Martin, 39, who works in the media, has a one-month-old son, Jirka. His mother found a boyfriend after the death of her husband, and according to him, she wants to continue to enjoy life, not just to be there for her children. “It’s definitely a personal matter,” he says. “My mother was never ready for that. Even my sister’s kids drained it instead of recharging it.”
Martin’s story reflects the recurring reality of a generation of children in their 30s and 40s. Grandparents don’t “work” the way their sons and daughters imagine or need them. “They have more free time and opportunities for self-realization. They do not want to completely succumb to what I need from them, they often suggest their own solution. For example, that they take care of the child at the appropriate time only themselves, or that we bring the children to them”, describes adult administrative employee Clara The 43-year-old is the mother of 12-year-old Florian and eight-year-old Adela.
Personal relationships are not subject to fashion
Can we talk about the emerging phenomenon of modern grandmothers and grandfathers who would rather enjoy their own lives than take care of their grandchildren? According to psychologist Kateřina Kramolišová, this is not entirely the case. “Deep down, it’s not about old versus modern grandmother. Personal relationships aren’t fashionable. Love between parents, children, and grandparents are timeless values,” he says.
She points out that being a grandmother in the past and today does not mean being a babysitter. “Grandparents do not take the place of parental care. They are not unpaid babysitters, but important people in their lives. Grandchildren can be an opportunity to re-evaluate family relationships, forgive old grievances, and start over and better,” says Kramolishova, who among other things Other things, personal development sessions for women and communication sessions with partners are organized.
“Fuck the kids but I love them”
For example, writer Irina Ubermanova also depicts the image of a twenty-first century grandmother in her book Grandmother. The main character is a woman who, on the one hand, is very happy with her grandchildren, on the other hand, who still wants to live her young life. “The phenomenon of modern grandmothers is certainly emerging. But we must make clear what modernity and contemporaneity really means. For me, it is above all exclusivity, individuality and diversity. The freedom to not be like others. The lack of the need to be involved and explains Obermanova, who wrote In his book: “Fuck the Children, But Love Them.”
She decided for herself that she wanted to spend a lot of time with her grandchildren, as well as start a business and become a publisher of her own books. The 60-year-old author describes: “Modern grandmothers are different, some are starting to live, some want to feel comfortable, others want to separate and go after everything. This is my case.” Both her daughters have nannies, and when the Czech artist cannot take care of them, she honestly tells them why: “I am tired, I have work, I will go somewhere with friends. But I am interested in our children, I like to mess with them and want to participate in their education.
Grandmothers replace kindergarten
According to Kateřina Kramolišová, women who do not identify with the role of a caring grandmother may derive their self-worth more from their career or personal attractiveness. However, according to her, most of the time, these are also women who have spent a significant part of their lives caring for children and later in life who want to focus more on their lives. “My mum is still working at 69, so she is either at work or she is tired of working at her age. She wants to take a weekend break or have fun. So we decided to babysit a few months early, up to several months,” Clara explains.
According to Kramolishova, the reason for the frustration of many parents is the lack of support from the state, which cannot provide the necessary care for preschool children. Thus, grandmothers replace the lack of places in kindergarten or the impossibility of providing a babysitter.
They finally want to focus on themselves
“Mothers are overburdened and overburdened. They do not have enough support in balancing work, childcare, home and themselves. If they cannot pay for babysitting, they find it difficult for their mothers or mothers to bear – the law is not there to help them, because there is so much Simply them, ”says Kramolishova. “And once these stressful mothers become grandmothers, can we be surprised that they don’t feel like starting a second shift in childcare, but do finally want to enjoy some time for themselves?” Asked.
According to Kramolishova, the explanation for the lack of interest in grandchildren, or the lack of interest in them, cannot be justified. One’s emotional problems and insufficient emotional capacity for close relationships can also play a role here. “Of course, the complex relationships between fathers and sons is part of all of this. Sometimes fathers themselves project their unsatisfying relationships with their parents, and grandparents now, the way grandparents want to interact with their grandchildren,” he explains.
Grandparents are just as important as grandmothers
According to Kramolishova, grandparents are often forgotten, who, according to her, can take care of their grandchildren as well as grandmothers. “From my own experience and from those around me, I can say that some grandparents are often able to take care of their grandchildren better than is expected of them,” he says. “Our society assumes that caring for others will be performed primarily by women. It is one of the roles that society has assigned to it. It is a great shame, because grandparents are just as important to children as grandmothers. Many of us have time to spend with our grandfather fond memories.”
The expert’s statement was confirmed by both Clara and Martin. Klára says, “Ironically, my dad wanted to take care of his grandson and granddaughter all the time, which upset my mom. I don’t think wanting to take care of grandchildren is gender-related. A dad was a family member and caring,” to which Martin adds: “Dad, When he was still alive, he was very attentive and helpful. My acquaintances had a similar feeling. It’s more about roles in the family,” she says.
They set their own rules and limits
Both Martin and Kla agree that their parents do not reject the role of grandparents, but that they want to put it in a way that suits them. “My mum fantasizes about helping out a lot in her own way. She likes to go out with her grandson once a week on the weekends for an hour. But if we tell her we prefer helping around the house—cooking, ironing—and that she’s going out with him afterwards, she’s not very attracted And it may not come,” Martin explains. Grandmother often explains her absence by saying that she has work to do in the garden, that the trip is taking a long time or that she is tiring. “In short, it’s not one of her priorities,” comments the father of the one-month-old son.
Clara’s mother would like to be a classic grandmother, but according to her daughter, she presents herself only that way. In fact, she doesn’t enjoy it very much. “She rather enjoys the idea. She likes to plan how you’ll be with the kids and what they’ll do. But babysitting is a nuisance and a waste of time for her, even though she won’t say it outright. This does not mean that she doesn’t support them and doesn’t care about rejecting them. , but she doesn’t have the traditional grandmother’s instinct,” says Clara.
She had struggles with her mom about babysitting at first, but now she gets along well. Clara remembers, “Especially in the beginning, when I promised the kids to babysit and then canceled it. The kids were so disappointed, and that’s what bothered me the most.” “It’s somewhat disappointing for me, but this is more my problem than hers,” says the mother of two. Martin also speaks similarly: “We don’t have conflicts, that’s her prerogative. I also know what they are, and she doesn’t mean it badly,” he says. Both receive funding for their children as an expression of support from their parents.
A grandmother is a woman first and foremost
Irina Ubermanova says that everyone should do what he wants. “Of course, a grandmother is not equal to a guard, nor is a woman equal to a slave. A grandmother is above all a woman. She wants to be happy, beautiful, and satisfied, and she has every right to do so. Let us decide for herself how to deal with her old knees, whether to marry Or she wants to be fit for her family.”
In conclusion, Martin adds that of course he and his mother love each other, call each other regularly and spend Christmas and birthdays together. “Forcing her to be a grandmother, sitting by her bed for two hours and then just getting annoyed and arguing about it? That’s not worth it to me. Let her enjoy her life as long as she can. For me, that’s better than if everyone was calling five times a day no matter what. It was and she always wanted to visit.”