By now you likely know that Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky are expecting their first child in the fall. The fact that Hillary Clinton’s daughter will give birth to one of this year’s four million American babies is exhilerating for their family. But it doesn’t deserve the media bashing–that being a grandmother will hold Hillary back if she runs in the 2016 presidential race.
There’s no denying that family has an impact on all aspects of our lives. And let me tell you from experience, grandparenting is a highly underrated gift. If, like Hillary, you’re about to begin this great adventure, use these practical tips to help you prepare:
Enjoy the process. You’re not defined by what others see as the grandma stereotype. Incorporate the richness of life experiences and acquired wisdom into your sense of yourself. And rely on what you’ve learned as you develop this precious new relationship.
Withhold unsolicited advice. It’s not necessary to say whatever comes to mind. Give suggestions only if your kids ask, and try not to take it personally if they decide not to act on them. Remember how it felt when your mom or MIL told you what to do?
Respect your children. For years you were a hands-on mom; now watch your sons and daughters raise their own kids. A lot has changed so don’t assume your way is the best. As you step back, see how naturally and competently they care for your grandchildren.
Set limits that work for you. Discuss concerns to avoid resentment. You may feel ambivalent about babysitting when it cuts into your time at work or with activities and friends. Keep a balance between meeting your own needs and family responsibilities.
There’s way too much attention being paid to the grandmother-to-be. Men with grandkids who have run for president usually project the image of a family man, not as being unavailable. Nobody is ever concerned about whether they can do the job. And I bet no man would give up his political career to fulfill the role of grandfather.
When it comes to her prospects on the campaign trail, the grandma card might come in handy. It’ll bring strength to the policies around children and family that Hillary has long championed. Actually, as grandparents, any of us can stand at the forefront of change and inspire future generations. And someday look back with pride at our legacy and the small part we played in history.