Playdough and pasta crafting sessions. Playgroup visits where you’re the only older gentleman in a room full of young women. Alice Metcalfe meets three grandparents responsible for childcare.
As I sit and write this, my parents are downstairs looking after my two-year-old son. I can hear them, playing puzzles, dancing to music and more often than not, laughing uproariously together. It is the most delightful office background noise you could ask for.
I am just one of thousands of mothers in the UK depending on grandparents for their childcare. Around 50 per cent of working mums rely on their parents in this way when they go back to work after maternity leave. Almost one in five British grandmothers provide at least ten hours of care a week, according to an ongoing study being carried out across Europe by researchers at King’s College, London. This is hardly surprising. The economic downturn means more mothers are having to return to work to make ends meet and with the cost of childcare outstripping the rate of inflation, it is coming down to the grandparents to fill the gap.
Read the three grandparents’ stories at https://thegreenparent.co.uk/articles/read/keep-it-in-the-family
BEING AN INVOLVED GRANDPARENT
Sue Bayliss was unprepared for the emotional impact of becoming a grandparent. Here she talks about how she has chosen to become an involved grandmother.
I am teaching Rosetta and her brother to connect with nature. We put our hands on trees and look up through their branches to see how they stretch up to the sky. We breathe in their strength and wisdom. We stroke leaves to feel how smooth or rough they are and sniff the roses growing in their garden. I explain that Rosetta means little rose. We greet slugs, snails and robins. I encourage my granddaughter’s wild nature by allowing my own. A foundation in wildness will help her resist the media messages and have the courage to be herself.
Read more about how Sue chooses to be involved in her grandchildrens’ lives at https://thegreenparent.co.uk/articles/read/its-different-this-time
ADOPTING A GRANNY
Nedua Hussein adopted a granny for her children and gained so much more
When our second son was born, both were a brilliant help. One looked after our older son during labour and the birth and the other was there first thing in the morning to meet our newborn. They brought food, played with our older son and gave us a rest. It was invaluable having them around. We were so much more relaxed and it was easier than it had been with our first son. It was also great to see our baby forming a close relationship right from the start to his “grannies”, who had become friends by then.
Read more about how and why to adopt a granny at https://thegreenparent.co.uk/articles/read/granny-wanted