There is little that is more stressful for working parents than finding good childcare.
Particularly those who can’t afford a nanny or a regular babysitter.
The lucky ones, who live in the same town or city as their children’s grandparents.
And more often than not, the grandparents are ready and willing to watch their grandchildren whenever their parents need them.
Redditor Any_Variation9646 was initially more than happy to watch her grandchildren.
But when her daughter announced plans for more children on the assumption that she would continue to provide free childcare, the original poster (OP) gave her daughter advice which was not at all appreciated.
Worried she may have been out of line the OP took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for begging my daughter not to have any more children?”
The OP explained that when her daughter initially proposed the idea for the OP and her husband to watch their children, she was generally on board with it.
“I (58 F[emale]) and my husband, Rob (61 M[ale]) have 2 kids Erica (35F) and Mike (30M).”
“Both kids are married but Erica and her husband Steve (38 M[ale]) 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.”
However, as time progressed, the OP sensed that she and her husband were putting in more time than they had initially agreed to.
“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 Son-in-law (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.”
When the OP’s daughter expressed plans for the future, she shared her honest opinion on these plans, which did not go over well with her daughter or son-in-law.
“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!”
“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.”
“I might be TA because Erica feels like we should have told her sooner, I feel like I am not because I never agreed to a lifetime of raising their kids.”
The OP gave some further detail on her current child care arrangement with her daughter and SIL, as well as more detail in pleading with her daughter not to have a third child.
“We will continue to watch our two grandchildren after school and during the summer as this is what we have agreed to and we enjoy it.”
“School provides a nice break for us and then we do fun things with the kids in the summer.”
“We just don’t want to start again with another baby.”
“We are not paid and we didn’t ask to be.”
“I retired early but would have stayed longer if we didn’t watch our grandkids.”
“I probably would have put in another 5 years or so because I loved my job so putting those 5 years into helping my daughter and grandchildren wasn’t a problem.”
“My husband and I did a good job of preparing for retirement and felt we could swing it.”
“We do take time for ourselves.”
“We require 5 weeks a year at a minimum to travel, visit our son or other family.”
“We settled on 5 because our daughter gets 3 weeks of vacation a year and SIL get 2.”
“At first, SIL complained that him and my daughter would never get a vacation together.”
“We said they would just simply have to arrange other care options if they want time together so we could still have our 5 weeks.”
“We do hold them to this and one time in the past 5 years his parents came down to stay with them and watch the kids during that week we were away.”
“In terms of telling her not to have another baby, I was trying to make her see everything she does have and to focus less on what she doesn’t have.”
“I would never tell a woman what to do with her body but she is my daughter and I don’t want to see her hurting.”
“Lastly, my daughter and SIL have plenty of money and are responsible when it comes to costs, if anything, my SIL is cheap so I think their version of stability and many others at be very different.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
The Reddit community agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for asking her daughter not to have any more children.
Just about everyone agreed that the OP’s daughter and SIL were definitely taking advantage of her and her husband, and that they were deserving of some peaceful retirement that did not include watching their grandchildren full time.
“The audacity of some people to say it isn’t your business when they expect you to be the childcare.”
“Just refuse.”- JoBenSab.
“I feel like your argument here shouldn’t be ‘please don’t have any more kids’.”
“It should be ‘do what you want but I will not be here to help’.”
“This is YOUR kid. Not mine”
“You should 100% tell her that you are done babysitting and she will have to figure out childcare for any additional kids that she has.”
“No ifs, ands, or buts about it.”
“You need to stop babysitting now so she knows you’re serious.”
“NTA and they ARE taking advantage of you.”
“Does you daughter not realize you are exhausted and should be a retiree now!”
“Please please set boundaries NOW.”
“You need to manage their expectations before they make any decisions.”
“Explain you will not be able to help with childcare anymore because you are exhausted.”
“You are older and need to look after your own health and well-being.”
‘There is a reason people do not have young children in their late 50s.”
“Your daughter needs to know this now, before she gets pregnant and you feel obliged to work for free and little thanks for another 5 years.”-bunkbedgirl1989.
“You and your husband need to actually retire.”
“Tell your entitled and greedy daughter and son-in-law that you will not provide daycare on a regular basis for ANY kids, after this summer ends.”
“That gives them three months to make arrangements.”
“In September, they will need to figure out childcare for the kids they already have, and for any future children they decide to have, because you and your husband are going to travel in a casual and leisurely way.”
“I’m older than you, and right now you have your health, and the money and ability to enjoy yourself.”
“Don’t waste the next 10-15 years raising their kids.”
“You’ll be in your 70s, or sick, or disabled, by the time your daughter decides she doesn’t need you anymore.”
“Then she could stick you in a nursing home and never help you or visit.”
“Start your retirement now.”-NoxWild.
“But why are you begging?”
‘Just state, very clearly, ‘honey, we will not be providing full-time care to this new baby’.”
“You can do what you want, but you need to know that you cannot count on us as care givers’.”-Spectrum2081.
New parents who have access to grandparents who can watch their children for free are very lucky indeed.
Expecting them to be at their beck and call whenever they need them, however, is not something any new parent should feel entitled to.
Here’s hoping that the OP’s daughter and SIL will come to realize this, and the OP can continue to have a close and loving relationship with her grandchildren.