Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

Living with toddlers is hard. I freely admit I am a control freak. So is my husband. We like everything just. so. We have our reasons – it’s partly in our personalities, and it’s partly because we run a fast-paced, high-end digital marketing firm and need to be organized and productive. Inefficiency and distraction cost us money. And money is what it takes to travel. And travel is what it takes to be happy. So you can see why we run a tight ship.

Our oldest daughter, her husband, and their two kids live with us. They are their own family, but there’s only one kitchen and two bathrooms for 8 people, so we still try to keep to a schedule. Meal times are at a specific time. Showers are at a specific time. Quiet time happens at a specific time.

But living with toddlers is so hard. I’d forgotten how hard it is to have a toddler and an infant.

Toddlers Don’t Respect Schedules

My grandaughter is awesome. She is brilliant and precocious and adorable and saw her first concert (U2) when she was only 1 year old. She is a great traveler and has accompanied us to Montreal and Niagara Falls. But she doesn’t get that we have a company to run, or that our office is now her parents bedroom. She just knows that Nana and Papa are here, that her stories take priority, and that work is only something we’re supposed to do in between spending time with her.

Toddlers Have Tantrums

I did not like toddler tantrums when they were my kids; I really don’t like them when they are my grandkids. It’s not appropriate for me to judge how my daughter is raising her kids. She is an awesome mom, and just because we do some things differently doesn’t mean her way is wrong. It’s also not appropriate for me to undermine her authority and give in to the tantrum because it’s my granddaughter and I want her to be happy.  I want to “help.” I don’t…unless it’s to hold one while the other screams – but I really, really want to give a Hallie what she wants – partially to shush her and partially because I’m Nana.

Toddlers Are Messy

Whether it’s cold season and there are germs all over my laptop because my granddaughter sneezed while she was hugging me or she decides to touch my laptop with peanut butter fingers, everything is so much messier now. Everywhere I turn there are toys and puzzle pieces (you know, the kind with the handles that you find with your feet). It’s always chaotic. It’s hard to find quiet.

But mostly, I’m just older. And I’m tireder. So toddlers are harder.

But I’m also getting this huge, amazing glimpse into the people my grandkids are and the people their parents are becoming by raising them. I’ve seen my son-in-law really step up into his role as a dad and provider. I’ve seen my daughter ache over every decision she makes for her kids, her unbridled love for them, her tireless sacrifice for them.

So it takes me a little longer to get my work done each week, and I sometimes have to explain when I’m on the phone with a client that the screaming or giggling they hear in the background is just my sweet granddaughter.

I wouldn’t trade a day of it.