The simple truth is that this work-at-home mama has no extra cash for spoiling anyway. So I gladly let our little girl's dear grandparents (including grand-aunts and grand-uncles) do the shopping for her. In the past month alone, they bought her a couple of high chairs, several pairs of shoes, nice dresses and of course, toys. If they want to use a part of their retirement fund to buy her a play kitchen that will make her look like she's on MasterChef Babies, then I will not stop them.
I let them hug and kiss her, too. I let them comfort her when she is crying. At the right time, I will let her have weekly sleepovers with her grandparents. I will even let them give her sweets.
I am not an irresponsible parent, and I have no intention of raising an ungrateful child. Let me explain.
I come from a culture of big families. I am thankful that we're using the "it takes a village" approach to parenting, because it makes me feel like our child is so loved by many. It's a magical thing to see my baby develop relationships with people other than me and her father.
I have my non-negotiables, and I make that clear to everyone. For example, she's not allowed to watch TV or use gadgets. She's not allowed to eat sweets before she turns 2 years old. My rules are clear and I implement them well. But when I leave my kid with people from "our village," I pretty much let them set their own rules. I trust that they are not out to turn my baby into a manipulative spoiled brat.
It's not like they will feed my child a pound of chocolate in one sitting. I'm sure they know how difficult it is to care for a sugar-high child. I don't think they will actually touch their retirement fund just to buy my baby toys that cost more than her vaccine shots (which are crazy expensive in our side of the world). They are responsible adults who can handle their finances. I am absolutely positive that they won't tolerate rude behavior and talking back simply because it's cute. They know the importance of basic respect.
You see, I trust these people a lot. I have relationships with them. Some of them raised me, and some of them raised my husband. I see nothing wrong with allowing them to develop relationships with my child.
Ultimately, it is my responsibility to make sure that my child turns out to be a hardworking, loving and appreciative human being. While rules are important, they are not the only things that could shape her. Relationships and the feeling of security are important, too. So I refuse to vilify grandparents simply because their rules are different from mine.
Here's the thing: I have a beautiful relationship with my grandparents. And you know what? They probably spoiled me too... in their own loving ways. They let me get away with things I normally wouldn't. They bought me things my parents didn't. They cooked for me and fed me things my parents wouldn't even consider buying. They handled me differently, but that doesn't mean they caused me to be a bad person.
I want the same thing for my child. Whatever she couldn't get from me or her daddy, I want her to get from her grandparents, grand-aunts and grand-uncles. Whatever we couldn't teach her, I want her to learn from them. Yes, even if it means they get to "spoil" her.