Many of today’s grandmothers are outfitted in business attire, carrying laptops and cellphones instead of aprons and recipe boxes. For those of us who spent years juggling motherhood and careers, the work-life balance focus has now been shifted to staying relevant in our careers while being the best possible grandparent.
If you have the luxury of living close to your grandchildren, the joy of being a part of their lives at every stage is worth the effort to strike a new work-life balance and to manage expectations.
We are a new generation of grandmothers, and this brings along an opportunity to be creative. As parenting has changed–with the internet and social network providing an enormous amount of information about every stage of development–there is less need for “motherly and grandmotherly” advice. Don’t fret, though, your wisdom and experience are still important, and the upside is you can focus on other areas, like developing new family traditions and celebrations.
Weekends become especially important because with everyone’s busy schedules, these may be the only times you get to spend with your grandchildren. In my own experience, I found the best memories are when activities are both fun and educational, so planning ahead is necessary.
Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of those times:
Road Trips – Drive to a local farm to pick berries, apples or other fruits and vegetables in season. Many towns and cities offer cultural centers, which is a great place to learn about culture and the arts. Age-appropriate movies are always fun. On the way home, stop and grab a sundae where you can talk about the show.
Nature Walk – This is a wonderful time to fit in some exercise, create teachable moments, and capture the earth’s bounty. Bring along a camera and snap pictures of colorful flowers, sun-drenched meadows, or lush forests. Look for small critters along the route or beautiful birds.
The Kitchen – Bake their favorite cookies, or teach them how to roll out dough for a pie. If baking isn’t your specialty, go the savory route. Make a sauce or soup and package it in to-go containers.
Art Table – Turn your kitchen table into a crafts center. Peruse flyers from craft stores for age-appropriate ideas and coupons. String beads, create greeting cards or pictures for mom and dad, or depending on the season, carve pumpkins, decorate ornaments for the Christmas tree, cut out hearts for Valentine’s Day or hand-sew and stuff a felt bunny for Easter.
Hobbies – Knitting, sewing, cooking, fishing, and watching a favorite sports team are great ways to spend time with your grandchildren–either sharing your own expertise or learning together.
Partaking in any of these experiences with your grandchild, no matter their age, enriches both of your lives, creating a bond that will be remembered for a lifetime.