Do you remember your grandparents? I very clearly remember mine. I have fabulous memories of pancakes on Saturday mornings with gobs of butter and syrup, I remember watching too many cartoons, playing penny poker and secret candy hand-offs. These are memories that are very special to me, they were days when I felt like I had a silly sort of freedom from daily life. Of course I didn’t, my grandpa was there to be sure nothing wrong, but to me, days and nights alone with him were an oasis from what I saw as the hardships of childhood.
Over the last few months I think I have read 3 separate articles on grandparent etiquette and perused as many or more titles of griping posts against mother in laws.
Grandparent etiquette, my foot. WTF is that?
I get that parents don’t always like what happens at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Especially in today’s world, every mom and dad has a strange desire to control EVERYTHING about their children’s lives. We have to carefully control the amount of sugar our children ingest and are wary of too much television, god forbid they do something with grandma and grandma that WE wanted to experience with them.
I understand. To a point.
Obviously, if your in laws are allowing your 7 year old to watch R rated movies and test out cigars, you have a problem.
This is not the norm, people. Grandparents only want the best for the children of their children. And honestly they deserve a break from PARENTING. They already trudged through that 20 year sh*t storm with you or your significant other. They have every right to enjoy their role as grandparents and have a little fun before returning your bundles of joy to their daily grind.
Your kids will be OK if they have a little extra candy at grandma’s, or don’t eat ALL organic, or stay up late and watch too many reruns of Looney Tunes.
This isn’t a power struggle.
They aren’t trying to win a parenting race, they just want to spoil their grand babies, as they should. All of your rules and regulations regarding what your kids can eat, how early they must go to bed and rise, how much sunscreen they need to use…these are patronizing and ridiculous. These people raised you, no matter what your issues with how that occurred, you turned out OK.
They aren’t trying tor raise your child, anyway.
They are simply enjoying them, giving them a few memories to smile at down the road.
About a months ago my 3 oldest children stayed the night at my in laws. They were so excited to have a night without us to dictate bedtime and nag at them about chores. I don’t know what they had for dinner but I assume it was something awesome like pizza or burgers, things we don’t spring for that often. They played outside until it was dark and went to bed much later than they should have. Were they a little more emotional and tired the next day? Yup. Did I have to deal with that? Yup. And I would do it again.
It’s not about me, time with grandparents is about my children.
This particular evening my oldest son also got the privilege of watching a PG13 movie with his uncle. This is a move that I have greatly looked forward to watching; one I would have liked to watch with my son and my husband, partly because I am a paranoid mother and wanted to be sure he closed his eyes at all inappropriate scenes. I was a little disappointed that I missed this experience with him. But again, it’s not about me.
He still talks about that night. About how cool it was to watch a movie unhindered by mom, to have special time with his uncle and grandparents and be able to puff out his chest and brag that he saw a movie before we did. Did he probably see more than I wanted him to in that movie? Yup. However, I know that my in laws love him to pieces and would never allow him to do or see anything that would harm him physically or mentally in any way.
Do your children get more freedom with their grandparents? Absolutely. As they should. They also receive a little more discipline in manners and gain a wisdom they cannot get from you. Grandparents have already been around this parenting block. They have learned where to let go and what to enforce.
Your children will gain valuable lessons from these people.
Reward them by giving them a break with your children. Let them spoil them and send them home tired and strung out from too much sugar. You will survive their moodiness and they will have memories that will last a lifetime.
It’s ok to drop your perfect parent, controlling mojo for just a minute. It’s ok to let go, let loose, and let your children live a little. They and their grandparents will thank you. Don’t wait. Start now. You never know how long they will be able to create memories with these amazing people…time is fleeting. And, let’s face it, the same quirkiness you see in your children’s grandparents will be seen by your children in you someday. It may shift a little or lag in a different place, but it will be there.