Grandmothers & babysitting - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 67 Old 03-08-2002, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need some help! My mother has been indirectly hounding me to babysit my close to four year old son since he was born. So far we have been able to avoid it. One of the reasons is becasue simply, we don't go out alot and when we do or when we need a sitter we have friends our age that are able to do so very easily. They have a van, kids of their own to play with our son etc. My mother does not drive, she is stone deaf in one ear and not too physically agile ie getting down onto and up form the floor. Whenever she has picked up my son I have to turn the other way for fear of seeing her drop him. Thanks goodness he's getting too heavy for her and she, I think, realizes it.
My delema is that I feel bad she hasn't watched him, but at the same time I am really quite nervous about allowing her to watch him. My husband flat out refuses to entertain the notion putting me in a hard place. But I see his point and agree but still feel guilty. She has asked me if she can take him to the Science Center over March Break with her friend and her two twin boys. I came right out and told her that I didn't think my husband would feel comfortable with it and I did not think it was good idea to go there as it would be a zoo. She asked if I thought she would loose him and I said yes and/or not hear him say something to her. She said there would be others there that would hear him if she did not. The problem is I don't trust or like these people either.
Sorry for such a long post (seems to be my trademark) but I need some pointers on how to not hurt her feelings but be clear she won't likely be babysitting (I am also due with babe number 2 in late May)
Thanks alot
A perplexed and confused Rose Ann
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#2 of 67 Old 03-09-2002, 12:15 AM
 
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Would it be possible to focus on other types of visits?

My parents have a very different view on how to "sit" their many grandchildren. Candy, golf clubs, electric outdoor ride-on toys, cartoons, sips of coffee, whatever they want.. and the kids absolutely adore them. You'd be amazed at what a 3 and 4 year old will or will not do given the confidence and choice. They raised 5 kids so I just turn my head, I don't want to be so rigid that there's no fun.

Your mom sounds like she means well, maybe there's another way to give her alone time with your son (like while you take a run to the grocery store?).

Good luck.
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#3 of 67 Old 03-09-2002, 01:21 AM
 
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pretty much what jeanne said

try and come up with a babysit time that feels more comfortable

even if its a case of she spends the afternoon with him and you clean out the closet or repack the baby clothes or leisurely do the grocery shopping


my mil started in with wanting to babysit before my dd was six weeks old. i do not trust her at all! not because of endangering rather she has zero respect/recognition of the grandparent boundaries/my authority

she's hellbent on taking dd out on her boat too and wants to use the lifejacket from when the nephews were small (they are now 11 and 13).... i feel bad that i'm going to keep them from having a strong relationship but i just can not relax when she's in charge (except for when she's babysat at our home and there was no driving involved) control issue - what issue?? LOLLLL
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#4 of 67 Old 03-09-2002, 01:15 PM
 
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rapunnett,

Just be honest with her. Let her know that you love her etc. But, there is no need for her to babysit and you just do not feel comfortable.

I don't get the whole "I want to be alone with my grandchild thing." Sure, grandparents can be a wonderful part of a child's life. Why do they feel that the parent has to be out of the picture to build a relationship?

~Laura
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#5 of 67 Old 03-10-2002, 01:21 PM
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I have a slightly different view and I hope you won't feel like I'm questioning your judgment but... couldn't you and dh just get over it and let the poor woman babysit for ds? It sounds like she loves him a lot and would like to form a relationship without you hovering. Grandmothers play a very important role in a child's life. She won't be around forever, and when she's gone it might make you feel better knowing that you allowed her to do this thing that was so important to her and made her so happy.

She raised you and you're still alive, not wandering around lost in a zoo or museum, right? She's your mom. Give her this respect and let her babysit is my vote.
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#6 of 67 Old 03-10-2002, 02:05 PM
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I agree with Serena. My heart was pounding for this poor woman! What is everyone so afraid of? I don't get it. Both grandmas and one grandpa have taken care of my dd alone for an hour or two. It IS important. It's such a special relationship for both the child and the grandparent. Things happen when the mother is right next to the child. You can't live in fear and spoil everyone's happiness.
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#7 of 67 Old 03-10-2002, 06:42 PM
 
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My grandmother was in her late 60's when I was your child's age. She obvously didn't lift me much. Some of my best memories are of spending time at her house with her. I loved her dearly and wish she were still here (she passed away two years ago.)

I understand your fear, I have those same fears with my parents and inlaws, but mine are mostly that they will lose the kids. My mom and stepdad had been begging to let our three year old stay at there house two hours away overnight since he was a newborn. Breastfeeding was a good excuse, but when he weaned, we were in a dilema. My step sister's daughter is five days older than my ds, and they have left their daughter with them for days in a row since she was just a few months old. I looked like the overprotective wench. Dh and I finally gave in and let him stay overnight this past October. It was from about 5:00pm until 12:00 in the afternoon the next day. My neice was also there, so we thought that might make it easier on him.

He seemed to have a great time, but when Thanksgiving rolled around and we told ds that we were going to my dh's parents house my ds began to cry and said that he didn't want to go. I was confused because they live on a farm and he loves going there. When I asked him why he didn't want to go he asked if I was going, and if his dad was going, and if his little brother was going. Then he asked if we were going to leave him there. I felt awful. He had been telling us how much he had missed us when he stayed at my moms, but it was in a positive way, so I was surprised that he had these feelings. We told him that he didn't have to stay at anyone's house without us unless he wanted to.

We have left him with them at our house for a few hours at a time, and he enjoys it. I say give it a try for an hour or two on your home turf and see how it goes. I hope your son has the relationship with your mother that I had with my grandmother, because it is truly magical.
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#8 of 67 Old 03-11-2002, 12:11 AM
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I just want to say that being cautios is not out of line in your case. The granparent does have some physical ailments - she aint what she used to be - as the song goes.

My dd great grandparents are aware of their capabilities or lack of in some areas and have been very cautios about spending time with my dds. I did get them to play with my almost 3 dd for 30 min while I took dd2 to the dr a few blocks away. They were so excited to have that opportunity.

Perhaps the elderly forget that they cannot do all the things they used to. Maybe they just want a chance. They may not be around forever after all.

Do what feels right for you, maybe supervised playdates is the way to go.

Maybe explaining that the world is alot crazier, with more hazards out there than when they parented.
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#9 of 67 Old 03-11-2002, 12:42 AM
 
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My mother and mil would flip out if she heard you referring to our children's grandparents as "the elderly." They are both in their mid-50's and in great shape. It is their judgement when it comes to parenting issues that always worries me, not their physical condition.

Sorry, I just had to give you a hard time about the "elderly" comment.
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#10 of 67 Old 03-11-2002, 05:00 AM
 
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I say go with your gut feeling. I don't like leaving my DS with DH most of the time. My DH's idea of "watching" him is to give him a toy and leave the room for 30 minutes or so. There are so many things that can happen to a little one. He should put DS in the room with him, or at least check on him every few minutes.

I remember hearing a story about a mom leaving her 2 year old with her husband. Her husband had some friends over, and he didn't keep a close eye on the child. The child was found drown in their hot tub. It was the father's irresponsibility.....not just some bad luck.

I feel it is my responsibility to make sure my DS is safe....even if that means I don't leave him with my own husband alone. Now, if I had a responsible husband, I woudn't think twice about it.

We built a house next door to my parents, and a house for my MIL in our back yard, because I want my son to grow up with his grandparents. However, I don't feel comfortable leaving my son with my mother for very long, because she doesn't respect my parenting style, and she has some mental problems. I will take my son over there for an hour or so, and he does fine, but I just don't trust her enough to leave him there for any longer. My father is irresponsible in the way that he leaves the gate to the pool open, and also leaves goffer poison pellets out in the yard. My MIL is great with DS, but I don't agree with her style of parenting, so I generally don't leave DS with her for very long either.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is ultimately MY responsiblility to protect my son, and if something happened because I made a poor choice, I would feel horrible. My DS spends time with everyone he loves, but on MY TERMS. I've always just tried to come up with gentle "excuses", and I still have to figure out how to tell them nicely that they don't get to watch DS whenever they want and for how long. My mom usually tries to talk me into doing it her way, but I don't give in. He is MY son, not her son, and I have a right to parent the way I want, not the way she wants.

Sorry this is so long......I don't think I'm capable of a short post!!!
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#11 of 67 Old 03-11-2002, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your replys.
Unfortunately I don't think myself and my husband can "just get over it" and let my mother bbsit. My son is my responsibility ultimately and if anything ever did happen it would be ultimiately my doing whether at my mother's hand or mine. Safety of my son is my number one priority. I relaize she won't be around forever and that the relationship between grandparent and grandchild is very special but...he also has to be around, literally to develop that relationship. He also has to be able to feel comfortable with her ie, not get hurt in her care , to want to continue to spend time with her.
I think more realistic to my situation , and many others who also posted, is to have some arranged short times for her to sit. like when I go drop something off at a friends or do a quick grocery shopping.
Yes she raised myself and my brother with no apparent colosal catastrophies, although she did loose me for 1.5 hs at a huge mall on a Saturday. Perhaps these old thoughts of looking at her gold shoes she just bought thinking that this was the last I would ever see of her, have traumatized me to thinking she could do the same thing to my son???? Just a guess.
Anyways, she is not the same person she was then, both physically and mentally, and simply put I don't feel comfortable with her watching him. I'm sorry if this sounds more like a defensive post but this is what I feel.
I really appreciate your suggestions and will take them to heart and give it my best shot while trying to explain to her that I do love her but feel uncomfortable for these reasons.
Thanks again, and I hope I haven't offended anyone.
Rose Ann
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#12 of 67 Old 03-11-2002, 02:59 PM
 
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rapunnett,

I could not agree more

Follow your heart and instincts as a mama

There are valid reasons why you feel this way. I have never left my ds with my mother because I do not trust her. And, I have only left my ds with my mil once (when he was 11.5 mos old). I am lucky because I have a sister who is for all practical purposes my son's second mama - if only she lactated. And, I have friends who parent the way I do. And, if I needed a sitter I would ask them for help. Because I have these other people whom I trust implicitly to make good decisions re: my ds - why would I leave him with people I had second thoughts about?

It seems to me that you have put a great amount of thought into this decision. And, you know what is best for your child.

~Laura
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#13 of 67 Old 03-11-2002, 04:30 PM
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Beth,

Just a quick comment to clear up the use of "elderly". Around here we use that for anyone over 65 - kinda like seniors, or elders. Also, I was referred to MY grandparents who are in their 80's and 90's. My dd's grandparents are only in their 50's and 60's too.

It is sad when we have to see our parents and grandparents in a new light - that they are not physically the same any more. It does happen at some point though. My 95 year old grandmother has just started showing those signs of senility. She has even called around asking for her mother who died 40 years ago. So sad.

But it is a parent's responsibility to make sure their kids are safe - even if it means supervising other family members with them.
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#14 of 67 Old 03-13-2002, 09:47 AM
 
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I understand your situation. My grandmother (ds' great-gram) is 79 and in poor health physically. However, she is aware of her limitations and has only made vague references to wishing she could help out with his care. My solution is a weekly or biweekly "Date with Great Grandma." She lives about 40 minutes from us, so we drive up and take her out to lunch. She gets to hold him (he is 20 mths) and watch him play. She also feels great when she can give him some green beans or mashed potatoes off her own plate. These little things really brighten her day. We always go back to her house for a few minutes before leaving so ds can play with her music boxes. I feel wonderful knowing that he is developing a bond with his great gram and also knowing that the visit has made her whole week! The whole trip takes about 3-4 hours and really makes a difference. Maybe you could do something like that?
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#15 of 67 Old 03-13-2002, 02:36 PM
 
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I agree that you should follow your instincts but try to work out a compromise (which it sounds like you are doing).

My mother loves to babysit my 8yo ds but she is in her 50's too so I have no safety excuse. She even wants him on weekdays because we homeschool-- though she won't make him do any work. I just resist because I think she uses him as a lifesupport system for herself and it isn't healthy. She is overindulgent and trys to buy his love with toys and junk. She will break every rule I set unless I tell her that he can't come see her if she does something. She acts like he is her child like taking him to the dentist or to get a haircut without asking me. She is planning on buying a PS2 for him to play at her house. He is not there that much. That just makes me sick. He doesn't need a PS2 in a house where he has no limits. They already let him watch 24 hour cartoons. My dad has to watch his shows on the little tv so ds can watch cartoons. It isn't healthy and I wish I had excuses to keep them apart more than I do.

On the other hand, my MIL won't watch ds even for me to run to the store. I just found this out. She has a stepson the same age as ds, and they were up to help us move. I left him at home with them a couple of times to do stuff for the move (like run get boxes or tape or dinner) and she started saying stuff like, "I am not a babysitter." Huh? Is an 8yo that much trouble especially when he has a playmate? I mean, our house is in the country and they just run around outside. I think she was refusing on principle. I just started taking him everywhere with me. I don't mind but he wanted to stay and play with ss. Oh, well. There are 2 sides to every coin.
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#16 of 67 Old 03-13-2002, 03:20 PM
 
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If she was not a relative would you feel comfortable leaving a child in her care? I know that I will probably never allow certain relatives of mine to "watch" our children. The fact is that if they were neighbors or acquaintances I wouldn't even begin to consider it because I don't trust their judgement. My own mother has excellent judgement and an AP approach, but she has very politely told my brother that she just cannot watch both of his children by herself. As she so lovingly explains, "They're both so exuberant!" She makes sure my father is also going to be around if they need both children watched.
Last year a grandmother had a stroke while caring for a baby. Unfortunately she dropped the baby on a soft surface when she fell and they both died. It was a horrible thing. She was very upset by it even though she herself is one of those young grandparents. She says she just feels that she can't safely watch those two particular children at the same time (they're like 2 ping-pong balls!)
Can you set up a "Gramma Day?"
My mother comes once a week to spend the day. They bake, sew, make paper dolls, read books she found at the library, play in the yard/sand-box, etc.
She has a great visit with my daughter, I am right here if needed, and I also manage to get some of my things done while she's here.
In 3 1/2 years I've only left my daughter once with anyone but my husband, and she stayed here with Gramma for the hour-and-a-half that we had to be gone, although often we would have Gramma come along with us to help out. Maybe you could try that too?
Good luck!
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#17 of 67 Old 03-18-2002, 04:32 AM
 
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I am always suspicious about why these grandmas are begging to take care of our kids without their mothers there. Why is that so essential to them? I will never allow either one of my daughter's grandmas to baby sit her without me there, period. I would consider allowing my MIL to sit if there were a life or death emergency of some kind, but never my own mother.

Yes, this hurts their feelings, etc., but that is there problem. I am chanting to myself all the time now... my dd does not exist to meet other people's emotional needs (mine included). We are there to meet her needs. This is so obvious, yet so hard to honor with the pressure being put on her.

They make it so hard to say no... but say no we must. We must protect our babies.

You are doing the right thing, and you have nothing to feel guilty about.

I finally told my mother as gently as I could that I did not feel comfortable leaving her alone with my child. She was hurt, furious, sobbed and sobbed, etc. She wanted to know why, and I told her that, too. She was very angry, called me a liar, etc. But what I said was true.. she gets angry and impatient at little kids all the time for just being little kids. She also took insane risks with her own children when they were infants. I cannot leave my dd with her, even if that hurts my mother's feelings.
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#18 of 67 Old 03-18-2002, 10:42 AM
 
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Just wanted to let you all know that I empathize with the complicated issues of which family members you will and won't allow to sit with your children. With my first child on the way, I'm already thinking about how we'll handle these issues. My mother was a poor parent both emotionally and as far as safety concerns go.

Now that our first (which will be her only grandchild) is on the way, friends and family are all talking about how grandparenthood will transform her. I don't want to inhibit her opportunities for transformation...she sure could use it, but ensuring my child's safety will be my first priority. I can't imagine leaving my child alone with a woman who is alcoholic, emotionally manipulative, and likely to show no respect for my parenting choices.

Dh and I both agree that as long as she is able, MIL will be a safe person to care for our child, but the environment is not optimal--too much tv and role models (MIL and brother in law) that don't reflect our values. We feel reassurred knowing that she is there, but probably won't rely on her heavily.

Thanks for the opportunity to share and the reassurrance that I'm in good company.

Peace,
Sarah
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#19 of 67 Old 03-18-2002, 12:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by wimbini
I am always suspicious about why these grandmas are begging to take care of our kids without their mothers there. Why is that so essential to them? ...

Yes, this hurts their feelings, etc., but that is there problem. I am chanting to myself all the time now... my dd does not exist to meet other people's emotional needs (mine included). We are there to meet her needs. This is so obvious, yet so hard to honor with the pressure being put on her.

Amen sister! I have never understood this burning need to get mom out of the picture. What is is they want to do? I can sort of understand wanting to get a little space from a watchful mommy, but why does that have to involve mom leaving the house for a set length of time?

My MIL has been not-so-subtly hinting that she wants to keep ds overnight ever since he was born, and it AIN'T gonna happen--ever. I was totally uncomfortable leaving her alone with him for even a second until he was about 10 mos old. At that point, I would sometimes let her "babysit" for a few minutes while I got supper going or something. I always stayed within earshot. Now that he's almost 2, she has been begging us to let her keep him while we go out to dinner or something, but I would not be able to enjoy myself, and ds starts looking for me after 10 or 15 minutes (which is one reason I only leave him when I really need to), so what's the point? The only person who would benefit from the situation would be MIL.

To those of you who said "get over it"--do you really think that grandma's feelings/needs should override a mother's instinct to protect her child? Why can't a grandparent bond with a child unless the parents leave the building? And why should the title of "Grandmother" entitle someone to babysitting rights? I agree with those who said that if you wouldn't leave your child alone with her if she WASN'T the grandma, then the fact that she IS the grandma shouldn't change your decision.

To rapunnet--I think you're doing the right thing, and you shouldn't feel bad about it. If you want you child to have a relationship with your mom, there are plenty of ways for her to have special time without leaving her unsupervised. Good luck!
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#20 of 67 Old 03-18-2002, 01:21 PM
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????:

You honestly can't understand why grandmothers would want to spend time alone with their grandchildren? I don't think the point is to "get mom out of the picture"; Closer bonding does happen when you can spend time one-on-one with someone. What is so hard to understand about that??? In my perspective, it's a real (s)mother who can't let anyone but her have any alone time with her child. Children thrive when lots of people love them, when they can form unique, special relationships with family and friends. Some of my most precious memories are of wonderful afternoons and weekends spent alone with my Grandmom. The point wasn't to get mom out of the picture: I had mom plenty of the time.

Why hoard and covet your own children? It seems a bit selfish to me.
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#21 of 67 Old 03-18-2002, 02:48 PM
 
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<<Some of my most precious memories are of wonderful afternoons and weekends spent alone with my Grandmom.>>

Then consider yourself very fortunate!

My one grandmother died before I was two, and my grandfather was a terribly unpleasant person who thought it was funny to frighten us and make us cry! Fortunately my mother kept our visits with him few and far apart and never ever left us there.
I did have a "Granny" who was actually an elderly friend of my parents and I spent a great deal of time with her--more often with my mother present (she always came with us grocery shopping, on errands, and just visiting and helping out) and I still miss her terribly 20+ years later.

My MIL is extremely critical of not only me, but also my husband and our parenting approach. When we would visit her when my eldest was a newborn she would say, "I can't wait to take you away from your mother!" among other things. She is one who repeatedly puts her emotional needs first. She intended to take my baby overseas for "a while" and thinks we're unreasonable in not allowing her to do so. Her own daughter rejects and abandons her children and her other son is in jail (not his fault, of course. He was led into it by his friends. Isn't that always the case?) My husband must be a changeling--or perhaps it was being sent to boarding school at 4 and being raised by Catholic nuns that saved him--whatever the reason he escaped and is completely unlike them.

And while this may sound outrageous to you, this is very mild compared to other situations I know of.

Being biologically "related" does not guarantee that an individual can or will act in the best interest of your child!
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#22 of 67 Old 03-18-2002, 03:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Serena


You honestly can't understand why grandmothers would want to spend time alone with their grandchildren? I don't think the point is to "get mom out of the picture"; Closer bonding does happen when you can spend time one-on-one with someone. What is so hard to understand about that???
What I don't understand is why my MIL needs me to LEAVE my nursing child with her and go away for hours or overnight. You say you have memories of alone time with your Grandma, so I'm assuming this was when you were at least 3 yrs old or older. After re-reading the original post, I see she was talking about a 4 year old, so I guess I should have said I didn't understand why grandmothers need alone time with BABIES--or maybe you think that's perfectly reasonable too, I don't know. I still think rapunett has good reasons to not let her mom babysit (even for a 4 yr old), and I don't think she should have to "get over it" just because it's the child's grandma.

Quote:
In my perspective, it's a real (s)mother who can't let anyone but her have any alone time with her child.

Why hoard and covet your own children? It seems a bit selfish to me.
Am I supposed to take this as an insult? I never said that I don't let my child be alone with anyone else. True, when he was an infant, I rarely let him out of my sight, but since he was nursing exclusively, that was necessary. As he started eating more solid food, I was able to leave him with dh for short periods. Now that he's almost 2, he often has "alone" time with dh, my parents and siblings, and other trusted friends and family members. I guess my definition of "alone time" is just a bit different, because to me, it doesn't require that I leave the premises. It could be dh playing inside with ds while I work in the front yard, or my mom taking ds for a walk in her garden while I take a bubble bath. As he gets older, I'm sure he will graduallty spend time away from me more often and for longer periods, but for now, I don't think I'm being selfish not to allow my MIL (who suffers from anxiety attacks and migraines) to keep my baby for hours at a time.

Leaving ds alone with my own mother doesn't bother me in the least, mainly because she has never said that she WANTED me to. She recognizes that babies need their mothers. My MIL on the other hand, made comments from the beginning that I could "just pump the milk and leave it" as if the only thing ds needed from me was my milk.

I think I've taken this thread off track, but I guess what it boils down to is that I think a relationship between grandparent and grandchild should evolve naturally from the grandparent/parent relationship, not be forced just because a person is a "Grandparent". While I agree that it's beneficial for children to spend time with a variety of people, I don't agree that "Grandma" has a right to alone time just because of her blood relationship to the child. I think parents should be able to choose who they are comfortable leaving their children with and not be pressured to let someone babysit just because they're a family member.
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#23 of 67 Old 03-18-2002, 04:47 PM
 
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kezia ITA!

Well, some of my most frightening memories were spent at the hands of my grandparents. How does getting your hair pulled, being hit with a wooden ruler or being told that you had to eat garbage sound? I remember getting my hair pulled by my grandfather as early as 2 years old! So, just because you are a grandparent does not entitle you to alone time with your grandchild. I think alone time is earned!

Yes, I do want my child to develop strong bonds with others. And he has... with the comfort and security of Mom close by. I will never leave my child alone with my parents. They have been/are verbally and physically abusive to my nephews IMO.

Although I did allow my MIL to babysit once, I am still not comfortable doing so. And, there are many reasons for this which I would rather not get into.

Rapunnett - be steadfast on your decision. And, know that you have support.

~Laura
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#24 of 67 Old 03-18-2002, 05:05 PM
 
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I'm not sure how to say this tactfully without stepping on any toes, but here it goes. I am often guilty of not wanting to let my mother and stepfather watch my kids without me there. Their idea of babyproofing differs greatly from mine. They came from the generation that thought you didn't put things out of reach, you taught your kids not to touch things.

When I think about my kids growing up, I think about them having their own children. What if the pendulum swings in the other direction again where formula is considered the best way to feed a child and breastfeeding rates plummet, and that parents must be extra careful not to "spoil" their babies and children (not to say that this doesn't happen to day). There is a good chance that our children will follow the advice of the time and parent much differently than we are parenting them.

I hate to think that my son's might not want me to babysit their children, or to spend any time alone with them because they fear how I would treat their baby. It sounds crazy, but I'm sure that our parents never dreamed that we would be talking about them in the way we are here. If we don't allow our children and their grandparents time to grow to know and love one another we are denying each of them a great opportunity IMHO. I can totally see why a grandparent would want time alone with the grandchild. It must be tough for a grandparent to always see the child running to mom.

If our children spend little time with their grandparents and fail to develop a good relationship and memories with them, what will happen when their first child is born. The norm to them will be that babies and children don't spend much time, esp time alone, with their grandparents. How much time would we then expect to spend with our grandchildren. I'm betting it will not be as much as we would like.

Just food for thought here. I hope that none of us end up feeling so lost and left out of our grandchildren's life, as do many of our parents, when we become grandparents. Think hard about this topic. You could be depriving your child of a great relationship with his grandparents. How sad.

(please don't get on me about the extreme situations, ie: grandma wants to take the baby overseas, etc. That's obviously not what I'm talking about.)
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#25 of 67 Old 03-18-2002, 05:27 PM
 
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Well said, Beth! I think about this all the time, although I think about it more in context of - if he had a kid out of wedlock, would I get to see the kid? You have to do some major butt-kissing to the mama to see the kid.
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#26 of 67 Old 03-18-2002, 07:03 PM
 
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If we don't allow our children and their grandparents time to grow to know and love one another we are denying each of them a great opportunity IMHO.
I still don't see why grandparents have to have extended, unsupervised visits with a child to have a relationship. And I totally fail to understand why they want these visits at such a young age. While I could see it being fun for a school-age child to spend the night at Grandma's house, I don't see a younger baby/child getting the same enjoyment from it. Obviously, the younger the child, the more they need mom, and I don't see what "great opportunity" is being missed by not leaving a child alone with a grandparent at a young age. What benefit would it have been for my ds for me to pump my milk and leave him overnight with my MIL so she could give him bottles and pretend to be his mommy? Someone please explain this to me.

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I can totally see why a grandparent would want time alone with the grandchild. It must be tough for a grandparent to always see the child running to mom.
Why is this tough? Babies are *supposed* to be strongly attached to their mothers, right? Am I the only one here who doesn't see a "need" for a baby to develop an intense bond with a grandma? Or have I left the AP haven of Mothering and gotten lost somewhere in the twilight zone?

I know they want to interact with the child one-on-one, but I honestly don't see why the mom has to be absent for this to happen. For the first year or so of ds's life, I rarely left him, but gradually we began to seperate. When he was smaller, yes, he would often run to me and not want to have much to do with Grammie (my mom), but he's almost 2 now, and has started preferring her over me when we visit. We just got back from visiting her this weekend, and ds was grabbing her by the hand and leading her into the other room, outside, whatever. He would even turn around and say "Bye, Mom" on his way out. To me, that's the way it should happen--at the child's initiative, not the parent saying "okay, I'm leaving you with this person now because she's your grandma and I think it's important for you to develop a special relationship with her."

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The norm to them will be that babies and children don't spend much time, esp time alone, with their grandparents. How much time would we then expect to spend with our grandchildren. I'm betting it will not be as much as we would like.
I think our relationship with our grandchildren will have less to do with our children's relationship with our parents and more to do with OUR relationship with our children. My mom and I have always been close. I consider her a friend as well as my mother, so naturally I want to spend time with her, and she wants to spend time with me and my family. MIL, on the other hand, has never been close to dh and has made little attempt to include me in her family. She wants to spend time with ds, period. She could care less if dh and I are part of the visits.

I honestly don't think any of us would mark our parents off the potential babysitters list simply because of a difference in parenting styles. I obviously have deeper issues with my MIL, and I would bet most others who don't want grandma babysitting do, too. it's just easier to talk about the seemingly petty things rather than delve into the real issues. Personally, I have put a great deal of thought into my reasons for not wanting MIL to babysit, and I'm very comfortable with my decision not to allow it.

I hope that when/if ds has children, he will do what is in their best interests and not feel like he "owes" me time alone with them. I intend to do everything I can to maintain a close relationship with him throughout his life, and hopefully he will want me to spend time with his family. I really don't see how my not letting MIL keep him overnight is going to impact my future relationship with my grandchildren.
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#27 of 67 Old 03-18-2002, 07:33 PM
 
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Great point kezia! That is why trusting our instincts is important. I want my child to be loved by all but if I don't trust someone, he isn't going there without me.
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#28 of 67 Old 03-18-2002, 08:50 PM
 
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kezia,

I completely agree. I too do not understand the logic re: if we don't leave our children alone with grandparents than our children will not leave us alone with their children. Honestly, I hope my ds and my future dil practice AP as well. And always do what is in the best interest of their children. Including exclusively breastfeeding - which automatically limits "alone time".

Can that logic also be used in reference to our relationships to our children in relation to our parents relationship to us? The logic is flawed and does not make sense.

I hope to build an interdependent relationship with my child. Where we are in a loving, trusting and mutual relationship. This type of relationship I do not have with my own parents.

Interestingly enough, I bet my MIL sees my son more than most grandparents due to the close proximity of our living situation - she is about 10 minutes away by car, 30 minutes by foot. She sees him at least twice a week. And, for long periods of time too. My dh or I are always with him (except for the one time she babysat).

~Laura
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#29 of 67 Old 03-18-2002, 10:33 PM
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Originally posted by kezia


I still don't see why grandparents have to have extended, unsupervised visits with a child to have a relationship. And I totally fail to understand why they want these visits at such a young age. While I could see it being fun for a school-age child to spend the night at Grandma's house, I don't see a younger baby/child getting the same enjoyment from it.
What do you mean by "unsupervised"? In that situation the grandparent IS the supervision. You make it sound like anyone but the mother is a child molester on the loose! A convicted felon who should only be allowed to see the child while "supervised." I respect WHATEVER you want to do with your own children but for my own situation, I just don't get it--and I DO consider myself an attachment parent. I just never interpreted attachment parenting as ONLY letting the child become attached to the mother. I thought it was raising a child to form strong attachments, not only with you.

I totally agree that it's not necessary for a grandparent to have lengthy alone-time with an infant. The child in the original question in this thread was four years old!!! And I'm sorry if my original response was harsh--I admit I had a terrible attack of pity and empathy for this grandmother that Rose Ann was talking about . It seemed almost like discrimination just because the grandmother was elderly and a bit disabled.

And these posts about grandparents who were/are clearly neglectful, inappropriate or abusive, pulling hair, beating with wooden rulers, etc., are obviously exceptions and beside the point, and also don't relate to the original post, which is clearly the case of a grandmother who LOVES her grandson. In case it wasn't clear my point relates to loving grandparents.
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#30 of 67 Old 03-19-2002, 04:51 PM
 
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Originally posted by Serena
In that situation the grandparent IS the supervision.
I think the point is that some of us don't feel that grandma is capable of providing ADEQUATE supervision. I feel like you're saying that we are obligated to let them babysit unless there is the potential for abuse or neglect. In Rose Ann's case, she feels that her mom's physical limitations could endanger her child, yet you are saying she should "get over it". In my case, my MIL suffers from anxiety attacks and debilitating migraines (not to mention that she's scatterbrained and irresponsible), yet you've called me selfish and smothering for not letting her babysit.


Quote:
I just never interpreted attachment parenting as ONLY letting the child become attached to the mother. I thought it was raising a child to form strong attachments, not only with you.
I don't recall ever saying that it did--in fact, I made it clear that my child DOES have frequent one-on-one interaction with other adults without me present. I even gave a specific illustration of his growing attachment to my own mother, but I feel like you're still trying to paint me as some overprotective mother who is afraid my child will love someone besides me. Not the case at all--I'm not even trying to keep him from being attached to MIL--I just am not comfortable letting her babysit.

Quote:
I admit I had a terrible attack of pity and empathy for this grandmother that Rose Ann was talking about . It seemed almost like discrimination just because the grandmother was elderly and a bit disabled.


Discriminated against? You make it sound as though babysitting one's grandchildren is a right that this woman is being denied. I wholeheartedly disagree with that POV if that's what you're saying. Again, I think that if grandma is not a capable and reliable sitter, no amount of love she has for the child is going to change that.

I still think Rose Ann is doing the right thing by trying to find ways for her mom to interact with her child other than babysitting him, especially since she and her husband both feel strongly that her mom is not capable of caring for the child on her own.

edited to add: I think I got several posters confused and lumped together as one person, my apologies, Serena
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