Grandma calls out parents who use grandparents as babysitters
In 2020, it’s not unusual for grandmas and grandpas to become babysitters and sometimes even full-time child care providers for their grandchildren. Crazy work schedules, combined with the expensive costs of day care, often mean parents can’t afford to work unless they have help from family or friends. But at least one grandma is fed up with this arrangement and with “entitled” parents who expect grandparents to provide child care for free. This grandma recently put her foot down in a viral YouTube clip that’s sparked an important debate about what the role of a grandparent really is.
“Just because I became a grandparent does not automatically make me the babysitter or a day care,” the unnamed grandmother says in a video recorded and posted by her daughter, Quayla Ann.
Quayla Ann is a Dallas-based YouTuber and blogger, and she writes in the video’s description that her mom was “preaching about keeping grandchildren as a choice and not an obligation.”
*Warning: This video contains some strong language.
“Grandparents — true grandparents — are supposed to raise their children right to where, when y’all are going to have a kid, y’all can financially provide for your own children and secure their day care so you can go to work, so you can go out, so you can do anything else,” the grandmother says.
She goes on to explain that millennials are doing it all “wrong” and should be doing a better job of meeting their own needs and dividing parent duties with partners or ex-partners.
“Grandparents are supposed to be able to come to your house and stay with you and visit with their grandkids,” she says. “You’re supposed to be able to drop your kids off when their grandparents call for them in their leisure time. Everybody’s time is valuable. We have our own lives. We worked very hard to get everybody out of the house. Why would we want to raise your kids and keep your kids?”
In the video, you can hear Quayla Ann laughing as her mom continues to rant. The mom of six didn’t reveal her personal feelings about her mom’s rant, but many people in the video’s comments are applauding this grandma for demanding respect for grandparents everywhere.
“As a grandparent she did her job raising her daughter. To expect this woman to take care of your children is disgusting,” one commenter writes.
Another person writes, “She is standing up for all of the Grandmas out there that have been emotionally held hostage by their children. Enough is enough.”
A few people also stepped up to defend moms and dads who need help from grandparents and wondered why this grandmother doesn’t seem to be more willing to help her kids.
“You don't want the responsibility of grandkids, then don't have kids... period,” one person writes. “Being a parent does not end when your kids are 19 years old. You have kids, you can expect to have grandkids. Your gene pool, you do have an ethical responsibility to help. If you didn't want that responsibility in old age, you should have married rich or chosen not to have kids at all.”
Another person adds, “Of course they aren’t obligated [to help], but my grandparents wanted to.”
Whether grandparents want to hold caregiver roles for their grandkids or not, research shows that it’s a common arrangement in the U.S. A 2012 study by the University of Chicago found that, over a 10-year period, about 60% of grandparents provided some form of child care for their grandchildren. Of those grandparents who provided care, 70% cared for their grandkids for more than two years. Additionally, data from the 2010 U.S. Census showed that 8% of grandparents live with their grandchildren, and 2.7 million grandparents are responsible for most of their grandchildren's basic needs.
One of the main reasons so many parents are being forced to rely on grandparents for help is the rising cost of child care. In many U.S. households, working parents are struggling to afford quality care for their kids. The U.S. government defines “affordable” child care as care that costs no more than 7% of a family’s income, but the Care.com 2019 Cost Of Care Survey found that 70% of families report spending more than 10% of their income on childcare, and 40% of families are spending at least 15% of their income on care.
The overwhelming financial burden of child care means that families are saving less money for the future, struggling to make ends meet and being forced to rely on family and friends for help. Parents who rely on grandparents for child care likely have a legitimate financial reason for doing so. Still, that doesn’t mean grandparents should be taken advantage of or treated like free labor.
While many grandparents are more willing to lend a helping hand to their kids and grandkids, it’s important for parents to remember they aren’t entitled to that help. No one should expect their family members to come over every day and watch their children for free. And grandparents have their own lives. They are deserving of having their time and boundaries respected, just like anyone else.
“I know what kind of life I want to live after raising my five kids,” Quayla Ann’s mom says in her viral video. “I’m not raising nobody else’s kids. I’m here to support, and that’s it. That’s what grandparents are supposed to do.”