I may have mentioned it once – or a thousand times – but one of the things I look forward to most in life is being a grandmother. I “joke” with my kids that I only make 2 demands of them: they must complete college and give me grandbabies. Perfectly reasonable, yes?
Here’s the thing, though…I don’t just want to be a good grandma to my grand-kids, I also want to be a good parent to my children while they parent theirs. As such, I’m giving myself this list to look back on when I’ve forgotten exactly the chaos that is being on the front lines of parenting (I will forget right??!).
1) I am no longer the boss. As a grandma I hope to remember my role as supporting actress rather than star of the show. (Goodness knows that won’t come easily to me…)
2) Speaking of support: offer it early, often, and with abundance. Remember that even parents who do not ask, or seem to have it all together, could use a nap, a shower, or a hot meal.
3) No ridiculous gifts. Ask for gift suggestions and follow them; EVEN IF that singing, drum playing, life-sized stuff animal seems really fun in the store.
4) Encourage, encourage, encourage. I hope to be my children’s biggest fans throughout all stages of their lives. I know already that they will be fabulous parents…I look forward to being able to remind them of it often.
5) Remember that the times and practices will change. We used to put babies to sleep on their tummies, now we put them to sleep on their backs, and in the future they will tell us to put them to sleep on their heads. Though I hope to have wisdom to impart, I need to keep in mind that the way I did things may not be the best way for my children to do things.
Seems like a lot of rules on how to be a good grandma, but when I really think about it, these things begin now. Now is when I build the foundation with my children that will allow us to have the relationship that I hope to have with them later. Openness, respect, trust…appreciation for their individuality, strengths, and capabilities…these are the things that I hope to offer my children now, and when they have some of their own. Because the truth is, if we haven’t established the relationship I hope for by then, it will never be.
So on that note, you’ll have to excuse me, I have a tickle war to start!