Virginia Beach Grandparents as Daycare Providers
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Grandparents: Maggie and Steve Test; Elizabeth (not present) and Frank Doll
Parents: Jaime and Danny Schacht (Maggie’s son)
Grandchildren: Kerrigan, 15 months; Delaney, 4 years
“I’m going to be bored to death in two years when the girls are in school,” asserts Frank, who retired after 35 years of accounting so that he could spend more time with Delaney and now Kerrigan. He and Elizabeth have shared childcare responsibilities with the Tests almost since Day 1: two to three days per week including an every-other Friday.
Danny, a superintendent for a general contractor, appreciates the convenience, monetary savings and comfort of knowing who is taking care of his kids, as well as not having to play “beat the childcare clock” at day’s end. But most importantly, he values the “immediate benefits to us and the long-term benefits to the girls.”
Still, the Schachts do acknowledge some trials along the way, from “little things that eat at you” in terms of the grandparents handling things differently than he and Jaime, to some more serious tension that developed between Jaime, a functional analyst for a NAVY contractor, and her mother, never fully articulated, but likely related to feelings of under appreciation (See: “Tips”). However, as Jaime recalls, a month of separation when the Schachts went to Australia “reset everything, and it has been fine ever since.”
For all of the adult family members, getting to see and enjoy more of each other, including in-laws, because of this childcare arrangement has been a big bonus. From his perspective, Frank acknowledges some sacrifices, but joins the “wouldn’t change a thing” refrain. Maggie, who claims never to have felt that grandchild-care was a sacrifice, admits that part of the reason is that she doesn’t do it every day and can easily plan her life (including part-time pet-sitting) around and with the grandkids. Steve, a practicing litigator, relishes the sleepovers when he can enjoy the girls falling asleep in his arms or stealing a look at their slumbering faces in the morning. “It’s grounding,” he reflects.