6 reasons on why I will not be my grandchildren's caretaker in the future

Friday, October 23, 2015

When I was really young, like 18 or 19, I would always tell my mom that when I get married and have kids, I would get her to take care of my kids for me.

Her answer for the past decade has always been a "no". I couldn't understand why? I thought it is like a life goal of a woman to be able to take care of their grandchildren or something?

So anyway, it obviously wasn't my mother's life goal to be taking care of her grandkids. 

Playing with them, yes. 

Cooking for them, yes. 

Bring them out and spoil them silly, yes. 

Carry them for 5 minutes, yes. 

Love them, of course. 

Take care of them full-time?

But now, as a mother of two, I came to realise that... I'm in the same boat as her. If I can, I really don't wanna be taking care of any of my grandkids full time, and here's why:

#1. There is no such thing as 'rest' when you take care of kids

I am 30 this year and taking care of the kids the entire day through Saturday and Sunday kills me flat out. Like seriously. My battery level by evening would be, say, 20%? All I wanted to do was to order a take-away, put the kids to bed early and then just laze in my cozy corner to rest and relax.

I am 30, taking care of 2 kids full time for two days in a week and I feel extremely tired. I cannot imagine how I would be at 55, with four* grandkids?

#2. What's fair?

It is a freaking slippery slope when it comes to childcare because if I take care of Dylan's kids, should I also take care of Alexis' kids too? And if I take care of their kids, should I take care of my four* kids' children as well?

If I don't, how is that fair? If I do, am I doing myself a favour, or killing myself overworking?

This is what my mom told me when she first rejected me - "If I take care of your kids, do I have to take care of Sis #2's kids? Do I have to take care of Sis #3's kids?"

#3. Too much time investment

If I do agree to suck it up and take care of all my grandchildren, it will set me back at least... 10 to 15  years?

The maths goes - assuming I have 4 kids and each of them gives birth to 2 children, and each child is 2 years apart, it will take 14 years to have all 8 kids. And to raise the youngest one to Primary One takes another additional 7 years.

This would set me back a freaking 21 years!! And assuming I become a grandmother by 55 years old, I would be 76 by the time I am done. So much for retirement huh. LOL

Even with just two kids, it will take me 9 years to raise the younger one to Primary One. By then, all my time and energy will be gone. Too old to enjoy my twilight years.

 #4. Childcare isn't exactly fun

It's true. You may gasp at my outright declaration but childcare isn't at all fun when it comes to disciplining the child. Now that I am taking care of my own kids, I get to do do whatever I want with them.

Ok, this sounds a little irresponsible, but hey, I can smack them if they get too naughty, I can punish them if they don't behave the way I expect.

But when you are taking care of somebody else's kids, even your own grandchildren, it is not as straight forward as taking care of your own. Have you heard how mothers and daughters fighting over when is the right time to feed a baby eggs?

Have you heard how they argue over when is the right age to be wearing shoes? To use the walker? Whether to add salt into the food or not?

The struggle is real.

#5. A moment of goodwill becomes a lifetime of responsibility

I always remember a friend telling me that it is always better to be a "jerk" because when you do bad things, people kinda expects you to do that but a moment of goodwill from you will become very precious because it is hard to come by.

On the other hand, if you are always "Mr. Nice Guy", always doing the good things, the helpful things and all, people kinda expects it from you. And when you don't deliver, they get upset with you.

Kinda like you have an expectation to meet. I find that it is the same for volunteering to take care of grandchildren too?

It's like my mom, who is the "jerk" (please don't tell her I called her that LOL), I would never expect her to help me with my kids. But if one day, just one fine day, she thinks that she is pretty free and would love to help me babysit for a couple of hours, you can pretty much bet that I would shit rainbows.

On the other hand, there are mothers who help to take care of their grandkids every single day. Twenty-four-seven. The "Nice Guy Grandma" who will always be there when you need to work overtime, when you need to be out with your friends for a couple of drinks, when you just feel very tired and want to nap... and then one day she decided to take a break and go for a short holiday.

"Why!! How can you be so selfish!! You go and enjoy while you leave me here, with my work AND kids? You get to live the high life while I slog my life out the whole day and I still have to take care of the kids when I come back home?"

I've heard this story so many times.. online ranting groups especially. Suddenly taking care of the kids is no longer a mummy's role, but a grandmother's (maybe because they paid her to do it). Suddenly it is all okay that the mummy can go out with her friends for dinner, but it is not okay for the grandmother to go for a holiday once in a while. 

This is the expectation that I know I cannot handle. Of course, there are thankful mummies who really appreciate their parents taking time out to take care of their kids, I am not generalising, but I am just afraid of being caught in such situations. Too stressful for my happy life wtf.

#6. It's about the money, money, money

Even though we always say that as family members, we shouldn't be too particular about money. In the ideal world, yes. We should help each other out because we love one another - isn't it better for my grandchildren to be growing up with me, than to grow up with a helper?

They would be lucky if they grow up with a nice, nurturing helper... but haven't we all heard about helpers from hell? 

But unfortunately, in the realistic world, money is a very detrimental factor that causes a lot of unhappiness within the family. I have heard of scenarios where daughter-in-laws find their MIL too greedy because they ask for "the market rate" to take care of their grandchildren.

There are also mothers who are upset with their children because they reimburse them very little money to take care of their grandchildren. Sometimes, they even have to take out from their own pockets to ensure that their grandchildren get better food.

I don't know... this whole money issue is very tricky and difficult to handle I think. It's like if I were to take care of my grandkids, should I ask for the market rate, because the kids are technically getting better care for the same amount of money, so it is fair....

Or should I ask for a lower rate so that it is not too stressful for my kids, but risking the fact that I may not even have enough for ourselves?

No no no. This is another headache I wouldn't want to go through at 55 years old seriously.


In conclusion, I really wouldn't mind taking care of my grandchildren on ad-hoc basis. Times where my children are occupied and need a helping hand, I would be more than happy to help. I really don't mind having my grandkids staying over at my place for a day or two, bringing them out for a short outing etc.

The thing about me is that I get very turned off by bad behaviours. Being the disciplinarian in the household, I cannot tolerate my children whining, insisting on things when I have already said no, throwing tantrums etc. and I get very harsh with them when it happens. While I don't usually smack them, I will insist a proper behaviour or they will get nothing out of their unruliness. Will my daughter or daughter-in-law have the same discipline manner as me? If not, how can we work out the differences?

So when I think about taking care of those little kids full time, Mondays to Fridays, probably sometimes weekends too, I really cringe at the thought because you don't only just handle the kids, you gotta deal with their parents too wtf.

I am not sure if having LOVE is enough to make me go through all these 'tribulations'.

What about you? Would you mind taking care of your grandchildren in the future?

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  1. I am a SAHM and you mentioned you are 30? lol I'm 33 with 2 young ones. I LOVE being kept busy by the two of them. I sleep like 4 hours a day and I have no idea where all my energy comes from. My children are my responsibilities and I will be their main caregiver. I had never thought anybody else will be caring for my children's daily needs.

    Grandparents, like you said, are there to spoil them, play with them and after a day of bonding, grandparents should return their grandkids to their parents. They shouldn't be the ones waking up in the middle of the night and losing sleep just because the little ones can't sleep through yet.

    I, however, love mothering so much that I am hoping my children will offer me this baby-watching title. I want to bring up children all over again. My husband on the other hand prefers freedom and cannot wait for them to grow up and live their own lives so that he can live his. I'd rather live to care for my children and grandchildren actually.

    So hey! There are people like me too who rather not have their own lives back n love the caregiving role till the day they die. Surprise Surprise.

  2. I think I wouldn't mind taking care of my grandkids.. but I wouldn't want to do it 24/7 or have my kids feel that it's their "entitlement" for me to. However, I think if one raises their kids properly, the kids will actually learn and understand the hardship it takes for a grandma to take care of the grandchildren full-time (like how you do now) and wouldn't have the expectation too. Like if have good, if not, then so be it.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  3. I think I am fine to help to take care of my grandchildren, but not 24/7.

  4. Wow. I never did think so far. I'm a working mum and weekends with the kids are really enjoyable but draining too. Still. I would t give that up for anything. I do wish I could deposit them somewhere for a while or a couple of days while hubby and I go on a trip somewhere. Just to take a break. Any takers? :)

    Vivien ( Beautiful Chaos )

  5. Actually I thought of that question before too! I would not mind playing and caring for them but still not sure if I would say a definite yes. I would guess situation and time will tell. :)

  6. I think it's tricky being a grandparent and caring for your grandkids. You still have to defer to the parent's wishes, which means that you can't care for them in the manner that you see fit. And it probably makes for more difficulties in the future.

  7. Wow, as a first time working Mom (currently pregnant with my first), we have been doing a lot of soul searching and deciding on the best maternity care for my child when I return to work. Ur post really resonates with me as both myself and my hub have the same thinking - that our children are our own responsibilities and there shd be no expectations of having our parents involved at all unless of course they volunteer.


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