A few of my readers have requested this topic. Firstly I need to say that our two kids are blessed with incredible grandparents and we feel extremely lucky. Mum and Dad – all 4 of you – we love you. We know that it has not always been easy. Things happen and life can get tough. Thanks so much for all your continue to do despite all you have been through. I feel proud that both our kids love you all so much and I love to see you together enjoying them. I love the fact that they help to keep you young and smiling. Got that off my chest. Now – let’s get started.
The first grandchild. How precious are they? How cherished is that first baby? How much excitement does this beautiful little bundle of joy bring to a families heart? It really is a super special time.
I remember it well. I remember all of us fighting over him. Who would get the next cuddle? With no kids of my own to worry about I was a KEEN Auntie and would often have to wrestle my parents over who got to put him to bed with his milk bottle. Epic snuggles. We were all in heaven. We had time to get gushy, to get emotional. Time to watch him sleep.
To gaze at how marvelous he was. If I was asked to babysit I would literally jump at the chance. I was desperate and wished they would ask me more. The grandparents were so keen though that it didn’t happen as often as I would have liked.
It was the same story for my in laws when their first grandchild arrived. Our baby this time – beautiful little Bonnie Violet. I remember them taking Bonnie for a couple of hours one morning when she was a few weeks old. They were so upset bringing her back. It just wasn’t long enough. They wanted more quality time with her. I felt a little guilty taking her back but I missed her. I wanted my baby cuddles. I promised them she could stay for longer next time.
The grandparents were on tap whenever we wanted them. My husband and I were living the life of riley. We had it all – our perfect little baby girl and loads of kiddie free time together. We enjoyed lots of dinners out, lots of parties with friends. We got out a lot. We had the perfect balance.
I remember a friend without kids going off on one a few years ago. They felt that these days we expect FAR too much of the grandparents. If we decide to have kids then surely we can’t expect the grandparents to pick up the pieces? I have also heard various tales over the years of grandparents who simply show no interest. They are not fussed about seeing their grandchildren. They have done all the hard work raising their own children and are now relishing their time. They are relishing their time to go on long pimped out holidays, to go out at night with their friends and not be stuck at home babysitting the grandchildren. They have given enough years to their kids and now it is their turn. Many parents feel a slight resentment. They can’t understand why the grandparents won’t help them more. Do they not see that they need a break? That they need some much needed couple time to save their relationship or their personal sanity?
Then there are the friends who have constant support from the grandparents #heaven. Childcare is always available. They can go for a night away as often as they like, even if the grandparents are offering full time childcare in the week whilst they work. This simply seems too good to be true. Although often the grandparents get to know the kids so well that they feel that they have a say in all of the decisions. Does this breed resentment – especially if the parents are your in laws?
I feel lucky to have a great relationship with my in laws. I always wanted to make sure that I gave them as much of an opportunity to see the kids as my own parents did, provided they wanted to. They embraced their role as grandparents with open arms. I really hope that our son ends up with someone who feels the same. Someone who will include us as much. The expression ‘you lose a son’ with reference to when they settle down is not one I am a fan of. I think all parents wish for a son who settles down with someone who understands how important families are on both sides. It is about compromise. Charlie will be singing ‘Mummy Jojo don’t like you and she like’s everyone’ if he ends up with someone who doesn’t compromise.
I had my diva moments I am sure. I used to be a bit upset if the grandparents wouldn’t follow my routine. Especially when I went back to work when Bonnie was 10 months. Did they read all the instructions I had printed out or laugh and put them away in a drawer? Were nap routines being followed and sugary treats limited? I also used to go in a bit of a huff when Bonnie refused to come to me. She developed a very strong bond with my Father in Law and often wanted him instead of me. It did hurt me at times but it was bittersweet as I loved how involved and hands on he was and still is.
Then we had our 2nd and I completely relaxed. I was just so grateful for any help that I could get that I was happy for the grandparents to do their own thing. If they were being good enough to help then it was their way or the high way. People are set in their ways and I think that telling someone who is roughly 30 years older than you what to do is not going to work. As parents I feel we need to try and be flexible and accept that we are all different. If we don’t like it then don’t ask for help or pay for a nanny.
My husband and I often discuss the type of grandparents that we want to be. We want to be hands on, we want to be able to give our kids a break and some couple time. We want them to have a balance. Will we feel the same in 20, 30 years if we are lucky enough to still be around? If we are lucky enough to be blessed with grandchildren? I really hope so. I would love to think that we would be in great health and super keen to embrace it. We don’t know what the future holds. I know how much it cut my parents up not being able to help more when Charlie, our 2nd baby was born. It was a hard time for everyone. We must never take our physical or mental health for granted. Personally, once we had our 2nd child (4th grandchild out of 5 on my side and 2nd grandchild on my husbands side) our parents no longer had the same energy to do as much. Things happen over the years. My husband and I had to accept that we would not get as many nights out and opportunities to do as much as we did in 2012 when we first became parents. Our party house bit the dust. Our marriage – romantic nights away took a bit of a backseat. Having two kids 3 years and under was always going to be totally full on. Would we change it? Never in a million years.
I often ponder over what I would do without the support we have had from both our parents. They have given me time to train for a marathon, to work on my freelance writing and my blog and to just get a break. Some days all I want is a hot shower in peace or time to sit for a minute and gather my thoughts and I love them for that. They bring us food – homemade soup, lasagne and baked stuff – things that grandparents always make best.
They read the kids stories, play ball with them, bake with them – they take time to cherish them and make memories. I am so glad to have them in our life.
Granted all grandparents have a honeymoon period. They may not be begging me to babysit anymore (esp at night) but I know that they still love each grandchild unconditionally and they do what they can. Every family is unique. There are no hard and fast rules about what is right or wrong. I do believe that both sides have to make an effort – parents and grandparents. An effort to appreciate each other and see things from each others perspectives. At the end of the day nothing is more important than family and friends. We have to look out for each other #grandparentlove.