Dear future Grandma-self,
Well, you did it. You somehow reached grandma-age despite annihilating your body for the better part of your twenties. For that, you deserve to have a bottle of glass of wine. Already have one in hand? Ha, figures.
I’m writing to you for the simple purpose of reminding you to not suck as a grandmother. Right now, your kids are still young, and I hear all the time from mothers who gripe about grandmas. “She buys my kids too much stuff,” or “She always feeds them junk,” they say.
For a long time, I totally understood. I nodded along and said things like, “Yeah, they want to pick up the baby when he’s napping!” or “She is always saying things that are so judgmental, like, ‘Well, that’s not how WE did it.’ ”
Then, this happened: I was at the zoo with my kids when my 4-year-old launched into a wild-eyed, frothing-mouthed tantrum because I wouldn’t buy him a toy at the gift shop. Like, yeah, I’m going to spend $29.99 on colorful plastic made in China by a kid who wishes she had even a fraction of the colorful plastic that he lets bake in the backyard all summer long because he is “so sick of those toys.”
In the middle of my child’s arms-swinging, teeth-gnashing, “I hate Mommy” conniption, I looked at him and thought to myself, “Oh, I so hope your children do this to you one day.”
In other words, I get it.
Future Grandma-self, go ahead and do what you want. Offer to watch your grandkids when you want to and say, “Oh, hell no,” when you have had enough of them. Let them eat McDonald’s. If McDonald’s has gotten its shit together and is considered healthy in the future, then give them donuts or even just a bottle of high fructose corn syrup.
You earned this.
When your kids were young, you tried to do everything right. You fed them good food and looked up the answers to their never-ending, mind-numbing questions (“How long would it take me to walk to California?”). You bought them colorful plastic from China for their birthday even though you knew it would end up rotting next to a pile of dog shit in the back yard, because sometimes kids deserve the toy they have been lusting after for FIVE WHOLE MINUTES.
Before you became a grandma, you read every ingredient on the label. You used “free and clear” laundry detergent. You even tried to make your own laundry detergent once and nearly destroyed all your clothes.
You did good. So now, you get to do whatever you want to do. So what if your daughter-in-law talks about you behind your back? She’s going to do that anyway. Who cares if your grown son, a father himself now, says things like, “Mom, can you please not tell the kids scary stories? They can’t sleep at night”? Ha, payback for all those sleepless nights he caused you!
And if you are a “good” Grandma who follows your children’s rules about their children, well, then, I guess you’ve lost that vindictive edge, you weak old lady. Over the years, you must have found the strength to forgive your children for being little monsters.
I suppose that’s your prerogative, but let me remind you that you didn’t sleep for four years (and counting). And your adult acne was undoubtedly the result of the child-induced stress. And you couldn’t sit right for two weeks after your son was born.
So, there’s that. You have my permission to be a saucy old broad who lets the occasional curse word slip out in front of your grandkids and sneaks them cookies when their parents aren’t looking.
31-year-old exhausted you