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Dealing with uninvolved grandparents

I grew up on my grandmothers lap and consider myself most fortunate. There is no love that compares to the unwavering ,unconditional love of a grandparent. 

Over the years , it was my grandmother’s wisdom I turned to . Her advice and counsel I saught .  I knew no matter what she would fiercely protect me and love me through  my bad moods, trials and tears.

Not all granparents are loving

When my eldest child was born , I was estatic to share this bond with her and to watch my own mother become a special star in my daughters life.

It was also round about this time that I discovered not all grandparents are cut from the same cloth.

A few examples

My mother,  was an alcoholic who viewed her grandchildren as a nuisance and reminder of her age.   Up until her death she was completely disinterested in bonding with my beautiful children. 

My father , had left the country. In the beginning he exchanged a gift or two but  he last saw any of my children 17 years ago. Not once since has he directly enquired about them. 

My ex husband’s father, who was absent through his sons life, was even less interested. After a few months of sending updates with our first child,  he firmly asked my why I didn’t have an abortion and save his teenage son the embarrassment of ‘my‘ predicament. It was right there that his involvement stopped completely.

As for his mother, she had little time for the children. She was always too busy and I would run after her trying to involve her in birthdays and the children’s other events. She always had an excuse as to why she couldn’t attend. She lived with us at one stage , and was intolerant and rude to the children around her who just wanted to spend time with  her.

Gran to the rescue

Once again I was blessed to have my grandmother fill this imensely important role in both mine and my children’s lives. Unfortunately she passed away when most of my children were still too young to remember how special she was.

Each week she would phone to find out how they were. Each weekend she baked treats and hand made toys for them. At night , when she lived with us, she’d gather my 5 older children onto her bed singing with them and telling them wild tales ;taking them on imaginary adventures. 

The times that we lived far apart from each other she would write to the children, post small parcels and phone them. 

Always she made an effort to find out about their lives, milestones and interests.

So how do you deal with a disinterested grandparent ?

Grandparents hold such a special role in their grandchildren lives and it’s both frustrating and hurtful to know your child will not have an actively involved grandparent in their lives.

 How do you cope with this?

Make an effort 

Always make the effort.  Contrary to what you may feel or believe, you never want your children to feel you isolated an important person from their lives.

Send the photos,  text the milestones,  share the certificates. Invite your parents to birthdays and school functions. If the children are older, let them phone and draw pictures. 

Make an effort to visit them and encourage visits to your home,especially if they stay far away.

You will all remember our road trip to get Bear dedicated in his grandmothers church in order to include her in his special day.

Remind them that they are special in their grandchildren eyes

Send them quotes that your children have said about them. Make a big deal of grandparents day, their birthdays, etc.  

Shortly after my divorce , i took a photo of my youngest two children’s handmade cards for my mother in law and shared them on her Facebook wall. I wanted her to see I divorced her son but she was still special to her grandchildren.

Advise them on how to bond with your child

Some grandparents are just clueless. It’s been a while since they had children and parenting has changed. They may not know your child well enough to bond with them. Suggest a shared hobby.

I remember asking my mother in law to teach my children to build puzzles as she spent hours building puzzles of her own.

Know when to give up

As much as it is important to foster a relationship between your child and their grandparent , it is equally as important to know when to stop trying.

If you have put the effort in and receive no result , you will eventually be setting yourself and your child up for failure.

Protecting their emotions is just as important, if not more so , as encouraging bonds with family. 

If the grandparent makes no effort after your attempts , it is most likely the healthier option to stop trying and wait for them to want a relationship with your child.

My father in law, now in his late seventies , wants to connect with his adult grandsons. I have left this choice up to them. They need to decide if they actually want a relationship with someone who wasn’t involved in their lives.

Moving on

Whilst it may be difficult and hurtful to step aside from disinterested grandparents know that you can break the cycle by one day being the type of grandparent you invisioned in your children’s lives.

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Where is your heart mama ?

Friday I read a post that cut me to my core.

I’ve been trying to find the right words to express just how I felt.

Facebook groups

As a mommy blogger I follow hundreds of child related Facebook groups . The posts often fly past me , and I must admit there very few posts that catch my attention long enough to follow the thread.

But this one did …..

Broken heart

A mom, let’s call her Sue, posted into a breastfeeding support group . Her words were factual .

 She started with “my baby died this morning” 

Omw! Mamas can you imagine her pain.  

How hard must it be to know you will never hold your precious angel in your arms again. How your heart must break, knowing the life you’ve guarded and treasured will never grow up into the future you on invisioned. 

She didn’t state how old her angel baby was.
Advice

She continued to state how full and sore her breasts were, asking how she could stop the flow.

Being a breastfeeding support group , this was the right platform to turn to.

Mama after mama answered her sending the love, advice and thoughts. Each one, I’m sure, wishing this mamas pain away.

Troll

But there is always one ….

Let’s call her Betty! 

Betty took it upon herself to tell Sue that she shouldn’t be worrying about her breasts if her baby died.

I read her callous words with shock and shame that a mama could so carelessly judge a heartbroken mama as she reached out in pain.

Empty arms

For just a moment imagine empty arms where your baby lay a few hours before.

Imagine full breasts waiting to nurture and give life to a baby no longer ready to eat.

Imagine the hours of tears that will follow the silent grieving of a mother left behind .

 If someone reached out , try not to judge, until  you’ve walked those shoes.

  

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Caught up in cuddles

Caught up in cuddles 

(Judy dooley)
When I woke up this morning

I had a lot to do 

My goals were all set out 

And then I cuddled You!
I meant to go and shower

But I cuddled you some more

I meant to make the bed 

And sweep the dirt from the floor
I meant to do the dishes,

The washing and clean our home 

But I was sure I saw you niggle 

Or was it a little groan ?
I thought I’d just sit here

And cuddle you some more

After all I had the time…..

But now its half past four !
I haven’t cleaned the house 

The meal is left undone 

I got so caught up in cuddles

I was having too much fun

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Keep your family memories

Are you making memories with your loved ones daily ? Or have you let life get in the way and are too busy to stop and enjoy those you cherish most ? 

Yesterday we took bear for a quick walk on the beach. We were both lazy . It was after 5pm and yes supper needed to be made, bear bathed and evening washing packed away but these are not the things bear will remember. …

He will however remember that his mom and dad loved to walk on the beach with him.

As the mom of older children with lives of their own I speak from experience when i say all too soon your precious little one is gone and you mostly have the memories of their childhood and some random phone calls and visits to show for it.

Start storing those memories now. 

Take the time to craft with your child,  do activities together, make that video, take that photo. …

Keep your memories💜

Some brilliant ideas to preserve memories are :

Build a family website 

Write letters to your child to give on landmark birthdays

Make videos

Start a Facebook page for family photos 

Invest in photo books or albums

Write annual family newsletter

Have regular photos taken as a family.

Make fridge magnets of your photos.

Make time casuals. 

Encourage journalist. 

Keep memory boxes from holidays and special events.

I know of several people who’ve lost a loved one who would give a moment of time to have some of their memories back.

Today … spend some time making memories for tomorrow.  

 

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Guess who slept in his own cot ? 

After almost a year of sharing our bed last night  I confidently put bear into his cot…

….We both survived! !!!!

Motivation 

I’ll admit that the motivation behind his transition to cot had more to  do with the fact that I couldn’t breathe, my throat felt like fire and someone was blazing matches into my eardrums … the thought of a now well bear catching this virus again scared me more than a few tears of protest from him.

And honestly …. I just wanted to sleep !!

Lead up

Having said that though, I have been concidering the move for the last week or so. He really is getting too big to be in our bed and sleeps well in the cot at school.

Blanket fort

So over the weekend I turned his cot on its side, threw over a blanket and taa daa…

….a blanket fort.

He loved the fort and spent hours going in and out with his trucks and cars.

Mamma even abandoned the adult world and climbed in with him.

Time will tell

Night one done and dusted and here’s holding thumbs for night two. After all it only takes two weeks for a habit to form and maybe now this mamma will get more sleep 😉