The Difference Between Parenting & Grand-parenting

 You might be surprised to learn that even though we have seven children aged between 15-29 so far we only have one grandchild. So of course I can spoil him without fear of playing favourites.

madmumof7 holding baby grandson

His parents don't live locally and between their busy lives and mine (I am still parenting and homeschooling) so I don't see him as much as I'd like. But he's old enough now to remember me and I'm usually greeted with excitement whether that's over FaceTime or IRL. I'll leave it up to you to decide how much his love is influenced by the amount of dairy-free chocolate buttons and ice lollies I have fed him and train engines I have bought him. And the fact I let him stay up later than bedtime to watch the tractor in the field behind my house. And I will (almost) endlessly read with him.

toddler looking at Thomas the Tank Engine book

I was babysitting him this weekend while mum and dad attended a party not too far from our home and it struck me how different Grandparenting is to parenting.

  • We are much more relaxed about food. I would NEVER share my food with my children but I can't refuse his cute little face. Ice lolly at bedtime? Yeah why not. (Although I do generally check with mum before feeding him in between meals.) I am rarely without a pack of chocolate treats when he's around and I don't even mind him pinching my chips.
  • There are far fewer nappy changes. At one time when I had lots of small people it felt like I was constantly changing nappies. Not only are the nappies much more efficient now (I've even seen one brand makes a poonami-proof nappy now) but I don't have to change as many - my son and DiL are very efficient at picking up malodorous emissions and changing the culprit.
  • I am not worried about milestones. To be fair B is a bright little thing but I don't find myself at all concerned about how he compares to others of his age. Maybe because of my parenting experience which has proved some delays or advances usually even out in the long run and with SN-related  issues worrying about it won't help.
  • Rules are made for breaking when Grandma is in charge. 
  • Despite the point above, parents' rules rule. They might not do things the way you did, or would, but it's not your place to interfere so just shrug off your doubts and go with the flow.

I'm sure things are a bit different if you are a grandparent involved in the day to day care of your grandchildren but for me being a Grandma means all the fun of parenting without any of the sleepless nights and life influencing decisions. Looking after a lively toddler can be exhausting (especially if you have disabling health conditions) but I will endure some pain and tiredness in return for a cuddle from my gorgeous grandson.

madmumof7 and grandson