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Sep 9, 2014

How to be the Perfect Grandmother? I Have No Idea!

There is a book I have in a basket next to me desk called How To Be The Perfect Grandma written by Bryna Nelson Paston. I received it several years ago as a prize or gift or something. It is hilarious but honestly very true. On the cover the author says "Listen politely, then do what you want....Pick Your Battles...and Never, ever ever let anything bad happen to the kid on your watch, but if it does, lie." I love this by line but lying...I don't know about that.

You would honestly think that after 23 years of being a grandmother and raising three children that I would have it down wouldn't you? Let me tell you right now it is never going to be perfect...never!

When  my oldest son's now ex-wife was pregnant, I thought how hard could it be...I am soooo smart when it comes to children. Boy was I wrong. The belief that if you don't drop the baby, burn the baby or lose the baby, you are golden, was about as wrong as it gets. And to be perfectly clear, I will not take Paston's advice and lie. Children are pretty precious to me.

There have been many times over the last 23 years when just opening my mouth turned out to be a bad idea. If you are new to this game let me tell you that unsolicited advice and even some solicited advice can get you in big trouble. I have learned to just say "I really don't know." more often than anything else. I don't know what to put on bee stings, how late a 18 month should stay up and I certainly don't know about hives, allergies or even washing clothes. There are traps and tests that every experienced grandmother knows to avoid like the plague. Even we experienced grandmothers step in the poop once in a while.

Sometimes I make an honest to goodness really bad mistake because I really, really don't know. My ex-daughter-in-law said to me once that she thought I knew everything and could fix anything. I was never sure if that was a jab or honestly how she felt. At any rate that statement scared me to death. See, I didn't think she had been listening and the idea that she would actually do what I said was frightening. You see what I mean. I probably made one of those honest to goodness really bad mistakes with her because I didn't know that she paid attention!

I made my grandson sick the other day. I fed him a corn dog when we were out to eat. He usually doesn't eat gluten food and I didn't realize how much gluten was in a corn dog. That frightened me to death. I don't know what I was thinking. But when he got home, he was sick and very sad...darn. Of course I apologized but I lost a lot of trust in myself and with my children with that one mistake. Darn again!

But my mother did not raise a dummy. I will be asking a lot more questions in the future. I will be reading up on gluten intolerance to become more knowledgable. Better to be safe than to make the children sick. Oh, the grandchild was up the next morning, healthy and ready to wear his new clothes to school. I was so glad he felt better. Poor baby!

So, if you want to be the perfect Grandmother, don't do what I say ever...I just don't know what I am talking about. I probably never have. Well, maybe a little bit!



  1. Great post, with which I strongly identify. Eldest grandchild is 9. My wife, Norma, knows all there is to know about keeping these little treasures occupied and healthy. I know the rest. I know how to draw crayola dinosaurs with them and sing "Old Man River" to babies until they fall asleep. Between us we encompass all grandparental knowledge. Let their parents worry about gluten, whatever that is.

    1. I'm with you...but getting in trouble with my children is somehow just not the way the world should work. I am the one that should be getting people in trouble. It is very hard to let go of "being in charge".

  2. I am the proud grandmother of 2 granddaughters, aged 6 & 4 yrs. I know one thing about being a grandmother - just love them.

    1. You are so right...I have that covered completely. Be well.

  3. I sometimes feel as if I'm always just skating on the edge of not being attentive or knowledgeable enough, letting my adventurous younger grandchildren come to harm or doing something horribly embarrassing to our older grandchildren, forever severing our relationship. Of course, I'm employing a little hyperbole, but I could certainly identify with your post.


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