Rent a Grandma! Beating Empty Nesters Syndrome

Stay active by providing care in other people’s homes.
By Irene I. Davis
January/February 1984
Add to My MSN

How renting herself out as a grandma helped this empty nester.  

Content Tools

Related Content

Studies on Depression Drugs Selectively Published

A new report finds that studies of depression drugs were selectively published, which not only point...

Should I Empty Gas Tanks If the Machines Won't Run for a Few Months?

Machine expert Hank Will offers advice on whether to drain the gas tanks of machines that will be id...

Raising Chickens: Farming in the Great Depression

This story recounts one father's hard work to help his family survive by raising chickens and farmin...

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Awards $1.8 Million to Research Deadly Bat Disease

A deadly fungal infection has killed millions of hibernating bats in eastern North America in the pa...

As I sat down with my morning cup of coffee on the day of my youngest child's twenty-first birthday, I felt unaccountably bereaved. She'd been living in another state for the past two years, I told myself, so why should this day feel grayer than any other? Yet it did.

Pensively, I leafed through an old psychology magazine until I came across an article about empty nesters syndrome . . . a piece detailing "the acute depression that sometimes affects parents when their children are grown". Could that be the cause of the malaise I was feeling? Well, if it was, I was determined to stop it dead in its tracks. I'd find a way to be active again and use my teaching aptitude, training, experience, and never-say-die energy to keep my horizons expanding!

It took me a while to figure out just how I was going to do all this, but finally—after listening to my husband grumble something about "car rental dealers"—I came up with a perfect plan to beat the empty-nest syndrome. Since one role in life that I both enjoyed and excelled at was being a "grandmother", I'd simply rent myself out as a bona fide grandmother to folks who needed a temporary live-in baby-sitter! For a very reasonable fee, I'd go into someone's home and care for the children as if they were my own kissin' kin. I'd rock, cuddle, scold, praise, listen to prayers, and bake cookies. I'd tell stories and play games and let the kids call me "Grandma" so they'd feel comfortable around me. (Why, I might even help clean house!) In short, I'd be an on-the-job, round-the-clock, all-around grandmother to my clients!

With the help of "Grandpa", I came up with a minimum rental period of one week and a maximum of three, for which I'd charge a daily fee plus any transportation costs. And I'd be willing to go just about anywhere, as long as someone was willing to get me there.

Once all the groundwork was laid for my "rent-a-grandma", I made a few placards and—together with friends—spread them around within a 200-mile radius of my Minnesota home. Well, that was over six years ago . . . and I've been busy ever since! (I've had offers for "grandma-ing" from as far away as Kentucky and California!) My little advertisements have brought me a passel of rewarding experiences and a host of devoted "grandchildren" . . . from ages 8 to 82! And what about those expanding horizons? Rest assured, they continue to widen!

 For another idea about in-home care, see Start a Home Nursing Business.  

Post a comment below.


Patricia Long_2
3/3/2010 10:13:37 AM
I read the Rent'A-Grandma article and I am greatly interested in becoming involved. I would like to know whether there is anything within the Twin Cities. Would it be possible to receive this information? Thank you....I will anxously await for your reply. Patricia Long

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.