Gransnet forums



(36 Posts)
gracesmum Thu 17-Nov-11 22:56:35

Various posts, and most recently one from Gamma makes me wonder if we set too high a standard for grandparenting?I hear of Grannies who seem to have inexhaustible energy for their GC, who springclean their DDs' houses or do their ironing in between taking the GC to the swings, baking a pizza with them and also filling the freezer. (And that is just before lunch!)
Seriously, do set too high expectations of ourselves? Surely our GC will love us just as much if we are not would be clones of their mummies?
Are we trying to prove something.........hmm ?

gracesmum Fri 18-Nov-11 11:41:45

Has this gone down like a lead balloon? sad
Please somebody - a comment even if unfavourable - I can take it!

absentgrana Fri 18-Nov-11 11:53:18

I've read your post earlier and have been thinking about it while doing something else. I think children love you for all kinds of reasons most of which depend on the person you are – because you make them laugh, you're a great storyteller, you spare time to talk and play, you make lovely pizzas, you have a fabulous dressing up box and so on and so on. I'm pretty sure that they don't love you because you do the ironing or spring cleaning. Presumably grandmothers do these chores to help their own children and if they are willing and have the energy, at least for now, this is simply an act of kindness.

I am not the best person to comment on your post because my daughter and grandchildren don't live here in the UK and I see them quite rarely. However, I do think that if we don't start with high expectations of ourselves, we do ourselves in injustice.

gillybob Fri 18-Nov-11 12:08:00

Hi gracesmum I do think we set ourselves a high standard but whats wrong with that? I try to be the best granny that I can be as I want my grandchildren to remember me and want to be with me when they are grown up.

My own granny is still alive (she is fairly ancient but still very much with it) and I have only the best and most happiest memories of being with her when I was a child. She made my life so much happier and is repaid (I think) by still being a huge part of the family, never being left out of a family occasion and being regularly visited by her grandchildren (me and my sister) her great grandchildren (my kids) and now her great great grandchildren (my grandchildren) who all adore her.

She has set the granny benchmark in our family and my goodness its hard to live up to !

gangy5 Fri 18-Nov-11 12:47:38

I think that some grans do do too much and affect their own lives by doing so. Sometimes GD's wouldn't be a part of this and, probably, really wouldn't agree to it. We should enjoy our later years doing alot of what we want to do - some of it with the other half and some with friends. I do alot, in my mind, for my grandchildren. We only live a couple of miles away from them all so see them alot and are here for any emergencies that may arise.

Yes, I would like to get my hands on one of my son's houses because it is a tip. I don't think it is right for me to get involved with this - they both have good jobs and can afford some help.
Cooking I love - they come to me often for meals and Christmas is always here for them if they want to come.
We have spent much time and effort in raising our children and shouldn't be taking on alot of their domestic chores.

gracesmum Fri 18-Nov-11 15:01:14

I think I didn't mean so much that we should not be the best grans we can - that is to say the best grans ever - but we are not all as young/energetic/physically active/ etc as we were and I have a sneaking suspicion that as I do not WANT to appear old, I won't admit to myself when I am frankly exhausted. I cannot run around like DD and SIL, the knees give me gyp getting up and down from the floor and when GS needed to be lifted up too I found it hard to get up unaided. Fair enough. It is just that there seems to be a cult of "young and active" grandparenting which is not possible/easy if one is incapacitated or convalescing - as highlighted by Gamma's original post. So we shouldn't feel guilty because we don't look like a Holland and Barrett advertisement.

bensnanna Fri 18-Nov-11 16:00:51

Ha ha, I loved the bit about Holland and Barrett, Gracesmum. I am beginning to feel old now and try to do as much as I can for DD and SIL. Thy have even moved nearer to us so I am on hand most of the time. My DD has mental health issues so she can be a bit hard work at times. Having said that, I would not be without my DGS. He has changed my life completely and I love looking after him. Think I am contradicting myself sometimes but I am sure some Grannies know what I mean. I am a new Granny and new to Gransnet. Great to know I am not the only one to feel like this.

numberplease Fri 18-Nov-11 16:15:14

Hi Gracesmum. I look after my youngest grandchild whilst my son and his wife are at work, as I did for 4 of the others, and I`ve loved having them, and hope they`ve loved being with me, but as for doing their parents housework, it takes me all my time to do my own, housewife of the year I aint!! I do worry about this little one`s other grandma, as, although she`s a few years older than we are, seems to have an endless pot of money, which I haven`t, and is forever spending a fortune on him, and helping my son and his wife out with their bills, and I worry that they`ll think more of her than me. Silly, I know, but that`s how it is.

Carol Fri 18-Nov-11 16:33:12

numberplease it's what you do, not how much money you've got that counts. If the other grandma has plenty of money and enjoys helping out, it's great that she can be so helpful to a young family and your contribution of looking after your youngest grandchild will be saving a fortune in childcare costs. My daughter doesn't care, when I look after her 3 year old twins, if she walks in and the house is scattered with toys and all the cushions are on the floor to make a den - she knows her boys are safely looked after by a nana who would give her life for them and showers them with love and cuddles. That's always better than money thanks

nanachrissy Fri 18-Nov-11 16:34:30

Number it's easy to give money and much more difficult to give time and energy!. Perhaps she feels inadequate because she can't help as much as you in a practical way. I think you are both doing your best to help in the way that you can hmm thanks

tanith Fri 18-Nov-11 16:59:02

I think some families have different expectations of what grandparents contribute to the bringing up of grandchilden. Some families seem to expect grandma to be involved in every aspect of the childrens lives and I guess thats fine if you actually don't mind being so involved. Peronally I did work when my first few grands were born so didn't have the choice to be involved so much but now I'm retired I'm happy to take a back seat , I don't want to do the school run, and run rings round myself trying to help out with this that and the other.. my daughters know I will step in at a moments notice if there is a need for me to but I do things like cooking , playing, reading , outings and holidays as and when it suits me . I don't lavish money or things on them either (I have enough for me to be comfortable) they get a good pressie on birthdays and christmas and the odd bit of pocket money/sweets when I am able to... I don't want to give all my time to my family , I love them all but I want me time and money and if thats selfish then so be it..I've worked hard and now its there turn..

tanith Fri 18-Nov-11 17:00:18

sorry the wrong their in

petallus Sat 19-Nov-11 09:25:54

I for one don't help out with the grandchildren so they love me or to be in denial about getting old. I suppose I do it because I think it helps and adds something to the quality of our family life. And I suppose it is satisfying to feel I can still contribute something useful. It wouldn't suit me to just sit about all day. One adult grandson has lived with me for the last six years since he was 16. It all works out okay and I still have time for friends and hobbies.

glammanana Sat 19-Nov-11 09:58:26

My DGCs are a big part of my life and I see or hear from them most day's the big one's I see in them passing through my DDs house and I now get a pat on the head(they are so tall) and a "how you doing nana have you done some cakes" the little ones drop in from school with DH if he has picked them up if DD at work so we have a lot of contact we realise we are very lucky.

bagitha Sat 19-Nov-11 10:00:38

Sounds lovely, glam. What a nice family you have! smile

Annobel Sat 19-Nov-11 10:18:08

With my first GD and her half brother I enjoyed a hands-on relationship. I was quite a young granny when she was born and was still working, so saw a lot of them at the weekends. If I was at home, she would drop in on her way home from school. She always loved to take over my kitchen and do some baking. Always a helpful child, she even came with me to deliver political leaflets during election campaigns. A visit to the cake counter in a local shop was a useful 'sweetener'
Their mum and DS split up when she was a baby and eventually he went to work on the Continent. It was vital that I kept the lines of communication open and she is now almost 20 and a valued member of his family (GD, 9 and GS 7). We are still very close; I take her out to lunch at least once a month when she can spare time from her University activities and part-time job as a waitress. Her brother is one of those rare young graduates now holding down a job.
My younger GC live in Hampshire and Oxfordshire, too far from Cheshire for me to be hands-on. I try to visit roughly monthly and have a great relationship with all four.

FlicketyB Sat 19-Nov-11 20:19:06

We are fortunate to have a happy balance, my DS and family and the other grandma live in Yorkshire and we are in Berkshire. The other grandma has been a tower of strength on a day to day basis, particularly as our DiL and GD have had a string of minor medical problems. We cannot possibly do that from our distance but neither my son or his wife are practical DIY people and he has only just been made permanent in his job after 10 years of one and two year contracts, which has made them very careful with money, so when we visit we do practical things; my husband is in the process of updating the kitchen and I decorate and make curtains but mainly we just spend time with the GC playing with them, reading to them and enjoying their company.

DS's house tends to be chaotic but I would not dream of trying to do any housework or tidying. How they keep their house is none of my business unless it is indicative of other problems, which it isnt. Anyway with my son it would be a totally waste of time, he can untidy faster than anyone can tidy. The family are happy together, the children well-loved, well cared for and thriving. We give help when it is needed but I have no desire to be any kind of 'supergran', I have a life of my own.

Pennysue Sat 19-Nov-11 22:33:00

Would like to be a Super Gran, but was 38 when first GC born (in Germany BOAR) and 45 when last of the 3 was born, so working with a large mortgage. Was always available in an emergency and when third GC born I had second GC for a week as she was only 20 months old (I also had a wonderful boss who agreed to let me have a week off at short notice).

Am still working and oldest GC has just made me a GGM - trying to think of a title. Will not under any circumstances answer to Great Grandmother or anything like as my memories of my GGM are not fond. Anyway how can I possibly have a son who is a Grandfather!

We help when we can with things we are good at, but by the same token DS etc helps us when we need it.

seasider Sat 19-Nov-11 22:59:46

My grandparents all died before I was born so do feel I missed out on those special relationships. I take my lead from the way my mother was with my children. She never had much money but would always bring them a little treat such as sweets or crayons ( unlike the other grandparents who were well off!). My mum lived away but would come in school holidays to help with child care and always took the children for walks, drew pictures and did activities like baking. If mum was around when there were events at school she loved to come with me. When mum stayed in the holidays she would do my washing and make my tea ( what a bonus for a divorced mum working full time!). My children still have very fond memories of their grandma though she died some years ago and I hope my grandchildren will remember me as fondly in the future.

bagitha Sun 20-Nov-11 08:31:34

I like your description of your mum, seasider. It's the little things that count, isn't it?

Butternut Sun 20-Nov-11 09:52:02

I don't know if it's all about being a 'Supergran'. Maybe it's about leaving grandchildren with fond memories with all the little kindnesses we wish them to have - a legacy of sorts - of who and what we are / were as grandmothers/g-fathers

Because my grandchildren live abroad, I tend to think of myself as a 'virtual' grandma - and at times I feel quite semi-detached. absentgrana - you hit the nail on the head for me when you mentioned having a starting point of high expectations, and I really do hope that my relationship with the little ones will develop as the years go by.

Not having had any grandparents around in my childhood, I really want my grandchildren to know who we are, and how we live our lives. Every year I unashamedly send a calendar full of picture of our lives here - what we do and where we live, from chopping wood, working in the garden, cooking, and generally being silly in hats etc. I want them to have a record of us and to get to know us as well as possible.

I can't be hand's on, so have had to find another way of being in their lives.

Hope it works! smile

greenmossgiel Sun 20-Nov-11 13:33:04

numberplease, even though your little grandson's other grandma lavishes presents etc on him it's your input into his life that he'll remember when he's older. She'll be glad that you can do what you do for him because she's not so able and probably worries that you think she doesn't do enough! smile

numberplease Sun 20-Nov-11 16:47:15

Sorry to sound uncharitable, Greenmossgiel, but she doesn`t worry about me in the slightest, she`s a very strange woman, her husband, who died a few months ago, bless him, was a lovely, lovely man, who deserved much better than her. She stopped me in town a few weeks ago, to complain that her daughter and my son don`t visit very often with the little `un, when I know for a fact that my son regularly takes him round there after picking him up from here. Then she proceeded to inform me that it was her who paid my little wage for looking after him, just £1 an hour, gives me a little money of my own, but she made me feel SO small!!!!

greenmossgiel Sun 20-Nov-11 16:54:59

numberplease - oh, what a horror!! She doesn't matter - thankfully the wee lad's got you. And anyway, why shouldn't she give a bit of her cash to help with the care of the wee boy, if it's going to help his mum and dad a bit? She sounds quite spiteful - don't let her bother you. angry

bagitha Sun 20-Nov-11 17:01:29

She sees in you, numberplease, what she would like to be, but she knows she hasn't got what it takes. She only has money. You have the wealth of love and the giving of your time and patience.