Why I Don't Want to be a Grandmother
I love my three kids. They have, however, done that thing kids do: they’ve grown up. At ages 29, 27 and 23, they all have pretty good lives of their own; in fact my two older ones are in serious relationships and my 27-year-old son Charlie is getting married later this year.
So it would be natural that a mom’s thoughts would inevitably turn to future grandchildren. And mine have. In a big way. I can’t wait to become a grandmother. I’ve teased my kids for years – or at least since their relationships have become serious – about getting off (or on) their duffs and start adding to the next generation.
But here’s a secret. Despite my not-so-subtle hints, I recently realized I don’t want to be a grandma quite yet.
Becoming an empty-nester was very hard for me. I was always involved in my kids’ activities and schooling, and I enjoyed every stage of their journey. So when my youngest left for college, I realized I was pretty empty. Very empty. And bored. So I tried to fill it with more work, but that wasn’t any fun. I tried to volunteer, but I couldn’t find anything that felt fulfilling and filled that hole in my heart.
I’ve also been able to see my kids grow up and navigate those dreadful early 20s – by themselves, without a lot of my interference. It turns out there are no PTAs at colleges. I’ve interfered a few times, but have slowly learned – in no uncertain terms – that my kids will come to me with problems, but I don’t need to seek them out.
This is a tricky time in a parent’s life, especially for moms like me who have put their children first for so many years. On some days I felt devastated, worthless. I felt like a non-person.
But as we know it’s not that healthy to live for someone else, and moms are the worse culprits. I know I was. At my kids’ ages now, however, it’s unfair and unhealthy for all of us for me to interfere.
Meanwhile, my husband and I “downsized” our home, we started hanging out together more, and we’d jump at the chance for a spontaneous dinner out. Pre-COVID we would go to local concerts, and we found more time – and reasons – to travel. I saw my friends more, even at lunchtime! I spent wonderful, quality time with my two dogs, who became my work “interns” and constant companions.
Most importantly, I was able to spend time on myself, growing up a bit and finding some healthy habits that I had let go of when I became a parent.
My husband and I travel -- right now just to see relatives, since we’ve already had COVID – and are planning a three-week trip to Thailand and Singapore in 2022, God willing. London, France and Portugal are also waiting for us.
This time is a gift, an opportunity for me to learn some lessons, too. Maybe I’ve been given this time because I need to get ready to become a grandma.
It’s not like I don’t have special children in my life. I am devoted to my three grand-nephews, who think of me as their “Third Grandma.” I have a new grand-niece in Texas who I’ve fallen in love with, despite her inability to converse in a manner I can understand. Or maybe it’s vice-versa.
I’m not deprived of sort-of grandchildren. I just can’t wait until my own kids can experience the same joy I had with them. But unfortunately, it’s not my decision, my timetable. I know, or at least I hope, there are several little souls floating up in the universe who are crazy enough to want to join our clan. They will in their own time.
But until then, I can keep learning, enjoying my husband’s and my adventures, planning a wedding and navigating life post-COVID.
And sneaking in a few impatient grandma barbs now and then – for fun.