Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How to be as unhelpful as possible - a guide for grandparents who are all talk and no action

You only have 1 child. He has 2 grandkids; you've asked for grandkids pretty much since he was about 18. You are retired. You decide to pick up and move house. You move from your home that takes 5 hours of flying across the continent, to somewhere that takes 3 hours of flying followed by 4 or 5 hours of driving. No good reason, no contacts or other reasons to move there- you may as well have picked it by throwing darts at a map of Queensland.

You remark on how odd it is that your friends have moved so they can be close to their grandkids. What an odd thing to do, you say, noting that your son doesn't come out and agree with you.

'I suppose they want to see more of their grandkids' he observes redundantly, resulting in cold silence over the phone.

You ignore all the advice you are offered in respect of selling the house, but then, when things predictably go pear shaped (selling a house isn't straightforward, who'd have thunk?) you constantly call to whinge about it.

Don't worry, plenty of time to devote to the topic, we're only having a son in case you didn't notice.

Taking 3 weeks to see pictures of your new grandson, because you can't organise yourselves to get to a net cafe as you're too busy unpacking (well, staying in a hotel by the beach while the settlement goes through can be surprisingly stressful, once again, who'd ever guess??) is a good way to show the love.

Then one of you gets organised to visit. As if to make up for being so slack about it, you decide, wait, why not go for 2 weeks instead of 1? Why not leave this to the last minute then ask said son to organise it all? It's not like he's busy making sense of a new job, looking after 2 kids, getting by on 5 hours of sleep a night which is about 1 hour more than his wife.

Because 2 weeks is what they'd be looking forward to. Especially after the last time you came for 2 weeks, and criticised Beloved's mothering, made disparaging comments about how much Bear was crying, her weight, her feeding- none of which was based on an ounce of rational evidence.

We didn't realise you could overfeed a newborn on the breast, thanks for that!

*throws out 10 scientific parenting manuals*

I'd love you to help make my wife feel like crap, that'll be a big help. Why don't you go back to your old ways of blaming me for everything my father does, while you're at it?

*gnash gnash gnash gnash*

Yesterday I bit the family guilt bullet and phoned to suggest that, perhaps, the dates could be changed and a week or so would be 'about right'. I'll never hear the end of it but I've got to draw the line somewhere.


Pavlov's Cat said...

Look on the bright side (she said infuriatingly): if they make you as angry as that, then it's a good thing they're a long way away!

Anonymous said...

Hear hear!

*gnash gnash...*


Armagnac Esq. said...

xx backatcha love.

Officially celebrating what I believe is the first ever comment left hear by my wife and subject of most of my best posts....

Armagnac Esq. said...

...And yes Pav, you're right to an extent. I think a reasonable compromise would have been Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast...

Mindy said...

My goodness. I wish you strength for the upcoming week of visiting.

JahTeh said...

It doesn't matter how old you get, you'll be re-setting the boundaries every year and never hearing the end of it.

seepi said...

At least they've moved to the beach. You can inflict themselves on them for week long beach holidays in years to come.

My parents retired to the windswept barren paddocks of middle-of-nowhere NSW. Not cool.

The Accidental Housewife said...

Boundaries! They are so so important, and setting them is often the kindest thing to do for both parties. We had our kiddo 5 month ago.
My mother (who I refer to as the MIL since she is most trying of any of our marriage's parentals) announced she was going to come and spend her entire long service leave, all three months of it, at our house.
Our house is small, but a mansion would be small if she were inside. I usually trudge home for every second Christmas, and inevitably end up in tears on a daily basis. I'm not generally an emotional person but no one can wound like a mother.
So when she decided she was coming I told her she was welcome in my city, welcome to visit for the afternoon or join us for a walk, but she was NOT welcome to stay in our house. It was hard, there were recriminations, but now the three months are up and I didn't cry once. The initial outlay of feeling like an absolute turd of an ungracious child was well worth the payback. I am certain if she had stayed we would not be on talking terms now.
Apologies for the rant!

Armagnac Daddy said...

Again rant is fine- my gozza 3 months would blow my mind, with ANY of the parentals staying. You did well...