My children expect me to baby-sit all the time. My daughter has two small children, and my son has one child. Both couples work, and my daughter must often travel out of town. The children are in day-care and nursery school, but when they're sick, or my daughter is out of town and my son-in-law is working late, they expect me to drop everything and take care of the kids. I'm a widow who works in real estate from the house, so they assume that they can call upon me at any time. This is not always possible business-wise, and it also cuts into my social life, seeing friends, going out to dinner or the movies.
The real dilemma is that I'm torn myself. I enjoy my grandchildren and want to be involved with them. I believe that caring for them on a regular basis is the best way to develop a relationship with them. I'm sure that message has gotten across to my children and that's why they call upon me as they do. I don't want them to stop asking me to baby-sit, to destroy the assumption that they can depend on me. But I also need more balance in my life.
How do you balance baby-sitting for grandchildren and making time for yourself?