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Ask Grandma Maggie

Parenting & Childcare Advice
Peggy Moss (1933-2014), also known as Grandma Maggie, penned a parenting column on this site for many years. Back by popular demand, we are republishing the column, sharing with you the best of Grandma Maggie’s parenting and childcare advice.
Unfortunately Grandma Maggie is no longer able to take questions.

Who should babysit my baby?
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Dear Grandma Maggie,

My husband and I are expecting our first baby and moved 30 minutes away from our hometown to be closer to work. We figured this would give us extra time in the morning and after work to have at home with the baby, in hopes of getting a nice routine worked out. I have a 12-week maternity leave, and already have family members who are ready and willing to babysit during the week while my husband and I work — Grandma and Grandpa, Auntie, and my best friend since childhood.

The problem is that Grandma, Grandpa, and Auntie are less than willing to come spend the daygrandpa in our new town at our home to baby sit. They would prefer it if we drove the baby out there every morning and then came and picked her up after work. It is very kind of them to babysit for free, but parenting alone is a great deal of work without dedicating two hours of driving every day with a baby who, let’s face it, is probably going to be fussy at some point. I was also kind of hoping they would baby sit at our home since she will have her familiar bedroom, all of her clothes and toys, and so that I am within five miles if something goes wrong. Plus, it would allow us to get a good routine going while she is a newborn.

I don’t have a problem paying for a babysitter in the area, but I don’t want to hurt the feelings of family members who want to spend time with her and help out. Would it be horrible of me to say that if they want to babysit they have to make the 30 minute drive to us?

Anxious New Mom

Dear Mom,

It makes no sense for you to move 30 minutes closer to work and then have to add 2 hours more going to and from the grandparents’ or aunt’s home home each day in order to have child care, especially when you can afford to have a sitter where you now live.

Save the grands and the auntie for weekend sittings when you both might want an overnight get away or just an afternoon out together once in awhile. There is nothing horrible about a decision that saves you time and energy every workday of your life. It’s a smart decision for everyone. After all, even if they agreed to come to you, they would have to get up early and add that time to their schedule when neither of you need do that.

Warm Regards,
Grandma Maggie