Parenting is Weight Loss. Grandparenting is Maintenance

In six days (or less), Grandbaby #2 will make his/her appearance! I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

Cassie, Claire and Matt, October 2007

I love the smell of newborn babies, holding newborn babies, oooing and ahhhing over newborn babies, and I especially love that I don’t have to do any anything to get this newest newborn baby into the world except to watch Claire while her parents do all the work. Grandparenting is aaaalllright.

While I was in P’burgh yesterday visiting my daughter, son-in-law and, of course, g-baby Claire, I observed Matt and Cassie interact with Claire and thought about how similar good parenting is to effective (not just any old) weight loss. It takes encouragement, patience and many “no”s to parent well and just as much encouragement, patience and “no”s to lose weight in a way that will give someone the best shot at no future weight gain.

Good parents also bend and are willing to learn as they go along. They understand that you can’t know everything from reading a book. Experience is the true teacher. A “good dieter,” for lack of better words, also is willing to learn from experience. Just because a book or program says you should eat this or do that, it’s ultimately our bodies that tell us what is right and wrong for us, but too many times we get wedded to the “experts” and forget that we are the boss or ourselves.

Before this last time down the scale, I wasn’t a “good parent” to my dieting body. I used WAY too much discipline and not enough encouragement, and I lost my patience more times than I can remember. No wonder I gained weight back so many times!

In my own interactions with Claire yesterday, I also realized how grandparenting is similar to maintenance. While I’m vigilant and mindful to not let Claire get hurt, I also get to have a little more fun and be a little more relaxed than I did when I was a parent. Same thing with maintenance. While I’m vigilant and mindful to food and exercise, I’m also having a little more fun and am a little more relaxed than I was during weight loss. I’m also a lot more patient, both as a grandparent and a person maintaining a weight loss, more so than I ever was with my kids or body before.

For instance, Claire loves going through my purse. It’s a slow, methodical activity we’ve done since she was 8 or 9 months old. She reaches her hand in and takes out each item, one at a time, observing each one carefully before handing it to me. Some things, like my Bluetooth, are boring and she hands them over quickly. Other things, like the bottle of Advil or Tic Tacs container, are fun to shake first before handing them over. She loves the slide-open mints container with the mirror inside and pulling out the string from the dental floss.

Then there’s my wallet, which she has to rearrange every card in first before handing it to me. She figured out how to open my compact and likes me to rub the soft applicator on her cheeks. She’s still trying to master opening my lipstick and Burt’s Bees. She hands them to me to open and then wants a little on her lips. She doesn’t drool anymore so I let her play with my Blackberry, although yesterday she almost called one of my old boyfriends. While we’re still friends and we talk once a year when I go home to Minnesota, he’d probably wonder why I was calling him on a Saturday afternoon.

When I was a parent, I had so much going on all the time that I didn’t have time to participate often in slower activities or to take in each moment with careful observation. As a grandparent, time is different. I’m not doing laundry, going to the grocery store, planning, working, fixing, yadda yadda yadda, when I’m with Claire. I’m just with Claire. Same with maintenance. Yes, effective weight loss is a slow, methodical process, but there’s a lot of learning going on at the same time, a lot of multi-tasking. Just as a parent “raises up” children, a dieter is working towards a goal, too. Grandparents aren’t (usually) the primary “raiser-uppers” of the grandchildren, and maintainers are hanging out and (hopefully) staying the same.

So….in six days (or less), there will be double the Grammy Lynn fun. Please forgive me if I’m not here much for awhile, or if I babble on and on about the grandkids. I’ll come back to earth at some point.

One more thing before I end, thank you so much for your kind comments and emails about my kids and their Mother’s Day gift (from my last blog entry). That photo of us is from Cassie’s wedding in 2006, when I weighed 40 pounds more than I do now. Next to the births of my children and Claire, Cassie’s wedding was the happiest day of my life.

7 thoughts on “Parenting is Weight Loss. Grandparenting is Maintenance

  1. I meant to comment and tell you that I loved your pic with your two girls – and it has a very Norman Rockwell quality to it – what a treasure!

    Loved the grandma/maintenance post – very true – and well written – enjoy the new baby – will be looking forward to pics when the happy day arrives.

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