They say grandparenting is the best gig around. And the longer I’ve been a parent and witnessed my folks grandparent (like a couple of bosses, I might add!), I believe it.
All the fun. None of the responsibility.
All of the joy. None of the worry.
All of the high fives. None of the time outs.
All of the being very, very present and enjoying the moment. None of the considering how this situation will affect the rest of their lives.
It doesn’t seem fair, really. Parents are the ones who feed, bathe, diaper, clothe, bandage, teach, guide, and love (even when loving sounds a lot like “Goodnight Moon” for the eleventy thousandth time. Hold me.)
And yet because parents also enforce, limit, punish, require, disappoint, and force their kids to eat vegetables, we’re the bad guys. Grandparents, on the other hand, are the good guys. Kids find allies in their grandparents because they share one thing in common: you.
But, as much as I want to belabor the “This isn’t fair! Don’t you see how much I love you?” point, the truth is: grandparents love really well. And they bring something to the table that’s often really hard to find as I blindly make my way along as a parent: perspective.
Grandparents don’t major on the minors. They know it will all work out in the end.
Grandparents always say yes to ice cream. They know life is short and simple joys are worth the money.
Grandparents skip all the school/neighborhood/activity/sports politics. They know a kid-arrived solution is always the best one anyway.
Grandparents never coach from the sidelines or in the van on the way home. They know words like, “Way to go!,” “That was fun!,” and “I’m proud of you,” mean the most.
Grandparents don’t correct how chores are done or double-check homework. They know kids will eventually grow into adults and learn responsibility. (You did, after all.)
Grandparents aren’t uptight or stressed out about friends, grades, or their children’s well-being. They know quality time, hugs, and loving words make children safe, secure, and happy.
Which got me to thinking: maybe I should start parenting like a grandparent?
Instead of sweating the small stuff, I can loosen up.
Instead of over-analyzing each decision, situation, choice, or outcome, I can trust.
Instead of trying to change my kids, I can embrace them for exactly who they are.
No concerns about how their interests or talents compare to other kids their age or if they will land in the right social group/college/job. Instead I get to enjoy this very moment with them and their awkward, off-the-wall, but unique, approaches to this world.
Instead of taking myself (and my parenting) so seriously, I can be playful, and present, and have a perspective beyond my parenting years.
I can parent like a grandparent.