Grandmas Are Busy, But Moms Are Busier

by Donne Davis on February 10, 2011

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Last summer I met a mompreneur named Melissa. We talked about co-writing a post on who’s busier—moms or grandmas? Well, I guess she got too busy to get back to me. So I’m going to tackle the question myself.

When I first pondered the issue, I was thinking about it from the perspective of all the activities we each do. I know some really busy grandmas. They babysit regularly for their grandchildren, take care of an aging parent, do volunteer work, and still hold down a job. Another grandma flies to her daughter and son-in-law’s home every month and spends a week helping take care of the grandchildren. With different sets of grandchildren around the country, many grandmas are on the road or in the air going back and forth to visit them. Several grandmas I know are facing health issues such as breast cancer, hip replacements, and even double-knee replacements, while still nurturing the bond with their grandchildren.

However, no matter how busy we grandmas are (unless we’re raising our grandchildren), there is one big difference: we still have time for ourselves. We sleep in our own beds without the possibility of a child needing us during the night or way earlier in the morning than we’d like. We can take a shower or even a leisurely bath without being interrupted by a distressed toddler calling for our help. We may even be able to savor a cup of coffee while reading the morning paper and then take a yoga class.

In other words, we grandmas are not in the same trenches as most moms are. In the first year of a child’s life, moms spend all their energy keeping the baby nourished and nurtured. Any time in between is spent catching up on laundry, meals, and housework—and that’s if you’re a stay-at-home mom. If you’re working outside the home, there’s even less time for yourself. When the child becomes a toddler, moms begin participating in playgroups and classes. They seem to spend more time in the car than at home. When the second child comes along, life gets even busier and the tiny bit of time there may have been for yourself has completely disappeared and it becomes a major juggling act.

I have a lot of empathy for today’s moms. They seem to have so many more pressures on them than we grandmas had when we were raising them. Everything seems faster, more intense and more complicated. There are so many more choices and issues and decisions facing moms. I marvel at their multi-tasking skills and amazing abilities to accomplish all they do. But I can’t help wondering what toll it takes on them and their families. I do find comfort in knowing that someday moms, too, will finally be able to carve out a little time for themselves and look back at those crazy earlier years and marvel that they survived.

Oh, and about Melissa … she never got back to me because she’s pregnant with twins and is just way too busy!

{ 2 comments }

grannynanny February 13, 2011 at 11:09 am

As the granny-nanny to my one year old grandson I have more work to do in retirement than I ever expected, but my job pales in comparison to the frenetic lifestyle that my daughter experiences on a daily basis. I am old enough to remember the euphoria surrounding the women’s lib movement; but for those women who had dreams of starting a family, their new opportunities were both a blessing and a curse. I am thankful that I now have the time to help my daughter so that her opportunities are more of a blessing.

Susan Adcox February 10, 2011 at 8:19 pm

You know what the #1 complaint of retired people (and grandparents) is? Not enough time! That’s partly a problem of perception. We thought we would have all the time in the world when we retired and guess what? We don’t. But I’m with you. Mothers are much busier. I have a part-time job and am a caregiver for my father, but my schedule pales beside those of my daughters.

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