7 reasons i love my children being with their grandparents, which in my case is Greatma, Grammy and Poppa, Babu and Dani and Nana and Popstar :
1) I am super in-love with my tamariki. I am proud of them. I am mother hen. I cluck cluck cluck. I like sharing them, with the people who made me. It feels like i’m giving back somehow. Saying, look you ‘made’ me, taught or guided me, and now look at the fruits of your ‘labour’. Look how, who you helped me become, is helping others become. I marvel and want to bask in the ancestral line, the continuation, the life cycle.
2) I want to share the small delights my children’s experience, the wonder, the explosive joy, the inquisitiveness which is so fulfilling for me, with my parents. I believe such simple observations of ‘presence’ and ‘gratitude’ may nourish them too. It’s also like travelling solo versus having a friend there to share the wow-factor with. Experiencing it with someone can make it live on longer or stronger.
3) If i am to die before i believe i will die, or before my children are adults, i’d like them to have a deep connection with their grandparents, so they can go to them, for guidance and in fact for the unconditional love Alfie Kohn encourages, and the sort of love i ‘believe’ family want to or can give.
4) I trust my parents and my partner’s parents. They ‘raised’ us. I know them. I don’t necessarily trust all other caregivers i could pay. When our parents can be with our children when i need them to be, i can relax, and feel in my heart our children are safe, are loved, and are being cared for in a way we know or remember.
5) My main love language (one of the 5 love languages) is quality time. When people say yes to a mini or major party at ours or invite themselves round to be with me and my family, especially for a slow-food event, i feel like a love bomb goes off in my chest. When my parents want to be with me and their grandchildren, it is the ultimate combo, a remarkable affirmation of life choices.
6) When there are multiple adults working or playing alongside children the overall vibe(ration) is (more) harmonious. There’s a wingman. If something turns pear-shaped, the ‘other’ adult can be sub-ed in. It allows everyone (the caregiver and the cared for children) to feel ‘safe’. I recently marvelled at the busyness or lucrative business of daycare, and why so many ECE teachers are happy to be in their jobs, when some Mums and Dads are (in some cases) ‘electing’ to take their children to daycare. I realised in places of care, there are multiple adults, in a child-centred physical environment. The adults are supported by other adults, in an environment that supports this dynamic role and relationship. I love being a Mum. I don’t enjoy being a ‘house-wife’, a cleaner, a cook, a home-manager distracting or detracting from or making it unreachable a percentage of the time to be a teacher, psychologist, adventure guide, philosopher, caregiver and mediator (aka Mum). Mums or Dads ‘isolated’ at home (especially) with multiple children, can feel overwhelmed, and strained. It’s impossible at times to meet the varying needs of 3 individuals, simultaneously, which means sometimes, someone or two or three out of four are suffering. As an aside, I have learned to say yes to communities such as Playcentre, to connect unabashedly with Kindy and to invite other parents and their children into our home and create this ‘village’ that’s required to ‘raise a child’.
7) Seeing my parents with my kids (oh i’m seeing a lot of possession in that statement, hmmm? curious) brings my own childhood alive again (and perhaps my ego?). It unlocks my memories of play, of wonder, of the ability to be present, the ability to be frightened (and all the other human emotions we sometimes forget children experience because they don’t always verbalise it – or we don’t listen and tell them they’re being ‘silly’ but that’s for another day). It’s like entering a portal into a part of me perhaps forgotten. Being able to observe, say my father with my daughter, helps me see another dimension of my daughter, which may allow me to come closer to her and indeed him. The closeness and yet space can unlock or nourish greater compassion, connection and relatedness, in multiple directions.
I wrote all this with the hope some Grannies and Grandpas may stumble across it, and get a new view of why we love you and what you bring to our rich and sometimes emptying life as parents.
I have written a more in depth version of this post ‘The beauty of the Grandparent and creating the village to raise our Children’ – for those interested click here.
I love seeing the people who gave me and my partner life, giving life back to their and our family. Seeing our Mums’ and Dads’ smiles or laughter in unison with our childrens’ is like a rainbow with a pot of gold at her feet.