- Family and Parenting
A Shout-out to Grandparents! (Not all- but Some)
Grammie with two of our boys- This is a good memory.
A Few Thoughts on the Revision-
First, before I even start talking about this, I want you all to know that this article is not written to be offensive or mean to anyone. This has been laying heavy on my heart for quite a few years now. My husband and I know many people, and they all seem to say the same thing- they aren't able to get out much because the grandparents are no where to be found- rarely ever.
This is not written for personal reasons on my part. My children have great grandparents, and spend as much time with them as they can. I love them all and appreciate them so much. My children have a very good relationship with all of them. I wanted to say this, because there have been some concerns. I wanted to clarify this, and publicly apologize to anyone that I've offended unnecessarily. This has not been my intent. My intent was to get any and all grandparents to make sure they ARE involved in their grandkid's lives. They will only be little for a short while.
I understand that every person reading this is going to have a different view/perspective on this. If you're allowed to have your own perspective, then please allow me to have mine, as well. This version has been edited quite a bit, and I've also added a comment box at the very end. I thought I had added it before, but I guess not. So, with that said, I hope you find the revised version to be more adequate.
Grampa with one of our boys-
Problems some parents face-
All parents NEED time to themselves, away from their children. I know of parents that go out maybe once a month, and the grandparents still try to find some excuse as to why they can't watch their children. You may wonder why? Is it because these children are right out of control, and the grandparents have a really hard time watching them?
The people I know have very well-behaved children. They are adorable and some are even quite old, just not old enough to stay home by themselves. Some of these grandparents are just too busy or don't care to have a relationship with their grandchildren. Their attitude is that they've already raised their own children. It's not their duty to raise their grandchildren, too. This has nothing to do with raising your grandchildren. This has everything to do with having a relationship- a bond with them. Parents feel as though they can't even ask the grandparents to watch their children, even if it's only once or maybe twice a month. I'm not saying a week. I'm saying a month. Personally, I think this is really sad.
There is a need here. Parents NEED time away from their children every now and then, in order to keep their own relationship strong. If parents are always engulfed in just their children's lives and the busyness of the mundane month after month, sometimes week after week, and sometimes, even year after year, their own relationship could very well start having problems. I've talked to several mothers that are so burnt out, because they have no one to watch their children- ever. Them and their husband's will not have been out on a date night for months. Some, even years. This has absolutely nothing to do with the behavior of the grandchildren. This seems to have everything to do with the selfishness of the grandparents. Now, I understand that some grandparents live clear across the country. These are not the grandparents that I'm talking about.
I'm all for grandparents having time to themselves and going on as many vacations as they want to. They deserve this and should do this. They are past the point of raising children and they shouldn't have to do this anymore, although I know of several other grandparents that are actually raising their grandchildren. I can't even imagine having to do this. I have a lot of respect for these people. They are very humble and kind. Not many people could do this. I don't think I even could.
Grammie with one of our boys-
Even more thoughts-
My husband and I hire someone to watch our children most of the time when we go out. My husband is involved in town politics, so we venture out more than the "normal" parents. We can afford to pay someone, so we do this. My husband is the youngest of six children, and there are many grandchildren in the family. If we were to ask my mother-in-law to watch our children every time we needed a babysitter, plus others in the family are asking her sometimes, she would only ever be taking care of her grandchildren, and never having a life of her own. We don't want to burn her out, and we want her to kind of like watching our children, too. We don't want any of this to happen, so most of the time, we hire our babysitter, and it works for everyone.
Can we all just take a moment and take into consideration some very important factors? The cost of living is so much higher now than it was 10-20 years ago, so just think about how much higher it is now, than it was 30-50 years ago.
Here are some examples:
- Gas- around $1.99 a gallon (keep in mind that a family is more than likely going to need a bigger car than a Camry)
- Heating Oil- around $1.60 a gallon
- Groceries, for a family of four- around $200 or more a week
- Electricity- around $80 a month
- Vehicle- a reliable one, around $15,000 for a used one (and typically they would need to make payments on it, which would be right around $400 a month or more)
- House, a fairly decent one- $150,000
- Mortgage- around $1,200 a month
- Taxes- around $2,000 a year or more
- Clothing, Phone Bills and any credit cards that they may have needed to acquire, because they can't survive on their own income, etc..
- Also, keep in mind that when a couple goes out for a nice dinner, they can easily spend $100 for their meal, when just a few years ago, a couple could go out for a nice dinner for just about $50. Chances are, your children aren't getting paid as much as you may think they are either.
Also, many parents don't even dare to hire out for babysitters, because they don't really know of anyone they would trust to watch their children. This puts them in a really tough spot. Every parent has their own way of doing things, and the amount of things that they can handle. Parents can have children and love them dearly, take care of them the way they should, etc. But there are times when they need a break as well. Some parents DO need a break more than others. Some parents may only need a break every couple of months, whereas other parents may need a break every couple of weeks. Maybe it's just the mother that needs a break, and maybe it's both of the parents that do.
I stay home with our three boys, and I also watch other children, for now. This is not an easy task and one that is physically draining. I need a break more than maybe a mother that works outside the home and only has one or two children, or maybe older children. I don't think this is wrong. I believe that we are all in a different place in life, whether it's physically, spiritually, mentally, or financially. This is not a judgment on anyone. This is just fact.
My advice is this: Don't be so involved in your own lives that you forget to make memories with your children and grandchildren. Maybe you just don't think it's all that important right now, because you're able to have your own lives finally. You just might regret this, one day. Don't think this way, for your own sake and for your children's sake. They love and care about you deeply, just like you do, them.
Grandchildren yearn to have a relationship with their grandparents. I love to see it when my children are having a special moment with one of their grandparents. My favorite is when they look at each other and smile. I would hate to think that any of my children would never have these special moments. I'm so glad that they do.
As a grandparent, please take time for your grandchildren. I understand that there are some grandchildren that are more work to love than others. I've seen instances like this, too. But, I've also seen grandparents love these types of children, regardless of what that child acts like. They show them love, knowing that they are an influence in their lives. To me, this is the ultimate.
My Grandfather with one of our boys-
*When I wrote this article, I was not thinking about the fact that some people I care about would read this, and think that I was pointing this at them. I remember having a very busy day this day, and was just more concerned about getting an article written than thinking about what others may feel about it. You may think this to have been inconsiderate, and again, I apologize for this. This was not at all my intent. My thoughts were on others, while writing this, and not those that I care about. I guess I didn't think this through well enough. My thoughts were not about them. Thank you for reading this revision and please feel free to leave any comments below- you may have to scroll down some to see the box.*
© 2016 Alicia Bell