As the saga of my nanny grannying continued, I discovered there were many pluses and minuses. The minuses are easy to count off... Less time for socializing with friends, other family and even DH... Less chance for DH and me to travel, as "just us" (we've taken a few short, weekend trips, gone to a couple of out-of-town weddings, but that's it, except for vacations with extended family)....Less chance to be that GM who "spoils the kids and sends them home" (or goes home herself). YDD and I decided, early on, that I needed to implement the same discipline as she would. After all, since the kids were going to be with me a lot, I needed to be able to control them, for safety reasons. And I was bound, we both agreed, to have some influence on their attitudes about "the world."
Then there's that other problem - the fatigue! Almost every GP caregiver I know find themselves exhausted at the end of a day (or evening) of "grandchildcare" and I'm no exception! (Somewhere, in Grandparents Caring for Grandkids, we have 2 whole threads dedicated to this issue, alone!) It's a matter of "happy-tired," no doubt, but tired, just the same! Perhaps, someday, Future Reader, if you're there the world will have a safe and healthy energy pill or drink that GPs and other older relative caregivers can use to help them avoid this syndrome. But, for now, most such caregivers that I know, just except being "always exhausted!"
But the rewards, as I also, soon found out, are "legion." First - and I'm humbled when I realize it - I know I enjoy the privilege of having a lot of time with my DGC, more than many GPs, especially those who live at a distance from their GC or are, unfortunately estranged. And as a result, it's easier for me to form close ties with them (I know LDGPs can, too, it's just easier for us caregivers, IMO). As some of my LDGP friends have pointed out to me, my DGC will "really get to know" me - an idea that's already been proven, time and time again, when DGD, for instance, announces, matter-of-factly, "Grammie likes velcros better than buttons!" (True though I'm sure I'm not the only one.) And I would add, vice versa, at least, at this time in their lives. Apparently, many of my friends place a high premium on these perks. So much so that if I voice even the smallest complaint about "loss of socializing" or whatever, they retort, "You have no problem!"
That same additional time affords me another reward - a greater chance to have an impact on my DGC. To some extent this is scary ( huge responsibility with someone else' children). But it's also compelling (ahah! a chance to teach them something YDD doesn't have time for, etc.) Trust me, I would never try to teach them anything that didn't coincide with YDD's values or that she wanted to teach them herself. But she's cool with my introducing them to such natural and simple wonders as the delights of dandelions! And she's ok with my encouraging stronger bonds between then as brother and sister, even though she isn't as passionate about that goal as I am.
The greatest rewards, however, are the little "daily" ones - the hugs, kisses and adorable smiles of my little granddolls. And the sweet, loving comments that come out of their mouths, often when you least expect it. Like the other day, as I was leaving their house (where I watch them) and DGS (who, of course, would choose his mom over me, any day, if he had to) piped up, saying, "Stay Grammie. I want you to stay. Even when I'm at school, I want you to stay here."