I’m a wife of 31 years, a mom of 29 years, and now a Nanna of 7 years. This is not a mom blog, although I will sometimes write about being a mom or parenting in general. As I see it, there are three phases of parenting and they all involve a lot of love…and some money, or at least some financial savvy.
THE PARENTING YEARS
These are the filled-with-joy and all of the other emotions accompanied by and a result of all of the hard work. Parenting is not for the faint of heart, but no mom is ever really alone. If you are contemplating parenthood, or have been one for a while, don’t let this scare you. Even if you are an introvert like me, there are friends, family, and community available at any moment if you are willing to reach out for help. Let me tell you now that it’s worth it, but there are days when you might want to run away. But you don’t. You just grab a box of brownies from the grocery store bakery and hide in your closet at midnight just so you can have them all to yourself while you have a momentary pity party and plan for tomorrow, which is already today because it’s after midnight already, but this was the first moment you had to yourself all day.
THE YOUNG ADULT YEARS – HINT: YOU ARE STILL PARENTING
These are the years when your progeny have matriculated from childhood into the great possibility of young adulthood. They have finished high school and are either planning to attend college or trade school or maybe just getting a job until they decide what they want to do. Any of these three paths don’t get less expensive. If you thought having multiple kids in diapers and daycare was expensive…you might want to ask someone to hold your beer. (Just kidding. I don’t drink and don’t suggest it to anyone else. That’s not the answer to this phase of life.) At this point, mom is spelled A.T.M. and there seems to be an endless amount of requests for your hard-earned money. Medical bills, car repairs, college, weddings, special projects, speeding tickets that didn’t get paid on time, and the dreaded call from jail followed by the cost of getting their car out of impound. Sometimes it happens that way but you don’t love them any less. There are also the joys of marriage and adding a son or daughter to your family, first jobs, first new cars, and first apartments. There are sooooo many reasons to celebrate in this phase of life, and you are still parenting all along the way. At this point, they are making their own decisions and you are standing by as the cheerleader, technical support, part-time medic, sometimes bail bondsman, and financial advisor. There are many hats to wear in this phase and it requires a menagerie of skills gained along the way.
THE GRAND PARENTING YEARS…AND…STILL PARENTING
This phase is the best, but very interesting. First, I’m a planner. I like to think through scenarios before they happen and make a plan for whatever comes my way so there are very few surprises. I decided years ago that when the time comes, my grandchildren would know me as Nanna. My sister protested but I liked the idea because I’m always going to see myself as young and hip, and in my mind that doesn’t go with ‘grandma’ for me. No disrespect to all the other grandmas out there. This is a title you get to choose for yourself, and I’m Nanna.
I always assumed that I would feel the same about my grandkids as I did when you giving birth to my own children. However, that is not the case. It doesn’t mean I love them less than my own children. It’s just a different feeling than I was expecting. I read an article about this and it explained that when you give birth, your body/brain (?) releases a heavy dose of oxytocin which triggers feelings of love and protection, which naturally occurs when parents and children look into one another’s eyes or when they embrace. This is not the same feeling and bonding experience that you have when your grandchild is born. Don’t get me wrong here. I’d tear through a wall with my bare hands to get to any one of my grandbabies if they were in danger because I’m the pit bull, tiger Nanna and my cubs will not be touched by danger if I have a say about it. In this phase, you are still parenting from a long tether and now you are getting to babysit the grands and thus begins your new role of INFLUENCER. (family style).
WHAT I KNOW NOW
We all have the benefit of looking back and saying, “If I knew then what I know now, wow would I make some different choices.” I don’t have regrets but I can say that with the knowledge I have now, I’m ready to start creating resources and inspiration for my children and grandchildren that I didn’t think of or have access to back then. This is what I want to share with the world through my blog.