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Mommy Dearest: Mother-in-Law Quit Watching Kids

Mommy Dearest,

My mother-in-law offered to watch our son before he was born and provides us with daycare five days a week while my husband and I work.

Yesterday, when my husband went to pick our 2-year-old up, his mother told him we would have to find someone else to watch our son starting this Summer.

She said she is having a hard time keeping up with him and would also like to do some traveling.

My husband doesn't think it's that big of a deal, but I was completely thrown off guard. Not only do we have to find another responsible person to care for our son, but we have to make major financial adjustments to afford the caretaker.

My MIL has a wishy-washy personality so I think I could persuade her to continue watching our child. Only, my husband disagrees and called me ungrateful when I suggested it. Should I ask anyway?

—Daycare Dependent

To hear what Mommy Dearest has to say,


Daycare Dependent,

It is simply not your place to try and guilt your mother-in-law into watching your son. Since she has spent the past two years taking care of your child, the best thing you can do is thank her for her time and wish her well when she travels.

And, being that she cited having trouble keeping up with your tot, it doesn't sound like it would be in either of their best interests to continue with the current situation.

Regardless of your financial situation, your MIL has no obligation to babysit your child.

— Mommy Dearest.

Submit a question for this feature at the Mommy Dearest Group on TeamSugar.


Join The Conversation
Indigo4320 Indigo4320 9 years
You are an extremely ungrateful person. You made the decision to have the child...meaning you have to step up to the plate and take responsibility for raising the child and caring for it. Juggle your income and pay for decent daycare instead of mooching off of your M-I-L.
Jessie-M Jessie-M 9 years
Your MIL has given you two free years of childcare (newborn to 2 years arent exactly the easiest either) and you are complaining that she is getting older and can't keep up, and wants to enjoy her retirement? You should be ashamed of your attitude towards this very generous woman. She was very gracious to give you free childcare for that long, and even moreso for giving you so much notice, as it can be a hard, long journey to find dependable childcare. Retirement is for enjoying yourself and relaxing, and enjoying grandchildren-not being their caretaker. You may be putting both your child and your MIL at risk by leaving him in the care of a woman who may not be physically up to caring for him anymore.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
Whoops, ungrateful
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
You are being ungreatful and really selfish. Who do you think you are? If you are a working parent, part of your job is to find your child quality day-care and if you have to pay for it, you have to pay for it. It's your child. You should be happy you got 2 free years of child care. Not many people are this lucky. If I was your husband I would be embarassed that my wife would consider asking something like that after you were told and probably given a good amount of time to find alternative care for your child. Not to mention the fact that you just said your MIL has a flaky personality. Maybe you would be better off with your child not in her care if you feel that way about her.
Mamita Mamita 9 years
I agree, you are being unreasonable! She has no obligation to watch your child, you should be thankful she has been so accomodating for two years!
redsugar redsugar 9 years
Dang, I WISH we had a family member to look after our little one. You have been UNBELIEVABLY LUCKY! Maybe you could throw an airfare voucher her way as a thank you for the service she's provided you so far?
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 9 years
I agree, you're very ungrateful. She gave you free child care for 2 years and plenty of notice. Show her some appreciation and for Pete's sake don't guilt trip the woman. :oy:
HipMom HipMom 9 years
I'm sorry, but I agree with your husband that you are being ungrateful. I understand it's a change, but it is not your MIL's duty to provide daycare for your son, it's kind of a stretch of grandma duties. Count your blessings, suck it up and be a big girl. Say thank you for your help so far and start looking for a nanny or a daycare facility. Best of luck.
Fatica Fatica 9 years
As a nanny, I can say that childcare is absolutely a fulltime job. It's exhausting and draining, and I'm in my twenties. Let your MIL have her life back. I'm sure she'd love to watch him once a week or so. She has given you plenty of notice to figure out your financials. You should be grateful that she has helped you as much as she has... at her age... for no pay!
keiren63 keiren63 9 years
If you guilt your MIL into this, you may find your relationship seriously damaged...and her relationship with her grandchild. It won't be something for her to enjoy, but something for her to dread. Your life is about you; her life is about her. She's allowed to say no...isn't this the message you want to raise your child to understand, that it isn't about him getting his own way regardless of other people's feelings?
rca1 rca1 9 years
if she babysat for two years and you refer to her as wishy washyand now you want to trick her into continuing.need i say more,your need help of another sort.
techkim techkim 9 years
As a daycare provider parents who go to the free first found their family/friends did not quite understand what was involved. Its not an easy job. As for wanting to guilt the MIL shame shame shame on you. She pretty much GAVE you $16,000 or more (depending on location) free child care.
lms lms 9 years
I agree with everyone else. Also, having kids IS a major financial adjustment. This is not your mother in laws problem. Be happy that you got her to watch him for that long in the first place.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
She raised your husband (and probably other kids) for almost 2 decades than graciously watched over your child for two years and you are put off that she cannot watch him anymore. Frankly you are being completely ungrateful! It wasn't like she said she didn't want to watch him. She probably is having a hard time trying to keep up with a toddler. Plus let the woman live her life without kids :oy: How long did you expect her to watch him? If your kid is two why not put him in pre-school? It would be a great way to get a jump start on schooling, have him socialize, and there are plenty of people to watch him Don't try to trick her into watching your kid. That will completely bite you in the ass one day. Be grateful she watched him for as long as she did, everyday. Thank her, give her a hug and buy her something nice because she went way above her call of duty
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
no. she watched you so for 2 years and gave you a couple months notice. you were very lucky to have the help while you did. maybe send her on a cruise to thank her and start looking into child care options.
stina829 stina829 9 years
Eh, my best friend just pulled this with me too, but she hasn't been watching him that long, my son is only 4 months and she was only watching him every Thursday. BUT - she called me Tuesday of this week and said starting THIS week I can't watch him on Thursdays anymore. Talk about a scramble to get the Thursdays covered! I understand your frustration, but at the same time, you don't pay her and she's not obligated to do it for you. You are actually better off finding someone else. Trust me.
sweetnshy5282 sweetnshy5282 9 years
I agree w/ mommy dearest. even if you could convince her to continue to watch your son, it wouldn't be a very nice thing to do considering that she says she has plans to travel. also, if she is having trouble keeping up w/ an active 2 yr old it may not be great for her health or the well being of your son for her to babysit full-time. just be be grateful that you have had 2 free years of child care.
PJ-PJ-PJ PJ-PJ-PJ 9 years
My MIL has taken care of my nephew for almost 3 years & also my niece for the last year. She does it out of the goodness of her heart (no pay) but she is worn out from it. She would also love to travel, now that she's retired. Personally, I would never ask my parents or in laws to watch the kids full time, unless it was absolutely necessary. I want them to be enjoyed by their grandparents, not seen as a job. Your MIL & your husband are correct. Please take Mommy Dearest's advice.
Beanalby Beanalby 9 years
The one thing I'd want to know (and could possibly explain some of "Daycare Dependent"'s frustration) is how much notice was given for this. If some Friday she said "oh btw don't bring him over Monday I can't do it anymore", then that'd be reason to be upset. From the overall tone of the story, though, I'm guessing the MIL gave enough notice, in which case she's totally in the right to stop helping when she sees fit. How long would Daycare Dependent expect the MIL to keep this up? 3 years? 4? How much is enough? Just be thankful you got 2 years.
cbgmick cbgmick 9 years
I totally agree w/ Mommy Dearest (and the husband). Two years of full time (and from the sounds of it... free) child care from your MIL is something for which to be EXTREMELY grateful.
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