My Daughter-in-Law Is Constantly Asking Me to Babysit My Grandkids, but I Refuse It

Family & kids
3 weeks ago

When family dynamics get complicated, it’s not unusual for tensions to arise, especially when it comes to childcare. One common source of conflict is the expectation placed on grandparents to take on babysitting duties.

She explained what happened.

My son and daughter-in-law have been married for about seven years and have two kids. With all my children now grown and living independently, my husband and I, both still working, are looking forward to retiring in about 10–15 years, around the age of 70.

My relationship with my daughter-in-law was much better before the grandchildren came into the picture. They live 30 minutes away, and she frequently tries to drop the kids off with me. Initially, I thought my son was aware of this, but a conversation revealed he had no idea. I showed him the numerous texts requesting babysitting, and he was surprised to learn that I had babysat 16 times in a month, whereas he believed it had only been twice. It turns out she had been leaving the kids with me to socialize, while my son thought she was taking them along.

Good morning! Thank you for always being by my side and listening to me.

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To ensure clear communication, I started using a group chat with both of them, responding to her requests only there. If she spammed me with texts, I would post screenshots in the group chat for my son to address.

We discussed the situation, and she expressed a desire for her kids to have the same close relationship with their grandparents that she had. I explained that being still employed, I couldn’t commit to babysitting every other day as her grandparents had done. We compromised on having a “grandma’s day” every two weeks.

This arrangement worked for about a year, but with my son now traveling for work, the situation resurfaced. The time difference makes it difficult for him to intervene promptly. Recently, she arrived at my home unexpectedly, asking me to babysit while she went shopping. Having reached my limit, I told her I had my own life and wouldn’t be the stereotypical grandmother she envisioned. I warned that if she left the kids with me without my consent again, I would call the police for abandonment.

She called me a jerk and stormed off. Later, my son called, trying to smooth things over and suggesting I might have gone too far.

People stood on her side.

  • “That’s nice she had that kind of relationship with her grandparents, but absolutely nothing entitles her to force it on you. Good job on the boundaries.” achippedmugofchai / Reddit
  • “I’m concerned she kept the many times she dropped them off with you a secret from her husband. It would get me wondering if there was a bad reason for that. It could be something as simple as being overwhelmed with motherhood and responsibility. But whatever it is, she is being excessive with her demands on you.” musixlife / Reddit
  • “I get the impression it’s less about having a relationship with Grandma and more about a free babysitter she can dump her kids on whenever it’s convenient to her.” wickybasket / Reddit
  • “This isn’t about the kids at all. She is using you for free babysitting so she doesn’t have to parent. She is abandoning her children.” candycoatedcoward / Reddit
  • “Totally fair for setting your boundaries. Your son not knowing the extent of the babysitting at first and having to enforce it through a strict group chat policy is a warning sign that they are not communicating well.” rubarb_knight / Reddit
  • “Get a ring doorbell and don’t answer the door. Use it to greet her and the kids, then tell them you aren’t available, and that you’ll see them on the next preplanned day together. Your DIL is obviously struggling with being a mother. I hope she gets some mental health support. She needs it.” EnvironmentalLuck515 / Reddit
  • “When you get to the point that you have to threaten somebody with the police, they need to ask themselves what’s wrong with their behavior, not the other way around.” Recent_Body_5784 / Reddit
  • “I had a great relationship with all of my grandparents, but the difference between my relationship with them and the relationship that my kids have with my parents is that most grandparents now still have to work. Both of my grandfathers were able to retire in their late 50s, so it was a lot easier to look after kids when you also didn’t have to work a full-time job.” plumbus_hun / Reddit
  • “Where are her parents? Why doesn’t she take the kids to her own mother?” ddhudson2002 / Reddit

Navigating family dynamics, especially when it involves differing expectations around childcare, is never easy. This experience has underscored the importance of clear communication and mutual respect. Ultimately, the goal is to support the family while also honoring your own life and commitments.

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