My oldest is barely in middle school, but that won't stop me from daydreaming about finally being a grandma, because:
- Finally, you don't have to be the bad guy. It's not personal, it's just mom and dad's rules. When a grandkid asks, "Do you think I can catch a squirrel and let it sleep in my room?" you can just pat his head and shrug, "I don't know, you'll have to ask your mom." Mom's the one who has to explain that squirrels have rabies and are too fast to catch, anyway.
- It's a part-time gig. Motherhood is wonderful, but it's also relentless. I know that someday the sleepy haze of butt-wiping and boo-boo-kissing I've been in for the last decade will be over and I'll miss it, but still. It'd be nice to have a few of those days every now and then so I can come up for air. You know who gets that? Grandmas.
- You're not responsible for the kids' development. Sure I'll teach my grandkids stuff, but the pressure of "I have to get this kid out of diapers or he'll be wearing them to college!" will not be my problem in the slightest. That's what their parents are for.
- Grandparents have done the whole child-rearing thing before. In some ways, what makes motherhood so stressful is that you're doing everything, and dealing with every stage, for the first time. Grandparenthood frees you from worrying about whether you're doing every tiny little thing right, and lets you just enjoy it.
- Living in the moment. Partly because they've watched their own kids grow up and partly because wisdom comes with age, grandparents know how fast it really goes. And they know how important it is to live in the moment each time they're with the grandkids. (I have trouble not making grocery lists and composing emails in my head during the second, third, and fourth consecutive readings of Go, Dog, Go.)
- Your house still gets to be clean. Grandkids come over, they play, and then they go home. When you tidy up the place afterward, it stays that way for several days. Motherhood is like shoveling snow in the middle of a blizzard for 18 years. I can't even imagine what it's like to put something down and be 100% sure it's going to be there when I come back 10 minutes later.
- Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I'll fully admit that sometimes I take for granted what amazing people my children are because they're always, and I mean always, right there: sitting on me, headbutting me, yelling "BOO!" at me, wiping their noses on me, pulling at my clothes and flashing strangers... if I get a chance to miss them once in a while, it jogs my memory.
- No more nagging. Some days I feel like all I do is tell my kids to clean up, pick up, do their homework, practice the piano... I don't have to do that when I'm a grandparent. And even if I do, it's "Mom said you have to do your chores" instead of "I SAID DO IT RIGHT NOW!!!"
- There's an opt-out policy. As a grandparent you can hug, snuggle, and play with the baby — and then hand them back when they have a nuclear explosion in their pants. (A lot of grandmas are awesome and don't do this, but the point is that you can, and your son/daughter can't give you "the look" they give to their spouse when s/he tries to pull the same thing.)
- Goodbye, multi-tasking. Doing five things at once is a necessary evil when you have kids in your face 24/7 and also errands to run and a refrigerator that won't fill itself. As a grandparent, there will be kid-free days when the laundry gets done, the yard gets mowed, and the bills get paid; and then there are days when the grandkids come over and you can focus 100% on them. Talk about having the best of both worlds.
Now, don't get me wrong: there are so many great parts about being a mom and I'd never wish them all away right now. I'm just really looking forward to when I get promoted to grandma.