Grandma Update: Five Tips from a Semi-pro

I haven’t done a grandma update in ages.  Here goes!

I’m on my way next week to Charlotte, North Carolina, to await the birth of my fourth grandchild. I’ll be in charge of Laura’s daughter, Emerson. You can see Em in the middle photo, making an Angelina wand. She is happily nuts at the moment over the Angelina books.

Mazen, the first grandchild, is at the top of this post. The photo was taken on the first day of first grade.

At the bottom is Birch, Maze’s baby brother. Birch and Mazen are wild about each other, which is way fun to watch.

In my seven happy years of grandmotherhood, I’ve learned a few things I thought I’d share with you.

  • This is not your child. My friend Mary’s husband told her this when she was gleefully walking about the house with their first grandchild. This is the best grandma advice I’ve received. The trouble is you love them like they are your baby. But no, this is NOT your child. You get to play. You get to help. You get to give advice if welcomed. But you are not the boss.
  • You will get tired. Pace yourself. When my friend Lisa talked about how tired she got taking care of her young granddaughters, I was surprised. Lisa is the type who starts to paint a room at ten PM.  Now I get it. It took me a while to figure out I had to pace myself. Luckily my girls appreciate my help and thus far, how much I help doesn’t seem to be an issue.

  • You will get your feelings hurt. Brace yourself. It was either Dr. Spock or Dr. Brazelton who said, “Never let a child hurt your feelings.” I’ve been told to stop singing and that my hands feel old and crinkly. And even if I haven’t seen Maze in a few months, I can’t compete with the fun of playing with his best friend, who lives next door. Sometimes he’s gone within minutes of greeting me. Count it all good. The world needs spunky, independent, opinionated kids (as long as they have kind hearts).
  • Some things have changed. Embrace it. I’ve had a blast checking out new products such as those marvelous little pouches filled with horrific sounding combinations of vegetables, fruits, and protein. The kids love them. But other changes are harder to wrap around such as no juice. I used to give my kids watered down apple juice. Juice has no real nutritional value, so I get it. But I’m not a milk drinker or a water drinker, and I find I’m always wanting to give the kids juice to quench their thirst. Get over it, Grandma.


  • If you don’t live nearby, you will feel sad, some. The first time I left Mazen, I thought my heart had shattered into a million pieces. (And I was going to visit him very soon.)  After about a year, I  told myself I had to buck up and get used to not being with him nearly as much as I wanted. By the time Emerson was born four years later, I was braced. We’re lucky to have the kids, no matter how often we see them in person. No moping aloud.

Old pros out there:  Any more tips to share? Thanks!