A grandmother shares her story
My three children were born in the late seventies and early eighties. I had made the decision with my husband to stay at home to care for them because my own mother was a business woman and had a nanny for her own offspring. This caused some problems in terms of bonding and feelings of rejection which we’re only now learning more about through child development studies. Back then children were, for a great part, seen but never heard.
Little chance of over-borrowing back then
My husband was the main breadwinner and we cut our cloth to suit. Mortgages were not as easily obtained then so there was little chance of over-borrowing. I used to work a little, doing some night duties when times were difficult for the first ten years or so of our marriage. This helped pay for holidays, but if I’m honest they were stressful times for me.
I hadn’t realised just how important motherhood was until the children were at senior school and at an age, in my opinion, when a mother should be available. There were temptations to go astray with the wrong crowd even then.
We had my father-in-law live with us for two years prior to his death, but any wider family support was not available. We went where there was work, and sadly it was a long journey from family. Geographic split in families seems to be the norm these days.
Planting seeds for the future
As time went by I learned that the world sees motherhood as a secondary role, with career ambitions and flying high in commerce viewed as the main goal in life. This is really a lie. Surely our next generation is the gem of a couple’s achievement? Their future is more important than whatever riches can bring. So how is it that we so readily give our ‘gems’ to another person to grow and nurture? And who knows what is being planted in their minds?
Friendships and community spirit
My own parenting skills had to be learned as they were not passed down from my own mother. Mistakes were inevitably made but at least I knew any parenting mistakes were MINE. Thirty and forty years ago it was easier in some ways to stay at home with children because most of us mums did so. We formed friendships which acted as boredom barriers and sometimes became effective counselling groups! There were no TVs or computers, or mobile phones to interfere. And safe areas where children could play alone and stretch their imagination.
It seems harder to be a mother nowadays than back then
Today I have grandchildren aged from 15 years to 8 weeks old. Each of my daughters decided to be stay at home mums and I see the different problems they have. It is a greater strain bringing up children today in my opinion. There is a greater desire to earn money to purchase the endless stream of goods which we never even imagined forty years ago.
Mothers and grandmothers never retire!
I am fortunate in having a supportive husband. I haven’t returned to work at all, apart from the aforementioned night duty. As my youngest reached sixteen, my first grandchild was born in 1991 and I wanted to be available to help, even though once again geography is a problem. Six grandchildren later and I am yet to retire as a mother…or grandmother!