Friday, September 27, 2013

Grandparenting: Are you pressuring your children to have babies?

My iphone screen!
I was reading Gypsy Nesters again today. I love reading their blog because it is a blast from the past for me. They are living the life in a place that I once occupied. They feel what I felt back in the days before grandchildren or even son/daughter-in-laws.

Veronica James and her husband David sold their home and travel full time these days. They are poster children for the boomer's dream life. Travel, adult children, free to live the adventure. But, as with all things, they are finding that as time passes, their peers are beginning to move into the grandparent mode. Their children are even wondering why their parents aren't demanding the next generation be born and soon. 

I remember back in the days when my children were leaving home how excited I was for them. The adventure they were embarking on was so full of promise and success. We were close to our children in a lot of ways so we were invited to share in their life just enough. It was a happy time in our life. I was in no hurry to have son/daughter-in-laws or grandchildren. We never talked about it.

Jame's words resonated with me as an echo of my past feeling:
To be honest, one of the reasons for my lack of longing is unabashed selfishness. I like having my kids all to myself when we visit. No husbands, wives or diaper changes to disrupt my time with them. I feel I'm just getting to know them as adults, and I am loving the process. I don't want to share.
But as time went by I found a biological clock ticking...grandmother's have those too you know. I never mentioned it...well maybe a little bit...but not a lot. I was torn between that longing that women get for grand babies and the selfish desire to have my children all to myself. We traveled together and spent school breaks on vacation with them. As they grew older we visited them and enjoyed days of shopping or just hanging out. Still the clock was ticking somewhere in the back of my mind.

The funny thing was, I would wake up at night naming babies. Wesley and Harrison for the boys. Annali and Kate for the girls. I did voice those preferences when the girls were pregnant but none of them actually took my suggestions. Naming unknown babies in my sleep told me that something was going on in my mind. I began to realize I think that time was not on my side and wanting to see at least part of my grandchildren grow up was a deep seeded desire.

I am now the grandmother of 12 grandchildren. The youngest are probably going to grow up without me but it is fine. However, I am very grateful for the grown grandchildren. They have given me a taste for what our next generation will be like. 

As for having our children all to ourselves, I will have to admit that I long for a quiet dinner or even a glass of wine without interruptions. The idea that we might all gather together as adults just for a while is hard to imagine or even make happen. We think about our family in a different way now. We are not in charge of the grandchildren and remind ourselves of that fact as we fall off to sleep each night. Life is different...not bad...just different. 

What would I say to those of you that are not there yet but seeing other parents pressuring their children to have babies? Don't judge...wait. It appears that for some of us the notion that having grandchildren cannot be denied.

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  1. I find the idea of desiring only the parents to be the ultimate company as pretty selfish. My children do not have spouses and children to please me. They have spouses and children to fill their world with love and comfort.

  2. Really? The key thing here is the fact that we, the parents, are NOT in charge of our children's lives. They must make decision about their lives based on what they can afford both emotionally and financially.

    But, there is no denying that older women especially have biological time clocks that have them somehow wanting to hold a baby one more time. If a person is not the type that enjoys children I don't suppose they feel that way.

    As for "having the children to ourselves" it is not a situation I wanted forever. But I did love that time because I think my children are the best friends I will ever have. I am reveling in this time in my life and hope I live long enough to enjoy the other end of the game when we gather together as adults, all of us. Grandchildren, great grandchildren, my own children and their spouses.

    Thank you for the comment.


  3. I completely understand the notion of wanting to have my kids "to myself" for a while before they move into the next phase of their lives.

    I think of parenting as a series of stages--the infant stage, the toddler stage, and so forth, up to the "living on their own" stage, the "young married" stage (if that's the choice they make), and so forth.

    As with anything, it seems to me that it's important to experience each stage as fully as we can, before we move on to the next. Wanting to bask in our kids' newly formed adult selves for a while isn't selfish--it's a developmental imperative. And keep in mind that while we're enjoying this stage, they're going through an equally important one: learning to relate to us as fellow adults. It's all part of the human journey.


  4. When my eldest daughter became pregnant, I was not impressed at first...for purely selfish reasons. I felt I was too young at 41 to become a grandmother! However, that passed as her pregnancy progressed and I became quite excited at the idea. My feeling now is that my daughters back then were both doing what they was none of my business. All I had to do was enjoy my grandchildren, have them to visit and spoil them a little.

    Now I have these seven beautiful people in my life...the eldest of whom is 27 and lives overseas; the youngest is seven and is having fun discovering learning at school.

    They are seven people, brought up by their parents to have values and I'm so proud of them all.

  5. My oldest is 30, and if she has a biological clock ticking she's not telling anyone about it . . . she's still trying to establish her career. Still, (some people may get the reference)I have my first grandchild's name all picked out. It's: Seven.

  6. I loved each and every one of these comments.

    After The Kids Leave, The "developmental imperative" was wonderful. I loved that idea will keep it in mind for a future reference.

    Robyn, I was amazed at my reaction as my first grandchild born to my daughter came along. I spent the first few days with them. It was almost a tribal feeling...mother earth and her children. On the first night home I took a few hours of duty to allow them to rest. When I brought the baby to my daughter and son-in-law that morning something glowed inside me. Life was perfect!

    Tom, I assume that if you named your grandson or daughter Seven, you could just skip One through 6 and keep it simple...right?

    Thank you again everyone for tuning in.


  7. I think that this maybe depends on the ages of your kids? No one in my family has married right out of say, college (including my generation) so we have all been independent and adults with our parents for a long time. I love children and they were my business on and off for years. However I have one child who does not want children of her own (and who loves kids), and one who is a late bloomer and has yet to choose his path. this is fine with me. I cant imaging pushing for or against, for myself


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