Is Your Welcome Mat Out?
BY KAREN L. RANCOURT
Grandparents make a clear statement about how welcome their grown children and grandchildren are for short or extended visits by way of the accommodations they provide.
For example, I know of several sets of grandparents who have designed and built or purchased vacation homes that have room for all their grown children and all the grandchildren to stay together. In one instance, each of the married three daughters has a bedroom furnished and decorated according to her and her husband’s preferences — it is “their room.” Their accommodations for current and future grandchildren include “bunk rooms” containing, one, two, or even three sets of bunk beds and a large common play area stocked with books and toys. The welcome mat is out!
For those grandparents who cannot afford purchasing a vacation home, an alternative is to rent a place for a week or two that can accommodate everyone being together. I know of situations where both sets of grandparents work together to rent a large vacation home for the extended family. Many cousins talk fondly throughout their lives of these special times.
Contrast this with the young mom who wrote me saying: “I feel really disappointed that my in-laws haven’t made it easier for us to stay at their house with our 14-month-old. They have yet to provide anything such as a porta-crib, toys, or books (they are financially set, so that is not the issue). We’d like to visit them more, but we always have to schlep so much stuff.
“Visiting my parents is so much easier because they’ve equipped their home for us. Last spring my in-laws had hurt feelings when my parents babysat our daughter for a weekend. We tried to explain why it was much easier to take her to stay with my parents, but nothing changed or has been discussed since.”
This is an example of where grown children and their grandchildren do not feel as welcome as they need to feel in the grandparents’ home. This will affect time spent together (or not spent together!) as well as the longer-term quality of the relationships. Some simple and basic agreed-upon accommodations can easily remedy this situation to broadcast the message: You are welcome here!
About the Author
Karen L. Rancourt, Ph.D., writes an advice column for parents and grandparents at Mommybites.com and is the author of Ask Dr. Gramma Karen, Volume II: Savvy Advice to Help Soothe Parent-Grandparent Conflicts.