Dear Two Views,

This is a second marriage for us. We are in our early 50's. We each had our children young (two his, two mine) and raised all four kids together. We never had a 'honeymoon period' without kids around. They are now all grown, married and have children. They all turned out to be great, responsible adults. We recently moved back to the area where they all live.

My husband and i are just now getting the opportunity to enjoy our lives after several years of career and financial frustrations. Our grown children think its great that grandma and grandpa are close now and want to "share" the grandchildren with us but we have gotten used to having our own lives. I am retired from 20+ years of office work and have so many interests and activities that i enjoy, i don't want to be at their beck and call for babysitting. Their spouses' parents also live nearby, and those grandparents seem to enjoy babysitting. We don't - simple as that. But those grandparents all work, so aren't always available.

We love our grandchildren and enjoy spending time with them on an occasional and individual basis, (although we do not agree with a lot of the permissive behavior our children have allowed.) Quite frankly, these little ones sometimes make us nervous and all of them at a family dinner drive us nuts!

If we were to say anything to any of them (and we have tried to hint) we would more than likely insult them and then tensions would result. We certainly don't want that. But how can we diplomaticaly explain to them (and some are worse about asking us to sit than others) that we wouldn't mind babysitting once in a while, but only occasionally and not for extended periods of time (anything more than a full day, or overnight, is way too much). We have lives too. And times have changed from when grandparents didn't have many outside interests and activities.

We have six grandchildren and more on the way. Even if we only sat with one family's kids once a month, we would still be busy every weekend. I refuse to go back to work to escape. I retired from secretarial work because i had earned the right to "do my own thing". My husband also deserves some quiet time to unwind from his hectic 60 hour work week.

Ironically our new son-in-law recently said they didn't plan to have children together (second marriage for them with one child each) because they wanted to "enjoy life after these two kids are grown". (and the difference between them and us is . .?)

I commented "I know exactly what you mean. That's why we didn't have more children, either. Between us we've spent over twenty-five years raising kids ", - but no one seemed to 'get it'.

Suggestions, please? !!!!!

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