It’s been said before, “If I knew how great being a grandparent was, I would have done it before parenting.” I don’t know who said that except every grandparent I know. Because being a grandparent is basically the best gig ever. Right? 

Because when you’re a grandparent, you don’t have to worry about what happens later. You just get to enjoy the present moment with your brilliant, talented, beautiful, hilarious, never-throw-a-tantrum or a toy grandchildren. You get to reap the benefits of years of JV — parenting — and play varsity — grandparenting. 

But you never sit the bench. 

Nope. Grandparents are like down on the ground, pretending they’re a horse and the grandkid is a cowgirl as the parents look on with glazed tired eyes and cotton shoved in their ears. Grandparents embrace the noise of squeals and even cries as parents raise their eyebrows as another fit takes off for flight. Grandparents say, “Please! Make a mess!! That way I have a little piece of you after you go!” 

Yes. Grandparents are a special breed. 

I asked 10 grandparents what they do differently now that they wear the grandparent shoes. What do they do now that, as parents, they would have scoffed at, cried at, or completely gone batshit crazy cakes over when they were parents? 

  1. Bake. With flour. And let the kids actually pour the stuff in – not with a guided hand. And let the kids crack the eggs. And add the extra sugar. 
  2. Leave the hand prints. After the grandkids leave, one grandma said, she leaves the hand prints on the glass and the stainless steel as a reminder of their tiny hands. 
  3. Let the kids stay up until the grandparents are ready to go to bed. Because the house is too lonely without them awake. 
  4. Give the grandkids soda. And sugar. Upon sugar. Fruit snacks for breakfast. Donuts for lunch. Chicken nuggets for dinner. Because the kids eat so great at grandma and grandpas!
  5. Push the grandkids in the swings for an hour. One grandpa said that he didn’t remember ever pushing his own son on the swing. But his grandson – he’ll push all day long if he asks. 
  6. Go swimming with the Littles, wear a bathing suit, get wet, and even put all their hair under the water. Because it turns out, that’s the most fun way to go swimming. 
  7. Make a huge mess of toys and not put them away at the end of the day. Because they know it will just be another day of play the next day. And they don’t have anxiety over going to sleep with the house unsettled. Because for them, the presence of toys is like taking a trip back in time. 
  8. Like the grandkids all the time. The grandparents I talked to admitted that there were times where they didn’t like their kids. But their grandkids – they ALWAYS like them. 
  9. Wait for the next time. My kids’ grandparents make lists upon lists of things they are going to do each time they’re together. Because why put off until next time what you can do now?
  10. Volunteer to change diapers, put them to bed, handle them during a tantrum, rock them during colic, give them a bottle, and on and on. Grandparents seem to feel less angst over the minutia that comes with parenting. 

What do you think? Are grandparents the to you? Do your kids adore time with MeMa and Papa? Are gran and gramps just the bee’s knees? 

Or do you parent with your grandparent glasses on? Are you one who savors every little and big thing and doesn’t mind a mess, the noise, the exhaustion — ever? Good for you… You might actually be a grandparent. 

If your children are lucky enough to have someone that is a grandparent to them, call them today. Tell them you’re thankful they are crazy cakes and that you, too, can’t wait until you get the grandparent gig. Because they make it look like the best time ever. 

Ashli Brehm

Ashli Brehm = Thirtysomething. Nebraska gal. Life blogger. Husker fan. Creative writer. Phi Mu sister. Breast cancer survivor. Boymom. Premie carrier. Happy wife. Gilmore Girls fanatic. Amos Lee listener. Coffee & La Croix drinker. Sarcasm user. Jesus follower. Slipper wearer. Funlover. Candle smeller. Yoga doer. Pinterest failer. Anne Lamott reader. Tribe member. Goodness believer. Life enthusiast. Follow me at