By the time that they become grandparents, many people have established a number of regular routines and family traditions and may be quite comfortable in their daily lives. Suddenly, with the birth of a grandchild or two, everything changes. The key to happiness is being able to adjust to the changes that life brings, though, and grandparenthood is surely a time of change!
Goodbye, Calm and Quiet!
Once the kids are grown and out on their own, many parents enjoy the freedoms that they are suddenly afforded. No longer restricted by the schedules and demands of their children, empty-nesters can revisit the hobbies of their youth or use their spare time to develop new hobbies and interests.
Social activity (not related to their kids’ school or athletic events!) increases and folks are free to eat what they please, travel, and schedule their lives according to their own preferences and whims. Couples may even find that their love lives heat up a bit once they are able to dedicate their time and energies toward one another, rather than focusing on the needs of their children.
Then without warning, all of that newfound calm and quiet may quickly be replaced by the pitter-patter of little feet (remember those?)and more noise and mess than have been the norm for years.
Getting reacquainted with grown-up pastimes may make some people uncertain as to whether or not they welcome the disruptions that grandkids will bring. No doubt, the addition of grandchildren is sure to make life a little messier and a whole lot noisier, but the pay-offs are enormous.
Go with the Flow
If they take a few moments to think back to their earlier years, most people can remember how difficult it was to meet the demands of their growing children while trying to please their parents and in-laws, as well.
Although new grandparents may have gotten into the habit of taking their meals at certain hours or running errands on specific days, when grown children and grandchildren visit, the schedule may need a bit of adjustment to accommodate naps, playtimes, or other childhood routines.
When grandparents display a flexible attitude, they are sure to win the appreciation of their children, who most certainly have a lot to handle already without trying to get their youngsters to adjust to Grandma and Grandpa’s rigid schedules.
Holidays can pose unique difficulties, especially when grown children are trying to make time to visit both sides of their families in only a short span of time.
Often, adjustments need to be made in the times or locations of family get-togethers in order for everyone to be able to attend.
For example, while Grandma and Grandpa may have hosted Christmas at their house for years, with dinner being served promptly at six, it is important for them to consider that their children’s families are likely to have several stops to make or may even prefer to begin hosting the event themselves.
A revaluation of existing routines and traditions may be in order so that everyone can enjoy getting together with a minimum of fuss and stress. By choosing to be accommodating, grandparents can make life easier for themselves as well as for their families.
Hello, Craziness and Noise!
So, we’ve established that with grandchildren comes an upheaval of daily routines, along with an increase in noise and mess, but what about those promised pay-offs?
As experienced grandparents will attest, the rewards of grandparenting far outweigh the real and perceived challenges.
Grandchildren are sources of limitless joy, providing grandparents with all of the pleasures that they remember from the times that their children were growing up, without the work, worry, and responsibilities of parenthood.
Mum and Dad might have to worry about childhood nutrition, appropriate bedtimes, and how much time that the kids can spend playing video games, but grandparents are simply in charge of fun. Only a grandparent could get away with saying that chocolate cookies are healthy snacks for kids – after all, there are eggs in cookies, right?
And chocolate comes from cocoa, and cocoa is a bean, right? So from a grandparent’s point of view, chocolate cookies are practically health food. After a healthy snack, of course, kids need exercise.
When Grandma and Grandpa are in charge, healthy exercise for kids may mean running through the house or jumping on the bed. Now who said that playing with grandchildren isn’t as much fun as engaging in grown-up pastimes?