Dear Future Self,
There is something you need to know, something that now you have become a grandma you may have forgotten. Time passes and memories fade. Our perceptions change.
So this is my message to you the grandma from you the mummy.
Please remember that being a mummy (or indeed a daddy) is hard. You are tired, if not all then most of the time. Your little people are your world, you adore them. You make things up as you go along. There is no guide book, no failsafe rule book. You do what you feel is best at the time for your children. Nothing more, nothing less.
You need the approval of your parents unquestionably. Yes, especially when it is going wrong. Especially if you have made a bad decision. By not passing judgement, by not giving unsolicited advice you really will get asked for your advice more.
I know you love your grandchildren, and your children too.
I know that whatever you do and say, you are in your own way just trying to help. And yes,
I know it’s hard to resist, especially when you think there is a better way.
But I want you to sit for a moment and remember what it felt like to be judged as a mummy. I want you to remember how loud you wanted to scream when people questioned your decisions without knowing the full story. Because the truth is, unless you are right there in the house living every moment of it, you never really know the full story.
You only see a snapshot in time.
I want you to remember how different both of your two were.
How what worked for one, didn’t necessarily work for the other. I want you to think back hard to how difficult it often was to find the one thing that worked. I want you to remember that there often wasn’t an easy choice. Not one way that worked for everyone.
Think back to how worried you were when Number One wouldn’t go into a room with others, how frightening it was when Number Two wouldn’t feed. The thoughts were all consuming, you couldn’t see a way out. You didn’t want to be told everything would be ok – that wasn’t something people could predict.
You needed to be told that no matter what they would be loved. That could be promised.
Being a grandma is hard, really hard. Perhaps harder in some ways than being a mummy.
Because the truth is, you are still a mummy. Your children are still your babies. It’s hard to think of them as all grown up with families of their own.
You love them more than words can say. So sometimes the words come out wrong. And sometimes they are just taken wrong.
Because mummies and daddies are desperate to do it right. Desperate to do as good a job as you did of being a parent. Desperate to make you proud.
It’s a hard line to walk. Being there for them but not taking over.
Letting them know you care without giving solicited advice. Without judging their decisions, even when you think you could do it better.
But you can do this, you can get it right.
After all, you survived being a mummy.
That must mean you can do anything.
Your Past Self (deep in the throws of raising a pre-teen and a toddler, making mistakes as you go)