Almost like working again - but better
by Anne De'Ath
Last year we were surprised by the news that our daughter and her husband (both aged 39) were expecting their first baby! Having thought that they didn't want children, we were quite delighted as she is our only child.
I have been retired since 2014 and since then have done a few volunteer activities and taken up a long-neglected hobby of painting and drawing.
My daughter knew she would need to go back to work once her maternity leave was over and was worried about the expense of childcare. I volunteered to help out one day a week and she eagerly accepted.
They had recently moved from North West London (we are in the UK) to South East London, which is not exactly on our doorstep (we are in a NW London suburb); however, there are Underground and Overground links from our town and my daughter's new flat is opposite their local station.
Our little granddaughter arrived on time in October and she is a delight. My daughter lined up childcare for her 4 days a week and I now go on Mondays to take away some of the expense.
It involves a 75-minute train journey each way through London and then down to their area and its almost like being back at work one day a week, travelling with all the commuters!
Despite many people working from home now, the trains are very busy and I have to look sharp to get a seat, especially on the way back. Getting up early on Monday morning was a shock to the system but I find I don't mind as much as I thought I would.
I had been drifting a bit in my retirement days and this has jolted me into a new sense of purpose (as well as allowing me to drop a volunteer activity I wasn't enjoying).
I do enjoy seeing my granddaughter once a week and having break times to visit with my daughter (she works from home on the days I go).
My husband joins us sometimes and we can enjoy walks in the nearby park and have tea at the family-friendly cafe there.
Although I had been apprehensive after making that rash childcare offer, I am happy with the outcome.