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Having Grandparents Help Raise Your Kids Is Both Amazing and Crazy Hard

© Provided by RockYou Media(mom.me; purpleclover.com)

By Layla Laurence, Mom.me

My parents are damn good at raising kids.

I grew up in a home full of love, high expectations, constant support, work, play, sports, music, church, vacations, game nights and family dinners. While it wasn’t a perfect childhood, it was pretty close.

So when I got pregnant with my first child and my parents generously offered to be my full-time child care when I returned to work, I whole-heartedly agreed. If I couldn’t be the one with them every hour of the day, there were no two better equipped people to help me parent my kids.

Now, more than seven years have passed. They’ve chauffeured to years of pre-school, countless swim lessons and sports. They’ve changed more dirty diapers than a retired person has any business tackling. They’ve witnessed rolling over, first steps and first words.

While it’s been amazing to watch my kids grow up having grandparents be a part of their daily lives, there have also been some unexpected challenges.

For anyone considering having their parent’ or in-laws become their childcare, here are a few perks and challenges that I have experienced having my parents help raise my kids.


THE PERKS

1. They are the next best thing to me. Heck! Maybe even a step up on a lot of days. My parents know how I want to raise my kids and they love them, challenge them and limit them very similarly to how I do, myself.

2. They document important events. Any working mom will tell you that one of the hardest parts of being away from her babies during the day is missing the “firsts”. First steps, first words, first cartwheel. My parents know this and are always snapping away and taking videos making sure that I don’t miss too much.

3. The price is right. Honestly, I don’t know how I would have afforded to have kids if I’d had to pay for childcare. Chucking out hundreds to thousands of dollars a month for a babysitter, nanny or daycare definitely would take most, if not all, of my take-home pay.

4. They don’t just watch my kids, they raise them. Most daycares are expected to watch your kid. You expect them to learn some social skills and manners. My parents do that and so much more. They are literally my kids’ second set of parents. When it comes to raising kids with a village, I’m so blessed they’re in mine.

5. They have a close relationship with my kids. Because my parents are with my kids every single day, they know them to a different level than most grandparents know their grandkids. They are close to a degree only rivaled by that of myself and my husband. The relationship they have with my kids is precious and makes all of them better.

6. They love it. While the job is hard and tiring, my parents maintain to this day that they would have it no other way. They love knowing that they have a huge role in the upbringing of their grandbabies and are also helping their daughter at the same time.

When someone gives you a gift so big, so generous, that you know you can never repay them, it can feel heavy.


THE CHALLENGES

1. They have to administer more discipline than the average grandparent. Most grandparents get to be the ones to spoil their grandkids with candy, take them on fun outings and let them break rules once in a while. Since my parents are the primary caregivers during the work week, they have to have daily expectations and sometimes don’t get to be the carefree, spoil-them-rotten grandparents they would like to be.

2. It’s hard to give feedback. Sometimes I disagree with the amount of screentime my kids are allowed, or the amount of treats that are consuming. If my kids went to traditional daycare, or I hired a nanny I wouldn’t hesitate to voice my concerns in these areas. After all, they would be employed by me. The line is a bit less clear when it comes to my parents. I feel awkward sharing small concerns with them or asking them to change how or what they do because they are my parents and they are doing me a huge favor by watching them.

3. It’s a hard job. Obviously. Parenting is hard and draining when you’re in your 20s or 30s. Try doing it ten hours a day when you’re in your 60s and 70s. Keeping up with my kids and all their activities is exhausting and I worry that my parents will get run down with the demand that it has on them.

4. I feel like I owe them. When someone gives you a gift so big, so generous, that you know you can never repay them, it can feel heavy. When I start to feel like I owe my parents for all they do, I have to realize that they’ve given us a gift. Gifts are not meant to be paid back, they are given out of love and meant to be graciously accepted and appreciated.

At the end of the day, the perks of having my parents watch my kids far outweighs the few challenges. The closeness that is the result of their daily interaction and the immense help that my parents are to us has been one of the hugest blessings of my life.

My parents raised me and now they are helping raise my kids, and together, I think we’re doing a pretty awesome job.

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Unplugged Magazine: Having Grandparents Help Raise Your Kids Is Both Amazing and Crazy Hard
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