My kids have some awesome, loving grandparents. The problem? Those grandparents aren’t involved in my kids’ lives. My husband’s parents live out of state. Mine live a few towns away. Neither side comes to visit our kids on a consistent basis. And it breaks my heart — because my kids are flippin’ awesome.
I honestly don’t understand why the grandparents seem too busy to really get to know my kids. My kids regularly ask questions about their grandparents, and I find it difficult to restrain myself from giving a bitter response. It’s not my kids’ fault. It seems that mature, grown-up, empty-nesters have a lack of desire to spend time with my kids.
So — when my husband and I get really frustrated or hurt about our parents, we make a pact that we won’t be like them.
When our kids have kids, we’re going to be there all the time. Not really, of course. But I sure as heck plan to be a major part of my kids’ AND my grandkids’ lives. I mean, being a grandparent sounds awesome. It’s like I get to be the cool mom without having to discipline and do all the dirty, hard work of potty training, chore charts, homework and life lessons. I just get to hang out, make memories, and spoil them silly. And they’re an extension of me, so how is that not the most awesome relationship ever?!
At times, I get angry and jealous of my friends who have grandparents close by that actually help them. I have friends that go out of town on a regular basis without their kids because the grandparents watch them for a long weekend. Some friends even maintain a weekly standing date night because grandma and grandpa understand the importance of nurturing a marriage amongst the craziness of raising a family. I even know girlfriends who can call up their mom on a particularly awful mothering day and grandma comes swooping in to rescue both daughter and grandkids.
Ugh. I’m breaking one of the Ten Commandments because I really, really covet that. But I don’t have that. And I doubt I ever will.
It stinks that I’m not the confrontational type. My parents and in-laws may never know just how hurt and angry their lack of involvement makes me. My husband thinks I need to step up and say something. And I probably should. Not saying anything hurts me more than anyone else.
But how do you tell your parents that they suck as grandparents?
Whichever way I spin it, it just sounds so petty, mean, and condescending.
So I can’t end with a nice, neat list of how to survive motherhood without involved grandparents. Instead, I want to encourage you moms (and dads) who DO have this to be so grateful for their parents’ involvement in their kids’ lives. Thank your mom for letting you have a day out without kids in tow. Thank your parents for watching your kiddos so you and hubby can have a date night. Thank your dad for coming to your kids’ soccer games and cheering them on. However they’re involved, thank your parents for helping you through this messy life of parenthood.