It's been a long while since I wrote about grandparenting ("Grandparenting - Pleasure or Pressure?"). Given the changing role of women in the last two to three decades, it is inevitable that the role of grandparents will also undergo change. The switch from full time mothers to full time career women has left grandparents increasingly taking on the role of child-minder and ersatz parents.
|On a family vacation in Phuket with Max, 6, and Reiya, 6 months. Photo taken in 2006.|
I recall when my first grandchild was born on 28 August 2000, my younger daughter was at the time helping her husband build his company. After three months maternity leave, she had to return to work. She had no choice but to approach me for help with the baby. Fortunately for her, it was the start of the Nov-Dec school holidays. I had two months to enjoy re-living my parenting days, this time as a brand new grandma.
|My four grandchildren taken in 2006.|
|For Reiya, Max is the best big brother a sister could ask for, very caring and loving. Of course, like most siblings they do bicker every now and then. Picture taken in October 2012.|
|Max today, a towering 6-footer and still growing. He is among the |
top triathletes in his age group, regularly competing in regional triathlons.
|A 2011 picture of my other two grandchildren, sisters Hana and Allie. |
They are now 12 and 13.
|Allie and I enjoy playing the ukulele|
|Feeding Ryder. Photo taken in 2015.|
There will come a time when all my grandchildren will prefer to hang out with their friends than with their grandma. Indeed, it is already the case now. I will miss hearing the pitter-patter of little feet, of hearing my grandchildren squeal with delight and run to hug me when they see me at the front door. I will miss their excited cries of "Grandma is here!" It's the sweetest music to my ears.
So back to the question - "Are grandparents being taken for granted as child-minders?" Put another way, are grandparents being exploited to care for the grandchildren? I can't answer for other grandparents. For me, my answer is obvious. It makes me feel good to know I had an important part to play in my grandchildren's growing up years. My two daughters have shown their appreciation many times over, in a thousand and one ways.
|Allie, Ryder, Reiya, me and Hana. Max was away at boarding school. Photo taken late 2015.|
(This article is an update of an earlier one posted in 2012.)