Like many active adults, you may have expected to reach the “golden years” and slow down to enjoy some things you had been putting on hold for a while. Maybe you wanted to travel, move to a retirement community, or volunteer—all at your own relaxed pace, of course. But surprise! Although you have raised one round of children, you are now back in the kid-raising role again. And because finances are tight, you find yourself either going back to work, taking more hours, and/or expecting to work as far as you can see into the foreseeable future.
First of all, let me assure you of this: you are not alone. In fact, one in ten grandchildren currently lives in a home where a grandparent is the primary caregiver. Other adults may be in their lives, but you are stepping up to take responsibility for your precious grandchild.
Second, even if you don’t have all the time to do everything you want to do, you can still be successful. No one is saying that it’s easy to raise another child. Especially when you have already graduated from that role, and were ready to sit back and enjoy all that grandparenting includes. And when you have to work in order to provide for your grandchild, that may place you in a tough position full of trade-offs. It may not look like you or anyone else expected it to look. But you can still provide your grandchild with a loving home and a promising future.
Third, don’t forget that with all the additional responsibility of raising a grandchild, please take care of yourself too. I know that you are working hard at work and at home—no one says it’s easy. And from time to time it’s also OK for you to leave your grandchild with a sitter or a relative and go enjoy yourself for a few hours. Maybe it’s playing cards or going to a simple meal with friends. Or maybe you enjoy going to the ballgame or to a museum or to get your hair done. Whatever it is that refreshes you, your grandchild needs the best you that you can offer. And sometimes that means giving yourself a break.
Finally, in spite of all the work, although it can be very tiring, I want you to think about how much joy you receive by having your grandchild at your side. And let him know, too. The hard times will pass. But your grandchild’s memories of your unconditional love will live on.