Dr. Helen

"Need a Babysitter? Don’t Count On Grandma"

This article in the NYT‘s is indicative of the current “me” culture we live in:

Susan Glickman, a second-grade teacher, was among the first of her friends to be a grandparent. At 56, Ms. Glickman, of East Rockaway, N.Y., said she and her husband are “thrilled” about their daughter’s 8-month-old, Lilah, who lives less than an hour away, in Manhattan.

Thrilled, yes, but she has her limits.

“I will do anything to help, but I think everyone has to have their own life,” said Ms. Glickman. “I don’t want to commit to a certain day every week. I feel like I raised my children.”

Meet today’s grandparents, a combination of younger baby boomers and older Generation X’ers who are under 65 and not yet retired. This cohort, estimated to represent about half of all grandparents, is healthier and more physically active than grandparents of the past. They’re also finding themselves caught balancing their own plans and those of their adult children — who may need a babysitter….

In a 2013 questionnaire, Grandparents.com heard from 13,270 of its readers. While not a scientific survey, the site captured hints of the struggle. When asked about their priorities, 65 percent of the respondents agreed with the statement: “I love being part of my grandchild’s life, but it’s not the center of my life.” Asked what’s stressful about being a grandparent, about one in five cited conflict with the grandchildren’s parents or difficulty juggling work and other time demands to be with grandchildren.

It certainly could be that more of this generation of grandparents are working and don’t have as much time to devote to grandkids but at the same time, they seem less willing and more interested in pursuing other “interests.” Are grandkids really “interests” in the same way that a hobby is? Is it too hard to stick to a schedule to see the child once a week?

What do you think? Are grandparents of this generation more self-involved or is it that they don’t get along with the parents of the kids? Or other reasons?