Being a grandparent

Recently my best friend became a grandmother – she’s not close to 50 years old and definitely doesn’t look like a typical granny.

So what’s it like being a grandparent?

There are the ‘double emotions’…

I asked my friend what it felt like being present at the birth of her grandchild and watching her own daughter go through labour. She best described it as a moment of ‘double emotions’ – there was the joy of seeing her grandchild being born but the anxiety when watching her daughter go through childbirth. When I ask my friend how her grandson is, it’s wonderful to observe her glow when she talks about her him.

The fuzzy excitement…

For this article, I have done research, spoken to friends who are grandparents and reflected on my childhood with my grandparents. I’m not one myself, it’s not on the cards yet but I can’t wait to be one. I can feel a fuzzy excitement in my bones already! My daughter and I were laughing about it yesterday, she can envision her giving birth with me present and the midwife leaving the room and coming back only to find I had already taken the baby home to leave my daughter to rest in the hospital. 

Here are some grandparent things to think about…

I’ve put together a list of thinking points created from the input I have had from different people. You could always add to this list by writing in the comments box for this article.

Grandparental feelings and behaviour…

  • There should be mutual respect between parents and grandparents

Whether a pregnancy is planned or not – it’s not for the grandparents to judge the parents if possible. They themselves as ‘parents’ and ‘grandparents’ should be there to support their expectant daughters or sons and encourage them, even if they don’t agree with the situation. I can imagine that is easier said than done.

Here is an interesting grandparenting fact…

Did you know that grandparents who babysit their grandchildren potentially live longer?

Read this article from The Mail online to find out more about this interesting fact:

“Grandparents who babysit their grandchildren tend to live longer than seniors who do not care for other people, a study has found.” Read more…

  • Accept that grandparents, in most cases,  have no control over the grandchildren situation

It is important that grandparents realise they shouldn’t try to control the situation when their grandchild becomes part of their life. They need to remember that the grandchild is not their child and they have to take a step back and wait to be invited to help even though it is a natural reaction to want to help.

Here’s a bit of a tough question: Do you undermine your children with their parenting skills? Apparently, it’s a common problem.

A persistent problem in parent-grandparent relationships is that the parents feel that the grandparents are overstepping boundaries. Sometimes they feel that the grandparents are undermining the parents right to make decisions about their children.

Find out more about this topic…

  • Labour horror stories, blood and gore!

Normally no two labours are the same and just because the grandmother may have had hard labour doesn’t mean to say that the daughter will too. So, explicit details about giving birth should really only be shared if asked for.

However, The Guardian has an interesting opinion article on this:

**Giving birth is bloody painful. Why deny it? But it’s also the experience of a lifetime, so let’s keep talking about it.** Read the full article…

  • Grandparent wars!

Being a grandparent shouldn’t be a competition between all the grandparents – we don’t want handbags at dawn over who has bought the best advent calendar for their grandchildren.

Do you spoil your grandchildren? 

“Indulgent grandparents may be having an adverse impact on their grandchildren’s health say researchers.” BBC News reports.

Read more…

  • Postnatal depression and health issues

Grandparents could be the first to identify postnatal depression in the mother of the grandchild. I know quite a few people that suffered from postnatal depression. One sadly killed herself and the others struggled to bond with their child. It isn’t a condition that should be brushed off lightly.

The “baby blues” don’t last for more than 2 weeks after giving birth. If the symptoms last longer or start later, the person could have postnatal depression. Postnatal depression can start any time in the first year after giving birth.

Read more about postnatal depression…

  • How do grandparents manage long distance?

It’s quite likely that there will be a distance between grandparents and their grandchildren but in this world of modern technology, with mobile phones and computers, it’s so easy to see each other every day.

Have you heard about the Facebook Portal?

Portal is aimed at connecting you to family and friends through video chat. The idea is that, instead of holding your phone up to your face for a jerky visual conversation with grandma and grandpa, you get a beautiful mini-TV, with a 10-inch screen, from which — in a perfect world — would involve the entire family for a group chat.

Find out more about Facebook Portal

  • Grandparents babysitting

Everyone needs a time out now and then, especially new parents whose world revolves around their new little baby. Or they already have toddlers running around doing things they shouldn’t do.

Some grandparents make the best babysitters! It is great for grandparents and grandchildren to spend time together as it gives parents a respite and allows grandparents to spend quality time with their grandchildren. With the generation gap and especially for older people who suffer mobility problems and need walk-in baths around the home, it can sometimes be difficult to find things to do with the grandchildren.

Help is at hand – read more…

  • Grandparents breaking the rules!

It’s very hard as a grandparent not to spoil the grandchildren (I know I will spoil mine!). From what I’ve been told, sometimes it can do more harm than good, especially if you are overruling the parents.  

Here is a book recommendation, the‘Ups and Downs of Being a Grandparent.’ No one loves kids more than their grandparents, but sometimes they can overdo things. From breaking the rules of babysitting to sharing lovely moments and from giving advice to singing songs.

Check out the book…

  • The health of the grandparents

The sleepless nights and multi-tasking when you’re a parent are tough but as a grandparent, it can really take its toll. Without meaning to sound rude – if you are a grandparent reading this, you’re most probably not a spring chicken anymore. With many parents struggling to balance work and family life, grandparents are increasingly being asked to lend a helping hand. There is help out there take a look at Grandparents Plus. 

  • Don’t spend a fortune on the grandchildren

In a lot of cases, spending and spoiling grandchildren are easy and very common. As a new grandparent, watching your children struggle to afford all the much-needed baby equipment and clothes and toys that are required – can mean the credit card gets a bit of a bashing. 

Lucky kids were set to enjoy a bumper Christmas in 2018 with grandparents set to spend over £1.4 billion on presents for them, according to research.

A study found the typical grandparents will splash out £42 on each of their beloved grandchildren in the run-up to December 25th. With the average grandparent having four grandchildren, that means they will spend £167 on their grandsons and granddaughters. With nearly 8.5 million grandparents set to celebrate Christmas this year, kids gifts will leave a £1,416,733,965 dent in their bank balance.


Now I want to share some wonderful memories of my grandparents…

I was blessed with my grandparents, I hope you were or are too. My dad’s mum who I used to call ‘Nanna Hays’ was my best friend, I have proudly taken her maiden name as my surname now I am divorced. It’s interesting that we remember all the lovely things about our grandparents and yet most of my memories of my parents aren’t that great!

I remember my grandparent’s smells (I know that’s a little bizarre)…

My NannaHays smelt of:

  • L’Aimant perfume, Nivea cream and apple pie

Her husband, ‘Granday Hays’ smelt of:

  • Old Holborn tobacco, wood and Pears soap

My mum’s mum who I used to call ‘Gran’ smelt of:

  • Fruity sweets, tea and pork pie

Her husband, ‘Grampy Barnet’ smelt of :

  • Cigarettes, cigarettes and cigarettes! (Their ceiling was yellow from nicotine)

I wonder what my grandchildren will remember about me, I wonder what you remember about your grandparents.

Here are my quickfire memories of my grandparents…

  • Buckets and spades at the seaside
  • Donkey rides on the seafront
  • Sitting at the Lido watching a show and eating fruit pastels
  • Roast chicken with yorkshire puddings filled with gravy and peas
  • Tapioca pudding
  • Apple pie or jelly and custard
  • Orange marmalade
  • My Grandad Hays’s pure white hair that I used to put in bunches
  • My Nanna’s pink lipstick that she would dab on my lips
  • My dressing up box full of colourful scarves, old blouses and skirts
  • Watching the football scores on a Saturday afternoon
  • Nanna’s beautiful geraniums
  • The large wooden playhouse that my Grandad built for me
  • My blue plastic teddy bear money box
  • Every Saturday night sleepovers
  • My colouring-in book and pencils of different sizes
  • Ladybird books
  • Max Bygraves singing
  • Benny Hill on the TV
  • Walking to the park and playing on the swings
  • Perfect cuddles
  • Games in the garden

My list could go on and on…

Being a grandparent must be so special – I hope I’m a good one.

“Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.” — Alex Haley


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** The content on this site should not be used as medical advice, we are giving our readers information and insights. If you are concerned about your health or need medical advice please see your doctor. If you are struggling with any issues please talk to someone – don’t suffer in silence. **