Mother may I?: Different standards for Grandma

mother and sons

My daughter has a double standard. I didn’t raise her to be that way, but I can no longer deny it.

You see, what my daughter — whom I love deeply and dearly despite this flaw — does with her children, my grandchildren, and what she expects and allows me to do with them are two very different things. Sometimes, in fact, they contradict one another quite starkly.

To wit:

When I am in charge of caring for my grandsons, meaning Mom and Dad have hit the road and enlisted me to babysit, I’m given rules to follow, rules related to eating, sleeping, personal hygiene and safety.

One food-related rule is that the boys get only their three meals a day plus one morning snack and one afternoon snack. I’m not to give them any more, any less. When my daughter’s in charge, though, those kids snack off and on throughout the day. At times not on the written schedule I've been asked to adhere to. Then my grandsons — not so surprisingly, I must add, with a "nyah, nyah" attached — balk at their plates of healthy foods come mealtime.

healthy snackWhile we're on the subject of snacks, I must say that my ever-so-health-conscious daughter swears my grandsons are not to have too much sugar. They eat sugar-free cereals, natural peanut butter, corn syrup-free fruit snacks and a variety of other not-so-sweet sorts of things.

But — and you knew there had to be one, right? — the boys are allowed handfuls of M&Ms and other candies when Mom or Dad are eating a few themselves. Handfuls, I tell you. Well, not really handfuls, as they actually get them in little snack bowls (for M&Ms really do melt in your hand, not just in your mouth, at least when it comes to the hands of little boys).

Bedtime features a similar bending of the rules. I’ve been told the boys must be bathed, rocked, read a story, bedtime prayer said, then huggled and snuggled before being tucked in. On a specific schedule and in that order. Which I do happily. (Nearly) every single time. Does my daughter follow that schedule? Um, not usually.

Use of media is another sore spot for me, another place the double standard can’t be denied. This one I’ve actually called my daughter out on — which I don’t normally do. But I just had to say something when nearly a year ago, I allowed my four-year-old grandson to watch a Batman cartoon, and when my daughter found out (thanks, Bubby!), she chastised me with, “Mom, he’s not supposed to watch that. It has mean men who shoot guns.”

I couldn’t hold my tongue. Especially considering that my letting him watch cartoon men who shoot guns, while surely not a great idea, can’t be much worse than his parents letting that same grandson, at that same age, listen to LMFAO’s unsavory (but, yes, rather humorous) ditty “I’m Sexy and I Know It” so many times that he knew most of the words. Worse yet, he considered it his very favorite song at the time.

In the grand scheme of the grandparenting gig, the contradictory rules for Mom versus Grandma aren’t that big of a deal. Really. They’re not harmful to my grandsons. My daughter is an awesome mother with good intentions. She keeps my grandsons safe, sound, and never doubting they are loved and cherished. Plus, as the parent, it's her prerogative, one not afforded the grandparent.

Still, it is a tad disconcerting to see my daughter so full of baloney (and not just because she wouldn't dare be caught dead eating ever-so-very-unhealthy baloney).

Yet, despite the double standard, I do my best to stick to her rules.

Even if they’re silly.

Even if they’re not fair (I say in my whiniest of whiny voices).

I stick to them because they’re my daughter’s rules, and that’s what grandmas must do.

Because grandmas no longer set the rules.

Which is the one rule grandmas would be most wise to remember.

Today's question:

How does the mom-rules/grandma-rules dynamic play out in your family?