Over the years of juggling work and family, Grandma has come to my rescue on many occasions. I don't think I could have made breaking news deadlines over the years if my mom and my in-laws hadn't lived nearby and pitched in with child care. I know I'm not alone. In the tight Latin community in South Florida, having abuela pitch in with child care is extremely common.
Michelle Goodman, author of the Nine to Thrive blog, addresses the subject of balance for new parents, by noting a trend she has been hearing and reading a lot about lately: calling in a grandparent to mind your kids so you can continue bringing home as much bacon as possible. Michelle believes the trend is getting a boost from the sour economy. Maybe the Obamas bringing grandma to the Whitehouse sets an examples, too.
Per the AARP Web site: "The U.S. Census Bureau says that grandparents provide childcare for almost a quarter (23 percent) of children under the age of five. That number is even higher for youngsters who live only with their dads. Grandparents watch more than a third (34 percent) of these children."
Michelle says a few weeks back, she spoke to a 60-year-old neighbor who's one of these granny nannies. In 2008, she went from retired, refreshed, and relaxed to caring for her preschool granddaughter 12 hours a day, five days a week, almost overnight. While her son and daughter-in-law both work full time, they could no longer afford daycare. Dutifully, even happily, grandma stepped in. Granny told Michelle she was exhausted but also elated, as she had never raised a girl, only her two sons.
I agree with Michelle that there's a good possibility that more parent are relying on their parents for childcare since the economy took a nosedive. If you're one of them, do you compensate grandma? I have a friend who does. I'm also wondering if the trend is reversed as well. Are there grandparents out there who had stepped into the role of nanny and now find they have to go back to work?