Who Was Your Grandparenting Role Model?
In this candid article, Susan Day author of The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing, talks to us about her first thoughts on learning that she was to become a grandmother at the age of 47.
It is a common problem now with so many changes happening from one generation to the next, some grandparents aren’t sure who they should use as a role model.
A Grandmother at 47
This was my situation. I became a grandparent at the age of 47 years old. I was working six days a week running a business. In truth, I didn’t have time to be a fully present grandparent. I was a sole operator, business owner, and was taking calls day and night. I was also responsible for the day to day management of the business, the clients and other services offered.
Apart from being very busy, I used to worry that I was too young to be a grandparent. I didn’t even look 47! Many people believed I was still in my 30s. Sure, that was flattering, but it didn’t help me come to terms with my new role.
I was also single at the time, and my lifestyle didn’t fit the preconceived image I had in my mind of what a grandmother was supposed to be.
Hell, I didn’t knit. I didn’t bake. I didn’t even know how to tie my hair up in a bun!
In those times, I spent most of my time in jeans and boots, training dogs.
What kind of grandparent was I supposed to be?
Reflecting On Our Role As Grandparents
In the back of my mind these questions began to creep in:
What was I supposed to do?
Where did I fit in?
Would I be expected to baby sit?
Cripes! Would I have to change a nappy! I hadn’t done that for 25 years, and I wasn’t sure I knew how to any more.
What would this new human being think of me? Would I disappoint him? Would he even like me?
Should I try to force him to like me? How did one do that? With gifts or candy? No, that seemed fake. I had to discover a new way.
Oh, boy! It did my head in!
Who was I going to use as a role model?
My parents were still alive and quite healthy when I became a grandparent. They had their own busy lives, and my mother was still working in a part time job.
They lived thousands of miles away, and weren’t much support at all. In truth we have never been really close due to family circumstances, so I pretty much felt I was on my own.
What I wanted was someone to tell me what to do, and what to think. Sadly, that wasn’t going to happen.
In my circle of friends there were some other grandparents, but they were much older than I was. They smiled and nodded when I tried to talk to them about what I was feeling. On reflection, I think they probably thought I was worrying over nothing. The gap of about 10 years meant they couldn’t understand why I was feeling this way.
They knew how I felt, but they couldn’t see that being a grandparent at the age of 47 years old was such an issue. They had had their parents to help and guide them, and many had partners. Since this time, I have met many other women who had gone through what I did. It appears I wasn’t on my own or that unique, but at the time it felt like it.
Who was your grandparenting role model?
What did you take from your grandparents that you wanted to use? Which things did you have to leave out?
Please leave your comments below.