Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Thank you grandma and grandpa

Grandparents - what would we do without them? I thought this as the little man's daddy and I took a wonderful early morning walk through a park just the two of us. We held hands, chatted about this and that, pointed out houses we liked the look of. We gazed at the snow covered fields glistening in the sunshine. Everything, in short, we wouldn't be doing had we had a toddler in tow. 
While I did glance sadly at the play park we passed by, feeling the aching pull of my maternal heartstrings, it was so nice to have some time out as a couple again. And this was all thanks to my parents, who had kindly agreed to babysit for us while we went to a friend's wedding in Birmingham over Easter.
The support I get from having family close by is so important. I am able to work, go away for weekends occasionally or visit the shops solo if I need to. We can pop round for a quick coffee or all head out for the day together. It just makes life so much easier and I know how lucky I am to have that near. Which is why I decided to write a feature on grandparents and the extraordinary help they are giving the young mums of my generation, featured *shameless plug* in this month's The Green Parent magazine.
Around 50 per cent of working mums rely on their parents when they go back to work after maternity leave. Almost one in five British grandmothers provide at least ten hours of care a week, according to an ongoing study being carried out across Europe by researchers at King’s College London. That's a good chunk of their retirement being taken up with nappy changing and spoon feeding, and I did begin the piece wondering if I would be confronted with unlying bitterness or resentment at the time being given up by these women who more than likely had been stay-at-homes mums all those years ago. In the end, I found no such negativity, in fact the complete opposite, and ended up writing an uplifting and hugely warming insight into the close ties that come when grandparents look after children, with one granddad admitting this time was the best in his life. 
I know my parents love being with their grandson and I love the relationship that has flourished from this one-to-one interaction they have each week. I can only hope their enthusiasm continues when baby number two arrives on the scene!

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