Most grandparents love to spoil their grandchildren, fill them with treats, then send them home. Me too. Except when Lola and Harper moved in with us I couldn’t do that. They already were home. Giving the girls sweets had them jumping all over. My energy levels were no match for theirs. I changed my hours at work to accommodate Katie’s job. After working an 8 hour shift then being with the girls another 6-7 hours, my early hours were starting to take a toll. Katie found a second job to help make ends meet, working most weekends into the wee hours. That meant getting up in the middle of night with Harper to change her, refill her bottle, and soothe her until she fell back asleep. Sometimes I brought her into bed with me and Rick so I could get some rest.
I’ll be honest – I admit I’m not too fond of housework. My housekeeping standards reached an all-time low with the girls around. Katie was home with them in the daytime, so she kept up with the girls messes to a point. But if dust grew on the side tables and seldom used dining room table, oh well. Thank goodness for those twice monthly weekends with Daddy. At least my house got a thorough cleaning twice a month. And candles. I could light candles.
It wasn’t crazy all the time. I managed to organize some fun things to do. I consider myself a crafty person. Every holiday I made a point of creating something with the girls. We made Christmas cards with their hand prints one year. Those turned out real cute. For Easter, Valentines Day, and Halloween we usually made cards or some sort of craft. There were important milestones celebrated – Harper’s first steps, Lola going on the potty all by herself. Moving from a toddler bed and a crib to a “big girl” bed was a huge step. Katie, Lola, and Harper shared a bedroom. Having bunk beds gave them a little extra space in their tight quarters.
I didn’t expect to be paid, but set guidelines so I wasn’t taken advantage of. Having a live in hairstylist was a nice perk. So we made deals, childcare in return for hair care.
Giving up some me time was a sacrifice. I saw it that way at first. I began to channel my mom, thinking to myself WWGD (What Would Granny Do). My kids adored her, she watched them whenever I asked. They could be a handful, especially since we had three in diapers at once. But no complaints from her. She even kept diapers at her house so I wouldn’t have to lug a huge bag over. So I tried to be the best Granny I knew how to be. It wasn’t always easy, life never is.
While commiserating with my coworkers about my plight, I came to realize that many of them were in the same situation. It’s much more common than I thought. According to a US Census Bureau report published in October 2014, about 10 percent of all children live with a grandparent. (Source: U. S. Census Bureau, 2012 American Community Survey. For more information, see <www.census.gov/acs>) Many more grandparents act as babysitters and caregivers. I see it when picking up Lola from school. I’m not the only elder person there. Yikes, I’m elderly? Let’s leave that for another post.
Ta ta for now….