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    « Saturday movie review: 'Austenland' | Main | You oughta be in pictures, kid »
    Friday
    Mar282014

    Rate the grandparent gig

    Because I write on topics related to a role near and dear to the hearts of many — that of grandparenting — I'm honored by the people who reach out to me through comments, private messages and emails to share their experience as a grandparent. Many times grandparents write to share joyous news, moments that warmed their hearts. Many other times, grandparents write to express sadness and heartbreak related to difficult situations involving their grandchildren.

    rate the grandparent gig

    After reading a particularly sad note from a grandmother the other day, I thought about how this grandparenting gig runs the gamut from the most grand and rewarding role we've ever filled, to one of continual despair and disappointment over being cut off from a grandchild — with a broad range in between. Many grandparents experience all of it... sometimes with the same grandchildren... sometimes all in the very same day.

    As I considered that grandparenting can be exactly as awesome as the quotes emblazoned on mugs and the pinnable platitudes shared and shared again across the web yet also be the most heartbreaking thing we've ever experienced, I thought how interesting it would be to see how grandparents really feel about the role. On the whole. As a whole. A consensus on the grandparenting gig based on input from real grandparents being real honest about the realities of the role, great and not so great.

    I searched online for such a survey. I didn't find one. So I made a (super short and simple) one myself, one I'd love for you to take.

    The results of my Grandparent Gig Satisfaction Survey won't be scientific or fully accurate or anything along those lines. It will be interesting, though, for us to see how others feel about this gig that means so much to each and every one of us.

    So here goes: Please answer in the comments as many of the survey questions as you're comfortable answering, numbering your answers. For example, 1) 5; 2) 3; and so forth, or in whatever way works for you. Note that I purposely used an even numbering system rather than odd because an odd number allows for cop-out answers in the middle. (Yeah, I tend to cop out myself when given the option.)

    Oh, and if you'd rather not share your name, feel free to use a pseudonym or identify yourself as Anonymous or Disgruntled or Happy As A Clam or whatever. And if you want to add comments about any of your answers — or any other questions you think should be addressed — please do.

    Thank you for playing along! And Happy Friday!

    grandparenting satisfaction survey

    Today's question:

    All of the above!

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    Reader Comments (26)

    I can easily answer 6 to all of them, except #4. I'd have to give it a 3 or 4 because I feel resentment and frustration saying no; feeling I'll offend. I'm guilty perhaps as I've been handy and helpful since day 1...but my daughter depends too much on me when she's tired, busy, needs a break from 3 little ones and I jump in. She must learn to cope....To wean herself from me. Selfish? The kids need her strength and tolerance. Thanks for this......be interesting to see if any other nearby grmas feel the same way at times.

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoan stommen

    I'm so far out of this survey's questions because nearly all my grandchildren are grown up and I'm the OLD great grandmother! Also, I'm far enough away from all of them geographically that, with their lives being so busy right now, they can't easily "drop" in to see me. 1, 2, and 3 are a 6 on my scale, #4 is a 1, as is #6 and the rest are all a 6. IT has been a long time coming to this evaluation but, overall, there is nothing I value more in my life than the gift of having wonderful people for my very own grandchildren!

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    I can answer 6 to all them, except #8...I will give it a high 4. I feel like I'm butting in when I try to give advice or opinions. Things are so different now from when I raised kids...so I tend to keep my mouth shut, unless they ask me for help or advice.

    Have a great weekend!

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie E.

    Staying 'anonymous' although I figure most of your regular readers will recognize my writing anyway ;)

    1. 6
    2. 6
    3.6
    4.1(although it took a few years to find the 'sweet' spot...I'm a local gma)
    5.6
    6. 5 (It depends on the family's busy schedules...including mine. As my grandkids age, I expect that I will see them less and my heart will ache)
    7. 6
    8.4 (although I'm sure that I say more than I should)
    9. 5 (because I figure there's always room to improve)

    Overall, I'm extremely blessed and satisfied with my grandparent role. Since time and circumstance can change anything, I'm breathing in every wonderful moment right now.

    Questions 123579 are all a 6. My grandkids live in different parts of the US, but I feel as close to them as I do the one's who live just around the corner. I am involved with my oldest grandson's football (he is in Colorado) I get video, picture, phone calls. They all keep in touch. Now for questions 4 and 6. Yes I get to spend alot of time with my grandchildren, but, it seems to get a little annoying when I have time to myself and I am sharing with the kids. I am guilty of no backbone this is true, and so I take them. But I do say, life is just sweeter when there are children. Especially when I am called grandma. My grandchildren are a blessing from god.." I want to spend as much time as I can with them. I look so forward to the phone calls, after some event, or concert, or falling off their bike. I feel involved and respected by my family. So a little annoyence is worth it.

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKate

    I would give a 6 to all the questions except #4. I really don't feel they expect us to care for Amara to much. We are very lucky. Amara does NOT spend every Saturday with us but many -- and many and not all makes it perfect! All of us look forward to it. I had a friend who babysat her grandchildren every Friday night. I told Jenna not to expect that!!! We babysit because we want to not because we have to!

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    Most days I would answer a 6 for all the questions, except for two
    particular items:
    # 4 is tricky. I think I get hard on myself and have a hard time
    saying no.
    I think it mostly depends on how I am
    feeling and coping with my own stuff. It's about keeping
    busy with my own life and hobbies so that I'm not
    overly enmeshed in their lives. When they need me, I
    can either say "yes" and help out happily or say
    "Sorry I can't babysit this time" or whatever - without feeling too much
    guilt. (A little guilt is inevitable. It's in my genes!)
    #8 is also a little tricky because sometimes things
    pop into my head about how they are doing things and
    I want to express. But I stop myself (most times) bec
    I recall absolutely hating when my mother in law interfered.
    I think having had a difficult time as a young mom in that
    area, makes me super sensitive to giving
    unsolicited advice. Nothing is so important that it's worth
    upsetting the parents of my grandkids. I feel live and let
    live and I try to enjoy the kids as much as possible. But as I said
    it does get tricky sometimes bec I see things I don't
    approve of. But I keep my mouth shut. It's better that way.

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam Hendeles

    1) 6
    2) 6
    3) 5
    4) 1
    5) 5
    6) 3
    7) 6
    8) 5
    9) 5
    My heart breaks for some of the grandparents I know that for whatever reason do not have relationships with their grandchildren.

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDoreen Mcgettigan

    1) 5
    2) 6
    3) 3
    4) 1
    5) 2
    6) 2
    7) 5
    8) 3
    9) 6

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLong distance is hard

    1. 4
    2. 4
    3. 2
    4. 1
    5. 4
    6. 1
    7. 4
    8. a big -6
    9. 6

    Interesting survey. I think it could have resulted in different answers if age ranges for the grandkids had been included. I think the grandparent role changes with the age of the grandchildren and the adult child. Adult children seem to be more open to including grandparents when the children are under 5 and then it changes as the children go to school and maybe up to age 10. But, once the kids get older the relationship can dramatically change to writing checks and seeing them at holidays. Any adults who are called 'grandma' or 'grandpa' are lucky people but need to roll with the fluctuations of family life.

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

    1) 6
    2) 6
    3) 6
    4) 1
    5) 4
    6) 5
    7) 5
    8) 5
    9) 5

    Good survey. I'm generally happy with my situation, but always feel that I could do a little bit more. And my grandkids' parents could do a little better job of keeping me in the loop. They are so busy they just sometimes forget.

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

    I'm happy to say 6 to most. To number 6, I would say 5, but only because we spend the winter in AZ and because two of our grandkids live in Vermont. Thank goodness for Facetime. To number 8 I say 5. I am perfectly comfortable giving feedback with one of the sets of grandkids, but the other two are a bit trickier.

    Overall, I am blessed.

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKris

    SO look froward to seeing the responses, Lisa.

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGrown and Flown

    Since I'm nowhere near being a grandparent I can't answer your survey. But I think it's a fabulous idea and I look forward to hearing about your results.

    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Cathy

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

    1) 6
    2) 6
    3) 6
    4) 1 (they ask about 3-4 times a year
    5) 6
    6) 6
    7) 6
    8) 3
    9 ) 6

    A very good survey. I will be interested in hearing the results. I think we made the ground rules before my granddaughter was born with watching her and giving advice. They are great parents and include me on some fun activities and allow me to take her to do the fun thing grandparents do with their grandchildren. Tomorrow for example I wanted to see The Muppet movie so I am taking my granddaughter which is definitely a win-win for both of us

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

    1) 6
    2) 6
    3) 6
    4) 1
    5) 6
    6) 6
    7) 1
    8) 3
    9) 3

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbob

    Great questions!
    Rank 6= questions 1,2,3,5,7,9
    Rank 1=question 6
    Rank 3=question 8

    Will post your project on my FB fan page and see what those people have to say.
    Can't wait to hear what you conclude!

    March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaola Gianturco

    I can answer a 6 to almost all, except number 3 as I never feel ,like I'm asked to do too much, so I'd give that a 1, and question 8 I'd give that a 4 as I know my opinions are considered not "up to date" and my children prefer to use their own judgement on raising their children :)

    To all I give a 6 except #4 which gets a 3. Although I love taking care of the grandkids, sometimes when I need my alone time - I get that phone call and sometimes I resent it. I live very close to 3 of my 4 grandkids and I think the close proximity can be a little too convenient for mom and dad to just drop them off.

    Me again, Lisa. Something else that is troubling that's not on your survey; but maybe you'll find helpful somewhere.
    It's connected to my daughter's dependency I'm sure......her in-laws live outstate. They are in town this week and my daughter wants me to come visit/hang out with them every single time!
    They are good pals and we talk and email about the kiddos (and our kids) all the time. But I feel strongly that this is their time with the grandkids! I so understand how they feel as long distance grandparents and want them to have total time and attention. Tracy thinks I just want a break; but this is one area I stay firm. I also respect my SIL's feelings....he puts up with me on a daily/weekly basis. He should have his parents alone! Not sure of her comfort level with in-laws.....but she has to accept and deal! I feel like I'm still teaching/empowering/guiding!
    Thanks for listening...feel better already! LOL

    March 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Stommen

    I am answering your questions in 3 parts in hopes of giving a voice to the experience of grandparent alienation which has become a growing silent epidemic. I have one natural grandchild living with both natural parents. I also have 2 surrogate grandchildren, with another one on the way, all living with their natural parents. In my surrogate grandchildren's life I am their adopted 5th grandparent while both sets of natural grandparents reside out of the country. I will answer the survey with regard to my natural grandchild twice. The first set of answers reflects my experience prior to estrangement with my natural grandchild's parents. The second set of answers reflects my experience after the estrangement with my natural grandchild's parents.

    My grandparent experience with my natural grandchild prior to estrangement/alienation 1 year ago.
    1) 6
    2) 6
    3) 6
    4) 1
    5) 6
    6) 6
    7) 6
    8) 4
    9) 6
    I was happily involved in all aspects of grand parenting my first grandchild from the prenatal experience through the first 14 months of her life. Advice sharing was the only slightly uncomfortable part of my experience.

    My grandparent experience with my natural grandchild since the estrangement/alienation over the past year.
    1) 1
    2) 3
    3) 1
    4) 1
    5) 1
    6) 1
    7) 6
    8) 1
    9) 6
    My grandchild has had no contact with me for 1 year, however, I continue to believe I am a good grandparent and that the strong bond we developed will remain.

    My grandparent experience with my surrogate grandchildren.
    1) 6
    2) 6
    3) 6
    4) 1
    5) 6
    6) 6
    7) 6
    8) 6
    9) 6
    Although the bond I have with my surrogate grandchildren and their parents is markedly different and not a replacement for the bond I had with my natural child and grandchild overall it is a very satisfying grandparent experience. The sharing of advice in this particular relationship is more satisfying than in the relationship with my natural grandchild. The greater satisfaction in the sharing of advice category I believe comes from a genuine exchange of advice between the generations rather than my simply handing down advice from my generation. We teach each other and that has resulted in greater satisfaction to my grandparent experience with my surrogate grandchildren.

    Good work with the survey!

    Questions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9 -- All of these are a 6
    Question 4 -- I rate this a 2. There are rare occasions that conflict with my heavy volunteer commitment, but that commitment will subside in a few months, and I value my time with the kids.
    Question 8 -- I give this a 4. We used to discuss everything, but now their mom has more confidence in her own philosophy and I try to respect that.

    March 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBLissed-Out Grandma

    Hi - in my response a few days ago, I neglected to put all my ratings in- so I'm going to clarify here:

    1. 6
    2. 6
    3. 6
    4. 5
    5. 6
    6. 6
    7. 6
    8. 4
    9. 6
    10. 6

    Basically, all 6's, except for two of them. Explanations in my previous comment. Thanks!

    March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam Hendeles

    This is truly awesome, my friends! I love the honest responses. I'm going to leave the comments open here longer than usual in hopes of getting a lot more responses. Then once I compile the results, I'll share in a separate post.

    Cheers to grandparenting... the good, the bad, and all that lies between! :-D

    March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    1) 6
    2) 6
    4) 1 (not asked too much; we're not local)
    5)6
    6) feels like never enough time, but I know we're blessed to see them as often as we do
    7) 6
    9) I hope so!
    I also know that we see more of our little guys because they're little guys. And that as they get older, their schedules will get more complicated. So I hope we're relishing every moment together.
    I'm preserving some memories in photo books I make for the boys. But I'm not doing enough to capture the hysterical things they say and do. Just went to a joint birthday party for them and couldn't believe how fast the past year has gone.
    Thanks for putting this survey together; good to read other responses.

    March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Zimmerman

    Definitely a 6 for all except question no. 4 which is a 1. I love spending time with my granddaughter and feel so very blessed that they are just 15 minutes away. This granddaughter is the daughter of my youngest son and his wife. My oldest son passed away just 4 months before my granddaughter was born and I know in my heart of hearts that "when one door closes another opens" is so very true. That is why I am blessed to have this little blonde headed, blue eyed tornado in my life.

    March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJane B
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