Editor’s note: Grandparents today are alert to many things, especially when it comes to who is going to watch their grandkids. Many of today’s boomer grands work full time careers or are running their own business, so they may not be as available as previous generations of grandparents, so what’s a working mom and grandmom to do? Check out this book for starters. Feature image is from Thought-Provoking Photos of New York’s Nannies and the children they care for
By Rachel Levy Lesser
Perhaps my struggles to find and hold on to a right fit nanny for my kids so that I could go to work and do my job came out of losing my mother to cancer when my first child was just 9 months old? I never really got to know my mother as a grandmother. I never had the luxury of having her around as a back up sitter when a nanny called in sick or with car trouble or with whatever the drama of the day was. I also never had my mother around to ask her what she would have done.
Every family has a unique childcare system that works (or sometimes doesn’t work) for them. In my research for my new book “Who’s Going To Watch My Kids?” I discovered that some of the best situations involve a grandparent who is there as a backup childcare provider for when the nanny can’t be there. This may be as simple as relieving the nanny when she has to leave early one day or perhaps being the Friday sitter for a family that only wants to or can afford to employ a nanny four days a week.
If you are responsible for hands on childcare for your grandchildren, or if you do get to witness your grandchildren’s nanny in action, you may want to offer advice to your own children about their kids or perhaps about their nanny. Make sure the advice is coming from the right place. If it’s criticism, make it constructive. If you don’t like the way something is being done, then feel free to offer up a suggestion for a different way to do it.
Be careful though. Your thoughts on childcare may be different from your own children’s. Be there as a support, but know when to hold your tongue. Your working parent children have a lot going on, and sometimes they just want a friendly ear to listen. I always wish I had that in my own mother.
A marketing professional, Lesser has experience working with nonprofit organizations and schools. She had also worked on the business side of Time Inc. as well as on the launch of Real Simple. With a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the University of Michigan, Lesser is the author of two other books: Shopping for Love and My Name is Rebecca Romm Named after My Mother’s Mom.
A blogger for the Huffington Post, her work has been featured on Glamour.com, AND Magazine, Metropolis, and The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Currently, she resides in Newtown, Pennsylvania with her two beautiful children and husband, where she enjoys yoga, knitting, and baking.