What I've learned is that the term grandparent does not mean guaranteed baby sitting or help with household chores.
Like weddings, people seem to process the birth of a baby differently and perhaps everyone creates their own role. As new parents though, I had a certain set of expectations which of course is never a good thing. Grandparents in America today aren't like grandparents that were around decades ago. Perhaps playing grandparent may also make them feel old right? They're still working and trying to live their life to the fullest. Though I do have friends whose parents can provide daily childcare--how lucky are they? Can you imagine not having to pay for childcare or developing the guts to trust your baby with someone else?
In our own family, each grandparent is different.
Maternal grandma is really there with overnight visits, homemade meals, and volunteering for occasional baby sitting so we can have date nights.
Maternal grandpa never actually saw me pregnant by choice. This is a longer story of the divorce between my parents. After many attempts, my father managed to stop by briefly bringing cases of diapers and Kai's great grandma. Will I see him again? Probably not for awhile.
Paternal grandma prefers not to be called that but the slicker name of "mamita" She does weekly visits with take out lunches and always gives the baby a bath. Baby sitting is a definite maybe.
Paternal grandpa has a way with the baby with the perfect swing movement and ssshhushing sounds.
My husband and I have analyzed both sets and realized that everyone has processed the birth differently. With my own mom, I think she really wants to be there for the baby because she missed out on the infant stage of her own son and only sees her grandchild who lives in Viet Nam every few years. Baby Kai then receives all this lost love from her.
My dad hasn't really changed. It's difficult to trust how genuine his actions are. But I know that I won't expect much and have come to terms that my son may not have a consistent relationship with him. But hey, you never know. Just because my father was absent in my life for so long, it doesn't mean he'll do the same with baby Kai.
With Kai's paternal grandparents, they're still very active in their careers and are jet setters. But when there is time, it seems that they will be available for bath time and family dinners.
At the end of the day, Kai is a lucky kid. He has both sets of great grandparents and grandparents. Everyone will contribute what they can, and we'll learn not to hold such high expectations.