Recently I talked to a couple who were excited about taking a round-the-world cruise. They would be gone for ten weeks. When I mentioned that that was a long time to go without seeing the grandkids, I received a blank look, as if the thought hadn't occurred to them.
I received an email from another grandparent, upset because she wasn't asked to be a full-time caregiver for her infant grandchild when mommy went back to work.
When it comes to how often they want to see their grandchildren and how much responsibility they want, grandparents can fall anywhere on a quite large spectrum. Psychologist Vivian Diller, writing on the Psychology Today website, says that increased longevity and more choices cause some grandparents to be conflicted about their grandparenting roles. They are still looking at 30 or 40 years of life. "Very few are willing to turn it all in," Diller writes. "Bottom line, if we choose to help out with grandkids, we expect that they will fit into our busy lives--not the other way around."
One commenter took her to task for being out of touch with ordinary grandparents, many of whom are raising grandchildren or providing child care out of necessity. Since Diller is a psychologist in private practice in New York City, it's possible that the commenter has a point.
I've written about Five Grandparenting Myths Debunked. But the biggest grandparenting myth of all is that there's only one way to grandparent. There are many, and the right one is the one that is right for your family.