Imagine how you’d feel if you were being put under pressure to provide free childcare for someone else’s grandchild.
That’s the situation a woman posting on UK website Mumsnet has found herself in. She’s 64, and planning to retire at Christmas. Recently, one of her oldest friends came to her for help with her daughter, who has a financially abusive husband.
“The bottom line is that her daughter (who is also my goddaughter) is returning to work in January after maternity leave and wants me to look after her baby, who will be five months old,” she explained. “My friend really put pressure on, saying that her daughter cannot afford to pay for childcare but has to return in January as she has no income otherwise.”
The woman said no, explaining that she and her older, retired husband had been planning to travel. But the friend kept pushing, saying that if her daughter had to pay for childcare, she’d be left with just £20 ($35) a month to live on. The woman’s own daughter suggested she offer to do one day a week, but the woman didn’t want to do even that.
“My friend emailed me yesterday and accused me of being selfish. My husband is totally against me helping but I feel that a long-standing friendship will be ruined if I continue to refuse.”
For once, the replies were unanimous.
“No no no. You have earned your retirement and you have plans. Do not let her or anybody else take that away from you.”
“I’m utterly staggered that this even fleetingly crossed the minds of your friend and goddaughter.”
“Absolutely not. My parents worked long and hard all their lives. They took early retirement when he was 60 and my mum a few years younger. They had only six months together until she was diagnosed with cancer and she was dead a year later. No one knows what life has in store and you should enjoy every day of it – together – while you have the chance.”