Monthly Archives: July 2017

Reviews

cover Grandmothers.jpg

I think it is time to give some reviews an outing.  I will be doing so from time to time. Here are three reviews of Celebrating Grandmothers from Amazon, all five stars:

from Allison P Coudert:

This is a wonderful book, yes, for grandmothers but not exclusively for them. It shows how important family bonds and the bonds between generations can be and thankfully often are. One of the problems of modernity is the that it places so many conflicting demands on individuals while offering so many distractions that we often forget where our true values lie. Ann Richardson’s book allows us to slow down a bit and take stock of how important nurturing relationships are for ourselves, our families, and the world at large.

from an anonymous reviewer:

Beautiful, touching testimonies from grandmothers. The recordings are unedited and spontaneous. They can be read in any order. An enjoyable read for all, whether a grandma, a mom or a daughter!

And another:

Perfect Mother’s gift for all moms! Ms. Richardson writes beautifully about the importance of taking time to value grandmothers and moms. Each story shares a moment in time to be treasured. Rarely do grandmothers get that special nod for all of their love, dedication and wisdom. Well worth the read!

 

What sort of grandmother are you?

People often have set ideas about what a grandmother should be like. However, grandmothers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – as well as in attitudes to that role. This became very clear to me when I wrote a book based on interviews conducted with 27 very different grandmothers.

Living Close or at a Distance

A big issue is whether you live nearby or far away. This is generally not something you have a lot of choice about, unless you decide to move to be near your children and grandchildren. Some women love the fact that their family are all within easy distance and make a real effort to see them frequently.

And some families live together in three- or even four-generation households. This can bring a great bond between grandparents and grandchildren if family relationships are good. Not all are, and such living arrangements can also exacerbate family friction.

Yet others welcome the freedom that being geographically distant provides. They are happy to see their grandchildren from time to time, but want to lead their own lives.

Indeed, one woman recently told me cheerfully that the best way to be a grandmother was to have your daughter living abroad, as were her case.

Being Very Involved in Childcare or Not

Related to physical proximity, but not the same, is the matter of how closely involved you are in your grandchildren’s care. Some grandmothers – out of choice or necessity – undertake a lot of childcare themselves.

They may have an allotted day when they take a toddler out or meet children after school. Some do much more.

Indeed, there are some grandparents who are full-time babysitters (caregivers), taking on the role of parents because the parents themselves are incapacitated for one reason or another. This can be very hard work and is yet another story.

But there are plenty of grandmothers who do not want full responsibility for grandchildren at any time. They make it clear, often from the outset, that they are not built-in babysitters and want to continue with their own work or other activities. They may help on occasion, but want to do so on their own terms.

Grandmother Roles

Another key difference between grandmothers lies in what they do with their grandchildren – and at what point in their lives. Some love to cuddle and play with small babies, but become less keen as children grow older. Some are the reverse and look forward to when they can have proper conversations with the next generation.

There is so much to be discussed, but I would just note one key role here – namely, teaching grandchildren. This may be about the little things that the parents do not have time for, such as how to knit or to cook or to know the names of plants in their garden.

Or it may be teaching deeper matters, perhaps old-fashioned values, religious beliefs or just a love of learning. Many people say that they gained such values from their own grandparents. And it can be a great pleasure to see your own views take root in the next generation.

The Impact of Grandchildren on You

I talk to a lot of grandmothers and often ask them about the relationships they have with their grandchildren. Some tell me their names and ages, but do not impart a great sense of joy. Others light up at the very mention of them. One woman who was interviewed for my book often had her grandchildren to stay and noted that when they were there “the house is smiling.”

This was originally published by SixtyandMe (Sixtyandme.com/what-sort-of-grandmother-are-you-does-it-matter/)