One of my [many] guilty pleasures is to read the magazine, US Weekly. Yes, I read it every week and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. I also hold my good friend, Teresa, a tiny bit responsible for this indulgence because she renews my subscription each year for my birthday. (Thanks, girl!)
I always laugh at the “Stars – They’re Just Like US!” section of the magazine because the pictures are of the rich and famous doing mundane, non-glamorous, and day-to-day stuff. I read US Weekly to be transported to the land of the rich and famous, not to see celebrities sitting at the airport, shopping at Whole Foods, totting furniture, etc.
My slight disdain of “Stars – They’re Just Like US!” came to a screeching halt when I read this online article (not from US Weekly), Tiffani Thiessen Has a Granny Nanny, Do You?
Why yes, yes I do!
It seems Tiffani Thiessen (and it’s hard from me to forgo the Amber part of her name – since Saved by the Bell. YES, dating myself!) enlisted the help and support of her own mother, as a granny nanny, for the same reasons I have my mother-in-law living with us.
I didn’t want to be an insane parent and feel stretched all the time. I wanted to continue to grow my career and make sure my children were well taken care of. I knew I needed additional help with childcare due to my husband’s intense work schedule. My husband turned out well (with the exception of his socks never making it into the laundry basket) and my mother-in-law raised him – so that’s a definite plus in having her as a granny nanny.
The article goes on to reference the downturn in the economy, foster care, and various challenges that go into grandparents moving into the role of caregivers of grandchildren. I especially liked the mention of discipline vs. spoiling of children. I know all too well how that can be a challenge.
In my experience of having a granny nanny, here are the top things to consider:
- Know what type of parent you want to be and be OK with that
- Express this parenting style to your granny nanny (or granny manny) and actively listen to what he/she has to say
- Put all potential conflicts (based on #2) on the table and discuss them openly. You may need a coach or mediator to help with this.
- Decide, as a team, on core caregiving philosophies or techniques. Decide which are negotiable and non-negotiable.
- Have a team meeting at least once a month to do a check-in. You want to make sure communication stays open and clear.
- Love and forgive each other – because we are all trying hard at raising happy, healthy, and thriving kids.
The most important take away, in my opinion, is when Julie Ryan Evans wrote,
“As unique as each family is, so is each grandparent’s relationship with their grandchildren. The most important for any of them, however, is open communication and a commitment to work together to do what’s best for the children regardless of any situation.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.