Six years ago, my retired husband and I moved to be close to our grandkids, and three years ago, our daughter’s family and ours bought houses with adjoining backyards. My husband was the “manny” four days a week until each child was old enough to go to preschool a couple of days a week.
That changed with the pandemic. My daughter already worked remotely, and my son-in-law moved to a remote position because he has a health issue that makes him higher-risk. The kindergartner and 3-year-old were now home and my husband was taking care of both of them five days a week instead of only one child all day twice a week and both kids after school four days a week.
My husband never asks our daughter or son-in-law to pick up the kids by a certain time. The one thing he asked over the summer was that they have the kids at our house by 7:45 a.m. so he could take them out for a walk or a bike ride before it got too hot. Almost every morning, he had to call my son-in-law and ask what the kids’ status was, despite repeatedly stating this wish. He also mentioned it to our daughter, but there was still no consistency in getting them here on time.
Additionally, my husband always asks our daughter and son-in-law what they need from the store. They almost always ask for things. My son-in-law, on the other hand, rarely asks if we need anything when he places a grocery order, even though we’d be happy to pay for our share. Although my husband routinely includes them in meal preparation, my son-in-law will sporadically decide to make a meal for his family without notifying my husband first—after my husband has started working on something else—and often doesn’t invite us to join them (and when he does, he makes so little food, we feel like we’re imposing).