F Simple and Serene Living: yes, I'm a grandparent...now what 09 10
Monday, September 8, 2014

yes, I'm a grandparent...now what

Women Speak


I often wonder about my role as a grandparent. As a parent I pretty much forged my own path. I may not have always known what I was doing, but the decisions were basically mine. As a grandparent I am not always so sure. There are, after all, two other people setting the rules. Two other people who have their own expectations as to what kind of role they want you to play in the lives of their children. 


My own mother was pretty much a hands off kind of grandmother. She told me from the get go that she was never babysitting. She wouldn't pick her grandchildren up because she said it hurt her arthritis. She didn't want them sitting on her lap and messing up her clothes. As I look back on it now, I realize that she made the rules. My father adored my daughters, but he was very ill and so his role was limited. 


I absolutely love my grandchildren. I could eat them up with a spoon. I don't care how much pain I am in. I love to pick them up, hold them in my lap, read them stories until my eyes fall out, and get down on the floor to crawl into their tent, even if I am not sure I can get back up.


I am however, conscious of the fact that I don't want to overstep my place. I have never discussed this with my daughter. I don't live nearby and so I don't see the children more than two or three times a year (not nearly enough for me), but as I do plan to move near them next year I want to be comfortable with my expectations as well as theirs. I want all of us, especially the children, to feel good about our relationship.


So my question today is are you a grandparent? If so how do you handle this. Is it just natural for you or have you discussed it? Are you a parent with young children? What are your expectations for your own parents? I would love to have your input.

So grab a cup of coffee or tea, pull up a chair, and let's chat.


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27 comments:

  1. Hi Laura, I am having a hard time leaving you a comment. You have so many pop-up ads that they keep popping up even over the area I am typing in. Just thought you might wnat ot know. The BlogHer ad is the worst one.

    Anyway, as you know, I am pretty much a hands on grandparent. The kids spend a lot of time here. I never do anything that I know their Mom and Dad would not allow them to do. I never speak negatively about people in front of them. I never disagree with anything their parents have told them. We do things that Mom & Dad normally wouldn't do though. Things like running through a heavy rainstorm and playing outside in the rain puddles (not thunderstorms!). We do craft projects and stay up late and watch movies. We make favorite foods - even if is mac & cheese for 3 meals in a row. I don't give them a ton of "sugar" products. I take them to eat at buffets because they LOVE them and their parents don't. lol

    I think a lot of grandparenting is common sense. I like being hands on. I had NO grandparental help with my kids from either side of the family. My kids missed that but even worse-the grandparents missed a huge joy in their lives. It was sad because we lived just a few blocks from 3 sets of grandparents. The older-great grandparents enjoyed seeing the kids but were too frail to have much hands on. The others were just not connected. Sad. I am glad I have all those warm, sticky little hugs and kisses to warm my soul. xo Diana

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    1. Sorry about the ad problem. There is an X to the right hand side of that BlogHer ad. If you click on that it will get rid of it. Also, I have an ad blocker installed on Google Chrome. It blocks all ads unless I tell it to do otherwise. Wish I didn't need the ads, but unfortunately it is a necessary evil for me and I really am grateful for the income.

      Thanks so much for your input. I know that you are a very hands on grandmother and that you have wonderful times with your grandchildren. I can't wait until I am able to have more hands on experiences with my three. It amazes me when I hear of grandparents who don't want that. I think my mom realizes now how much she missed out on. :)


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  2. Dear Laura, It sounds like you are a wonderful grandparent. You don't sound over-bearing or intrusive. You simply want to love and enjoy. That is what is is all about. Blessings, Catherine

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    1. Thanks, Catherine. It is definitely what I am striving for. Loving and enjoying :)

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  3. Laura
    I, like you, am a long distance g'ma who only gets to see my g'children 2 or 3 times a year. And again, like you, I do everything I can to make that time special! Since I don't live next door I try to talk to them on the phone, just so they don't forget me-ha I never disagree with their parents or give advice unless I'm asked.
    Yep, love them up all we can!!

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    1. I feel lucky that my grandchildren love hugs and kisses, or at least tolerate them, because I always have to make up for lost time. I just got a new laptop so that I now have Skype. I just have to figure out how to use it. They want me to read to them over it. It is our special thing to do together :)

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  4. I love being a grandparent. When I am with my grandchildren, I feel like it's a never ending gift exchange.

    I am reminded of the legacy of sweet impressions that my grandmothers left within me. I have blogged about the pink fuchsia my Grandmother Elizabeth bought on the day I was born. She prayed for a girl as she had boys. I remained her only granddaughter. She gave me a cutting of that fuchsia when we bought our first, (and only), house. It's still thriving in our back yard. My Grandmother Hazel taught me to knit and weave.

    I too will lift, crawl and share life at their level. My parents were very hands on. They retired early so they had plenty of spare time to spend with our children. As you know, they are still here and called the "GG's"!

    I have never smothered our children or the grands. They know I am close when needed. Mr D and I will pop in with a little treat on occasion and are eager to babysit when called upon.

    I am happy that you will be near your precious grandchildren soon.
    Have a great week, Laura!
    ~Lynne
    w/L

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    1. Thanks so much for your input, Lynne. I had a wonderful relationship with my grandparents, too. My two grandmothers were very different, but that meant they each taught me different things. I am very different from my grand's other grandparents, but fortunately we get along very well when together. Sounds like you have a perfect relationship with your grandchildren. xo

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  5. I am a grandparent and like you I see my grandchildren rarely because my son in law is a Marine. My mother was like yours, "I don't babysit." I enjoy my grandchildren but do not spoil them. My ex and his wife on the other hand lives and breathes the grandchildren, spends outrageous money on them and pretty much hordes their time when they are in town. My son has no children yet so maybe he will marry and produce at least one I can spoil.

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    1. It is difficult when there isn't a good working relationship with the other grandparents. I hope you get at least one you can spoil, too :)

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  6. Yep I am a grandparent ...my son's boy had an older sister / he calls that BOGO because even though she's not our bloodline we have always had her around a lot. So they are 5 and 8. When the grandson was born and he's the first, I was over the moon.

    Now the son has married a lady with 3 kids...twin girls ( 4 ) and a boy who is 6. They are close by ...having bought a house about 2 blocks down.

    While I adore little babies and chubby little toddlers I am fine with being over the tantrums and the constant fear of them falling and getting hurt when learning to walk...things like that.

    While there have been issues with the baby mama of the grandson, they were usually a spillover of her troubles getting along with my son ( or most people, ha ha ) and not 'rules' or anything. For instance she wanted to avoid sugar etc with the kids when they were little and so i always just had fruit for their snacks...things like that. It's paid off since they ( and the other kids....the 'new' grands ) seem to prefer fruits and veggies over junk food, anyway.

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    1. We get our grandchildren in all kinds of ways and they are all such blessings. I think you are right about following the wishes of the baby mama. I always try to follow what my daughter and her husband want. They have the final word. That doesn't mean that I don't like to spoil them :)

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  7. Hi Laura. Your grandparenting situation sounds a lot like mine. We are 3000 miles away from our grandchildren and only see them a couple times a year if possible but we visit on Skype a lot which certainly helps. We don't get the day to day or week to week hands on experience that most grandparents do therefore we leave all the parenting up to our daughter and her husband. Sometimes we have to bite our tongues though. LOL Everyone parents differently but we also think they are doing an excellent job of raising their kids so far. We certainly wish we could be closer to them. They are such a blessings. You have beautiful grandchildren! I hope all works out well when you move closer to them.

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    1. Thanks, Pamela. I've got to get my Skype going. It is a wonderful way for us to interact when we can't be face to face. It's wonderful that we raised up such great people, who do such a good job of parenting. :)

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  8. Laura as you know I am a very hands on Grandma! When I lived in another town I cam over quite often to babysit and stay weekends. I would always ask what do you want me to do. Now I live here and my relationship to my daughter, son-in-law and Grandson is wonderful. I am careful to not overstep my boundaries as the Grandma and not the parent. Open communication is important. If you don't know, ask! I think it lets your kids know that you want to handle things as they would want. That said, they also do know I'm the GRANDMA and I do spoil him some...hey it's what Grandma's do. I know you will enjoy being closer and spending more time with your Grands. My mother-in-law lived near my kids growing up and she was the best example of a Grandma. My parents were farther away but always there to support and spoil their Grands when they visited! I adore being a Grandma!!

    The other Grandparents live several hours away so I am the closest, but we all support one another and get along pretty well.
    hugs,
    Linda

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    1. I think it is wonderful that you have a good relationship with the other set of grandparents, Linda. I do as well and I think that provides such good role modelling for the kids. Not overstepping boundaries is really important, too. I try hard to make sure I do that. I am so happy for you that you are now so close to your grandson. Can't wait until I can say the same. :)

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  9. Well, I have never been a mom, so not a grandmother. What I can tell you is my relationship with my own grandmothers. My Mom's mom died when I was only eight, so I don't have very many memories of her. However, the memories I do have are treasures to me. She was very kind and loving. She knew how to many everything pretty and was an excellent cook and baker. I will never forget her delicious home made donuts. My Daddy's mom had a great sense of humor. I was always in fits of giggles with her and I loved every minute I spent with her. Neither of my grandmothers lived close by. I wish they had. Grandmothers are the ones who don't judge, always have time to listen and have the luxury to be friends with their grandchildren. They are so important in a child's life and the memories you create with your own grandchildren will be lifetime treasures for them. Keep loving them and smothering them with hugs and kisses. It's what I believe is what all grandmothers need to do!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

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    1. Susan, thank you so much for your input. You may not be a grandmother, but you know what a good grandmother is. I think the kindness and loving along with time spent are probably the most important things to the children and to the grandparent. xo

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  10. I am not yet a grandmother, but I do have an opinion on the matter. I believe (from my perspective of being a parent) that your children would want you to be available to them and to be present in your grandchildren's life. I would think that they would love for you to be able to babysit or take care of things for them while they go on vacation. That they would love for you to come over for dinner or vice/versa. I would think that they would love for you to spoil their kids and give good advice to the grandkids. However, what the parents would not like, unsolicited advice or criticism in how they are parenting. They would not like you to drop in unannounced or be pushing your views (that may differ from theirs) on their kids or themselves. I hope to be a hands on grandmother with my grandkids when the time comes. Of course, all of this is based on geography and my health at the time. But I do hope to have a close personal relationship with my grandkids. I think you should discuss this with your children and then you won't have to wonder.

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    1. Kelly, I am so happy that you joined in. I really wanted a perspective from a parent who still has children at home. I am really looking forward to being closer to my grandchildren so I can do the things you suggested. I never criticize or question their parenting. I think they are doing a wonderful job. :)

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  11. Hi Laura...I am a "Gammie" to a darling almost two-year-old granddaughter. I adore her. I'm a very hands-on Gammie. The influence of a grandmother, I think, can be monumental.

    I'm also going to be a "Gammie" again in December, with a baby coming from our other adult child! Joy!

    Two things I definitely have honed: 1) Do NOT give advice on anything unless asked. 2) Never, ever, ever criticize your child's (and her husband's) parenting and never criticize your grandbaby to her parents.

    With that said, my sweet pea seems to love Gammie VERY much. I do spoil her (to the max...ha ha). She has her own set of child-sized wicker furniture, more toys in my house than Toys R Us and her own little house in the backyard as well as other playthings.

    If I'm instructed to refrain from giving her certain things, I try to follow the requests (for the most part) but hey! Gammies make cookies. So there! ha! Susan

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    1. Congratulations, Gammie. A new grandchild. That is so exciting. Okay, I do the two things you suggested so I guess I am good to go when I move next year. And, as you said it is the grandmother's job to do a little spoiling. :)

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  12. p.s. Your grands, by the way, are adorable. So glad you are moving to be closer to them. Susan

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  13. Great post Laura. Just today I read an article in the AARP Bulletin about boomer-aged grandmothers titled "Grandma Gets a Reboot" featuring Jayne Seymour. You can find the article and more on the website.

    http://www.aarp.org/home-family/friends-family/info-2014/boomer-women-redefine-grandma.html?intcmp=BUBB4

    Lucky you being able to move close to your grandchildren. My grands are in three different states from where I live so it's a lot of traveling back and forth. Enjoy!

    ~ Cassandra from Renaissance Women

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    1. Might be easier to go through the main website. That's a crazy long link!

      http://www.aarp.org/bulletin

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    2. Thanks for the link, Cassandra. I will definitely read it :)

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