The Grandparent Trap

Get a group of moms together and the topic is inevitably going to turn to grandparents. I have a lot to say about grandparents and in-laws but because I love mine, I decided to phone a friend for this one. This post is guest written by my witty and insightful friend, Tiffany. We’ve known each other since we were five and are currently living parallel lives: both only children with two children just about the same age, above par writing skills honed by nuns and many anxieties some of which are induced by Gilead. 

Tuesday mornings get me a little giddy. I have an extra spring in my step, I hop out of bed with vim and vigor.  I don’t even mind if soggy Cheerios land on my never fully clean kitchen floor. Oh, 3 year old, you want to wear dirty sneakers and a skirt that’s two sizes too small? Sure, why not. It’s Tuesday. And Tuesday is Grammie Day. From 10am to 4pm the day is mine.  ALL MINE…. Ah, ha, ha, ha ha! (Insert maniacal laugh here.) Now, granted the day is usually spent running necessary errands but, hey, I can listen to whatever I want on the radio and I can eat my food without hiding in the corner to avoid having to share with 2 sets of dirty, sticky, hands. By the time the kids get home, my husband is getting back from work and before you know it, its bedtime. They have had a great time at Grammy and Grampy’s and I got the luxury of pooping alone that day. It’s a win win.

Then comes Wednesday.
We’ve been caught in the Grandparent trap.
My in-laws are amazing people. We are truly lucky. They step up to the plate and take care of my girls on a twice weekly basis or really, whenever I may need them for appointments, work, or even just when they think I need a little break.  An added bonus is my sister-in law and the girls great grandmother live next door as well so there is a whole loving village just a half hour away!
Similar to what Jenny has written about with the “illusion of help”, the grandparent day seems like it should be a good thing, and don’t get me wrong: it is. It’s the day after that we notice the problem.  What should be an innocuous, fun, day with my in-laws turns my children into demanding, bratty, irritating little gremlins the next day. I call it the deprogramming day. I have to reverse the effects of the fun day with the reality day.
With all that loving, comes a whole lotta spoiling. Now listen, full disclosure, I am an only child. I know my fair share about spoiling. Dozen upon dozens of old school, pop and lock knee Barbies in my basement can attest to that as well. And I am the first to admit, “no” is a word I have a difficult time understanding when it comes to things going my way.  But this is stuff I work on with my therapist and I am trying to break the cycle so my kids can save themselves $100 every two weeks when their inevitable time on the couch comes.
Here are a few examples of the Tuesday Fun/Wednesday Deprogramming
Tuesday: With my in-laws they are basically allowed to get whatever they want. Candy? Check! Dolls? Yes, please! A ginormous bag of Goldfish that you can open now and slowly spill all over the store? Absolutely!
Wednesday: Mean Mummy only lets you get a toy from the dollar zone and brings water. Just water.
“Izzy, we need to make a quick stop to Target.”
“Are we getting dolls?”
“No, you literally just got a doll yesterday.”
“Yeah, from Grammy, not from you. Now you can get me one.”
“It doesn’t work that way. You can’t get everything thing you want and certainly not a doll every time we go to Target.”
“Don’t yell at me!”
Tuesday:  My in-laws always take them to get pizza, usually followed by ice cream and generally supply them with a full array of toddler friendly carbo loaded snacks, whenever they say, batting their sweet doe eyes, “Can I have a snack, pweesee?”
Wednesday:  Literally from the time they get up they asking for donuts. Which we hardly ever have in the house. Even the 18 month old is jonesing for the sweet stuff walking around scratching her head chirping, “Do-nah?” Then the rest of the day is spent explaining in a sometimes calm/ sometimes not so calm way why we can’t have pizza for every waking meal. And that chips are in fact, not one of the food groups. There is also usually a meltdown over a popsicle at some point during the day. Pun intended.

I won’t even get started on electronics or falling asleep on the car ride home. Those need their own post.
Listen, I know it’s the grandparents job to have fun and I have to be the heavy. I get it. It just makes it so damn hard to get them back on track after a day of “yes” to almost anything and everything their little minds come up with.   And no one likes “no”, me included, and I’m the one usually saying it. But someone has to be the fall guy and I guess, for the time being its me. I can’t wait to be a grandparent so I can teleport the grandkids to Disney World for the day, ply them with Mickey ice cream bars and then drop them home, asleep at 4:45pm in their pods and never face the consequences of too much sugar and a late afternoon nap.  Until then though, I will just have to revel in my Tuesday and suffer the consequences on Wednesday.

Do you have any grandparent war stories? Share them in the comments!