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Be a child-minding Grandmother.
Keep it in the family?
Member Name: leviathan
Keep it in the family?
Date: 20/02/01, updated on 20/02/01 (150 review reads)
Advantages: Keeps you on your toes
Disadvantages: Can be tiring
The majority who may read this op, will I suspect fall into two categories..1) Those who have no children yet. 2) Those who have a young family..Because lets face it many of us older folk are only just coming to grips with the new technology, and have yet to discover the delights of being a Dooyooer..
Even so I hope it will be useful to all, and give some insight into the joys and pitfalls of being a grandparent…
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I will begin..
When my eldest daughter and her husband gave us the great news that they were to have a baby I almost burst with excitement.. That was before I began to worry..Would everything go alright for my daughter and the baby? Would she have inherited the medical condition that had brought me so much grief, etc etc etc?
In fact I suspect I drove her mad towards the end of her pregnancy, by fussing round like an old mother hen, even insisting I accompany her to see the consultant when the baby was a few days overdue..
But everything was perfectly okay, and Emily Ann duly came into the world with everything where it should be..
Now here I should perhaps explain that I personally detest any interference in how I choose to live my life..Advice I will accept..IF I have asked for it..But let any shove their oar in where it isn’t wanted, and I go off like a sky-rocket!. But as a proud grandmother I found the desire to shove my own oar in where it wasn't wanted, or needed , quite overwhelming.
The fact that my daughter was 30 years old, and possessed oodles of common sense, not to mention a caring and practical nature, did not enter the equation..
Looking back to the first few months of Emily’s life. I am surprised my daughter didn’t tell me in no uncertain terms what I could do with my ‘advice’..But bless her she took it all in good part ( probably laughing at me when I wasn’t looking) and I suppose I couldn’t
have been too bad, for when she went back to work (part-time) I was given the privilege of looking after baby Emily..And I do mean privilege.
This is the point where real acrimony can develop, as no two people do everything exactly the same, or even think exactly the same, and it was up to my daughter to make the rules for her child..It was my responsibility to adhere to them whether or not I agreed. And it ain’t easy.
.Basically because like most grandparents I was (am) inclined to ‘spoil’ my grandchildren. Not necessarily in the material sense, but more in the 'discipline’ area..
Indeed I found it almost impossible to say NO to Emily, except over matters of safety..And after along talk with my mum and other grandparents I discovered this was a common occurrence..
Moreover my precious little Emily soon learned she could play me off against her Mum..(she was already doing the same with Mum and Dad) with a winsome smile and an I love you Nanny. Imean honestly who could resist I love you Nanny, and Emily does have a particularly winsome smile.
Luckily my daughter and I have never fallen out over the children ( Jessica Hannah made her entrance last June) but I can see just how easily we could have..And why so many families become estranged over grandchildren.
When I first cared for Emily whilst her Mum was at work, she was only 9 months old, and coming on top of looking after my disabled husband I found it very tiring. Especially as she never had a sleep during the day. A baby simply didn’t fit into my daily routine, and I found doing the shopping in particular
very difficult. Between lifting the car seat in and out, putting up a fiddly buggy, being stopped every two minutes by someone wanting to admire the baby, it took me three times as long to complete..But over a period of time I adjusted. And even met new friends who were also looking after grandchildren whilst their parents worked.
However it is very easy to forget the child is not yours..Sure they are a part of you, and whilst you are in ‘charge’ you are responsible for their well-being..But it is their parents who retain control over their upbringing…
I have learned ALWAYS to check with my daughter, before succumbing to Emily’s blandishments for this treat, or that toy.. I have learned never to countermand any of my daughters edicts over the children, because it is neither fair nor sensible when it is she and her husband who has to pick up the pieces..
Nor is it fair to the children who can only be confused, or hurt if those closest to them begin bickering over them.
The close knit family unit is a thing of the past in our culture. Grandparents are often still ar work themselves, or have taken up other pursuits which exclude them as child-minders..Which I think a great pity..For I do not believe any nursery, or registered child-minder, however good or professional can ever offer the same kind of security to a child as the home environment.
Having grandchildren has brought more happiness than I could have thought possible..It has also brought purpose back into our lives..I love having them, looking after them,, just loving them..
Being a grandparent/child-minder babysitter is wonderful…I get all the best bits, and when I am tired I can sleep knowing someone else has to get up in the night if the little darlings cry or are unwell….
I get to go to school plays (where I must admit to tears the moment the first little one steps up on to the stage) without having to dash round like a mad thing making costumes. I get to build sandcastles, snowmen, and to watch all those Disney movies again.. For the one thing I can give as a grandparent is TIME. A commodity every working Mum will know is all to often in short supply.
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