University of Illinois Extension

I Just Want To Be Grandma

Ann Marie Marshall, Family Life Educator

"When I want to be just grandma, I put on this pair of funny tennis shoes with florescent shoestrings. For the day or a few hours, I'm grandma with my grandchildren - not their mom." When grandparents become parents again, everyone loses something. The children miss an important bond with the person who loves them just the way they are. They miss out on special memories with their grandparents. Grandparents miss out on the chance to indulge and spoil the grandkids. You are supposed to get to take the children on special outings, buy them special treats, and watch their sports events or performance in the school play. Some grandparents who are parenting a second time have found creative ways to be both parent and grandparent. The person above wears special shoes, another puts on a crazy hat.

These clothes are a signal to the children that, for today, I'm just grandma or grandpa. Today we'll do things that grandparents and grandchildren do together - maybe go to the park, see a movie or eat a special treat. Then when the hat or shoes go back in the closet, the grandparent becomes the parent again. Think about creative ways that you can be a grandparent for a day or even a few hours. Explain to the children why you have to be their parent most of the time. But also give them some "grandparenting" time to look forward to. Whether you signal this special time with a funny hat or shoes, or set aside Sunday afternoons for doing special things together, the "grandparent" time you spend with the children will be cherished for years.