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It’s Not My Job To Make Sure My Kid’s Grandparents Spend Time With Him

May 30, 2019

I knew that parenthood would involve a lot of scheduling (and co-ordinating schedules). What I didn’t know was that I would be divorced, adding in a new layer of scheduling: parenting schedules, hockey schedules, grandparents, cousins, aunts, friends. You name it, I had it written on a calendar somewhere.

If grandparents want to spend time with [my son], I say it’s their job to work their schedules around his.

As a child of divorce, my nine-year-old son has his biological grandparents plus the “bonus” grandparents that come with his parents’ partners. On my side of the family, he has three great-grandparents and more great-aunts and great-uncles and cousins than you could shake a stick at. Carving out time to make sure we see everyone at least semi-regularly is almost impossible, not to mention exhausting.

For years, I obsessed about grandparent time — making sure everyone got an equal amount of time with my son as though he were a pie to share at dinner. I planned almost everything with an eye to ensuring each set of grandparents got time with him.

Slowly, the guilt was laid on by one biological grandparent or the other and I finally had enough.


Related Reading: What Do You Do When Your Kid Plays Favourites With Your Parents?


I stopped scheduling grandparent time for my child because, frankly, it’s not my job. My job is to make sure he is safe, well-adjusted and healthy. Put simply, it’s my job to get him to all the places he needs to be (like school, doctor appointments and sports practices) and finding adequate downtime for him and the rest of our family. If grandparents want to spend time with him, I say it’s their job to work their schedules around his.

Sure, I make sure he gets to visit on weekends for sleepovers and avoid scheduling something else when I know they’re coming to visit, but making sure he makes it to nan’s or grammie’s for an equal number of nights every summer is simply not something I’m willing to lose sleep over.

For years, I obsessed about grandparent time — making sure everyone got an equal amount of time with my son as though he were a pie to share at dinner.

For one thing, I can’t make everyone happy. Someone’s nose will inevitably get out of joint when they feel they’ve somehow had less time with him. My response? Try harder to come see him.

Both sets of his biological grandparents live outside of our city. My parents are about five hours away; my ex-in-laws are about an hour. My partner’s parents, however? Fifteen minutes across town. Since our lives are intertwined and we live in the same city, my partner’s parents see him just about every weekend.

Instead of scheduling everyone else into our calendar, I’ve started farming my son’s schedule out. This means welcoming everyone, with open arms, to every hockey practice or game, birthday party or celebration, school concert — all of it. The rules are simple: everyone loves my son and wants the best for him, therefore everyone will act accordingly or stay away.

When I stopped scheduling grandparent time, I initially took some heat, but it has quickly transformed into a positive shift. It took discussion and patience from all sides, but it’s ultimately resulted in a happier kid, and a far more relaxing lifestyle for our family.

Article Author Ashley MacInnis
Ashley MacInnis

Ashley MacInnis is the voice, the shoes and the mayhem behind imashleymi.com. A single mom and public relations professional, Ashley joined the blogging world in 2010 after Finn’s birth. The blog, which began as a cathartic endeavour, took on a life of its own as Ashley candidly shared the ups and downs of life, love and work. She’s since received the Canadian Online Publishing Award for Best Use of Social Media (2015) and shared the distinction of Best Blog or Column with YMC.ca. When she’s not writing, running, or building Lego empires, Ashley occasionally finds time to sleep.

She currently lives in Halifax, NS with her partner and son. Find her on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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