Thursday, March 5, 2009

Get Over Yourself!

There was an article in yesterday's NY Times that I just noticed today, When Grandma Can't Be Bothered. It discusses how new parents - particularly new moms - have this expectation that their parents will want to drop everything, change their lives and become full-on babysitters, day care providers, or in some other way extremely active in their grandchild's life.

This is ridiculous.

My parents and in-laws are wonderful grandparents. They are very active in the lives of all of their grandchildren (to the extent possible given geography, etc.). They babysit when possible and convenient, take care of sick children, tend to them when day care or school is closed, have sleepovers, etc. I am confident that there is no doubt in the minds of any of their collective nine grandchildren that their grandparents love them.

The Hoos and I made a conscious decision shortly before getting married that we wanted to live near our families when we had kids. Not because we expected free day care, but because we wanted them to experience the joy and love of having a close relationship with their extended family. And they do. We see my parents several times a month, video conference with them on the computer at least once a week, and see my in-laws (who live closer) pretty much weekly. We also spend time with my brother-in-law and his family most weekends, giving the kids a warm and wonderful relationship with some of their older cousins.

Just because my parents are retired doesn't mean that they want the next chapter of their lives to revolve around their grandchildren. They raised me and my brother, we turned out okay and blessed them with four beautiful granddaughters, now is their time to have some fun. Sure, some times that fun involves their grandkids (as we speak my parents are on a plane to visit my nieces in California and it was less than a month ago that my parents took LP to see Sesame Street Live), but that doesn't mean it HAS TO.

I joke with my parents that I could rent them an apartment in CT for less than I pay for day care every month. They could live in CT and watch the girls during the week and return home to Long Island for the weekend. This is totally true (and very sad) but absolutely a joke. I recognize that my parents have their own lives and things to do.

I don't know why this article made me so angry. I feel better now for having vented.


Anonymous said...

That is the only great thing they can be doing.

A's Mom said...

You're too funny. But I'm sure there are people out there who totally depend on their extended family. I myself know of a friend who's MIL moved in with them to take care of her daughter.

Hopefully, we'll be closer to extended family soon (geographic wise).