New Age Grandma-ing in the 21st Century

Rapidly changing technology. Family members separated by distance. Political division. Biracial and bilingual families. Globalization. Non-traditional families. Pandemics… These are the norms now, but for most of us grandparents, these are all dramatic changes from the way life was when we were children. We are being kept on our toes if we want to roll with the changes. We have had to develop an open-mindedness that our own parents and grandparents might not have even given consideration to regarding our children’s lifestyles and life choices.

People seem to be looking for order, meaning, and security in the midst of so many huge changes, but they are also embracing a more open and diverse world. Lives are busier and families are often separated by great distances. Enjoying actual, physical face-to-face time with our families is infrequent and precious for many of us. In order to stay involved in our children’s and grandchildren’s lives we must, at the very least, know how to use smart phones and video-chat platforms. (And thank goodness for this technology, so we can see those “firsts” and all subsequent memorable events that are happening with our loved ones.)

As Baby Boomer and Gen-X women, we are spending our later- and post-career years remaining actively engaged in encore ventures, and are as productive as ever. As a collective group, we are much better off financially than our parents or our children. And we are still “bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan!” We have redesigned the template for grandparenting – starting new businesses, traveling, networking, and flourishing like never before. We’ve got sh*t to do!

That being said, the intrinsic joys of being a grandparent haven’t changed a bit. After all, it’s the “best job in the world.” As grandparents, we are the fun ones, the people who can offer undivided attention and carefree moments spent with our grandkids, as if life is a non-stop holiday. We look at them with doe eyes and cheesy smiles, because we know they are the most beautiful and amazing humans on the planet.

So, it is up to each of us grandmas to find our perfect recipe for being both go-getters and grounded, relevant and retro, chic and comforting, and for carving quality time into our active schedules to spend with our favorite little people. We may have to travel to be with them for holidays. Maybe we’ll host “Camp Grandma” for a week or a month each summer and make blanket forts in our bougie, down-sized urban condos. We’ll race go-karts wearing high-style fashion. We’ll have tea parties, do arts & crafts, play catch. We’ll spend a day at the zoo…and we’ll also attend 70’s and 80’s rock band concerts, act as CEO’s, consultants, and book authors.

Step aside, Kris Jenner. There’s a new, cool grandma in town!

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