I’m going to do that thing that people hate today, and complain about my free childcare. I’m doing it for all you parents out there who are in the same as boat I am. Those of you who know that “free” childcare from family isn’t really free. You’re welcome.
My son is four years old and attends part-time daycare. It’s much more affordable in Florida than it was when we lived in New York, but it’s still a chunk of money. It’s a bill that I definitely would not be able to afford if I had to pay for two children. By next year he’ll be in a pre-K program that is reduced cost, which will enable me to afford to send my daughter to daycare, too. In the meantime, my mother watches my just under two-year-old daughter for me. Daily. It’s not ideal.
First of all, let me just get this out of the way — I’m hugely appreciative and I love that my mom and daughter have this time together. I never had grandparents I was close to, so it means a lot for me to see my kids and mom together. I also understand that I am so incredibly lucky to have this kind of help, since I certainly couldn’t afford to have to pay for it right now.
Can I bitch now?
My daughter is turning into a little tyrant because my mother absolutely refuses to say, “NO.” Ever. If we were dealing with the normal grandma-grandchild occasional visits it would be one thing, but she spends five hours with my daughter, five days a week. And for those five hours, my daughter gets everything she wants. It’s making my life a living hell when I get home from work.
It’s not that she’s giving her things, it’s the attention overload. It’s one thing for an infant to be constantly held — but an almost two-year-old? She needs to be told, “No. I can’t hold you right now. Go play.” But since she’s not told that even once all day, when I get home she doesn’t understand why the treatment has changed so drastically. She cries if you don’t pick her up and literally pulls on your hand until you follow her into her room to play. Because when she does that all day, she gets what she wants. How do I discipline my child for doing something that she’s allowed to do all day long?
I can ask my mother until I’m blue in the face to stop constantly giving in to my daughter’s wishes, but it doesn’t help. She simply refuses to listen to me.
So, just a cautionary tale – free childcare isn’t really “free.” It may make your parenting a hell of a lot harder.
(photo: triocean/ Shutterstock)