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Babysitter Wants TV, Full-Time Working Mom Doesn't

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 

This is a little long (I feel like all my posts are long, lol).

 

To complicate things a little, my DD's babysitter is my mom. DH and I both work full time due to financial constraints, and also due to financial constraints my mom willingly watches our DD for $200.00 a week. This has caused huge stress to my relationship with my mother, but I see no way around it. We can't afford daycare and we can't afford not to work.

 

Anyway, we have been completely TV-free with DD. This has always rubbed my mom the wrong way a little bit, and she started letting DD watch videos of herself on her iPhone against my wishes, insisting that it helped DD get through the long day away from me to look at pictures and video of me and herself. I allowed as long as it was ONLY home videos and nothing else, even though I really wanted DD to have NO screen time before two. 

 

The other day, out of the blue, my mom declared, "I'm going to fight for a half-hour of Sesame Street this fall." DH and I are very clear on this: no TV (I wish it was no screen time at all) before 2 per the AAP. DD WILL be two in the fall, but why introduce it even then if DD shows no interest? We both wanted to wait much longer, may even until 5, to introduce a half-hour of TV. 

 

But here's the thing: we're not with her all day, and my mom is. At the moment my dad takes their car to work every day, so she's stuck at home with DD and no car (they may be getting a second car soon, hopefully). I have tremendous guilt about that and I feel like I have to allow the TV since my mom feels like she needs that break. But putting huge limits on screen time is something I feel REALLY strongly about and I don't really want to give in. 

 

I would really appreciate an unbiased, outside opinion on this. I don't think I can really be objective. I would also appreciate hearing when TV-limited families introduced TV and if introducing it this young had negative effects for your family. Thanks for reading. 

 

ETA: Since this has been featured and is going to get more views now, I wanted to clear a few things up: I think my original post came off as super ungrateful, so I want to make it clear that I know how amazing our daycare situation is and how lucky we are. I am very grateful (though perhaps not always grateful enough) to my mother for the service that she offered to provide.

 

My mother is not with my DD everyday; she's with her 3.5 days a week (my MIL takes her the other 1.5.) Right now they are out and about every day, taking walks, going to the playground, meeting other moms and babies, etc. My mom is nervous about having no car in the fall, and I think that's what caused the TV desire (although it now looks like we ARE going to be able to give her a car, yay!). She is not currently trapped inside all day.

 

Thanks everyone for your replies, including the more recent ones of support. I don't have time just now but I will respond to specific replies a little later. Thanks again. :)


Edited by annaknitsspock - 7/30/12 at 7:18am
post #2 of 66

I think there are a few factors/choices here.  First, if granted permission to let her watch 1/2 hour of TV, do you think your mom will stick to that or will it slowly creep up and up? That would be my biggest concern about allowing TV-I personally don't think 1/2 hour is that big a deal (though I understand that it is to you and don't mean to minimize that), but I find that when I allow something like that, it quickly spins out of control and it is really hard to go back to the original rule. 

 

If this is that harmful to your relationship with your mom, I would seriously up the search for new childcare.  It sounds like she is not respecting your boundaries and it is not a good fit.  You need to have a conversation with her that you are in fact paying her for her services and as such you expect certain rules to be adhered to.  This is not free daycare where you should feel like you just have to let everything and anything go.  You may need to search again for different childcare, or changing yours or dh's schedules to lessen childcare so your mom gets a shorter day, etc. 

 

You may also want to point out to your mom that your dd is highly unlikely to sit and zone out in front of the tv for the full 30 minutes at this age.  My 2+yearold will watch maybe 10-15 minutes of a show at a time and that is it and I think that is proabbly normal for this age group. 

post #3 of 66
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the reply. :) I really appreciate your thoughts on the half-hour being gradually extended and the possibility of DD not wanting to sit for a full 30 minutes. Those are really valid points that I hadn't thought about or discussed with my mom. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by greenemami View Post

If this is that harmful to your relationship with your mom, I would seriously up the search for new childcare.  It sounds like she is not respecting your boundaries and it is not a good fit.  You need to have a conversation with her that you are in fact paying her for her services and as such you expect certain rules to be adhered to.  This is not free daycare where you should feel like you just have to let everything and anything go.  You may need to search again for different childcare, or changing yours or dh's schedules to lessen childcare so your mom gets a shorter day, etc. 

 

 

I feel like I have misrepresented my mom a little bit and I feel bad about that--for the most part she does respect my wishes and is also vigilant about what matters most (safety, emotional closeness, etc.). However, I think you are right about different childcare being better and that honestly breaks my heart, because we literally have no other option. We are buried under student debt and currently have no flexibility in our schedules. Sorry to unload that, I just wish the situation was different. 

 

The fact that we pay her is on my mind a lot; I just feel like it's such a tiny amount that I don't really get to do the "I pay you so you have to do what I say" thing. 

 

Thanks again for the reply, I really appreciate the suggestions. 

post #4 of 66

1/2 of Sesame street a day is nothing.

I am sorry, but you sound super controlling and ungrateful. Your mother is providing full time care for meager $200 a week and no health benefits. Please, you got the most amazing gift form the universe and you are about to reject your mom and ruin a lifelong relationship  for 30 min of TV?

 

Yes, you mom wants a break. As you know, it is hard to be with a child for 8 hours a day. She deserves a break.

 

When my kid was your age, my days care ate up 50% of my income.

 

 

Sure, argue with your mom and see what kind of day care you can find for $200.. I tell you what kind, very substandard one.  Do you really think that you can find a caregiver for $200 a week who will respect 99% wishes and provide emotionall closiness. You child is getting on on one care right now.

 

Your child is more likely to get ill in day care. you will take a lot of sick days and get fired.

 

Do not let your dogma run over the good thing you have.

post #5 of 66

I am a SAHM and I think that my mental health would really start to fade if I couldn't get out of the house. And it is, of course, good for kids to be around other kids (I am not talking about 'normal, mainstream' kids -- but other like minded families and children).

Do you think that if you found a way for your mom and daughter to get out of the house that she might feel differently about the TV show? (for a local AP park playdate, storytime at the library, a class of some kind, etc)? Do you think that this might help your mom not push the TV thing? Could she take the bus places? Is she open to reading about TV and children and why you don't use TV?

 

I don't know your mother at all of course, but I did just want to say that if I were stuck at home all day, every day with my children, I would go a bit nuts. We don't watch any TV most days. But when they are sick, we do tend to let them chill out and watch some carefully selected programming. 

 

Good luck figuring this out!

post #6 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

1/2 of Sesame street a day is nothing.

I am sorry, but you sound super controlling and ungrateful. Your mother is providing full time care for meager $200 a week and no health benefits. Please, you got the most amazing gift form the universe and you are about to reject your mom and ruin a lifelong relationship  for 30 min of TV?

 

Yes, you mom wants a break. As you know, it is hard to be with a child for 8 hours a day. She deserves a break.

 

When my kid was your age, my days care ate up 50% of my income.

 

 

Sure, argue with your mom and see what kind of day care you can find for $200.. I tell you what kind, very substandard one.  Do you really think that you can find a caregiver for $200 a week who will respect 99% wishes and provide emotionall closiness. You child is getting on on one care right now.

 

Your child is more likely to get ill in day care. you will take a lot of sick days and get fired.

 

Do not let your dogma run over the good thing you have.

 

I'm so sorry, as I said in my post above I feel I really misrepresented my mom--she IS great, and I AM grateful. I also mentioned that I know that $200 is meager. I think you did read my above post because you mentioned the emotional closeness, so I kind of wish you weren't attacking me, but I DO understand how I could come across as ungrateful. That said, I do feel I have a right to impose restrictions--this is MY baby and no matter who is watching her I have the right to have standards. Now, I'm not saying I WON'T compromise or that I don't see the value in compromising to make my mom's day easier. I just feel a bit of a need to defend myself against your post--nowhere did I say that I was rejecting my mom or singlehandedly ruining our relationship. I'm trying to maintain it and still preserve things that are important to me as a mother. 

 

I do appreciate your feedback. I do at times feel I can be controlling. I have high standards. I appreciate that you would advocate for my mom and I think you are probably right--if she needs the break, I should allow it. I don't think my original post made me out to be the mean, ungrateful daughter you think I am, but I definitely should have mentioned how great my mom is. 


Edited by annaknitsspock - 7/25/12 at 1:18pm
post #7 of 66

A couple of different thoughts here, in no particular order.

 

- If you don't like the daycare situation, get another one.  What she is doing is not harmful or dangerous.  Not ideal- I can see that, but it's a trade off for below-market-value child care with a loving family member.

 

-Screen free is a nice idea, but unless you are willing to make your whole family 100% screen free then it is really only a possibility for a first child.  We did limit screen time when my first was little... after that I realized it wasn't worth the effort honestly.  And (to my surprise) my kids have really gained a lot from TV and screen time (computer time)  <shrug>  They learn all sorts of stuff.

 

-For every person and every family there ARE battles to lay down and fight for.  Is this one for you?  Is the screen-time issue more important to you than your relationship with your mom and your child's relationship with their grandparent?  I don't mean that in a demeaning way- if your relationships are already strained it's possible that your screen-free values ARE currently more important.

 

good luck!

post #8 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tribalmax View Post

Do you think that if you found a way for your mom and daughter to get out of the house that she might feel differently about the TV show? (for a local AP park playdate, storytime at the library, a class of some kind, etc)? Do you think that this might help your mom not push the TV thing? Could she take the bus places? Is she open to reading about TV and children and why you don't use TV?

 

Thanks, this is a great idea. I'm definitely getting her into some classes and hopefully my mother will have access to a car (there is no public transportation in our town). I have discussed the reasons behind the TV thing with her a lot, but maybe I should print some stuff out for her. Thanks again for your input. 

post #9 of 66
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post

A couple of different thoughts here, in no particular order.

 

- If you don't like the daycare situation, get another one.  What she is doing is not harmful or dangerous.  Not ideal- I can see that, but it's a trade off for below-market-value child care with a loving family member.

 

I truly, truly wish this was an option. My relationship with my mom has always been conflict-free, and the babysitting has caused intense stress between us (not just about the TV thing--that's really just a tiny, tiny part of a much larger issue). I know I've already mentioned it and I don't want to go on and on about it, but we literally have no other option due to our finances.

 

-Screen free is a nice idea, but unless you are willing to make your whole family 100% screen free then it is really only a possibility for a first child.  We did limit screen time when my first was little... after that I realized it wasn't worth the effort honestly.  And (to my surprise) my kids have really gained a lot from TV and screen time (computer time)  <shrug>  They learn all sorts of stuff.

 

We will obviously have to reevaluate as our DD gets older and if we have other children, but my own research has encouraged me to keep the whole family very screen-limited (not screen-free, but limited). It's just what we want for our family, so please, please don't think I'm being judgmental. And I'm always open to the possibility of change if circumstances change. 

 

-For every person and every family there ARE battles to lay down and fight for.  Is this one for you?  Is the screen-time issue more important to you than your relationship with your mom and your child's relationship with their grandparent?  I don't mean that in a demeaning way- if your relationships are already strained it's possible that your screen-free values ARE currently more important.

 

I think this is a good point. Perhaps this is not a hill to die on. In no way are my screen-free values more important that my relationship with my mom or my DD's relationship with her, and since there has already been a lot of stress about many other, more important things, perhaps conceding on this issue could help my mom and me feel better about each other. Thanks so much for your input. 

post #10 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post

A couple of different thoughts here, in no particular order.

- If you don't like the daycare situation, get another one.  What she is doing is not harmful or dangerous.  Not ideal- I can see that, but it's a trade off for below-market-value child care with a loving family member.

-Screen free is a nice idea, but unless you are willing to make your whole family 100% screen free then it is really only a possibility for a first child.  We did limit screen time when my first was little... after that I realized it wasn't worth the effort honestly.  And (to my surprise) my kids have really gained a lot from TV and screen time (computer time)    They learn all sorts of stuff.

-For every person and every family there ARE battles to lay down and fight for.  Is this one for you?  Is the screen-time issue more important to you than your relationship with your mom and your child's relationship with their grandparent?  I don't mean that in a demeaning way- if your relationships are already strained it's possible that your screen-free values ARE currently more important.

good luck!

I agree with this 100%. Personally, spending time with a loving grandma is a treasure that cannot be replaced.
post #11 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

1/2 of Sesame street a day is nothing.

I am sorry, but you sound super controlling and ungrateful. Your mother is providing full time care for meager $200 a week and no health benefits. Please, you got the most amazing gift form the universe and you are about to reject your mom and ruin a lifelong relationship  for 30 min of TV?

 

Yes, you mom wants a break. As you know, it is hard to be with a child for 8 hours a day. She deserves a break.

 

When my kid was your age, my days care ate up 50% of my income.

 

 

Sure, argue with your mom and see what kind of day care you can find for $200.. I tell you what kind, very substandard one.  Do you really think that you can find a caregiver for $200 a week who will respect 99% wishes and provide emotionall closiness. You child is getting on on one care right now.

 

Your child is more likely to get ill in day care. you will take a lot of sick days and get fired.

 

Do not let your dogma run over the good thing you have.

yeahthat.gif

 

I'm in a similar situation as you, OP. I leave to go to night school and leave DS with his grandpa. Grandpa is in his 60s so handling childcare exhausts him and I can see it in his eyes when I return home from school. He watches TV a lot! He works at a labor intensive job 7-4pm so...I can see where he wants that break. I had a battle with him about letting DS watch tv and it went nowhere. It just stressed me out... but grandpa watches DS for free as I am a very broke college student barely getting by. So, therefore, I am very grateful that he watches him.  Besides it is usually history channel, national geographic, or discovery channel... They are kinda educational as long as there is no war or violence going on. He is also a video game buff so I said NO on the violent video games and ok'd the music games (like rock band, dance central, guitar hero, etc.) You got to give your mom something to compromise on. You can't just forbid her or she will do it anyways, YKWIM? I found that that works.

 

There was a time that I wanted to put ds in daycare or with another babysitter... but I can see there is a bond between DS and grandpa and I don't want to break that. And there is no way I can afford it.

 

I also think the pros of leaving DD with your mom vs. daycare/another babysitter outweighs the cons.

post #12 of 66

Yeah, I don't see this as a hill to die on. You're getting apparently discounted daycare (although this is the going rate in my area), and she gets to be with someone who you trust - half an hour of tv is a very small price to pay for this kind of security.

 

I really really don't wish to sound condescending in any way - please don't take it as such. We have ideals when our kids are little, and before they're born. These ideals often fall by the wayside as they age, as we realize that certain things aren't worth the residual side effects they cause. We keep the things that are of paramount importance, and adjust our thinking toward the other stuff. :)

post #13 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by annaknitsspock View Post

 

I'm so sorry, as I said in my post above I feel I really misrepresented my mom--she IS great, and I AM grateful. I also mentioned that I know that $200 is meager. I think you did read my above post because you mentioned the emotional closeness, so I kind of wish you weren't attacking me, but I DO understand how I could come across as ungrateful. That said, I do feel I have a right to impose restrictions--this is MY baby and no matter who is watching her I have the right to have standards. Now, I'm not saying I WON'T compromise or that I don't see the value in compromising to make my mom's day easier. I just feel a bit of a need to defend myself against your post--nowhere did I say that I was rejecting my mom or singlehandedly ruining our relationship. I'm trying to maintain it and still preserve things that are important to me as a mother. 

 

I do appreciate your feedback. I do at times feel I can be controlling. I have high standards. I appreciate that you would advocate for my mom and I think you are probably right--if she needs the break, I should allow it. I don't think my original post made me out to be the mean, ungrateful daughter you think I am, but I definitely should have mentioned how great my mom is. 

Yes, you do have the right to have standards BUT your poor mother is doing you a HUGE favor.  Do you know how much an in-home nanny would cost your family?  Your mother is worth about 10 times that because she also really loves your daughter.  I think demanding she remain TV free is totally unreasonable.   I'm a fairly young mom, yet I *need* my kid to have a TV break or I will lose my mind.  Physically I just can't keep going all. day. long.  Just to be able to make lunch or dinner or whatever without having to stop every three seconds is impossible without using TV here and there.  And your poor mom is cooped up in your house all day?  I can't tell you how lucky you are that she's taking this from you.  Lots of people have to work and can't afford quality daycare.  And they deal with it.  You're in a fantastic situation and quite frankly, if my mom was letting my kid watch two hours of TV a day I still wouldn't be complaining in your situation.  Cut her a wee bit of slack.  She's not your slave. 

post #14 of 66
Thread Starter 

Thank you all so much for the advice. I really appreciate it.

 

Thanks, C is for Cookie, it's always nice to hear from someone in a similar situation who has similar concerns. It's really hard when lack of money and the need to go to work/school limit your own time with your baby, isn't it? You live a certain lifestyle but you have to balance that with your caregiver's lifestyle and, if the caregiver is your parent, also deal with the guilt of imposing on your own parent. It's tough. Thanks for sharing your situation. You're right that the bond between grandparent and child is the huge plus is a difficult situation. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alphaghetti View Post

I really really don't wish to sound condescending in any way - please don't take it as such. We have ideals when our kids are little, and before they're born. These ideals often fall by the wayside as they age, as we realize that certain things aren't worth the residual side effects they cause. We keep the things that are of paramount importance, and adjust our thinking toward the other stuff. :)

 

Thank you for saying this gently. I try to keep this in mind and I appreciate the reminder. I do often get a little impatient with the idea that strict ideals CAN'T be maintained as a child grows, but since I'm not the one there with my DD to impose those ideals, I think you are right that I have to let things fall by the wayside, and this well may be one of those things. Thanks again.

post #15 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

Yes, you do have the right to have standards BUT your poor mother is doing you a HUGE favor.  Do you know how much an in-home nanny would cost your family?  Your mother is worth about 10 times that because she also really loves your daughter.  I think demanding she remain TV free is totally unreasonable.   I'm a fairly young mom, yet I *need* my kid to have a TV break or I will lose my mind.  Physically I just can't keep going all. day. long.  Just to be able to make lunch or dinner or whatever without having to stop every three seconds is impossible without using TV here and there.  And your poor mom is cooped up in your house all day?  I can't tell you how lucky you are that she's taking this from you.  Lots of people have to work and can't afford quality daycare.  And they deal with it.  You're in a fantastic situation and quite frankly, if my mom was letting my kid watch two hours of TV a day I still wouldn't be complaining in your situation.  Cut her a wee bit of slack.  She's not your slave. 

 

I've read a lot of your posts and have always thought you seemed cool, so I'm really not interested in getting in a fight with you. But this is really unnecessarily mean. I've stated multiple times that I understand how cheap our daycare is--just want to say that again, I know what I pay her is a pittance at best. I'm not "demanding" anything, and there is nothing for my mom to "take from me." Any decision I made I would discuss with her and if she was truly opposed to something I would either give in or work with her to come up with a solution that works for her. Did you read all of my posts, especially the one to Alenushka? I have expressed my gratitude and the INCREDIBLE guilt I feel for imposing on my mom. Like many mothers here, I don't want to give into mainstream parenting and I don't feel that, just because I am very, very, VERY lucky to have such good daycare, I should have to abandon that goal. I feel like I am being attacked for trying to uphold a crunchy parenting ideal when what I was looking for was some advice from other TV-limited moms on how to manage this situation. Limiting TV is important to me. I'm not "complaining," I'm trying to find a solution. I don't think that makes me a slave driver. I honestly think implying that I think my mother is a SLAVE was going too far. My mother could say she doesn't want to babysit at any time--I'm hardly forcing her. I would really appreciate a reply because I NEVER come on her to start drama. As I said to Alenushka, I definitely see how my original post came across as ungrateful, but your post stung. 

post #16 of 66

Very gently...how many days have you spent solidly in the house not going anywhere with your DD?  How many days in a row?

 

Because i'm a SAHM of 2 (3 in January :)) and i would go TOTALLY NUTS if i was unable to leave the house and unable to have even 5 minutes "off" on here while the kids watched a show.  My eldest is 6 and my youngest is 2, so there was a major problem when #2 was born and #1 (who was mostly screen free to age 2.5 but who was 4 when dd2 arrived) was wanting to watch her normal shows (mostly DVD's or CBeebies, which is a BBC kids channel with no adverts).  The result of which is that DD2 watched tv a lot earlier than her sister.  At this stage i'm not worried about the effect it has had on her.  

 

HOWEVER, we go out multiple times a week.  We use public transport in the main (DP drives the car to work), but we are out with various friends Monday and Thursday, and have visitors Wednesday, plus XP comes over Tuesdays and Thursdays to have dinner and play with the kids.  We go out as a family (with or without XP) Saturday and Sunday.  I would find it unbearable and exhausting to be in the house all week, week after week, month after month with my kids EVEN with being able to use the tv to briefly entertain them.  Without doesn't bear thinking about and it's not like i use it for 6 hours a day or anything!  I'm talking half an hour here or there.

 

So from my POV i would allow some tv until the car situation is resolved.

 

BUT, if you really can't bear to, then i would remove the tv from the home, remove all the screens.  Your mom isn't going to have her watching sesame street on her phone i assume (perhaps wrongly!)?  If there is no option for tv then perhaps it will stop being an issue.  I would really also suggest, if that is your plan, that you could plan activities (2/day maybe?) that they can do, i.e. make playdough and put it in the fridge for them to take out and play with, or leave out pastry and jelly for them to make simple jam tarts together.  Buy in paints and have her arrive some days to find your kitchen/wherever already set up for a painting morning.  Try getting the Toddler's Busy Book by (i think) Trish Kuffner, it's full of ideas.  Provide entertainment for them so your mom isn't having to find the energy and imagination to keep her occupied all day long, and try to create spaces/activites where your DD can be observed from a distance and your mom can get a little down time.  Find out if there are any groups nearby, or maybe even see if you can arrange a ride from SAH friends to take your DD and mom to a group farther away.  Anyway that's all my ideas.  My own mother died of cancer 15 months before my eldest child was born, so i've never faced this scenario, but from what i see amongst friends it IS hard to have the person who parented you parent your own kids YOUR way and not theirs, even when those "ways" are quite similar. 

 

Best of luck. :D

post #17 of 66
Thread Starter 
Thanks, GoBecGo. Those suggestions are all really, really helpful. In response to your question, I was at home with my daughter almost full-time for the first year, but I respect your point that I am a bit removed from the situation now and need to give my mom's POV more acknowledgement.

Through all these responses I have realized that although I AM extremely grateful for my mom's childcare, that gratitude is not extending far enough and my view of their day together is too limited. While I do focus on how lucky I am to have someone who is great about respecting so many of my wishes, I obviously need to focus on that more when conflicts like these come up. I do want to point out that they are not CURRENTLY stuck in the house all day--in the warm weather they are out and about constantly. It's in the fall when it gets cold that my mom was talking about.

I am really taking the constructive criticism to heart and I truly appreciate it.
post #18 of 66
Thread Starter 
I also wanted to add that I'm really sorry about your mom.
post #19 of 66

Is tv to get your mom a break during the day? If it is, then asking for 30 minutes of a show/video you approve doesn't sound like a bad compromise.

We did not go tv free until dd was older- around 7 I think- and still allow dvd's.  Just turning on the tv allowed commercials or watching much more than was planned. A selection of dvd's allowed for better and more thoughtful viewing than just turning the tv on.

I would choose a few dvd's and send them to your mom's house and tell her your dd can watch those.

I would also make a list of non-tv ideas for getting a break to share with her.

 

I would not dump your mom as your childcare provider over this. If your dd is otherwise very well cared for and in a loving environment that you can afford then I would let go of your control a bit. The positives of such care would be more important long term for me than limited exposure to screen time.

post #20 of 66
Your mom wins. Half an hour? That just not that much. i could see if it was having the tv on all the time, but not just for her to catch a break.
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