Grandparents are a godsend

By Eva Bradley

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SUPPORT: Having grandparents involved with looking after a child is great for all. PHOTO/SHUTTERSTOCK
SUPPORT: Having grandparents involved with looking after a child is great for all. PHOTO/SHUTTERSTOCK

They say it takes a village to raise a child and with our wee man Edward now 18-months-old and developing the will and unstoppable force of 100 stampeding elephants, cheers to that.

I chuckle quietly to myself when people express amazement that I run a photography business shooting 50 weddings a year while a toddler runs me in every other moment.

Sure, it's a juggle that does my head in sometimes and it has taught me what "tired" really means, but I am convinced that the only thing harder than being a working mum is being a fulltime mum.

Although I've always loved my job, I've always been like everyone else with an aversion to Monday mornings and the start of another working week.

That was until I became a working mum.

Now, sitting down at my desk on Monday morning with a takeaway coffee and nice clothes that won't get ravaged by sticky hands feels almost as good as the first day of a summer holiday at the beach.

While my days off with Edward bring me more joy than I ever imagined possible, they are also exhausting in a way that shooting 1500 photos at a fast-paced wedding could never be.

Work has become the place where I go to breathe deeply, be creative and - most importantly for a relatively new mum - be me.

Selfishly, they represent the reason I am able to continue pursuing my passion and career, they are the only way my endlessly driven husband can be gone for 12 hours a day and - most importantly - they are wholly responsible for giving multi-tasking parents that elusive but magical holy grail; the occasional sleep-in.
Eva Bradley

Despite the historical and social connotations of the job title "stay-at-home-mum", the role is an absolutely selfless and all-consuming one and I am in awe of the friends I have who choose this or have it chosen for them because they don't have the family support that I do.

Having not had grandparents around me much when I was small, I never appreciated the part they can play in raising a child, and the tremendous gift that part is to stressed-out parents who are often at a time of life when building careers and financial security can be as demanding as any toddler (okay that's obviously an exaggeration. Nothing is as demanding as a toddler).

I never knew how important the words "nana", "granny" and "poppa" could be in my life until I had Edward.

Selfishly, they represent the reason I am able to continue pursuing my passion and career, they are the only way my endlessly driven husband can be gone for 12 hours a day and - most importantly - they are wholly responsible for giving multi-tasking parents that elusive but magical holy grail; the occasional sleep-in.

Everyone should have grandparents like Edward does.

In fact I'd go so far as to say we should have one day more in every week so that on the eighth day, God could have dedicated all his considerable resources to creating grandparents just like his for everyone.

I had planned to pen a horror story about being left alone with a toddler for 10 days mid-wedding season while my husband pursues that other holy grail: catching a Marlin.

But the reality is that because of the grandies, what I had feared would be an intensely stressful time has actually been in some ways easier than normal. Edward's odd sleep-over to facilitate late nights at work has had the beneficial flow-on effect of a sleep-in for me, and while Daddy Daycare is top notch in our household, it usually requires a complicated matrix of co-ordinated schedules and "do this/not that" missives that drive both of us crazy.

Most importantly, the net result is that we have a small boy whose eyes light up when Nana and Granny arrive at the front door, and that is a side-effect of the madness of modern life multi-tasking that I'd never be without.

Eva Bradley is a photographer and columnist.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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