Dear Grandparents, Why Aren’t You More Involved?

To My Kids’ Grandparents,


Remember when you used to cry yourself to sleep at night because you thought you’d never have grandchildren?

Remember how happy you were when my husband and I finally got around to procreating?

Isn’t it nice that all your wildest dreams came true? I mean, you’ve made it: You are finally grandparents. So how come you’re such slackers?

I had fantasized that you—our collective parents—would pitch in with childcare once the babies arrived, saving us money on expensive sitters for date nights and the like. But it hasn’t worked out that way.

One of you loves visiting our children, but only if we stick around to do the heavy-lifting. It’s not that I don’t love your company, Nana, it’s just that I’d love it even more if I could go to the gynecologist by myself for a change.

The other grandma—you know who you are—always has to “check my schedule,” and invariably our desperate need to get out of the house loses out to shuffleboard practice. Those disks aren’t going to push themselves down the court, after all.

Then there is the grandfather who agrees to watch the kids, as long as I’m okay with the real babysitter being Paw Patrol. Pops, would it kill you to play a little Monopoly once in a while?

Perhaps my expectations are too high, especially for my own parents. I’ll confess to harboring a bit of a rescue fantasy. When I was a child, you guys knew how to fix every boo-boo, heartache, and disappointment. I realize it’s been a few decades since you raised me, but is your parenting spidey sense broken? Can’t you see that I need you to come over so I can take a nap?

I feel guilty even writing this letter. I know how fortunate we are that you are alive, healthy, and able to provide a meaningful multi-generational family for our kids. The rugrats, after all, have no complaints, because you do always come through with the birthday presents and candy. So much candy. But I would look the other way, sugar-pushers, if you could wrap some of that grandchild-spoiling into a night on the town for me and the hubs. The last movie we saw in theaters was Avatar, people.

At least I know I’m not the only member of the sandwich generation who’s struggling. My friend complained that she flew her kids across the country to visit her parents, only for them to ignore their grandchildren in favor of a rigid schedule of old-people yoga and book club. I know you’re set in your ways, grandparents, but I think you’re missing out on some awesome experiences with little kids who won’t be little long.

Maybe if I’m fortunate enough to be a grandparent someday, I’ll understand. Maybe being retired and having loads of free time is more exhausting than it looks.

Sorry, that was snarky.

Seriously though, I hope future me remembers that one of the greatest gifts I could give my kids is a little time off from their kids.


The Mother of Your Grandchildren