When Cub was a wee one, I wrote a post about grandparents and Cub's grandparents' particular role in his life. He was just a little guy when I wrote it and I emphasized how I felt that, if possible, it was greatly important for little ones to spend a good amount of time with their grandparents (notice I said "if possible"--I realize it isn't possible for everyone!).
Cubbie began staying overnight once-a-week with his grandparents when he was seven weeks old. I was breastfeeding and Cub still had one middle of the night feeding, but my husband's parents were all too happy to have him for that long. For my husband and I, those once-a-week overnights for Cub meant date nights for us. A good friend of mine once asked me why I felt that a date night was so important, if we had time alone after Cub went to bed every night anyway. It is important to us for a few different reasons. For me, as a stay-at-home Mom, it means a chance to dress up for my husband and to step out of our home and into the role of not just a wife, but into the role of my husband's date! Also, typically, when Cub goes down, my husband and I settle into our evening routine. I check e-mail, he checks stuff on his laptop, and then we watch a movie. While we're alone during that time, it doesn't necessarily mean we're going to have great conversation! Sometimes we do, but there are a lot of times where we're pretty tired and content with just some small talk to hear about each other's days. Going out of the house means time alone in the car (which always prompts good conversations for us), plus, being at a restaurant enjoying yummy food always brings about good talks, too. I think that being in a different environment brings about different conversations, which is good. Does that make sense?
But, beyond that, we realized early on that we had the ability for Cub to spend time with his grandparents--and that we had a responsibility to our parents to allow them to bond with Cub. We love our parents and have great relationships with them and now that we had given them a grandchild, they wanted to spend time with him! And we realized it was selfish of us to not give them that time. These were the reasons that prompted us to let him stay with his grandparents when he was so young.
Now, over a year after Cub first began spending so much time with his grandparents, I can say that YES, it was a good decision! Cub has gotten to know my husband's parents so well (mine live farther away, so he doesn't see them as often--even though he definitely loves them!). It's the neatest thing to see, as a parent. While Cub loves his Mama, he is IN LOVE with his Grandma. It's the sweetest thing to see! But, most importantly, through recent events in both of our families, my husband and I realized that we won't always have our parents around. And it would break our hearts for Cub to not know them, simply because we didn't make time for him to know them. And then it dawned on us that something could potentially happen to us, and how awful it would be for Cub to feel alone because he didn't know his grandparents like he could, as they would be the ones who would care for him in our absence. The decision for us was an easy one many months ago, but the brevity of that decision has weighed upon our hearts lately and we're so glad we made it and continue to make it as Cub grows older.
So, if possible, I would encourage all new moms out there to give their babies quality time with their grandparents (depending on the situation, of course). And by quality time, I mean time away from you! Especially if you had a good relationship with your grandparents. Imagine if you hadn't gotten to know them as well as you did, simply because your parents were afraid of letting you go. It wouldn't be fair, right? I didn't have a close relationship with my own grandparents because distance separated us, and I am so thankful Cub will know both sets of his grandparents. It is a huge blessing.
And girls, use that time as a date night if you can! It doesn't have to be anywhere fancy, but put on clothes that make you feel great and step out on the town on your husband's arm. Our favorite place to eat is The Cheesecake Factory, but it's a tad pricey for a couple on a budget! So, we hit it up every once and a while, but try to stay cheap the rest of the time. We've found this great little place in town that serves delicious gyros and we love it. It's not what you spend, but the time that you spend together. And, getting creative with your budget and your time always creates good bonding. :)
Have a lovely day, friends.