I will never forget the exhaustion that overtook me as a mother of four young kids. We had moved three times in five years and there was one thing that I desperately wanted: my mother. I needed her physical and emotional support. But she lived on the other side of the country and wasn’t able to visit much. She was an extraordinary woman, but babysitting was not her thing. Her mother didn’t babysit us, and she never expected to babysit my kids. That’s the way life was 30 years ago.
During those years, I made a commitment that when my children had kids, I would help them. And that’s what I have tried to do. And now, I’m exhausted again.
Being a grandparent is one of the richest, most joyful and most heartbreaking experiences we can have. It is unique because being a grandparent isn’t straightforward. It involves not one relationship but three. How easy it would be if we could simply bring our grandkids to our homes, do what we wanted, and then send them back to their parents. But we can’t. The grandkids don’t belong to us but to their parents. Therefore, if we want to be with our grandkids, we need to first work hard on our relationships with their parents. They are the doors through which we see our grandkids. And this is the tricky part.
In one generation, the role of many of us grandparents has dramatically changed. Some of us babysit regularly while our kids work, some only occasionally, some are raising their grandkids, and some are estranged. Each of us wants a good relationship with our grandkids and the most important place to begin to get there is to focus on how we relate to their parents.
My new online resource The Dos and Don’ts of Good Grandparenting just went live in my Parenting Great Kids online community. This ebook focuses on how to cultivate a relationship with your child so you can be the best grandparent you can be. Click here to join the community and get access to this important resource today.
You might be thinking you don’t need a course on grandparenting. You’ve already parented. You know how it’s done. Here’s the thing: grandparenting is completely different from parenting. In fact, if you are parenting your grandchildren I can assure you, you’re doing it wrong. (Unless you are your grandchild’s primary caretaker.)