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Meet The 7 Types Of Modern Grandmas Who Are Breaking The Mold | CrunchyTales

Forget Bingo Nights: The 7 Types of Modern Grandmas You Should Meet

5 min read

Gone are the days of rocking chairs and endless knitting needles. Today’s grandmothers, often referred to as “Glam-mas” or “Tech-mas,” are a diverse and vibrant group defying traditional expectations, actively involved in their grandchildren’s lives, attending sporting events, participating in hobbies, and offering guidance and support.

In this hilarious article, rule breaker and marketing innovator Nancy A Shenker will cast a light on modern grandmas you’ll likely enjoy spending time with.

You’ll love being a grandmother!” my friends and family said. They were right. Being able to enjoy babies, toddlers, and growing children without the stresses of balancing work and motherhood, remembering playdates and doctor’s appointments, supervising nannies, keeping the pantry stocked with healthy foods and treats, and constantly juggling boss and mom duties is truly wonderful.

Whether you feel at ease in this new role or not, the first step is deciding what you want to be called. I’m “Nana.” Some women prefer Grandma, Granny, Nonna, MeeMaw, Bubbe, or simply G. Make sure it’s easy to pronounce and different from the one the other grandmother chooses. Don’t battle over what you’re going to be called but make sure it’s easy for a toddler to pronounce.

Of course, beyond your cute nickname, being a grandmother is not without its own special challenges and decisions.

Our grown children have their own opinions and styles of child-raising, and although our perspectives may be welcome at times, they can also be pretty damned annoying and intrusive.

In fact, I have vivid memories of throwing my own mother out of the nursery while I was breastfeeding my older daughter (who now has two kids of her own).

As we know, the world has changed over the past three decades and today’s mothers have some different values and habits.

For example, my daughters are much more comfortable upcycling and finding many of their children’s clothes and baby supplies from other mothers who are giving away things that no longer fit or have outgrown their utility.

Nanny sharing is another trend. As they do when sharing an Uber or Lyft with other passengers, today’s moms grew up in the sharing economy. Although the stakes are much higher and the process more complex than a ride down the block, the concept is brilliant. Parents save money. Babies learn to socialize at an early age while still getting personal attention.

So, what’s the role of the grandmother in this new construct you might say?

Many of us have gotten much better (I think) at communicating and understanding young people’s values and beliefs and leaning into some of the new parenting trends.

Why are you living across the country from your grandchildren?” well-meaning people will ask me. “Don’t you miss them?” Of course, I miss them. That’s where the miracles of technology come in. I can Facetime with them, see Google photos of every stage of their development, and text message my kids as often as I want.

I’m part of that growing population of grandparents (43% in fact) who don’t live down the street from their kids and grandkids. By living where I do, I am saving money on rent, enjoying year-round sunshine (which will help me enjoy a healthier lifestyle), and treating those times when I do visit face-to-face as truly special.

Beyond Cookies and Cuddles: Modern Grandma styles

Among my grandmother’s friends, I’ve observed several different grandmothering styles. They can co-exist within all of us and one personality side or behaviour can pop up suddenly, based on the situation.

Which grandma style are you?

1) Grandma Worrying Wilma

That was my own mother. She sometimes looked for the dark lining in every silver cloud and I often struggle to repress this side of my own personality. Health and safety are important to any parent, and we sometimes just need to put our own anxieties aside and trust that our adult kids will make their own good decisions.

2) Grandma Glammy Gertie

You may think that your beloved granddaughter looks cool in leggings and a bejewelled tee shirt, but if your daughter or son prefers to dress them in a simple and timeless floral and frilly dress, respect their taste. After all, would you want your kids telling YOU how to dress?

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3) Grandma Spendy Sue

Related to Glammy Gertie, this grandmother buys every outfit, gadget, and personalized toy she sees in her Facebook pop-ups. I’ve noticed that since my grandkids were born, the advertising I get for nursing shirts, toys, and other kid-related merchandise has increased exponentially. Experiences outweigh “stuff” every time! See #6.

4) Grandma Oblivious Olivia

You don’t want to be this person. She doesn’t seem to realize that her kids are juggling their own responsibilities and pressures. She visits as if she is a guest in their kids’ home who needs to be entertained and cared for. Unless you have a serious condition that requires caretaking, attempt to be as helpful as possible during visits. Just come out and ask, “What can I do to help you during this visit?” If your kids aren’t used to asking for help (or they’re not sure what they need), hang back and reassure them that you’re interested in making their lives easier.

5) Grandma Meddling Marinda

The sister of Worrying Wilma, she weighs in on every topic of conversation, often drawing parallels to her own mothering experience. Perhaps your kids do want to hear how you tackled a particular challenge when they were growing up. But just let your kids know that what they’re dealing with is normal and ask them if they want feedback or advice before you summarily dispense it.

6) Grandma Fun Franny

This isn’t necessarily a bad way to be. After all, as mothers we often had to be the “bad cop,” insisting that our kids eat their vegetables, do their homework, or clean up their rooms. But the pendulum can swing too far. I eventually realized that I could be a disruptive force in my daughters’ routines.

I stay at a hotel when I visit, so my grandkids can follow their routines. But I’ve also become known as the Amusement Park Nana because I arrange for trips when school isn’t in session. Bedtimes and teeth brushing are still important, but I’m able to hang with my grandkids without as many rules.

7) Grandma Perfect Priscilla

She only visits when her kids want her too. She keeps her mouth shut when decisions are being made. She respects every request about grandmothering that her kids make. And she doesn’t exist!

Embracing Adventure in the Golden Years

If you don’t have grandkids or don’t think you’ll ever have them, don’t despair! Volunteer at a preschool, babysit for neighbours’ kids or visit your friends’ grandkids. I’ll sometimes invite a friend or relative to stop by when I’m visiting my own grandchildren, so they can enjoy the experience too.

My one salient piece of advice throughout the entire grandmother journey is quite simple: learn to listen to and respect your kids’ and their partners’ points of view and remind yourself that although your children and grandchildren may share some of your DNA or family traditions, they are their own people.

You have wisdom to impart, but unless your grandkids are in imminent danger, learn to ease up and just enjoy the joys of grandmotherhood without being a control freak.

Ponder this: when your grandkids are adults, what do you want them to remember about you? And act accordingly.

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About The Author

Nancy A Shenker | Marketing Innovator

Born in 1956, Nancy is, a marketing innovator, brand builder, writer, speaker, and self-proclaimed rule breaker. She has “dual citizenship in the analogue and digital worlds.” A brand growth consultant and content strategist/writer, she established her own business — theONswitch — in 2003. Nancy is a former C-level executive at major brands (Citibank, MasterCard, and Reed Exhibitions). A champion of cross-generational collaboration and an anti-ageism educator and activist, she has a podcast called The Geezer-Proofer: How to Be a Bad-Ass >50 and a series about dating at 50, The Silver Hair Playbook.™ She performs a stand-up comedy routine called “I’m Not Your F*@king Grandma.” The author of nine books, Nancy publishes a travel site BleisureLiving as well as a newsletter called “The 100 Years Club” on LinkedIn. Nancy is on her 7th professional and personal “re-boot.” She has two grown daughters and three grandchildren.

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