First Granny.

I’m seriously coveting Marian Robinson.

 

Certainly you know who Marian Robinson is, President-Elect Barack Obama’s mother-in-law who he called the “unsung hero” of his campaign, the 71-year-old retired bank secretary who, for years, has picked up Obama’s girls from school and driven them to their extra-curricular activities, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. For the past two years, while Barack and Michelle Obama were campaigning and traveling the country, Marian Robinson was home in Chicago, taking care of 7-year-old Sasha and 10-year-old Malia. “We couldn’t have done it without her,” Barack Obama told 60 Minutes.
Now, word is that Marian Robinson is likely moving to the White House along with the Obama family, after Michelle Obama “begged” her mom to accompany them.

 

As I listened to Barack and Michelle Obama talk about the First Grandma on 60 Minutes and read the stories about their reportedly comfy family dynamic, I found myself wishing that I had a Marian Robinson too. Then I remembered that column by Lisa Belkin from the New York Times a few years back which suggested that what every working woman really needs is a wife to help her. Since the Big Love kinda life of multiple wives isn’t something most of us will be pursuing any time soon, wouldn’t the next best thing -- aside from finding paid help which costs a small fortune -- be to have a selfless grandparent like Robinson around to give we hyper-busy working parents a hand with our children?

 

I certainly wouldn’t be nearly as stressed out as I am if I had a retired mother (or mother-in-law) who was ready, willing and able to help cart the kids around to their activities (football, soccer, skating lessons, baseball, after-school programs, birthday parties, playdates), to care for them on school half-days and snow days and to provide an assist with the homework assignments. Just the other day, I was trying tackle various work-related projects of my own, when my 10-year-old daughter had to be picked up from her after-school cooking class, and I had to bring along my 10-year-old and 7-year-old sons. Then all three of my kids had homework assignments which required an adult’s assistance. I also had to make sure that they studied their spelling words. There was a birthday present that needed to be purchased for a last-minute child’s birthday party to which one of my kids had been invited, three pies I promised I’d make for a church fair and my husband was prepping to go away for a few days. I managed to get some of the work done, but dinner was on the table much later than I would’ve liked, homework was still being completed close to 9 p.m., the pies didn’t get made and the present went unpurchased. There are only so many hours in a day.

 

Imagine how much easier it would’ve been if I could’ve worked all day in my home office -- stopping briefly to pop out into the kitchen and greet the kids when they have their after-school snacks -- and then emerged from my office at dinner time, feeling as though I’d put a solid dent in my workload, confident that my children had been lovingly cared for by a relative (who wasn’t charging me by the hour) who’d taken care of their needs?

jean
01.28.09

Yeah!!!, for the Obama family. Not only does the president and first lady benefit from grandma's presence,but the children are more emotionally secure with her near presence,I'm sure. Nannys and sitters can be hired. However, family, blood, trust,privacy, can lead to decreased stress in the present situation.(I was a little girl once ,also) It is very unrealistic to think Mrs. Obama could provide 24-7 care for her daughters at this time. Also, as a granny myself_the girls distance(geographical) at this time in their lives could be very stressful for grandma and them. If the grandma was frail and needed her family, I'm sure they would also be available 100% for her. If not for my family(grandma,aunts,uncles) my children wold have been in some dire situations.

mret
01.27.09

Ms. obama should take care of her own kids. That's what they need most..their own mother. sorry..sometiems you have to just make a sacrifice when you are responsible for young lives. Grandmothers play an important role but should not be expected to raise theri grandchildren.

DawnH
12.10.08

My mother and father moved in with us when my son was born, and take care of him during the day while my husband and I are at work. They are a godsend. They take great care of him, and have so much fun. And I don't have to take him to daycare every day. I was a little leary at first, but it has worked out wonderfully. Hurray for grandparents!

shopaholicmom
12.08.08

When we mean a "wife", it means someone who can do things all at the same time, thus multi-tasking. It's only us wives and mothers who can scan around a room and know what's wrong and what needs to be done. I am superbly lucky that my mom and dad help to raise our baby. Both my husband and I work full-time and we entrust the baby during the day. We never considered delegating and trusting the child care to anyone else other than grandma and grandpa. I'm grateful that they are still strong and willing to take care of our baby. I am confident that my child gets the best care since my own parents and us parents share the same views. This is such a great article.

libanbrat
12.04.08

What's sad here is that most of kids these days don't know their grandparents or don't even have one, because couples are taking their time to marry and have a family (in there 40s) and by then grandparents are deceased

FelixHyl
12.02.08

I think I've always known, but this article is a great reminder to me that I'm really blessed to have a mother and an aunt who are there to help me with my son at just about every turn.

supermomi
12.02.08

The "Marian Robinsons" that we all desire are a rare, dying breed. My grandmother helped to raise me and my siblings, and most of my friends growing up had their grandparents in their lives as well. Most of my working friends who are parents do have their children's grandparents around, but they are too busy enjoying their retirement with cruises, bowling, walking, whatever it is they do besides taking care of their grandkids. I was told to not expect any help from a certain grandparent when I was expecting the grandchild! These "New Millennium" Grandparents have redefined their roles, and not for our benefit. They feel as if they have already "paid their dues" and now it is time to sit back and observe. Of course, they are not all like that, and I am grateful to those who do help us out with the kids.