The prospect of moving to live near your grandchildren can be a dream for some - adventure days out, baking cupcakes and cosy sleepovers, but it may not be all it's cracked up to be.
There are lots of considerations to make before you up sticks; will you be too close for comfort? Which set of grandchildren do you move closest to? What about the life you've built up?
We've rounded up a few concerns from gransnetters on our forums and delved into The New Granny's Survival Guide, to help you make the Big Decision.
Image credit: Sodahead
You, or your children, may be keen to play happy families - when you can nip over for tea or spend a few hours whizzing toy cars with the grandchildren - but there may be some friction if you're living in each other's pockets.
How often would you/they visit? Do you call beforehand? It's a mindfield when it comes to visiting ettiqutte and it's worth having a casual chat about what would suit everyone.
"I'm now dating again. But the thought of my daughter seeing a gentleman friend leaving in the wee small hours (and putting two and two together) fills me with horror. Although... I'm sure as her mother I'm the one who's supposed to be disapproving of what she gets up to." Flibs
If there are certain things you'd rather keep to yourself, it might be tricky if you're living in close proximity to your loved ones. As much as you'd like to share each other's lives, you (and they) don't need to know the ins and outs of the latest argument over who last emptied the dishwasher, and God forbid, how many wine bottles you've left out for recycling...
Are you torn between the places and people you love at completely different ends of the country? Quiltinggran admits, "I'm spending too much time, money and emotion travelling between the two. And pleasing no one."
PPP points out, "When you are relatively young grandparent the family might enjoy coming for weekend visits and holidays, but once the ravages of age set in, the trips to see Grandma can become a chore. That's what made us decide to sell up in order to be close to our family."
Although it's easier said than done - starting from scratch is tough, and it's up to you to weigh up the pros and cons of being displaced in town you can't quite call 'home'. You may have already established yourself within the community, with friends, your job - do you really want to drop it all for a new life?
You probably have - dare we say - a favourite child, but would you necessarily pick to move nearer to them than your other children? If you have a new addition to the family, you may want to move closer to be a part of the early years of their life, or you may want to spend more time with the older kids - helping with homework, being a shoulder to cry on when Mummy is being mean. How do you decide which set of grandchildren are worthy of your big upheaval to a new and unfamiliar town?
Lots of grandparents enjoy babysitting duties, and see it as a chance to spend some quality time with the children, away from the parents. Although, sometimes grandparents can be taken for granted: "I've seen many friends whose families live very nearby end up feeling "put upon", as their children come to rely upon them as unpaid babysitters or emergency stopgaps." (bakergran)
It's important to find the balance between spending time with your grandchildren and enjoying your own life, especially if you have to start from scratch.
Other things you might like:
|Britain's childcare army||Long-distance grandparenting|