This in itself is not a bad thing. We do not have to have the busy days we used to while our children were young and we had to chase and watch them and chauffeur them to all the activities we felt they needed to belong in. We can take things slower and relax more with friends our own age and friends who enjoy the slower pace as well.
But oh how we love to see our little ones especially if they live too far away for daily visits. We invite the family for a weekend or longer and then we go into cleaning, shopping, planning mode.
You know the one! we clean out closets and make beds and bake goodies dig out and buy toys that we just know the little ones will absolutely love. We plan a day at the stores, a day at the beach or park, a day or two to do exactly what the little ones want to do.
Grandpa is brought into the mix to make sure the outdoor toys are in working order and to clean the outside furniture so everyone can sit around and relax and the bbq has to be cleaned up and filled so it is ready to do the steaks and chicken and don’t forget hot dogs and burgers.
Everything is in welcome attire except grandpa and grandma.
We are so tired after all the work that we need a day or two to recover so we can enjoy our little ones visit.
Then the family arrives and you get hugs and kisses and think to ourselves what a wonderful time we are going to have. Just one thing complications arise.
The little ones are older and not too interested in the toys of last visits.
The weather is lousy so your days at the beach or outside activities are not going to happen.
You think of the box with the Barbie dolls and clothes that you have been collecting and when you bring them out you find that the little girl who loved Barbie dress up last time no longer wants to play with them.
The little boy who loved to read has taken up hand held video games which you don’t understand and all he wants to do is play with those.
Your desire to maybe teach them to cook while you make meals is a total washout because all they want to eat is hot dogs or grilled cheese sandwiches.
So you leave them with their parents and grandpa and head to the bathroom to think of a plan B. I say the bathroom because it is a place with no interruptions usually. But with little ones around, the door is knocked on with a small voice sounding desperate calling that they need to get in right away. So you leave with out a plan B yet.
Well it isn’t raining yet just kind of cold so you suggest going shopping. Everyone climbs into the cars and off you go. But trying to take adults and children of different ages to shop as a group just does not work. The boys want to look at boy things and get bored looking at girls clothes or toys and the adults keep saying no they wouldn’t play with that and how would they get it packed into the car when the visit is over.
My advice for that situation is parents go off by themselves. They will enjoy the freedom of looking without having children to supervise. Grandpa can take the boys to their idea of a fun store and grandma can take the girls. Just make sure that grandpa and grandma are on the same budget page.
Meet up later at the car and when you are eating at home there is a conversation ready to be explored.
Avoid restaurants they are not a good idea as children tend to order too much or tell you rather loudly that the food is gross. Stick to home meals where nobody can see or hear you. Stock up on kid friendly meals. Pizza, hot dogs, kraft dinner, chicken nuggets, and french fries are usually good choices.
Now you have entertained and fed your visitors and it is time for bed. Remember that fun ritual. I want a drink, I am too hot, I want to read in bed, I want a story, I can’t sleep in the same bed as him, he kicks.
Well it really hasn’t changed that much.
Finally they are asleep and day one is over. You fall into bed and tell each other that it is only another day or two. You fall asleep to dream of the hassle free day tomorrow.
The next day the weather is beautiful so off to the beach. The children use up a lot of energy and are nicely tired when it is over and go to bed nicely just like you dreamed they would and the visit is a huge success. But you are still tired and starting to hurt from all the activity. One more day to go.
The little ones have decided that the old toys and games are fun so they are sort of entertaining themselves while you and the parents pack up the things to get ready to leave. Finally the hour to leave is here and it is trips to the bathroom, lunch and drinks and snacks are in the cooler for the trip home and everyone climbs into the car as you stand on the porch and wave sadly good bye.
You love your children with all your heart and you loved the visit and wouldn’t want to miss it for anything but oh the peace and quiet you hear and feel is such a welcome change from the 2 days of noise confusion and fun you almost feel guilty that you could want to have your house to yourself again.
Don’t!!! It is normal to feel that way. As I said we are all getting older and just don’t have the energy to keep up with little ones 24/7 for an extended time.
Enjoy the visits but also enjoy your time with the slower pace. You will enjoy the visits that much more when they do happen.
Write your grandchildren to keep in touch and call them often but don’t think you have to enjoy every minute you are around them. It is a grand parent thing to feel badly when you can’t keep up but it is a human thing to admit to yourself that you are older and just don’t have the energy.