If granddad was home as well, there are usually memories of helping him out in the garden, and raiding the mulberry tree or strawberry patch. Chasing him around the yard with the hose was a favorite, and coming in drenched after helping wash the car.
Sadly, the esteem of grandparents seems to have taken a different place in society. Since generation X have gone back to work full time these “baby boomers” seem to be graded in value, depending on how much child minding they are prepared to do. There seems to be an expectation for them to give up their own lives, and be full time carers.
This is quite a different task when you are in your 50’s, compared to your 20’s. What used to be just routine as younger parents, is very taxing on older couples.
A lot of them feel very trapped because they don’t want this role. They want to go back to the good old days, where grandparents took “all care and no responsibility”, and could then go about doing all the things they’ve never had time to do because they were raising their children…..you!
Yet, they feel they will be unloved if they refuse this enormous task. They can see their dreams of the 3 month caravan tour around Australia, or overseas trip disappearing behind a new pile of nappies and formula.
Of course grandparents want to spend time with their own children and grandchildren, but they are entitled to the “good stuff”. Of course they are happy to help, but that’s the issue here. Help does not mean doing it all.
I’m one of the lucky ones, who see my family often, and am happy to help out where I can. My children would not ask me for more than I can give, and their love for me is not measured by what I can do for them.
It is not your right to expect your parents to put their lives on hold. Accept what your parents are prepared to do with love and appreciation, and just remember, they already had their turn!
Michele Roach is an artist and former nurse. She is a proud grandmother of three children.
Do you agree the grandparenting role has changed? Share your experience....