Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I miss Mayberry and where have all the Grandmothers gone?

I do miss Mayberry. I do miss simpler times. I miss the times where most moms stayed at home with their children and grandmothers were actually at home too. I am of the supposed Generation Xer’s. My parents are of the Baby Boom generation. I blame the Baby Boom generation, if we have to blame someone.

My grandmother was of the Great Depression era. She always stayed home as far as I could remember. We spent a lot of time with my grandparents. My grandpa was a very hard worker. My grandma spoiled us. She cooked us eggs and bacon every morning (and sometimes biscuits and gravy).

My friends and I often lament about how grandmothers aren’t like they used to be. I envision them as wearing aprons and when you come through the door they hug your neck (my grandparents are from the south). The sit you right down at the table and say, “Are you hungry? What can I fix you?” They don’t wait for you to respond; they know you are hungry. They call their kids and beg them to bring the grandchildren over.

Am I dreaming? Did grandparents such as these ever really exist? I know they did because I saw them. I have often thought of why grandparents such as these are largely extinct. Again, I think I blame the baby boomers.

The baby boomers gave us the “wonderful” 60’s, the selfish 70’s, the overindulgent 80’s. They decided it was better to work than stay home. They thought they needed more stuff and bigger houses. They need two car garages and of course two cars to fit in the garages. But of course this meant no one could actually stay home to take care of the larger house with a two (and now three) car garage. No, they must work harder to pay for all of this.

So something has to give right? Well, the day cares make more money because someone has to watch the kids while they work, and who thinks about funding retirement when you can buy more stuff. So the mother’s of the 80’s work through the 90’s and now in 2008 must work well into retirement. I mean, who has time to find an apron let alone make a pie?

Having said that I am not belittling my own family, I had my grandmother that was with me a lot, and my stepmom always stayed home even though she worked from home a lot, and my mother took occasional times away from the corporate workforce to stay home with us. They taught me a lot. I learned how to cook and to sew. Also, my mother-in-law always stayed at home with her children. She also always made Sunday dinner (lunch) for her family. She would definitely still do this (and probably does) if we lived closer to her. I miss Sunday dinner. You should always have Sunday dinner with family and anyone else that wants to come. Also, my sweet mamaw has always stayed at home (except for that stint working in the deli putting Julie through college). She makes the best chili and homemade noodles!

I just miss the days of mothers and grandmothers staying home and teaching their children and grandchildren the art of homemaking. It is such a lost art. I always love going to my husband’s grandmother’s house. It reminds me of my childhood. She stuffs you to the gills with food. She makes homemade rolls and always has homemade strawberry jam to put on your rolls. She wears an apron.

Honestly, this is the goal for myself. I want to be that grandmother. Right now, I am working hard to be a good mother, but I don’t want to stop there. I want to know how to garden well, and can the food from my garden. I want to bake pies. I want to not only be the Proverbs 31 wife and mother, but also the grandmother.

What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies. ~Rudolph Giuliani

A house needs a grandma in it. ~Louisa May Alcott

If God had intended us to follow recipes,
He wouldn't have given us grandmothers.
~Linda Henley

Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete. ~Marcy DeMaree

It is as grandmothers that our mothers come into the fullness of their grace. ~Christopher Morley

*From quotegarden.com

Picture of Normal Rockwell's Freedom from Want


  1. What a nice post. I agree with you. I often find that when I tell people I'm a stay-at-home mom, they look at me funny and say "Well where are you gonna work when they start school?" Well, I'm still gonna be at home. And that is usually met with raised eyebrows, but it is sad that mothers at home are the exception rather than the rule.
    I think all of the grandmas are at Wal-Mart drinking coffee and shopping! ;-) Just kidding, but I agree with you about the grandmothers too!

  2. I absolutely loved this post! I can't tell you how many conversations I have had with my hubby about what kind of a grandma I want to be one day. I feel like I want to write down right now the things that would mean a lot to me from the grandmas in our lives and then go back and read it when my kids have kids. Being the kind of grandma you described is a lost art and I hope that some of us gals from this generation can bring it back in the future!

  3. Beautifully written, Gretchen! I wholeheartedly agree. As sad as it is, most grandmothers these days are truly lacking in traditional grandmother-like skills.

    And I'm with you. I want to be the pie-baking, grandkid-loving, sweetest old lady on the block kind of grandma! :)

  4. My mom was like the grandma in your post and was an awesome grandma to my kids. She cooked with them, sewed them special quilts and things, and loved them unconditionally. I hope to be a good grandma someday like she was.

    Nice post G. I agree totally with you. :-)

  5. I think it's great that Extraordinary Ordinary Life is blessed to be able to be a stay-at-home mom. And I agree that grandparents play a very important part in their grandkids lives. But this Grandma works because her grandkids live two state away! I'd love to be able to spend enormous amounts of time with them, but, alas, I can't!

  6. Oh....I soooo agree with you!!! Women of the past were so selfless...it showed in their homes, in their families, in their dress, in their communities, everywhere!!! I wonder what would change in America if every woman would change their opinion (and agree with you!) and become a lover and keeper of their home/family?!! Wouldn't it be wonderful???!!! Thank you for visiting my blog!!!!



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