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GRAND CRIMES – AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

grand crimes picture

“Please, will you just shut up,” I pleaded/yelled as all chaos broke out with four Goddesses all vying for my attention.

This was my Grand crime. I imagined how my reputation with the neighbours as a dedicated Grandy had just gone down the gurgler.

The Goddesses looked at me in shock. Grandy doesn’t usually speak to them this way.

The outburst served to keep them all quiet for seconds until the next drama erupted.

GRANDPARENT GUILT

By then, I was so consumed with guilt that it mingled with my anger and impatience to create an almost eerie calm in me.

I had said worse to my own kids when they were growing up and rarely felt the guilt I was experiencing now.

We grandparents put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

Having been there, I know that parents do this too. But they tend to be more forgiving on themselves over little outbursts because they are dealing with their kids every day.

For most grandparents, babysitting is not a full-time occupation so you tend to expect to have an endless supply of patience when you do see them.

Anyone who has read my stories will know how much I adore my role as Grandy to the Goddesses.

grand crimes picture

My beautiful Goddesses

It is a beautiful adventure of fun – most of the time. It is made more wonderful by the fact I have four granddaughters after living in a male dominated house with three sons.

At one point during the weekend of my Grand crime, when Hubby and I were babysitting all four Goddesses (10 months old, three, four and five) I actually thanked the Universe for giving me sons. Girls can be so mean to each other.

I see a lot of grandparenting posts on social media, celebrating the wonders of the role.

WHAT ALL THE HYPE NEGLECTS TO TELL YOU

Some of them actually annoy me. The ones that claim things like “I didn’t know what love was until I held you in my arms” and “My life began when you arrived”. What’s that say about how you feel your own children?

It’s easy to get caught up in all that hype but the truth is, grandparenting can be hard. And it comes with huge responsibility.

As much as you might have a vision of being the wonderfully wise grandparent, full of fun and smiles, there will be times those tiny tyrants can reduce you to a blubbering mess. Kids have super powers when it comes to that.

And they hone those skills right into their teens when their super powers reach magnum force. That is when they become experts at pitting one adult against the other and it is vital to know where you stand before this happens.

When I held my own babies for the first time my heart melted and my world rocked. It was life changing.

When I held my grandbabies for the first time it was exquisitely beautiful, but what melted my heart was seeing the tenderness with which my sons held their babies.

I will always be a mother first. The Goddesses have a lot of wonderful adult support around them. My sons only have one mum.

Having learned not much from my unrealistic expectations of my own mothering skills, I assumed grandmothering would automatically come with its own mental survival kit to keep you wonderful.

I assumed the wisdom of age would ensure I never lost my temper or became impatient.

grand crimes picture

 

My fantasy had me never raising my voice. In that world, I was always cheerful and fun with an ‘anything goes’ attitude.

It came as quite a shock to realise I’m still human. I still have my own little dramas to deal with that influence my mood and my patience levels.

HOW TO AVOID COMMITTING GRAND CRIMES

As the Goddesses grow and test their limits more, I’m understanding the importance of setting boundaries – even for grandparents.

I’m replacing that ‘anything goes’ attitude with a more realistic mindset that includes some rules.

I still revel in being that fun loving, craft making Grandy who loves to speak ‘scribble talk’, makeup songs, and pull funny faces. Now I’m recognising the seriousness of my role as well.

They say it takes a village to raise a child and all the adults close to that child have an enormous influence.

Parents are relying more and more on grandparents to help guide and care for their children, particularly as most families need two full-time working parents in order to make ends meet.

Did you see my post, Babysitting Battleground? It includes some startling statistics on the new role of grandparenting.

NEW RESPONSIBILITY FOR GRANDPARENTS

That means extra responsibility for grandparents when it comes to guiding the kids in their actions and thoughts.

It means not sticking your head in the sand when the kids are misbehaving because you think discipline is all up to the parents.

grand crimes picture

Grandmothering has become so much more than baking cookies and playing in the garden – though these activities are fun and important (read 10 reasons You Need to Cook With Your Kids   and  7 Reasons You Need to be Gardening With Kids ).

 

The very fact that you don’t look or act or feel like the grandparents of even a generation ago does not mean that you are less, but that you are more—in effect, an evolved form of grandparents, primed to do a bigger and more challenging job than any group before you.

Arthur Kornhaber

 

We grandparents want to be the ‘nice’ ones, the ‘fun’ ones, who aren’t confining the children with a huge set of rules.

The idea of being some cranky old shrew with a huge set of out of date rules is horrific.

There is a middle ground, though. One where we can be wise and wonderful, fun and funny, and still demand a certain level of respect and consideration. Virtues that are a gift the grandchildren will benefit from all their lives.

I think when you reach this middle ground you are acting with the wisdom and grace you imagined would automatically come with the role.

You become responsible and brave enough to take action before a situation becomes so frantic you end up committing  Grand crimes.

However, though the grandkids may make us feel like demigods at times, it’s important to remember we are human. It’s OK to let the children see the human side sometimes – that in itself can be a life lesson.

Wishing you a crime free and gleeful week, Tamuria.

 

 

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28 Comments

  1. Oh, Tamuria! What a wonderful Grandy you are! The Goddesses are so very lucky to have you. As are your sons 🙂
    Susan Mary Malone recently posted…You Can Be Heartbroken And Thankful At The Same TimeMy Profile

    • Thank you, Susan. I wasn’t feeling much like a good Grandy when I committed my crime, but the Goddesses have moved on, and so shall I.:)

  2. Never having had children, I will never be a grandmother. But I did see how my own parents were grandparents to my nieces and nephew. They both did it differently. We all put too many expectations on ourselves. We need to allow ourselves the freedom to be ourselves.
    Carol Rundle recently posted…The 10 Best Anti-Inflammation FoodsMy Profile

    • So true Carol, we need to give ourselves the freedom to be ourselves and not become caught up in unrealistic expectations and guilt.

  3. What a refreshing post. You have such a healthy perspective on family and bringing up the goddesses! Guilt is such a terrible feeling, but it only has power over us if we feed it.
    Jennifer Quisenberry recently posted…Let Your Grey Hair Fly Free!My Profile

    • I agree, Jennifer, guilt only has power over us if we feed it, and that is no good for anyone. Thank you for your kind words.

  4. I always feel like my parents have it all together…they would never commit grand crimes. I, on the other hand, will likely fall into this trap. Need to save this article and pull it out as a friendly reminder for when that time comes.
    Christy Soukhamneut recently posted…Insurance Checks, Your Mortgage Company & Hurricane MatthewMy Profile

    • It’s wonderful you feel that way about your parents, Christy, and you are lucky to have such good ones. Maybe that great influence will ensure you don’t fall into the trap.

  5. Great post and I love the best part not sticking your head in the sand when the kids are misbehaving. We all have days with our children. Children and parents are resilient the best thing you can do is be consistent with your behavior and in the long haul children need and respect that when they become healthy adults.

    Lori English

  6. Since I really didn’t have grandparents, it’s so nice to see how when you spend time with the kiddos and you learn more about yourself as well. Good for you. My mother only watched my kids a few times before she passed.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted…Quick Potato Skins RecipeMy Profile

    • So true Sabrina – those little Goddesses are teaching me a lot about myself. I am sorry you lost your mum prematurely.

  7. What a gorgeous post. So much love and wisdom here. I love being a fly on the wall of your journey. Your kids and grands are very fortunate!
    Reba Linker recently posted…Stop Doing and Start Visioning!My Profile

  8. I really resonated with how my memories of my maternal grandmother are of the wise and loving matriarch of the family. A wonderful cook and a wonderful listener. There are a lot of us grandchildren in that side of the family. My daughter, on the other hand, is an only child and an only grandchild to my mother, so let’s say she has been a bit ‘spoiled’, getting almost everything she wants from her ‘bubby.’ I’m now a ‘grandmother’, sort of, to my daughter’s dog and two cats and am not sure if that will ever extend to real human children.

    Your observations and your wisdom when it comes to your Goddesses, is very admirable, Tami and I think they are very fortunate to have a Grandy like you. Perhaps having four so close in age, offers a great opportunity for continued learning for you too! Enjoy!
    Beverley Golden recently posted…Why Do We Need Antioxidants Anyway?My Profile

    • I so hope the Goddesses have lovely memories of me, as you do of your grandmother Beverley. Perhaps they won’t look back on me being particularly wise, but hopefully loving and fun at least. I agree having four so close in age offers extra opportunities for learning and growth.

  9. What a great post Tamuria! Loved all of your wise and no nonsense advice for being the best kind of grandparent and thank you for sharing what NOT to do as well! I am not yet a grandparent, but knowing HOW and WHAT to do with them when they do come is awesome, thank you for sharing your awesomeness!!
    Joan M Harrington recently posted…How To Market and Sell Effectively Without Resorting to HypeMy Profile

    • I really appreciate your kind words, Joan. We may not always get it right but it’s something to constantly strive for.

  10. Loved this post! Thank you for being honest and lifting up the not so perfect grandparents out there. Those who love their grandkids but don’t always perform to “leave it to beaver” standards. Appreciate it! 😉
    Krista recently posted…Movies that Make You HungryMy Profile

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, Krista. I was almost afraid to admit to my grand crime so publicly.Then I figured it may help others who have felt bad about not always reaching the incredibly high standards we impose on ourselves.

  11. thanks for sharing your experiences as a grandparent. I love when you say that you are part parent, part teacher and part best friend. Learning to balance these 3 is the task of a caring grandparent
    Alene A Geed recently posted…You had the Power all alongMy Profile

    • I agree, Alene, it is a bit of a balancing act and requires constant adjusting as the kids become older and their demands and needs change.

  12. I love your journey and I totally get it… what I wish some grandparents would remember is that… they are grandparents and NOT the parent… and that it isn’t their job to parent the grand-kids but to respect the wishes of the parents. This is sadly my issues.. with my mother who has decided upon herself that no matter what I say, she is still going to do what she wants for her grandchildren despite what I say and sadly, she has lost her daughter in the process…

    Thank you for doing right by your children, knowing your role and enjoying it. 🙂
    Kristen Wilson recently posted…Just Do It – Why Are You Procrastinating?My Profile

    • I totally agree with you, Kristen. If you truly care about your grandkids you won’t go against their parents – that can only lead to conflict. Possibly it is easier to overstep when you have daughters but for me, I was determined to have a wonderful relationship with my daughters-in-law (and I do). Ignoring their wishes would be a sure way to destroy that. I’ve seen hearts broken and families ruined because the grandparents think they know it all and can do it better. So sad.

  13. What a wonderful and wise granny you make. Raising one’s own children is hard enough, but taking on responsibilities once more with grandchildren is another of life’s rich experiences. I love how you I think of it as the middle ground. I’m sure the princesses will grow up to be just wonderful.
    Joyce Hansen recently posted…Don’t Let Business Decisions Depend on Granite CountertopsMy Profile

  14. A nice article…I saw on my mother that she sometimes found it too much or tiresome to do too much babysitting to my brother’s children. And I can imagine it is hard, and trying.

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