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    The 10 commandments for grandmothers


    Thou shall not put one grandchild above any other grandchild, in favor, gifts, deeds, or attention.

    Thou shall not make for yourself a collection of images taken from the Facebook account, online photo-sharing service, or—heaven forbid—a physical photo album belonging to the parents of the grandchild without asking first.

    Thou shall not take the name of the grandchild’s parents in vain for the manner in which they’re feeding, disciplining, spoiling, raising your grandchild(ren). At least not in front of the children.

    Remember the Sabbath Day or whatever day may immediately follow a visit with the grandkids. Use it wisely to rest up, for you will surely need to recover from the energy depletion resulting from the constant attention, crafting, joking, cooking, and uncommon physical activity required—and fully enjoyed—while in the presence of a grandson or granddaughter.

    Honor the father and mother of your grandchildren for in most cases, they really are trying their hardest to do right by the children.

    Thou shall not murder the dietary and bedtime guidelines set forth by the grandchild’s parents. At least not often. And only when chocolate or a request for just one more bedtime story is involved.

    Thou shall not commit adult-like expressions that demean the grandchild, no matter how challenging the child may be. Especially at an overdue bedtime—for the child or the grandma. Or during shopping excursions. Or when the little one won’t eat a special something you cooked up just for him or her, snarling and refusing to take even one single nibble because it’s too brown or too red or touching the food next to it.

    Thou shall not steal all the time with the grandchild—especially a newborn—from other family members simply because you want to continue loving, touching and squeezing the little one, for others do, too. Volunteer, instead, to change the most stinkily soiled of diapers—something others refuse to do—then take your time doing it. 

    Thou shall not bear false witness against the dog to keep a grandchild from getting in trouble for attempting to dig to China in the front yard or eating the last of the cookies from Mom’s cookie jar.

    Thou shall not covet the time the other grandma has with your grandchildren, even if it’s far more than the time you are allotted. For regarding the moments grandmas and grandchildren share, the quality of the time not the quantity will be most memorably held in the hearts of the grandchildren—and the grandmother.

    Today's question:

    Which commandment are you most guilty of breaking? (Of the commandments above!)

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    Reader Comments (23)

    Well, I would have been guilty of #6 if you hadn't added the chocolate exemption. :)
    Excellent post! I love it. I wish I had written it!

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia Meents

    All of them! Great post.

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanie Emasu

    I think photos posted on Facebook are fair game. After all, it is a public venue and anyone can steal them. :)

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJane

    Great post, Lisa. Most of it is just common sense when you consider the feelings of others.

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    Thanks, ladies! I'm pretty sure I'm guilty of one time or another. Not that I'd ever admit that. And Jane, I'll have to go with your justification on that, especially considering all the photos of my grandsons I steal from my daughter's FB page to use here. Maybe I can just stop asking her if it's okay.

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    I'm sooooo guilty of number ten. By a mile. :-)

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTerri Sonoda

    Great list, but looks like I'm going to have to go to Confession.

    Two and six for sure!

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNonnieKelly

    Once again I am reminded how lucky your grandsons are. This manages to be both poignant and humorous, as all the best posts are. I would post and repost this regularly! I will need your sage advice when my time comes.

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrown and Flown

    You are such a talented write, Lisa -- I loved this!! I smiled at each and every one of your commandments and said: "Guilty as charged"! I think #10 has been the hardest for me to keep as I have lived so far away from my grandboys and my DIL's Mom and Dad live part of the year very close to them and see the grandboys all the time.

    When I told my oldest grandson recently that we were moving closer to him he said "Oh Good! Now we can be friends!" How precious is that?

    I'm packing and packing -- January is coming close! YAY!!

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPat

    Wonderful post! I am so tempted to send it (emphasis on number one) to the other grandmother but she probably wouldn't get it anyway and if I send it to her she certainly won't read it -- but it sure hits the nail on the head!

    As for me -- number nine but replace dogs with cats! We blame everything on Shebee!

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    The biggest mistake I have made is expecting that the other child's family would be as excited about the cousin's achievements. I do not hold one grandchild above the others but I think they may have thought I did. I will not do that ever again. It was a mistake and I regret that they misunderstood. #1 is a very important commandment!

    Good list Lisa.


    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Torris

    Great post Lisa.

    Maybe I am guilty of all your commandments, I try my hardest not to say anything bad about Lucy's mother in front of her.

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSally Kabak

    Oh wow - these are amazing. I think I'm guilty of them all. We just welcomed our second grandchild into the world, and i'm now learning to balance my "grandma" time.

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRenee Spindle

    I do pretty well except for #6. My granddaughter likes diet soda which her parents prefer she doesn't drink and my grandson loves candy of any kind. The three of us lean towards 'what happens at grandma's stays at grandmas' but we get caught periodically. Oh well, life should be a little easier with less rules at grandma's as long as everyone is safe and healthy - at least that is what I tell myself.

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

    #8. #8. Guilty. And I sort of feel like I've earned that right to play and tickle and coo and whisper and love...with, okay, an occasional diaper change. Again. Head hung in shame. Guilty

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

    OMGosh, Lisa! These are hilarious.....and soooo true! I can relate to them all, believe me! WELL must have notebooks all over the house to jot down your awesome thoughts and ideas!
    Re: the Gma who spends more time with both sets of grkids.....I'd add that one should make the effort to disappear/be unavailable whenever the other grandparents are in town! They def deserve their alone time and the kids' undivided attention! :)
    LOVE reading everything you write! These commandments are classic.....a real keeper!

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Stommen

    Ha ha now MY grandma always told me that I was her favorite.....

    ( BUT I bet she did that with the other 3 too :)

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdebra

    Great post! I got nailed on #2 shortly after my granddaughter was born. Bad grandma...BAD. :)

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVikki Claflin

    #s 2, 5 & 10 = guilty as charged :( Thanks Joan for the reminder - especially w/Christmas coming up & the other grandparents coming in from out of state. Last time they were down I tried to find a time to spend w/the other g-ma (mainly to get to know her better though) but I know they don't get to see him except a couple times/year's just so hard.

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

    Alright! That is hysterical and I am NOT confessing to any one of those.......because I'm pretty sure I'm guilty on all counts!

    November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

    Not a grandparent, but rule #2 seems unfair. People should not put photos out in the public arena and not expect others to view them, save them, print them out.

    November 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGinger Kay

    These are great and I will have to keep them for the time when I become a grandmother! #3 really resonates with me, and I am so grateful neither my mom nor my mil was guilty of this when our girls were little. I will be following their lead in being a good gram, and your list is a great addition to that!

    December 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKim

    Oh My Goodness! I'm expecting my first grandchild in a few months and I have long held the opinion that the relationship my own children have had with thier grandparents was essential and the most important, never to be missed bonding of thier lives. I now live states away from my children :( and my first grand baby will be coming along soon..I don't want to miss a single thing but I don't know how to manage the long-distance relationship that is unavoidable. How can I be an important part of their lives from so far away?

    TracyAnn from and htttp://

    December 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTracy Joyner
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