Thursday, July 19, 2018

{homeschooling and babysitting}

About six or so weeks to go till we start school after Labor Day. The least one, who isn't so least anymore with going into the 11th grade, is my last. She's ready for summer to end, being that she enjoys a routine and school provides that, but the heat hasn't helped. Heat indexes 100+ most days, with few exceptions. Okay, no exceptions! Melty weather. Thankful for enough rain, though.

Stumbling over how to manage juggling homeschooling and keeping Hazel some of the time this fall. My physical self gets overtired quickly, much more than even a couple of years ago. Our Army son is in Texas now, and will head to foreign parts around September first. Having him out of the mix makes our responsibility greater, yet we've not nailed down the specifics. I really don't want to raise my grandkids, but I want to help, just not as much as seems to be the need. It's frustrating. Sorta want to take care of myself and my tribe here. Been spread too thin.

My DIL, who's working on her doctorate, has put the baby on the waiting list for one day/week at a nearby church-held mother's day out, while she needs to be down for 2/week. Unless I specifically and repeatedly say I can't do a particular day, the expectation is that I can.

If you read online grandmothering boards, you find a vast array of positions on babysitting grandchildren. Some downright blast grandmothers who don't want a heavy load, going all militant toward the tired ones. I marvel at women my age who have limitless energy and resources.

Flashbacks of caring for my mom for over 4 years in her house and ours, realizing that things never pan out quite like you think.

Is it selfish to get itchy (put a b in front of that and you might see me that way!) being needed too much?

In reality, my first daytime obligation is to my own schoolaged child. Grandchild second. When Mom had her first stroke, I was still schooling 3 who were on their own a lot. When she had her second stroke, I was schooling 2. I've felt like I cheated those 2 graduated children, putting my mom at the top of the list.

To be honest, I'm holding back how strongly I feel about this. There has been an on-going assumption that we'd pick up the slack, but, for some reason, I've not felt like I've been taken seriously as to having a life and obligations. Old stay at home mom. Lots of free time.

The girls wisely say....'The pattern you set now, with Hazel, will establish what's expected later, because you know there will be more grandkids.' As the saying goes...'Begin as you mean to go on.'

For me it's a tippy-toe relationship with my son and his wife. Try not to offend, but if you carry that too far you end up being upset yourself.

Yes, my overwhelming emotion is guilt. Absolutely.

In my heart of hearts I believe young women can't have it all. You have to choose. When babies are young, it's not fair to the child for you to juggle overmuch. Take a hiatus from school or work, if financially possible. Make your child the priority.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.


netablogs said...

I'm with you on the energy level.. I just don't have as much as I used to! I had my sweet little grandson for a whole week a month or so ago while his parents were on a wonderful trip to Europe, and as much as I loved caring for Clark, I was EXHAUSTED by the end. I am not one of those older people with endless energy! You're right, sometimes it's assumed just because we're empty nesters, we don't have things to do. We have to speak up. Your daughters have given you good advice. When it comes down to it, though, it's hard to say 'no', isn't it?
Your youngest is in Grade 11?! Where did the time go!? Wow!

Cathy said...

I never intend to read any grandmothering boards about babysitting grandchildren while the parents work. However, I do happen to know some women who keep their grandchildren while the parents work, and I say WHY? I love my grandchildren, I first loved their parents, of which one of the parent pair was my full-time job for years! I would never have considered asking my mother or mother-in-law to partly raise my child.

So there you have another opinion. I think your daughters are wise, and it seems to me you have the best answer in your heart. Guilt literally eats joy...and we manage to hold fast to mommy, and now grand mommy guilt!!!! I want to enjoy my grandmothering role, not turn it into a mothering one.

And if you want a logical science lesson, it takes energy beyond what I have these days to keep up with a little one...infant, toddler, preschooler, or elementary -aged. Like you, I am still homeschooling and I have a dear husband. This is their time, and that is full-time work for me right now.
Blessings and rest Melissa.

M.K. said...

"For me it's a tippy-toe relationship with my son and his wife. Try not to offend, but if you carry that too far you end up being upset yourself." That is exactly where I am right now, with our son, and it's so very difficult. I feel like I'm walking on egg shells and bound to cause offense no matter which way I go.

You truly may be setting a precedent, and that's crucial. I'd at least say that until all your children are out of the house, you cannot take on the additional care of a young child more that _____ per week. Find a number of hours that will work for you, and tell them that. Then they'll know how they much compensate, and since they are the parents, the responsibility must lie with them! You're right that when babies are little, moms or dads must choose. Somebody must focus on the kids, and it can't be you.

podso said...

I think you need to say what you can do, reminding your first priority is homeschooling the least one as you used to call her. You want some time with the sweet baby, to keep communication open, but not be overwhelmed or drained of all energy. And they do drain our energy! Especially as she gets more active. At least you are thinking it through before school starts. Good on ya!