In many ways it feels like yesterday I was bringing my oldest child home from the hospital; in other ways it feels like a million years ago. Now a college student starting her junior year, I know it won’t be long before she marries and starts her family. I have five children so as the years progress I expect to have quite a few grandchildren.
I hear over and over again from friends and acquaintances about how feelings were hurt in the parent/grandparent relationship. I, for one, have never had this problem. My parents and my husband’s father are deceased. My mother-in-law has never lived close-by so there have never been any expectations to be deflated. In light of what I have heard in complaints from friends that are parents and grandparents regarding conflicts in their relationships, I have decided it may be best to lay down my grandma laws before the issue arises. That way no expectations will be unmet causing hurt feelings.
Grandma Rules For My Children and Their Spouses
1) I am not at your beck and call for babysitting.
I have a life and things I want to do. Some days that may be to sit in front of Netflix and watch a whole season of House. I might want to garden, or meet up with my friends, or who-knows-what. It’s really not important what my reason or lack thereof is.
I have raised (or still may be raising – I have a wide range of age of children) my children. My purpose is not to raise my grandchildren, that’s your job.
I’m sorry it’s difficult for you to take your children grocery shopping with you. I know, I had to take a two week old, a two year old, and a three year old with me. You will survive, trust me. It might actually build your confidence as a parent. You want a date night? Hold on a second, let me find that list of really sweet girls from the church youth group.
2) I will not pay my grand-children’s private school tuition.
I know there is this growing belief that grandparents should pay their grand-children’s private school tuition. Your father and I are not on-board with that notion. We spent a ridiculous amount of money on our own children’s private schooling. We’ve paid a significant portion of your college tuition. We went without vacations. We made do with old vehicles sputtering around on their last leg. We stopped subscribing to Sunday Ticket on DirecTv. Do you understand what a sacrifice it was for us to miss the Washington Redskins games? We’ve made our sacrifices to give you the best chance of a successful career. Make lots of money, budget better, use public school, or homeschool. It’s your choice, but your father and I will not be paying for private school.
3) I will not give parenting advice unless I think you are totally off your rocker. You are obviously free to ignore me but I will give my advice if I think it is warranted. I won’t hound you about it. I will share my opinion once and then like Elsa I will let it go. Here is what I think would be signs you have lost your mind:
a) Not vaccinating.
I’m fine with delayed or alternative vaccine schedules. Heck, I followed an alternative schedule with my youngest three but not vaccinating at all is not something I will support unless there is an extenuating circumstance.
b) Amber bead necklaces.
I might have to write a whole blog posting on this subject. Here’s the bottom line: I question your judgement if you think putting beads on a baby is good idea and even more so if you think there are pain killing powers in amber beads.
c) Obvious child endangerment.
Not using a car seat, feeding a one week old a hamburger, and/or allowing older children to play catch using the baby are reasons why I might speak up tout suit.
4) Tell me what you want me to buy them.
You know what my grandchildren want and what they need. I’ll tell you how much I want to spend and you tell me what to get. Better yet, I’ll give you money and you just put my name on the card. Everybody is happy this way.
5) Don’t expect me to like all the grandchildren the same.
I will love all of them equally. I’m not talking about love. I’m talking about liking. My goodness, some of you were screamers. I suspect some of my grandchildren will be screamers. I’m over screamers. I will like my screaming grandchildren even more when they grow out of the screaming stage.