I don’t know about you, but I’ve never thought of myself as a “rule follower.” Not that I’m a serious rule breaker but because I’m naturally curious I open shut doors, peer behind the screen and ask a ton of questions. Maybe it’s because I need to see the whole picture – i need to understand why and how things work.
Don’t get me wrong — I don’t just walk around breaking the law every chance I get. Some rules make perfect sense and serve a very practical purpose. Others, though… not so much!
For example (and I’m not kidding these laws are still on the books)
- In Cleveland OH there is an ordinance restricting the wearing of patent leather shoes for women.
- In Florida single women cannot parachute on Sundays and you’re going to love the next one —–
- In Memphis, Tennessee, women can’t drive a car unless there is a man with a red flag in front of the car warning the other people on the road.
While these rules are ridiculous – I’m sure there are some pretty funny stories as to the reason for their existence!
I’ve never really understood why I have to have a license and basic knowledge to drive a car – yet I didn’t need any training to have and raise a child – because trust me I felt completely incapable at the time.
I have to admit though the transition from parent to grandparent has not been easy for me either. Lovin’ on my grandchild and being with them and spoiling them – that is super easy. But understanding the different roles and how to navigate them has been anything but easy for me. I thought I’d share the top 10 lessons I’ve learned from this experience.
Don’t Invite Yourself
I’ve learned this the hard way – my natural tendency is to want to be at every milestone and be there for everything. I’ve invited myself to everything just short of the birthing process (I’ve never done this one). I’ve learned to back off and respect the family time that should be with just grandkids and parents.
Remember: It’s not your baby
I can’t believe I had a big miss on this one, but yes I have. I remember being a new mom and having older moms take my crying baby as I was trying to soothe them. Not that I was loving the experience but I was humiliated and felt like a failure when someone felt like they could do it better and without asking.
Grandchildren are NOT do-overs
When you get to the other side or parenting it’s tempting to see everything you failed at. All the should’ve dones that you didn’t do. Do not feel that you now have a second chance to disciple, teach, love better than you did with your own child. Just enjoy that new role you have as a grandparent.
Keeping your mouth shut should be an olympic event
Oh my goodness – it should totally be an olympic event – you know where the grandparents (parents) sit there while their children make dumb choices or say ridiculous things, life altering things – or really even small things that they “should know better” and the only way to win a gold metal is by smiling, showing support and genuinely showing love and acceptance for their adulthood.
Olympic even right? Or at least some sort of recognition for the unbelievable self control you just exerted.
Be mindful of what you are exposing them to
When your kids were young you made sure that you didn’t show them PG13 movies or MA shows on TV – now that they are out of the house and the grandkids come to visit on your TV night – REMEMBER they are young and impressionable and watch Moana for the 100th time and save CSI for another night.
Be a Good Sport
When attending sporting events of your grandchildren BE RESPECTFUL!! Do not make a scene or embarrass your grandchild with your antics or yelling at the refs! Trust me it was an embarrassment to your children please don’t do it to your grandkids.
Respect the rules of the Mom & Dad game
It’s been 20 plus years since your son or daughter was born – we’ve all seen the changes in laws and how-to’s associated with small ones. No we didn’t ride in car seats. Nor did we wear helmets BUT if that is the rule at mom and dads house make sure and reinforce it at your house.
If mom and dad feel strongly about sweets after 6 or bedtime routine – support them. I’m pretty sure we have all experiences in our own life in raising our kids where the other adults in our lives did not support us in some of our choices – don’t be that person for your kids!
Are you breaking your kids legs
This is one I take pretty seriously – probably because I’ve been so bad at it since my children had my grand babies. When my kids were teens and I was tempted to over do for them I would use the phrase “I’m breaking their legs” to help me visualize what finishing that project for them because they were too tired was doing to them. (Teaching them that there would be someone there to fix it for them)
Jump forward 10 years and it’s way harder to not want to jump in – these are your grand babies and it is so easy for your to buy, do, fix the problem and it’s so hard for your child to do it.
I would strongly recommend you take a minute and ask yourself what the consequences will be for this quick fix? Is it hurting more than it is helping? Is there a lesson that needs to be learned – not only by your child but by you too??
Are you breaking your kids legs???
If in doubt ask
There is nothing like open communication – if you want to do something special, if you want to help if you want to understand something – ASK.
Did I say “Olympic event”
Honestly once I had adult children I had 2 choices – start to see them as the amazing adults (that sometimes makes poor choices – but honestly don’t we all) that they are or completely destroy any relationship with them.
So while the first step is to hold your tongue – the real gold metal is when you trust your children to a degree that you genuinely love and support them – it takes time but it is the ultimate goal.
As the support team, grandparents can be an amazing asset but it really is a choice and a balancing act. Learning our new roles and being respectful of our children’s new roles as we both learn can be quite the adventure and one that we can hopefully enjoy together.