Most grandparents are thrilled about their new role of grand parenting. However, this can also be a challenging time. Are you financially, emotionally, and physically ready to be a grandparent? Although these challenges may seem overwhelming at first, you can successfully make adjustments. Let’s take a look at some of these challenges as you enter this awesome time in your life!
Get the Checkbook Ready
What type of new expenses will you be looking at when your grandchild arrives? This is my list; yours may be a little different:
- Travel expenses—if you are long-distance, then plane fare or gasoline and travel costs will be a factor. You will need to decide how often you will visit and how much your budget can tolerate. Also, try Skype. It is a free software that you can download that will allow you and your grandchild visual and audio communication. It really works. It might be the next best thing to actually being there; but a lot cheaper.
- Gifts and Baby Shower—you will need to determine how much money you should contribute to gift giving. Will you be expected to give or contribute to the shower on behalf of your daughter or son? Do your children need financial help preparing for your first-time grandchild? Your budget will determine the extent you can monetarily contribute.
- Relocation—some grandparents have decided to relocate near their grandchildren. Count the costs.
- Time Off Work—depending on your age and circumstances, taking time off work to visit your grandchildren will also need to be factored in. How many vacation days do you have? How many days would you be able to take off without pay?
Get Ready for the “duct tape”
Having your first grandchild brings with it the realization that you are now entering an entirely new phase in your life. Take a deep breath. You will be okay. You are not ready for the “rocking chair.” In time you will even adjust to being called “grandma.” However, one of the greater challenges may be accepting the fact that your child is an adult with a child of their own. Realize that they now face their own challenges of being a parent. Let them learn to parent. Do not offer advice unless it is requested. This may be the hardest part of being a new grandparent. You will save yourself a lot of emotional pain and drama if you duct tape your mouth closed at the right time. Of course, if you think there is a safety issue or your children ask for advice—graciously give it.
Muscle Aches Here We Come
Muscle aches may come your way depending on your age and physical condition. As a grandparent you will be lifting, turning, and twisting as you assist in the care of your grandchild. Keep as physically fit as possible. A daily exercise plan that includes stretching your back muscles works great. Be aware that baby carriers will add additional weight. Why not start using hand weights now to build the muscle strength in your arms. Also, if you are called on to babysit, make sure you are well rested. Grandchildren can be demanding with diaper changing, bottle feeding, and episodes of crying. Their sleeping patterns may not necessarily match yours.
Becoming a new grandparent can and should be one of the most joyous times in your life. You will find successful solutions to the many challenges as you enter this time of your life. As your grandchild grows, different challenges will arise along with sound and sensible solutions. The sacrifices and adjustments you make will be small in comparison to your rewards. Keep open communication between your daughter and son, beware of giving unwanted advice, be as fit as possible, and love your grandchild. Remember, the most precious thing you can share with your grandchild is—YOU.