Family: parenting versus grandparenting

We’ve had a big milestone in our house this week.  We’ve been parents for 50 years now.  Yes, that’s right, our first born turned the big 5-0.

When you think about it, it’s a little surprising that there are no celebrations of parenting milestones.  I guess those are things we do within the confines of our own homes, celebrating when our children achieve a new accomplishment or milestone and especially when they are finally – and hopefully successfully – launched.  There’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, for sure, which are lovely.  But as parents we don’t usually stop and appreciate the magnitude of the role we’ve taken on, usually without having given much thought to what we were getting into!

Some truisms that few of us stop and think about as we’re entering the delivery room, signing the adoption papers, or otherwise taking on responsibility for another human being:

  • There is no more important job you’ll ever have than being a parent. You are now responsible for caring for, nurturing, shaping, supporting, and encouraging another human being, who depends entirely on you.
  • From now on, life is no longer all about you!
  • This all-important job is not always fun, although often it is, and is decidedly not the most relaxing of occupations.
  • This job is not the most lucrative, in fact it’s quite the opposite.
  • This job is hard. The hours are extensive.  Sleep is often elusive in the early years and then again when your teenager is out with the car.  The worries can be endless.  The challenges are both predictable and entirely unpredictable, and you can be sure that you don’t have the experience to handle it all.  Instinct is critical; you have to learn on the job.
  • There is no job that’s more rewarding. The joys come both from unanticipated small everyday occurrences and major milestones.
  • Your biggest successes – and greatest joy – at this job will come from simply loving your child unconditionally.

funny-parents1

Being a parent requires us to accept some overwhelming responsibilities, which fortunately we don’t analyze too thoroughly before embarking on this journey.  But if you’re really lucky, aside from the joys your child brings you along the way, you may get the chance to see your child become a parent him or herself.  This is where the true reward of parenting comes in!

When your child becomes a parent you realize that they really did learn all those lessons you thought had been totally ignored.  It turns out that they really do understand that their kids should not drop their food on the floor.  They really do believe that their kids should not say mean things to each other or to you.  They believe that their kids should not hit each other, or take each other’s toys, or tease each other because they’re bored.  It’s kind of like a miracle.  It makes all those years of haranguing them worthwhile, just to get to witness them doing the same thing to their kids!

And, best of all, you get to become a grandparent.  Now, spoiling our grandchildren has been made more difficult by our inability to see them in person thanks to pandemic restrictions, but we certainly do our creative best to keep up that end of the grandparenting bargain in these trying times.

Unlike parenting, being a grandparent isn’t hard, it’s all about sharing in the fun. [This does not apply to grandparents who are acting as parents.  That’s hard!]

GrandpaGM

To my way of thinking, grandparents are put on Earth to spoil and entertain their grandchildren.  Their role is to interpret rules in flexible ways, such as allowing extra snacks and extra TV watching.  The way I see it, our role is to embrace all the fun parts of parenting and leave the hard stuff to the parents.  What’s not to love!

GrandmaFamilyCircus

Grandma3

Fifty years of parenting and 15 years of grandparenting.  Life is good.

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36 Responses to Family: parenting versus grandparenting

  1. Roy McCarthy says:

    Congratulations to you both. I wasn’t the most natural or perfect Dad but I’m relieved to see my two children grow into smashing and happy citizens.

  2. You can see it in her face, my mother loves being a Grandparent but I’ve also heard her say she loved handing them back when the days fun is done…………….happy aniversery.

  3. kegarland says:

    Happy 50th year of parenting to you!

  4. debscarey says:

    I never planned on being a parent, but it’s the best thing that ever happened to me and the best thing I’ll ever do. And grandparenting is wonderful too. It’s a joy watching my daughter adding being the best parent ever to being the best daughter ever. Me, biased? 😀

  5. Sweet and poignant post. And so true. A very happy birthday to your 50 year old! A milestone birthday for both of you.

  6. Wonderful post, Jane! I’m enjoying my still new grandmother role and look forward to the future. Happy 50 years of parenting!

  7. bernieLynne says:

    I love the meme about the first 40 years! It feels kind of true. Also really appreciated your words as that’s exactly how it’s felt. Not sure we knew what we were doing always but we did try our best. Now our best is just love and more love and more love! It’s very interesting to watch our non sleep daughter have her own non sleep son and see what and how she does things. Congrats on your milestone and I hope you get to see your grandchildren this year.

  8. Congratulations Jane 💖. Each phase of life is special. Have a restful weekend 😇🙏.

  9. LA says:

    Congrats to you for surviving parenting!! And getting the spoils of grandparenting….

  10. AMWatson207 says:

    Well, Parents do get remembered forever. Today I am 65 and very much thinking of my folks and older brother who’ve gone before me. You remember those custom cut grilled cheeses.

  11. iidorun says:

    Let me acknowledge that not all wonderful parents become grandparents for a variety of reasons and that not getting this title doesn’t reflect on their parenting at all. My comment was meant in the context of grandparents having more fun with the kids than parents because they don’t have the responsibility to parent. I don’t know if that was clear – but wanted to be mindful of that. ❤️

  12. iidorun says:

    So much truth in this post, Jane! I see it now as a parent what my parents went through and now how much they enjoy being grandparents and having all the fun while I’m the no fun mom. I guess being a grandparent is like a reward for being a decent parent. ❤️

  13. Reblogged this on Musings and Wonderings and commented:
    This is fantastic, thanks for sharing.

  14. dfolstad58 says:

    Congratulations Jane on this special occasion. I have to keep getting used to each phase, I am still not used to being called “sir” but do like to get the senior discount when it’s offered. LOL I guess I have earned it. I feel like some decades flashed by – and here I am!

  15. heimdalco says:

    I love this piece. Not only is it a trip down Memory Lane, it is instructional … for me, anyway. My husband & I are about to become first time grandparents in November. Our last name is Smith. After learning that our daughter-in-law was pregnant, my husband & I were talking about what lies ahead for our son & his wife … how life will not be the same for them. I asked my husband how he felt about being a grandpa. He laughed & asked me instead, “How does it feel to almost be a GRANNY? Granny Smith isn’t just an apple, you know.” This will be a learning experience for us all … LOL

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Lol, Granny Smith, indeed. Whatever you end up being called (and sometimes the young child makes that decision!), there is no more precious time than watching your child become a parent and you yourself bonding with the next generation. Congratulations in advance!

    • bernieLynne says:

      A good friend of mine, who just died a few weeks ago, was Granny Smith to her plethora of grandchildren. Even to my children. It’s kind of cool actually.

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