A grandma is asking Reddit if she is the a***** for telling her daughter not to expand her family with another baby.
“I (58F) and my husband, Rob (61M) have 2 kids Erica (35F) and Mike (30M). Both kids are married but Erica and her husband Steve (38M) live nearby to us and this issue concerns them. They work full-time and have 2 kids (5M & 4F). 5 years ago my daughter asked my husband and me if we would be willing to become their full-time childcare so she could continue to work and afford their comfortable life.”
“We agreed, but we didn’t discuss much more than watching the baby and their expectations. I was a teacher and retired 2 years before I could take my pension so my husband continued to work and we made a few sacrifices like vacations and adding to our savings but we were able to make it work so I could take my full pension at 55 and my husband retired a year later.”
“Our arrangement worked and we enjoyed having the kids except by year 3 (2020) we started to feel like they were taking advantage of our help. In 2020 during the lockdown, they were both working from home, they expected us to keep the kids all day, and we wanted to split time week since their preschool/daycare was closed. we settled on 2 with them and 3 with us and my SIL complained about it pretty much every day. Things got better when the kids were able to school.”
“Fast forward to year 4 (2021) we have a bit of a blowup over kindergarten. My daughter did not want 5M to start school in the unknown but I insisted that he needed to go because I needed the break. I also asked for 4F to spend more time at the preschool/daycare program, SIL complained about the cost but I pushed anyway. They relented and then this past spring SIL pushed for us to take the kids for a week so they could go on a vacation, we said they had to take the kids and he said: ‘they couldn’t afford it.’ No one went on vacation.”
“Maybe that is too much background but I feel like the context is important for what I said. My daughter and I were casually having a conversation the other day and she mentioned she had an OBGYN appointment and tests. I asked if everything was okay and she said Steve and her were trying for baby #3. I asked her what her childcare plan was and she looked at me like I was crazy and said us!”
She went on to conclude that maybe the couple shouldn’t expand their family.
“I said that it would have been nice if she told me this before trying for another baby, she said it is none of my business, I said it is if I’m providing 5 more years of babysitting! I then told her that we were not a viable childcare option for a new baby and begged her to reconsider. 4F is going off to kindergarten, we feel like we are getting our days back to some extent and refuse to start all over again with an infant. Erica said we are making her choose between her dream of 3 kids and financial stability. I argued that she has two beautiful children and they are financially stable, they shouldn’t ruin that with another baby.”
One user commented: “NTA. Red flags should have been raised when they wanted to go on holiday without their children at this age. Parenting is not something you take a break from, especially at 4 or 5 years old. They sound very unprepared to be parents at all, let alone for 3 children. Edit: for clarity, by ‘take a break’ I meant taking prolonged vacations. Of course it’s fine to occasionally drop you children off at your parents for a gathering or one night of enjoying life.”
While another said: “Disagree. I see nothing wrong with having a kid-less vacation. That’s fairly normal, and quite frankly, healthy for the marriage of the parents. The vacation suggestion isn’t the issue, it’s taking advantage of free childcare all the time. Hell, I don’t even see anything wrong with sending the kids to childcare while adults work from home. It’s the uncompensated, free childcare for 5 years that’s the issue, and the assumption that the care can continue with a new baby.”
What do you think?
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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