DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My wife and I are retired, and we watch our daughters’ twin three-year-olds four days a week while she’s at work. She is a PA in a hospital and works long hours, plus has a pretty long commute, so we usually end up with the kids overnight, depending on the shift she’s working.
We love our grandkids and being able to help our daughter, who is a single mom right now. The dad’s pretty much out of the picture, which we’re not at all fussed about. What we’re struggling with is that we set up a routine and rules of behavior that fly out the window on the three days a week our daughter is home with them. Come the first day we have them back, it’s up to us to get these little girls back on track, and it gets frustrating.
My wife thinks our daughter feels guilty about being away from them so much, so she spoils them. To me that’s just a bigger argument behind keeping things more regular for the kids. I’ve spoken to our daughter about how much she undoes what we’re doing, and she just tells me she’ll raise her kids the way she wants to. Am I wrong here, or is she? --- FRUSTRATED GRANDPA
DEAR FRUSTRATED GRANDPA: It sounds like you and your wife are partners with you daughter in raising your grandchildren, and I agree with your wife that your daughter may feel the need to compensate for time away from her girls. Ultimately though, she’s their mother and entitled to make her own rules ─ or not ─ as frustrating as it is for you and your wife.
To hopefully make the caregiving transitions go a bit smoother, you can try working more closely with your daughter to keep her fully in the loop about how you and your wife manage things while she’s at work, and ask her to let you know what her parenting plan is on her watch.