We have often heard stories of couples migrating to offshore countries for a better life taking their aging parents along to help babysit their grandchildren. Most of us frowned upon that idea. Agreed, life is difficult in a foreign country and may require both parents to contribute financially. And taking the grandparents’ help in such a situation might be justified to a certain extent too. But the scenario is not different back home as well. With the burgeoning cost of living in almost all cities across the world, most women have started shedding their traditional role as homemakers. They are now stepping out to contribute financially to the household as well.
This may sound good for the family’s financial prospects. However, the flip side is that the upbringing of the kids gets affected. It is at this point that grandparents come into the picture. They share similar values as you (after all they brought you up). They also have genuine affection and care toward your children. But we human beings have a tendency to take for granted everything that comes for free. And this includes our children’s grandparents too. We want our careers to thrive, make a better life, and secure our financial future. Yet, we want our parents or our spouse’s parents to behave exactly the same way as WE want them to. Imagine doing this at a daycare where our child is enrolled? Do you think we would have had the liberty to extend our work timings according to our will or head out for a movie with our spouse on a whim? No, right. Because at a daycare, you are expected to pick your child on time. Else, you might be charged extra. Or worse, the child might feel lonely and scared long after his/her friends have left the facility. All this makes you cut back on your work or personal commitments and rush to be with your child.
But this situation does not arise when your child is with their grandparents. Not only does it help you in some serious cost-cutting, but it can also make you a bit lax. It is not completely wrong to feel this way. But what is incorrect is imposing your expectations on your child’s grandparents. You wish to bring up your child a certain way whereas the grandparents may have a different approach to it. They might let your child do things that you otherwise wouldn’t allow. Like indulging kids with sweets or extended TV time. Since you feel it’ll hinder your child’s interest in his/her studies, you give the grandparents serious instructions not to switch on the TV when your child is around. Thus, by doing this, you also end up curbing their right to have some fuss-free entertainment for themselves – in their own home! Things such as these might breed resentment between the parents and grandparents.
You need to remember that grandparents have already fulfilled their responsibilities in their lifetime. They’ve made their share of sacrifices and compromises while bringing you up. Therefore, at this stage of their lives, they deserve to live their life the way they wish. Your children are, on the contrary, your responsibility and not theirs. It is something that needs to be taken care of by you. If you wish to have financial independence, have a thriving career, and yet give a good upbringing to your child, then it is you who needs to make the necessary adjustments. In today’s day and age, it is possible for women to do part-time jobs to fulfill their financial needs while also being around to educate and nurture their children.
If you have only one child and wish to have more, you need to make the choice between your career and having another baby. And yes, do remember that such choices and situations are also temporary. You might feel bad letting go of your career now. But if you are talented, you can always get back to it once your children grow up to an age where they can take care of themselves. It also helps if your partner pitches in to share your household burden as you too are doing the same by pitching in financially. As far as grandparents are concerned – yes, your children have a right to be with them. But do not consider them as babysitters!