Chapter

Grandmothers juggling work and grandchildren in the United States

Madonna Harrington Meyer

in Contemporary grandparenting

Published by Policy Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9781847429681
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781447307624 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847429681.003.0004
Grandmothers juggling work and grandchildren in the United States

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Increasingly US grandmothers are employed and simultaneously helping to care for their grandchildren. Based on in-depth interviews with 40 working grandmothers who provide grandchild care, this study shows that while nearly all grandmothers are pleased to mind the grandchildren, many are readjusting work schedules, using vacation and sick leave time, and gutting retirement accounts in part because they have more security, flexibility, and resources than their daughters. Many are sequential grandparents, caring for one grandchild after the other as they are born, in very intensive forms of grandparenting. Many provide extensive financial support as well and are postponing their retirements out of economic necessity. Finally many are also caring for their frail older parents, sequentially and intensively. Most expect to continue feeling the pinch of paid work and unpaid care work for many years to come.

Keywords: Grandmothers; Care work; Employment; Grandchildren; Life Course; Gender; Race; Class

Chapter.  7722 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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