overboard. I'm just in a state of shock that he would take that extreme measure, to what? trying to teach me a lesson...I'm just saddened and frustrated...but this too shall pass...Thanks!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/24/2013

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I fully understand you have a life also. It is just nice to be able to depend on others when you need a bit of a break. it is not being entitled to anything...it is needed a moment to breath with your partner without the kids. A healthy marriage needs time to themselves. Healthy parents need a break every now and again if they can do it. If you don't want to help, then don't. If you only baby sit when you feel obligated to, then you tell then that you will bring the baby home by a certain time.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/24/2013

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Yes but you are talking 2 hours. What can they even do in 3 hours? Go food shopping, come home...put the groceries away, and come get the baby. If it is that big of a deal for you, then don't watch them. Or expect to add on a couple of hours.

Mary Jane - posted on 01/24/2013

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I totally agree they need time alone and is why I was willing to watch my grandbabies. It's one thing if its an emergency or an appointment and they are late and yet another to take advantage when they want time out from the kids, and seriously, what grandmother doesn't want to spend time with their grand babies??? I raised my three children alone and never felt entitled to ask my mother to watch my children and when I did I was on time not 1 and not ever 24 hours late. I feel that a lot of couples feel entitled. Just because grandparents are grandparents they shouldn't be considered babysitters. I'm sure if it was a babysitter they would by no means stay out longer than what was initially set.

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