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Planning Retirement Online

Grandparents do make a difference - 7

December 2009



Each month we bring you this special column on grandparenting written by our expert contributor Jeanne Davis.

Jeanne will be covering a wide range of related topics in future editions of   If you have a subject you would like covered by Jeanne, please email us at:


So now you are a grandparent

Sue Stewart wrote this article for the Grandparents Association. Sue, a second time around grandparent and a staff member at the Association, asked Jeanne Davis, our grandparenting contributor, to share it with laterlife readers.


By Sue Stewart

We have been invited to a dinner party at a friend’s house, but we can’t go. Why not? We are looking after two grandchildren. Why not send them home, you ask. But what if we can’t.

Our grandchildren have lived with us on a residence order since babies, so our lives have been turned around, all the trappings of being a parent have come back to haunt us. Most of these things are a joy and would not be changed for anything in the world, but just sometimes there is a feeling of being left behind.

Don’t get me wrong. I would never change the decision that we made 10 years ago, and would do it again if asked, but, did we really think of what things would be like for us, while we thought of the love and care the children so desperately needed. I don’t think so.

Back to the dinner party, our problem is who baby-sits. Parents would ask the grandparents, but what if the grandparents are already full time carers. Who do they ask? When is it our turn to have a night out, some ‘quality time’ for us as a couple? What do other grandparents do that are in the same situation? Are you like us and have to turn down invitations to indulge in adult company and conversations. Do we pay someone? If so, who? Do we know any babysitters in the area? Of course we don’t. We haven’t needed one for 20 years. If anyone has the answers I would love to hear them.

Our ‘quality time’ looks as though it would have to be during the day when they are at school, but we are at work, so that’s no good either. It appears that we may have to miss another dinner party, while our friends carry on with their lives leaving us to begin again, making new friends within the next generation, going through the stages of parenthood that we thought we had left behind.

Anyone fancy coming to a dinner party at my house. Kids will be in bed I promise.

If you have some answers for Sue or would like to comment on any other aspects of grandparenting, please email us at:


Previous articles in the series:

1. Grandparents do make a difference
2. When Grandparents are on duty
3. To Discipline or not
4. The long Distance Grandparent
5. When the parents separate
6. Second time around
7. Who baby-sits?


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