Glam-mas -- They're not your 1950s grandmothers!
Grandparenting, particularly grandMOTHERING, is under scrutiny these days with the Obama children having a very traditional, hand-ons nana right in the White House with them. It seems that scenario has raised some expectations among today's 30- and 40-something moms whose own mothers are still working or enjoying their retirements, but not setting their own lives aside for the kids and grandkids.
FOR every Marian Robinson, who retired from her job to take full-time care of her grandchildren, Malia and Sasha Obama, while their parents were busy with other things last year, there is a Judy Connors, who loves her two grandchildren but has no interest in Candy Land, peekaboo or bedtime stories.
“When I heard about the Obama grandmother, I thought I might like to move into the White House, too,” said Ms. Connors, who is 67. “But I’d hire someone to look after the kids.”
Her daughter, Catherine Connors, a 38-year-old writer in Toronto, is well aware of her mother’s attitude. Whenever she hears about families in which the grandparents love to pitch in, she has only one thought: “This is so not my life.”
In these tough economic times, families are likely banding together to help make ends meet, especially with the high cost of child care. But the babysitting burden appears to be falling to the grandmas, not the grandpas. Not surprisingly, glam-mas - healthy, hip young seniors - are not rushing to fill the role of unpaid child minder.
Indeed, for some resentful, cash-strapped adult children, time and money are fungible commodities. For them, the attitude may be “ ‘give us the money and we’ll understand that you have limited time,’ ” Dr. Saltz said. Susan Shapiro Barash, who teaches gender studies at Marymount Manhattan College, said women with young children are looking for guidance from their mother or mother-in-law, but these days they are often looking in vain. (For whatever reason, they seem to have no such great expectation of their father or father-in-law.) Thoroughly modern grandmothers, so-called glam-mas, “feel they’ve put in their time,” Ms. Barash said. “They were devoted to children to the exclusion of their own freedom, and they’re not looking to repeat the mothering process with their grandchildren.”