Being a grandmother is like revisiting your childhood. We often pine for those good old days when our lives were entirely carefree and our thought processes untainted by the worries of the world.
Now that you’ve entered the sunset phase of your life, you’re just an earshot away from going back to your infancy, as you’ll have all the time in the world to relive your babyhood with your grandchildren.
So, why not make the most of your life by endeavouring to become the near perfect grand-mom that every mother-in-law wishes to be?
To become a doting grandmother you should first perfect the art of becoming a good mother-in-law.
Mothers-in-law have always been at the receiving end and faced flak because of their relationship with their daughters-in-law that go through many see-saw periods and gets tempestuous at times.
By being an affable mother-in-law you set the tone and pace for your future role-play as a caring grandmother. How to be a good grandmother?
In other words, what are the steps you’d take and the techniques you’d follow to become the grandmother your children and your grandchildren want you to be?
1. Practise the Art of Diplomacy or Tactfulness
If you’re of the opinion that only diplomats, statesmen and politicians need to be tactful, then you should think again. ‘The times they are a changing’, as the Bob Dylan song goes and how indeed! In fact, the dynamics of relationships between and amongst family members have undergone a sea-change in the last 50 years.
As a grandparent, you’d be tempted to offer advice on almost every parenting issue as you’ve already been through with that critical phase in your life. You’d always be looking for an opportunity to relate instances from your past life as a parent when you walked the extra mile for the sake of your kids.
But at the same time, nobody knows better than you that offering unsolicited advice every now and then can lead to unwarranted skirmishes and lead to an irrevocable straining of relations.
You may find it hard to accept that your grandson or granddaughter is being offered an option of his or her favourable food items by your daughter or daughter-in-law during mealtimes. Young mothers nowadays, are ultrasensitive to criticism and might snap back at you if you criticise their child care methods. Keeping mum during such occasions would be the best solution. So, learn to be tactful and practice it more often.
2. Warm up to Your Grandchildren
It is not without reason that grandchildren naturally tend to get drawn towards their grandparents. This is because they see a reflection of their selves in you. As you age gracefully, you tend to lose your teeth and hair and your body becomes feeble. In other words, your physical features start resembling your grandchildren’s to a great extent in more ways than one.
Keep playthings or children’s storybooks handy when they come visiting your place. Take care to see that these are markedly different from the ones they already have in their homes. And you don’t need to be extravagant in your purchases as you can easily find good deals on any kids’ item in the flea markets and charity sale events.
3. Make Yourself Admirable to Their Parents also
(image credit – visualphotos)
Your children – parents of your grandchildren – have to spend longer hours at their workstations than you did when you were employed and are fully stressed out at the end of a day’s work. Therefore they don’t always get enough time and space to look after their kids despite their willingness.
You can volunteer to fill that void by dressing up your grandchildren and feeding them before they leave for school and take them to the local park in the evening. Your sense of self-esteem will receive a boost and you’ll indeed feel contended when their parents offer their gratitude for your stellar service.
4. Stay Updated
Your grandchildren are growing up in the era of information technology and have easy access to all the smart appliances and gadgetries that are the hallmarks of modern day living. You’ll be able to connect instantly with the kids if you stay abreast of the cartoon characters and the animation films they rave about.
5. Find Time for Yourself as Well
Don’t let your children take advantage of your helpful and obliging nature where it is not due. Apart from your responsibilities as a grandmother, you also have many other roles to fulfil. They should realize that you too have a life of your own and therefore it is perfectly all right if you put your foot down occasionally and refuse to babysit.
6. Staying in Touch
With every passing day, the bonds that used to keep a family together including grandparents are getting looser and coming unstuck. You may not be staying with your children in the same house and may be staying in another town or city. So, your grandchildren might not always get the opportunity to see you whenever they wish to.
And if you’re out of their sight most of the time, you run the risk of going out of their minds as well. The onus of keeping in touch lies with you. Keeping in touch is so easy these days. You just need to pick up the receiver or send a text message or just send an email. Sending gift hampers or posting birthday cards can be very uplifting.
7. Your Best Chance of Becoming a Raconteur
Grandmothers once were synonymous with nursery rhymes and lullabies. Well you don’t have to compose rhymes for your granddaughter or grandson at your age but you can more than make up for it by being an engaging narrator. You can narrate incidents and anecdotes from your past and talk about you what life used to be like when you were their age.
You can talk about your parents and grandparents. Your stories and recounting might often put them to sleep but at least they’ll have the satisfaction of growing up with the feeling that they had an affectionate grandmother who was also a good story teller. Telling them about your ancestors will make them feel proud of their pedigree and lineage.
Enjoy being in the company of your grandchildren as much as you can as you never know how long you’re going to live. Unleash the child in you by grovelling on the floor and spend as much quality with them as possible because when you turn back to look at them they’ll have grown up.