I always knew my parents would make amazing grandparents. And they have, the relationship they have with my son has exceeded all my expectations. To my son, there is nothing more exciting than going to his grandparents house. What I did not expect was that I would learn parenting skills from watching my parents’ grandparent. Those parenting skills have been invaluable on my own parenting journey, and I could not be the mom that I am without my parents example.
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I learned how to relax with my son.
As a first time mom, I was nervous when my son first arrived. I read many parenting books, worried about every detail of my son’s life, and in general experienced unfounded anxiety about his well-being. In juxtaposition to my angst, my parents were relaxed with my son. They did not worry or fret about his calorie intake, milestones, or sleep patterns. They focused on the fact he was happy, healthy, and thriving. By following their example, I threw out the books and my anxiety vanished. Children don’t come with handbooks for a reason.
I learned how to enjoy my son.
There is something so special about a grandparent’s relationship with your child. My son brings out the best in my parents and they bring out the best in him. The glorious part of grandparenting is that when my son visits my parents, everything else is cast aside. Nothing else exists to them except each other. My parents and son truly engage with each other and play. They make up games, sing songs, and even dance! Parents cannot always create that same bubble. I find that sometimes I lose my focus with my son as I get bogged down by menial tasks.
But why can’t I create that same magic bubble? The grocery store can wait. The house does not need to be perfect. These early years with my son are racing past. My parents show me to always be mindful that this is the best time in my life. For that reason, it is so important to carve out time to play and enjoy motherhood. When I watch my parents enjoying their time with my son, I am reminded how lucky I am to be a mother and all of its blessings. I am able to take a step back and relish how much fun it is to truly enjoy my son’s company. They are only little one time.
I learned it will always be okay.
The first time my son was sick I was scared and upset. I was so afraid I would not know what to do. My parents came over to my house and let me know it would be okay. My parents have raised four children. They know when something is a cause for concern and when it is not. In whatever scenario my son and I find ourselves, I am always able to talk to my parents about what is happening. They give me emotional support and they always let me know it will be okay. They have taught me it is okay to not be a “perfect parent.” My parents show me the most important thing my son needs is my time and my love. Everything else will fall into place.
I learned there is more than one way to raise a child.
I am raising my son in the way that I think is best. My husband and I are usually on the same page about our parenting style. Then, we go to my parent’s house. They have their own parenting style. Sometimes my parents way of interacting with my son is completely different than what I think is the “right way.” But, I’ve learned my son responds to his grandparents differently than he responds to his mom. So guess what? Both ways are right. Both ways are good. Both ways encourage his development. By watching my parent’s grandparent, I’ve learned there is more than one way to raise my son. I’ve also learned that exposing him to different styles makes him more adaptable for the world.
I learned that I need my parents.
By watching my parents grandparent my son, I learned that I need my parents. I need them for their guidance, love, and support. I need them because my son needs them. My parents shaped who I am and I need them to help shape the person my son will be. They helped me along every step in my life, so of course I need them now, in the most important stage of my life, to help raise my son.
Interested in reading more about why we need our parents? Check out Why Adult Children Need Their Parents More Than Ever.
Photo Credits: Jeri Delgado