“Be Careful What You Wish For” Hits this Boomer Grandma

Grandparents With Grandchildren Walking Through CountrysideStanding in a crowded, busy Pottery Barn waiting for the sales person to get items from the warehouse, the grandchildren were bored. One turned to his mother, when she said he needed to wait, and said, “I hate you.” In Pottery Barn, there were at least 20 women, mothers and grandmothers. Most started laughing and commenting out loud that they had heard that before. There was laughter and camaraderie as everyone reminisced about the difficulties of raising children.

I said out loud, “the mother of those children said that to me years ago.” More laughter and agreement met me.

That is when I remembered that I had wished upon my daughter that she should have children just like her. She was the youngest, the baby in the family. This child was most challenging and challenged most rules and boundaries.

It turns out that she does have children just like her. The phenomenon of the baby in the family having babies means that the household is less structured, with less rules, more freedom, and more of a sense of entitlement. There is new research that says that family position, and the firstborn, being different than the second born and so on is not what we all think it is. I think the new literature is wrong.

Our first born was literally a perfect child. She listened, she followed rules, she never caused us a moment of trouble. Her children are just like her. As grandparents, they are easy to care for.

The baby in the family made up for the first born. And more.

Then it came to me in the middle of Pottery Barn. I said out loud, “I never realized that wishing upon our daughter children just like her would have an impact on me as the grandmother!” The crowd of mothers and grandmothers started laughing again out loud again. Many agreed with me.

Having grandchildren who are free spirited, are not used to following rules, having a sense of entitlement, is very difficult for the Boomer grandma who does not want to say no. Even when you call upon the parent of the grandchild to discipline the grandchild, you are surprised when the parent the grandchild does not discipline the grandchild. The parent of the grandchild does not have the same sense of boundaries, or the same sense of acceptable behavior. We grandparents do more chasing, more corralling.

It is even worse because Grandpa and this Grandma are both first born. We don’t relate to free spirited child rearing. And, of course, with our baby having babies, we are longer (we never say old-er) as grandparents with younger grandchildren. We have had these discussions with our grandparent friends who are still waiting for their babies to have babies. They are concerned that they will not have the stamina and strength that they had with their first grandchildren. They are concerned about the extra physical and emotional demands upon them when their babies have babies as they will be of longer years.

And, we all agree, we do not have the same energy. We would like to think that we do, but chasing after free-spirited grandchildren with less boundaries and more entitlement is more difficult when we are younger and extraordinarily difficult when we are of longer years.

This Grandma is chuckling. I did not realize what it would mean to me as a grandma when I wished upon our baby daughter that she should have children just like her.

Of course, we love all of our children for who they are and we love all of our grandchildren for who they are. Some just leave us more tired.





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