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Guardians of the Children

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By Guest Blogger Waking Up on the Wrong Side of 50 with permission

Today you’re getting a real story from my life:

A few months ago my husband got a text from his sister. I don’t remember the exact wording but it was something along the lines of:

We’d like you and LA to be guardians of our children but I want them to live in a pet free home. Would getting rid of your pets be a problem?

Okay – so obviously there are multiple takeaways from this exchange (or lack of exchange if you will).

  1. Do you even have the inkling of a conversation about guardianship of children via text? 
  2. Do you ask the guardians to change their lifestyle? For example, give up pets or ask them to move to where the children are as opposed to the children moving to you?

The next thoughts are a bit more tricky.

  1. If someone asks you to be a guardian, do you have the right to say “No”?
  2. If the person asking is the sibling part of a couple, does the non-related partner have the right to say “No”?

Here’s my thing. We all know I’m not getting rid of my pets or moving, so we will start with that. But what if I don’t want to be the guardian to my sister in law’s kids? What if I am totally done with being a parent? What if I just don’t want to do it? Do I have the right to say “No”?

Does saying no cause an irreparable shift in the dynamic of the relationship?

Does saying no make me a bad person?

Is it ethically wrong to say no?

Now, my perspective. I love my daughter. I spent a lot of time, effort and energy being a parent. I just don’t want to do it again. And let’s face it, the burden of the day-to-day parenting would fall on me. I don’t profess to be a saint who will ‘Mother the world’. I’m just a person who wants to get on to the rest of her childless life…

Am I selfish for thinking this?

So… give me any and all thoughts of guardianship, or anything I addressed here, or anything that is germane to the subject.

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