Should I expect one-on-one childcare?
June 22, 2016 3:56 AM   Subscribe

Sibling and I had babies within a month or two. They are the first grandkids. Grandmom (my mom) is watching the sibling's kid full time, 9-5, Monday-Friday. Grandmom can watch our kid then too, but of course there will be two babies there.

Should I be upset about this? For the record, I am upset. Basically I'm in the position that if I want one-on-one childcare for my very young child, I have to pay for it. But my sibling gets unlimited free childcare from our mom. Grandmom is totally willing to watch two babies at the same time, but this is less than ideal for a number of reasons (meaning less than ideal for the babies) and I do not like it. Sibling has no problem if two babies are being cared for. Grandmom basically offered unlimited childcare to her two kids, one said "I'll have all of it!", now if I want childcare from her, she'll be watching another baby. What to do or feel?
posted by MisantropicPainforest to Human Relations (107 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can you explain why it bothers you so much? Would you feel this way if you had had twins and both the kids were yours?
posted by No-sword at 4:00 AM on June 22, 2016 [48 favorites]


I think you should say thank you to the person who is willing to watch your children. And then, because watching children is hard work, you should say thank you again.
posted by jazh at 4:01 AM on June 22, 2016 [223 favorites]


You didn't express why you feel that it is less than ideal for the babies. There may be a reason that I'm missing, but I can't see that it will be bad and it may be very good for them - they'll have another person to react to and to learn from. I have friends with twins and it's amazing to watch them interact. I think it's good for kids to have friends their own age, and it can start when they're babies.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:02 AM on June 22, 2016 [12 favorites]


Do you have a tense relationship with sibling? I ask because I too see nothing wrong or unusual with grandma caring for both of her grandkids simultaneously and in fact I would find it pretty awesome.
posted by crankylex at 4:07 AM on June 22, 2016 [19 favorites]


We can't tell you what to feel, but in my mind it's not unreasonable to be upset in this situation- if I'm reading it correctly, you and your sibling both have an equal need for childcare and your sibling has monopolised your mother, effectively leaving you without your mother's help at all. That sucks, but, the lack of help isn't because help hasn't been offered, it's because you've refused it on grounds that are not shared by the other parties involved. It's not your mom or your sibling's fault that you have a different idea of what constitutes adequate childcare than them.

It seems like this might be indicative of a bigger issue within your family that goes beyond this particular problem. Do you feel your mom plays favourites or that you have to compete with your sibling to get her attention and help? Or is there simply a lack of communication going on, so you didn't voice your desire for your mom's help before she committed to caring for your sibling's kid full time?

I find it a bit odd that this scenario would have gotten set up without your input at all, considering you and your sibling are in such a similar situation with almost the same age babies. I can imagine in some families this would be a situation where everyone's yay-ing because the cousins get to spend so much time together and with their grandma, and the moms don't have to pay for childcare, how grand and heartwarming!

Is the "one-on-one childcare" thing a red herring, with the real problem here actually being the family dynamics between the adults? Because as people here have said, one person looking after two babies is basically fine and may even benefit your child. Are you not wanting your baby to share your mom's attention with her other grandchild out of some projection of your own hurt re: your relationship with your mom and sister? Could be good to think about the real source of your upset, and talk about it with a therapist.
posted by mymbleth at 4:11 AM on June 22, 2016 [52 favorites]


I think this is an amazingly generous offer. My only concern is burnout for the grandparent. Looking after very young children is exhausting (ask me how I know!) Should you choose to take her up on this offer, sibling and yourself should discuss ways to ensure she's not overburdened with the responsibility or has bitten off more than she can chew. But in your shoes, I would love my child to have the chance to develop such strong bonds with extended family, assuming grandparent isn't offering out of obligation and genuinely wants this.
posted by Jubey at 4:14 AM on June 22, 2016 [31 favorites]


Grandmother has offered to watch the offspring of two of her children. If only one takes her up on the offer that child gets her available attention. If both, then it’s split between them. This is *better* than the staff ratio available for babies in UK nurseries & comes from a blood relative to boot. Unless your mother is some kind of narcissistic sociopath your child is almost certainly better off with her than anyone else, so long as your mother is willing and able to cope with looking after children at all.

You feel it’s unfair because your sibling’s child gets what you want if you refuse the offer, ie 100% attention. But what exactly is your mother supposed to do? Only offer 50% to your sibling’s child? Of course not, that would be ludicrous.
Would it have been fair if you happened to be the one who took up your mother’s offer of full time childcare first & insisted that she couldn’t look after your sibling’s child because you wanted 100% one on one care? Of course not, that would also be ludicrous.

If your sister also cared enough about one-on-one care for this to be an issue for them too, then it might be reasonable for the two of you to split the costs of a second carer so that each child gets one carer’s exclusive attention. But a) this is unlikely and b) then you’re going to have to deal with the difficulties over who gets grandmother & who gets the paid carer. Fun times!
posted by pharm at 4:17 AM on June 22, 2016 [19 favorites]


Your sibling got there first? Your sibling is cool with grandma watching two kids but you are not? This seems to be more about your relationship with sib and less about child care.
posted by fixedgear at 4:18 AM on June 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


My needs are actually less. What that means is that in effect, whenever I drop off my kid, my siblings kid will be there. Anytime and all the time. There will be no time when my kid is there with just a grandparent. And yes, I found this out when I asked them both about it, no one told me beforehand or asked for my input. And surprise! Grandmom plays favourites.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:19 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


How can a baby of the same age from the same family loved equally by an adoring grandparent not benefit from another baby? The last thing you want is a baby with no other baby around. They need other babies. That's what play groups, mothers groups and villages are for.

Your baby benefits if the cousin is there. And grandma doesn't have to be torn. This is A VERY GOOD THING for everyone. But most especially, the very close cousins. Let go of your sibling rivalry. You're better than that. The best thing for your baby is cousin time. When you and your sibling rival are long dead from old age, the cousins will have this bond.

And grandma will be in grandparent heaven.

Say thanks to your mum and be gracious. Grandma will still adore your baby and have an independent relationship with your baby. Parents of twins and triplets manage it very easily.

Relax. Breathe. Enjoy free family childcare. You just won the lottery. Really.
posted by taff at 4:19 AM on June 22, 2016 [28 favorites]


You were both offered unlimited free childcare and you're upset because your sibling took her up on it? And you're only willing to take her up on it if she's not caring for your sibling's child too?

Personally, I don't see that you get to be upset at this. Its not like your sibling is demanding one on one care for their baby, they're happy to share your mother - you're the one that wants one-on-one care for your baby. If that's what you want then you have to pay for it - that's fair. Why should your sibling miss out on childcare because you're not willing to share?

Its hardly your sibling or mother's fault that you only need childcare at times that overlap with when your sibling needs childcare.
posted by missmagenta at 4:20 AM on June 22, 2016 [65 favorites]


Unless you hire a nanny, the childcare centre staff won't give your child one on one care. I mean, the ratios are still pretty low at that age, but there would likely be different carers on different days so they wouldn't be the same consistent one on one that grandma can provide your child and siblings child, even as that's one to two.

I also have concerns with relying on full time free grandparent care. It's a really, really tough job and grandma won't have the back up of other staff. She's presumably getting on in years and it's a lot to ask. Frankly, I don't think she should provide free full time childcare to either of you, it's not an entitlement and if what's on offer is not to your satisfaction then yeah, it's right that you pay for what you want. You can't dictate what's offered for free.
posted by kitten magic at 4:22 AM on June 22, 2016 [21 favorites]


What to do or feel?

Accept the generous offer of free childcare and be thankful that your kids and their cousins will grow up with a strong bond since they saw each other so much.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:24 AM on June 22, 2016 [50 favorites]


Our 16-month-old is in a one-woman daycare with three other children. We're happy to know he's socializing and has the opportunity to learn from other children.
posted by lukez at 4:34 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


You say your mother plays favorites --- does that mean you're worried that, with both babies there, your child would be ignored and/or get less than equal care? If so, if Grandma would give your child less time, attention and care than their cousin, then I'd suck it up and pay for professional care rather than risk my child's wellbeing.

If your mother would treat the two babies the same, I see no problem with her caring for both at the same time. 50/50 is fine and doable --- as other posters say, that's what life's like with twins --- but 70/30 is not.
posted by easily confused at 4:38 AM on June 22, 2016 [9 favorites]


You are of course allowed to feel what you feel but I do not agree with your assessment at all.

Grandmom basically offered unlimited childcare to her two kids, one said "I'll have all of it!"

No, she didn't say that. Your mom offered unlimited childcare to both of you. Your sister accepted the offer. Did she accept it with the condition that your child was not allowed to be babysat? No, right? She knew your kid could be part of the mix.

Your mom offered free sitting to you both. Accept it. There's no hidden subtext here except your mother is a f*cking SAINT for doing this.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 4:41 AM on June 22, 2016 [92 favorites]


Grandmom basically offered unlimited childcare to her two kids, one said "I'll have all of it!", now if I want childcare from her, she'll be watching another baby.

That's extremely generous of her. It sounds kind of like you're saying the same thing, is it not? Are you willing and able to to pay for a 50% of the time nanny?

Why do you feel that a 1:1 ratio is so important? Infants don't need constant attention - even if your child was the only one there, your mother would not just be sitting there waiting for it to need something or do something interesting. Babies have been cared for in groups of children for millennia.

I'm in the position that if I want one-on-one childcare for my very young child, I have to pay for it.

If this is the biggest problem in your life, count your blessings. It sounds like you have unresolved rivalry with your sister, as it sounds like you think she somehow schemed to take advantage of the situation by having a child first. You're at the age where people have babies, it's just the way it is. Are you feeling pressure from the lifestyles of your cohort from school that are able to afford nannies?

Your reaction is irrational. I'd be careful how you express your feelings about this, or grandma may enable you to need to find the nanny of your dreams by retracting her offer.
posted by Candleman at 4:43 AM on June 22, 2016 [11 favorites]


Basically I'm in the position that if I want one-on-one childcare for my very young child, I have to pay for it.

Assuming you accept your mother's offer, your sibling would be in the exact same position.
posted by Karaage at 4:44 AM on June 22, 2016 [25 favorites]


This is *better* than the staff ratio available for babies in UK nurseries & comes from a blood relative to boot.

...as long as the caregiver is fit, alert, and can go to the bathroom for as long as she needs without causing problems.
posted by amtho at 4:51 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Having another child to play with/look at, even at a very young age, is AWESOME. That's one reason a lot of people pay for a daycare over a nanny- socialization. This is a very good thing. And I Nth that you have totally won the childcare lottery (free! family caregiver! in-home!), so try to swallow your irritation and be grateful for it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:52 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


And yes, I found this out when I asked them both about it, no one told me beforehand or asked for my input.

I'm not sure you understand how it works when people offer to do valuable work for free.

And surprise! Grandmom plays favourites.

I'm going to go with the standard advice here and tell you to get to therapy. There's more going on here than a squabble about childcare and if you want to have a decent relationship with your mother and sister, you should start working through them.
posted by Candleman at 4:52 AM on June 22, 2016 [52 favorites]


You are incredibly lucky to have this situation. When my daughter was an infant I paid $1300 a month for her to be looked after in a childcare centre with a 1:3 ratio. To have unlimited FREE childcare with someone you trust, at a 1:2 ratio, where the other baby is your child's cousin.... well, that's pretty much ideal! I'm really sorry but I'm having a hard time understanding why you're not super grateful to be in this situation.
posted by barnoley at 4:57 AM on June 22, 2016 [46 favorites]


See, you can expect whatever you want, what you can get is another matter. A lot of people would be extremely grateful for what you can get. If you feel hard done by instead then yes, therapy to understand what dynamics are playing out here with the goal to not deprive your child of a strong bond with her family because you feel slighted.
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:59 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


And surprise! Grandmom plays favourites.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if my very, very, very generous offer was met with breathtaking ingratitude by one of the parties to which I made the offer, I'd play favorites too.
posted by Betelgeuse at 5:00 AM on June 22, 2016 [166 favorites]


I truly hope this serves as a necessary reality check instead of sounding like an attack: there is an astonishing level of entitlement underlying this question. It's like your mom gave you and your sister a toy to share, and when you saw your sister playing with it, you threw a fit because you wanted it all to yourself. Except that in this case, the toy is a gift of time, love, and energy worth thousands of dollars, a gift that would literally be life-changing for most people. You're complaining that it's not fair that you have to share your mom's offer of free care-giving with your sister...but an offer made with the sole condition that it be shared equally among two people is literally the definition of fair.

Take a deep breath, go take a walk, and examine your underlying feelings of resentment towards your sister. And then go buy your mother some flowers. If you've complained to her about this even a little tiny bit, you owe her an urgent and serious apology.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 5:01 AM on June 22, 2016 [136 favorites]


It sounds like your problem is that your sibling's kid will get alone time with Grandmom by default and you are vexed about this. It's fine for you to feel annoyed but it's hard to make suggestions without understanding what specifically you are bothered by in this situation. If you just want a chance for your child to have some alone time with Grandmom could you occaisionally host sib's kid yourself while your child is with GM? Perhaps at a weekend?

Otherwise it just sounds like you're out of luck - if your view on 1-2-1 care is not compatible with the arrangement on offer you can either compromise or go elsewhere. It sucks but them's the breaks.
posted by freya_lamb at 5:02 AM on June 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


You kid isn't going to understand one-on-one time for years yet. By the time they do, Grandma might be amenable to spending some weekend alone time with your kid. You are definitely bringing some baggage to the table here, and you are doing that thing where an Asker expects a specific answer and won't accept anything else as an answer.
posted by gingerest at 5:13 AM on June 22, 2016 [9 favorites]


I think your child would greatly benefit from spending time with Grandma and their close in age first cousin. It beats the heck out of daycare, no?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:16 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Op, if you really don't like having your mother look after your baby along with another baby, I think you should go ahead and hire a nanny. That should give you the peace of mind that you deserve as a young parent.

But to be honest, the way you frame this question makes you sound mean and petty. So I assume there's an underlying family dynamic going on here which you have not explained.
posted by Kwadeng at 5:18 AM on June 22, 2016 [11 favorites]


If you have such an ongoing problem with your sibling and mother that you felt the need to ask this question, I'm of the view that your child would be better off in a paid childcare than entering into this family dynamic any more than necessary.
posted by bimbam at 5:27 AM on June 22, 2016 [12 favorites]


In your mind, your sibling's kid will have lots of one-on-one with grandma, and yours won't. And I understand why you'd regret that: of course you'd love for your kid to have lots of (or even some) one-on-one time with grandma too! But really, the kids don't care yet and they'll more likely prefer having someone to play with.

As for your moms position: she simply can't offer both you and your sibling one-on-one care fulltime. And her alternative (the most generous, to both of you) is: care whenever you need it. That you don't need it as often as your sibling does, doesn't mean she loves you less.

I have twins. I won't tell you how much I spent on daycare for the two of them, where the daycare sometimes had a 1:6 ratio! Your mom's offer is awesome.

As for having one or two kids of the same age to watch: even with all the juggling going on with two kids (and yes, watch out for burnout) I've noticed that most of the time, my kids have a much better day when they're both home than when just one is home, especially now that they're a bit older.
posted by Ms. Next at 5:28 AM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


In the state of Massachusetts, which is considered stringent about childcare regulation, the mandated minimum caretaker to infant ratio is 2 to 7. 1 to 2 is very good!

And surprise! Grandmom plays favourites.

It sounds like you actually do not trust your mother to take good care of your baby. If that's the case, you're not going to be able to get over it quickly, and if you can afford it, start checking out daycares and get your baby into one you like.
posted by ignignokt at 5:31 AM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


Your kid will adore his/her cousin. Lucky kid. Very lucky kid. Other kids much more fun than old lady. Where's your head at, OP? Forever the world has raised kids together, who bonded and played and taught each other. As an ex-kid, my best and favourite memories are the shit I got up to with my bros, cardboard box cars (age 3), the couch (measles, age 4), butterfly cocoons (age 5) and so on. My parents were distant other species who didn't understand the importance of things (relative status of individual toys - unlike bros who might have been confused but were willing to accept the importance i assigned issues and were good for showing me new and exciting things - like cocoons and the thrill of riding a bike down very steep hill without hands - don't worry, not now at least).

As previous child, I think your kid is extremely lucky to have similar aged kid to hang with. Hell, i took on childbirth a second time because of previously mentioned cardboard box and everything that followed.

In terms of development, adult directed play is nowhere near as effective as happy peer play for creativity.

OP, i get that you love that little bundle more than anything ever, but it's advertising (i think) that has convinced you that one-on-one interaction adult to child that is best for your sprog and their development. Not true. Kids need space to explore their own brains and reality, and the best posse to do that with is someone willing and able to travel that path. As wonderful as Grandma might be, she can not - nope, not if she's a healthy adult - she can not sit in a cardboard box and really, honestly, deeply invest in that imaginative world that children create with each other.
posted by b33j at 5:32 AM on June 22, 2016 [29 favorites]


I've been staring at this question for a solid five minutes, trying to see if there's something I'm missing. I don't think there is, so I'll tell you: all paid childcare (that is not a nanny) is many-to-one. Babies are a ton of work, but they don't suffer from the absence of undivided attention at all times. Realistically, what you are being offered is directly analogous to what a daycare placement would give you, except with a grandparent who has a vested interest in the child's well-being and happiness, and for free. Depending on where you're located, your mom has offered you the equivalent of between $150 and $1000 a week in free childcare services, and you appear to be turning your nose up at it because of some unresolved issues with your sister. Whatever you do, DO NOT let your mom sense even a whiff of that, because you will properly not appreciate you had until it's gone.
posted by Mayor West at 5:35 AM on June 22, 2016 [11 favorites]


I think you should separate the child care issue from the grandchild getting attention from Grandma issue in your mind.

(And yes, it sounds like you have some issues with your mother playing favorites with your sister over you? My grandmother did that to my mother and her sister their whole lives. My mother spent way too much time letting it bother her. She should have gotten therapy but never did; I'm hoping you will deal with it for your own sake as well as for your child's.)

Do take her up on the offer, and do keep an eye on how she is coping with caring for two babies, which can be exhausting at any age, but I think it will be fine. You child will really not notice or miss having alone time with Grandma at this age (and may never miss or value it the way you think about it). I think the value of having someone/a first cousin of a similar age to interact with will outweigh any of your worries.

The people comparing it to twins are not off base. Here is anecdata for you - my aunt had fertility issues, and finally adopted. Pretty much as soon as she started the adoption process, she got pregnant! So she wound up with 2 babies only 9 months apart in age. It was close to having twins, really. It was tons of work but she did it, and she was dealing with 19 years of it, one way or another! My grandmother lived with them for a bunch of the early childhood years to help out, and the 2 kids really appreciated her (my cousin named his daughter after her.) She had 4 grandkids and none of us really had much one on one time with her, and of course my cousins interacted with her much more than my sister and I did. However, it was not something we worried about or missed. Frankly, we valued time with our parents much more over time with any grandparent, even ones we loved dearly.
posted by gudrun at 5:40 AM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm going to do a lot of speculating here, because I think your question is missing context, so I have to fill it in to make sense of it.

It sounds to me like your mom and your sister have been making plans without you, and you feel this is part of a painful dynamic. Maybe your mom and sister have a relationship where you feel left out, different, somehow less a part of the family.

That's pretty awful. I've been in situations where I felt that way and is it maddening because you cannot articulate specific examples of feeling excluded and less loved. Any attempt to do so comes off as a series of petty nothings that only serve to drive the wedge in deeper.

A few folks have recommended therapy and I would definitely add to the chorus. The only way I was able to get past those kinds of feelings was to learn to feel whole as person and change my perspective in those situations so that I have good boundaries and can, if it is healthy, allow the two people to have a special bond and not feel it takes away from me. It's bloody hard work but it is better than the alternative.

Love yourself, allow yourself to have your feeling of being left out, not being included in discussions again, but do the work to get yourself in a good place about this, and the whole dynamic that got you here.

You have a kid now and a niece/nephew, and it would be awesome to use this big change in your life and your sibling's life as way to get beyond the old dynamic. Plus, free childcare! :)
posted by girlpublisher at 5:47 AM on June 22, 2016 [14 favorites]


Your sibling is willing to share; you aren't. So your sibling gets the whole thing. Sometimes being ready to accept less gets you more; sometimes taking an all-or-nothing stance means you get nothing.

Free one-to-two childcare, from a family member, is a wonderful thing to have. Your child will still get a ton of personal attention, more so than kids in most childcare situations, and they get in some socializing with a child of the same age, every single day.

I think it's a common for first parents to feel like they have to give their baby undivided attention every single minute - playing, singing, reading. And if the high-maintenance newborn stage is still fresh in your mind, it makes sense. But babies don't really need that much undivided one-on-one attention; having independent (but still supervised!) playtime is good for them.

If you can keep family drama out of it, it sounds like a fabulous arrangement.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:50 AM on June 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


Oof. If your mom already plays favorites with you & sibling (this is what it sounds like?) that dynamic is VERY likely to play out into your children too and you might be wise to simply steer clear of that.

I will also say that IMO free childcare is rarely, rarely, rarely "free". It sounds like your price is going to be resentment over no "alone time" with Grandma, resentment over sibling favoritism, and possibly this blowing up if/when you try this arrangement, it doesn't work, and then you try to fire Grandma. Are those prices you are willing to work with?
posted by nakedmolerats at 5:51 AM on June 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


At this specific age, it might not matter, but if your mother actually ends up favouring her other grandchild over yours that will be a big problem in the not distant future. (Kids notice this VERY early.) And I remember very fondly time my grandparents spent with just me, though of course not as an infant, so when your child gets older you can discuss that.

So sure, take her up on it -- your baby will do fine not being the only baby being watched -- but if you have concerns that your mother will treat her grandchild unfairly, that is actually a big deal and you need to keep your eyes open to it.

(It isn't clear to me what the family history is, though.)
posted by jeather at 5:54 AM on June 22, 2016


Thanks for the replies. Yes there are a host of family dynamics that are very painful to me. Many people touched on them. I wanted to see if my feelings were either a) based on an actual objective reality between three adults who are coordinating childcare or b) based on longstanding pain and history and all that family stuff. This is largely because I'm too in it to see it.

And yes, this:

If your mom already plays favorites with you & sibling (this is what it sounds like?) that dynamic is VERY likely to play out into your children too and you might be wise to simply steer clear of that.

Is spot on and my main reason why I do not want every time my mom watches my kid be a time where my sibling's kid is there too. When we are all together--mom, me, kids, sibling--I see a similar dynamic play out and it scares the shit out of me.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:59 AM on June 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


And yes, I found this out when I asked them both about it, no one told me beforehand or asked for my input. And surprise! Grandmom plays favourites.

I'm not sure how offering you exactly the same deal is playing favorites. It seems to me the only end that will satisfy you will be your child being looked after by Grandmom and your sibling finding other childcare - i.e., a favorite deal for you.

I mean - let's look at an alternative scenario. Sibling and Grandmom come to you before the agreement is made that Grandmom will look over their child. You say "I have a problem with it - I want Grandmom to watch over my child and I only want one child there at a time." Sibling then says "I have no problem with having both children there" and Grandmom says "I have no problem looking after both children."

How is that end different? How is you being asked for input changing what the core problem is - you want Grandmom to solely look after your child?

The answer is - it's not. You are the barrier to a solution that works for everyone, including the person actually doing the work of providing childcare.
posted by scrittore at 5:59 AM on June 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


I see a similar dynamic play out and it scares the shit out of me.

Well childcare should not scare the shit out of you. So then it sounds like you're going to have to pay for childcare that isn't so fraught.

Basically I'm in the position that if I want one-on-one childcare for my very young child, I have to pay for it.

Yes. Like most people who can afford to have a nanny that can give 1:1. You will have to pay.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 6:03 AM on June 22, 2016 [18 favorites]


With great gentleness – you really buried the lede in that case. It sounds like you were hoping that your kid would be a way to resolve your own issues with your mother and sister. This is never how it works out. As a kid who was also used this way by her mother (to work out her own childhood issues through me)... please, please, PLEASE try therapy. It will help everyone involved. Does it suck that you're paying for someone else's issues? Yes. Is it also awesome that your are thus being responsible for dealing with them and ensuring a better life for your kid? YES.

The best way to work through this issue is not to put your kid through the same wringer hoping it will turn out differently, because it won't. Babies can't advocate for themselves, and if your mother devalues your opinion, then by default you won't be an effective advocate for your kid with your mother either.

The best way to work through this issue is to accept reality for what it is, and recognize that one of the consequences is getting paid childcare. The upside to accepting this reality is that it is genuinely best for your kid, and is likely to be better for you too.
posted by fraula at 6:07 AM on June 22, 2016 [22 favorites]


Others have covered the fairness/practical/relationship sides of this very well, but one note on managing your own responses as you think it through: if you just had this baby, keep in mind that you are at the absolute peak of hormonally-induced jealous, protective mama-bear I MUST FIGHT TO PROTECT MY BABY mode, likely complicated by sleep deprivation. I'm certainly in favor of women trusting their own reactions to things, but there were various things that seemed like huge problems, injustices, insults, risks, etc. during those early months that in retrospect turned out to be... really not a big deal? And afterwards, I definitely wished I could take back some of the silly fusses I made in the throes of maternal anxiety. So do own your feelings here, but also keep in mind that those feelings may change with time.
posted by Bardolph at 6:08 AM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


I feel for you. The way you've explained things seems incomplete, and it's causing people to fill in the gaps in a way that's not as sympathetic as they might be.

I think you will benefit a lot if you can improve your ability to communicate precisely and clearly with not only us and your family, but most importantly with yourself. Can you articulate clear examples of this favoritism? I'm not saying that you must do so in this forum, but for your own peace of mind.

You may be hesitant to do so because you worry that your examples will seem petty, or because you get so upset when talking about it that your voice or posture becomes defensive. That's OK, that's fine; there are people who will understand even if your family doesn't. Your defensive posture and voice won't show if you write it down, or just imagine yourself saying these things in a calm, reasonable tone of voice. Trust yourself, be concrete in your descriptions to yourself.

Whether or your baby ends up staying with Grandma, eventually he or she will interact with people who are unkind for obscure reasons. Having worked out this way of talking about your difficulties, you can, when your child is older, explain what to look out for and that if these things happen it's not the child's fault.
posted by amtho at 6:09 AM on June 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


Basically I'm in the position that if I want one-on-one childcare for my very young child, I have to pay for it.

Join the club? Look, I'm one of four kids. I'm certainly neither parents' favorite (if my mother was still with us, I wouldn't be her favorite). I understand annoying sibling stuff around fairness and favoritism. And yet, if my mother was still around and I lived nearby and my mother could watch a sibling's child at the same time as mine, I'd be ecstatic. You are not so you should make your own arrangements. Like sometimes when I visit family, they offer to let me stay with them. Sometimes I do, sometimes I get a hotel room. I don't demand that my room be a certain way if I stay with family, because I think when someone offers you something nicely, it's rude to reply to say, "I will take you up on that but only if you can do xyz."

Out of curiosity, what does your kid's dad think? If my husband said this about his mother in law (assuming she and my sister in law lived closer), I'd still be ecstatic.
posted by kat518 at 6:20 AM on June 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


I see a similar dynamic play out and it scares the shit out of me.

Assuming this is true and not hyperbole, it seems that there is no arrangement involving your mother caring for your child that will be satisfying to you. I suspect that, even if your sibling moved far away and could no longer avail herself of grandma's care, there is enough built up resentment in your relationship with your mom that you would probably still be dissatisfied with her absent any other competition for her attention.

Pay for some other child care arrangement. Then pay for a therapist. There is a lot for you to untangle in your relationship with your sibling and mom. Some measure emotional distance from them while you work through these issues will probably be good for you.
posted by scantee at 6:20 AM on June 22, 2016 [12 favorites]


We all know this isn't about the daycare with grandma. I hope OP eventually sees this, too, and gets the help they need. This could be simply new-parent, baby-brain, nature-taking-over-to-make-sure-your-kid-is-the-world's priority thing. Or it could be a legitimate mental health issue that hasn't reared its head until now (this is how my wife's mental health issues came to light--after having kids).

Also, there is nothing unusual or unfair about your sibling's baby having some alone time before and after your own child gets there, simply due to the logistics of your own child getting there later and picked up earlier. It's just life. It's logistics.

Look at the bigger picture. Figure out why you are jealous. Figure out what is really going on and why you feel the way you do. And, honestly, if this is how you act within the family regarding any topic, I can see why the grandmother might, actually, be playing favorites; much easier to deal with your sibling. Sorry.

From the other perspective, my mother in law watched our baby for free two days a week (we had a nanny the rest of the days). Then my sister in law had a kid. Grandma said "nope, too much" and wouldn't watch sister in law's baby, and she stopped watching ours too, as it was too much to have a toddler running around. So, we got three years of two-days-a-week FREE childcare. My sister in law got NONE. Was anyone jealous or upset? Nope. Not at all. It was just logistics and the way life works sometimes. Seven years later and no resentment from anyone.
posted by TinWhistle at 6:26 AM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


I am kind of curious about how you imagined/hoped this would play out? Like, you knew your sibling would have a new baby, and you knew you would have a new baby, and you knew your mom had offered to take care of your baby and I'm guessing you even knew that your mom had made the same offer to your sibling? Maybe you were imagining something like an arrangement where your mom would take care of your sib's kid three days a week and your kid three days a week and maybe there was some overlap.

But! By not asking and clarifying, you kind of set yourself up for disappointment. This is a really common thing to do, basically hoping that people you love but maybe cannot 100% trust will come through for you! But it's not the safest path.

It sucks that you have this difficult relationship with your mother and sibling, but this doesn't seem like the hill to die on. I don't think you sound like you have serious mental illness, just a difficult relationship with your family (and, sure, you would probably benefit from therapy or something).

(I spent a lot of time with a same-age cousin when we were toddlers, because it would be "good for us to play together" and from what I have heard she was kind of awful to me then and we don't have a close relationship as adults. So, yes, in a perfect world it's a nice idea for same-age babies to hang out, but it's not necessarily a universal good.)
posted by mskyle at 6:31 AM on June 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


Yeah, if this is a long standing dynamic, I can see how the childcare situation is annoying, even if it is, on the face of it, a reasonable arrangement for your mom and sibling to have made. And it is a perfectly reasonable agreement for them to have made. The problem is all the other stuff that's apparently come before.

I f this is such a strong, worrisome dynamic, I don't think you'd really want to use grandma for childcare at all, unless it's an urgent matter, in which case the exposure will be minimal enough that it won't matter too much if cousin is there or not. Let's say you did have one day a week reserved for your kid alone, the favoritism will still be there, and your kid will likely figure it out anyways. Better to just let go of the idea that grandma was a viable option.

Grandparents can play an important role in a person's life, but parents are way more important. The dynamic that causes you pain won't be as prominent in your kid's life: They have you for their parent, not your mom. They're already going to be better off.
posted by ghost phoneme at 6:33 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


What would happen if you said, "Mom, how can we make sure that Babyname gets some alone time with you too as s/he grows up?" Is there a way to do an end-run around the painful dynamics by just asking for what you want?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:45 AM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


Your question has a very childish tone to it. Your sister got her baby to grandma first and you're pouting. If you had been first, I can imagine your question would have been about how to ensure grandma only watches your kid because you were there first and think one-on-one care is best. Your sister and mother are being very reasonable here with their "more the merrier" attitudes. You're the one I picture with his arms crossed, head lowered, bottom lip out, stamping your foot because you didn't "win" or get your way. Not a great example of how to compromise for your new child...
posted by cecic at 6:46 AM on June 22, 2016 [10 favorites]


My kid was never taken care of by my mother-in-law because she noped out of any babysitting ever at cousin #5 and I was late to the party. My mom watched my kid a few times, less than five, because she didn't really like babies and had other responsibilities. Even a couple hours a week of shared care is more than many people get. It's still a gift. (Yeah, it's a disappointing gift if a sibling or in-law is getting a better gift. I have step-sisters and their side of the family has more money so they get showered with things that I don't get. I've got some empathy to spare.)

If there's money at all to spare, it might be nice to hire a kid from the neighborhood to come in most afternoons after school to be a helper at grandma's house. This can be a kid as young as eight or nine who likes to play with babies while grandma puts her feet up or starts to prep dinner. Or money can be thrown at the dinner problem. I don't think I'm going to get to be a grandma for another few years, but when I am one, I would like catered dinners after a full day of baby minding. Pretty please?
posted by puddledork at 6:49 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


The responses that you are favoriting indicate to me that you asked the incorrect question. This isn't really about the babies at all. I think perhaps single therapy, or maybe family therapy, is the best solution to this.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:49 AM on June 22, 2016 [47 favorites]


Grandmom basically offered unlimited childcare to her two kids, one said "I'll have all of it!", now if I want childcare from her, she'll be watching another baby.

No. One kid said "yes, please and thank you" and the other is sulking. Since Grandmom and Sister are okay with both babies being cared for (aka you effectively ending your niece/nephew's one-to-one childcare ratio), I can't imagine Grandmom ever said "limited time offer, only one slot."

What to do or feel?

You should feel that at this point in time, the only way to expect one-on-one childcare if you are willing to provide it yourself and not have a sibling for the baby until baby goes to full-time school. Or if you are paying for a nanny. Otherwise you should not feel entitled to one-on-one childcare.
posted by kimberussell at 6:51 AM on June 22, 2016 [9 favorites]


What do you propose or hope for as the alternative to your mom watching both? I am failing to see a wrong here. It appears to me as if you are trying to correct years of slights with this babysitting arrangement.
posted by AugustWest at 6:52 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yes there are a host of family dynamics that are very painful to me. Many people touched on them. I wanted to see if my feelings were either a) based on an actual objective reality between three adults who are coordinating childcare or b) based on longstanding pain and history and all that family stuff. This is largely because I'm too in it to see it.

I think it is good that you try to seperate the two questions. With family issues often comes confirmation bias, where you'll start to interpret everything according to the beliefs you already hold (in this case: mom's playing favourites), even if it is not really the case. I don't think we internet strangers know enough context to actually separate the two issues though. (TBH, just knowing the objective facts you've provided, I also think you may be overreacting, but then of course I know nothing about your family history -- so I can't judge.) That's why I think a few sessions with a therapist (or someone else who is objective and not invested in any relationship with you or your family) can really help you to get a clear view on this issue and s/he could also help you learn some coping mechanisms for dealing with both your own hurt and your family in the future.

(I am speaking from my own experience here. My therapist helped me to be reasonable about my family issues and this strengthened my relationships with my family and I don't have to spend so much energy on dealing with my own negative feelings anymore.)
posted by leopard-skin pill-box hat at 7:01 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Should I expect one-on-one childcare?

No.

I think the real question is: Do I have to use this free childcare? The answer is still no. If you can afford a nanny or daycare (and as many folks pointed out above, babies around other babies is actually really good for them), you do not have to have your mother watch your child and worry that she's recreating the dynamic that she created between you and your sister. You can opt out of that shit.
posted by carrioncomfort at 7:03 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Given your followups and what you've marked as best answers, I would gently suggest that yes, while a grandparent who picks favorites among her children may potentially pick favorites among her grandchildren by default as well, an arrangement wherein the favored grandchild spends 40 hours a week one-on-one with grandmom and has a grateful parent, and the non-favored grandchild is kept from spending any measurable time with grandmom at all because their parent resents the other grandchild*, is an arrangement that will guarantee favoritism and set the stage for another generation of rivalries and competition. Is that what you want for your child?

*Yes, you do.
posted by headnsouth at 7:03 AM on June 22, 2016 [76 favorites]


This question doesn't make any sense. Are you saying that since you desire one-on-one, free childcare, your sister should be SOL and need to pay for day care so that your standards can be met? What alternative are you suggesting?
posted by cakelite at 7:07 AM on June 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


I feel for you. Having kids has really sharpened all the old childhood rivalries and feeling of injustice about who's getting what in terms of (grand)parental attention for me.
However, remembering back to how much my mom let her messed up relationship with her mom poison me & my sibs' interactions with our grandma makes me determined to keep it all separate from my kids' relationship with my mom.
And for those who are saying "1:1 care is always better" and "your mom would have to be a psychopathic narcissist to be better than daycare" that's just not true. I'd rather have my kid in a setting with trained professionals who know a ton about early childhood development, are first aid certified, are able to take a break and catch their breath, and can call in sick when they need to... And at the risk of sounding ageist, it helps that they aren't 70.
Grandma babysitting once a week is lovely, but there's no way that I'd have her as our primary childcare resource as long as we can afford professional care. It's not the best thing for grandma nor the kids.
posted by dotparker at 7:13 AM on June 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


I am sorry there such a pile-on here; it really sounds like instead of a stand-alone annoyance this is really the straw that broke the camel's back situation; where they have tag-teamed to put you on the back foot so your sibling - who perhaps is a "give-an-inch-take-a-mile" kind of person, and a mother that perhaps consistently "accidentally" over-commits herself in only one sibling's favour, can then belittle any attempt to have a reasonable conversation with plausible deniability.

Good news is, you have the power to choose the type of relationship you are willing to have with your family and also have the option of devoting the energy you presently expend on your family towards perhaps your in-laws or friends (chosen family). Good luck in moving past this and creating healthier relationships.
posted by saucysault at 7:13 AM on June 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


Where are you getting this idea that every baby needs exactly one full time caregiver? That's incredibly luxurious and wasteful. Is this some sort of gender role thing (every baby needs a mom!) What about twins? What about literally all day cares having a 1 to 2 or 1 to 3 ratio? You are complaining about the cost (meaning you are probably not fabulously wealthy) so you probably aren't going to hire a full time live in nanny and wet nurse.

I mean, all the stuff about your mother and your sister is pretty much irrelevant, to my mind, because your whole question stems from this totally incorrect idea that every baby needs one full time human to care for them. Look, that wasn't even true back in hunter gatherer days or whatever. It's not The Way Things Must Be. It's actually far more normal for one person to watch two babies than for there to be an available carer full time for every single baby.

Whoever is telling you differently is lying, dude. Are either of these babies premature or special needs in any way? They're probably totally fine both being watched by one person.
posted by quincunx at 7:16 AM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


Grandma's offer was: "I can take care of the [both, two] kids"; sib: "awesome, thanks"; you (I guess quietly, to yourself): "I don't like this offer". Us: perplexed, because 1) there is only one resource [grandma] and two babies; 2) the assumption that babies need alone time is far from universal; 3) if you wanted that, and didn't communicate this, as mskyle points out, that's on you. Maybe you didn't communicate this because you suspected your request was unreasonable? If so, I agree with that. Neither your mom or sib acted poorly or in bad faith with regard to this arrangement, based on what you've shared. You can take or leave the offer as is, you don't get to complain about things not being ideal for you... (although maybe yes, a therapist should hear about that).

ALSO - sometimes, people are kind of crappy parents - because they're young, inexperienced, stressed etc. - but great grandparents, because they're freed from the whole complex of responsibilities involved in parenting while also having to work for money full time, etc., and, they've (usually) learned a few things since they were 20 whatever years old.
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:33 AM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


why don't you wake up earlier and drop your baby off and then stay at work later before you pick your baby up from grandma's? and that way your baby can have 60 minutes or whatever of alone time that the other baby gets now. or wait, does that sound silly? because it is. you are turning childhood resentments onto your sister's baby. have you considered how your own actions play into the favoritism you're seeing? to me it looks like you're well into creating a self fulfilling prophecy. no one is trying to trick you or steal from you or take more than their share - honestly, the only one who is trying to get the bigger piece of pie here is you. i'm not saying your child should be watched by your mom, but you're using babies to fight long ago battles. you and your family (both immediate and extended) will be happier if you can work out how to stop doing that.
posted by nadawi at 7:35 AM on June 22, 2016 [21 favorites]


My suggestion would be to try to set up some regular time for your child to have one-on-one time with her Grandmother - beyond the daily childcare grind. While it may not address the frustration you feel not having individualized daycare, it does allow your mother and child to develop their own special relationship.
posted by TofuGolem at 7:37 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is not a child care issue. The child care situation is great. You have other unresolved problems with your sibling that you need to work through.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:41 AM on June 22, 2016 [11 favorites]


What would have happened if you'd had your baby first?
posted by Room 641-A at 7:42 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


What solution are you looking for here? That your sibling, who doesn't mind have the two children cared for together, be deprived of free child care because you want your mother entirely to yourself? That's completely unreasonable. You're the one who isn't ok with shared child care, so you're the one who has to figure out an alternative. If you're thinking of asking for your mom to take care of your child alone in order to resolve old family issues, that will not end well for you.
posted by Mavri at 7:43 AM on June 22, 2016 [12 favorites]


My son was with his grandparents full-time while I worked 9-5 from 3 months until he went to school.

I agree that your baby will likely love being with their cousin all day (my son was sometimes with his older cousins until they went to school and has such a good relationship with them). Grandma will love them both, but two babies with one caregiver may eventually wear her out unless the babies are easy and grandma is very energetic/able to relax the rest of the time and while they're napping. I am envious of my son's relationship with his cousins, they're like siblings to him. He's also been able to enjoy his grandparents so much more than if he was only seeing them for dinners and some weekends, it's truly a gift she's offering to you despite whatever other relationship dynamics are at play here.

I suggest you and sister think about what you can do to help your grandmother take care of herself (e.g. taking turns bringing food for lunch and dinner unless she likes to do that while the babies nap), and try to set aside your resentment.

FWIW my son's aunt (mother of his cousins) annoys the heck of me at times and monopolizes the grandparent's attention but that doesn't take away from the gift of free childcare with people who really love my son.
posted by lafemma at 7:44 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Regarding the dynamic playing out again with a whole new generation: both my parents had difficult relationships with all of their own parents. I don't remember how old I was when I picked up on this, but it was definitely well past toddlerhood (and I spent significant amounts of time with them growing up). Some of my grandparents' less than ideal behavior was exhibited around me, some wasn't. I didn't really care much either way: even the least ideal things were much, much milder than what I later understood played out between them and my parents, and besides what I really cared about in terms of love was love from my parents. I mean, I had what I distinctly remember as fairly cold daycare, preschool, and kindergarten teachers, but I don't remember caring much about it: what I cared about was the other kids and the crafts and the songs and so forth. I think when you're loved by the people you care most about, you don't actually need to feel loved in the same way by others (at least, I didn't).

I guess what I'm trying to say is:
a) unless your mother would literally not interact at all with your child, I don't think they're going to even notice any relative lack of attention until a good while from now
b) by the time they are old enough to pay attention they'll also be old enough to be much more interested in playing with their cousin
c) it's really not inevitable for bad family dynamics to persist into the next generations. I mean, it's possible. But make sure you're not making this a self-fulfilling prophecy: it sounds like your mother's been spending more time with your sister's child than with yours (whether due to the age gap or to your reluctance) and it's hard not to show more attention to a child you know better. Also a month makes a big difference in a baby's ability to interact with the world, and if your sister's child is the older one then keep in mind that the more interactive a child is the easier and more natural it can feel to give them attention.

Again, without knowing any of you there's no way to tell. I think, though, that there would have to be an extremely marked difference at this stage in how your mother treats her grandchildren for it to bode badly at all for the future. I think it's worth deciding now what kind of relationships you want your child to be able to have in the future with your relatives: their ability to have close relationships with their grandmother, cousin (and maybe later cousins), aunt, and any significant others depends mostly on you now and not so much on any of them. I do think that letting your mother spend great amounts of time with only one grandchild, and the obviousness of your dislike for her as the reason for going or of your way to spend thousands of dollars, will necessarily make it harder for your mother to have equally close relationships with them even in the case where she does have both self-awareness and the best of intentions.

Tl;dr: why not take her up on it for at least half a year, see how it goes, and take active steps to help her feel close to your child (try not to fight with her, thank her well and often, buy her an "I'm a grandma" mug, ask her for baby-handling advice and pretend to appreciate it, give her a million pictures, lay it on thick about how your baby loves her) - unless it really kills you, go all out on this and let it at least have a chance to work. Worst case, nothing much happens; best case, you give your child something that, if they're like me, they'll end up being profoundly grateful for, warts and all. And in the meantime put the would-be childcare money in a college fund or something.

(and about your mother and sister ganging up on you to arrange this: maybe that's how it went down, or maybe it was so obvious that she'd just take care of both her daughters' kids that the idea of having to explain it (and say what, if you're not pleased then I'll split the time 50-50 and you'll both need to pay for childcare?) never even occurred to them.)
posted by trig at 7:45 AM on June 22, 2016 [31 favorites]


I really like Bardolph's comment that a lot of this is probably just typical anxiety with a new baby. Another point-- accepting free babysitting from family, like accepting money, always comes with some strings attached. It increases the power the giver has over you, and, just like in this situation, if there are siblings it can create all sorts of feelings of resentment and entitlement. A lot of people wind up having to not accept these favors in order to stay out of family drama. But that in itself can create resentment with siblings who become jealous you're more independent.

Assuming you are going to accept this help, maybe stay for a while at dropoff or pickup, ask your mother if she needs you to do shopping or other errands-- how could she not need some help, with two babies all day?-- share a meal or play and observe the dynamic. If something needs to change, you can change it,
posted by BibiRose at 7:56 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


and the obviousness of your dislike for her as the reason for going or of your way to spend thousands of dollars,

Here is the thing though: I think if a relationship is already at the point where a polite "thanks ,but we decided to go with other childcare because (whatever) is met with hurt feelings, then that is ITSELF a good reason to steer clear. It's a very generous offer -- no less, but no more. If it's going to be wrapped in "if you don't let me be childcare, you obviously DISLIKE me" , or any other kind of weird dynamics, only OP can judge whether the "offer" comes with strings.
posted by nakedmolerats at 7:57 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I could see myself writing your post -- I have similar family dynamics. I don't necessarily think you need Therapy; you seem to understand what's going on here, including your own reactions, and that you need boundaries to protect yourself, and that you really want to avoid that dynamic getting propagated into the next generation. I'd guess that your feelings are amplified by new motherhood, and especially the protective instinct. Therapy won't change the underlying favoritism and sibling dynamics, just your reactions to it.

What to do? Well, as others have covered, newborn care isn't 1:1 almost anywhere, and -- free child care. Take it for now, until baby is old enough to perceive favoritism. Then re-evaluate (almost certainly, different daycare at that point). Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
posted by Dashy at 8:00 AM on June 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


So...I'm trying to understand this. Was it like a bait and switch? You were given to understand that grandma would be watching (and loving, and bonding with) your kid. And suddenly, boom!, grandma is watching your sister's kid 9-5 and your kid will be merely prrmitted to also be there, sidelined, having to fight for any crumb of attention. Perhaps echoing the situation you were in when you and your sister were children.

I guess grandma's offer takes care of the childcare aspect. But it doesn't adress your need for grandma to show your baby her love.
You sound really upset. Your pattern of likes seems like you want to be all "Eff you, mom, we're hiring a nanny."
I don't know how difficult it is to talk with your mom. I mean, maybe turning your back on this offer is the best solution. Maybe it's worth asking your mom how you kid can get special bonding time with her. Either way,I think you need to figure out and put into words what the actual problem is.
posted by Omnomnom at 8:03 AM on June 22, 2016


your feelings are amplified by new motherhood,

It is unclear whether hormones related to motherhood and childbirth are informing OP's response or not, OP has not said whether they birthed the child themselves.
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:18 AM on June 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


Late to the party, but one thought.

I hear the worry in your update that your child will be affected by favoritism for your sibling getting played out as favoritism for their child. I would:
1) caution you to start with the assumption that isn't the case, so as to give your child the best chance for a good relationship with their grandmother.
2) remember that this really isn't a big deal (assuming safe and competent baselines) until about 18 months. So you have time to see how this plays out without needed to take on all the burden of future worry today.

Good luck!
posted by mercredi at 8:26 AM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


And yes, I found this out when I asked them both about it, no one told me beforehand or asked for my input.

This statement is really striking. Presumably you and your sibling each had around nine months to consider and discuss -- with each other and with your mother -- what childcare arrangements might be possible.

Is it possible your sibling is more assertive (perhaps brought this up with your mother long before you did) and you are more passive (waited to be asked for your input)?

You've acknowledged this issue is not just about the babies, and I wonder if you can see that your apparent sense of entitlement is also not limited to childcare, i.e., you expected to be involved in decisions without actually initiating conversations regarding the things that concern you.

Maybe your mother really does play favorites. I certainly don't know. On the other hand, maybe your sibling tends to get what they want/need because they ask for it, and you're left feeling out in the cold because no one was able to read your mind. It might be easier for your mother to meet the needs of sibling because sibling is more inclined to express those needs, and this could be a longstanding issue that's caused you to feel hurt in the past as well. Just something to consider.
posted by whoiam at 8:36 AM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


You need to do what's best for your child.

If having your mother watch your child will cause resentment that will bleed over and color the relation between your child and his/her grandmother and cousin, then perhaps it's best that you not use her for child care.

Could you start out, perhaps, with a part-time arrangement - once or twice per week? If you don't want to get into the family issues that seem to be a factor*, it could be framed as "we don't want to overwhelm Grandma with taking care of two babies at once, let's see how it goes" and play it by ear from there.

--------------
*though this is something that will need to be addressed eventually
posted by Lucinda at 8:46 AM on June 22, 2016


Family dynamics aside, I don't understand why this is such an issue. Having someone provide free daily childcare is a gift. Part of having children is being prepared to pay for their needs. So in the case of childcare you have two options: take it or leave it. That's really all it is because, watching one kid is a lot of work and watching two is even more so be grateful and set up more preferable arrangements as time and money allow. You can't suggest that you're sister doesn't take advantage of free because you want one on one time, it isn't fair. So for now you have may just have to deal with it.

As to the family dynamic, I suspect that this worth delving into to deeper but ultimately what do you want from it? An apology, a rewinding of the clock or just acknowledgement? Regardless, the best part of starting your own family is that for once you get to choose what the dynamics are so perhaps this can be a fresh start for your child and niece to interact and bond in a healthy way.
posted by CosmicSeeker42 at 9:00 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


So you ideal scenario is... what? Where do you think your sister's kid should be deposited during the time you need childcare?

You say "this isn't ideal for the babies" but, in all honesty, you do not seem to be thinking in those terms at all. You care about what is ideal for you, and for your relationship with your sister and your mom, but it seems apparent that you don't care what's ideal for your sister's baby, because if you did, you wouldn't be suggesting that your sister's baby receive less childcare than s/he has been offered in order to suit your needs - your needs, not your kid's needs, because your kid does not care if there is one other baby around.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:04 AM on June 22, 2016 [25 favorites]


Unless your mom is going to "play favorites" by letting your infant sit in a dirty diaper or go hungry, which is obviously not the case otherwise you would have said so... it's unclear how you think that the favoritism is going to play out with infants. I am not really sure how you could play favorites with infants - you soothe them when they cry, you put them down for a bunch of naps, you keep them clean, and you feed them when they are hungry. She will love and want to take good care of the baby. Most of my friends' moms drive them absolutely bonkers and they have many issues and resentments from a million things over their lifetimes, but they'd still cut off their arm to have them provide fulltime childcare, let alone free childcare.
posted by gatorae at 9:06 AM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


This is an amazingly generous offer. Why not have her watch both babies, if she is willing to do it? She sounds like she is doing the best she can.

When the babies get older it's going to be cuteness overload, for real. They will probably enjoy each other's company. My concern, though, would be grandma getting burned out because taking care of two babies is a lot of work!
posted by Ostara at 9:07 AM on June 22, 2016


My apologies -- new parenthood. In my experience (as a friend of new parents, not as one myself) the feelings are always more intense than expected. Likely mediated or modulated by hormones such as oxytocin, but certainly in both parents.

I did not mean this as a "crazy new mommy, lol!" comment, but rather as a "this is a same-old conflict for you that you're used to handling, but it may seem more intense now because of new parenthood" way of approaching the "how to feel?" question of the OP.
posted by Dashy at 9:09 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


She plays favorites with you and your sibling, and you're assuming she'd play favorites with the two babies. Yes, you can keep your baby out of that situation for daily daycare, but that's still going to affect the overall family life. Grandma will definitely play favorites if there's one grandchild who she sees every day and they have inside jokes and she knows that kid's favorite foods and favorite toys and favorite tv characters. Taking your kid out of the daycare situation to avoid the immediate concern might actually make the overarching problem worse.
posted by aimedwander at 9:48 AM on June 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


I'll jump in to agree with what trig said - as long as your baby is getting his basic daily needs met, he's not really going to feel any favoritism at this age. So in your situation I would (and I mean this with kindness) suck it up and take the free childcare.

But you're going to have to go into it with some self-checks regarding things like what will you do when the cousin gets your baby sick? what will you do when the cousin breaks your kids' toy and your sister doesn't offer to replace it immediately? what will you do when your kids' clothing goes missing because it went home with cousin, and then your sister forgets to bring it back to you for two weeks? what will you do when you find out that you've been delivering diapers to grandma's house diligently every Monday morning, and then you find that grandma has just been "borrowing" yours for a month for cousin's use, or that grandma buys all of the diapers for cousins' use? what will you do when grandma gets completely involved in planning the first birthday party for cousin, but doesn't get involved in any planning for your kid?

Because these are things that come up with outside daycare (especially the diaper thing! my daycare constantly "borrows" diapers between kids), and as a working parent you have to weigh your options carefully before you go full nuclear meltdown on the daycare facility. It's no different (and in fact more difficult) if it's family. If you want to use grandma for daycare, start practicing your cool as a cucumber, nothing can ruffle my feathers routine now.

All that being said, go into it with an end date in mind. We left each of our two kids with MIL for the first year (and, tbh I still have PTSD from it. Now that it's over I refuse to visit MIL for a few more months, but it's not like we're a tight family with lots of family functions that have to be navigated). We knew that once baby starting walking for real that he would need a "yes" space, where everything was childproof and there were no off-limits spaces in his environment and he wouldn't be hearing "NO!" all day long. So at about a year we sent each of our kids to outside daycare.

Having an end date in mind (protip: get on a waiting list now) makes the situation infinitely more bearable. We didn't have a specific end date at the outset with our first and it sucked at our house for a loonnnggg time, but we did have with the second and it was like a countdown "we can do this for 3 more months. we can do this for two more months" etc.

So you get free childcare which is a big help, and truthfully your baby is still going to get more personal care at grandma's house than he would at a daycare facility, even if you're going to be pissed off at grandma and sister on a daily basis. I would start out by saying "mom, thanks so much, we would be thrilled to have your help until (planned end date)" that way everyone's expectations are set at the beginning and no one's feelings get hurt when things change. And try to get hubby to do as many pick-ups and drop-offs as possible, so the dynamic isn't in your face first thing every morning and last thing every night every. single. day.
posted by vignettist at 10:08 AM on June 22, 2016 [12 favorites]


From your marked best answers and updates, the best solution is for you to feel however you feel about it and just get outside childcare in whatever way works best for you.

Personally I think childcare is not a zero-sum game (Grandma watching both Baby A and Baby B doesn't take anything away from Baby B), and you're being kind of silly about it. But I'm not you, and you get to feel how you feel, so do whatever I guess? You have my permission to be annoyed about an irrational family dynamic that is difficult to quantify for internet strangers.
posted by Sara C. at 10:13 AM on June 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


As others have pointed out it's so great to have another baby cared for who is about the same age as yours. The two babies will benefit so much from having a peer around to learn from, interact with, and have fun with. The other benefit is that your child will develop a strong relationship with the other child AND with your mom. My mom did daycare one day a week for the first 4 years of my child's life and it has made all the difference in the world to developing their bond, especially as compared with the bond my child has with her other grandparents who, although local, didn't see her as much as a child and never did any babysitting or child care.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:30 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


I hear you about the sibling rivalry stuff. In my case, while I was pregnant my mother called me to explain in great detail why she prefers my sister to me in every way. My sister lives in a different country and my mother lives 20 min away and in 10 years of emergencies etc. has been about to help maybe 10 times at the times I needed help. Otherwise we've muddled through.

That said, she is a loving grandparent when it is on her terms.

So, from someone who had to take the "just pay for it" road...sometimes it's a signal that it's time to grow up and not be making decisions based on anything other than what works for your family. And by works I mean safe and kind for the baby. I agree with others that as long as grandma is competent and has energy, everything would be fine with two babies for at least the first year.
posted by warriorqueen at 11:07 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm late here, but I just want to throw in that in my experience with sibling rivalry (extensive), I think many people believe that their sister/brother is their parents' favorite. That doesn't make it objectively true. I can tell you for a fact, because we discussed it, that my younger brother and I would each swear that the other was our mother's favorite. Respectfully, that you think your mother is "playing favorites" with the babies doesn't make it objectively so, and very likely is colored by your pre-existing opinion of which sibling has been favored.

And yeah, pretty obvious that there's something else going on here other than what's actually being asked about. That's what you should be working on, not ruminating about which sibling is getting incrementally more from mom, and how unfair this whole thing is. Especially because there's nothing unfair about it at all.
posted by holborne at 11:09 AM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Any time someone asks metafilter what they should feel, I want to recommend therapy. Because your feelings are yours, not ours, and trying to change them because one "should" feel another way is a recipe for pain. Clearly a lot of folks here think you "should" feel grateful, not angry. But that in no way helps you feel grateful, right?

Go you for asking the question and reading a lot of painful answers, though, I hope it leads you to good solutions for you and your family.
posted by ldthomps at 11:25 AM on June 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


I just want to put another plug in for actual paid childcare, if you can afford it. There's this idea that permeates modern motherhood that exclusive, concentrated one-on-one attention for kids is the gold standard. I'm not convinced, but my experience is only with my one kid, and the kids of all my other friends who also go to daycares. I wouldn't have wanted a single grandparent taking on full time childcare for my son, because childcare professionals in licensed daycares are trained and educated in current child development and psychology. Love our family's grandparents, but they do operate on a "it was good enough when you were kids" mentality and they aren't always up on the changes to our understanding of kids. If you already have a sketchy relationship with your mom's parenting, why perpetuate it with your own kid? My son has been in institutional daycare since he was 10 weeks old, it didn't traumatize him, it didn't give him psychological problems. He got to learn from adults who are actually more knowledgeable than I am about kids, he got to learn from watching other kids (he's learned more, for better or worse sometimes, from other kids than I think from the sum total of adults in his life). It was a positive experience for us, notwithstanding the outrageous costs that broke our wallet. The women who cared for my son as an infant still see him at the afterschool program he goes to, and he runs to them for hugs.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 11:30 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Keep in mind, paying for a nanny is not the absolution you might think. Nannies can be very problematic. You may just be trading one set of anxieties for another.

One day your nanny may up and quit. She might oversleep and you have to scramble and then you to lose the deal with the Vermont people. She might be a thief, or text all day while your baby wallows in poop. I have been a nanny and have friends who are nannies, and you name it- it's happened.

At least grandma is a known quantity.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 12:51 PM on June 22, 2016


cannot favourite vignettist's post enough. The reality of any child care relationsship, whther private for free or paid is that there will be dozens of reasons for conflict and most of them you will need to decide whther it is worth getting worked up. From what you decribe, the first time anything at all goes wrong (I love vignettist's examples they are so realistic, eg your sisters child gives your cold a cough, or your mom uses the diapers etc ) you will most likely view it through the lense of whatever is going on between you and your sibling and your mom.
If it upsets you even when you are there it will certainly upset you more when your baby is there without you.

I honestly think you should not take up your mother's offer but pay for childcare instead.
posted by 15L06 at 1:07 PM on June 22, 2016


On a slight tangent, but with the family caregiver you also want to have firm plans for what happens if Grandma is sick, wants to go on vacation or have a break, etc. Also what happens if the infant cousin is sick, are you okay with your kid being cared for in the same location as a sick child? Going with a daycare helps resolve some of these issues as they will need to cover staffing if teachers call out sick or take vacation, etc.
posted by handful of rain at 1:11 PM on June 22, 2016


If I highly valued quality one-on-one interaction and I suspected that my baby was only getting to get their basic needs met (e.g. feeding, changing) while otherwise being ignored, I would look elsewhere, especially with any significant amount of time spent away from home. I would feel good about it knowing I am doing what I feel is best for my baby. Bonus: making it a personal value decision might blunt the bitter feeling of unfairness a bit, à la 'I don't want this offer anyway.'
posted by moira at 1:43 PM on June 22, 2016


If part of all this is the desire for your child to have a meaningful (1 on 1) relationship with grandma, then maybe the thing to do is arrange regular overnights, so you get a welcome break, kid gets solo grandparent time, and the direct charged parallel is avoided...
posted by acm at 2:14 PM on June 22, 2016


So, a lot of people are piling on you here for being ungrateful or overreacting, and you know what, that might be true. There's a lot about your family situation you didn't talk about in your question or followups, and I can't judge.

But I'm surprised the pile-on has been so big, because honestly there are a million legitimate reasons I can think of for someone to be concerned about a grandparent "playing favorites" among her children and grandchildren that don't come down to entitlement or bad information about one on one childcare. Maybe grandma is an entrenched racist/sexist and your child belongs to one of the racial or gender groups grandma doesn't approve of. Maybe this child was born out of traditional or hetero wedlock and grandma has expressed disapproval of that. Maybe these sibling dynamics go beyond "rivalry" and grandma has a history of abusing or allowing others to abuse kids in her care that aren't her favorite. Or even just making them feel unwanted. That's not something you need to deal with if you can afford not to. Yeah, free childcare would be life changing for a lot of people. A lot of people also have to settle for free childcare by toxic family members that leaves them and their kids with issues and scars.

So. I don't know. I don't know what the history of "playing favorites" in your family means. I think the kind of healing and equal relationship where the two cousins grow up close that a lot of people here are talking about would be ideal. You're the only one who knows if that's a realistic projection of how this situation is going to go. Good luck, to you and your family.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 3:05 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


Look, how toxic is your mom? Is it "just" favoritism, or is it a scapegoat/golden child dynamic? If it's the latter, I'd keep my distance, because that does usually persist into the next generation, and if it doesn't, it usually causes drama anyway. If it's garden variety favoritism, I'd only use grandma for emergency situations, because childcare that you can't fire without making Thanksgiving dinner isn't worth it. If you can't figure out if your family dynamic is toxic, then therapy can help with that.

If a lack of/disrespect for boundaries is part of your family dynamics, I would also steer clear. Grandma isn't just a babysitter. She's going to feel like she's helping to raise your child, and that she gets to have a say in your parenting decisions. It doesn't sound like you have a the type of relationship where you'll be able to work that out amicably without making things awkward.

Honestly, the way you phrased the question makes me think that therapy would be really helpful to you. You're focusing on the details instead of the root cause of your discomfort. You got a huge pile-on that could have been avoided had you just said "My mother has always favored my sister over me (insert examples.) We still see each other x times a month, but I still get sad and resentful at times. Now my sister and I both have babies, and my mom offered to provide childcare for both kid. I'm afraid that she'll favor my sister's child over mine. Should I just suck it up, or should I find paid care? How do I get over these feelings of jealousy?"
posted by snickerdoodle at 3:44 PM on June 22, 2016 [10 favorites]


So, I don't really have an answer for this per se, but it sounds like you are worried that grandma will be playing favourites, and I can say that it does happen! My grandmother definitely liked my brother more than me, and was a lot nicer to him when my parents weren't around. I wouldn't say she was abusive, but just sometimes kinda mean, which is a bummer when you are a little kid. Once my parents figured out what was happening, they didn't leave me alone with her anymore. For a long time I wondered why my mom put such huge emphasis of things being fair between me and my brother - like, we're both middle aged self-sufficient, and she is still really careful about making sure christmas presents are equal and stuff like that! Eventually I put it together that she still feels bad about the unequal treatment we got from my grandmother! Which is very sweet, but sad that she's carrying these bad feelings around with her for 40 years. So, I don't think that your concerns sound petty or selfish, it sounds like you are looking out for your kid, and that's a good thing.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:55 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


I came from a large family, and really, I can't remember ever being alone with either or both parents. (Really.) My grandparents had 16 grandchildren, five of whom lived across the street. Nana quite naturally "played favorites" in the sense of knowing and caring more about the ones she saw all the time. It wasn't ideal, but it was real-- I mean, you can't make someone love everyone equally. It's not even terrible that Nana might love one child more-- it happens. It would be unnatural to force some kind of artificial equal love. Even the best mothers often have one child they get along with better. I'm not sure it's something you can fight. I bet if you asked all of us, several of us would admit we weren't ever anyone's favorite.

That's kind of mildly upsetting. I understand. I don't know what's best, but there's nothing pathological about not being favored. (In fact, I think "the favorites" often end up too enmeshed in the family and too dependent on the parents for approval.) Your child is YOUR favorite, and will get lots of one-on-one, and will love you much more than he/she loves anyone else.
If you let go of the expectation that all these relationships will be wonderful, you'll probably be happier. And just think of how free you can be if you don't care so much about that old family. I don't mean to be callous, but your child is your family now. You don't really need the affirmation or single focus from your mother and sister, and neither does your child.
Can you let it go-- let go of that desired family where you are favored? It's not going to happen, is it? (But your baby will favor you.:)
posted by my-sharona at 10:23 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


So, my grandma didn't like my dad. Because she didn't like my mom, and my dad married her. My grandma DID like her youngest daughter, L, a lot. in fact, when she died, she left all of her considerable family money to JUST my auntie L, and left my dad and his two other siblings out of her will.

My auntie L's youngest daughter is the same age as me, and is one of my best friends to this day. Despite the fact that she probably was all kinds of favoured by my grandma, and that her parents won't talk to my parents (our respective parents used to drop each other off down the streets from our houses.. this is "ignore each other in our small town grocery stores" level of family drama) but everyone always encouraged and allowed us to spend time together whenever we wanted to, which we always wanted to, because having a cousin close in age to you is great!

Adults reactions matter very little to kids. I can't remember one feeling of ever being neglected because my parents didn't get along with my aunt, but if there was some of that happening, I probably just didn't care, because a bunch of cousins hanging out together is the best, and my grandma just smoked and made pie all day and mostly ignored us once we were to an ignorable age anyways, and I have wonderful memories of that time, and my cousin was one of my bridesmaids at my wedding last summer.

Your kid will turn out to be wonderful and hilarious and awesome and will charm your grandma with her own wonderful self, and maybe this time spent growing up with cousins and grandmas will go far to heal some family wounds that won't be carried on by the next generation. OR maybe it won't, and you can just get a nanny. Try it out and see!
posted by euphoria066 at 10:40 AM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


My middle child is cared for alongside TWO children with disabilities by a single carer. The carer is me and the other two are mine too. My mother is dead, but she played favourites, including turning a blind eye to my sibling sexually assaulting me for 7 years, so she wouldn't be my go-to for free childcare even if she were alive.

So, messily, i can see it from several perspectives.

The offer, on the surface, is a generous one. It's a better ratio than most can afford to pay for, and a cousin to grow alongside and play with COULD be awesome. But it really depends on whether the offer is "I can care for both your babies, A & B, just say the word" or "I can care for your baby A! Oh yeah, you too B i guess...". In the latter situation i too would feel like EVEN THIS had made me and my family into some afterthought, while the golden child, as usual, got first dibs on everything.

But...BUT - where are you in this process? I never called out my mother on her failings because she was terminally ill (with 2 different things, for 14 years!) and then she died, and there was never a right time. Luckily when she died i very much felt like that was that and don't spend any time agonising or even wondering why she acted as she did. But if she HADN'T been ill, i'd probably have cut her out of my life. Because I mean WTF mum!? She certainly wouldn't be watching my kids. She thought ADHD "is just bad parenting" and Autism is "your father's excuse for being selfish" (he's an aspie). Plus if she found out i haven't seen my sibling/abuser since i was pregnant with the eldest she'd probably arrange secret access for him because, "he needs to know we love and forgive him". Ha, "we".

Anyway, i think two things.

The first is that you don't need to use this offer of childcare. It is okay to find your own way through. If you are concerned that this will be "yet another thing" that your mother/sibling use as a reason why you're second string/not the favourite, well - they're probably going to do that anyway. If you are on a journey towards just turning away from all this crap and leaving this dynamic and these people off in the distance then it might be painful as it will feel like a real "step away", but that's perfectly fine if you need to step away!

The second is that my 10yo told me the other day that my 6yo is the favourite because i "refused" to stop coughing (i have a virus) and choke to death on my own secretions in order to stop annoying her (she has hyperacusis and misophonia as part of her ASD). If you have to die/stop breathing to prove love, well, i mean i'm never going to be able to prove i love her enough! And i can imagine her seeing the situation you're in the way you're seeing it in the future, and it's NOT that i don't love her, but it is hard to like her sometimes, when she makes these demands. So i am not saying your demands are definitely unreasonable, or that the dynamic is from you and not them, but it might be of value to you to examine what is happening. This example certainly seems (as noted many times above) to be you being quite unreasonable. It might not be. But is it? What other expectations were unmet? My 10yo basically thinks my 6yo is the favourite because her demands are always met. They are met because they are things like "can i have a sandwich?" and "will you pour the milk in case i spill it?" whereas the 10yo feels i always balk at her demands, which as well as "please stop breathing" are things like "please listen to my nightmare, spoken in a loud daytime voice, for 45 minutes at 4am every night for a month" and "please spend 3 years and lots of energy getting me a course of treatment for this thing that Makes Us All Miserable and then be okay with me not wanting to pursue that treatment after trying it for 2 days". I am not going to make her happy, and when she's 28 i will have probably stopped trying.
posted by intergalacticvelvet at 4:05 PM on June 23, 2016


I'm sorry, I know it's a long thread, and I haven't read it all, but are you proposing that your mom not watch your sibling's child for some or all of the week so that she can watch your child alone? I mean, it kind of can't be that, but that's what it sounds like. Put lightly, this is extraordinarily unfair to your sibling and her child. If that's your position, you're wrong. Sorry, I know I'm an Internet stranger and that's not what you want to hear, but it's the truth. Again, maybe I'm misunderstanding.

It seems like there are two easy solutions here. One is to simply accept that watching two infants is not just reasonable, but incredibly generous. At childcare rates where I live, it's a gift of more than $60,000 to watch a child for five years. Mrs. cnc and I had to almost fight to rent a house at a low enough price to so we could afford to fit in high day care costs, to even consider having children.

The second is to pay for individual childcare if you need it that badly. I understand that there may be some negative family dynamics, and that's not insignificant, but this is a choice you would be making.

Best wishes to you.
posted by cnc at 4:10 PM on June 23, 2016


I'm in the position that if I want one-on-one childcare for my very young child, I have to pay for it.

I'm in the "join the club" camp. I'm sorry, but who has one-on-one childcare for their kid? Other than stay-at-home moms? Honestly I don't know of anyone in my family or circle of friends who demands this of anyone, or even seeks it out. Seriously, do you even know how lucky you are? I can't even have a child right now because of the financial crisis the cost of daycare would bring upon us at the moment. I certainly can't imagine looking that gift horse in the mouth should free daycare become available to us. But that's just me.

If I had to wager a guess, I'd say this is less about one-on-one childcare and more about your unresolved issues with one or both of your parents and your sibling. Don't put your child in the middle of this. Pay for daycare, and be at peace.

Best of luck.
posted by onecircleaday at 10:47 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


As someone whose mother probably could have written this question in another universe, and based on some of your follow-ups, I suspect that you may have one (or both!) of two concerns:

1. That your mother will play favorites with her grandchildren, giving preferential treatment to your sibling's child.

2. That your child will have a lesser relationship with their grandmother than your sibling's child will, because your sibling's child will have more one-on-one time with grandma.

These are two different problems, and require different approaches. If your primary concern is number one, then that is a problem that is way bigger than infant daycare. It will play out in every single family interaction, your resentment about it will continue to build, and your child will certainly be affected by both the dynamic between the adults as well as the knowledge that they're second-rate in their grandmother's eyes. As someone who really wishes that her mother had gotten therapy to deal with her relationship with her mother, I think therapy is the best way for you to get some tools and strategies for navigating and re-defining your family relationships. This will help to protect both yourself and your child.

On the other hand, if your primary concern is number two, then having your mother care for both cousins together could actually be great. As aimedwander pointed out, if your sibling's child is spending 40 hours a week with grandma, then they will be close. But if your child is there for 20 of those hours, then they will be building their relationships with both their grandmother and their cousin. Barring preferential treatment, one-on-one time with a grandparent isn't critical for relationship-building.

Worst case scenario, though, is that you're worried about both. In this case, therapy is extra super duper major league important. Because if your relationship with your mother is fraught, and you want your child to have a close relationship with her, then you will be spending a lot of time together trying to get your mother to meet emotional needs for you and your child that it sounds like maybe she has never been able to meet for you. Therapy is pretty much the only way to mitigate the risk of heartbreak in this kind of situation.
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 9:03 PM on June 24, 2016


I am a grandmother, I take care of my lovely grandbaby frequently, in fact, this week I am working 45 hours at my job, and childcare 20+ hours, and commuting time. My son and daughter-in-law are not as grateful as feels reasonable, but I really like my grandbaby.

Babies do quite well with other babies around, and having a close cousin is a tremendous gift. Your Mom can handle 2 infants.

Yes, you have family issues. My Mom was way, way better to my oldest sister and those grandkids. She was a pain in the ass when I needed her with my colicky baby. But here's the deal. You are a grownup and your Mom gets to do whatever she wants with her time. You are making yourself miserable, and you would benefit greatly from therapy to help feel less miserable. Seriously, your Mom and your sibling are fine; you are the unhappy one. I hope you get some help with this as you could be so much happier.
posted by theora55 at 9:36 AM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


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