You know what makes me more than a little crazy? (Like I really need something outside myself to pitch me into the crazy zone!)
The way Grandparents are visually portrayed.
Case in point: I refer you to the image below.
I spend time searching for and designing graphics for my posts. Since I write extensively about Baby Boomer women, issues related to grand-parenting frequently arise. Foraging for images to complement my blog posts inevitably brings up pictures like this or the one above…
Little old ladies with gray hair and canes. Now, I don’t know about you, but I, like many of my friends, color my hair, don’t use canes, and am quite active — walking, biking, golfing, etc.
So the fact Google, etc. cannot come up with better images to represent us makes me annoyed. Of course, some grandmas do fit this mold and that’s great! But how about some diversity?!
Ok, I’m off my soap box and on to the point on the story….
Over the holidays, I was included in a text thread initiated by my friend Grace and her cadre of grandmother friends. Her one year old great niece was visiting for Christmas and Grace needed to equip her home with kids’ stuff. Here is pretty much how this exchange went down:
Jackie: I have a high chair
Liz: I have an umbrella stroller
Cynthia: I have a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe riding car
Liz: I have a portable crib
Betsy: I have a pack and play
Ann: I have lots of toys
Nancy: I have books
We have amassed these trinkets for tots from rummage sales, Costco purchases, and inheritances from grand-friends whose own tots are now teens. Baby Boomer women, being the basic parental overachievers that we are, want to ensure our nests are ready and accommodating for those hard earned grandbabies!
Much like the ride- and home-sharing economies we see flourishing now with Uber and AirBnB, our band of Boomer grandmothers participate in our own version of a sharing economy. We even share our “eye rolling” tales about over anxious daughters and daughters-in-law who only allow organic, free range, grass fed, all natural food to pass over the lips of our princes and princesses.
I would not trade my grandmother role for all the money in the world (and trust me, I would have a lot more if parenting and grandparenting had not graced my life).
But it is fun to be a member of this Grandmother network, sharing our resources and our experiences. I just wish marketers would make us look better! 🙂
Liz Kitchens is a writer and blogger. Her blog, Be Brave. Lose the Beige, reaches out to Lady Boomers, women of the Baby Boomer generation. Liz also blogs for Growing Bolder and Vibrant Nation, two sites devoted to aging issues. Liz conducts workshops on the health benefits of creativity and is an ambassador for the Creative Caregiving Initiative sponsored by the NCCA, The National Center for Creative Aging. Liz founded the Jeremiah Project, an after school and summer creative arts program designed to foster self esteem and encourage creative thinking among at risk middle school aged students.