Sometimes You Just Have to Say No… Even to Grandma

grandma and andi

Andi and grandma making ravioli

My parents are incredible grandparents. Whether I want to go out with friends, need to work or just need some quiet time, my parents are usually willing to jump in and help. They will even call and ask for the kids for outings, just to come over and sleepovers. My 13-year-old and 11-year-old will sometimes call them and ask if they can go over and they usually say yes. I know you are all envious and wish your children had grandparents like mine do. I don’t blame you. I’d be envious too if this was not my situation.

But… sometimes you just have to say no. My kids and I have a busy schedule between school, Girl Scouts, soccer, Odyssey of the Minds, Chess Club, speech team, working full-time, the dog needing exercise, homework, etc. Between all of that and Monday night dinners at my parents’, we have some where to be every night of the week except for Tuesdays. So, on Tuesdays, I like to have dinner at the house as a family and take time to get chores done and maybe watch a movie or play a game together.

This definitely doesn’t happen every Tuesday because my mom often takes all the grandkids to the Library on Tuesday nights. I love that they get library time but it does mean another night away from home.  So this last Tuesday, the library was taking a break from storytime so I expected my kids to be home. I had been asking them for a week to clean their bedrooms and play area so I could get the carpets cleaned. I knew Andi had studying to catch up on and Joey could just use at-home time. Plus, Tuesday night is their night to make dinner. It can be as simple as a sandwich or as complicated as they want but they are in charge of dinner.

I was at the pediatrician with Joey when Andi called while walking home from school. She wanted to know if she could go to grandma’s house to hang out and if I’d pick her up later. I thought about it for a minute and then said something Andi rarely hears; “NO!” She acts as if she’s in shock asking why. I told her that I needed her to do her chores because we would be busy the rest of the week. She tried to bargain with me explaining that it’s important I let her be with family and asking how I could keep her from grandma. Now remember, we had just had dinner at grandma’s the night before. I again say no and explain that I need her to do what’s expected of her.

I receive a text within just a few minutes from my mother that says “can she?” I wanted to scream at this point (love you mom). I responded, “no, this is the only night this week she is home and she has stuff to do.” She said okay. Once I got home I explained to Andi that I did not appreciate the follow up from grandma after already being told no.

The next night, I ran into my parents at the grocery. My dad immediately tells me that I need to stop being so hard on Andi (love you dad). I feel like I’m pretty easy on my children. Andi is expected to do the dishes, keep her room clean and help keep the kids’ bathroom and the play room clean. Joey is expected to take out the trash and clean off the table, keep his room clean and help keep the kids’ bathroom and play room clean. They both have to help take care of the dog and make dinner one night a week. I, as a single mom, get them everywhere they need and do all the other mommy things like make meals, clean up, do laundry, tuck them in, etc. They both have friends over quite often and are not forced to do any sports or other activities that they do not choose.

So I want to know… do you think it’s wrong to say no to grandma? Do your kids have chores and what is too much?