The Grandparent Honeymoon Period

The grandparent honeymoon period is a wonderful thing. How cherished is that first grandchild?

It really is a super special time. I remember it well. I remember all of us fighting over him. Who would get the next cuddle? With no kids of my own to worry about I was a keen Auntie and would often have to wrestle my parents over who got to babysit or put him to bed with his milk bottle.

Our baby was the 2nd – a little granddaughter for my parents to love this time. As for my in-laws, it was their first grandchild. Both grandparents were on tap whenever we wanted them. My husband and I were living the life of riley. We took it for granted. We assumed they would take the kids when I returned to work part time, which they did. They were fantastic and they saved us a fortune on childcare.

I had my diva moments I am sure. I used to be a bit upset if they wouldn’t follow my routine. Especially when I went back to work when our first was 10 months. Did they read all the instructions I had printed out or laugh and put them away in a drawer? Were nap routines being followed and sugary treats limited? Our little girl developed a very strong bond with my father-in-law and often wanted him instead of me. It did hurt me at times but it was bittersweet as I loved how involved and hands on he was and still is.

Fast forward the clock 6 years and there are now 5 grandchildren on my parents’ side, two of them mine. There are two on my in-laws’ side but if you met our 2nd child you would understand. He is into everything: it is sheer destruction. The honeymoon period is well and truly over.

These days I am so grateful for any help I can get that I am happy for the grandparents to do their own thing. If they are being good enough to help then it is their way or the highway.

People are set in their ways and I think that telling someone who is roughly 30 years older than you what to do is not going to work. As parents I feel we need to try and be flexible. If we don’t like it then don’t ask for help or pay for a nanny.

My parents and my in laws are 6 years older. They have had battles to face with their health. They don’t have the same levels of energy they had in 2010. Adding more kids into the mix makes things all the more chaotic. My Mum is never one to be too subtle. In fact, last week she said (and I quote):

“Thanks for the visit but I am shattered and you better watch rush hour traffic.”

I value her honesty.

My kids absolutely adore both sets of grandparents. They cherish the time they spend with them. I think everyone is a winner. It takes a village to raise a child. This takes the pressure off me and my husband. The grandparents have taught our kids so much and it is heart warming to watch their precious bond.

Likewise, this time has been great for our parents mental and physical health. Kids are magical. They don’t sweat the small stuff. The kids help to keep them feeling young. They are also exhausting!

Last week I asked my husband to take a day off work because I am away on a course for 9 hours. His response:

“Just book the grandparents in, I want to save my holidays.”

The thing is, I know this would now be pushing their boundaries. They are tired. I have a two year old boy who is into everything and a 4 year old who needs dropped off at nursery and collected. She also likes to be entertained with various activities the hours that she spends at home. She makes constant demands for drinks, snacks and entertainment. The days at home can be long. A lot of patience is required.

I smiled at my dear husband and reminded him:

“Darling, perhaps if it was 2010 I would do that. The honeymoon period is over now, book the day off please.”

He will probably still invite them round to help for a few hours.

To all the grandparents out there – you are well loved. Even when we forget to tell you and take you for granted.

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Jojo Fraser is a lifestyle columnist and author of the popular blog Her unashamedly uncensored writing style will have you laughing, crying and everything in between.

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