In just a couple months I will have birthed 4 children. I imagine someday I'll have at least a few grandchildren. I think often about the kind of grandma I want to be. How I want to be in my kids lives and what supporting them might look like. I tell Craig to hold me to it.....if someday I'm not being this kind of grandma, please, gently remind me! Or send me this post ;)
Ps. This isn't a reflection or judgement on the many grandmothers I know, it's about ME and what I think mothers of young children need.
To my 4 children:
I want to be the kind of grandma that randomly calls and asks if I can watch your children that day at my house or yours- whichever is easier for you. I want to give you time to breathe. I don't care what you do; nap, clean your house, watch tv, browse TJ Maxx, drink a mimosa with a friend, etc. I just want you to be YOU for a few hours and hang the hat of motherhood so your soul can rest and you can remember that you do like being a mom.
I want to be the kind of grandma that listens to you and validates how HARD parenting is. I want to hold my tongue from telling you that what you're experiencing is exactly like I did with such and such child. I don't want to give a pat answer of Pray About It. I want to tell you, this is the most exhausting thing in the world. Honey, it's so freaking hard. You ARE doing a good job.
I want to encourage your spouses to plan date nights. I want to call them and tell them, "hey, can I help you surprise your husband/wife with a date night or weekend? I will watch the kids, you tell me the dates that work!" Or you want to catch a breakfast together Saturday morning? Sure, go ahead and call me....drop the kids off.
I want to take your kids for weekends or weeknights or whatever helps you. I want you to have time with your spouse on a regular rotation. Your kids never sleep? That's ok, I can handle it for a few days!
I want a relationship with your children where they feel safe to call me and tell me when they are sad or something happened at school. I don't want to replace you, I want to be your backup. Another safe person for your kids.
I want you to feel like you have a village because your parents are there. Parenting feels a bit impossible when there is so much pressure from all around. Add to that having kids 24/7 and never a break- it can be suffocating. I don't want you drowning in motherhood/fatherhood and feeling like you have nowhere to turn. I hope on a day that everything is crashing down on you, I'll randomly call, like I always do, and say, "honey, I'm taking your kids. Do whatever you want. We'll see you in a few hours!" And then you might just take a long shower and cry a little. Maybe you'll blast some music and put on mascara and see a glimpse of you in the mirror and remember why you do everything you do. Perspective. I hope I can give you enough breaths that you gain perspective.
I hope I remember how horrible you kids behaved some days. How I didn't even have energy to try various parenting methods because I was overworked and alone. I don't want to roll my eyes or give a look when your adorable kid behaves like a devil. I don't want you to feel judged and less-than because of me or because you aren't parenting the way I would.
I hope I remember how much WORK everything is with kids. Even a quick trip to the library can feel exhausting. I hope I remember how BUSY life is with kids. I hope I remember how BROKE you feel when there's little money and many mouths to feed. I hope I am a good listener and truly hear you. I hope I am a reprieve for you and your children. That my home and my heart would feel safe and AVAILABLE for you and your kids.