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MANO a Mano, Nana-style

By Jackie Burrell
Tuesday, May 19th, 2009 at 1:06 pm in Grandparenting.

The Obama Family (Photo by Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune) We’re trying to decide if this is just bored reporters messing with our heads, or if there really is a battle brewing between grandmas. First came the news that Marian Robinson, Michelle Obama’s mother, was moving into the White House to help take care of the presidential daughters (that’s her arriving with the family on Air Force One in the photo). Then a lashback in the form of a New York Times piece on glamorous grandmothers who have no interest in Candyland or Peek-a-boo and no intention of babysitting. They’re done, they say, with child rearing.

Then a lashback to that lashback: a Boston Globe piece that said ultra-competitive grannies are duking it out for most favored grandmother status. It sounded like classic 20th century family stuff to us, until we got to the spending part. “Oh, Grandma of yore, you sweet little old lady, where have you gone?” the article says. “To the mall, it seems, to score just the right toy to outshine the other grandmother. Or online, to book an untoppable grandparent-grandchild trip to Disney.” It’s baby boomer competitiveness, the coordinator of the National Grandparents Day council says. Or maybe it’s the Obama factor. (Robinson, by the way, is so busy with State Dinners and events, the Obamas often have to hire babysitters anyway.)

We loved the piece by Mommy Track’d's Meredith O’Brien’s, who says, “It’s no easy feat being a grandmother today, what with all the negative depictions and scolding articles telling you how you should behave. They’re saddled with hideous nicknames like ‘glam-mas.’ … The media have begun peddling ‘nana wars’ stories – apparently that’s what comes after the ‘mommy wars,’ after the kids have grown.” And where are all the glam-pas? Your thoughts?

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