This week my home may as well have changed its name to the House of Sick, and without grandparents on the doorstep I would have TOTALLY lost my shit.
It all started a week ago when I was the first to be hit by the dreaded bug and was up all night. I’m pretty good at functioning on hardly any sleep, having been doing it for quite a while now (who knew this happened when you had babies?) But still feeling crap, and only having slept for a total of about an hour, I raised the white flag and called the grandparents for back-up.
The three year old then came down with it, and passed it onto Twin One. Coinciding perfectly with the Other Half going away to work for three days. By Day 3 in the House of Sick my sanity was in danger so the grandparents came round to make things that little bit more bearable.
My parents are local and help me out A LOT. How lucky I am is not lost on me at all. I have friends whose parents live miles away and they hardly see them, (I have a father in law three hours away who sees the boys a handful of times a year so I get that too) but this always reminds me why I chose to come back to Plymouth, and how I always wanted to have children in the same place as my family. I’m definitely reaping the benefits of that now, and so are my kids.
So I thought I’d come up with a little list of reasons grandparents are awesome – especially if they live locally. Here you go…
1. Grandparents help you out, big time
There’s no beating around the bush. I could would not have survived the last 20 months – in fact the last 3.5 years without my parents. I am beyond lucky with the amount they help me out. Physically and emotionally! Before the twins were born they would have the toddler on a Wednesday – just because they wanted to. And because I didn’t go back to work I was basically a lady of leisure for the day. I’d meet friends and old colleagues for lunch, shop, or hell, I even used to go to the spa every now and then. I was literally living the Life of Riley on a Wednesday.
Along come the twins and the spa trips have dwindled to say the least. And now the eldest is at preschool on a Wednesday they’ve swapped and have the twins until after lunch (when they have to do the school run for my nephews!) so I have some free time back. These days I’m much more studious and sit at my laptop blogging rather than living it up at the spa, but it’s the me-time that I crave. My mum also spends a Monday with me, and we take the twins to Moo Music and for a play. Oh and did I mention they also have the twins on a Thursday morning so I can take the three year old to his swimming lesson? I AM THE LUCKIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD! I do parent them most of the time, honest.
2. Grandparents babysit
So on top of all that, they babysit as well. We don’t go out that often these days, partly because my other half does shit loads of travelling and works away a lot during the week so by the weekends we’re knackered. Plus I’m 40 this year (and he’s a few years older), and we just can’t be arsed, preferring a takeaway, Netflix and our settee. But every few months an occasion arises to get my heels out and try out the next shade of eyeshadow along my urban decay naked palette and head out. And the grandparents are usually happy to come round and babysit. I say usually, as it depends on their calendar – their social life is more hectic than mine has ever been!
3. Grandparents offer advice
I’m lucky in that my mum has never been the type of mum to ram any sort of baby advice down my throat. It’s not the kind of mum she is – another reason I’m lucky. But if I’m not sure on something, or need a second opinion (usually about whether I REALLY need to take one of my offspring to the doctors or would a trip to Boots suffice), then she’s the one I’d ask. Anything else and she’s the first to admit she can’t remember much about when my brother and I were babies. Having said that I do hear horror stories about grandmothers who like to have their say A LOT, whether it’s welcome or not. Sod off Marjorie, your opinion is not welcome here!
4. Grandparents have a great relationship with your children
I’m sure my boys would rather spend time with Granny and Grandad than with me. In fact I’m 100% sure of it after the other day the three year old asked to go home – to Granny’s house. When he comes back from spending even two hours with my parents he starts calling me Granny. Although this is at least better than what he used to do when he first started talking – call my mum Mummy because he couldn’t say Granny yet. My mum would get some very strange looks in the local library!
Anything he does at pre-school he wants to tell Granny and Grandad about, if he gets a new toy he can’t wait to show them, and basically I’m pretty bloody sure he loves them more than me. I actually think they love the boys more than they love me too. But hey, I’m fine with that, okay?! And let’s face it, when they help me out so much, they deserve that kind of adoration. I’ll let it slide. Because I’m nice like that.
5. Grandparents offer undivided attention
I’d say at least 99% of the reason behind the above point, is that grandparents are able to give kids their undivided attention. Time they spend with the them is all about them – or at least it is in our family. When they go over there the toys are out (including some seriously retro ones that used to be mine and my brothers!), activities are planned based on what they want to do, and housework, chores, phone calls and anything that isn’t full-on child-related is put on hold.
Now let’s face it, however much of a bloody supermum we try to be, that simply can’t happen in everyday life. I mean, how would we check Facebook regularly? But in the world of grandparenting, this is the deal. The kids love it, and the grandparents wouldn’t have it any other way. (Well I think my Dad would to be fair, but he just does what he’s told…)
6. Grandparents are always there in an emergency
Exactly like this last week, it’s the grandparents we rely on when things go tits up. If you’re a stay at home mum to young children, generally they’re not in childcare, so when you get ill, you can’t send them to nursery and ring in sick. You still have to parent, poorly or not. And 9 times out of 10 that’s exactly what I do – even with f*cking glandular fever a few months ago. But there’s now been a couple of times when I’ve been up sh*t creek without a paddle, and the grandparents have stepped in. Wrestling a toddler and baby twins into bed whilst you’ve got a savage migraine and throwing up, isn’t exactly on the top of my favourite things to do list. And case in point this week when my home turned into pukesville. By Day 3 the grandparents were over to break up the monotony for everyone, and by Day 4 we decamped to their house for a change of scenery.
My mum tells everyone how lucky SHE is that she has all five of her grandsons within a 10 minute drive. But I reckon we’re the lucky ones.
Shit the bed. I sound so cheesey! If I don’t shut up soon I’ll be using that vomit-inducing ‘blessed’ word!
Are your kids’ grandparents local? Do you see them a lot?
Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee
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