Grandma Withdrawal Is A Real Thing, And It’s Basically The Worst


Kids Love Their Grandma and They Also Love Going to Her House – and That Makes Life Easier 

Shortly after we got married, my husband and I considered moving away from our home town. Neither of us enjoys Midwest winters, and the idea of heading south to year-round warmth certainly had its appeal. Ultimately, we decide to stay put because both of our families live nearby, and we wanted our kids to have a close relationship with their grandparents and the rest of our family. Now, years later we have exactly what we’d hoped for. Our kids adore their grandparents, and love spending time with them as often as possible.

If I’d let them, my kids would gladly move in with either of their grandparents, because grandma’s house is apparently where it’s at. I’m not mad that my kids prefer their grandparents over me. In fact, it really comes in handy when I need some time away from my tiny creations. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, but they are loud and needy. I will gladly ship them off to grandma’s house for a date night or a couple hours of alone time.

Kids love going to grandma’s, because grandma’s house is basically a giant free for all. Grandma doesn’t care what they do, or how they do it. In her eyes, they are perfect little angels who can do no wrong. Which is a drastic shift from what I remember of my own childhood with the same woman, but whatever. When it comes to grandma, kids can get away with murder and eat sugary treats to their hearts content. They are never force-fed vegetables or expected to do anything that doesn’t bring them immense joy. Which is just not how things roll at home, where we have rules and expectations for a certain level of non-feral behavior. Which leads me to the childhood phenomena known as Grandma Withdrawal. Grandma Withdrawal is a thing that I never knew existed until I had kids, but let me assure you, it’s real, and it’s a beast.

The other day, I picked-up my kids after an overnight with grandma. My 6-year-old sobbed as we pulled out of the drive way—devastated, heaving sobs. “I’m just really gonna miss grandma!” She blubbered through tears. You would have thought we were pulling away from grandma’s funeral, not a fun-filled sleepover. Eventually the tears subsided after much reassurance that we would see grandma again very soon. I mean, the woman lives 15 minutes away. We literally see her all the time.

Irrational Tears Are Only the Tip of the Iceberg When it Comes to Grandma Withdrawal 

Unfortunately, these somewhat-endearing, irrational tears are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Grandma Withdrawal. The true hallmark of Grandma Withdrawal is outlandish outbursts, wild mood-swings, and fits of anger. Even the most mild-mannered child will turn into a nightmare when he’s coming down from the grandma-high. If you want to see the sky turn dark, and a beast rise from the ocean, just tell a child “no” following their return from grandma’s house. I’m guessing it shocks their system since they haven’t heard the word for 24 hours. What do you mean I can’t throw Froot Loops around the room like confetti? Grandma would let me! Cue all the theatrics.

They will beg to be returned to grandma’s house, and you will strongly consider letting them live there permanently, because OMG WHAT IS THIS BEHAVIOR? You will question whether your time alone was worth the fallout of the Grandma Withdrawal. Hell, you will question everything, because dealing with a child fresh from Grandma’s house is basically like living in the upside down. You will find yourself counting down the hours until bedtime, and making deals you thought you’d never make. Fine, you can throw Froot Loops like confetti if you just stop screaming for five minutes.

After what feels like days, it will finally be bedtime. There are only two possibilities for bedtime, and the first is optimal. Your kids is likely tired as hell from partying with grandma, so there’s a chance you give them a calming bath, plop their little butt in bed and it’s lights out in under five minutes. Or, they are so overly tired, you are forced to bathe a sobbing, thrashing lunatic, who refuses to close their eye and go to sleep,  because “they’re not tired, and grandma would never make them go to bed.” I wouldn’t wish the latter on my worst enemy.

Eventually, though, they will fall asleep, and you will consider severing all ties with grandma to avoid ever experiencing the Grandma Withdrawal again. You won’t though, because even though she is the world’s biggest push-over, she loves your babies and they love her, which let’s be honest, is pretty much the greatest.

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