Monday, July 1, 2013

Observations of an Exhausted Grandma

The month of June came and went without much awareness on my part. It was a whirlwind of cross-country travel and relatives descending on our beach home, with the kids and grandkids remaining for an extended stay.

The continuous activity keeps me moving at a pace my body is unaccustomed to, and it is beginning to protest. It wants more down time, rest time, a breather occasionally from incessant activity. But I can assure it the activity level is easing. Oldest grandchild is now safely enjoying himself – hopefully – at sleep away camp. Middle child is having a ball at day camp. That only leaves the two year old (who insists she is three) around all day. And Mom is around.

I have learned a lot about caring for/playing with/watching grandkids, nieces and nephews over the past month. I thought I might pass along some of my newly gained wisdom.

Observations on Grandparenting (and parenting in general)

When on an outing, if you bring the stroller the kid wants to walk. Forego the stroller, the kid insists on NOT walking.

Bribery works.

Once the kids can talk, what happens at Grandma and Grandpa’s does not stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s.

Snack time never ends.

Whatever you prepare for a meal will likely be rejected. The soft whole wheat bread is different than the soft whole wheat bread consumed at home – the noodles are a different shape – the cottage cheese tastes funny…

But the kids will always want dessert. Ice cream, cookies, brownies, cake and other unhealthy wonders always taste great. Fruit ice pops are OK, but there are not many desserts the kids crave that fall into the healthy food category.
Home-made ice cream sundaes are wonderful any time!
Food shopping never ends. There is an on-going, never-completed grocery list. One runs through the store, checking off items on a list, pays, loads up, heads home and unpacks, attempting to find storage places for the additional food. Before all bags are emptied a new list has begun – food consumed while gone, items that never made it on the list, new ones added.

There is always laundry, especially after a busy day at the beach - mounds of wet, sandy towels and piles of wet, sandy bathing suits.

A busy day at the beach enjoying the surf and building sand castles
creates appetites and loads of laundry!
Siblings always fight. Does not matter the ages, the difference in ages, the genders.

Younger siblings want to do what the older kids are doing. Usually the older kid(s) want to play with the toy themselves, or the toy is inappropriate for the younger one(s), or everyone is just plain selfish and wants the plaything for themselves.

No one wants a toy – or anything - until one child takes it. Suddenly everyone wants it.

When it is time to clean up no one admits playing with the toys spread all over the room.

Grandma and Grandpa quickly tire of watching the same TV shows. Younger kids want to watch the same episode over and over. The curse of on-demand and videos!

As grandparents age, kids get heavier and more difficult to pick up and carry – whether the kids actually get older and heavier or new ones arrive.

Placing kids in and out of car seats is a nuisance and minimizes the number of stops an adult is willing to endure.

The kids’ attention span is in inverse proportion to the amount of time spent preparing a game, toy, etc. In other words –for example - by the time Junior Monopoly is set up and play begins, the kid(s) are ready for another diversion.

Forget about cleaning the house or keeping it neat. Grandma’s daily energy reserves lasts only so long. The house can wait.
Charlie is another full-time visitor this summer.
There are more gems of grandparenting wisdom roaming around my brain, but at the moment this exhausted Grandma needs some rest. 


  1. Yeah, the kids can use us poor grandparents right up. I am always relieved to return them to their rightful owners, and then I start missing them within the hour.

  2. Ha! Those are some good observations. I think there is a reason that we get full time care of them when we are young. You made me smile with recognition. :-)

  3. Wow! Are you singing my song!
    Daughter, husband, and 3 lively grandsons just left yesterday after a short stay. I'm still tired even after a full night's rest.
    Thanks for a timely and spot-on post.

  4. Amen to all that from here: 5 days, 3 grandkids (ages 4, 6, and 8), and 10 hour drives in each direction and we can vouch for every point you've made. Except about the beach play. Actually, I would've preferred the beach to a cityscape in daily downpour. Probably wouldn't even have noticed the extra loads of laundry. One loses count . . .