If you’re like me, you grew up with a wonderful, loving mom who raised you with a firm but tender hand. She taught you manners, meticulously monitored what you ate, and never accepted disrespect. Tantrums were not tolerated. Bed time was not a game. I didn’t eat a pop tart until I was a teenager. And then something strange happens. This woman you THINK you know becomes…a grandma.
Mom: I never let you guys eat this kind of cereal when you were growing up.
Me: So…WHY are you feeding it to my children?
My mom’s parenting skills look very different when applied to her grandchildren. Actually, it’s a whole new skill set altogether.
Mom: Honey, let me help you. Grandma knows how to help William obey.
Mom: William…do you want some candy?
Seriously – who is this woman??? We only saw candy on holidays or as a special treat at the movies. Now I think my mom wears pockets just so she can stuff them with gum and candy for the grandkids. Sometimes it appears out of no where…like she has magical grandma powers. It’s kind of scary.
Have you ever seen a grandma shopping at a store WITH her grandkids? Watch out. She will snatch a toy right out of your hands. She’ll grab the french fry out of your mouth. If the kids’ eyes twinkle at it, she will get it for them. The kids (ages 7 months, 2, and 3) have been pretty well trained not to ask for toys and treats at the store. They have even started to enjoy looking at toys and leaving them behind. Again, something my own mother taught me when we were growing up. But when they are with Grandma all they have to do is look at something, or point, and BOOM – it’s in the cart. My mom mentally buys them toys even when we’re NOT in the store.
Mom: We need to go buy more dinosaurs.
Dad: Shouldn’t we just teach them how to share?
Mom: …..No. They need more dinosaurs.
Don’t think I haven’t tried to use this to my advantage. (“William, tell Grandma you want a gift card to Starbucks for Christmas. Star-bucks. Say it.”)
Discipline looks very different from a grandma’s perspective. Especially when she thinks her grandkids are perfect.
Me: I don’t know what to do with William today. He is being really disobedient.
Mom: Maybe he doesn’t really mean it, honey. Maybe he’s just trying to tell you how he feels and he doesn’t have the right vocabulary yet.
No, I’m pretty sure he really wanted to disobey. My mom went through the three-year-old stage four times and this is her conclusion? My parents never undermine our disciplne when we are with them, but sometimes we’re just not quite on the same page.
Me: William is being fussy so he needs time out for a few minutes.
Me: Mom! Are you giving him a doughnut??
Mom: What? He stopped fussing so I thought it was okay.
The reality is, there is nothing like Grandma’s love. My mom only sees the kids about once a month, but I send her pictures, videos, and texts every day. I always dreamed about sharing this experience with her and I always dreamed I would be the kind of mother she was to me. I still seek her advice and encouragement daily. Even though at times she seems out of control with giddy grandma love, she would do anything to protect her grandkids. She would lay down her life for them. I just wish she would lay down less doughnuts.