Been there, done that


Dear Grandparenting: I need to blow off steam about what I’m expected to do for my grandkids, and there’s no better place than right here.

Since my daughter started working full-time, I spend more time babysitting, cooking and cleaning. I never signed up for any of this.

Grandchildren are well and good and nice to have around. But I’ve been there and done that. Instead of getting on with what’s left of my life, it’s like I’ve taken two steps backwards.

Nobody wins when everybody works. Marriages fall apart and kids get less attention. It’s so obvious that grandparents and grandchildren were much better off when mothers could mother instead of becoming worker bees. Do you have any words of encouragement for poor me? Eleanor Walsh, Boston, Massachusetts.

Dear Eleanor: We used to call them Supermoms, but today the idea of a mother holding down a job is so unremarkable that the term “working mother” is practically redundant.

Well over half the children under six years of age have mothers that bring home a paycheck, closer to 75% for those ages six to 18. And more than half of working mothers believe having a job is best for them, according to Pew Research.

Let’s clear up some misperceptions. There’s no spike in divorce rates among working mothers; parents who share chores report higher levels of marital satisfaction.

Nor do modern moms spend less time caring for children than did parents like yourself, or even your parents. Studies indicate that hands-on parental care has tripled for fathers and doubled for mothers since the 1960s, for two main reasons. Grandchildren today are less likely to work or let loose outside the home, so they’re more often underfoot.

In a nation of dual-income households, a great many grandparents surely share your experience and your sentiments. And a great many will also tell you that it sure beats the alternative of being without.

Grand remark of the week

Nan Smith from Marshall, Michigan “likes what I see when I look in the mirror most days. What do you expect at my age? Kim Kardashian?” So she was feeling pretty good until grandson Bret asked who could lay claim to being the oldest people.

“I told him Adam and Eve. But Bret’s a wise guy. Then he asked if I was seventh, eighth or ninth. That got me laughing too.”

Tom and Dee and Cousin Key

Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.

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