Celebrating Grandparents Day takes on a new meaning during a pandemic.
Everyone has heard the phrase: “it takes a village to raise a child.” But where is the village? Is there a number you can call?! The truth is, the village today doesn’t look too different than the village of decades ago. The original village consisted of family members – more specifically, grandparents. And, today, we’re seeing grandparents make a comeback in the village. Over 64% of the U.S. population either employs nannies in their home or sends their children to daycare. Regardless which option you choose, the common denominator is that parents need help raising their children on a daily basis. That statistic will only grow – this is not a cultural fad; this is now a societal necessity.
I spent over 15 years as a nanny, and I have seen firsthand how important the decision is regarding who you let into your home to care for your most precious possessions. You are essentially bringing role models into their lives, and that is an enormous responsibility – someone to love them; keep them safe; be an extension of the values of your family; educate them; create memories with them, etc. When you truly breakdown the expectations of a caregiver, you start to feel the weight of the role.
Grandparents today have stepped in to fill the nanny role – they are affectionately known as “the granny nanny.” Grandparents are often a go-to because, speaking frankly, they are a great financial option (AKA most likely free!) But beyond the financial perks, they provide many more: 1) gives the children and grandparents a chance to establish an unmatched bond, 2) gives parents peace of mind leaving their children in the care of someone they know and trust; 3) can be the voice of wisdom and expertise having raised children of their own, and 4) gives grandparents a sense of purpose during a different season of their life.
I grew up with my grandparents living with me and my three siblings – it was truly the greatest blessing I have ever been bestowed. They became the loves of my life, and I know I learned life’s most priceless lessons from them – compassion; respect; empathy; kindness and everything in between. They were shining beacons of wisdom, strength and love.
However, due to Covid-19, having grandparents around their grandchildren is no longer necessarily safe or encouraged. Childcare in general has taken a tremendous hit due to the consequences of Covid-19 on our economy – 90% of daycares are privately owned, and many have been unable to reopen. That said, childcare in our country is in crisis. The truth is, it was before the pandemic hit. Our country is in desperate need of stable and consistent support for working parents. I can only hope that the silver lining of this global pandemic is seeing that childcare has been put in the spotlight, and we’re forcing many conversations surrounding childcare to happen and to be made a priority.
Having a village is not only essential to families, but to this country. Grandparents play a beautiful role in the village, and I hope to see grandparents return to the homes of their grandchildren more and more as states reopen and we start to trend toward normalcy. But, until then, we need to take a good, hard look at who is helping raise our children; and how to make sure we are on the right side of history when it comes to solving the childcare crisis in America.
For more on the Windy City Nanny, visit http://www.WindyCityNanny.com
Celebrate National Grandparents Day:
This year you can celebrate your grandparents on September 13, 2020
The official song of National Grandparents Day is “A Song for Grandma And Grandpa” by Johnny Prill. Watch the video on youtube here.
The official flower for the day is the “forget-me-not” flower.