How were you disciplined as a child? How did you discipline your own children? And [...]
How grandchildren help your transition into retirementCreated by Verity in Age: At School, Age: Baby & Toddler, Age: Pre-school, Being a Granny-carer
I often ask myself how I managed to retire from 30+ years of teaching, remedy to a ‘life of leisure’ and not miss the job that I really used to love. What is it that makes going out to work so important? We need the money, of course, but there are many other things that keep us working. We like the routine, colleagues and status. And of course once one accepts retirement it means that we are really getting old. That is scary.
Well, the first misconception is that our life somehow stops once we give up work. It doesn’t, it just changes. I was ready and I had a purpose for that change. My first grandchild had been born and I wanted to get to know him and I wanted to be part of his family. It suited my eldest daughter, as she also wanted to keep working on a part-time basis.
As we get older, hopefully we need less money to live on, but our pensions and savings are important, as we have no idea how long it has to last. I travel about 250 miles a week to visit my grandchildren. I actually enjoy driving but fuel is expensive. So we made an arrangement that some money be transferred to my account to cover the cost. It’s not a lot and it certainly does not cover the cost of wear and tear on my car. But I am comfortable with the arrangement and the girls know that they have contributed something to the journey. Of course I spend money on my grandchildren, but it’s a pleasure and I do enjoy finding small presents that I know they will enjoy. I also now have an excuse to knit great jumpers for each of them and the time to explore the Internet to get bargain wool.
I remember once being asked who I thought I was, and everything I mentioned was linked to a job. I was a wife, a mother, a daughter and a teacher. So was I ready to be known as ‘retired’ which could mean ‘old’? No, I wasn’t. I needed another role and a ‘helpful grandma’ was perfect.
My job also had given structure to my week and so I had to create a new timetable and again grandchildren were the answer. As with work I had to get the balance right between being a grandparent, a wife and having the time for myself. One of the hardest things was accepting that my levels of energy were not as high as they used to be.
Probably the hardest thing to replace is chatting to ones work friends. Well now I have lots to talk about with my daughters and loads of stories to relate to my husband when I get home. I have already discovered that there are lots of retired people willing to be friends and so I have joined groups that have similar interests to myself. Also, whilst with my grandchildren I have had many interesting conversations with young parents when shopping, waiting for a swimming class to end or standing outside the school gates at the end of the day.
And of course there is the Internet and these days it is so much easier to contact other grandparents as we do on Grannynet. The added bonus is that I have more flexibility and time to enjoy life. I always knew that my most rewarding job was being a mother but being a hands-on grandmother is equally great.
By Lorna Edwards, a retired teacher and a member of our Grannyset