Gurus vs grannies: over a third of grandmothers believe parenting books have eroded a modern mother’s instinct
A new survey carried out by Grannynet, has revealed that many of its audience believe [...]
‘Sorry – can’t talk now, cough ’ said a friend when I rang. ‘We’re desperately late for playgroup!’
A harassed mum? Well yes. But she’s also a granny and today is Tuesday; her allotted slot for picking up her three year old grandson from playgroup.
It’s not just mums or dads who are part of the playgroup run nowadays as I discovered when writing my new book The Playgroup (Arrow £6.99). It’s gran and grand-dad too. And no wonder. With so many younger couples working full-time, stuff an increasing number of grandparents are upping sticks in order to be nearer their families.
It works the other way round too. One of my friends recently left her lovely South London home in order to move to Hampshire where her mother lives because she wanted ‘mum and gran’ time.
My own grandmother lived with us until I was 12. After that, we lived round the corner from each other but I always popped in to see my grandmother every day. I still have vivid memories of Doris as we called her (‘gran’ as it made her feel too old) taking me to nursery school. and pointing out acorns along the way which we then made into acorn men with the help of pins and felt shapes.
Nowadays, according to my friend who’s on playgroup gran duty, the arts and crafts sessions are rather different. Pins, for instance, are banned in her grand-son’s pre-school in case they prick themselves, Sleeping Beauty style. Health and safety (or health and sanity as I call it) has a lot to answer for!
The beauty of grandparents at playgroup is that that they can bring in other skills. At my friend’s pre-school, all the grandparents have been invited to come in and speak about ‘the old days’. It’s a great way of teaching children about history although it can results in some funny questions afterwards. ‘How did you manage without colour television?’ asked one appalled little girl. ‘It must have been very difficult to see anything!’
If you’re on my own – like my friend – playgroup can also be a great dating ground. She’s recently hooked up with a good looking man ( own teeth and a second home in France) who is constantly inviting her over for playdates. The only problem is that the grandchildren have to come too as both their parents are working. ‘Naturally we don’t get up to anything while the little ones are around,’ confided my friend. ‘But it makes it all the more exciting, knowing that we have to behave. A bit like when I was a teenager and didn’t dare kiss my boyfriend because my mother was about….’
In my novel The Playgroup, there are two grans who are extremely competitive over their shared grandson. In the end, however, they work it out. After all, we have to set an example for the younger generation. Don’t we?