Caring for Grand Children
ARGH!! Huge big bite…MUNCH,MUNCH,MUNCH……..hmmmmm thanks Mum says my daughterKathryn…… ARGH….a smaller bit, taken a little longer to MUNCH in….bit slower…..that’s my elderly mum. Nibble Nibble trying to find a spot not yet chewed….that’s the retired hubby. Nannie, Nannie, poo poo….calls out nearly 2 year old grand daughter! Wah, wah…that’s the baby Chloe.
My semi retirement is such a mix of ingredients – diverse like a gourmet sandwich. Family needs and demands, a retired hubby, a couple of hours a week (2 if I am lucky) for myself, and in my role as a celebrant, working on wedding, ceremonies– each ceremony takes up to 15 hours from the first contact of a bridal couple – – yes I know, many think an hour or two to write a ceremony and rock up on the day…WRONG!!!!
I feel like a gourmet sandwich….you know the type….delicious soft bread with a hard crust with yummy grain seeds – that’s me – soft in the middle and hard around the edges. My softness is family – giving of my time for family – an elderly mother who needs increasing support whilst still living an independently in her unit, and support for a married daughter, who has just had another baby – this one by C Section….which means she couldn’t drive for a few weeks or pick up her very active toddler.
And a recently retired husband who wants to have lunch with me, or ask me if I am going out, when I will be back? Or at breakfast time…what’s for tea? Thankfully he is often occupied playing golf….and is happy pottering around the garden and shed with regular visits to the big man shed called Bunnings. And I am blessed that he will clean and prepare dinner ! Occasionally – but only occasionally – but on those occasions it is usually critical emotional help….my 30 something single son, will send out an SOS for help. Oh and I fit work in between.
So I am soft, gooey like delicious bread – every time I am asked for help I say yes. The hard crust – I rely on that …that is my backbone, my hardened area of my body that says, suck it up, you can do this, don’t worry about that sore aching back and painful hip and knees.
The inside of the gourmet sandwich – where we are provided with so many options to choose from. My gourmet sandwich is made up of many options – but most are currently out of my control. There are all the issues that relate to supporting an elderly parent in my semi-retirement.
Between flinging all this together, stuffing as much as I can into life, I am also a nanapreneur – move over mumpreneurs – you have such an easier life! So I semi-retired from my corporate government business development career two years ago. I have a little business consultancy and a very busy celebrant business (weddings, vow renewals, baby namings and the growth industry – funerals)! Of course, I couldn’t stop there, nooooo, something to do with my personality type! Now I have started facilitation training with 2 Young 2 Retire for my Retiree Matters business concept.
You know I am so busy helping family in my semi-retirement lifestyle….that sometimes I feel tempted to return to full time work. It is one of the issues we just don’t think about when we plan – ha ha ha – really how few of us, I now realise actually plan and visualise an accurate semi or full retirement life.
We think, kick back, time for us, shop, garden, follow our passions, run a small business, travel…… We are the first generation, who find that there parents are alive and often well and living for decades. Except that they need support from their children to keep living an independent life…..well there are carers…and other support, but I have found from chatting, that many of baby boomer parents….don’t like strangers, don’t like to ask, ‘can do it themselves’ in some respects whilst ringing and asking an adult child for help at the drop of a hat.
Hmmm makes me wish now, that my parents had more than two children….and wish that my older brother had married, as there would be a sister in law, perhaps to help out also.
But of course helping is rewarding…..except there is also some feelings at times of frustration, resentment and wishing one could say no…..but family ties, heart strings…and thinking that these will always be wonderful memories to cherish and look back on, keep me going.
Mum can ring at any second, needing help for that latest issue of a tradesperson, something that she desperately needs, emotional support as she is depressed and in pain, medical appointments, needing to be dropped off or picked up to go to and from cards (thank goodness mum still plays cards four days a week), to take her out – just out for lunch and her favourite berry pancakes, shopping for clothes – I now help dress me, squashed in together in the changing room along with her wheeler, as I tug and push her body and dangly bits, say into bathers…….oh my…..my mind does sometimes race forward to a time, when I will need my daughter to do the same! Gotta get out and do some more exercise to be as fit as possible. Oh and I fit work in between.
I mind my grand daughter one day a week – which is wonderful as playing tea parties, lying down pretending to be her baby, tickling her and teaching her to sing on the top of her voice (sorry daughter yes she is LOUD – but you had to know I would influence her with seeing and caring for her so much J ha ha – louder now….let’s out sing the music!!) , and I also pick her up from child care twice a week, and am the fall back carer, when she is too sick for child care. I also do overnight stays. I have started to show her catalogues….I am teaching her to understand what a bargain buy is! Oh and I fit work in between.
With another new adorable beautiful grand daughter, I am currently providing a high level of support each week day, all day, until my son in law, stops work for the holiday period. I get to goo over my tiny grand daughter, delight in her mustard coloured regular poo – she is obviously receiving enough nutrition and hold her to rock and cuddle her to sleep – yes yes, I know that is not in the modern day parenting books. Now I love absolutely love that my daughter and her family live close by and we see them so much. I absolutely cherish the time. I love the time when my elderly mum, me, my daughter and her two daughters are together – the generational females all together That is so special. It is just that I do get very tired. My osteoarthritic hips and knees ache and my back and sciatica remind me constantly that they are a part of my body.
I do manage at times to get out and network and chatting to many women, guess what they are now caring and supporting or have a sister, aunty in a similar position. Trying to transition to semi retirement, having stepped away for years of learning, developing and achieving in their career. They have considered the financial planning side of their life, but really the rest was oh, it will be nice to have all of this time, to follow my passions….without actually thinking through the emotional demands and needs of adult children and parents becoming more childlike and demanding at times like a petulant toddler.
I know that this very high intense time of assisting my daughter will pass in a matter of a couple of months – and likely I will actually miss seeing her and grand children just about everyday, but I also know that the hard crust of the bread with the grain seeds – that harbours many ideas and activities will germinate. And one of those ideas, is to begin to assist those women 55 plus who are beginning to think of their idyllic lifestyle in semi retirement . Thus the idea of Retiree Matters to coach, mentor and facilitate seminars in life planning for the next stage in life! Join me on my facebook page, as I begin to develop resources and blog posts. https://www.facebook.com/Retireematters
In the meantime, I’m off – to shop and provide some gourmet sandwiches for hubby, daughter and grand daughter for lunch today – before heading of to take 23 month old Maddy to the park to burn off some energy, prior to having her sleep over for the night.