I admit it. I am an envious, and sometimes bitterly jealous, mother. Mainly in regard to ONE thing. One big, fat, enormous life-altering thing. I secretly envy those mothers who have THEIR mothers and mother-in-laws nearby to watch their kids like WHENEVER someone sneezes! I'll out myself. I COVET thee. I'm breaking a commandment, people. I don't really know what coveting is, but I'm reasonably sure I do it. There are even fleeting moments when I feel spite. Yes, spite. I said it. I'm not proud of it, but when you're bringing 4 girls with you everywhere from the supermarket to the Gyno while others get weekly Grandparent respite for everything from a hangnail to a bad day to a date night, it's hard not to be bitter. Or, perhaps it's just me.
But, Grandma watching the kids can have some cons too. You know how it can be. Grandma doesn't always do what YOU would do, or what you would like HER to do with your children. Like, my Mom. She's not really around to see the kids that much. When she does, she's great. Really. But, she's kinda like a drug pusher on the corner. She has this propensity to think all her grandchildren "feel a little warm" and so she's very liberal with the dispensing of Tylenol. I, on the other hand, am very reluctant to use any medication unless necessary, and don't think that feeling some one's forehead and proclaiming "she feels a little warm" (when, by the way, she feels exactly the way she feels every day and there is NO use of sophisticated devises like THERMOMETERS or the presence of any other symptomotology whatsoever) is grounds to dispense acetaminophen like crack gumdrops. But, hey, that's just me. I have friends who suffer from other types of Grandmas like The Over-Indulgent Grandma. You know, the one who lets your kids get a way with murder, too much T.V., too little sleep, and they come back to you spoiled rotten. Or, you can have the Overly Advicey Uber Neurotic Grandma, like my friend whose Mom gives her excellent pointers like "Don't wipe the baby's face with a paper towel because they have bleach in them."
MY mother-in-law is quite awesome. She's a better Mom to my kids than I am. Good discipline, lots of love, home cooked meals. She also knows what style I have and what I like to do for the kids and tries her best to do things "my way." The only downside to my mother-in-law is that she lives 2 hours away. Bummer.
Even though distance is a challenge, my mother-in-law and father-in-law love having the kids stay over a few nights every now and then. The funny thing is that while Grandma is stellar, their Papi is... well... Papi. You won't find a Papi who is more loving, playful, and fun than my girls' Papi. But, he's not so on the ball with other stuff. Like safety, diet, and basic common sense when it comes to children. I'm not just talkin' about feeding them junk all day long. It's stuff like, he'll put sunscreen on Rella's diaper rash instead of Desitin. Yeah, at least her butt won't get sunburned, thank God. Or, he'll use his handy pocket knife that he just used to work on tools and other greasy dirty messes to cut up an apple for the girls, claiming he just "washed it off" on his jeans. That's sanitary in MY book! Then, he'll bust out some prehistoric electric fan from before they had the safety grate thing on it and put it right on the floor like a whirling machete, just tempting the kids to splice off a finger (hasn't happened. Yet). He'll take baby Ella up a 10 foot ladder into the hard hat zone of a construction site. I have no problem with that other than he is considered disabled and his leg "gives out" often. Just what you want to have happen holding an 18 month old at the top of a 10 foot latter. Or, he'll put a 12 month old baby in a booster car seat made for 5 year olds while simultaneously feeding them the World's Top 5 Most Chokable Foods. I'd probably have an ulcer if we lived closer and they watched the kids more. But, loss of stomach lining for gain in childcare/Independence/sanity is an exchange I'm willing to make. Who needs a stomach lining anyway?
So, how do YOUR mothers and mother-in-laws stack up? I'd love to hear! Watch the Juice Box Jungle video clip in my sidebar. I love the gang at Juice Box Jungle! Leave me a comment if you can relate to their clip and/or have a funny story to share!