What Do You Expect From Your Baby's Grandparents?

Michele Zipp
grandmother glamma

My mom with my 1 week old daughter

Last year I read a piece in the New York Times about Glam-mas -- "thoroughly modern grandmothers" who aren't interested in raising their kids' kids. The article was called When Grandma Can't Be Bothered. I sent it to my mom.

She got annoyed.

I realized after her response that it seemed like I was implying she couldn't be bothered with her grandkids...and that is definitely not the case. What I liked about the article is that it showed how not all grandparents live solely for their grandkids. Meaning, they have their own life, and they live it.

I also thought the word Glam-ma was cute because it made me think of a glamorous grandma, which my mom is, but that's not exactly how the article described them. The piece mentioned Glam-mas who didn't like newborns and were more interested in smoking cigarettes than babysitting.

Yeah, so I kind of screwed up sending that article without explanation.

I believe that just because your child had a kid that doesn't mean your life should now revolve around your grandchild. Unless you want it to. And the parents want it to as well.

But there are those who feel differently.

Some of us expect need the grandparents to watch the kids while we're at work. My mom would sure be cheaper than my nanny, but she doesn't live close by and even if she did I don't think I would ask her to stop her life because I had twins.

There are some grandparents who would be happy to adopt babysit -- stop their lives and do everything for your kid.

There are the buttinski grandparents -- they tell you how to parent, what you are doing wrong, but then they let a three-year-old eat three bags of Pop Rocks ... instead of lunch.

Other grandparents fly off to Europe when their daughter is pregnant like in the movie Away We Go.

And of course there are all the other types of grandparents in between, along with all the different expectations parents have on their parents when it comes to their kids.

I talked to Priscilla, a young grandma, about it. Her son Cody has a daughter, Lily who is 17 months old. Priscilla also has a daughter, Keara, who is 3.

"I know a lot of grandmas think that they raised their kids now they are done and this is their time so they will not take the time to even babysit. I'm not like that. Maybe I would feel different if I didn't have a little one running around but I doubt it.  When Lily was born, the first moment I laid on eyes on her I fell in love and my first thought was I had no idea you could have so much love so instantly for a child you, yourself did not give birth to.

I am whatever kind of Grandma the kids want me to be. Like if they ask me not to do something, I try really hard not to do it and if I do, I try really hard not to get caught! I also try not to let them know if Lily did something new. I know that I like to be the one for Keara so if Lily happens to do something I have never seen, I won't tell them. I wait for them to tell me. I don't want them to worry about missing her 'firsts.'

I try hard not to give advice unless they ask for it. Even if I don't always agree with the way they are raising her, I think that the two of them are doing a heck of a job and I am so, so, so proud of them. They are great parents and I am truly blessed that they allow me to be as involved as they do." 

Priscilla and her family have a great system worked out -- and everyone communicates well ... which is what seems to be missing a lot of times in some parent/grandparent relationsips.

It isn't always easy to accommodate everyone's expectations. And grandparenting definitely means different things to different people.

What do you expect from your parents when it comes to grandparenting your baby?


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