“Why I refused to take care of my grandkids.”

“Whom did we call when we had our sons? You were managing our business with young sons in your lap.” 

Sharing an email and a link by Aditi Madan. 

Why I refused to take care of my grandkids

…my sons needed our help while they took care of their young children and their jobs. But then my husband said the most important thing: “Whom did we call when we had our sons? You were managing our business with young sons in your lap. We did it. Our children will, too.”

When I told Sanket that we would not be coming, he was furious. He demanded to know why we could not help him after helping his brother. I explained gently that we would visit occasionally, but only for a few days. Staying at their homes, with nothing to do apart from taking care of the baby, came with its own problems: we did not have a car at our disposal, so we had to wait for our sons to come home and take us out. There was ample free time but nothing to do.

This decision is great. Do you think it would have been a different case though if the children were not sons but daughters? That help in babysitting might be assumed to be a help or favour for their daughter in law more than for their son (because it is the woman’s job isn’t it), may have made the decision more obvious and easy to make. If it was their daughter and son in law in place of son and daughter in law, things might have been different or at least making this very good decision might have been more difficult… more guilt to overcome. There’s a possibility that the father’s ‘discomfort’ about babysitting  duties that triggered the decision might not have even come up in the first place. Because while for parents of sons in India, after a certain age parents are not expected to look after son but the other way round but for parents of daughters… it’s a lifetime of looking after (and serving) not only daughter but her husband and inlaws as well.

IHM: It seems the grandparents here do view parenting as the mother’s job (i.e. the daughter in law’s job here), the grandfather is quoted to have said: “Whom did we call when we had our sons? You were managing our business with young sons in your lap.” 

Another thought – How would you view the same decision where the parents in law have pressurised the daughter in law ‘to have a baby because they want a grand kid’? Like in this case, An email: Is it selfish to not want to be parents yet? Or in this case, An email: “She is considering having an abortion without telling her husband about it.”

Related Posts:

‘How I am going to manage two toddlers, work, home, chores etc etc without any physical and moral support from my in laws?’

An update: “My friend is having the baby because her mother absolutely refused to support her decision to abort.”

Society benefits immensely from childbearing, childrearing, and caregiving work that currently goes unpaid.

Mere consent to conjugal rights does not mean consent to give birth to a child for her husband.

Why I wanted payment for labour and the associated work. – The Bride

How can the society ensure that marriage (and homemaking) does not result in women becoming financially dependent on their husbands?

An email: “I find it very hard to forgive my husband for all that happened at the time of my delivery.”

12 thoughts on ““Why I refused to take care of my grandkids.”

  1. This situation isn’t isolated, although the decision taken by the grandparents is. Sons feel like his parents are bound to help him out since he probably is or isn’t out there making a living for himself and providing them with a comfortable life. His parents’ feelings or opinions are not duly considered in this arrangement.

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  2. I second the grand parents here. This is what happened to me: I am a working mother. I have faced the same situation with my in-laws and my parents. My husband and I were disappointed and angry as new parents. We expected our parents to stay long term with us. But, our parents had to compromise on their social life, leave behind their friends, become totally dependent on us when they stay with us. Moreover, it was physically difficult for them to manage active grand children.
    So, my husband and I started managing by ourselves.We have started sharing all household activities. It has been a life style change for us.. but we feel more confident now as we are totally independent. Our parents do help us out now and then and we are happy about the additional help. But, by large, we are self dependent when it comes to baby sitting and parenting.

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      • In my case, No. Both my husband and I understand and treat our parents as equals.

        The answer to your question depends on the understanding and communication between husband and wife.
        If the husband has a patriarchal mindset, it would be difficult for the wife’s parents to say no to their son-in-law and daughter. Similarly, if the wife expects her mother in law to compulsorily help, it would be difficult for the son’s parents to say no to their son and daughter-in-law.
        If the young parents can discuss and understand rationally and sensibly, it will be easy for everyone involved, including their kids.

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  3. I think the grandparents have a right to chose whether or not they want to be babysitters. But…if they are economically dependent on their son/daughter and they need the daughter-in-law’s income to run the family then i think it’s their duty to help the family, within their physcial limits, as they are helping themselves.

    The situation I have found most often is that the parents-in-law do not want to help out the working daughter-in-law in raising the baby and at the same time also do not want their son to help out either. They raise their sons not to do any domestic work and cry foul if the son does as much put a spoon in the sink.

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    • I think 1)if the parents have raised an imbecile for a son who doesn’t behave like a grown-up, then it is their duty to look after the grand-kids (if you mess it up, you clean it up).
      2) if they get dowry from the bride’s side, then they better provide value for the money.
      In all other cases, it should be the grand parents’ choice. I bet most of the cases fall in the above 2 categories – so the guy’s parents better own it up.

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  4. Why grandparents can’t help with their grandkids? When parents will fall ill then son/daughter/In-law will take care. When we fall ill or we are in difficult situation then we want our most trusted ones to be around. It gives emotional as well as physical support. If I fall ill how much I fight with my mother I will still want her to be with me. And vice versa is also true. Life is all about helping out each other.
    Its true that grandparents feel completely alone and alienated then they can cut short their visit by 2 weeks or 3 weeks and then again can come back stay. Both side of grand parents can help.
    Its difficult for old grand parents to handle young super active grand kid but they can ask for full time help. They can supervise the help. It will not exhaust them and will give mental peace to young parents.
    Grand parents are not obliged to take care of the grand kid but they can help young parents till the child grows up and can be dropped to day care.
    In reality how much parents stretch, they take different shifts , company has a flexible maternity policy, work from home option but it is very difficult for them to manage child till he/she becomes 1-1.5 yrs old. Babies who are below 1.5 yrs can’t be completely left in hands of day-care or full time house help. They need someone whom they can completely trust , who will help them with the baby. Its difficult time for young parents and young baby so parents can help them in sailing through this phase. And please don’t assume that once baby has grown up parents can be thrown out as used goods, or in name of child care they can be exploited. But a mutual help is not bad. And should be provided from both sides.

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  5. I am the only daughter and my mom has made it amply cleat that though she will love my baby(if n when that happens), she will visit often to love the child and help a bit but will not be a nanny. She says she has done her job of raising a kid(and I was NOT easy 😜) and is done. I agree with her 100%. Dad also says that a couple should bring a kid in the world as their own responsibility and not their parents.

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  6. My husband and I asked neither sets of parents to help out with our baby; they were welcome anytime to spend time and play with the baby, but no taking care. Mainly because we had a problem with the way they raised us, and didn’t want our child to be raised like that too.

    I will make it amply clear to my daughter when her time comes that I will love my grandchild, but she has to raise her child the way SHE wants and can, and not outsource it to us. We have done it once already, and whether or not we did a good job, our job is done !

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  7. For a working couple grandparents play a significant role in raising kids. But we shouldn’t force them . I am a working mother , i know we can’t depend on Nanny’s. My daughter has turned 2. Since birth we have some one or the other with us. My parents or in laws, my sister, my bhabi, my aunt or aunts from in laws side. But we are are not dependent on them. We love to be with them and happy to see our kid grow with relatives around. But this shouldn’t be a burden on anyone. My parents and in laws both have done their bits raising us. Now it’s their turn to enjoy the life. My dad and mom loves to travel and in laws are active in spiritual group activity. So when they come to meet us they miss their life. So for me I let them decide how many days they want to stay. To cope with a new city and environment is very difficult for us. And for old people it’s like impossible.I have a full time nanny and my parents/in laws work is just to guide them. They feel bored in Bangalore as their life style is different. I still wfh to take care of my baby So for me grandparents should be allowed to take the call. If we as a couple have decided to work then we only should have a plan to take care of the baby. Grandparents are added advantage but we shouldn’t make their life difficult. It’s our duty to take care of parents well being also.

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  8. I, me and mine. As we become more and more I centered this is bound to happen, I will do everything for my happiness and anything/anyone that hinders it is my enemy. So the concept of sacrifice for love is totally lost. So have become like animals – totally self centered. Human life is meant for sacrifice that is what makes it different from the life animals live which is lived just for their own gratification.

    So who are the losers finally, all of us and the society. Kids are sent to day-care from morning to evening and even when they are home they spend their time on tablets or watching TV so the role the grandparents used to play is relegated to paid servants/minimum wage day care workers, youtube and TV. No wonder the kids grow deprived of love and affection and attention. They become addicted to tablets/gaming consoles/phones and we wonder why?

    I wonder why to we even have kids when we know pretty well that we do not have the time or the energy to take care of them. Having gone through this myself I am finallly seeing the irony of this now – we hanker for kids to love us/call us/visit us but we do not have time for them when they need us most.

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