If you're a Grandma

patty_cakesApril 16, 2014

Do you play with your grands when they come over, or at their house when you visit? Do you think it's important to have 'play time' or is it just the enjoyment of being a grandmother and the interaction during the visit should be enough? What do you do that might differentiate you from the 'other grandmother'? How often do you see your grands? Do they live close enough that you can drive or is it a flight away?

My youngest DD and I have different ideas of what grandparenting is and whether there should be expectations on the part of the parents. Should comparisons be made between grandparents, and verbally given back to them?

I have a very close relationship with this DD, but feel she is beginning to step on my toes when it comes to my relationship with the grands. Opinions, please!

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We see ours several times a week, and have since birth. Parents work and we are fully hands/on. It fills our lives and our hearts. When they were small we took them to parks before nap time. I loved watching short, sweet DVDs, or PBS shows with them. Movies, too. Big and little ( adults too,I mean) all loved Horton Hears a Who. I love books and reading aloud to them . My 11 year old and I read The Hobbit to each other...me, mostly. True memory maker. Also, cards like crazy eights, and dominos. Planted some veggies and flowers once or twice when she was 4 and 5-ish. In fifth grade she wrote a poem about it. Won a contest, too. ;)
I guess I always wanted to be the quinticential grandmother. Yep, bake
and make xmas cookies, dye easter , too, some years.
Now, not every grandparent enjoys being so engaged, but we love it, and it warms my heart to know i will be rembered and loved long after i am gone, just as i do my sweet grandmother..my role model, i suppose.
I do feel if you simply sit there smiling, and watching them , applaud their sports, or recitals, etc., then you are a very typical, grandparent. Nice and pleasant for all concerned, but you will have little impact on their lives and leave few memories behind.
These are simply my very biased opinions.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:32AM
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Wanted to add this: I'm not selflessly giving. I don't play crash derby with my grandson, wrestle or play guy stuff. I make activities with him that suit us both, like blocks, reading, etc. If I i didn't enjoy it ...well, I'd not last long, and know i couldn't fake it. So, choose what you'd enjoy sharing.
And as for memories, i do remember my other grandmother with affection...however, it pales beside what I feel and remember of my idol.
Oh, I just thought of this: she wasn't big on hugs and kisses, but when she was with me, she was fully engaged with me.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 1:03AM
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I've been a hand's on Nana and the parents seem to love that. I play, act like a loon, teach them how to paint, tell stories, take them on adventures. dress up with them in crazy outfits, put on plays. we all sing out loud in the van etc. Let's face it, I adore kids and not just mine but all my relatives kids. When we have a family affair, I'm with all the kids or at the beach I'm in the water making games for them. I live for those moments.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 1:06AM
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I am not a grma---but I am old enough to be. My own grown children are not yet married. I noticed my mom and MIL were very similar moms and grmas. If you were the type of mom to be on the floor "playing" with your own children you will be that sort of gma, and vise versa. I find it interesting your daughter feels free to tell you how to be a grma. I cannot imagine having a positive outcome on a conversation like that, with either my own mom or my MIL back in the day. Bottom line you can't be someone you are not, no matter who wants you to be. I would only offer one suggestion. Give your grands the opportunity to learn about the things YOU love. If you bowl, take them bowling. If you garden, teach them.... Contrary to what the mom might think, it doesn't have to be all about THEM.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 5:55AM
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"Should comparisons be made between grandparents, and verbally given back to them? "

Not unless the comparisons are flattering and complimentary to both grandmothers.

Not a grandmother myself, but I had two wonderful grandmothers. My maternal grandmother was a kindergarten teacher, and spent some of her time with us teaching us the alphabet and how to read. She provided balls and bats and things for outdoor play, which she supervised from the porch, gin and tonic in hand. She spoiled us with home-baked goodies every time we visited.

My paternal grandmother, mother of nine, grandmother of 35, had a box of toys in the living room. We were expected to play with them quietly, or go outside for rowdy play. My grandfather did more playing with us--lots of indoor games of checkers, chess, dominos, outdoor games of red rover and football and baseball and crabapple fights in the fall. Grandma taught me to bake and sew and knit.

I think the grandparent should be the one determining the relationship. The parents of the grandkids can ask for things like babysitting, but have to accept a "no" if the grandparents simply don't want to do that.

Really, the only "expectation" the parents should have is that the grandparents will love their grandkids, and keep them safe. Everything else is up to the grandparents.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 6:29AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Not a parent or obviously then a grandparent, but I was a child and grandchild. I find it off-putting for a child to presume to tell a parent how to act with children ... if anyone has more experience with rearing kids, it's the grandparent*. I can understand if the parent has a few specific rules about expectations and behavior that they wish the grandparent to help enforce, (to which grandparents often make exceptions). After all, the parents are in charge. But certainly not how to interact with the children. It is up to the grandchild and grandparent to determine what kind of relationship they wish to have, how much time they wish to spend and how they spend that time. As the child gets older, they will have a say too. (I know I spent a lot of time with my mother's parents and much less with my father's.) There is zero room for comparison among grandparents.

I agree with camlan that the grandparent needs to provide love and safety.

I also think grandparents have the absolute right to define the relationship with their children. Children should never presume that the grandparents are built in baby sitters, have no life outside of their grandchildren and are at the beck and call of the children to be care givers. If it gets to be too much, grandparents should define the limits and set expectations.

*of course presuming the parent was not absent to parenting through illness or addiction or incarceration or other circumstance.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:10AM
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I am not a grandparent, but our children have two very different sets of grandparents (all of whom live very far away). My parents engaged with their grandchildren--reading, playing board games, taking walks with them, chatting with them. My husband's parents were quite formal: they declined to read or play games with them, and only asked polite questions at dinnertime, or took walks when all of us were available (they seldom engaged on a one-to-one basis with the children).

I could have wished my husband's parents had been more engaged and warmer, but I think it was good for our kids to have a little of each. They were the center of attention around my parents, but essentially benignly ignored by my husband's parents, and isn't that the way of the world? It would never occur to me to seek to change any of their behaviors (which were not beyond the bounds of decency and certainly caused no harm). Grandparents are entitled to create their own relationships, and I left it to them to do so.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:50AM
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In defense of your daughter...... I compared my mother with my MIL when my kids were little. It hurt me (yes, a very self centered attitude) to see my MIL engaging with my kids in ways that seemed more playful than my mother's activities. I worried that they would prefer time with MIL and love her more. I wanted my kids to cherish my mother. The discussion I had with my mother about this was selfish and did not go well but my mother took the high road. She pointed out that she was 18 years older than my MIL and getting up and down from the floor was not as easy for her but that she would try. Needless to say, comparing them was stupid and served no one - they each had(have) things to bring to the table and it should never be a competition. My boys were barely 4 and 8 when my mom died. My youngest has no real memories of her, just manufactured ones from pictures. My oldest remembers her as the 'reading' gramma.

My maternal grandmother lived with us so she was a constant presence in my life. She was not a playmate but I could not love her more or have better memories of her. She was strict with me in many ways (really a second mother) but she also engaged with me without time constraints the way a mother often must do. She taught me to bake, to sew, to play piano, read with me and was a never ending source of consolation when I thought my mother was being unfair or my brother teased me too much. I don't remember her ever playing dolls with me or engaging in typical 'play' or games other than I Spy which I loved to play with her. There are many ways for grandparents to relate to their grandchildren that foster wonderful relationships.

I think you need to continue this discussion with your daughter and see if you can get to the real issue.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 9:21AM
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I am lucky that my grandchildren live a few minutes from us so we see them a couple times a week.

When I learned that I was going to be a grandmother for the first time, I was determined that our home would be a place of love and safety for any and all grandchildren.

When they visit my home I CAN and DO control a few things...they don't hear yelling and they do see kindness and love while here.

(I admit to going as far as baking cookies when our first grandbaby was coming over to visit-I wanted him to associate my house with good smells. I got over that when he was about 3 - too many cookies = fat grandma).

Do I play with the kids? Yes, when they were the age of playing with toys. I would be on the floor with them.

When they were at our house, we would walk down the street to the one of the city's playgrounds (one with sand under the equipment, one with mulch, the third removed any high equipment but has thick rubber mats as a play area).

They are now the age when they can visit the parks without us. (they do take our dog.)

The time of them needing us to be with them sped by.

Now that they are older (14, 12, 9) we have ongoing Scrabble and Words w Friends games going on the computer. I try to keep up with current music and the sports teams that they follow.

They come here to swim, we often take them out on the bay fishing and kayaking.

My husband races a Mustang, our 14 year old grandson is the 'crew chief' with his name on the car. lots of hours are spent at the garage working together on it, traveling to the races on weekends (our son, father of our grandson, also races).

The 2 girls (12 and 9) love when I have a sewing project going. They enjoy using the machine, last year we made way too many circle skirts that looked darling on them. We spent a lot of time last fall making stuff on the rainbow loom.

I am the person who taught all the grands the correct way to set a table, something that wasn't THAT important for their parents to show them.

We attend school and sporting events that we are invited to.

Both families choose to spend major holidays with us. We have a big extended family and our celebrations are fun. Plus my daughter's inlaws are out of state, our son's inlaws have their holiday celebrations on the day before the actual day. I know I am lucky.

No comparing the other grandparents, especially in front of the kids. There's enough love for everyone.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 9:30AM
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I have one grandson, who will be 5 this summer. Both sets of grandparents live within a quarter mile of each other and our children live here in town as well. When the GS was a baby, both "Grandmothers" took turns caring for the baby. We did this through this year when he went to school full day. Even when he started school at 3, we would care for him after he got out at noon. I will always treasure the time I have had with him. I am a hands on type and have always played and worked with him on things he wanted to do and with educational activities I knew were appropriate for him. I am a retired kindergarten teacher.
I have done everything from playing ball with him to enjoying my butterfly garden by sharing the life cycle of the butterfly through egg, caterpillar, chrysalis stage and everything inbetween.

However, I was not allowed to take him much of anywhere. So I haven't been able to share experiences like the zoo, beach, fun places like goofey golf, etc. I have taken him twice in nearly 5 years to Chick Fillet and a couple times to places to buy him shoes and a few times to get yogurt if we had to go to the grocery store. A few times to the local park or bank. Most of the time, if I asked to take him someplace, I would get something like, "Well, I didn't know you would be going somewhere." And I always asked permission, even on these times. We did take him and his parents to see "Thomas the Train" when he was 3, and to a Dinosaur Cafe near Disney last year for his birthday. Oh, I was allowed to take him to the story hour at the local library a few times when he was smaller. Basically, if she needs me to go get him or to take care of him, that's fine but things that I would like to do special with him are questioned like I am overstepping my bounds. He has only spent one night here - when they had to be at the airport very early one morning.

Most of my friends say they would go and do whatever they want with him, if they were me. Well, there would be massive fallout from that if I did. Heaven forbid if something happened while I was out with him - say an accident or something.

So, I make the best of it. I feel I am very fortunate to even live in the same town and to be able to see him at all. I know my son missed out on knowing any of his grandparents because my husband was in the service and we always lived out of state.
However, I don't think she realizes what experiences my GS might be missing as far as building special memories with us.

As far as the other grandparents - I don't know if its much better for them. I do know they see more of him because its her parents and she goes there more often.

I can see how it hurts you Patty Cakes, it does me as well. You have to do what you can and make the best of it. I just have to keep telling myself this, but its hard.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 9:48AM
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I think your grandparenting style should be your own as long as the grands are safe and secure in your care. I don't have grandkids (sob) but I do have grand nieces and nephews. I always play with them, because I like it. Last time the nieces were here we played hair dresser. I taught them to tease hair and we all walked around looking like we had stuck out fingers in electric sockets -- hair teased up to the sky. It was a riot and so much fun.

I also have a big box of old Fisher Price toys and they can play for hours with that while I visit with their parents. I also get down on the floor (ouch) and play along.

The nephews are teens now so there are fewer ways to interact. The older one is constantly staring at his damn cell phone. However, they used to love board games and we played about ten million games of Memory.

I only get to see them a few times each year.

My mom and MIL were wonderful grandmas. MIL took them to the beach and the circus. One time they (MIL and SIL) spoiled my older son so much at the circus he threw up when he got home. MIL was a heavy woman so she did not get down and play with them or run around. My mother was very active and found ways to interact by keeping them involved while she was cooking or gardening.

I was very lucky. I am sure I never said a word about their grandparenting style or compared them. That would have been way too rude! They were the best babysitters and the kids liked being at their homes.

Does your daughter think her kids are more attached to her MIL? Maybe that hurts her, but I don't think she should be saying anything to you. I bet that is not the case anyway.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:10AM
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I loved both my parents very much, but my maternal grandmother was the one I loved most. She lived with us when we were young, she was the one we came home to from school, who taught me how to cook and bake, and was the one I turned to when my heart was broken by a boy. When she suddenly died, I was so emotional distraught that my face broke out into hive like lumps which continued for 6 months.

I am now the grandmother of 3. I see them weekly and we spend all holidays together. We go to school and sporting activities. I did and still play games with them. I want them to feel loved and hope I will be a loving memory to them when I am gone, just as my grandmother is to me.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:52AM
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We have 6 grands. They are now ages 15 down to 7 and only 1 lives really close by such that we see her at least once a week. The others are over an hour away. When they were younger we did keep them overnight frequently. I was the 'reading' grandmother (except one who was a HS English teacher). When we shopped, we usually went to the bookstore and each one picked out a new book we would read when we got home.

But we were also the active grandparents. We played indoor and outdoor games, including kickball, made secret gardens in the woods, hunted, captured and ID'd bugs and spiders, found snakes, and did just about anything outdoors you can imagine. DH took them on short motorcycle rides (yes we have kiddie helmets) and they love it to this day. Our neighbors have horses, so they have ridden too. All with parental permission of course. Well, mostly. Some have driven on our private road already. It's good to live in the country. Now we mostly go to their sporting events as they are so busy with school and sports activities. All are excellent students and athletes. When we get together with them, especially the DGD who lives near us, it's usually to just talk and catch up, play a game occasionally, shop, the guys will go hunting or shooting, or it's just a family get-together. We're planning a family Disney trip right now, maybe after Christmas as the cousins love the time together. I'm so glad we've had the opportunity to help shape them in some way.

Love all your stories. My own mother was a wonderful 'Granny', and so was her mom, my 'Bambi'. My dad's mother was closest geographically to us but was frail and she was not as involved with any of her grandchildren as my 'Bambi' who was much more fun, even though for half my life she didn't live close to us and I only saw her a couple of times a year.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:34PM
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I can't thank each of you separately, but want to express a BIG thank you for your personal experiences as well as opinions.

I see myself in so many of the postings because I have done more with these 2 grands more than any others~GS is 7, GD is almost 4. Just this week DD and kids were walking the dog(they live 5 houses down on same street!)and I was out in front planting a few flowers. GD wanted to help, so I showed her what to do, and then she watered all the plants. I love having 'first time' experiences with them, and there have been many! At the present time, DD/DH are looking to move, and leave the neighborhood, which also means leaving the closeness to myself, which in itself is probably good. I've been going with them, looking at homes and trying to be part of what will be a memorable experience for all of us~MIL has also been a part.

And speaking of MIL. I was there and helped DD who was living with her when GS was born. DH had taken a job in TX and DD/baby couldn't fly, therefor were in Ca where I was also living. I helped with him, staying at MIL's. He had colic and many nights DD and I would cry together, trying everything possible to settle him down! MIL was in her room, door closed, TV and fan going, and with the 2-3 glasses of nightly wine, was sure she was sleeping very soundly. It wasn't until GS was almost 3 when she started participating, and we both had made the move to Tx to be near our own children, as well as the grands. In spite of the way MIL was, we've become good friends since we seem to have a lot in common, other than the kids.

If anyone was short changed, it was the older grands . I was working when they were younger, and being newly single, having some fun times I had missed since I started motherhood at 20. I remember visiting/ having dinner/playing games/ building tents, as well as trick or treating with the older ones. They are young adults now, 22, 19, and 17, and we still have a close bond, even though I only see 2 of them a couple of times a year. The 19 year old now lives in Tx, so see him often. He and I talked about this very subject, and he feels DD is using what he called a 'ploy' to bully me into taking the kids 'on demand' whenever she complains about being tired, is overwhelmed, busy, etc. etc. etc., which is quite often. I've reminded her several times that I had raised 5 kids, and never remember feeling 'that way,' and always did what needed doing w/o giving it a thought, which was true! I didn't have nannies coming in once to several times a week to watch the kids, a cleaning person, and did cook all meals 'from scratch', which she also does, and for a 36 yo in this day and age, is rare, and I give her a lot of credit. She and DH-also go out frequently, have weekends away, as well,as a 'yearly honeymoon'. Spoiled, ya think?

As for her remark to me, I asked why the kids ran to Grandma C when I was there also. She said it was probably because Grandma C always played with them, which upset me, since I was not exactly an 'absentee Grandma', and she was well aware of that. As was expected, she said, 'I can't make the kids do things they don't want to', which hurt my feelings. Incidentally, I'm 71 and other g'ma us 58, and I do still get down on the floor and play w/them, but not as much as when they were younger. I told her I thought her expectations were a little high, and when I was with the kids, shouldn't have to be entertaining them, since I like to visit with the whole family.

Our time spent together is definitely more than other families. I see the kids 2-4 times a week, all holidays, birthdays, trick or treating, grocery shopping, going to Target, out to dinner, you get the picture. I'm also the grandma who 'comes bearing gifts' , being it clothes or toys. I love buying for all the grands, if it's an airline ticket, laptop, or something I feel is needed, since I myself feel blessed, and like to 'pass it on' to those I love. The other grandma isn't 'hurting' either, but never seems to go out of her way re:gifts, and that's acceptable.

There has never been a week in the 6 years I've lived in Tx that I have not seen them. We also have occasional overnights, and I do babysit occasionally, but did tell DD I was not moving to Tx to become their babysitter, and will stand behind that, as I didn't have expectations of my own mother when my kids were small.

Maybe I've exagerated it all, since I know I really am a great Mom and Grandma, and thru the years have had so many kids say, 'I wish you were my mom/grandma!' I also feel the close proximity has something to do with dianamics, and possibly expectations. I'm hoping the move a little further away will be better for all of us as our times together might be more appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 4:12PM
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This subject is close to my heart. Today we have our four-year-old GD here while her mom (my DIL) is having a C-Section!! Our son is very reasonable, but our DIL is a challenge in this dept. Today, she brought food for GD & said she can ONLY eat/drink what she brought. Shoot, we were planning on ordering pizza before Dad picks her up to go see new baby girl at the hospital. Oh, well…I was always SO grateful when some one loved, fed, or played with our two kids, so this is hard.

I am a very much hands on Nana, but this DIL doesn't want us driving GD anywhere, so haven't been able to do things like take her to the zoo, library, grocery store, out for a treat, etc. So, when I have her, we play inside our in our small backyard. I babysat this GD a lot until last year when my DIL worked (part time), then GD started preschool. I don't want to babysit the new baby because there are always glitches my DIL finds & it is so discounting of me and leaves my son trying to deal with it.

Kind of crazy, but I love my 2 (soon to be 3) granddaughters so much & cherish our time together. My favorite thing to do with them is pretend play, and even my DD's 11 year old still plays pretend with me.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 6:50PM
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Do you have an age appropriate car seat for GD? If not, I can understand why DIL doesn't want you driving GD.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:21PM
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It's not about the car seat. Yes, we have had one. Plus, we're not ancient or impaired. She's just fearful. It works ok…I've accepted it & knowing her concerns, would not at this time, want to drive GD.

I think grandparenting is often a compromise to try to do what parents want.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:27PM
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Oh, this is a very sore subject with me right now. In fact, I can feel heartbreaking tears and anger rising just thinking about it.
I became a Grammy over six years ago. I have been the caregiver for that grandson most of that time while his parents work. They are now in the midst of a divorce so our son and grandson have lived with us for the last year and a half. (Divorces seem to take forever in NE.) I have never had one complaint from either my son or ex DIL, to this day, about how I care for their son. I'm a get down and play kind of Grammy. I've done everything a Mom would from changing diapers to feeding him. From bottles, to cooking his meals now, I've done it. We read, play video games, ball, go to parks, go out to eat, paint, color, watch TV, and then some, together. Most would say I'm an experienced Grammy.
To make a very long story somewhat short, while at our daughter's house in Hawaii, I sleep in the room with our granddaughter. I was told, not asked, that I had night duty if the baby woke up. I can handle that, thought it turned into my being a full time nanny (feeding, changing, doing everything for her care) which was hard on me carrying a 23 pound baby up and down stairs six times a day. She takes lots of naps.
On the sixth night when they came home from a night out (again, not asked, but told, they were going out second time in two days) I was up with the baby. I was accused of not knowing when a baby was just making noises at night, or really awake and needing attention. Because their baby woke up every night I was there, it had to be my fault, right? After getting the baby back in bed, I gave them the monitor and said I was sleeping on the sofa the rest of my stay.
My daughter came downstairs telling me how furious she and her husband was because the deal was if I stayed at their house I had to take care of the baby at night. I agreed I'd keep the monitor with the rest of the time, but I needed to get at lease one nights sleep. As she walked up the stairs, she turned around and told me that her husbands Mom was a much better Grandma than I was. When my mouth dropped open she added, well she fell into it with ease the first night.
The next day our daughter came to me saying she wondered if the baby wasn't teething. She checked and sure enough, there was another tooth coming in. She started giving her baby Tylenol and from then on she slept all night. I stayed on the couch crying myself to sleep until I came home. Not once did she say she was sorry for accusing me of waking their daughter or for her grandma comment. I could barely talk to either of them the rest of my stay. Had I known the area better I'd have gotten a hotel and enjoyed the rest of my stay, but I wanted to spend the time with our precious granddaughter. She was a delight.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 1:11AM
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justgotabme, that is so awful , I can only assume you already have a tense relationship with your daughter to begin with. I would have been so crushed and defeated in your position, as you feel now. Not fair at all.

I live far away from my grands but I visit as often, although I never stay with them in their house.
They vacation with us a few times a year and I can say the kids know me and dh very well. DH tries very hard to be the favourite grandparent, I do not, I don't have that need.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 5:46AM
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Just a lurker since I'm not a grandmother. But hugs to you Justgot, you do not deserve to be treated in this fashion.

This post was edited by ellendi on Fri, Apr 18, 14 at 16:43

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:16AM
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I feel your pain Justgotabme. I think our children's generation are far too self centered and "you owe it to us" thinking. Maybe it has always been like that but I don't recall thinking my parents owed me anything once I was out of the house at 19. I even paid rent while I lived at home and went to my first year of college - not rent actually but I bought the groceries and gave them part of my income from working part time. That was because I could have had a full time job if I hadn't chosen to go to school, according to my mother.

I am so sorry you were made to feel that way. An apology can mean so much and some people find it hard to give or don't realize one is in order.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:24AM
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maddielee - "too many cookies = fat grandma)." = equals LOL which = coffee on keyboard.

I'm not a grandma and don't expect to be for a long time, if ever.

A number of my girlfriends are beginning that part of their lives and relationships and expectations are all so different. Expectations from both the grandparents and the parents. I am confused as to how the parents actually have expectations.

I get the food and safety issues and as new moms there is so much pressure to be doing and seeming to do the right thing. I wouldn't want to be a new mom these days.

One of my girlfriends, her DD and SIL live out of town, but she is "expected" to baby-sit their daughter when their regular day-care sitter (his mother) is unable to do so. She is away for 2 weeks baby-sitting her granddaughter and she does this quite a bit. She has two other daughters (one of whom is newly pregnant) and the way I figure it, in another 5 years when the seconds start to come along she will be sitting full time.

I never had expectations from either my parents or my MIL when it came to the grandparent role. That was a relationship that was to be forged between my sons and their grandparents.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:20PM
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I wish I could babysit my grands more often, but they live far,far away. However, when they do visit, I realize why parents need to be younger than grandparents. It takes a lot of energy to keep up with a toddler!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 1:11PM
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Patty, my hubby came home or I'd have added that I totally understand what you are going through. It's hard when our children think we own them everything. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this too.
Thank you mitchdesj, ellendi, and mboston so much. I don't quite know how to explain my and my daughter's relationship. It's great for the most part. We love shopping and doing DIY projects together still. But...now and then since shortly after she turned 12 she's suddenly had outbursts of anger with me. As far as I know she does this with no one else. The outburst often came when I made a comment about liking something we see while shopping. It's like she thinks I'm forcing something on her, when all I've done was say I like something. When planning her wedding, she asked me to help her find ideas. I started a Pinterest board and shared the link with her telling her it was just some ideas I found. It was up to her whether she wanted to chose any of them or not. No pressure. I told her I'd seen enough mother and daughters fight at the fabric store I worked at and I didn't want that to happen to us. It was her wedding and all decisions (other than costs since her Dad was paying) was up to her. If she wanted something that didn't fit in the budget, I'd be happy to help her find a way to DIY it and make it work.
After one outburst, I told her I was done with helping. Her Dad had a talk with her and she straightened up for awhile, apologizing, saying she was just so worried about everything going well and her then fiance being overseas. Her now DH got home and they were married by a judge just moments after we met him in person. The church wedding went off without a hitch and things were good until the baby came along.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 4:17PM
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When our children become adults, the relationship of course changes. And, things we thought we did right in our eyes, were actually terribly wrong in the eyes of our kids!
Amazing how the some memories and experiences can be remembered so differently.

Justgot, there are obviously underlining issues here. Is there way you can talk to your daughter about your relationship? Just looking at the little you have told us, it is hard to grasp that your daughter thought it was OK to use you like a hired babysitter and then said you agreed to it. It boggles my mind.

One thing is for sure. You need to be clear in your own mind just how much you want to do and how you expect to be treated by this daughter. She needs to be called out on her rude and hurtful behavior. "Excuse me, but that just hurt my feelings."

Keep us posted. We're in your corner.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 5:04PM
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We are grandparents to a lovely 3 year old girl. When she visits us, I put out toys that I think she will like. I will play with her a bit, but I do not consider myself an appropriate playmate for a 3 year old. For one thing, I get bored. I would never schedule a "playtime" with DGD. She needs to have playmates among her peers. I think she enjoys visiting us but I see our time as family events where I cook a nice meal and the adults sit around enjoying a glass of wine while DGD plays on the rug. We all interact with each other and have a good time.

While I will always happily help out in an emergency, I do not want to be counted on for routine child care. I worked long hours for many many years while raising my own family without the help of a mother or a MIL, and I am enjoying finally having the time to devote to my own interests. The other GM is much more interested in making DGD a major focus in her life and DD and DSIL do have her take care of DGD when they want to take a weekend getaway. I am actually kinda relieved that she does this.

I hope I don't sound like a curmudgeon, I'm really not. I love DGD and we have a lot of fun when she visits, but I am really loving this time of my life when DH and I can spend time with each other, take off for day trips, work on our hobbies, travel, etc. We worked so hard for so long that I think we deserve this time. If I am selfish for wanting this, then so be it.

DD has never compared me to other GM to me. I don't compare her to her sibling, and I don't compare her parenting skills to mine. She does some things differently than I would, but I think this is her time to be a mom, and my time to be a GM , each in the way we think best.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 6:07PM
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I have 8 grandkids, 5 of whom live near me. I don't see them or do nearly enough with them because I'm a strange loner . . . but they still love me. And I love them.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 6:19PM
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ellendi and others. I started my own thread so as not to take over Patty's thread. I will continue to follow this thread though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Attn: ellendi & all. My daughter/Grammy issue from Patty's thread

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 7:21PM
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I don't have grandchildren yet but have a funny story about that. My son (age 20) and I were in an airport at Christmas time and he saw a parent doing something he did not think was quite right. He asked my opinion and I told him. He then said "I'll be calling you all the time when I have kids". Uh oh...I told him that I thought his wife might prefer to consult her mother/parents on child rearing questions so he should be sensitive to that. We then decided on the spot that he should marry an orphan...perfect solution! But maybe not ;)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 7:24PM
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Ha ha ha! That's funny Judy. Thanks for the chuckle. With all the stress I've had over this situation, I needed a laugh.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 7:29PM
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Justgotabeme, I would never have spoken to my mother that way, wow-- that is shocking.

Pattycakes, your daughter probably picks up on the attitude in this comment---- "She and DH-also go out frequently, have weekends away, as well,as a 'yearly honeymoon'. Spoiled, ya think?" It's clear you think she isn't as dedicated a mother as you were, so I'd say you are both somewhat responsible for the current state of affairs.

No grandchildren and none on the horizon, but our kids are only 30, 27 and 22. We've always stressed the importance of building a career before starting a family, and for once they listened :-)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 7:31PM
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You have a book's worth of replies here! I'll add on my 2 cents.

I see my grandkids about once a week. They are 2 and 3 and live an hour from me. I always play with them as much as I can because my DS and DIL work hard all week and desperately need help with the kids. They rarely impose on me for babysitting, and if they do go out, it's for 2-3 hours max.

In my opinion, you should do what feels right to you. If you want to get down on the floor and play with them fine. If that's too much, then don't. You can ask them to show you their toys and visit with you, but you don't have to be Mary Poppins or whoever.

I don't think there should be expectations on grandparents as far as playing, babysitting, etc. You have raised your own children, and it's completely up to you what you want to do with your grands. And as far as comparing you with the other grandparents, that's not a fair thing to do (sorry, I know it's your DD). It sounds like she is trying to guilt you into doing things you don't want to do. Step back so your toes don't get hurt.

This post was edited by socks12345 on Fri, Apr 18, 14 at 19:45

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 7:37PM
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What an interesting thread! I don't have grandchildren yet (expect to in the next year or two) but Barb5, I'm sure I will be you. DS and DIL live several states away so we won't have some of the issues close proximity bring. However, I have a feeling that in DIL's eyes, I won't be what she wants/expects in a G/mother. Because her parents are in another country and we live so far, she bemoans the fact that she "won't have any help". Whaaaa???? I told her, "Welcome to my world". We were a military family who never lived anywhere near family and even if we had I wouldn't have "expected" anything from anyone. They were our kids and we were responsible for raising them. Actually, we enjoyed being with them so much that problems may have been created from not sharing them enough. IMHO, the only expectations that should be placed on grandparents is to let the grandchildren know they are loved and valued.

I remember DIL telling me a story about a friend whose mother was watching her kids and the kids used crayons to mark up the back of the front car seats. DIL went on about how irresponsible the grandmother had been for not watching them close enough. Maybe that is true but I remember wanting to reply that her friend was fortunate to have a mother who was willing to take on the babysitting responsibility at all.

When DIL says things like, "When we have kids you can come out for three month visits" I'm left speechless! For one thing I don't want to live with anyone for more than three days. For another I feel she is telling us she is expecting live-in babysitters. Um, no, thank you!:) I'm already stressed as to how to handle this and there isn't even a bun in the oven!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 7:49PM
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Lizzie - your DIL sounds much like mine except when she needs me to take my GS somewhere or pick him up, its fine for me to do so, just when we want to take him somewhere for an activity, its not.

We had him this evening while they had an appointment out of town. We did an United States floor puzzle, read a book that I had bought him that also had a stuffed animal (Rio 2 from Kohls - love their books and animals that they have often), played some phonics games on my IPAD and we had dinner. After dinner, we took him out for ice cream. His parents called just as we were leaving to tell us they were running a tad late. While we were on the way, they texted that they would be there in about 15 minutes - not long enough for us to have ice cream and get home, so we told them where we would be. They met us there and GS didn't want to go home - he got upset and of course we hadn't brought the "Blue" character stuffed animal with us since I didn't know when we left that they would pick him up at the ice cream shop, so that made him even more upset. I am sure I will hear about it tomorrow - when we go to his T Ball game. Oh well - we had a great time together, no problems until the end.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:09PM
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I suspect my post here will not be well-received, but I'm inclined to share. I'm of the age group between the Millenials and the Baby-Boomers.

I work with a number of Millenials who do not agree with the values of their parents, and they feel strapped with the need to have 2 incomes to support their families (and, believe me, not of the OTK level we see here in GW), resent an inflated housing market (yes, comparably, it's still inflated) and feel an impending responsibility for a national debt of which they did not have a say.

Most importantly, the current generation of parents have childcare needs that surpass those of the previous generation.

I'm not speaking for those who *expect* child care from grandparents without reciprocation. But I have witnessed Baby Boomers who have developed a sense of entitlement about being grandparents. Grandparents do not define their relationship with grandchildren. The parents of the children do. This is a fact that many grandparents aren't willing to acknowledge.

Just because you were a parent and raised your now-adult children doesn't entitle you to any preconceived joys of being a grandparent. It just doesn't, regardless of whether it should or should not. Your grandchildren are being raised by your child who may or may not agree with your parenting style, and a spouse whose perspective is a coin toss. It's their prerogative. You are not entitled to relationships with your grandchildren.

Again, you are not entitled to relationships with your grandchildren. (I know that stings.)

Moreover, today's parents face a different set of struggles than you did. Not more or less, but different. I witness few parents of previous generations who acknowledge that a current generation of parents has it as rough as they did.

There are many sides to the grandparent-child-grandchild relationship. I know many grandparents whose generosity is taken advantage by their adult children. But I also know many grandparents who don't take the time to understand the pressures of raising children today.

Again, I'm between the 2... but I feel inclined to lean toward the 1 not-so-well represented here.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 1:48AM
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"You are not entitled to relationships with your grandchildren. "

Well, that works both ways. If the grandparents are not entitled to see their grandchildren, then the adult children of those grandparents are not entitled to anything from the grandparents.

Peony4, you list several points in your post, but don't draw conclusions from them, other than your statement that grandparents are not entitled to see their grandchildren.

You list several monetary factors--the cost of childcare, the cost of housing--plus the need for a two income family. This implies that you think the parents of young children today need free childcare--from the grandparents.

But if someone is willing to accept that free childcare (if the grandparents are willing to give it), then that childcare comes at a cost. The cost of letting the grandparents spend time with the grandchildren. And of the grandparents having opinions about things related to the children.

Not that I'm saying the grandparents have the final say in childcare matters. But if you accept free help, you have to deal with the free help. If you want total control over everything about your child, you either stay home with the child or pay for child care that meets your standards.

On the flip side of this situation, I hear from parents who would love their children to have a relationship with their grandparents, but the grandparents don't want a relationship with their grandchildren.

There's no one right way and no one wrong way for grandparents to be involved in their grandkids' lives.

But to invite a grandparent to stay and expect *any* free child care during the visit is wrong. That is something that should be brought out into the open and discussed before the visit happens. And if you are getting free child care, you should be careful about criticizing the provider of that care, because the free care might just stop if the criticizing gets to be too much.

I have a dear friend who was stunned to find out that her DIL expected her to care for her new baby full-time, to spare the parents the cost of day care. The new grandmother was never consulted about this. One day her son just told her when DIL was going back to work, and that they'd expect her to show up at their house by 6:30 that morning to explain the child's routine.

My friend is 57, runs her own business, has 35 employees depending on her, is in no way ready to retire. Her son and DIL were upset that she didn't plan ahead to accommodate their baby's needs by closing or selling the business and planning to spend her retirement taking care of their children.

The entitlement runs both ways.

Oh, and in some states, it is possible for grandparents to sue for visitation rights. Some grandparents are entitled to a relationship with their grandchildren.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 5:43AM
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I like babysitting my grandkids occasionally, for their parents to have a date night or whatever but I honestly would not want to be the primary babysitter 5 days a week, it is just too hard and demanding. I do not have it in me to be that devoted to my grandkids.

camlan, I cannot believe your friend was expected to do that, how odd. Did they end up finding another babysitter.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 6:03AM
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At it looks now, neither daughter is even close to getting married( and hopefully that will come first!) let alone having children.

As active as I am now, it would still be stressful and hard to do child care at the age I am now, so tack on five to ten years from now......don't want to think about it:)

The adult children think it should be your pleasure to provide child care 24/7,
Candid and open discussion is greatly needed.

I have a friend from work who left the state to help her daughter raise her child. This daughter planned to get pregnant on her own if she wasn't in a relationship by the time she turned thirty. She did! Friend had to leave her job and her DH who had to stay here for another year before he could retire and move out if state.

I keep in touch and my friend says that it is bittersweet. She misses her NY life but feels it is a blessing to help her daughter raise this child.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:09AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Wow, camlan, talk about entitlement! I'm surprised the question of child care didn't come up earlier...I would think that it would have, just in the course of conversation. I know I would have asked if Mom is planning on going back to work and when and what they had in mind. Certainly that's a strong caveat for any current or future grandparents....or any family relationship....communicate!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:21AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

peony4, I've read your statements, but I don't understand them...

...they feel strapped with the need to have 2 incomes to support their families (and, believe me, not of the OTK level we see here in GW), resent an inflated housing market (yes, comparably, it's still inflated) and feel an impending responsibility for a national debt of which they did not have a say.

Most importantly, the current generation of parents have childcare needs that surpass those of the previous generation.

Housing, income, childcare needs have been the responsibility of parents since time immemorial. If the parents feel resentful of having to take on those responsibilities, perhaps they shouldn't have children.

And considering the debt for the Civil War is still on the books, every generation feels the impending debt burden on them that they didn't ask for.

I don't understand your statement that childcare needs are greater now than for prior generations...dual income households have been part of the economic scene for decades. I know I was a latch-key kid before they had a name for such things. And when I was growing up, institutionalized day care, after school programs and such were nonexistent.

It would be really helpful if you would be specific about what some of those different pressures of child rearing today are...so us boomers can better understand...

Further, if things like childcare are so difficult, one would think that grandparent involvement of some sort would be welcome rather than putting up a wall. Granted there are circumstances where one would not want grandparent involvement like they were abusive or addicted, etc. But in general, I would think a relationship provides for a richer life for both grandchild and grandparent as well as easing some burden on the parent.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:34AM
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What is OTK?

I see both sides of this discussion. I am appalled at justgottabeme's treatment during her visit to her daughter. However, I am highly skeptical of the entitled couple's assumption that grandma would close her business to take care of the baby with no prior discussion. With all due respect camlan, I don't think your friend gave you the whole story.

OTOH I do see that many young couples do not want to pay for a babysitter when they go out, which results in unhappy babies and children keeping adult hours at nice restaurants (where they quite innocently annoy other diners) or at totally inappropriate movies. We lived far from any family when our children were small, and hiring babysitters was just part of the cost of going out.

There are as many different grandparent /grand child relationships as there are families. I'd say the best ones are those in which expectations are clearly stated on BOTH sides, boundaries observed, with manners and courtesies to the fore. When I found that my MIL had dismissed our first child's schedule as not anything she needed to follow I did not leave the child overnight with her again until his feeding schedule changed. I did not berate or confront her, as that would have caused unnecessary tension in the family. (Her own daughter gave her the what for, though, when HER schedule wasn't observed!)

Rereading this thread has also made something else pretty clear. Regardless of protestations to the contrary, mothers and daughters or DILs do not have an otherwise good relationship if it breaks down in such an ugly way over grandparenting styles and child care. And in the OPs case, sharing these complaints with a nineteen year old grandson and eliciting criticism of his aunt is not the path to family harmony....just sayin'.

This post was edited by kswl on Sat, Apr 19, 14 at 11:14

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 9:39AM
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Disclaimer: not a grandmother
Disclaimer 2: MIL lives in our home ( hence name building for 2 families)
Disclaimer 3 : my mother insists on hosting grandchildren camp every summer for 2 weeks for all 4 of her grandkids. She insists we thpe parents (my husband & I. My brother and his wife) take the time to go on a couple's vacation. So I guess in the pp eyes I'm 'spoiled, much'.

Didn't the OP express she asked her daughter why the grands ignored her and ran to grandma c when both ladies were present? I don't understand why she would get so bent out of shape with her daughters answer that grandma c plays with them. What should the daughter have said? Granted she probably should have taken the high road and quelled any insecurities by using more tact, but when asked a direct question what should she have said?

Further along she mentioned buying laptops? As if buying gifts should buy her more favor than the more frugal but well liked grandma? kids are smarter than many think. True affection is not easily bought. If the grandma wants the kids to run to her then she has to make more of an effort to connect to those kids in a way the kids will respond. It doesn't need to be play,but whatever she has done hasn't worked so far.

My MIL and mother could not have more different grand parenting techniques. But they are both so adored by their children and grandchildren alike. They rarely agree on parenting advice either. But there is always mutual respect in our family. My MIL doesn't understand play. She does understand sharing. She teaches fractions, multiplication and division by baking with my daughter or helping her with piano. She has my daughter help her feed or train her dog. She tells stories about her past and my husbands childhood. Finally she started a grandma and me bookclub. She and my daughter read and discuss a chapter book every 2 weeks. My daughter adores this grandmother and can't wait until their monthly date days where they check out a museum or the ballet or something cultural for kids.

On the otherhand my mom is the down with anything grams. She will play rollerhockey,kickball, run for hours in the yard, teach the kids how to climb monkey bars or sidewalk chalk art. She frequently requests to have our daughter visit. We do so happily knowing she won't be fed junk food like pizza, will be protected&safe, and her routine will be more or less followed. I never know what they will do. But I know they will both have fun and my daughter could not be in safer hands.

Respect is a two way street. Our parents may not have agreed with our parenting techniques but they accepted them without undermining or disregarding them when we were not around.

Try to communicate more. Don't get caught in the comparison trap and if needed really hash out expectations and boundaries. Everyone involved will be much happier.

Couldnt agree more with kswl. more underlying issues in the family dynamics than some are willing to admit.

Hope everyone can find a happier ground.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:46AM
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Funnygirl, thanks for understanding. I would be speechless too if anyone assumed I could just leave my life for 3 months. I hope it all works out for you.

Peony4, I'm glad you spoke up. By its very title, this thread pre-selects responses from a certain demographic, and other perspectives are interesting.

I hope everyone can find happier ground too.

So that I can be partially redeemed as being a "hand off" grandma, I do host all the holiday dinners. I have such fond memories of family dinners when I was growing up, with each side there, the adults talking and laughing, and all the kids running around creating havoc. I was so lucky that my grandmothers really liked each other and that my parents loved their in-laws. To this day I don't understand in-law jokes.

Anyway I am trying to carry on the tradition. I'm not half the cook that my grandmothers were, or my mother was for that matter, but I enjoy doing it. Hopefully my DGD will have happy memories of family dinners as well. Peace to everyone.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 1:20PM
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To clarify my prior comments, the percentage of families with young children with a stay-at-home parent is significantly less today than it was, say, in 1970 (although there has been slight increase in this past decade). These are statistical facts regardless of individual experiences. Therefore, yes, there is a greater need in the U.S. for child care today than there was when Baby Boomers (esp. those at the older end of the age range) were raising their children.

This lends itself to the likelihood that more grandparents are providing child care than in the past. But I do not believe adult children should expect babysitting from their parents. I've seen grandparent child care arrangements (other than the typical night out for the parents) work effectively for everyone involved in very few circumstances.

The main intent of my prior post--which I did not make clear--was that, based on my observations, there seems to be less empathy for the challenges that today's parents face in raising their children. Each generation faces challenges. But each has their own set of circumstances. The overall sense I was getting from this discussion (not from individual posts, but overall), was a sense of entitlement from the grandparents about defining the relationship with the grandchild. Based on my observations and experiences, there is often miscommunication between parent and grandparent that further complicates the relationships involved.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 1:23PM
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The behaviour of the grandmothers of my children was very clear. My parents raised 6 children and when the first grandchild was born 30 years ago they moved out of town with the admonishment to us all that they were never to be considered as baby-sitters. That was their prerogative.

When my MIL was over when my sons were very young, probably around 3 and 5, they were horsing around as young boys do and making a lot of noise. Wasn't bothering me. I left the room and suddenly hear this screeching, came running back to find that she had taken a wooden spoon to one of them. I grabbed it from her and told her that was used for baking and only baking. Her comment to me was ' that if I wasn;t such as lousy mother and had better control of my children she wouldn't have to discipline mine all the time.'

She never baby-sat my children again and was never left alone with them. That was my prerogative.

Who knows what will happen if/when I have grandchildren. But reading this thread, I do hope that it will be mutually satisfying to everyone. Will it be so, OH I doubt it.

My sister runs an at-home-day-care and one of the children is her own grandson. Her daughter does pay her but with a bit of a discount. But her daughter's MIL then begrudges any extra time that my sister may spend with the grandson which creates it's own set of issues, especially at holiday time.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 3:21PM
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Wow. This thread has been an eye opener. I had kids when I was older so obviously my kids have older grandparents. I would never expect them to babysit more then they wanted. So far they only have once, but we do have an au pair, and frankly don't go out much. Just not our thing.

I often wonder if my mother was alive what it would be like for my kids to have a more involved loving grandparent. I think she would have been. I know she said to my stepfather before she died that her biggest regret is she would never get to meet and be with her gandkids. She died when I was 26.

My father and stepmother live about about 2 hours away. I know they don't like when we come to their house, so we see them maybe 5 times a year. It would be nice if they did see them more often. But I don't think they are in to grandkids. My father told me repeatedly not to have kids. Once they called me from a restaurant about 15 minutes from my house. They have friends there. It does not occur to them that when they make the trip there, they could stop by and see their grandkids.

Seems strange to me, but whatever! :) Skype is nice too, and we do that sometimes too.

Edited to add: I do think full of energy boys are a bit overwhelming to them, especially my dad who is about 10 years older than my stepmom. I also know they don't agree with how we parent. So it could be that too.

This post was edited by boopadaboo on Sat, Apr 19, 14 at 18:58

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 6:50PM
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Kswl, OTK is the "one true kitchen" or else the TKO "total kitchen obsessed."

I was the baby, so had older parents and, thus, my parents were also older grandparents. I did have one SIL who assumed my mother would watch the new baby while she went back to teaching full time. This was never discussed with my parents ever.

My parents picked up the grandkids when they had early dismissal or other short days at school but that was mostly the extend of their babysitting. The kids loved to play board games and cards with my parents or my parents would read or color with them. I would watch them more if my siblings were going somewhere late like a wedding reception. This was my luck for being a young aunt--my oldest niece is only 13 years younger than I am. My parents did not usually do these later nights. My parents were very loved and admired by their grandkids and were a positive influence on them in many ways.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:47PM
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Thanks gsciencechick, I have never seen that before. Obviously I don't hang out on the kitchen forum :-)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:57PM
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I believe the inspiration for the OTK is the now-probably-somewhat-dated
"Somethings Gotta Give" white kitchen with marble counters, etc.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:59PM
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Yes, kswl, "One True Kitchen." That's what I meant! (As opposed to what I found when I did a Bing search for OTK to find you a link... those results are NOT what I meant! Clearly, Bing's hooked up to a different clientele.)

Here's a Pinterest page I found instead that includes images much more in line with what I was referring to. Sorry for the hijack, folks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinterest of Something's Gotta Give Kitchen

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:30PM
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Ha, peony4. When I googled I found Out to Kill. 8^O

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:51PM
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None of my results seem appropriate for a discussion about grandchildren, Just!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 11:09PM
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Scary, isn't it? Mine said it was a gaming term.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 11:15PM
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Gee, my kids have no grandmothers and I'd be happy for ANY type -- hands on or hands mostly off. My mother died when I was 29 and I had a 2 year old at the time. She lived 2 hours away so babysitting wasn't an option but she and my dad did take him for a weekend once so DH and I could get away. She was young (55) so I could envision more involvement like that if she had lived longer. My MIL died about 5 years later so she knew my second son but really only my first son has memories of her -- she lived about 20 minutes away until we moved, then she was about 40 minutes away. She would babysit any time (she was actually a professional babysitter) but not overnight -- she was around 70 when my oldest was born. She taught my son to play card games like Slap Jack and he still remembers that (he just turned 22). She always had ice cream for him whenever we visited, and she knit him sweaters for every occasion. She was definitely one of those hands-on, fun grandmas...more so than my mother would have been. My DD in particular would love to have a grandma, I think. She taught herself to knit by the time she was 10 and my MIL would have loved that!

Clearly there are different degrees of grandma-ness but I am shocked to see how many people assume their parents -- the grandparents -- are automatically going to provide lots of free child care. Even when my MIL was around and happy to babysit, we never asked her more than once every few weeks at the most. And we always asked politely, never assumed it was her job.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 7:19AM
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Elraes Miller

We usually let one grandchild visit for a day or two, depending upon GM schedule. Holidays were different and always something new. I can't ever remember thinking they should be the baby sitter. And we all worked full time.

This is a bit late for the day. But my daughter saw an idea for Easter. The kids got to bury jelly beans all over the yard. The next morning the went out and there were colorful suckers planted and growing. It didn't matter where the suckers were, kids couldn't remember where they buried the jelly beans. And it wouldn't matter if they did, sometimes they just don't grow.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 12:34PM
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technicolor I have no grandchildren but that idea is cute!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 9:47PM
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I was talking to my niece after I read the idea and passed it on to her. She has a 2 year old and a 2 month old. Next year she says she will try it. Very cute idea.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 11:03PM
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What an awesome idea technicolor. I'll have to check and see if our grandson got any jelly beans. That could be fun any time of year. Too cute!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 12:37AM
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Elraes Miller

How neat you guys enjoyed the idea. And Just, yes it would be fun for any time of the year.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:14AM
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I'm sure our six year old grandson will know pretty quickly that I'm the one that placed the suckers there, but he'll still get a kick out of it. Our recently turned one year old granddaughter will think it's magic though.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 11:52AM
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