As the mother of two daughters, both of whom are now married and living separately from me, I have always cherished solitude. When my second daughter got married and moved away four years ago, I felt a great sense of relief.
I became my own homemaker, making decisions about what to cook, when to clean, and how to spend my free time. I’ve never felt lonely; I always find ways to occupy myself when I’m alone. I read books, watch movies, go for long walks, or simply sit by the window, sipping tea and contemplating various thoughts.
Now, at the age of 59, I have three grandchildren – two from my older daughter and a newborn from my younger one. Both of my daughters have wonderful husbands, they live comfortably, and provide for their families. However, when my daughters were getting married, I made it clear to them not to count on me as a caregiver for their children. I conveyed that I had no intention of becoming a nanny, even in my old age.
“I have my own interests and my own life,” I told them. “I have started a relationship with a man, and he often invites me to go out. I didn’t allow myself to have any relationships before because of you girls. I devoted all my attention and time to you. Now, I want to live for myself and even enjoy my later years.”
Recently, my older daughter mentioned to me that she wants to return to work but is struggling to find a nanny for her younger son. She suggested that I quit my job and take care of him. I declined, explaining that I have my own life and can’t take on the responsibility of caring for her children. I don’t allow my grandchildren to stay overnight at my place, and I don’t want to be their nanny. I understand that my daughters may need my help in the future, but for now, I need to live life on my terms.
My older daughter views me as a bad grandmother because I don’t make pancakes, dig in the garden, or take care of her children. However, I believe it’s selfish of her to expect me to do these things. I hope that as my daughters grow older, they will understand and support my desire for peace in my later years.