Let me settle this part first. I love, love grandmas. I don’t know what I would have done without my own mother and the way she relates with my babies. I simply can’t imagine it. I didn’t have such privileges as my paternal grandmother died even before I was born, but my dad has such fond memories of her quiet nature, the few times he has spoken about her.
As for my maternal grandmother, I can only blame myself for not meeting her, because she died a few years ago, but I never made the visit to Benin Republic to go and see her as an adult. I just thought she would be around for ever, but whoever is? But even before her death, my grandma was a legend. She was a big woman, both in stature and in business. She was also a very strong personality, who didn’t suffer fools gladly. Her word was law and if you dared disobey her, you could be sure you were on your own, as almost everyone would have sided with her at your expense. That was how much influence she wielded.
My aunt recently told me an anecdote about my grandmother and the time of my birth. I was told, she had been in Nigeria on a business trip, a few days after I was born, and she had been informed about my birth and the expectations that she was going to come and bath me, as grandmother concern.
Her response was both shocking and exciting; my aunt said, she had told the person, “I have finished bathing my own children several years ago, let her (my mom) bathe this one.” In that moment, my heart ached at my loss and the fact I never got to meet this no nonsense woman I call grandmother. She wasn’t the typical grandmother around and that makes her all the more special.
Forgive my rambling, if I seem to be talking about my own grandmother, when I should be talking about my children’s grandmother. She came to mind as I write and shows my mom perhaps is playing two roles for the first time…at least for me. I see her as a mother and see the grandmother role she plays with my children.
With my mother, and even my dad, my kids could get away with murder and both my parents will be there, smiling cheekily as though these children and their antics are heaven on earth.
From the moment my children were tiny tots; they had got their grandmother’s heart wrapped around their little finger. She got to meet them first, even before I did, and the relationship started from there. They have special names she gave and even calls them too. It’s so good that they don’t want anyone else to call them those names, except their grandmother.
From the first few weeks to the first three years of their lives, my first set of twins saw their grandparents even more than they did me. We practically lived with them and often times, my sisters and I would wonder how these small babies could get away with things that we wouldn’t have dared to try.
All they needed to do was flash their tiny set of teeth and clap and jiggle a little and all was well.
There are so many awesome things about grandparents, and I will mention them below:
They are the best gifts to a new mom:
I don’t know about you but my mom was a readily available support for me, when I had my babies. We kept vigil together at the hospital and continued once we got home. We synced our sleeping pattern to suit the kids. We would both do vigil and she would be the first to wake up in the mornings and start preparing for the day.
- Grandparents are the best carers you can get for your baby
Given a choice of grandparents and a day care center, you can bet that, for most moms, grandma’s place is a no brainer. You don’t give it a second thought. They are perfect. They have done it before, (you are still alive abi?) They are, perhaps, the only persons you can trust implicitly with your life. Who better than them to trust with your precious bundles?
My honest confession is this. When my kids are with my mom, I miss them but I don’t get caught up in worrying over whether they are doing fine or not. I know they are, if anything they are probably doing too fine for their own good.
- Grandparents means more babies:
If I decide to go all scientific, it has been proven that having a grandparent on hand to help improves a woman’s fertility, in the sense that she is encouraged to have more babies, knowing that there is someone to help with the older children while she focuses on caring for the new born. While I can see the rationale behind the thought, I’m just thinking about the economy. I can almost hear some grandmothers telling their daughter to wait until things get better before they have more babies. But for TTC moms, who cares? Now is better!
- Grandparents are useful to teenagers too:
More research says adolescents and older children can benefit from having their grandparents in their lives. Grandparents provide stability to children at that point in their lives, when it can be quite emotional and unstable but with the right support, they can navigate that terrain.
- Grandparents spoil your children:
This is so real. My parents are quite lax with my kids, to the extent my children threaten me with their grandparents. If I say I’m not getting them something, they automatically go, “I’ll tell grandma, she will buy it for me.”
I remember at the beginning of this term, my daughter said she needed more books and I hadn’t had the time to get it. Before I knew it, my mom was calling me to remind me about the books and was even offering to buy them, if I was doing shakara. Hian! The next day, I hit the market to buy the books, before you hear my gist on CNN.
Once I see my older daughter cozying up to either my mom or dad, I know she’s telling tales. I just know it is only a matter of time before I find out what she talked about.
- Disagreement about what’s good for the baby
I cannot remember the number of times that my mom had told me, “But that was how we did it with you and you did not die.”
The simple truth is, when grandparents are involved in childcare, be it your own parents or that of your spouse, it is not uncommon for tension, conflict, and disagreements to occur between the grandparents and parents.
One common source of tension is unsolicited parenting advice from grandparents, which can strain the grandparent-parent relationship.
But it’s not that bad, once you remember your interests are the same – shaping a life.
With that at the backs of our minds, we can always manage to navigate with love and respect for each other.
Yes, we can.
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