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When Grandmas Take on Too Much

I confess to being an overachiever for most of my adult life. I bring that same mindset to being a grandma and sometimes it gets me into trouble because I take on too much. I say “yes” without thinking things through and then realize, too late, that I’m not as young as I think I am. I pay for it the next day in complete exhaustion!

When it comes to my granddaughters, I’m always game for a new adventure. So when my daughter-in-law suggested I take 7-week old Sophia to the nearby mall, I thought: Piece of cake! We’ll just hop in the car and be there in ten minutes. Unfortunately,  I didn’t factor in the complexity of today’s new baby equipment.

Just getting my little granddaughter in and out of my car felt like I’d run a half marathon. No wonder grandmas can’t reproduce — we don’t have the stamina to handle all the baby gear!  You have to detach the car seat from the base, lift it out of the car and then attach it to the stroller if you’re lucky enough to remember how. And we weren’t even inside the mall yet!

As I approached the escalator, I realized we were not going to be using that method to get us down to the lower level. Searching for an elevator in a mall was a new experience for me but we found one. I managed to squeeze in between two moms with strollers and kids in tow and awkwardly backed my way out when the doors opened.

The sounds, smells and lights all seemed too powerful for my precious cargo but I kept going. I spotted my favorite ice cream store and had enough sense to know I could not balance an ice cream cone with the diaper bag slung over my shoulder and both hands pushing the stroller. Nor could I stop and pick up a bottle of my favorite hand soap. I had to keep moving while this baby was still sleeping. I did my best to keep a race walking pace while averting shoppers coming towards me.

After a few spins around the mall, Sophia started getting fussy. I adjusted her pacifier but that didn’t satisfy her. I picked her up out of her car seat and held her in one arm while I prepared a bottle with the other. She eagerly gulped her bottle while I perched on the wrought iron bench near the entrance we’d come in. I was relieved I’d found my way back. After Sophia drained the bottle, I propped her up on my shoulder and circled around the bench waiting for her to burp. I tucked her back in her car seat and made a beeline for my car.

As I approached the car, I suddenly wondered if I knew how to detach the car seat from the stroller. I’d only done it once before. I was sweating bullets as I placed the car seat back in my car, collapsed the stroller and lifted it into my trunk. As soon as I started the motor, I cranked up the A/C to “max,” leaned back against the headrest and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

We made it home safely, but both of us were exhausted. When my daughter-in-law greeted us, she asked how it went. I smiled and said: “Next time we’re going to walk to the park!”

4 thoughts on “When Grandmas Take on Too Much”

  1. My daughter in law was so paranoid about Joshua riding in my car that she would make the seat belts so tight I could barely hook it up over the car seat. No matter how I struggled I always felt I was going to suffocate my grandson or crush his little ribs. He’s almost 8 now and he survived it all. As will you my dear friend. Modern devices for babes continue to be a challenge as they become more secure and nana’s less secure.

  2. I loved this post Donne. Could see the whole episode and chuckled my way through it. Yes a walk to the park will be a “walk in the park” the next time. You r such a good BaBa.
    Love Diane L.

  3. Ah Donne,

    You are speaking to the choir! I have been in the same boat, doing so much with the grands and then feeling exhausted and grumpy. I have recently decided to create stronger boundaries for myself, to take care of me. Then and only then, can I take care of others.

    Thank you for bringing this up.

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