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Grandchildren question


Senior Member
This is the only place I can ask this question because I wanted to know how other former teachers feel. I absolutely love my grandchildren...
ages 4 months, 2, 3, and 5. Don't mind watching them a few hours at a time, or if they are sick on an "as needed" basis.

However I don't enjoy feeling obligated to take them all day for sitting when the parents work. I feel really guilty about my attitude and am not sure where it comes from. Perhaps because I never had that option when I was parenting as GP lived far away. As a former elementary teacher I feel like I should want to do this. So... I am feeling so guilty. Would love to hear opinions on the subject.
The four children are in two different families and it would not be 4 together.


Senior Member
I dont have any grands but Im sure I will during the next 5 years. I love babies and can hardly wait!

My thoughts are the same as yours. Babysitting occasionally to give parents some fun time sounds great. I will also be there for any sickness or emergency. But...I do not want another job. That includes babysitting M-Fr while kids work. Thats not why I retired. I gave 30+ years to teaching and now I finally have time for me. I deserve this.

My boys make a lot of money and can well afford nannies or day care. I plan on letting them arrange for that. They can and they will.


Senior Member
I have 4 grandchildren from babyhood through upper elementary. Two families. I don't do regular daycare. I've never been asked to do daycare. I adore my grandkids and I babysit for parent nights out, have sleepovers at my house, and care for sick children when I'm needed. When my kids were young, I lived 500 miles away from my family. There were no relatives available to help with childcare. My husband and I figured it out and made it work.

My sons and daughters-in-law all work and have good jobs. They are not struggling financially. I say this because I have a wonderful friend who does provide daycare for her grandkids and before and after school care. The family does have money problems, and I know she wants to help. She loves her grandchildren.

Nevertheless, she is exhausted all the time. She has given up much of her social life. This is her choice, not because she wants it this way, but because she would do anything for her kids (and especially for her grandkids). Are they grateful? As far as I can tell, not in the least. They feel entitled to her help-weekdays and weekends. And they continue to make the same kinds of choices that got them into their current difficulties.

*I love my independent retirement life and the activities and freedom it brings. I taught with a woman, however, who wanted nothing more from retirement than being a SAHGM for her potential grandchildren. She hated that she had had to teach and not stay home with her only child. Believe me, we all heard about it for years. Some retirees truly want to be full time grandparents, and retirement is all about freedom to make choices. Unfortunately for her, there have been no grandchildren.
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Senior Member

Nope. And I do not feel guilty one bit. We will fill in if our one local dd and her dh are both traveling but those little ones go to day care during the day. We do morning and evenings if it is a several day stint. I have traveled to NY to watch another two, once for six days while dd and her dh vacationed. Wow...that was exhausting. We try and give each family one weekend per year of watching kids so they can get a break. If we have plans, we say no. All our kids have great jobs and plenty of money. They do not need everyday help and I would not do it. I feel I’d become resentful if I gave up too much of my time. We love our grandchildren so much but sixty something is not the time for long term childcare! Don’t feel guilty.


Full Member
I’ve provided childcare now for one gs for four years. I wish I had my life back honestly and no way would I do it for another kid should they get pregnant again (not likely). I’ve given up friends, a neat house, leisure time and sometimes I am resentful because my dd could be more frugal and work less.

So it’s okay to do what you really want to do. You have no moral obligation to provide free childcare.


Senior Member
You retired from a full-time job. Enjoy those beautiful babies on YOUR terms, helping out in an emergency, once-in-a-while, etc. NOT full time if that's not what you want. This is YOU Time and I hope you know you deserve it!


Senior Member

My grandchildren live 1200+ miles away, so I don't get to see them very often. I babysat them in the past when the parents had to go out of town for a few weeks. They paid for my flights, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time with the grandkids. Having said that, I would not do this if it were an every day obligation. I understand that day care and before/after school care are very expensive, but I would resent the demands on my time in retirement. If that sounds selfish, so be it.

One of my best friends fell into that trap when her DD and grandchildren moved closer. The occasional babysitting became a "could you take the kids to school and pick them up after school" thing and ended up being a full-time commitment during the summers. When she said she needed more time to herself they were very offended. She eventually solved the problem by moving 200 miles away from them. Now she watches the grandkids occasionally when the parents want to go away for a weekend.


Senior Member

When DD got pregnant I told her I would watch my Gs once day a week. For a short t8me it ended up being twice a week. But I said “I raised my children. I didn’t retire to babysit.” I watch him if he’s sick, or they need a day or night here and there.

The short time I watched him twice a week I was exhausted.


Senior Member
I watch my two-year old twin grand babies once a week. I work part time and I have a specific day to keep them. I thoroughly enjoy it and look forward to seeing them each week. This may be the last year I’ll be keeping them once a week because of possible preschool next year. I only have the two, so maybe that’s why I feel differently.


Senior Member
No daycare and no guilt. I told my children long ago that I’d raised them and that was it. My 1 grandchild is 500 miles away, so I don’t even do the occasional babysitting I would be willing to do. I feel no guilt whatsoever in making retirement time for me. And, lucky me, my kids get it and support it.


Senior Member
I have a 5 month old grandson. We have him once a week and I love it. It’s exhausting, though. I don’t think I could do it every day. My DH is around but I do all the work. I want to, though. I love it! We also keep him overnight once in a while. I like knowing that he’s growing up used to being with us regularly, and I’m looking forward to doing more stuff with him as he gets older. I get to see so many little changes from week to week. Tomorrow I get to see him dressed up for his first Halloween. I’m glad we live close to my son, DIL, and cutie pie!


Senior Member
babysitting grandchildren

I watched my grandchildren 2 days a week. That worked perfectly for me.....I got grandma time, my children got a break on daycare costs and I still had time for my own life. They did ask me if I'd be willing to watch them fulltime and even offered to pay but as I told them, I already raised my children and I didn't want to raise my grandchildren. I wanted to be grandma and have fun with them not have all the daily responsibilities.

As a former elementary teacher I feel like I should want to do this.
Just because we spent our careers with children (and enjoyed it) doesn't mean we want to spend our retirement with children. Don't feel guilty and enjoy your occasional babysitting.


Senior Member
re: taking care of grands...

Good morning to all-
Last year we moved to Arizona to help watch grandsons. We had two weeks' lead time, and we basically had to pack up the van and move out and re-start our lives in a totally unfamiliar place. We went to their house, fed the boys breakfast, got them ready for school, took them to school-on different schedules, so I made four trips to school every day.
We helped them with homework, my wife took the younger one through a very effective pre-school, pre-reading and math program she set up.
We were exhausted at the end of the day.
If it were not for weekend roadtrips, we just could not have made it.
Our intentions were good, and we did help the boys a lot, but it became obvious to us that we were really not helping my son's family out. He and daughter in law needed to raise their kids.
So we told them that at the start of this school year when both boys would be in school full-time, we were going home.And we did.
We miss the boys, and we miss seeing them all, but it's much better for everyone now. We must be very careful of acting on benevolent impulses- sometimes they come at a very high cost.
good day to all- Ed


Senior Member
I love hearing all these scenarios! But I want my grandkids to know me as "Grandma" - I think it changes when one is their main caregiver. I also want the flexibility to enjoy my retirement, and not be locked into a non-flexible schedule.

While I was teaching, I took care of my grandsons (from birth) two days a week during the summer- but because I wanted to! We do fun things! We go on field trips. I thoroughly enjoy them. And then they go home.

However, then their parents would also ask for occasional babysitting at night. This was too much! I couldn't handle having them 12- 15 hours.

I could not handle doing all day everyday day care. And if I have them for a special day, I cannot also do it at night. It is simply too tiring for me, and not fun.

I love Ed's comments. There are lots of needs to be balanced when considering doing daycare, and my needs are as important as the parents'/grandkids' needs.


Senior Member
Anansi is right

It's all on YOUR terms. I am close proximity to my DD, so I watch them on a weekly (occasional) time until there is a set schedule with the 2 kids (4 and 1). But my recently retired friend has a DD who is a single mom with 4 kids. She EXPECTS grandma to be there. I don't know what the outcome is BUT it's individual. AND remember...we are a different generation then these guys. Maybe they say thank you and respect your time-perhaps not. "Knowing yourself" is a great place to find balance.


Senior Member
No guilt

I love my grand kids, and will watch them for a morning or an afternoon if it fits into my schedule. When DD needed full time day care, I offered one day a week. It worked out ok, but eventually, DD found a full time person because I was not as convenient.<!--giggle-->


Senior Member
Every family is different as are expectations for babysitting. Grandparents also have different expectations. These expectations can change as circumstances change, ie: proximity, age, health issues. I believe that none of us would deny giving babysitting help where help is truly needed.

The trend today is to lay guilt on those grandparents who choose not to babysit on a regular/daily basis. I often babysat when I was a teenager. This no longer a popular choice so even occasional babysitting is left to the grandparents. I love my grandchildren but I'm over 70. My energy level has definitely changed. So, I babysit my grandchildren occasionally just to give parents a break or if there's an emergency.


Senior Member
So glad to read the posts from all these folks who feel the way I do! I love my grandkids....I only have 2 ( ages 6 and 2) but they are exhausting. My son in law once made the comment that it would be a great idea for me to move in with them and run a little day care for them and their four little friends. I just laughed and said....No Way! He never brought it up again. Like sky22 said in the OP.....my parents were not near me and so I had no help from them when my kids were little. I don't feel guilty about not volunteering to watch my grandkids. I'll do it from time to time, but not on any regular basis.


Senior Member
Thank you for input

Thank you all for responding. You definitely made me feel better about letting my guilt go. It has helped my resolution of sitting occasionally is fine. Regular basis is just too wearing and demanding of my time and energy. Thanks.


Senior Member
This was a great post.

1) I love my 6 grandchildren (ages 2-9) with one more coming in December.
2) They all live within 10 minutes of us. (I consider that a blessing.)
3) I will babysit on days they are sick or if the babysitter is unable.
4) I always check my schedule before saying Yes if it is not an emergency. I do not feel guilty when I say no.

My husband and I are both retired. We love our grandchildren, but we love our time together too.


Senior Member
I wouldn't want to do that

I was going to be babysitting my just turned 2-year-old gd, but decided not to. She is the cutest little love bug ever, but she came over sick and gave it to me and here I am a week later still sick.

I'm constantly giving the older kids rides and I enjoy that. I get to talk to them a bit and enjoy them. BUT the little ones. They're too much work. I enjoy having the kinder for an hour and doing reading lessons because I enjoy that. But I don't want to babysit the little ones more than an hour and certainly not every day.

I worked my entire adult life and I deserve to do whatever I want! Don't feel guilty. We should enjoy our golden years.


Senior Member
I don’t have my own kids but dh has two kids and do one grandchild. His daughter hopes to have another baby. I asked dh if we could move to where she is to babysit for a year if they do have another little one. He gave me a firm NO. He wants to travel and babysitting would hamper that.

Our plan is to travel and babysit for those times the kids have off but the parents don’t. I’m ok with a a week at a time throughout the year.


Senior Member
I'm lucky

Three of my grands live 7 minutes away. But the only time I do "daycare" is if they are sick or their daycare provider takes a paid vacation day. Oh, and during spring break, I watch them for a week. Well, I take them to their daycare providers (two are in a school program and one is still in daycare). I pick them up and stay overnight, then take them to their daycares again. Their parents go to Vegas for their anniversary each year.