Have you ever had one of those days?
The sole of your new shoes comes apart. You spill your coffee after just one sip - all over your new white shirt - on the day of your presentation to a really important client?
Well, even grandmas have those days. Especially since 60% of today's grandparents hold a full-time job. When you add watching young grandkids on top, patience is something a grandma really needs to be good at.
That angel on your shoulder
You know the old vision - a devil on 1 shoulder urging you to be bad while the angel on the other shoulder tries to talk patience. Unfortunately, I had a day where the devil was winning. I had a horrible cold, not much sleep, long day, unreasonable client (you get the picture), and then I pick up 2 of my absolute favorite people - my grandkids.
For the next 10 minutes, we had fruit snacks flying in the car, maniacal laughter, yelling while I ordered drive-thru food and no one listening to their grandma.
The tide turned when I stopped the car and threw someone's barely eaten sucker in the street.
Not my finest hour as a grandma.
Why didn't my angel win?
So, I started thinking - where did I go wrong? Why didn't my angel win? After thinking through the situation and my reaction to it, I realized there are some things I can do and say to be sure the devil doesn't have such an edge.
My tips for maintaining grandparent composure and control. (GCC)
Set the rules before you move
It is hard to get agreement driving 40 mph in rush hour traffic with only your voice - no matter how stern it can be. Before you move, explain what type of behavior you expect. "We can sing with the radio and talk, but please no shouting and if we are ordering food I have to be able to be understood or we will get the wrong dinners. "
Consequences are critical
Sarcasm works in some situations. Doling out consequences is not one of those. "If you yell again, I'm leaving you here." Really? Even a 5 year old knows you are not going to leave him by the side of the road.
The punishment should fit the crime. "If a fruit snack flies up here again, I am getting rid of your new bike." Really? You will throw away the new bike costing $50 for 1 fruit snack.
Be realistic. "If it happens again, you will sit on the stair." "Next time there is yelling, there will be no television - (or dessert, or video games... choose one).
I must admit this is the hardest part for soft-hearted grandmas. We grandmas are the boo-boo kissers and confidantes of grandkids - not the sheriff.
If you lay out a consequence, you need to deliver on it. Otherwise, it will become a game to see how outlandish the misbehavior can be before you really do enforce something (or have a breakdown yourself).
Keep your perspective
Is it really horrible that they are loudly yelling in the car? Why not give in and release your own frustration by joining them with a good long scream? You can all pretend you are on a rollercoaster. At the end of the drive, there are no tears or thrown-away suckers.
“All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.”
This is one of my favorite quotes from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in his book The Little Prince.
Channel your inner kid and help your grandkids learn to handle stress with humor. It will be one of the best gifts you give them.