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Role of relatives, grandparents and how you will be during those years......


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Over my forum posting years, I've always been intrigued by the perspectives and experiences people have when it comes to grandparents, both having them yourself, for your kids and eventually being one.

 

I can tell you this. I will not be a "good" grandparent by the standards of many homeschooling or attached types. I'm not a natural "kid person" and it's taking everything from me to be an excellent mom, homeschooler, provider and private tutor. By the time my kids have kids, I will be totally out of what's needed to happily do long stretches with other people's children. I think I would feel this way even if I didn't have years providing daycare, but daycare certainly exacerbated the situation.

 

As such, I *always* have empathy for the g'parent who enjoys limited time with their g'kids, rarely "sits" and doesn't accept the role of regular care giver. That said, I do believe that parents need that time; I just don't believe that the g'parents should be expected to facilitate it.

 

I hope my kids have kids if they want them, but I could never imagine "wanting grandkids".

 

*sigh*. I am the least likely candidate to be an attachment parenting, homeschooling, daycare providing, private tutoring and discipline teaching mom.

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I LOVE being a mom, but I figure it'll be my kids' business if they want to have kids or not. I agree with you there! No pressure from me!

 

My MIL had all sorts of plans for my children. She really had their whole lives planned out, with her at home with them, and me off at work. She's never forgiven me for being a SAHM.

 

I think that's really freaky.

 

I think I'll be (hope to be) the kind of g/ma my own mom is... hands on when needed, hands off when needed. That is, assuming my dd's decide to have children and decide to live nearby. I don't intend to interfere with their choices.

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Though I will probably be a young granny, and still have some semblance of a life of my own, I know I will LOVE being with my grandbabies. Heck, I am still wanting more kids of my own at 40! I did home daycare for years, and I have taught other people's kids too, but it hasn't burnt me out on kids. I LOVE babies; snuggling babies, cuddling babies, kissing babies, bathing babies, etc. I love toddlers; playing with them, talking to them, reading to them, jumping on the bed with them (or the sofa as I did last weekend with my 2 yr old great niece), and hugging/cuddling them. I love teaching kids to read. I love taking them to the zoo and watching their awe over the animals. I love taking them to playgrounds and pushing them on swingsets. I just LOVE kids, and can't WAIT until my girls (and boy) have some that I can call my grandkids!!

 

Oh, and I am definitely an attachment parenting type. I nursed, slept with, rocked and held all of my babies as much as possible!

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I've been taking notes for years about what to do and what not to do.

 

I'll be happy to spend lots of time with any grandkids, but I'm pretty sure my husband will be ignoring the little ones running around, unless they get between him and his TV. :p

 

But I think I'll be so old by the time I'm a grandma that nobody'll trust me to keep the baby from dropping on the floor in my dementia and arthritis. I started my family kinda late. :D

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hasn't burnt me out on kids. I LOVE babies; snuggling babies, cuddling babies, kissing babies, bathing babies, etc. I love toddlers; playing with them, talking to them, reading to them, jumping on the bed with them (or the sofa as I did last weekend with my 2 yr old great niece), and hugging/cuddling them. I love teaching kids to read. I love taking them to the zoo and watching their awe over the animals. I love taking them to playgrounds and pushing them on swingsets. I just LOVE kids, and can't WAIT until my girls (and boy) have some that I can call my grandkids!!

 

Oh, and I am definitely an attachment parenting type. I nursed, slept with, rocked and held all of my babies as much as possible!

__________________

 

I love my kids. Loved them as babies, toddlers, preschoolers and now. Other people's? Not so much, although I have applied the same perspective, respect and nurture as I can.

 

I nursed mine until they could read (yes, really and they weren't early readers) and they were welcome in my bed as needed/wanted for years. Held, rocked, parented them to sleep and back to sleep.

 

But, no, I don't "love kids" the way it emerges from you. Sometimes I wish I did.

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You could be my mil. And she's perfectly happy, so I'm sure you will be, too :).

 

As I said in Jill's thread (which is what likely prompted you to start this one...), I will love being with my grandkids as much as I love being with my kid now. I just know it. No surprise there, and I am NOT an attachment parenting type! LOL But I think I have certain views about family and closeness and involvement... I actually see all these things as rewards; but, I realize not everyone feels that way.

 

As much as you can't imagine wanting grandkids, or wanting to be closely involved in your grandkids' lives to the extent of spending time with them on a regular basis, I can't imagine being the opposite. It would be soul wrenching torture. I would even consider moving to be closer to my dd and her family if they ended up in another state, etc. I don't have any plans to be a day care provider for my grandkids, but I will certainly enjoy their company. Often. And if my dd doesn't marry or have kids, then I guess I'll have to keep all my affections directed towards her! But I know I'll never be the type who will be so glad to be through with raising my dd that I pretty much want to wash my hands of her and my grandchildren's daily lives (as my mil has done... she is happy to sit in assisted living and watch the Food Network all day long because it is what pleases her, and her family isn't what pleases her... a couple of times a year for holiday meals and catching up and that's all she needs to feel satisfactorily connected to her family).

 

I think, though, that whatever type you are is the type that your kids grow up knowing to fully expect, kwim? So it will all fit, and it will all look different from one family to the next.

 

Like popeye said... I yam what I yam! LOL I don't think there's a right or wrong about this.

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I am going to be the perfect grandmother. I will be the cookie grandma, the sewing grandma, the soft lap grandma. I will never tell my kids and their spouses how to parent unless they ask my opinion. I will babysit as long as their kids are obedient to me.

 

I. Cannot. Wait. to be a grandmother. I absolutely cannot wait!!!:D

 

I am already a fabulous mother-in-law, I am sure I can do this grandma thing much, much better than I did the mom thing. I didn't do the mom thing so well.:(

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I sympathize, Joanne!

 

People are always trying to stick me with their kids because after all, I'm so patient and involved with my own little ones. I have enjoyed having babies. I love my kids to pieces and I enjoy, them, too. I'm happy with homeschooling and attachment parenting. But as my youngest passes out of each stage, I realize I've now had my fill of that age of child.

 

I don't like being around others peoples' kids. I don't like not being able to discipline as I see fit. I don't like being expected to think normal kiddo stuff is adorable. Hormones or whatnot supplies that sense of wow for my own kids' achievements, but I just can't muster it up for others.

 

There are a few exceptions. I have some local friends who parent a lot like I do, or live up to my own parenting standards better than I do, and watching their kids is refreshing and inspires me. That said, I'd never agree to do it on a regular basis.

 

Maybe by the time I'm a grandparent I'll be ready to deal with baby stuff again. Maybe there's some kind of grandparent magic like new moms experience regarding their babies.

 

No matter what, I'll buy them cloth diapers and a Didymos and organic cotton clothes and Waldorf dolls. I'll give them my six bedroom house in the woods and I'll go live in the two bedroom cottage across the fifty acres (assuming we manage to purchase/build this dream property before we have grown children).

 

But I know that I'll need them to respect an ignored knock on my door. I know myself. I know I'm an introvert.

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I love my kids. Loved them as babies, toddlers, preschoolers and now. Other people's? Not so much, although I have applied the same perspective, respect and nurture as I can.

 

I nursed mine until they could read (yes, really and they weren't early readers) and they were welcome in my bed as needed/wanted for years. Held, rocked, parented them to sleep and back to sleep.

 

But, no, I don't "love kids" the way it emerges from you. Sometimes I wish I did.

 

 

You know Joanne, I was really worried about me and my own kids. I just didn't like other people's kids growing up. I babysat a ton and never really enjoyed it. It wasn't really a fit for me.

 

But, the second MY child was born, I GOT it. KWIM?? I couldn't imagine ever loving anything as much as I loved this slimy, bloody being they just handed me! And, then, my second was born. And, then, my third. And, then, my fourth. (Oh and FWIW - I also sleep with my kids until they are, well, old. And, I nurse them for as long as they want.)

 

I think (and hope) it will be the same with my grandkids. I think there's just a "maternal" instinct that kicks in. At least, I hope so. 'Cause if not, I won't be a very good grandma either!!

 

Do you have nieces and nephews? I am the oldest of six. So, I had to wait for nieces and nephews. I didn't really feel a pull toward my brother's kids, so I really have to work at my relationship with them. But, my sister had a child last year, and it's totally different. I absolutely adore him. But, it's different than my own child.

 

I hope something here helps!!

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I can't wait to be a grandma. I think my kids are adorable, my nieces and nephews are the cutest, and Lindamomofsix from the old board has the most beautiful kids in the world next to mine. I don't like all babies and toddlers, but I know I'll be nuts for my grandchildren.

 

I guess when I can't babysit I'll ride. Maybe I can babysit and ride?? I have plenty of ponies.

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And I can imagine being the same. Like you, I'm not a natural kid person and (I imagine) will be happy to see any grandkids only intermittently. My parents-in-law would love to see my kids more, but we live a long way away and both of them are now infirm and living in a care home.

 

The problem we have is jealousy. My mother is very jealous of my MIL (long story) and I don't dare have the children visit my parents-in-law more than my mother, even though they would like it..... Sigh.

 

Laura

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I look forward to the day I can hold my children's babies. Love children, yours, mine, ours :) I also look forward to the day that I can be a better grandparent than my children have. Theirs are selfish, uninterested, absent, and mostly uncaring. I would rather give up my own independence than to be a grandparent by name only.

 

fwiw, I understand what you're saying, but have too much frustration built up from non-grandparents to ever allow myself anything but excitement over the prospect of utter joy.

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At the grocery store this week a 40ish woman was admiring my children.

 

She said she couldn't wait to be a grandmother.

 

I assumed too much and asked when her grandchild was due.

 

Turns out her two boys aren't even married yet. They are still teenagers.

 

She said her husband told her not to mention to their boys that she wanted grandchildren so much...

 

It was kind of weird.

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I have thought extensively about this. We have had lots of serious grandparent issues. First, I vow not to boss my adult children. Second, I vow to respect their autonomy. Third, I vow to ask "How can I help?" and then do that.

 

I, too, am not a kid person. And I'm probably not going to be the cookie-baking, lovey-dovey, keep 'em for weeks at a time Grandma. But I will definitely come and clean for my DD and/or DIL when they have babies, keep their little ones when they have babies, help with homeschooling (if they homeschool), read the grandchildren books, offer prayer support, and go over to *their* house since I'm more portable. I will probably go over to their house more than I have the grandchildren come to mine. I do need my introvert time. But my children know that. I will have a lot to offer my grown children, even if I'm not so much a kid person or a stereotypical grandmother. (They will know not to put me in charge of crafts, though!)

 

I will definitely not swell the ranks of disgruntled relatives filing anonymous, false tips to Social Services on their homeschooling adult children and families. I think that is unspeakably horrendous.

 

Hey, I might not *always* babysit when the parents need some alone time, but I certainly could contribute $$$ so they can hire a sitter in their own home (with little ones I think that's better if the person is truly a quality sitter). So, I can facilitate their alone time if I want, even if I don't *do* the job myself!

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I was thinking I would be one of those cookie baking, lots of hugs and kisses Grandma's ...but this week my girls both tell me...we want you to homeschool our children. It was like a shock and awe campaign by them. I never in a million years dreamed they would say that....I'm not even sure how to respond. All the things I've wanted to do and put off for the last 7 years, I thought I'd be doing relatively soon. And all the crap they put me through...who knew they actually thought I did a good job. I'm still processing this information.:confused:

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I've wanted children for all my life. I love them, I love to be around them, my career is as a teacher, and marrying the best mother I could find was really a huge criteria for me in selecting my wife.

 

We're still a young and growing family, haven't been through it all yet, but I don't think there will ever be a time that I would feel differently about children. My daughter is only 9 months old but I've been reading about homeschooling since before she was conceived. I switched into teaching at the kindergarten level -and took a pay cut to do it- to see what early childhood education was like.

 

The thing about grandparenting that does bother me is that I waited so long to start my family- 35. I was emotionally ready for a long time but I didn't have the financial footing to provide for a family before and then when things started to realy click, I had to find the perfect mom.

 

And -finally- everything is coming together now. And I am very, very happy.

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Take my mom, for instance. I had been married *4* years - I was 26 yo - when I called to tell her I was expecting her first grandchild.

 

Her response (I am not joking!), "Oh, (long pause)....did you *mean* to do that?"

 

The disappointment in her voice had me crying for months. Was she upset because of how it would affect me? Oh - No! She just "wasn't ready to be a *grandmother*," and *How* could I do this to her? :(

 

Then the baby came, and every weekend we were invited over. If we couldn't make it over, they would offer to drive up and keep the baby for the night.

 

BTW - The grandkids still call her "Gi Gi" because she refused to be called by any traditional "grandma" name! :p

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I've always assumed that the "other people's kids" syndrome would not apply to my grandkids. I'm generally not fond of other people's kids, either (although that's been getting better as my kids, and their friends, get older). I assume that MY grandkids will be different.

 

I won't be the cookie grandma or the sewing grandma, or much of any "traditional" grandma; but from where I sit now I hope to be very involved in my grandkids' lives. Or, rather, as involved as my kids want me to be. It would be an honor.

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of a time that is fast approaching when I will have time for ME, when the kids and schoolwork and kid activities will not be my central focus. There are so many things I'd like to do. I'm ready for the freedom to do them.

 

That said, I know I will love being a grandmother and spending time with my grandchildren. I want to bake cookies with them and take them on nature hikes and little trips and do all sorts of fun things with them. I'll be happy to baby sit because I will know that it will only be for a limited time. I can have fun with them and then give them back to their parents to handle all of the tough stuff as well as all of the day to day routine. I'd love to do all the things I wanted to do with my kids but never had time because I had to deal with all the day to day stuff. It will be fun and I'll have my own time and my own space to boot.

 

I have often had other people shove their kids on me. (Oh, you homeschool. You must have all the time in the world. What would it hurt for you to watch my kids too?:rolleyes:) I do love watching our nieces and dh's cousin's kids, though. It's nice to have littles in the house once in a while now that mine are so grown up. And it gives me a peek into what being a grandparent could be like. (After all, if our oldest starts having children at the age we did, they will be close in age to some of the nieces and cousins.) Just like when the nieces visit, it will give me an excuse to fingerpaint or pull out the Play Doh. I'll have a reason to take a walk in the woods, walking slowly, looking carefully, and stooping low or lifting high to point out all the small wonders of the natural world. I'll need to bake cookies and sample the dough and laugh and make a mess and enjoy a soft, warm cookie straight from the oven with a cup of hot chocolate or ice cold milk. I think having grandchildren will keep me young for a very long time because it will give me the opportunity to continue seeing the world through a child's eyes.

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I want to have a relationship with my grandchildren. I'll be at their recitals and their soccer games. I'll take them out for ice cream. I'll have them over to spend the afternoon and night.

 

I lost my mom 4 years ago, and she was sick for a couple of years before that, so my kids have few memories of her. My dad loves my kids, but doesn't live close enough to see them regularly. My FIL has absolutely no patience with the kids, so I don't really like to leave them with him. My MIL does her best, but she works full time (by choice, in part to get away from FIL - sad, but true) and is tired all the time. She spends lots of money on the kids, but little time with them. FIL is very demanding of her time.

 

I want to do better than that.

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I am going to be the perfect grandmother. I will be the cookie grandma, the sewing grandma, the soft lap grandma. I will never tell my kids and their spouses how to parent unless they ask my opinion. I will babysit as long as their kids are obedient to me.

 

This is what I think too. I want to start planning their quilts already (and my youngest is 23 months!) My mom made a quilt for each of our dc. I want to bake cookies and play games. All the things I want to do with my dc everyday but life tends to get in the way.

 

I don't see my children's children as "other people's children." They will also be my grandchildren. (Not that I will be telling my dc how to raise their kids.) I think extended family is important.

 

My mom is a great grandma. She is already ready to give me advice (but only if I ask). She takes an active interest in our kids. She and my dad love to talk to the kids on the phone and always ask about things they have been doing. She loves to sit and do puzzles with my 23 month old. She treats my 9 yo ds like a young man. She lets my dc have soda. (grrrrr.....:))

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This is what I think too. I want to start planning their quilts already (and my youngest is 23 months!) My mom made a quilt for each of our dc.

 

This is funny to me. My mom started out making quilts for the grandchildren. She meant well, she really did. But #7 (my youngest) and #8 (my brother's youngest) never got their quilts. I think Mom was just tired of making those quilts! When I had my first baby in 1985, she just did not realize how many quilts would be needed!

 

She is a great grandma, though. And a great mom and a great mother in law. She put her life on hold to take care of my brother and his wife after a horrific motorcycle accident. We call her the Patron of Arts because she makes it possible for the kids to study dance and music. No cookies, no sewing, not much babysitting as she works in her career full time; but an awesome grandmother none the less.

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Hopefully I've raised my children not only not to be brats themselves, but so that they won't raise their children to be brats. (That goes a long way to why I enjoy my children - though I would always love them). Having said that, I so enjoy really interacting with my children as people - valuing their thoughts, dreams, ideas and goals. I am strict but I'm also their best cheerleader, listener, place of comfort. For those nieces and nephews that will let me, I'm a really good aunt too. I listen to them, write to them, send them care packages (even my 30 - something niece!) I think I will be the same as a grandma.

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I am looking very forward to being a grandma. I hope to be a very good one. I was fortunate to live in town with both of my grandmas (and one grandpa). Some of my best childhood memories are of time spent with them. One of my grandmas was very formal (she was actually "Grandmother"), but I have fond memories of eating m'nms and looking through her old photo albums with her. My other grandma is still alive and active, so not only do I have memories of her from my childhood, but now I have delightful memories of her with my own four kids.

 

My own mom is a wonderful grandma. She drives to see us (an hour each way) at least once a month, and stays overnight with the kids a couple times a year so we can get away. She has even tried to do school with the kids for me. She has told me that her favorite memories of her childhood are spending time with her grandparents, so she wants that for her own grandkids. My kids think she is the "fun" grandma-which is hilarious to me, because I never thought her a "fun" mom.

 

My inlaws are disconnected from my kids by their choice. They actually live in the same town as my mom, but are more involved in the lives of their other in town grandkids. This is a deep regret to me, as my father in law is the only grandpa my kids have. But...it's what it is.

 

I hope I can be a "fun" grandma, as involved as my kids allow me to be.:)

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This is exactly how I feel.

 

I am going to be the perfect grandmother. I will be the cookie grandma, the sewing grandma, the soft lap grandma. I will never tell my kids and their spouses how to parent unless they ask my opinion. I will babysit as long as their kids are obedient to me.

 

I. Cannot. Wait. to be a grandmother. I absolutely cannot wait!!!:D

 

I am already a fabulous mother-in-law, I am sure I can do this grandma thing much, much better than I did the mom thing. I didn't do the mom thing so well.:(

 

 

My mother visits us and helps out with the kids, but she has never been a fun grandma -- no baking cookies, playing games or reading to them. My kids don't like her very much, sadly, and I think it is because she constantly focuses on me and sometimes on my faults as a mother. She lives about 1200 miles away.

 

My dad, before he died in September, had met my kids exactly twice. He never called. He visited us when the boys were 3 and DD was 1.5. I took them to see him after he was diagnosed with lung cancer last spring because I didn't want him to die before they got to know each other a little bit. He was in relatively good shape then, but he still wasn't a grandpa type. He is remembered by the kids for sending them big checks for their birthdays and Christmas.

 

I was the only person who was close to my Dad. He was 100% in favor of homeschooling and, if anyone had taken the trouble to get to know him, they would have discovered the sweetest person on earth. He was just so closed up that they would have had to try harder and be blunt and tell him exactly what was on their minds.

 

My DH's father would have been a great grandpa, but he died before the kids were born. My MIL is like my mother in the grandmothering department, only more critical of my mothering skills.

 

Before ya'll think I'm a BAD MOM, my mothering skills fall short of those expectations because I spend too much time *with* my kids, and not enough time ignoring them in favor of polishing the silver.

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WTMCassandra, your post is very much how I feel... you were much better at writing it than I was!

 

I will love my children's children (if they choose to have them; odds are they will!), and I will be happy to be involved and truly helpful... but because of the issues we've had with my MIL... I am very determined to not overstep my boundaries. I will happy to be a grandmother, if it comes to pass, but I absolutely do not want a second shot at motherhood.

 

My MIL saw me as the gestation vehicle for her second set of children. Well... they're not her children. She became very very angry with DH and I when we decided that I would stay at home with the kids and homeschool them. Because all of her dreams of being their mother, while I was distant and away at work, were crushed. I'm very sorry she felt that way, but they were not her children to plan for, kwim?

 

She has now distanced herself and blames us... I think that's sad. (And we constantly have the threat of her being one of those crazy ones who would call Social Services just out of spite.) She's also an alcoholic, which amplifies the problem.

 

Anyway. I certainly think that people can be great, hands-on, very involved grandparents without being too interfering. I hope to be one of those. (Like my own mom.) A lot depends on what my kids need from me... I would rather be the kind of grandmother they need than put the focus on myself. I guess that's why I have no intention of trying to influence my kids' decisions on getting married, or having kids, or living close by. Those are their life decisions, and not mine.

 

Yep, "How can I help?" and do that. That sums it up.

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...what I imagine, as well; the 'other people's kids' won't apply to grandchildren. They're an extension of *my* kids. (I know no one can state with any surety what they'll do *exactly* in the future, though. Who knows?)

 

I have to state, for the record, that if this is in response to my stepmom thread, I'm one that always preaches that you should never expect grandparents to provide childcare/support, etc. I had these kids, and I don't *expect* anything from anyone.

 

But after losing an incredible situation (stepmom and dad taking all five kids overnight, *very* occasionally) that we've had for almost fourteen years, I can't say that I'm not going to mourn it, for myself, or the kids.

 

I had a great role model, in my dad, and I hope I can be that kind of grandparent, for my grandkids' sake...and my children's. I want to give them what my dad and stepmom gave all of us, as a family, by being that involved. Sort of 'pay it forward'.

 

(My grandparents also took me on as their own, completely, in their golden years, so that only adds to my concept as grandchildren as an extension of your 'babies'. They have a huge sense of responsibility, my grandparents, and tend to look at families in a more generational sense, I think.)

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to not overstep my boundaries.

 

I certainly think that people can be great, hands-on, very involved grandparents without being too interfering. I hope to be one of those.

 

Those are their life decisions, and not mine.

 

Yep, "How can I help?" and do that. That sums it up.

 

I think that this is what I am practicing now as a mother-in-law. At least I am trying to. When the kids were dating I am the one who talked to them about things like personal boundaries when it came to their relationship with dh and I and with other relatives on both sides. I think they were a little taken back by my speech about "Before you feel like you need to spend every holiday with me, think about how to make your own traditions. You need your traditions first." We are pretty laid back about things and when we disagree about something that they do, usually financial, dh and I gripe about it to each other alone in our room where nobody else can hear! Then to the married kids, we just smile and nod unless they ask our opinion!

 

I do tease them about grandkids just as I tease them about how I picked out my daughter-in-law for my son. But it is all in good fun, in truth it is so important to me that they are treated as a separate household and respected as such.

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I am not the kind who "loves" babies, but I have always loved being a mom, and I have loved being a grandma. Although I'm not the type to take everybody's kids or see a baby and take them from their parent's arms, I have loved my grandbabies. I think all kids are wonderful and... once in awhile...to help out...I will babysit, but I just don't want to have my time taken up with taking care of everybody's kids all the time. That may sound selfish, but it is just honest. However, I LOVE my own. I'd watch my grandchildren anytime and love doing it.

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But, the second MY child was born, I GOT it. KWIM?? I couldn't imagine ever loving anything as much as I loved this slimy, bloody being they just handed me! And, then, my second was born. And, then, my third. And, then, my fourth. (Oh and FWIW - I also sleep with my kids until they are, well, old. And, I nurse them for as long as they want.)

 

I think (and hope) it will be the same with my grandkids. I think there's just a "maternal" instinct that kicks in. At least, I hope so. 'Cause if not, I won't be a very good grandma either!!

 

 

Oh, Jennefer - I really hope you are right about this. It had just recently dawned on me that I probably won't make a good grandma. My kids are getting older and I'm going to be 40 this year. I have many times thought I should have one more before it's too late, but then told myself I can look forward to being a grandparent. Just last week, I realized that I probably won't like the grandparent role. I love, love, love being a mom, but I don't think I'll feel the same way about being a grandparent. I really hope I am wrong.

 

Lisa

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I don't really love other people's kids, but I seem to be liking them a whole lot more as I get older. My oldest ds will be 19 in a few weeks. I would love for him to get a career path, meet a girl, get married and have a grandchild for me. I will be a young grandma with his kids if he has them early - I will be 36 soon. At the same time, I still have a 3 year old and 9 year old that I am raising. I am far from being through this toddler stage and not as interested in having more toddlers around. I know that is just because I am right there in this stage now. I would love for nothing more than my future dil to be able to stay home with her kids if that is what she wants. If she doesn't want that or can't do that, then I will be happy to take care of their children. My mom is the most awesome grandma! She has always been there for my kids. From the first one I had at 17, to the last one that is a toddler terror. As I sit in the hospital with my dd, my mom has been taking care of my 3 year old for days. I am so blessed to have her. I can only hope I am as good of a grandma as she is.

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my parents and my in-laws. I am taking notes on all the things that do. I tell my kids all the time how lucky they are to have 2 sets of Grandparents who are so involved in their lives. They are both purposeful in their grandparenting. They plan fun things, they teach them things, they love them, they want to spend time with them, they invest spritually in their lives, they attend their important events. They are amazing and I want to be just like them.

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My parents were never really available for me. They were always *with* me, but not to talk or allow me to be a child of the appropriate age or support me in my growing up, etc. Their excuse? They were working hard so they could retire early and be available for their grandchildren, which I'd better have, because they were going to leave everything to them. Oh, and they were going to take them on vacation, too, etc., etc. Well, at least the early retirement part was true....

 

Fast forward to the grandchildren. My sister's first (2) and then mine (2), so not exactly a house full. They've never taken them anywhere. Never attended a single birthday party for mine, not sure about the others. Never participated in their lives to any extent whatsoever. My niece is now married. Her brother will be graduating from high school this year and going off to college. My older son is soon to follow in two years..... My children have never known what it's like to have extended family.

 

The one time I can recall when we all did something together was this past May when my niece married and we all were in Iowa together for that. My family and my parents all stayed at the same hotel, and that's also where my niece spent her honeymoon night. My children were enthralled and still talk about it. And the sad thing is, it wasn't that my parents were in the least attentive or even nice to them, it's just that they at least had family *around* them...... They're so starved for that they'd take anything, no matter how pitiful.

 

Another thing my parents spent a large amount of their spare time on when I was growing up (I like to refer to these things as the avoiders they used to maintain an absence in our lives) was moving and restoring two old log cabins into one larger structure. A place for the grandkids to spend time as they grew up - so they said. It has set empty for most of the ensuing years, save when they entertain strangers.... I don't think my sister's children have ever spent a night there. My parents finally asked us to come this past Christmas (my sister is working on them because I had gotten to the point that I was just studiously avoiding them at all times) and stay at the cabin. We spent two or three nights there and my younger son was in heaven. Now, my mother managed to yell at him and make him cry by the second night (and no, it wasn't for any reason in particular at all except that she is what she is) but he's completely forgotten or blocked that out and is already talking about going again in May when we're all home for my grandmother's one hundredth birthday. It's just a mile or so from our family home, on our farm. It's not far away and hard to reach, etc., in case you might be thinking there's actually any good reason why we never go....

 

So I really can understand why you might be burned out if you've spent years and years surrounded by tons of children. And I agree that you shouldn't feel obligated to be a caretaker, even an occasional, temporary one if you don't want to be (my parents not only never have, but I can't trust them to be alone with my children without severally traumatizing them, even for short time periods, so I would never ask them). But I do think that there is some area of balance to be found between my sort of extreme and yours.

 

The grandchildren yet to come have no way of knowing that you've already given so much of yourself that you feel there's nothing left to give. I'm sure they'd be thrilled if you remember to send them a card or any little thing on their birthday. Or call them every now and then and actually talk to them. Go to one of their ball games, or just make lemondade when they visit you - ANYTHING.....

 

Regena

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So I really can understand why you might be burned out if you've spent years and years surrounded by tons of children. And I agree that you shouldn't feel obligated to be a caretaker, even an occasional, temporary one if you don't want to be (my parents not only never have, but I can't trust them to be alone with my children without severally traumatizing them, even for short time periods, so I would never ask them). But I do think that there is some area of balance to be found between my sort of extreme and yours.

 

The grandchildren yet to come have no way of knowing that you've already given so much of yourself that you feel there's nothing left to give. I'm sure they'd be thrilled if you remember to send them a card or any little thing on their birthday. Or call them every now and then and actually talk to them. Go to one of their ball games, or just make lemondade when they visit you - ANYTHING.....

 

I'm struggling, a bit, knowing how to respond to this. I don't think my post represents *extreme* or even close. Your final 3 sentences make assumptions about the level of involvement I anticipate having that are inaccurate, perhaps unfair.

 

I think it's possible you are reading my post through your own experience of disinterest, discourtesy, disengagement with regard to your children and their grandparents.

 

I get paid to teach people how to engage with children in a loving, connected, nurturing way. I get paid to provide care, security, guidance and nurture to children. I do what it takes to sustain *me* so I am able to provide that.

 

I fully expect to see my grown children and any children they may have regularly if they are local and as budget allows if not. I anticipate phone, email, snail mail communication if in person communication is challenged by geography. If I'm close, I'd absolutely attend b-day parties, participate in holiday get togethers that include the needs/wants of the new, growing families, attend games, recitals, shows, etc.

 

I didn't mean to imply a complete non engagement.

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I'm sorry, I obviously do completely misread what you're saying, and it must be because of my own very hurtful experiences, so just disregard my ramblings.

 

By way of an attempted explanation, my response was based on some of these passages from your original post:

 

"I can tell you this. I will not be a "good" grandparent by the standards of many homeschooling or attached types."

 

I don't know what that standard might be or what it might be for homeschoolers in general, but I would just like to have occasional dinner out, an overnight stay, a card or letter, a gift they actually took the time to think about and purchase themselves, etc. for my children. I absolutely agree if you're saying that "homeschooling or attached types" expect their parents to take their children off their hands for extended periods of time on a regular basis. I've just never heard of that being the case, in general, with those homeschoolers I know in this area, so was rather uncertain of what you meant in your standard of what would constitute a "good" grandparent.

 

"I'm not a natural "kid person" and it's taking everything from me to be an excellent mom, homeschooler, provider and private tutor."

 

I'm right there with you. I'm not a natural kid person either and what's more, I would never even consider babysitting, so in my book you're much more a kid person than me if you can work in the role of caregiver for the children of others over an extended period of time and my hat's off to you for being able to do that. But I also wonder if you're making yourself miserable doing work that really goes against the grain....

 

"By the time my kids have kids, I will be totally out of what's needed to happily do long stretches with other people's children. I think I would feel this way even if I didn't have years providing daycare, but daycare certainly exacerbated the situation."

 

And I guess that this next sentence sort of confirmed that, for me, as it seems to me in reading it that you feel as if you are being used up and I've always been told that working within a profession you really don't like and are not suited for will do that to you.

 

"As such, I *always* have empathy for the g'parent who enjoys limited time with their g'kids, rarely "sits" and doesn't accept the role of regular care giver."

 

And you see, based on my own experiences, that I interpreted this to mean *extremely* limited time with their grandchildren. In the case of both my parents and my husband's father, their version of "limited" time has meant virtually no contact and grandchildren who really don't know them or anything about extended family life at all as they've not even had a taste of it.

 

As I mentioned before, I have no problem with a grandparent who does not accept the role of regular caregiver. I'm not sure why anyone would ask that of a parent or expect it. Perhaps my situation is very different from most, but it would never have occurred to me, even if my parents lived in the same town, to ask them to keep my children - ever.

 

"That said, I do believe that parents need that time; I just don't believe that the g'parents should be expected to facilitate it."

 

And again, I completely agree with this, but not providing daycare for one's grandchildren and being basically absentee from their lives are two very different issues. Unfortunately, I have a number of friends who homeschool who have parents almost identical to my own. (Perhaps that's some sort of generational problem, LOL, I don't know....) It seems from our perspective within our community here that families are either extremely close and see each other on a regular weekly (even daily) basis, or basically hardly ever see each other or interact with each other at all. So I was simply trying to say that I think there's surely a happier medium than either making the grandparent miserable, or leaving the grandchildren bereft of family interaction as they grow up.

 

"I hope my kids have kids if they want them, but I could never imagine "wanting grandkids"."

 

And I guess it was this last sentence that indicated to me that you really don't want that sort of family interaction, which has been the case with my own parents (even though they always *said* that they did want them).... So please do forgive me for completely missing the mark of what you've meant, but as you can see, sometimes we do read things very differently when we're coming from very different perspectives,

 

Regena

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"I hope my kids have kids if they want them, but I could never imagine "wanting grandkids"."

 

And I guess it was this last sentence that indicated to me that you really don't want that sort of family interaction, which has been the case with my own parents (even though they always *said* that they did want them).... So please do forgive me for completely missing the mark of what you've meant, but as you can see, sometimes we do read things very differently when we're coming from very different perspectives,

 

Ah. I see.

 

I'll clarify. I'd be thrilled for MY KIDS if they want kids and have them. ;) By saying I can't imagine "wanting grandkids", I don't mean to imply the negative that I don't want grandkids. Only that I don't (and don't anticipate) having a specific desire for them. If/when (and it's likely it will, of course), g'kids happen, I will participate in many ways.

 

My phrase "limited time" could more accurately be amended to say "regular visits of limited duration". ;)

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This thread has really got me thinking. I'm not sure what kind of grandmother I'll be. For now, with four boys, it's starting to just hit me that once they're out of the house, odds are they're gone. Not that they won't visit or call or anything, but my experience and the experience of most of the women I know, is that they'll more likely be closer to their future wives' families.

 

My plan is to just be a good mother-in-law -whatever that ends up meaning for each daughter-in-law. I never want visiting here to be a source of stress for my sons or their wives. And, if I can achieve that, I hope to be able to play some kind of active role in my grandchildrens' lives.

 

OK ... now I've depressed myself.

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9, 7, 4 and even now, I swoon at the thought of having grandbabies. I'm dizzy with anticipation. I can't wait to be the "go-to grammie" simply because I'll get to love-on our grand-babies while our children and their spouses can have a moment to relax, rekindle and engage in each other.

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Oh, gee, I hope that's not true. I've missed out on so much already and tell my boys all the time that I hope that when they have families we will all be close and do things together regularly. One of the only things that has kept me going all these years is the hope that I'll eventually have some extended family, someday.....

 

Regena

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