Ready, set, you’re a grandmother
Becoming a grandmother is a whole different mindset than motherhood. Traditionally, I think you tend to be a little more prepared becoming a parent than a grandparent. Typically, after you get married it is possible to pretty much plan when you begin having children. Whereas, the transition from a mother to a grandmother teeters on unknown territory.
My first grandchild came into our family when two of my youngest still attended school. At forty something, I acknowledge it is not exceedingly young to become a grandmother. Yet, I was still not necessarily ready. My mindset remained in parental mode at this point. She arrived under not so traditional circumstances. Her young mother and no responsible father mapped out the beginning of our extended family.
A grandmother’s responsibilities
As the matriarch of my family, I oversee multiple households. That is to say, my four children grown up or not will always be my children! Grandmother to three out of four families, They each have their own family or at least hopes of someday. No, I do not micromanage their lives or anything of the sort. I’m not going to lie, sometimes keeping my mouth shut isn’t easy but I have learned it usually works better unless asked first. Have you ever wanted to smarten your kid up? Do you poke your nose in your grown children’s business? Did you successfully cut the apron strings?
A grandmother’s role becomes more philosophical than the physical aspect of parenting. Its function is as more of a figurehead than you expect. You could actually compare a grandmother’s role to the duties of Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty has the respect and privilege of her country, but retains little control. While she must attend formal and most informal events, she is only allowed to …
- Be consulted
- Encourage certain courses of action
- To warn against others
Traditional grandmother roles in a non-traditional world
In my case, I have custody of two grandchildren so it kind of makes me Empress where it concerns them. LOL, JK… Even though I maintain custody, my daughter and I discuss courses of action in her children’s care. There are growing numbers of grandparents parenting their children’s children these days. Tipping the scale the other way, Baby Boomers first felt the blending of generational families as they care for longer living parents. On either side finances, emotions, and ties are often put to the test. a grandmother
Ways to improve your family leadership role
Walter Bagehot, a British scholar, depicts the duties of United Kingdoms royal matriarch’s on the British Monarchy and Society webpage as follows: Like the Queen, a grandmother is expected to exhume stability, moral leadership, continuity, unity, experience, intelligibility, model behavior, act as custodian of the past, trustee of the future, and more. While many grandmothers are not held upon a pedestal quite like the Queen, we work endlessly with our family on a pedestal.
I am familiar with the duty custodian of the past. I inherited the keeper of our family genealogy from my father. His files held family lines dating back into early colonization of America. Ironically, his ancestors fled New England into Canada until after the revolutionary war afraid to be hung as Loyalist! On my mother’s side, she is on the Daughters of the Revolution roll because her predecessors could be traced back to before the war also. However, they were Tories!Tracking family lines isn’t as easily followed now due to divorce, single parenting, and other variables adding to the degree of difficulty. Do you think your grandchild should understand his/her lineage on both sides of a broken marriage or their biological parent?
How a long distance grandmother role can work
Stability comes from knowing you will always be there when needed. A grandmother, local or long distance, is at most just a phone call away. As the back bone of the family, we hold everyone together. I spread any news breaking information along our network from Florida, Ohio, and Connecticut. Reminding my different branches of upcoming birthdays or readying myself as a center of size statistics for all the members of our family occurs several times a year. What is your favorite media for communication? Do you like to video chat/face time or write a letter? How do you keep long distant love ones as close to you as your local family?
Dividing the lines between mother and grandmother
When you let your kids fly off from the nest, you do so knowing you did everything possible best for them. You hope your example impresses enough on them to live prosperous, productive, and principled lives. My children grew up going to church, we taught them the “Golden Rule”, and added in some common sense. Like ourselves, our children traveled some rough roads but I believe they found the right path. If you see something your kids are doing wrong, do you call them out? How different are the ideals you raised your children and those they use to bring up their own kids?Another duty I have not lost with the passage of time is keeping the peace. Do we ever really grow up? Because my children still carry the sibling rivalries and competiveness they possessed when they were little! “Unity is “the condition of harmony”, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Is your family harmonious? In my house, we love and care for each other of course, but that is not going to stop quarreling over petty pet peeves. Believe it or not, “He poked me”, is still an issue when my boys tease their sisters. The girls still read way too deep into the meaning of that somewhat exaggerated roll of the eyes. Yes, the boys still wrestle around in horseplay until you find your self saying, “You better knock it off before one of you get hurt or break something!”
Through our life experience good and bad we, as grandmothers, are here to teach our descendants the lessons we have learned. It is our responsibility to keep moving forward, keep an open mind to new things and the ever changing world, and keep our family legacy alive for the future generations.
<3 Enjoy the beauty in the ordinary because momentous moments are found in our ordinary everyday! <3