So You Want to Be a Grandparent?!

A no-nonsense job description

There really ought to be a job description for grandparenting so people know exactly what they’re getting into. Sure, we’ve all been parents, so we’ve done this before, right? But I’m here to tell you that when you add another 20 or 30 years, it’s a whole other ball game!

For one thing, I would bet most parents don’t really remember much about those early years when their children were very young. And it’s no wonder as most of them were probably chronically sleep deprived. Those years with my own children are basically a blur. I remember very little other than my own desire to catch some sleep whenever and wherever possible. And even though we are supposedly older and wiser as we age, one’s energy reserves unfortunately aren’t what they used to be. What was easy to do at age 25 can seem pretty daunting at 55! That’s just a simple fact of life.

So what should potential grandparents be aware of when contemplating those little grandchildren they so desire? Well, I’ve put together the following “job description” to shed some light.

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Job Summary:

Seeking highly motivated individual to provide quality babysitting services for young child(ren) along with unconditional love and a steadfast ally. Responsibilities include general supervision, meals, field trips, overnights and occasional vacation relief.

Hours of Work:  

• Varied; including days, evenings and weekends.

• Must be on-call at a moment’s notice.

• May be asked to cover extended periods of time (vacation relief).

Essential Qualifications (not in ranked order):  

The successful candidate must have the ability to:

• Give horsey and piggy back rides while a squirming, wriggling toddler bounces on your back, simultaneously pulling on your ears and ruthlessly kicking you in the ribs.

• Crawl around on your hands and knees for extended periods of time on all surfaces including (but not limited to) carpet, linoleum, tile, gravel, grass and sand.

• Produce a wide variety of voices for different characters when telling or reading stories (i.e. those for knights, witches, wizards, magical beasts, trolls, ogres, etc).

• Re-read the SAME favourite books over and over and over and over and over.

• Sit through hours of cartoons, children’s shows and G-rated movies and pretend that you like them.

• Be an expert at the triage of minor cuts, scrapes and splinters (more commonly referred to as “owies” or “booboos”), displaying an excellent bedside manner that will instantly calm/soothe any hysterically sobbing child.

• Make a plethora of sound effects including those of animals, weather, vehicles, bodily functions, etc.

• Contort one’s face into endless silly expressions in order to get a laugh.

• Be able to provide nutritious snacks that children will not turn their nose up at, make a face at, throw on the floor, dump out or decorate a younger sibling with.

• Cajole, flatter, exaggerate, bribe or otherwise elicit cooperation by any means necessary.

• Draw realistic representations of people and objects on command.

• Possess the artistic ability of shaping food into recognizable objects so that it will be readily consumed, expertly hiding or disguising “healthy” ingredients.

• Permit all manner of kicking and splashing in the bathtub while sea monsters are subdued.

• Provide oodles of cuddles, preferably in a big, comfy rocking chair.

• Be brave enough to check for monsters under the bed, in the closet or in any hidey-hole as directed.

• Possess the patience of a saint to follow complicated instructions (requiring an engineering degree at a minimum) for the assembly of most children’s toys.  Or, alternately, magically put together children’s toys with only sparse, incomplete or even non-existent instructions.

• Employ the skills of both an acrobat (gracefully dismount from a bed without causing the springs to protest) and a cat burglar (stealthily creep out of a room) when putting a child to bed.

• Recite dozens of nursery rhymes and children’s songs off the top of one’s head.

• Change a messy diaper while expertly distracting the non-cooperative wearer who is ceaselessly contorting their body to thwart your efforts.


No degree required or experience necessary—just an open heart.

Susan Gnucci
Susan Gnucci
Susan Gnucci is a local author and a proud “nonna” to an adorable four-year-old grand-son. She enjoys sharing her experiences as a first-time grandparent.