Babysitting Into Your Senior Years

I know many of my peers who are and have been babysitting their grandchildren since their birth so that their parents can support them in the manner to which we have all become accustomed. In most cases this is money to pay for better education or money to pay for outside activities that are a big part of parenting such as deck hockey or baseball. Any sport is a big drain on a family's income.

Philosophy For Working Until 75

My grandfather worked until he was 75 in a steel mill and I continue to work into my my early 70s three days a week which I love doing. I'm a firm believer in not letting the body or brain, for that matter, rust away. When I was between jobs, I was the dedicated person to pick up the grands on early dismissal days and at 3 PM when their parents had late days at work. Since I still work, I am only available to watch the grandchildren when I have the odd day off or when the schedule doesn't allow either Mom or Dad to get them.

Parenting in the 1960s

I was lucky because my Mom lived with me in my house and looked after my children as they arrived home from school.

In the early 1960s it was a different world. Being a parent in the 60's, my husband refused to let me work and I stayed home with my children until the last child was of an age to attend school full time. Even to today, I get up at 4 AM like I did when they were toddlers. That way I had all of my housework done by the time the children got up and was able to spend my time with them. If they went outside, I could sit on the top step of our porch and oversee what they were doing on the sidewalk with their little friends.

In Today's World

In today's world, this doesn't happen very often. It is almost mandatory for Mom to go to work the same as Daddy. This means the added expense of a daycare for the younger ones and needing to be at elementary schools just after 3 PM to pick up the younger children. A lot of times this doesn't fit into the parent's working schedule so the children either have to be picked up by a senior relative or stay in after school activities run by the school at an added expense.

One Day At A Time

Yesterday, I was called into duty because of an oddity. The school year is drawing to a close and the older child had a full day of school but the preschooler was done for the year. We are all going on a family vacation next week and the person scheduled to watch the house lives more than 35 miles away and it just wasn't convenient to ask them to come for an additional day because it would have meant they needed to stay away from their own home for two weeks because of transportation.

The day started off well, because I elected to stay in my own home and have my grandchild brought to me. He arrived with backpack containing a change of clothes, toys, a snack and coloring books. He had some movies with him but I don't own a DVR so those went back into the backpack. We turned on the TV and set the channel to a popular children's channel. He refused doughnuts, but decided that Oreos were just fine. Then we came into the dining room to color at the dining room table. Back and forth between the TV and the table. That was fine for the better part of two hours.

When boredom set in and we tired of trying to find the cats that were hiding, I put the booster seat in the car and took him for a ride to the post office to mail a form that needed to be sent. On the way home, I stopped the car at a neighborhood park where they have children's climbing equipment and swings. There were nursery school children in the park playing but as we got out of the car they lined up two by two and went away again. We were just getting ready for my grandson to play on a gym set with slides on either side when I noticed the borough crew unloading lawn mowing equipment off a truck at the far side of the park. We stayed for another 15 or 20 minutes just long enough for my grandson to climb up various ladder types at two of the three gym sets and slide back down the slides at the end. I tried to put him on a swing but he was just too heavy for me to lift into the swings.

When we got home, I turned the TV back on and my grandson crawled up onto the couch with his favorite stuffed toy and started watching the programs. A little while later, I noticed that he had fallen asleep.

When he woke up, the questions started. Could we go home now? When is Mommy coming to get me? The answer was, "No, not for two more hours." Then it was, "No, not for another hour and a half." He finally gave up and let patience set in and just watched Mike the Knight. I think that show is one of his favorites because the questions stopped.

All in all, it was a good day and I enjoyed the day with my grandson. I wouldn't mind doing it again if the need arose.

Do my peers feel as I do about being there to help only as needed.

  • Yes.
  • No, I want to be involved in parenting my grandchildren.
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My Philosophy on Babysitting

I have refused to watch my grandchildren on a steady basis over the summer months for the simple reason that my patience have dwindled over the years. My older grandchildren lived with me from the ages of 1, 2 and 3 until they were 5, 6 and 7. I know the strain that makes on the nerves on a steady basis. I want to be Grandma and the person who treats them not the person who has to discipline them on a daily basis.

Perhaps this makes me less of a grandparent. But I love my grandchildren and want to be loved back instead of having them dread going to grandma's house. They know when I show up at their house, I know my boundaries and leave again in less than two hours. That way they love seeing me come and kiss me as I leave.

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bearnmom profile image

bearnmom 2 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Author

Thank you, Moonlake, for your comments. I have to admit that it gets tedious at times when the children bicker but I do love seeing them and taking little treats with me.

moonlake profile image

moonlake 2 years ago from America

I babysit our oldest granddaughter most week-ends and days after school. We took her on vacations with us. She was always a joy to have. I now babysit her little girl when they come to town. When she couldn't keep her box of rocks and trickets at her home she always knew I had a place for her to keep them.

Our other two grandchildren we had them when Mom and Dad had to go out of town or I would go to their home and take care of them.

It is hard and lots of work when you get older to babysit all the time. I was a stay at home grandma so I could be there when they needed me.

Enjoyed your hub.

bearnmom profile image

bearnmom 2 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Author

Thank you for your kind comments. I'm so glad to hear that you appreciated your Mom so much for her contributions.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Goodness, the schedule, the strain. Is there no retirement? What a labor of love. I certainly hope that your family appreciates the commitment that you have shown them. My own mother was a back-up when my husband and I were both traveling for work heavily. She helped with picking my daughter up from daycare on occasion and kept her for a summer or two and one season got her off to school in the morning (we dropped her off all ready to go). We made sure to offer many thanks as well as a multi-generational trip to England and Scotland, although nothing could truly compensate for the love and care that she could provide. You are a good soul but surely must be weary.

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