Mother (Almost Never) Knows Best: Grandparents: Heavenly Sent or Hell's Angels?

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Grandparents: Heavenly Sent or Hell's Angels?


As per the www.gov.uk website top grandparent facts (who knew) include:

  • 1 in 4 working families and 1 in 3 working mothers use grandparents for childcare (that's me)
  • 63% of all grandparents with grandchildren under 16 help out with childcare (also me)
  • 1 in 5 grandmothers provide at least 10 hours a week of childcare (oh come on!)

I am guilty as charged. I use, abuse and yet am still terrified to lose my mother as my primary childcare giver. I am eternally grateful for the countless journeys she endures traversing Scotland's central belt, for every Tuesday night sleepover and Wednesday of work. I will never be able to convey the relief I feel when leaving my treasured progeny in the care of someone I know, love and trust. Neither will I ever be able to repay the sleepless nights suffered, remove every worry line sustained nor repair every glorious garment blighted by sticky hands. I will forever be in your debt (both emotionally and financially.)


The Mothership taking a turn on the tram

HOWEVER, and here's the thing, I think there is underhanded parental sabotage going on. I suspect someone has been playing the long game, counting the days until they could exact their revenge. Their time is now.



Oh yes, I am on to you mother. 


I know your game. 


The Mother playing the long game

You may have camouflaged your subterfuge in selfless acts, endless affection and the deluge of presents which you rain upon myself and my offspring but don't think me fooled. I can see through your smoke and mirrors. 


Smoke and mirrors

I have charted every misdemeanour and am here to reveal your underhanded ways to the masses:

1. THE RECORDER


My mother bought my daughter, at a mere 14months of age, a recorder. Not a flimsy, disposable, free-with-a-magazine type that only makes noise when you manage to expel air at the speed of light but a robust, school issue type that easily emits a shriek so painful that dogs within a 5mile radius will start bleeding from the ears. 

Shame on you.


Shame. On. You.


2. THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF IMAGINATIVE PLAY
 
Many is the time when I have been summoned to join a conference under the dining room table, where I am instructed to inhabit therole (a la Daniel Day Lewis) of Captain Hook to my preschooler's Wendy and toddler's Peter Pan. When I try to interject citing my sheer size, age and inflexibility as a barrier to joining them, I am duly met with the curt response of "Well [your mother] does it!" And there my argument dies (much like my soul).


Inhabiting her role (which one is unclear)


3. THE BAKING
 
When my daughter is not treading the imaginary boards or sprinkling the world in pink fairy princess dust she likes to bake. I do not bake. My mother bakes. Now, my daughter is not baking with aspirations of being a modern day Mary Berry nor does she find the process particularly soothing. No, my daughter does it so she can lick every utensil, vessel and digit that may come into contact with chocolate based goods and then enjoy the non-fruits of her labour. 


Should you have had to reason with a highly strung and emotional pre-schooler chasing the icing sugar dragon then I know you feel my pain. 


Mother, how could you?


Preparing her "line"


But "why?" I hear you ask. Why would she do such a thing? She is your mother. She loves you and cherishes your children. She was your own protector in infancy and childhood caregiver.  


And there we have it. 


For she has been where I am now. She too, has tried to tame the tyrannical toddler, wrangled with the recalcitrant rebel and valiantly vowed to avenge the vegetable. But where my nemeses are them, I was hers. 
 
I was the one who deprived her of sleep every night, crawling in to her bed under the cover of darkness and wedging myself between my parents like a teacher at a high school dance. I was the one who picked off an unsightly chicken pox scab and left it floating around the bath for her to fish out like the last bran flake in the breakfast bowl. I was the one who was so overcome by rage at the incessant teasing of a prepubescent persecutor that I stabbed him in the back with a compass leaving her to explain my behaviour to my, rather shocked, primary school teacher. 


How could that face be trouble?

Oh yes, she has suffered and she has waited. Her time is now.


So friends, parents and fellow captives, bide your time, stay strong for one day we shall rise!


But can we be sure to make it at a leisurely hour?
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