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4 Real-Life Stories about Grandmas Who Have to Choose between Babysitting Their Grandkids & Their Own Time

Grandmas often hold a significant role in family life. This is especially true when it concerns looking after their grandkids. However, deciding to step in as a caregiver can sometimes clash with their own plans and needs.

These four real-life stories from Reddit show where grandmothers had to make tough choices between helping their families and preserving their personal time.

Two elderly women sitting on a sofa and a child faced away from the camera | Source: Pexels

Two elderly women sitting on a sofa and a child faced away from the camera | Source: Pexels

Grandma Refused to Babysit Grandkids Because of Daughter-In-Law’s Strict Rules

In July 2020, a grandmother faced a dilemma. Her son, father to a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, needed her to babysit for a week due to his wife’s return to work.

The Original Poster (OP) explained, “She has been trying to return to the workforce for a while now and she finally got an offer in her field. The earliest she can get the kids into daycare is a week after when they want her to start.”

A woman laughing while at work sitting behind a desk | Source: Pexels

A woman laughing while at work sitting behind a desk | Source: Pexels

This meant OP would look after the kids nine hours a day. The arrangement, however, came with a list of strict rules from her daughter-in-law (DIL): a vegetarian diet without provided food, no TV, enforced enrichment worksheets, and a stringent schedule. “I do understand naps but I think the rest of it is too much when I would be doing them a favor,” said OP.

Most burdensome was the prohibition of visitors, isolating the grandmother from her daily social interactions. OP, who admitted she would rather babysit for her other son, penned:

“I see my friends almost every day. […] She thinks my friends are bad people and she is very strict about the influences on her kids.”

Two elderly women reading the newspaper together | Source: Pexels

Two elderly women reading the newspaper together | Source: Pexels

“I told my son that that’s way too much to ask of anyone and they need to find a professional,” OP stated, highlighting the unreasonable expectations placed upon her.

OP’s son tried to persuade her otherwise, but she refused to change her mind. Meanwhile, the DIL called her in tears, pleading with her to look after the couple’s children while emphasizing the importance of the job opportunity. But, the grandmother stood her ground, advocating for her own comfort and boundaries.

A woman on the phone while looking unhappy | Source: Freepik

A woman on the phone while looking unhappy | Source: Freepik

Grandma Refused to Babysit Newborn Grandchild While Daughter Goes Back to Work

Meanwhile, in June 2022, a 29-year-old woman revealed on Reddit that she reached out to her 64-year-old mother for help with her newborn, only to be met with refusal. OP had to return to work at the time.

Unfortunately, her mother, having been out of the workforce since 1992, declared she was too old and had already completed her parenting duties. She suggested a “traditional” family model, which was not feasible due to financial constraints.

A woman holding a baby standing beside an elderly woman | Source: Pexels

A woman holding a baby standing beside an elderly woman | Source: Pexels

However, she explained to her mother why it would not work for her family. Firstly, she earned more than her partner, she had multiple debts to her name, and while the partner made less money, they had debt, too.

All in all, OP was the highest-earning breadwinner, so she needed to keep her job because her salary kept her family afloat. Faced with the harsh realities of debt and the need for dual incomes, OP proposed a compromise, which her mother countered with a demand for $20 per hour for babysitting.

A black envelope with banknotes inside | Source: Pexels

A black envelope with banknotes inside | Source: Pexels

OP shared, “Plus late fees if we are late for pickup, and must provide her with a car seat, stroller, bottles, and pretty much double of everything we have at our home to compensate for taking the baby to her house. She will not step foot in my house for her own personal reasons.”

This proposition added financial strain leading OP to consider daycare a more viable option. She emphasized the need to resolve her finances with her spouse first. Hence, she wanted her mother to babysit for free. But the mom still refused to understand her reasons.

An elderly woman talking to a young woman | Source: Pexels

An elderly woman talking to a young woman | Source: Pexels

Grandma Gets Her ‘Petty Revenge’ While Babysitting Her Grandchild

That same month, a humorous yet telling anecdote emerged from a situation where a grandmother was unexpectedly tasked with babysitting. Another Redditor narrated a story of petty revenge executed by her mother-in-law.

“My mother-in-law recently performed such a beautiful, but small petty revenge, I had to share it here. My sister-in-law had a surprise baby a year and a half ago. Both parents work, and the kid is in daycare during the school year,” OP wrote.

Kids playing at daycare | Source: Unsplash

Kids playing at daycare | Source: Unsplash

Once it was summer break, the child’s daycare would close. Instead of finding another summer daycare, the couple randomly dropped off their kid at the grandmother’s house without asking or announcing it first.

OP recounted, “The other day, grandma had a couple of errands to run. As she was about to leave, sister-in-law arrives with the kid. Now, my mother-in-law is the sweetest, gentlest woman in the universe. So, she takes the kid without complaining.”

She prepared lunch for the child and let the child take a nap. Instead of allowing the kid to sleep for the usual half-hour, the kid slept for over three hours.

A child sleeping on the bed | Source: Unsplash

A child sleeping on the bed | Source: Unsplash

“The result? Tired parents had to deal with a kid who refused to go to sleep until 1am. Delicious,” said OP. The grandmother’s method of “petty revenge,” allowing the child to oversleep and thus disrupt the parents’ nighttime routine, serves as a light-hearted commentary on the often overlooked contributions of grandparents.

Grandma Refused to Babysit Her Grandson So She Could Rest

Fast forward to September 2023, a 56-year-old grandmother made a tough decision to prioritize her own rest over babysitting her 14-month-old grandson during her vacation.

Her 26-year-old daughter became a single mom after her husband left her when the couple’s son was only three months old. Seeing OP’s child had struggled to support herself financially, she allowed her to move in with her.

“I have a hectic routine where I do my things (work, gym, etc.) until 5 PM, and from 6 PM to 8 PM, I stay with my grandson until my daughter arrives,” OP further divulged.

A woman walking with a young child | Source: Unsplash

A woman walking with a young child | Source: Unsplash

She helped pay for expenses at home while her daughter focused on spending on baby stuff and daycare. This means OP’s daughter has enough disposable income, which meant she could save up to move out. OP revealed:

“I decided that I would take a month off next month to rest, without necessarily traveling. When my daughter found out about the vacation, she talked about the possibility of saving money on daycare to save up to move since I could stay with my grandson.”

A woman leaning against the monument while smiling | Source: Unsplash

A woman leaning against the monument while smiling | Source: Unsplash

OP instantly refused but offered to help her in the morning, adding the afternoon was off-limits. Despite her daughter’s emotional plea for help to save on daycare costs and gain financial independence, the grandmother remained firm.

“[… I can’t help but feel guilty about my daughter’s situation. I love my grandson, but it is also my rest,” OP expressed.

Read four more real-life stories about fathers who refused to pay for their children’s weddings.