Gransnet forums


Granny in the corner

(154 Posts)
MawtheMerrier Tue 17-Jan-23 12:06:20

This is not a TAAT - but prompted by a thread about Christmas and reminded me of the “granny in the corner” experience.
I know many of you are incredibly active and play a pivotal part on the lives of your AC and DGC so I may be guilty of generalising.
But doesn’t there come a point where we cross over from providing all sorts of support to being “granny in the corner”.
However kind, inclusive welcoming our AC are, there’s a shift.
Sometimes I feel I am being unreasonable and want it “every which way” - to be needed, to be felt capable of taking over in an emergency, of going the extra mile in being there but then I find myself thinking Hang on, I’m 75, I haven’t got the energy or fitness I had and also, I have a life of my own, friends and activities which I can’t just drop at a moments notice to babysit (except in an emergency)
On re-reading that it does indeed sound very unreasonable!
But from being central to our family life when they were babies and young, I feel myself drifting outwards to that “corner” ! Being widowed doesn’t help because I have to form a social life of my own and perhaps (?) I am getting more set in my ways. I have friends who seem to “live through” their AC and GC , good luck to them, but IMO that way sadness lies because the little ones grow into big ones and while they may love and tolerate Granny, we are not central to their lives.
Sorry to go on, and if you have been, thanks for reading!

Grandmabatty Tue 17-Jan-23 12:14:36

I think the shift is inevitable isn't it? I'm still providing childcare at 64 but as the boys get older, that'll fade to dropping them off at school and picking them up. I've always had a fairly active social life but that'll dwindle I expect as I and my friends get older and less able to travel unaided. I, too, have the desire to be needed but I'm coming to terms with not being a huge part of my children's lives but on the periphery. Philip Larkin spoke about younger women when he said, 'something is pushing them to the edges of their lives'. I probably paraphrase but he could be talking about me.

mrshat Tue 17-Jan-23 13:00:30

I totally agree Maw. I'm at the stage of "I'll hear from them when they need something" and that is, more often than not, the case. However, it is hard to accept this getting old (75) business. wink

dragonfly46 Tue 17-Jan-23 13:06:23

Absolutely Maw I agree totally.
I love my DGC very much but I am aware they are not my children - they are a bonus in my life.
They live too far away to see often but when we do there is definitely a connection.
I would not like to be responsible for them I just enjoy them.
We are seeing them this weekend and I have to say I am just as or more excited to see my DS.

Calendargirl Tue 17-Jan-23 13:06:46

I’m 70. 5 GC, 3 in Oz, 20, 19, 16. Never been able to babysit or do school runs for them obviously.

2 in our town, 18 and 15. After retiring 10 years ago, used to collect them from school and give them tea twice a week, and help in holidays.

No longer needed for that now, of course. Covid plus them being at secondary school was the start of not seeing much of them.

Realise DH and I are not needed like we used to be, but to be honest, don’t miss the (longish) walk to school, plus taking to dancing, football etc. and don’t miss providing the meals, although was glad to help back in the day.

We are not important in their lives, well, not like we used to be. Bit sad, but they can’t stay little forever.

1987H2001M2002Inanny Tue 17-Jan-23 13:18:23

I've been sitting in the corner for years ,only because I like to see whats happening from all directions.My mother called it "sitting here looking bemused". I do know what you mean though.I know my sons dont think about or visit their Grandmother often.We are old in a different time to generations past,but I wouldn't swap being a child in the 60's and things like marvellous health care,travel and technology that has given us so much.

fancythat Tue 17-Jan-23 13:26:55

I am way off yet, but I can see it happening at some point.
Already with the eldest grandchild, she "needs" me less in some ways.
And like other grandparents, I dont live near enough, so am not living around the corner to pop in from time to time.

Am also aware I cant hear quite as well as I used to. Nothing major. But that would contribute to "being in a corner" more.

MerylStreep Tue 17-Jan-23 13:29:25

I understand exactly what your saying Maw I think we are drifting to that stage. The reason for this is age ( with me it is)
Doing their gardens, some diy, etc. I’m still very fit but I can’t do what I did for many years.

AGAA4 Tue 17-Jan-23 13:31:19

I am 75 now and until a few years ago had been looking after children and grandchildren as well as having a job. I am now happy to be granny in the corner and maybe I deserve it?

crazyH Tue 17-Jan-23 13:36:36

I am definitely the ‘Nan’ in the corner, or rather the Nan who sits comfortably on the sofa and has cups of tea and biscuits brought to her. And I love my new position. Their other Nans are younger than me and do all the grafting, at parties etc.

teabagwoman Tue 17-Jan-23 13:58:41

I’m transitioning into Nana in the corner, I’m 76, am both vision and hearing impaired, but am still looking after dgd aged 8 a couple of times a week in the hols. However arthritis is trying to take me over so don’t know if I’ll be able to continue. Feel very much as you do Maw. Definitely in the corner when it comes to family gatherings.

Riverwalk Tue 17-Jan-23 14:12:31

My grandchildren live in the back of beyond in Somerset and I live in London so I've never been central in their day to day lives. From babyhood they used to come and stay with me, usually separately, for a few days during holidays half-term etc. and I go to Somerset every few months.

Now they are 13 & 17 and their visits to me are tapering off - DGS now has a girlfriend and having driving lessons so I expect the last thing he wants is a weekend with his grandma!

At 68 and reasonably fit and healthy I'm not quite ready for the knackers yard, but I expect to my grandchildren I'm seen as granny in the corner!

AreWeThereYet Tue 17-Jan-23 14:14:09

I remember as a teenager being told to visit Granny, as we rarely made the effort being very involved in our own lives. Not that we didn't love her, but there were so many new, exciting things to be discovered with our friends. My own children did the same to my DM and now my GC do the same to me. The only difference is getting the odd text or FB message from them to tell me of some startling event in their lives (new boyfriend, split with boyfriend, concert with boyfriend 😁 ) which my DM and GM never got. I'm strangely proud and sad at the same time that I am not the centre of their lives but we never expected to be and never aimed to be. I think I am already 'granny in the corner' 😁

annsixty Tue 17-Jan-23 14:15:40

More so for me I admit.
I am 85 and my oldest GC, girl, aged 24 lives with me .
This was not to look after me but personal circumstances just over 3 years ago meant she could no longer live at home, very sad story.
My H had died 6 months before.
But in the 3 years I have become more dependent on her and I don’t think either of us find it particularly easy ,so yes I am the gran in the corner.
I hardly ever see my other GC 3 of which are adults and 2 teens who live only 3 miles away but I don’t get on with their mother.
This is not what I envisaged when this next generation began.
Man plans, God laughs.

Parsley3 Tue 17-Jan-23 14:17:39

Sonetimes, Maw,I feel that I may have put myself in the corner by admitting that I am not up to looking after my baby granddaughter in the same way that I did for her sibling. I am 10 years older and while I am loath to admit it, I worry that something will happen to me while I have her. That thought never crossed my mind when I was in my 60s. Recently, I was reminded that family dynamics are changing when my 40+ son recently told me to stop fussing over his flat tyre as he was a grown man and therefore quite capable to getting to a garage all by himself. That was me told. 😁

annsixty Tue 17-Jan-23 14:23:08

My next door neighbours became first time GP’s to a beautiful baby girl two weeks before Christmas.
They are totally besotted with her, as they should be.
I’m quite sure they don’t realise that in the flash of an eye, she will be a teen and then it changes.
Let them enjoy the total experience of these early years, we all did.

Kate1949 Tue 17-Jan-23 14:25:23

I agree with you Maw. It's sad but unfortunately it's how it is often. I am 73. DH is 76. I know we're lucky to both be still here. Things have definitely changed with our daughter. We are fit and reasonably healthy but are definitely treated differently -sidelined when we used to be at the centre of things.

luluaugust Tue 17-Jan-23 14:27:26

Yes I am now granny in the corner, very few calls for any help except the occasional Friday afternoon when GS who is 11 still needs watching. I do this on the sofa with a cup of tea until his mum gets home from work. He often disappears to play games on the computer with his friends. I have done plenty of childcare in my time, have a couple of hobbies I pursue and friends I keep up with, it is inevitable. My son regularly asks if we need any help and we try very hard to think of something!

grannysyb Tue 17-Jan-23 14:30:17

I've been Granny in the corner for a long time, they are nearly 21, 19 and 16, the older two at university, and the youngest is a weekly boarder, so I usually see them in the holidays. Time flew once they were born!

MawtheMerrier Tue 17-Jan-23 14:35:42

Riverwalk I would have given my right arm to have a Granny living in London- growing up in a wee Scottish town that would have been the epitome of cosmopolitan glamour!
Actually they are just the right age to appreciate London- hope you’ve got the spare room ready!

Lexisgranny Tue 17-Jan-23 14:42:48

I think it is a real transition from being a central part of grandchildren’s lives to removing to the peripheral. It would be easier if they still had the same need to divulge all the minutiae of their lives, like they did when they rushed out of school with the latest drama in their young lives.

Our grandchildren are all grown up now and although it is wonderful to see what delightful young people they have become, I find myself holding back, not giving advice unless it is asked for, trying to avoid asking for the kind of penetrating Questions that irritated me so much at their age. Then something happens and you realise that everything is fine, just different. Yesterday our youngest grandson telephoned and chatted happily for far longer than I would have done to my grandparents at his age. We started to talk about my upcoming significant birthday and I said “Then I really will be old”. His immediate reply was “You are not old Granny”. My day was made! My Granny had been a member of the suffragette movement, and even in her 90s, no-one would have accused her of being Granny in the corner, I shall make every effort not to become one either.

dragonfly46 Tue 17-Jan-23 14:47:54

Going back to Granny in the corner, I sometimes wish my DC would allow me to be. I get the feeling they just don’t want to admit we are no longer as able as we used to be.

Riverwalk Tue 17-Jan-23 14:50:47

The spare room is always ready Maw - well it is after I've removed the mound of ironing and shoved things into the wardrobe.

Thing is they've been coming to London since babies so they're very blase about it all - there's hardly an event that I haven't taken them to, from Kidzania, Winter Wonderland, Ariana Grande, dozens of theatre visits, restaurants, you name it I've taken them! Plus the other grandparents live in London.

Kids these days ...

Oreo Tue 17-Jan-23 14:52:13

Lexisgraany that's the spirit
that's how I feel too, nobody can put you in the corner unless you allow it.
a step back maybe, but nothing more than that. Keeping a younger mindset is the thing to do and stay interested in their lives. We're still fairly central to family's needs at the moment for various reasons. I love babies, and we have two to help out with.

Witzend Tue 17-Jan-23 14:57:58

I/we still do one offs/emergencies, but no regular childcare any more. Also still have elder Gdcs (6 and 7) to stay for 2-3 nights in school hols, but not the youngest, who still wakes at might wanting Mummy or Daddy - I can’t cope with that!

Maybe it’s different after you’re widowed, but I dread being the granny in the corner, let alone the person of whom sundry neighbours think, ‘Poor old dear, all on her own - we’d better invite her for Christmas dinner, hadn’t we?’

I hope I’ll manage to say, ‘Thanks very much, but I’m fine on my own’ (aka I love my P&Q with a good book) without coming across as a miserable old hag!