No one will love your kids quite like their grandparents. No one will listen to (and actually enjoy) your children’s endless prattle. No one will be as (obnoxiously) proud of even the smallest of accomplishments. And no one—no one—will indulge your kids quite like their grandparents, especially when the kids are under their care and supervision.
I hope you enjoyed your kid-free time because after you pick the kids up from Grandma’s house, their whiny, cranky, sugar-infused, over-indulged asses are going to be a pain in yours. I call this irritating phenomenon “the Grandparent Hangover.”
Sure, you can try to prevent this hangover by giving the grandparents a strict set of instructions, but that won’t solve the problem. Why? Because grandparents are the original gangsters. They don’t give a fuck what you want them to do with your kids. They’re gonna do what they’re gonna do. My words of wisdom: Unless it’s life-threatening, let them do it. It’s just not practical to give a list of rules to people who have absolutely no intention of following them.
Your time will be better spent preparing for the aftermath that is the Grandparent Hangover. Here are a variety of things you can do to survive the meltdowns, entitlement and bad behavior.
1. Prepare for the whining and crying. Play your favorite music (preferably something soothing) in the car on the way home from Grandma’s house. Turn up the volume until it drowns out all of the annoying sounds.
2. Go straight home. It’s best to contain the cranky to a non-public setting. It’s also easier to blast music or the television to cover the sounds of screaming children.
3. Don’t try and “rip off the Band-Aid” by sending them immediately back to their routine of chores and homework. Have a glass of wine and give them some re-entry time.
4. Stop the bickering before it starts. Engage your kids in a game. Give them a snack. Keep them separated so they don’t fight amongst themselves. Or just go hide in the closet. (Don’t forget your wine.)
5. Serve one of their favorite meals. After all, grandparents aren’t the only ones who can bribe children for love.
6. The kids are going to be overtired. Put on a movie and let them space out. Plan for an early bedtime. Get them into their own rooms as soon as possible.
7. Have another glass of wine.
If all else fails, just repeat: “I got free babysitting. I got free babysitting. I got free babysitting,” until the Grandparent Hangover wears off and your children have forgotten what it feels like to have someone cater to their every whim.
Then, next time, as payback, send them to their grandparents’ house filthy and stinky. Not that I’ve ever done that.