Why don’t babies come with manuals? It’s a question new moms often ask, but if you think motherhood is tricky try being a modern Granny. Child-rearing just aint what it used to be, and playing catch-up with 21st century style parenting can be a dizzying experience for grandparents. If only there was a Mumsnet equivalent tailor-made for Grannies, we hear you cry. Well guess what? Glad tidings of great joy: we’ve just discovered Grannynet.
Billed as a website to support the nation’s 7 million grandmothers, Grannynet was established in 2007 by Verity Gill. It offers members an interactive forum, as well as practical information and advice on a wide range of subject areas like activities for grannies and their charges to enjoy, shopping tips and family life.
And if that’s not enough, Grannynet has just launched a brand new course for grandmothers-to-be. A sort of refresher class for grannies-in-waiting, the classes are endorsed by Mothercare and are designed to be taken alongside the mother-to-be. Granny graduates will leave the course equipped for their new role as grandparents, and armed with up-to-date advice and information about everything pertaining to modern parenting.
The class will cover topics such as issues surrounding feeding and sleeping, the latest guidelines on basic first aid as well as offering a guide to the minefield that is modern-day baby equipment. The class aims to give the granny graduates the confidence to be ‘hands on’ when the baby arrives, and a second class is also in the pipelines, aimed at those about to become ‘granny-carers’ – the army of grandparents providing crucial childcare to one in three working mothers. Among other things, this class will discuss issues relating to weaning, learning and discipline.
The organisers hope the course will also play an important role in forging relationships amongst grandmothers; “These substantial communities of over-fifty-year-old women, who are caring for their grandchildren, are currently fulfilling their roles with no support network. Grannynet hopes that their courses will establish a meeting place for today’s grandparents, in the same way that the National Childbirth Trust has for mothers.”
Commenting about the grannynet course Verity says: “My mother cares for my two children one day every week and would have loved the opportunity to go on a course like ours. From everyday issues, like how to secure a baby in one of the latest car seats, to vital information such as which and how much over the counter medicines to administer, we hope to make sure our grannies are fully armed to do the best possible job they can for their growing families.”
What do you reckon? Could your own beloved Mama or your mother-in-law do with a little guidance on the art of being a grandparent? Would you be up for joining her on a course like this? Do you reckon grandparents lack support, and can you ever see your Mum getting in embroiled in online debate with other Grannies about the rights and wrongs of early weaning, or the best way to discipline an unruly grandchild?
Personally I think ‘virtual parenting support’ is the preserve of moms of a certain generation, and possibly even a by-product of an age in which we all over-parent. I tend to think of modern grannies as unruffled by the challenges of their role, and I ascribe to a romantic notion that surviving parenthood the first time round is qualification enough for being a kick-ass granny. After all, they learned everything they know about parenting without the internet, and they do say granny knows best. That said, I know my Mum still feels like she needed a PhD just to figure out how to use our buggy….
N.B: The Grannynet course is being offered at a special introductory price of £100 per couple. Refreshments & lunch are included. To sign up call Charlotte on 07956 227877 or email email@example.com.