Dear Grandparenting: I am a reader of your column who just joined the grandparent club. My son Todd and daughter-in-law Kate aren’t exactly spring chickens, but they still produced a healthy seven-pound, three-ounce baby boy. That brings me to my question. Todd called up practically begging for me to take the baby for one week while they get away for a “romantic interlude.” Please explain, I said.
Todd told me their sex life is almost non-existent since the baby, going on 13 weeks. I didn’t push it but I have my suspicions. I don’t remember a new baby being the death of romance. It sure didn’t bother me or my husband.
I don’t need them getting the habit of dumping the child on me. An overnight is one thing, but a whole week seems mighty long. They are paying for child-care but I’ll feel tied down by the responsibility. I’m too embarrassed to run this past anyone else. What’s your take? Ginny Smith, Sidney.
Dear Ginny: The first grandchild is a delight to grandparents, but numerous studies confirm the stress that newborns create on parents.
According to one study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, two-thirds of couples report a significant decline in marital satisfaction after the first baby. And sex — or lack thereof — has plenty to do with it.
Infants are great disrupters. And when a grandchild makes three, the relationship between older parents (like your son and daughter-in-law) generally suffers more than do younger couples. As new mothers and fathers struggle to adjust to the newborn, intimacy often becomes an early casualty. But as any relationship counselor will tell you, restoring the bonds of intimacy is a key to resolving other issues that inevitably arise.
Taking care of your grandson may be a near-term inconvenience, but the long-term benefit of bolstering those marital bonds should help insure he grows up in a happier household.
Grand remark of the week
Jay Miller from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania reports that “becoming a grandparent is your last chance to act like a goofball without being told to grow up or act your age.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.