by Karen Best Wright, www.RaisingYourGrandchildren.com
I recently received the following email from Dana, a 53-year-old grandmother raising 2 grandchildren.
My biggest frustration being a single 53 yr old grandma raising a 7 yr old girl and 9 yr old boy is that it seems everyone I try to voice my struggles with compare me to themselves raising their children when they were in their twenties! I've heard how someone thinks their patience has gotten better with age. I pointed out their patience hasn't been tested like mine has. I was trying to explain to a cousin today how after working at least 45 hours a week there doesn't seem to be any rec time, birthday party time, etc due to household chores i.e. grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning house. His response was "I know when we were raising our kids..." I wanted to scream.
Not only were they in their twenties but it was a "they" not an "I"! I feel so alone!!!!, Dana
Dana, I hear you loud and clear. You are not alone. I know exactly what you are feeling. Unless someone is raising children in their 50's or older, and especially alone, they cannot relate, even if they think they can. When I talked to people my own age when I was raising my grandchildren, I usually got, "I don't know how you do it. I wouldn't be able to manage it." They at least understood the enormousy of the 24/7 strain even if they weren't doing it themselves. These are more likely going to be grandparenst who occassionally sit for their grandchildren and then take a nap when they leave. (That is me now).
You really would do well to find other grandparents or perhaps older foster parents who are raising children in their middle years. I suppose one positive thing about these unhelpful responses is when someone looks at you they aren't automatically thinking, "Why are you even attempting this, you are wa-a-a-a-y too old."
Just know other grandparents in your situtation are also exhausted and frustrated that they can't keep up with all of the young parents.
The important thing: Are you taking care of yourself? My career focus is on Health & Wellness, aimed at women our age. Let me know if you want to chat sometime.