As a grandmother I think I am very very lucky. My daughter, her husband and their two children live in my community. What more could you ask for? Many of my “Nana” friends travel long distances to visit their grandkids, so I know how fortunate I am. I also know how fortunate my daughter is. I didn’t have the daily support of my parents when I was raising my kids. I spent three years a single parent. I went it alone, piecing together part time work, school and child care, which was tricky as I had preschool and school age children. There were some “less than optimum” risky arrangements that we lived through and I carry a huge amount of guilt about that.
When my daughter went back to work when her first child was two I vowed to help out any way I could. But I am not an at-home grandma. I hold a full time job Monday to Friday. I took turns driving my granddaughter to her part time child care centre during my lunch hour three days a week and picked her up to care for her at the end of the day when needed. Her other Nana helped out when she could two days a week. Still, with all this support, It was difficult for my daughter and son-in -law, especially when child number two came along. Child care is expensive - even the part time situation they had. And, to be honest, it’s hard to work full time and care for two preschoolers at my, dare I say it..”age”. I wanted to be the grandma, not the child care provider.
I wonder how parents today manage. Most don’t have grandparents who are available or who can or want to provide child care. Two incomes are virtually a must to make ends meet, not to mention that value that is added when women are in the work force. How can families thrive when the child care situation has reached crisis level? Should we cross our fingers and hope that everything works out ok in the end? Should we classify those early family years as the “stretched beyond the limits, anything goes” era - the price we pay for having children? Our kids deserve better.
Just because I don’t have young children anymore does not absolve me of the responsibility to advocate for a better way. The wisdom and experience I have as a grandparent allows me clarity to see that there is something we can do, and we must. That is why I so strongly support the $10 a Day Child Care Plan. Why should young families hold their breath , waiting for the bottom to fall out of their child care arrangement, or for their job to no longer be there because they don’t have space, or for their monthly food budget to run out on the 15th of the month? Why, when this Plan is there - the answers are there? I hear parents all around the Province, and the country speaking up for the $10 a Day Plan. As a grandparent I will add my voice - and I challenge other grandparents to do the same. We are powerful - we vote - we are wise. Let’s use that power to really make a difference. What benefits our children, benefits us all.