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1,000 Families Project: Chantal, Nikki and Grandma

One mom shares what it’s like to co-parent with Grandma.

My family is now quite unique.

My Dad passed over a decade ago. Prior to that I’d married and moved away from my parents to live about two hours from them, where eventually I’d have my daughter Nikki.

Fast forward 14 years and I was on the cusp of divorce, selling the business and had to move on. But how?

Mom was sick of living alone, so she offered to have us live with her. But it’s a tiny, tiny, tiny house for three spirited women to live in together. It’s not like Nikki and I are occupying the East wing and we never see Mom.

As a result, Mom isn’t just “Grandma” anymore. She’s not just my mom. She is co-parenting Nikki with me (Nikki’s dad lives far away and visits rarely). She disciplines and she is involved in the decisions about Nikki’s health and clothes and camp and so on and so on.

It’s a weird thing to co-parent a child with a person whose parenting philosophies go back a generation. I always envisioned Grandma to be the easy touch, the one who would sneak cookies and candy and that would probably have been true if we had never moved in together. But as a co-parent, she is stricter than I am (just ask her about her rules on the acquisition of stuffed animals!)

We’ve definitely had our up and down moments, times where we have disagreed, but the upside is always clear to me. My Mom does a lot of the cooking (which I hate doing), she picks up the kiddo from school once a week (so I can get some extra work done), she is there for us 100% and I hope that we can say we are here for her too.

Yes, it’s strange to say to people that I live with my mother, at least at first, but it is the best thing for us. For all of us.

This is #1000families post number 54. Do you have a family story of your own to contribute to the 1,000 Families Project? Or do you know a family that might want to do so? Learn more about how the series got started and how to get involved here. You can find all of the #1000families posts here.

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Chantal Saville

About

Chantal Saville is a writer, editor and mom from Toronto.


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