The Problem with Being the Grandparent Is You’re Not the Parent

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Do you remember looking down at that sweet tiny face and feeling completely overwhelmed with adoration? Grandchildren are a breath of air you haven’t breathed for a long time. And maybe when you did, you just didn’t appreciate being a parent as much as you do now. 

The problem with being a grandparent is that you’re not the parent. 

Oh sure, everyone says that’s the great part, that you get to spoil them and then send them home. But, in your heart, it’s just not the same as having your own children. You’re not the parent.

Adair Lara said it well when she wrote,

“You will feel like a parent toward them, but you don’t get to be the parent.
Your daughter gets to pick up the crying baby even if you’re closer. You now have a valuable, irreplaceable vase that someone else carries from place to place.
Your daughter will need you, depend on you, and be enraged by the gentlest tip on how to take care of a baby—

“I found that holding them upside down like that was not a good idea in the long run… “

“Your grandchild’s mother will not even want to use her ratty old crib for her new baby, even though you’ve lovingly saved it in the basement for just that purpose all these years.”

One friend told me that her mother-in-law saved every baby outfit her husband wore (twenty-something years ago) and proudly brought them to her as a baby gift. I’m sure you can imagine how delighted she was to see old, stained, out dated baby clothes. 

The problem is that we have gathered all these years of experience, made our mistakes and have a treasure trove of memories. What do you do with all of it? 

It’s not like the business world where you can go in and parade your experience and expect to get hired. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Is there a daughter-in-law that sees her mother-in-law as an experienced mother, who has simply retired from raising babies because she worked herself out of a job?

It’s hard, when you feel like you have so much to offer, and it’s ignored completely. Or worse, the mother is offended when it’s offered.

Keeping quiet is an acquired skill. Our grandbabies are ours. Although we are not the parents, and how they are raised is completely up to the parents.

Of course you already knew that. It’s just a matter of settling it deep in your heart, and locking down our opinions until they are requested. 

In the end, that’s really the best. Because being a grandparent, really, is a whole lot more fund than being a parent. And it doesn’t have anything to do with sending them home.

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