Polk Moms

Connecting moms in Polk County, Fla.

My daughter-in-law expects me to keep my three grandchildren every Saturday and they go home Sunday around 3 PM. I realize this gives her and my son time to do errands and to also have a little alone time, but the kids, ages 3, 5 and 7 are exhausting. I don't want to be a mean grandmother but it's just getting too much for me. How is the best way to bring this up without sounding petty or selfish?

If you can't discuss this with your daughter-in-law, maybe you'll feel more comfortable talking to your son about it. Or, do as I did, just tell her it's no longer working and that different arrangements need to be made. Both my daughter-in-law and my son got upset when I told them and didn't talk to me for almost a month. But, grandparents need their space too. - G. I. in San Diego, CA

FROM JODIE:

It sounds like you have been watching your grandchildren for some time now. Just keeping a couple of kids for a day and a half anytime can be exhausting, much less three, especially when you only do it once a week. And I'm sure that your daughter-in-law and son appreciate it greatly. However, if you are getting exhausted, it's not a good outcome for you personally. It is probably best that you do not hide your feelings for fear of appearing selfish, especially since that is simply not the case. It's your life and your health that should be top priority. There are several options. You could talk to both of them at the same time and explain why you feel it is best that the amount of time the kids stay over needs to be cut down. They may even know this already. Offer them a couple of alternatives. But, before you do, think about what those would be and what would work best for you. For example, maybe have them pick the kids up Sunday morning and/or only keep them every other weekend, or maybe keep it the same but do it once a month. Whatever you decide, if possible, give them a little time to try and find someone else to take the Saturday night spot, like finding a sitter for the evening, should they still feel the need to go out or whatever. In doing so, this might make the news less emotional. If they do become upset, do not back down from your decision because you may very well find yourself in the same position and not being too happy about it. In this stage of the game, you just have to put yourself first. They most likely will understand and if they don't, they'll come around sooner or later.

CAN YOU HELP?

When I go to the mall, I take my toddler in his stroller. I see other moms with their kids and constantly hear them bribe them with candy if they stay in the stroller and stop whining or whatever. I was wondering if it was too terribly bad to actually offer candy for good behavior if they only have it once or twice a week?

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