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What do you think are realistic expectations for grandparents t

Started by Smilesback@u, July 02, 2011, 07:52:15 am

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Smilesback@u

Hi everyone, I am new today and wanted to introduce myself.  I am nearly 60, one of six sons married and that now I have 2 GK.  I am living on the west coast and my son and his family moved to the east coast recently.  I have enjoyed my sons and worked through most all issues.  There is this new role, grandmother, that I struggle with as my own grandparents died by the time I was 9 and didn't see them often because of distance.  Learning to be a grandmother is a role I am creating.  My issue for discussion and support, is that my son and his wife expect when I come visit that I help out.  Of course, I have been helping out.  What I don't like is feeling I have to help out.  What that looks like is hearing that I should get up when the GK get up and help watch them...also along with visiting I am expected to cook meals.  Don't get me wrong, that is exactly what I have been doing when the GK were newborns, toddlers.  They are now 2 and 4.  My question is:  What do you think are realistic expectations for grandparents to do when they visit?  We have definitely got water under the bridge on this one.  I am staying in a motel next time I visit to avoid the pressure to get up when the GK do.  I plan to take them out to eat once or twice, babysit once or twice, maybe cook a meal or two, but leave when it is apparent there is not going to be any meal prepared that includes me and go get a bite to eat.  I don't like to feel the pressure, and seems that DIL is always angry, moody, and everybody jumps to attention when she wants something done.  I probably didn't say that accurately, just a feeling I have.  THANKS!  GLAD YOU ARE HERE TO HELP!  Smiles  :)

luise.volta

Welcome - SBAU - I wonder sometimes if there is such a thing as reasonable expectations. I think what works best it to have no expectations at all. Simple but not easy...at least not for me. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

pam1

Welcome Smilesback@u :)

If you haven't already done so, please read the Forum Agreement under the category Open Me First.  We ask all new members to do so not b/c there is anything wrong with your post.

I agree with Luise, I think no expectations is the best way to go -- on both sides.  Personally I find your DS/DIL expectations for your visits to be very unreasonable.  I would not be comfortable staying in their home.  Like you, I don't mind helping out but having an expectation of cleaning and cooking would be too much for me. 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

Pooh

Welcome Smiles.  I think expectations is what gets us all in trouble.  I think your solution of staying in a hotel, taking them to dinner and pitching in when you feel like it is a wonderful idea to try.  They may not like it, but I think you are being very reasonable. 
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

luise.volta

I wonder if some kids look are their mothers as unpaid domestic servants and just keep that image.  :(
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Pooh

That and I think they look at your visit as a "Yay, I can get a break now, Mom is coming."  Which is not all bad and I think most GM's are willing to pitch in and help while they are there, but the DD/DS/DIL or SIL forget that for many GP's, it's also their vacation.  I think it takes both sides thinking about each other to create a good balance. 
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

amflautist

Ha!  This one is easy! 

My DIL does not welcome me in her home.  In fact, I am decidedly unwelcome there.  Whereas her parents come all the time, stay in her house, and take her on vacations with them.  My DS on the other hand, has to sneak around to call me or email me when she-who-must-be-obeyed is not present.

I live in eastern Canada, my son lives in Vancouver.  My plan, when the gc come, is as follows.  I will not make dinner for DIL, nor will I clean her house.  I will stay at a hotel and take the kids to the zoo.  I will dress in fairy costumes, or frog costumes, and be the fun grandparent at birthday parties.  I will be the doting grandparent who buys frivolous amusements for the kids, and takes them on fabulous vacations, but does not perform chores for the mommy.

Maybe you want to consider these options.  (Don't be afraid of the frog costume or the bunny ears and bunny footwear - 'cause I don't fear it, and I am a whole decade older than you.  I'm planning on being a whacky, fun-loving grandma!  This is all going to be on my terns, cause I am sick of the one-sided treatment I have been receiving.)

amflautist

And when my GD is somewhere between 3 and 6 years old, I am going to send her a fairy princess costume, complete with pink ballet shoes:



I will send my GS a ton of lego. 

amflautist


amflautist

Just a suggestion regarding your plan to take everyone out to dinner.  Don't go to a restaurant where your grandkids have to "behave".  Go to a McDonald's playland.  Or buy sandwiches and go to a park that has swings and a kiddie wading pool.  If you can manage it, hire a clown to splash in the wading pool and push the kids on the swings. 

Pen

Welcome Smilesback@u, glad you're here. I don't have any GC yet, but am saving up everyone's advice for when I do. The only times DH & I have been invited to DIL's/DS's home is to help them move and clean. So, the writing's on the wall as they say...

We can only be taken advantage of if we allow it. I don't know, it's a hard call if there's a chance you could lose all access to DS & GC.

And welcome to you as well, Amflautist! I think my destiny is to be "whacky, fun grandma" too, since DIL's FOO has already claimed top spot. We'll have more fun, for sure.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

luise.volta

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Pen

Like the guy who "waved to the bus" every morning, outlandishly dressed. Love it!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

luise.volta

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

cd1029

One of the things I had to learn as a MIL/GM is that the parents work to different schedules than I do.  When I was raising my children, we had dinner at the same time every night, a cooked breakfast, lunch on the weekends, etc ...

Today's families have two working parents, schedules that are constantly changing, children who don't want to eat now and so on.

It took me a long time to realize that I am not invited to dinner because they are not having dinner until much later that night, or they stopped for burgers on the way home, something of that sort.

We too stay in a hotel and visit for a few hours at a time, if they invite us to dinner, then we gladly go, but do not get our feelings hurt if they don't.