Posting can be a challenge when you care for an 8 month old 4 days a week. I remember caring for a baby was a lot easier when I was in my 20's than in my 50's.
I have spent this past week catching up on housework. It is hard sometimes to clean my house as I start to make a list of all the things that need to be repaired, painted or replaced and I tend to get side tracked. I think I will start to call myself "building manager."
On Saturday it took me 6 hours to deep clean my living room, entryway, hallway and dining room. Our old house has the original old narrow wooden floors. They aren't sealed. The previous owners put in an in house vacuum system so I use it to vacuum the hard wood floors, but with a dog those floors quickly look furry after a couple of days. So, it was time to not only vacuum but to get down on the floor and clean them.
My mom used to spray her dust mop with a light spritz of soapy water. Then she would dust mop the floor and the dust would cling to the mop. Again, it was a light spritz and she didn't soak the mop. On Saturday I took a cloth and spritzed it with a mist of water and cleaned the baseboards and did the same to my hard wood floors. In a couple of weeks when I have more time I will mop the floors with Murphy's wood oil soap. I also used a separate cloth spritzed with soapy water to wipe down my old upright piano (that I painted a shiny black a few years back).
Dusting, mopping, vacuuming area rugs and working on the hard wood floors, cleaning cob webs off the ceiling and putting clutter away and taking trash out wore me out. But the result was that after 6 hours I had 4 thoroughly clean areas in my down stairs. These rooms are the ones that are most visible from the front door.
Today I vacuumed again (that darn dog fur) and deep cleaned the downstairs bathroom. I don't watch my grandson on Wednesdays, as I need a day off. Tomorrow I can straighten up the den and downstairs bedroom. This is easily done with Ryan playing in the room that I am quickly working on. On Friday my son and his wife have the day off so Ryan won't be at my house and I will spend the day deep cleaning my kitchen.
The end result is that by Friday evening my entire downstairs will have been deep cleaned within a period of one week. Then the challenge will be to keep it up, which I should be able to do by devoting an hour a day to cleaning.
When Ryan is at my house I do a little housework, mostly laundry and some pick up. I can't do much with a little guy crawling around and I find that my day is spent caring for him, playing with him and catching moments of housework when he is napping.
This weekend I plan to tackle the upstairs but I know that it will take two weekends to clean out closets and deep clean. I find that once things are in good order, I want to maintain that order no matter what. It's just getting there and once you do get there, you feel like the queen of your home.
Which brings me to grand mothering. As I stated I watch Ryan Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday each week. He arrives at 6:30 a.m. and goes home when my son is done teaching for the day. This depends on students staying after school for help, which I think is an awesome thing that he does. So Ryan could be at my house until 4:30 some nights.
I am finding that I am not the normal grandmother. Most grandmothers do not watch their grandchildren as I do. One person told me that no way would she ever be doing what I am doing as she had already raised her children. It's not for everyone and I understand it. However, I am a bit old fashioned and I feel that families need to support each other as much as possible. I also like the idea of Ryan being watched by family members as much as possible.
Childcare is expensive but that is not my primary motivation to watch Ryan. I want Ryan to grow up knowing that he is loved not only by his parents, but by extended family. I also want my son and his wife to have the kind of support that my husband and I never had.
When we were raising our two sons, we did not have parents to help us out. My parents lived in New York and my husband's parents at one time were living in California. Family lived far away and we only had each other. We never had the luxury of grandparents caring for our children a day a week or even when we wanted to go to a movie. We were used to it as it was our normal, but it was difficult many times.
Yes I don't get a lot done many times when I am watching Ryan but I wouldn't trade the time I spend with him. I know that I am helping to raise a confident and happy little boy and when it comes down to it, that is the most important thing I can do right now.
One other thing about grandmothering, when I am caring for Ryan I know my role as his grandmother. If I think he is getting sick, I text his mother about this and let her make the decision if she needs to make a doctor's appointment or if he needs some Tylenol, I know my place. I am on the support team; my son and his wife are the parents and Ryan's primary care givers.
The only way for grandmothering to work is to recognize that you know your place. You have raised your children, but when you become a grandmother you get a second chance to have a powerful impact on a little baby's life.