Keeping the Peace and Your Sanity
My daughter and three grandchildren moved in with us a few months ago. I need advice. I want to remain a grandmother, but if my daughter gets a full time job, I will end up being the full time care giver for the children. I want to see my daughter reestablish her financial independence, but not at the expense of losing mine. It’s important – whether you have a good relationship with your daughter or not – that responsible boundaries are established quickly. I’m sure you want to be helpful to your daughter and be a strong, positive influence for the grandchildren. Removing the possibility of unnecessary conflict before it arises is very important. I would sit – alone at first – and determine what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do. Be very specific. You will want to consider every activity, ranging from bathing the children to care giving during vacation periods. Mentally walk through each day – during the school season as well as vacation times. Remember to include the pop up events like a child home sick from school or doctor’s and dentist appointments. Do you pick the child up? Do you take the child to the doctor or dentist? It’s critical for continued harmony with your daughter that you be as honest and specific as possible. Give the completed list to your daughter so she can use it as a planning tool. She can then determine whether she wants a night job, day job, full time or part time job because she will now know what kind of support to expect from you. Don’t avoid confrontation today only to experience confrontation out of anger and frustration after she has committed to a job. You will pick up extra duties anyway, but to do them out of resentment will damage both her relationship with you and the relationship you have with your grandchildren. Your daughter will not feel that you are being supportive and it will show up regularly in passive aggressive behaviors on both sides of the equation. Simply saying, “I will be glad to help you dear” without defining that help will be unnecessarily damaging to your relationship in time. Good luck!