I have a lot of empathy for today’s moms. They seem to have way more stress in their lives than we did when we were raising them. Take Glennon Melton, for example. She wrote a post on Huff Post Parents, Don’t Carpe Diem, that really resonated. She complained that “well-meaning old ladies keep telling her to enjoy every moment because time goes by so fast” and that makes her feel worse. Then she feels guilty for not being in a state of gratitude and ecstasy.
I don’t know why old ladies have to sugar coat their memories of motherhood and say they loved every moment. I, for one, have an awful lot of memories of wanting to tear my hair out and run screaming from the house after a long day with my kids. I used to joke that on the first day of school after summer vacation, the cheers of moms could be heard ’round the world!
When some of my grandma friends complain that their daughters and daughters-in-law are too serious and don’t have enough fun, I say “cut ’em some slack.” How can they lighten up when they have the weight of the world on their shoulders? They have more choices and decisions to make about raising their children than any previous generation. They’re trying so hard to give their kids all the best opportunities, it’s no wonder they have little energy left for fun!
Moms, let me reassure you, we grandmas are happy to take that role off your hands. We’re thrilled to finally have the chance to be the FunMeister. Becoming a grandma reignites our energetic sense of fun and gets our creative juices flowing. We have more energy to be lighthearted and, more importantly, we are not the ones responsible for raising the children. We can let them get away with a lot more—unless we really are responsible for raising our grandchildren. And then that’s a whole different story.
We can play the entertainer because, at the end of the day, we know we can go home, sleep late the next morning, take a yoga class, or go for a walk. Moms, on the other hand, have to be at the helm everyday, which makes it difficult to factor in fun.
I recently spent 12 hours taking care of my two granddaughters, ages 8 and 4. I’d never watched them all by myself before and I must admit, I was a little worried I’d get tired or run out of things to do. Our day included:
- singing songs
- playing the piano
- having a tea party and egg hunt with dolls
- making cupcakes and decorating them
- coloring and pasting an art project
- playing hide and seek
- attending an origami workshop at the library
- having dinner at our favorite pizza parlor
- taking a bath and getting ready for bed—which made Mama very happy when she came home.
Throughout the day, I focused all my attention on my granddaughters and was totally present with them, another luxury most moms don’t have. I took pictures of our activities to show my daughter. When I look at the photos, I’m surprised by my own energy. But I remind myself that I didn’t have any other responsibilities that day except to enjoy and entertain my granddaughters. I didn’t have to do laundry, shop for groceries, pay bills, clean the house, walk the dog, or any of the multitudes of things moms do all day, everyday. I could truly savor every moment.
So let’s hear it for all you hardworking mothers of our grandchildren. We are so grateful to you for giving us the chance to be the FunMeisters! And, if any of you old ladies read this, please don’t lay on a guilt trip when you see a young mom. Just tell her she’s doing a great job!