I’m not surprised by these figures as I can see it’s true by looking around at the numbers of over 55s pushing buggies and collecting children at schools. I have been doing it for many years. My 2 daughters have only ever worked part-time or on supply and I’ve helped out a couple of days a week for both at different times. They didn’t ever consider working full-time and I certainly could not do it full time, especially now I’m older. I realise that some young parents do need two incomes but it’s not always a case of necessity as much as lifestyle choice. It seems to me, from the people I know, that some grandparents are morally blackmailed into taking on this huge commitment and it is dreadful to think that after working all their lives they are expected to become unpaid child-minders at a time when they should be ‘foot-loose and fancy free’.
It is probably not popular but it is my own opinion that the government should be doing more to encourage young mothers to stay at home for longer with their children. At the moment it seems like it is the opposite and that young women nowadays have very difficult choices to make between maintaining a standard of living and spending precious time with their children that will never be repeated. I’m sorry for them and glad it wasn’t the norm when my children were young. Obviously I’m not talking about single mums or where the wife’s income is the only one in the household.
As far as holidays are concerned, yes, before my husband retired I did try to make sure we only went away when it was school holidays so that my daughters could have time off. However since he retired over 3 years ago and we are taking more holidays they now realise that they have to make other arrangements. We are both over 65 and as the children are growing up we don’t mind collecting from schools etc but we cannot commit to anything more if any other grandchildren come. Who knows how long we will be fit or well enough to be able to travel. We have to make the most of it now.
According to Shearings, Silver travellers are increasingly taking peak season holidays during peak seasons because they are stuck at home looking after their grandchildren during school terms. Shearings says it has seen a 15 per cent rise in bookings for this autumn’s half term break alone. Commercial director Caroline Brown says: “Over 55s have traditionally been able to enjoy the freedom of being able to travel when they want, often benefiting from the quieter off-peak seasons. Now, we are seeing a new generation of over 55s who are so heavily involved in their grandchildren’s lives, often taking on full time child care duties, that they are being forced to wait until the school break to be able to enjoy their own holidays.” Sue Stewart, of the Grandparents Association, said: “As parents struggle to manage work and finances, many grandparents are now taking on significant duties both looking after grandchildren and helping around the house. ” A recent study found that around half of all UK grandparents now look after their grandchildren and help around the house while mums and dads work