The Trouble with Grandma

For the past few weeks, we were in the middle of a move, which is no picnic under the best circumstances and just about impossible with a toddler underfoot. So, in order to get everything done, we shipped the kid to his grandparents’.

It worked out well; we were able to pack up and relocate a lot more quickly, and no miniature humans were injured in the process. We even got to go to dinner once or twice without needing to wrangle a psycho into a highchair.

Little did we know that while we were taking care of business, our son was being turned against us.

Grandparents are great. In fact, they are pretty indispensable. But they’re also dangerous.

My wife and don’t live close enough to our families to reap many of the benefits, primarily the free babysitting, that many of our friends take advantage of. No joke: if you have consistent access to free babysitting, you are the 1%. (Don’t be surprised if babysitting one day serves as the basis for our entire economy.)

But grandparents aren’t all butterscotch candies and cardigans. When they get your kids in their mitts, your priorities go out the window. They have their own agenda: to spoil, to dote, to indulge. To corrupt!

Worst of all, they undermine.

If you’re not careful, the same parents that made your life a living hell in high school (not my parents, my parents were amazing, but yours really needed to ease up) will slowly turn your well-behaved child into a nightmare of entitlement and expectation.

After just a few nights with his Grandma and Pop-pop, my little angel expects Jell-O with every meal and is watching “Yo Gabba Gabba” anytime he gets a little grouchy.

Eating habits you’ve been struggling to teach are obliterated in a flurry of ice cream, hot dogs and pudding. Months of well-honed “ignore the tantrum” tactics are undone by the doting, always-open arms of Nana. A firm reluctance to add to the toy-based clutter of the family room is erased as gift after gift is bestowed upon the golden child.

The worst part? Once he gets back home and out of the clutches of the deceptively benign-looking senior citizens you call your parents, he wakes up in the middle of the night and calls for them instead of you. It’s kind of heartbreaking.

But there’s a flip-side to that coin, should you choose to take advantage of it. The next time you’re in Grandma’s vicinity, that’s when you should actually let Grandma get the kid when he cries. It’s all fun and games until the two-year-old wants to roughhouse all over your arthritis.

Don’t get me wrong, having family around is great. Just having the ability to go out to lunch – without having to pay sixty bucks for the privilege – is nothing short of liberating. dad and buried, mother's day, parenting, parenthood, kids, funny, mother's day, moms, motherhood, children, pregnancy, vasectomy, dad bloggers, mommy bloggers, funny, family, holidays

But while we’re luxuriating in the few moments of freedom grandparents afford us, my son is luxuriating in the freedom grandparents afford him. He’s old enough to know when he’s in control, and when he’s at Grandma and Pop-pop’s, he’s in total control.

Don’t think for a second that Grandma and Pop-pop don’t know!

For your parents, grandkids are nothing but gravy. They’ve already raised their kids and they have little interest in weathering that storm again; they just want the sunshine.

Unfortunately for Mom and Dad, sometimes that means catching a little sunburn. Especially when Grandma and Grandpa don’t bother to apply the kid’s sunscreen!

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12 thoughts on “The Trouble with Grandma

  1. Been through this a few times. Can put you back months, still, I think the best approach is to wait until you’re a grandparent and emulate the behaviour! Everyone loves to spoil kids when they don’t have to deal with the consequences…

  2. “Entitlement and expectation” indeed. When my kids come home from their grandparents’ house, all I hear for the next week is, “But Grandma said I could!” or “Fine, then I’ll go live with Grandma and Grandpa!” To which I have responded, “Great! Just let me grab my purse and I’ll give you a ride.”

  3. Speaking from the grandmother point of view. It is our duty as it has been passed down to us from generation to generation. One day with any luck you will have that opportunity once you have paid your dues of being a parent.

  4. Speaking from the grandmother point of view. It is our duty as it has been passed down to us from generation to generation. One day with any luck you will have that opportunity once you have paid your dues of being a parent.

  5. Yup, been there and then some. 10pm bed times, loads of sweets, making something different for dinner (when we leave stuff in the fridge for them) cos they think it’ll be nice to have a ‘treat’, and the most recent one being returned an apped-out zombie (mind dulled by apps like ‘dumb ways to die’ and ‘angry birds’). For all of that though, it’s a godsend when it comes to trying to get to work and for the odd (and they aren’t that frequent) date night, I’ll take all the bad for that 🙂

  6. I don’t get the grandparents that say it is our duty to spoil. Making parents re-torture their grandchildren (face it: one of the few methods of teaching available to us is letting the kid cry until half the living room is covered in saliva) is a good thing… Honestly, I’m having this problem with my in-laws now. They’re brainwashing leads to our little boy crying for weeks on as we have to re-do everything we’ve taught him again, and it usually results in him crying for multiple hours a day for 1-2 weeks after they’ve left. It is selfish, shortsighted, and, in my opinion, cruel. I’ve made a vow never to do this to my grandchildren one day. I will have failed as a parent if I end up as one of those grandparents. Great post tho, the free babysitting is great (our little one sleeps through the babysitting so we have no quarrels there) 🙂

  7. After a few duels with my parents, and a bit of training with the kids, it boiled down to “grandma’s house, grandma’s rules. Our house, our rules”. The 3y figured it out pretty quickly. The other set of grandparents arent around often or long enough to do lasting damage, so they get greater leeway in their visits.

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