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Do Your Parents Override Your Parenting?

As a single mom, I have to be honest and say that I don’t think my parents act or do anything extraordinarily different than typical, involved grandparents. But I recently got into a tiff with my Dad and here’s why.

Whenever he comes over he brings JD something. Whether it’s a Matchbox car, a coloring book, a sprinkle cookie—it’s always something. The other day was a bad day. JD was sick and refusing to take his medicine. To me this isn’t something to reward. So when my Dad called and said he was stopping by to see JD I asked him to do me a favor and pick up some juice, but asked him to please not buy JD ANYTHING. One, he has too many toys and just had a bday where he got twenty new ones and two, most importantly, his behavior didn’t warrant a toy, a prize—anything. In fact, I suspended television for a day because of his behavior. I figured my Dad would respect my wishes and show up with juice. Or vodka for me.

But he didn’t. Well...

He waltzed in with juice (like 5 jugs!)—and told JD there was a prize for him in his pocket and I felt like I was in the twilight zone, or more like I was going to explode. I saw red. I wanted to vacate. Now, because I was taking care of a very sick JD for days all alone, not eating or sleeping properly (I ate hummus and cucumbers for three days—don’t ask), my reaction was all the worse. But the WTF!!! reaction was in my head, because I didn’t want JD to see my father and me arguing. However, I did take my Dad on the side and said in a very snarky tone: “What were you thinking? I told you not to bring anything for him. You completely ignored me! Do you realize I spent the morning scrubbing pink medicine up from the rug because he spit it out? There’s a stain on the rug. I need to buy a throw rug or call the carpet cleaner guy! Why would you think it’s OK to reward his behavior? Why would you think it’s OK to override my parenting??? Why do you bring him something every time you come here? It's not normal." And I looked like a crazy person while I said this. My hair was unwashed, frizzy and in a sloppy bun. I had on baggy college logo PJ pants and a t-shirt that said "Rock The Vote, Yo!" No makeup, obvi. My dad laughed at me.

My Dad cares a lot. He brought us canned milk (ew) before Hurricane Irene hit.

My Dad attends EVERY soccer Saturday with JD (and me).

His response was something about the car being .99 and JD being sick, but all I heard was “wa-wa-wa.” Then I took a forty-minute shower. Really.

I’m wondering if any of you have this problem (and no, it’s not an epic problem). I hope you all realize I understand how much my Dad loves JD/us, but in my opinion love isn’t material and I think it’s setting my child up for great expectations every time someone walks through the door. The other night he asked my friend for a prize, but all she had was a bottle of wine for us. See what I mean?

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