Competitive grandparenting: adding spice to life at 60

Kevin Rudd, back in 2012, announced his grandfather-status with enormous pride… “I have just become a grandfather,” Mr Rudd was quoted at a barbecue as saying, to much applause.  I’ve got to rip down to the Mater Hospital and inspect the inheritance.”

Mr Rudd later wrote on Twitter: “Well folks, I’m totally stoked.”

In a similar moment of grandparenting pride, HRH Prince Charles was found to be bragging about his granddaughter sleeping through the night at just 6 weeks old. “Not a word of a lie, six weeks, I tell you.”

Proud grandfather

Have a good listen next time you join others for a cuppa. I’ll bet the conversation at some point bends to the grandkids and what awesome lives they are living, or how terrific they are.

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You have to love competitive grandparenting. It has all the features of competitive motherhood, but it is three levels better in my opinion because the grandparents don’t have to pay for, nor logistically run around after the achievements. They can claim all the joy as their own and none of the work. Sounds great doesn’t it.

Can you hear it?

“My granddaughter can play the piano like a magician,” one says.

“Wow! That’s awesome! Mine just got an award for science,” says the next.

“Gosh, Tommy is on tour this week for the state titles”, says a third.

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Meanwhile, none of those beautiful grandmothers has spoken to their grandies in two maybe three, or even four weeks. No need, their parents pass through the stories just fine enough for them to be proud, busy grandparents who catch up with their busy little people on the holidays chiefly.

We all love it though. In fact I dare say there is no more enjoyable pastime than a little competitive grandparenting. Could that be why the Federal Government is contemplating Grandparenting Support Payments? They know the winning ticket to Baby Boomer votes could be through giving them more ability to help and support their grandkids, and to give back to their families.

And what better things has anyone got to do that share Facebook pics of their beautiful baby grandchildren in cute poses. No one resents you when you’re a grandmother or grandfather, after all, you didn’t give birth to them, so you are not bragging about your own offspring, you’re sharing the delights of those nearest and dearest. Everyone wants to see… don’t they.

Do you know what I love about new proud grandparents? They seem to have forgotten they did it all themselves 30 years ago, and everything old is new again. Except their eyes aren’t falling out of their heads with tiredness.

Funny though how grandparents all tell the awesome tales. I always hear about the angel grandchild that is sleeping through the night, or the pretty little girl that is beginning her first dance class at 2 years old. Never do I hear about the terrorising two year old child that his parents’ can’t control, and the grandparents aren’t really game to try.

It’s absolutely wonderful to have grandchildren come to visit, with their parents, knowing you can love, cuddle them, photograph them and share those photos on social media, and still wave them off at the gate at 8pm (at the latest) and sleep til 7am tomorrow comfortably without interruption, later if you want.

And so I ask you with much entertainment, if your friends are beautifully competitive grandparents. Do you think it sometimes gets a little out of control in the same way mothers of newborns compete? Or is it all for the best?