By Randi Crawford
Here’s how it all went down. My mom came to visit for Thanksgiving, and stayed with my family this year. I love having my mom around because she’s such a great cook (something I did not inherit from her), and when she’s here, we all eat really well.
Thanksgiving Eve, we were sitting around watching “Remember the Titans” (a Crawford family fave), when my mother received a text from her girlfriend, who was visiting her grandkids in Dallas. I happened to see the text, because the font on her phone is so large, and it read, “Help, the grandkids are out of control.” So I asked my mother what that was about and she told me what grandmas really think when they stay with us during the holidays.
Apparently when your parents are in town visiting, they are observing the way you are raising your kids. According to my mom, it’s a common thread that strings from the East Coast to the West Coast, and the conversation is virtually the same among all the grandmas. I thought I would share. Here is just a glimpse into Grandma’s Rants and what they really think about our parenting.
They are horrified that our generation has no family time. This is especially egregious to her generation, because the dinner table is where a lot of good conversations took place when we were growing up. (I vividly remember playing the “fickle finger of fate,” and if it pointed towards you, then you had to answer the question.) The grandma’ are looking for some actual conversation with back-and-forth, and eye contact. They are extremely offended when they see their grandkids texting during meals. They can’t get over how much time is spent tooling around on social media sites and the negative impact that social media brings.
Another horror is when they witness the grandkids playing violent video games that we allow our kids to play, and wonder what would ever possess us to purchase a video game where our son is killing another person for pure joy.
They strongly believe that way too much time is devoted to sports, and they seem to be dialed in to the fact that every kid will not get into college on a scholarship, even if we showcase their talents nationwide. They used to complain if we had an away game that meant they had to drive 15 minutes outside of their bubble. I don’t think any of us knows the answer to when sports went from being local and seasonal, to year-round and nation- wide.
Here are some of their secret coping mechanisms:
- Stay at a hotel or in their own RV to avoid the possibility that they will actually say something critical of their kids’ parenting techniques. Apparently they are all afraid they will say something that will get them thrown out on this visit, or that might not get them invited back for another one.
- They have formed a support system and make frequent calls or texts to each other saying, “Help, I need to tape my mouth before something negative comes out.”
- When the grandkids talk back to their parents, grandmas all go into “shut-down mode” so they don’t say something like, “We would have hung you by your toenails if you ever spoke to us that way!”
- Stay for two days max.
- They pretend their hearing is getting worse and then ignore you.
- And my personal favorite: They pretend to like your dogs and take them for long walks to get out of the house so they can call each other and complain.
This whole rant could be funny or sad. We (all of us) don’t spend enough family time. Who has time for family time anymore?
What say you? Do “the grandmas” have it right? Are our priorities out of whack and upside down? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.