The high cost of grandparenting

“Do you have a baby in there?” asked the older woman at the grocery store. Yes, indeed, I did have Mary in my sling and showed her off to the woman’s oohs and aahs.

“I have fifteen great-grandchildren,” she stated.

“That’s great,” I enthused.

“No, it’s not,” she said.

Uuh…”Do you wish you had more?”

“No! I have to buy all those presents,” she lamented.

This is so sad. Her great-grandchildren are just drains on her pocketbook. I sincerely hope that my own children are more a source of joy for their extended family than a financial burden. I’d rather my kids get nothing ever from a grandparent, aunt or uncle than that they be viewed this way. My grandparents couldn’t afford to give gifts to all their grandchildren. I was thrilled when Grandma pulled me aside and snuck a quarter in my hand. One year, we all got McDonald’s gift certificates for Christmas – that was the only year I remember getting anything. But I don’t think I loved Grandma any less than I would have had she showered me with expensive gifts.

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6 thoughts on “The high cost of grandparenting

  1. My grandmother actually said after Timmy was born, “you can’t have ANY more children. I can’t afford to keep writing them checks for their birthdays.”When I told my husband this he blew up, “No more accepting checks from her AT ALL.”Now I only mention birthdays if she asks. I certainly never asked for the money and would be much more appreciative if she was just nice to them (and me).

  2. That’s an odd way to look at it. The greatest gift grandparents give their children is time spent with.

  3. It’s not about the money is it?

  4. That’s so sad. I can’t help wondering whether her children or grandchildren have given her the impression that the gifts are more important to them than she is? I hope not… 😦

  5. We have a similiar issue, although not as trivial. We have a set of grandparents who sincerely want to provide money for a college education for each of their grandchildren. Of course, in their heads, they had only envisioned each of their two children having two children a piece. They have mentioned with each child that we have that they “just cannot pay for college for this many kids.”. Our response is, obviously, “we don’t expect you to.”.They still fret about it, but I think that they are getting used to the idea of us having a large family. They are not anti-child so much as they are just worriers.

  6. trust that we don’t feel that way – though i do feel bad when gifts are necessarily homemade (especially when my creativity/skills are sapped!) or simply non-existent. but it’s only because i want to make sure you all know how much we love you guys, not because we feel obligated! it sounds like that grandmother was feeling a bit put upon were i just feel guilty! xox

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