I am extremely grateful for the relationship my children have with my parents. My parents are very generous to them, but more importantly, they are very loving and make every effort to spend a lot of time with the kids. I was very close with my grandparents, I adored them and I miss them everyday. That being said, who in the hell is this Grandma person?
I love my mom. She is mine. She took very good care of me when I was a child and as an adult, I appreciate her even more. She was a stay at home mom with three small kids and we were not easy children. She was very strict with us and I have to say, she was not very patient. She was known in the whole neighborhood to be a yeller. I’ve come to realize now that to the average person, it might constitute yelling, but really it is how all the women in my family talk. We were by no means abused, but we were cracked with the wooden pasta spoon, ( my sister and I were. For some reason, my brother, also known as the prince, was spared). We were expected to be helpful around the house,do well in school and not talk back. All very reasonable stuff. I expect the same from my children. I am firm with my children, some might even say strict. I would expect the full support of my mother on this. I have found that she has lost her mind, as well as any recollection of how she parented her children.
She is a loving, playful grandma. My oldest confides in her about everything. Grandma never arrives without special treats and almost never raises her voice. Even when the children are being naughty, she finds amusement in it. I am told that this is what a grandma is supposed to do. Perhaps it is.
Here is the puzzling part. Grandma is very outspoken in her disapproval of how, when, why and how much I discipline my kids. This drives me batshit insane. I am either doing it wrong or too often. She finds me impatient and tense. I probably am impatient and tense. My kids seems to instinctively know when I am at the end of my rope and they are clearly amused by it snapping. When that moment comes and the television is shut off or the video games are confiscated, my oldest son calls her on the phone to complain. She has to know that she should tell him to listen to and respect his mother. Yet she tells him to put me on the phone and she says “Jennifer, why are you so angry? What could he possibly be doing?” What is he doing? He is pushing the envelope, acting like a wild man, hitting his brother, not doing his homework, taking all the cabinet doors off with the dremel hand tool. What is he doing? Not listening to his mother, just like your kids! Has she been body snatched and forgot that children spend a large part of their free time testing the limits set by their parents? Has she met her grandchildren?
She boasts about how she never had to hit her children, hitting is wrong and it doesn’t accomplish anything. I reminded her of the time she broke her pasta spoon on my ass and then I was in trouble because my big ass broke her favorite spoon. She didn’t speak to me for two weeks. I wasn’t complaining about it and it didn’t make me love her any less. I was just gently reminding her that she was a mother driven to the brink of insanity by her children once too. She was very hurt by that comment and still denies that she ever spanked us, even once. So my sister and I laugh about it privately and have never brought it up again.
It would be one thing if she admitted how short tempered she was when we were kids and that as a grandma, she just wants to spoil and love those grandkids and not have to discipline them. I can understand and accept that from her. Every once in awhile, shades of my mom appear, like when my two little ones decide to cry exactly at the same time, inconsolably, over nothing, or when someone spills a glass of milk, she reacts as if someone just crapped on her dining room table. She screams about spilled beverages as if she has been jabbed with the cattle prod. When the kids have a crying jag, she lovingly exclaims that she can’t take it anymore and that if she had to deal with that everyday, she would jump out the window. Then she asks if it is too early for wine. Hi, Mom. Nice to see you again. I’ve missed you so.
I told my mom that if she just doesn’t sit there quietly when I discipline the kids, I am going to crack her in the ass with the pasta spoon. She is trying very hard to keep her opinion to herself and she might have a small drinking problem.