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Susan Adcox

The Me Generation Turns Into the Mimi Generation

By May 5, 2012

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I'm a baby boomer, which means that I also belong to that generation that Tom Wolfe famously labeled the "Me Generation." Some observers claim that we are continuing our narcissistic ways as we enter grandparenthood. Karin Kasdin over at HuffPost50 says that the generation that considered themselves the "hippest, coolest, savviest, most attractive group of go-getters to ever grace the earth" now consider themselves the most awesome grandparents. And she disagrees, pointing out that our grandparents did some pretty cool things themselves.

Kasdin makes some valid points, although I wish she hadn't relied so heavily on celebrities for her examples. The existence of a Grandma Moses doesn't mean that all grandmothers are going to unearth new talents in our seventies, just as the existence of a Goldie Hawn does not mean that all grandmothers can have thin thighs.

Although Kasdin sends up the stereotype, my grandmothers did wear housedresses and orthopedic shoes. My grandparent friends and I agree: We are different from our own grandparents. Notice that I didn't say we're better, just different. And that doesn't mean that we didn't love our grandparents dearly, because we did. But my friends and I are more involved in our grandchildren's lives. We're more focused on staying active, both physically and mentally. We're (statistically speaking) going to be around longer.

Maybe at one time we deserved to be called the Me Generation. Now we're the Mimi Generation--Mimis and Nanas and Granddaddies and Poppas. And we love it.

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May 5, 2012 at 10:51 am
(1) Janna says:

You are so right, Susan! I never would have imagined that I’d be so involved in my granddaughters’ lives. Some days I even worry that I am too involved, and enabling my children to spend less time and energy on their own kids. (They are very good parents, just so much busier than I was or my mother was at this time in their lives). Do you think being overly involved is a problem that many grandparents have or is it just one of the perks of being so “hip, cool and savvy?” :)

May 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm
(2) grandparents says:

That’s an interesting question, Janna. I think that if the grandkids and the parents have no complaints, then all is good. It’s healthy for adult children to have time to spend on themselves and on their spouses. I imagine that even with your help, they still spend a lot of time parenting. Another factor to consider is that things will change as your grandchildren get older. Take it from me, this is the sweet spot of grandparenting. I love my teen grandchildren–and my granddaughter who is no longer a teen–but I don’t get to see them nearly as much as I would like. So enjoy it while you can!

May 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm
(3) Grandma Kc says:

I’m a very different grandma then either of my own grandmothers. They were wonderful women but other than family holidays and events, they weren’t involved much in my life. I think in part because there were 12 cousins and because it just wasn’t what grandparents did back then. They had done their thing raising their own kids and we were not their responsibility!

Amara is lucky to have 2 very healthy grandmas that live close by and who are very much a part of her life.

May 7, 2012 at 1:37 am
(4) dkzody says:

I didn’t have any grandparents as they had passed on before I was born. I want my grandchildren to be able to say that they had wonderful grandparents who loved them dearly and made life fun.

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