As a mother, not only are you are critical about how your partner is with your little human, but now we have other adults wanting to look after our precious gems. These are not just any other adults, these are adults that are parents themselves. In fact, they have been parents for a very long time. Our parents. I am talking about grandparents.
Grandparents. You have to love them. At the end of the day they will never have the same love for anyone than the love that they have for their own children. Us. They will do anything for us to be happy. They don’t want to let us down and they know exactly how to raise children themselves. In fact, they are professionals. Professionals in raising us. Me and him. Not professionals in parenting.
I am guilty. I am guilty of having so many expectations in my own head of how Koa-Rae’s and Knixon’s grandparents should interact or be with them. I hold my hands up, I am guilty and have probably put more stress on myself because of my expectations. Here is what I have learned from my experiences and want to share how I have altered my way of thinking:
Listen to them. Take it all in. They want to explain to you how they took care of you. It is their chance to show us how they raised us. Let’s be honest here, parents love to brag. It’s a proud moment to share how we did something right and things happened the way we wanted them to. Grandparents want to share their experiences with us. Let them. Listen to their experiences, there’s a reason that they remember certain stories from when we were little. There was a lesson to be taught.
Use there help.Grandparents are free hands. It’s free to use their help. All grandparents are made with love. Use their loving hands and loving eyes. It might not be the same kind of hands or eyes you have, but let’s face it every mom wishes they had eight arms and eight eyes. So the closest we have to that are ‘grandparents’. Don’t be so hard on them, if they can’t calm down the baby. Ask yourself, ‘Is the baby’s life in any danger?’ No? Then I’m sure things will be okay. If you answered yes to that danger question, then hurry up and grab your baby and kick that grandparent out to the curb. Just kidding. No but really, try an evaluate the situation with your children and their grandparents. What is the worst that will happen? At the end of the day, they will do their best that they can to make sure your baby is okay without you. If for some reason they feel that they can’t take on grandparenting then show them.
Show them. Like I said before all grandparents are professionals at raising us. Not at raising our own babies. They cannot read our minds (thank goodness), so they don’t know how to tackle all situations with our babies. Which is fine, so show them. They want to help. Show them what makes your babies happy. Songs? Books? Cars? Food? Show them. Teach them. They want to know. Trust me when I say, grandparents want to be shown what to do, not told what to do. Whether they will agree or not, I’ve witnessed it myself, grandparents enjoy watching the interaction between their child and their child’s child. Grandparents will follow by example.
Encourage them. Try now talk to them in a positive manner. I know its hard, trust me, but communicate. Key to every relationship is communication. Let them feel safe when you are letting them enjoy your child’s company. Give them more responsibilities to build their confidence. Let them feel like they are helping.
Being a family who lives three hours away (driving distance) from one set of grandparents and ten hours away (flying distance) from another set, it has been really hard for us to feel comfortable with just giving our kids to their grandparents to watch on their own. The reason being, we felt that there is no consistent relationship between our kids and their grandparents. The grandparents don’t know our kids well enough to understand their personalities and our kids don’t know their grandparents well enough to show them. It feels like we were giving our girls away to strangers, but they aren’t. They are our own parents. Does this make sense?
After each of our parents came to visit us individually, one right after another, we have realised that they were all exactly the same. They just want to help. I’ve learned to ease up on them because the way that our parents interact with our child is only a small percentage of time in the big scheme of things. It’s the impact of love they have on our children in such a small amount of time is what makes a grandparent so special.
But we’re not done yet,
Memo to Grandparents::
Times have changed. Don’t assume what you did X amount of year ago will still work now. Keep your mind open to new ideas.
Past experiences have altered your outlook. Just because we got a black eye from falling off the sofa doesn’t mean you have to put 10 layers of bubble wrap on the living room floor every time you visit.
Try and find your patience again. Depending on the age, children don’t understand what time is. So just relax and enjoy the moment. This is the chance to find your inner child.
And please please PLEASE, don’t try and compete with the other grandparents. Just be you. We love you just the way you are.
Squeal, Sign, Mumble,
The Bennett Babes