This past week, I flew out to the Blissdom blogging conference in Nashville, Tennessee (shout out to my sponsor Oreck!). It was a wonderful time to be inspired and loved, to discuss writing and social media without feeling like the odd gal out.
When I fly off to conferences, my mother-in-law volunteers to keep our toddler son. It’s not a necessity – since I’m a working momma, we have full-time childcare during the day and my husband is extremely capable of caring for Harry at night alone. But she enjoys an excuse to come stay one-on-one with Harry a few times per year, and as someone who grew up without grandparents, I’m not about to say “no” to her request. My one stipulation is that she keep my child a) alive and b) healthy. I am by no means a strict mom with printed rules and schedules, but I’m starting to think that may not be the best way to handle grandparent visitation.
Because it usually means a horrible homecoming for me. So I think we’re going to need to set ground rules for Grandma visits.
I don’t mind if Grandma takes him out for a few special meals or makes treats at home, but I knew we were in trouble when Harrison pushed away his waffle and asked to be taken to Chick Fil A. Then when he asked for Scooby snacks at lunch and turned his nose up at the water I offered. While I am not a stickler when Grandma is in town and am well aware there are more treats than veggies, I think it’s time I ask her to limit Chick Fil A to once per visit.
Then we went to Target and oh, I had my first experience of carring my screaming toddler out of a store thanks to a $0.99 Hot Wheels car. He begged for one and I reminded him that Grandma had given him new cars while she was there. WHAM! the tantrum began and I was a sweaty, humiliated mess carrying a toddler out of Target while he wailed and thrashed. I came home to realize exactly how much Grandma had given him over the three days and I think that next time, I will request her to please, pretty please, only bring out one small “prize” per day, rather than per hour.
Of course I understand her desire to treat him and shower him with gifts and love – that’s what grandparents do and it’s how she operates. But it’s making it hell for me (and him!) to return to the world where toy cars and chicken nuggets don’t grow on trees.
Does anyone else have experience with this? Did you have to set hard ground rules for grandparents? How did they react?