For those of us lucky enough to have doting grandparents in our kids’ lives, their presence can be a blessing. But it’s not always fun and games on the grandparent front.
Let’s face it, grandparents can rock. They can be our frantic phone call when the baby’s first fever hits, the casserole in our oven when the postpartum hunger strikes and the free babysitting at the last minute.
But they can also be the ultimate destroyers of all of our parenting resolutions that we work so hard on. Shall we take a gander at some of the ways grandparents can make a laughing stock of all the ways we try to do parenting right?
1. There’s never such thing as too much sugar at Grandma’s house
My kids’ grandmothers laugh — nay, cackle — about how fun it is to stuff our children full of sugar, but honestly, sometimes, I fear for their lives. All of my children have actually vomited from eating so much junk at Grandma’s house and let me tell you, that’s not a good feeling to witness as a mother.
2. All of your discipline goals are useless
“Grandparents specialize in undermining authority,” notes mom and editor Maria Mora, and I have to say that I would agree with her. Kids are more likely to get a hug and kiss from grandparents instead of the discipline they very well need.
3. They introduce foods you would never buy
One of my great tricks of parenting has been to simply never introduce certain foods, like pancakes from a box or juice boxes that don’t actually contain juice, to my children. I figure if they never know they exist, I can get away without hearing whining for those coveted items, right? But all of my careful planning flies out the window when “helpful” grandparents pull out some special items, purchased just for my kids. And suddenly, at home, nothing else will do except the food they had at Grandma’s house.
4. They remember what you were like as a teenager
You may think that your kids view you as a respectable authority figure — but just wait. Your parents are definitely biding their time until the moment is right to whip out a few horrifying stories from your rebellious youth.
5. Money is no object
Trying to teach your kids about lofty goals such as responsible spending and saving for items they want? Not at Grandma and Grandpa’s house you’re not. Not only will your kids get everything they ask for, but they will probably witness a little frivolous spending from two people who very well deserve it. But their every-other-week vacation to Florida might make your kids question your “vacation in our bathroom tub” idea.
6. You will resort back to your childhood self
You’d like to think you’ve grown up and can safely keep your temper and your wits about you, but nope. Step back in your parents’ house and you will be overcome by the urge to smack your younger sister upside the head — which is never a good thing for your kids to see.
7. They cause you to question all of your parenting decisions
From the grandma who let her kids walk alone to school to the grandfather who can’t understand why your husband changes diapers, a trip to “grandmother’s house we go” can feel more like a trip down insecurity lane.
8. Leaving their house will make you resort to bribery
You say you don’t believe in bribing your kid? I’m sure you will regret those words once it comes time for you to pack and go from Grandma and Grandpa’s house, where kids reign supreme.
9. They turn your kids into little dictators
And speaking of your kids’ reign, be prepared to live with a little bit of dictatorship when your kids return home from the grandparents’ house, because while they’re there, life is all about them.
10. Spanking suddenly doesn’t sound so bad
You know you got spanked as a kid. And even though you are profoundly, 100 percent against spanking your own kid, your parents kind of sort of make you think you’re overreacting just a tad. But then again, why did they spank you if they were only going to turn around and spoil your kids with toys and endless amounts of sugar?