I know what you’re thinking. If your mom stopped just visiting and moved closer, you’d have free babysitter services. You’d get an occasional night off. You might even have enough sex to have another kid. It would be glorious!
Wrong. Think again.
Think about all the rules you’ve made that seem to fly out the window the moment Grandma shows up. Remember what happens to your kids when they’re hopped up on sugar and toys. When your mother comes for a visit, no matter how much you’re looking forward to it, keep a grip on reality. Do you know what the world would look like if Grandma’s visits were an everyday occurrence?!
Healthy breakfasts? What are those? Balanced meal, energy for the day, and everything else we were told as kids? It’s pure bullshit when Grandma is around. My mother once fed the boys an entire package of bacon for breakfast. Why? According to my mother, “Because that’s all they wanted.” All they want is sugar-laced sodas with a chocolate syrup chaser topped with sprinkles. Are we going to give them that, too? Wait, don’t answer that.
You’d finally find out if gum actually rots teeth. My mom’s purse seems to be full of gum. Every time I turn around, some child is smacking their lips with a cheek full of the stuff. They look like squirrels getting a spearmint fix. Apparently, for Grandma, there is no wrong time for gum. Waiting in line to use the ladies’ room at Target? Time for gum! Just finished breakfast at 8 a.m.? Wash down that bacon with spearmint, kids! She’s got an endless supply in her purse.
Our kids would never have to eat their dinner in order to get dessert again. Ever. “Awww, he ate a big lunch, and it’s a special occasion. Can’t he have the chocolate molten concoction with whipped cream, sprinkles, and peanut butter sauce sure to rot his teeth? He doesn’t seem to like the baked chicken and corn you’re offering. Wouldn’t dessert be more fun? Oh, and here’s a stick of gum, too!” First of all, she and I both know good and well they normally inhale that damn chicken and corn. And second, when the hell did she start carrying so much gum?!
All that stuff about sugar will fly right out the window. Remember how you begged for the Twix bar while standing in line at the grocery store as a kid? The immediate response was “Hell no!” When you asked why, you heard all the evils of sugar and treats before dinner, if she was in a good mood. Otherwise it was a “Because I said so” kind of moment. Well, be prepared for the craziness that is Grandma. Double Big Gulp Cherry Coke for the 9-year-old? No problem! The king-size Snickers? Of course, sweetheart. Sure, because she doesn’t have to peel little children off of walls anymore. That’s our job now.
There would be no bedtimes. None. “It’s a special treat. And I wouldn’t want to miss a minute with them. They’re only young for so long, you know.” [Insert guilt-laden, knowing look here.] You’re right, Mom. Who needs sleep? Manic assholes over breakfast are fun. They keep things lively.
So. Many. Toys. Had a bad day at summer camp? Let’s go get a toy! Did Mom tell you no ice cream? Time for a trip to the toy department at Target! What do you mean all the batteries in your toys have died? A lifetime supply of batteries for everyone! Thanks, Mom. You’ve channelled Oprah. You get toys! And you get toys. Everyone gets toys!
Do that thing/sing that song/tell that story for the millionth time. You know the one. That thing your child talks about or does so often that you think your head spun around in a 360 degree turn the last time they did it in your presence. Foam may or may not have spewed from your mouth. In my defense, hearing about Minecraft for the zillionth time – before lunch – is enough to drive anyone crazy. But Grandma just loooooves it. She can’t get enough of it.
Your kids will see you get schooled by your own mom. The kids sometimes forget that Grandma is also Mom – until, of course, she schools you in front of them. Are you really going to eat that? Are you sure you want to wear that shirt? Don’t be mad at him, when you were his age, you did much worse. Which is usually followed by a colorful story from your past that you’d hoped they’d never hear. She’s proof that we never stop being a Mom. To my own children I say, “Just wait.” [Insert evil laugh here.]
Truth is, I love when my mother visits, and I don’t really mind when she gets me to bend the rules a little. On the first day of her visit. By the seventh, I’m pretty sure the kids have been turned into rabid wolves, and the moment the leader (aka Grandma) is gone, they’ll threaten to chew off my face if I don’t get them another Ninjago Lego set.
I let her get away with spoiling them rotten because I know my day is coming. (It’s not because I’m weak, and my mother can still get me to do whatever she wants with one look. It isn’t, damn it!) Come hell or high water, I will have grandchildren of my own to spoil. If nothing else, just for the look on my boys’ faces when I hand one of those precious grandbabies three sticks of gum, a smartphone, and the zillion-piece Lego set just before we sit down to a dinner of bacon, ice cream, and Mountain Dew. That’s called paying it forward, boys.