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Finding the Balance With Grandparents: How I Learned It Was Their Turn to Enjoy

25 May 2015 – 01:18 PM EDT

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With my first, like any new parent, I was terrified. I could hardly believe that they were going to let me walk out of the hospital with this tiny, fragile baby. To prepare, I read every baby book printed and I spent hours on baby websites that detailed exactly how I was to handle every situation from colic to croup. I was ready, sort of. I could helicopter around that baby to prevent all sorts of potential disasters.

Then, the grandparents came to visit. They reached for my little baby as if she wasn’t breakable! They held her while moving around the house. They held her while talking on the phone and they even held her while drinking coffee. I was terrified. Hadn’t they read the baby books? Didn’t they know that babies were extremely delicate? They must have forgotten in the years since they had their own. I would just have to remind them.

Naturally, I set about to correct those grandparents at every turn. I would say things like, “The baby books say you should never do that…the baby books say to always do it this way…” and as you can imagine the grandparents grew tired of listening to advice from someone who has been a mom for six whole weeks. Maybe it was baby brain, but I felt adamant that my baby needed to follow those rules, as listed, without fail. I was desperate to keep her safe and that was the only way I knew how.

Then, I had another baby. By that time the sleep deprivation had taken its toll and sterilizing soothers took a back seat to catching a few winks. I began to feel more grateful for those grandparents with their cavalier babysitting skills and I was finally able to ease up the baby books.

Here is what I learned in those first few months after my second child was born:

There is No Book

That is to say, there is no book on earth that can substitute for experience gained from raising your own children. If they’ve been there, they’ve got his. Worry not. They are the only people on earth that love that baby even remotely close to as much as you do. You can trust them.

Grandparents Earned This

They did their time. They read their own baby books and fretted over their own infants. They have reached a point in their life where cuddling with a newborn should be utter joy, mostly because they are a wondrous thing, and a little because they know they’ll be sleeping through the night when they go home.

Everything Will be Okay

Honestly, I felt like there was danger around every corner. My mind would imagine scenarios that would make me shudder. I wondered if having a baby would mean I would forever be terrified of letter her go. I’ve since learned everything will be okay. Bumps and bruised are not the end of the world and ice cream for breakfast won’t stunt your growth.

So, if like me you’re feeling pretty fed up with those grandparents right now, know this; soon they will be the one and only thing that can get you through this.