Are you on the other side of competitive grandparents? For us, being a grandparent is what it’s cracked up to be. Don’t get me wrong, we love our grandchildren– all 26 of them. Yes, you read that right. Twenty-six grandchildren. While in many ways, our joy is multiplied. However, the sheer numbers makes it impossible to do many of the wonderful things grandparents normally get to do. Like spoil their grandchildren.

It’s hard not to feel a bit competitive when you are always on the financial short end of the stick.

We will never be the grandparents that get to take their grandchildren to Disney. Just between you and me, it’s hard to buy everyone something for Christmas. Birthdays? I’m the worst.

When the iPhone came to my carrier I got one right away. I sent a text message out to all of my married children that read, “Do you have a mother that can’t remember her own grandchildren’s birthdays? Good news! There’s an app for that. Please text me the name, age and birthdate for each of your children.” 

Yeah. It’s like that. 

Being competitive is a losing proposition for me to say the least.

However, I don’t think you have to have a ton of grandchildren to have a disparagement in incomes between the grandchildren.

Susan Adcox writes,

“Another problematic scenario is when one set of grandparents has significantly more money than the other. The more affluent set may be able to pay for expensive trips and outings with the grandchildren, as well as spring for pricier presents. We tell ourselves that our grandchildren aren’t so shallow as to prefer one set of grandparents for monetary reasons, but the more affluent set does have the chance to purchase some pretty incredible bonding experiences. And while we’re at it, let’s go ahead and admit that, yes, our grandchildren’s heads may be turned by lavish gifts and luxury travel — at least during certain impressionable stages.

What to do: Sometimes financially insecure grandparents will wreck their budgets trying to compete. That, of course, is pure folly. A better plan is to concentrate on offering the grandchildren something different. Can’t afford a trip to a theme park? Take the grandchildren camping instead. Can’t afford expensive gifts? Give the grandchildren handmade gifts and sentimental gifts that no amount of money can buy.

Most grandparents want their grandchildren to have solid values, to put people above things and inner assets above material goods. This is a chance for grandparents to be good role models and reinforce those values.”

For my family, that’s pretty much what it has boiled down to. No, I can’t give them a trip to some exotic theme park every year– or any year. But what I can do is give them all of me, and the gift of a close family.

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