How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?

I have 5 of my own children, 19 to 30. They all live close by with the youngest still at home. Also 5 grandkids. I LOVE them all and love being around them. I also work a full time job which leaves the evenings and weekends to do my necessary stuff and any fun stuff I might be able to sneak in. But lately I've been feeling overwhelmed by "babysitting" my grandkids. They are still young enough that they need constant supervision. It's not that its hard work, just that it leaves me with no time to do anything of my own. I'm sure you other grandmas understand what I'm saying. I know my daughters don't understand because I didn't understand either how hard we were making it for my own mom when every weekend one of us four kids were asking my mom to babysit. She finally had enough and simply told all of us "NO MORE BABYSITTING.....period!" My siblings and myself were a little offended that "grandma" wouldn't babysit our kids anymore. But I sure understand and see things different now! Any advice on how to tell my daughters that they need to find a babysitter other than grandma? I'm afraid I'm going to hurt their feelings no matter how gently I tell them. Any advice?
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?

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She finally had enough and simply told all of us "NO MORE BABYSITTING.....period!"
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?

Oh, dear. Well, yes, you will hurt their feelings. And they will get over it. You have to just say NO. Set some boundaries, and set them clearly and firmly. And yes, feelings will be hurt, but what's the option? You just getting walked over and over until you snap?

No. It's ok. It's ok for you to set some boundaries.

Do you and your daughters communicate regularly by email? If so, that's easy -- send an email saying that you have become a bit overwhelmed with your obligations lately, so here are the hours in which you are available to babysit (and make those as restricted as you want) and any other babysitting will haveto be done by someone else.

It's hard, it's hard, I know it's hard -- but no one is going to stand up for you if you don't. Just say no!
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?

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Yeah, I think you answered your own question there.
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?

My dad and mom just told me that while they love their grandchildren they have reached the time of their life where they felt they deserved some downtime. They told me if I needed them to babysit ask and they would tell me yes or no. I understand they have a life too. I believe it's selfish for me to expect them to babysit at my whim.
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?

pretend you are senile and see if they're willing to babysit you
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?

just be honest - if my mum and dad are busy and can't do it they just say so and I can't do what I was going to do

that's having kids for ya!

it's unreasonable to expect you to be an unpaid babysitter and to emotionally blackmail you into doing so.
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?

I have a book suggestion to help you... it will give you the understanding of the dilemma you are in and how you have every right to feel the way you do... and not be ashamed of it, or fear speaking up for yourself..... there are times when others PUSH our boundaries too far, we have allowed them to do this... and we need to take our life back..and some of our sanity.

This book opened my own eyes years ago with a friend who was pushing her boundaries on ME- with watching her 2 sons ... she got to the point of telling me --"Make sure he gets a shower tonight " cause he has church tomorrow, after she dropped him off at MY house at 7pm. I let her know that he should have gotten that shower at her house . She was not pleased with me (at first)... but I took back my life & boundaries starting that night. SHe got over it and realized not to be pushing her responsiblities onto me -just cause I was "there" and willing to take her kids some nights.

It is accually healthy to treat others like this, as we don't want to be enablers of bad behaviors, this will affect them in many areas in their own lives down the road. We don't want that for our children either.

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

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The premise of this book is that you cannot control what other people say and do, but you can control how you react and make your own choices - and it explains in simple terms how to go about that. It helps put relationships into a prospective that is healthy and also nurturing.

According to the authors, "Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances. Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions Emotional boundaries help us deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others."
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Old 05-29-2012, 05:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?

You'd rather hurt yourself than hurt their feelings. Can you see the craziness in that line of thinking?

There is a whole process in learning how to set boundaries. Read the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend.

For me I started by getting support then I worked up to baby no's then eventually will graduate to "I don't want to" no's. It took me getting pissed off before I was able to do any of this.

I'm sure you love your grandkids but they aren't your responsibility and you are being taken advantage of. My kids are young but I've already vowed that is a door I refuse to open even a crack. I won't be babysitting my grandkids. Ever. If I want them I'll get them and I might help out in an emergency but beyond that don't call me.
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Old 05-29-2012, 05:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?

IMO you should say no and let them deal with it. Eventually they are going to have to accept that you are grandma not a baby sitter. There is a clear difference. You should not feel bad for wanting to take time for your self and not tend the grand kids so often.
Just inform them that you are a grandma and grandma's house is not a day care. You should not feel bad for making a choice that will benefits you.
You say it with love and that is all you need to do. It is up to them to be understanding adults and find other means of child care for their children.
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Old 05-29-2012, 05:59 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?

Have you tried just saying no some of the time? I never presumed my parents were going to be available, and they never hesitated to say no.
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Old 05-30-2012, 03:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?

If you have trouble saying no, then take a more proactive approach. Tell them a little about your plans so they know you are busy. If they still ask, you can remind them of your plans.

I remember my mom telling me they wanted to have some time to themselves and wanted to enjoy their time together now that they finally had their kids grown. I had never even asked them to babysit ... it answered my question before it ever occurred to me to ask. They did babysit on special occasions (like our 10 year anniversary - a long story there), but we never thought to ask them to babysit just because we wanted to go out - she had already taken care of that thought proactively.
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:32 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?

It's neat to hear how you're enjoying being a grandma, and I can understand that you don't want to hurt your children's feelings as you cut back on babysitting. I work at Focus on the Family, and they offer some good info in a Q&A on their website. Hope this helps!
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:45 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?

My father told me to ask anytime I needed someone to watch my daughter, and if he couldn't, for whatever reason, he would tell me no. I completely accept and understand that! (However, my daughter is the only grandchild, and we don't ask very often, so he rarely says no.)
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:51 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you say no to constantly babysitting grandkids?

Start talking to your children about other babysitting options. Like can your children's spouses parents watch your grandchildren? Maybe suggest only doing it once a month rather then every weekend.
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