Becoming a grandparent is a life changing experience. But what happens when you don’t want your new role changing your life?
There comes a time for a lot of mothers when we have to start thinking about returning to work. Some have been lucky enough to spend time with our babies but sometimes, reality calls and the bills need to be paid. Maybe returning to work is not so much financial, but something mum wants to do.
Either way, childcare needs to be considered.
The cost of formal childcare is undoubtedly high with some centres charging up to $170 per day, per child. Naturally, a lot of parents then start looking at alternative arrangements and often, grandparents blip on to the radar. Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicates that some 937,000 children receive regular care from a grandparent.
A lot of grandparents are thrilled with the idea of looking after their grandchildren on a regular basis. It’s a special time to bond and really be involved with the child.
But we shouldn’t just assume that this is the case and it’s not fair to think all grandparents will jump at the offer.
More and more, internet users on mature age forums are complaining about the expectation placed on them to be available and willing to care for their children’s children.
"I just sometimes feel like I can't say no," says one user on granny net. "I know of one gran who said she'd look after her grandson for three days and found it too much. She had to tell her daughter and it caused so much trouble," says another.
One lady notes how she felt she needed to draw the line with her son and daughter in law. "I've done it (looking after children) but I think we have done our bit now. The trouble is that they want more kids and I've got a younger son who will think we will be there to care for children. I've had to lay down the law and say enough. I have a wonderful time with them (the kids) but health and age catches up with you. I want my life back. If they want more kids they need to ensure they can pay for childcare or one of them has to stay home."