How did Grandma do it?

The generation of people in their 80s and 90s have always fascinated me.  There may never be another generation of people to see so many changes in the world.  Electricity, telephones, cars, medicine all made their appearance in normal families during this generation’s lifetime.  My grandparents were part of this generation and I have never doubted their strength or ability to adapt to change.  (Unless we are talking about computers or cell phones.)  I tend to think anyone from this generation is pretty awesome for having to survive the Great Depression, both World Wars and having babies without an epidural.  Think about that for a minute!!  Crazy!!!  But did this generation ever feel overwhelmed the way I do?  Did they struggle feeling as if they could not accomplish it all?  Or were they much better at knowing what they could and could not do in a day?

My two sets of grandparents were both from the same little area in North Dakota.  My grandpas have passed away; one recently, one a few years back.  I miss them; their smiles, their steadiness.  They were happy and they loved their families.  I never needed to question that, I knew it when I walked into the door of their house.  However, my grandmas have been in my thoughts a lot lately.  As I struggle to find balance in my life, I wonder if they ever struggled with finding it also.  Or were they much more grounded?  Was their world somehow smaller than mine?  I try to think about their life and wonder why mine seems so much more stressful.  I am a science teacher, so I need to look at the data……….Here it is………..

Each of my Grandmas had five children……………………….I have three………

Each Grandma lived on a farm with crops, gardens, chickens and cows…………….I kill plants pretty regularly and my garden grows by chance……..

Each Grandma cooked everything from scratch; meals, buns, cookies, cakes.  And they were all delicious!!…….If it is not from a box, I barely attempt it and I don’t often get rave reviews from my family……..

Both grandmas did not have modern appliances on the farm.  No dishwasher, no washing machine, no dryer (I can’t imagine)……I have them all………

So again, I ask the question, did they feel overwhelmed like I do?  Did they struggle to keep it all together?  I think about my sweet, loving grandmas and I literally can’t even imagine them raising their voices like I do in a day.  Now I am sure they did with five kids, I mean they had to yell sometimes right??  Right????!!!

Did you read the recent study done by Welch’s juice company?  Not sure why or when Welch’s started doing studies; but it concludes that being a mom today is equivalent to working 2.5 jobs.  What???!!!  Was it like that 50 years ago?  When you were supposed to keep a neat and tidy house so your husband could relax when they got home from work.  That’s not how we roll in my house, ask Jason.  He will tell you.

So what has changed?  Is there really that much more required of parents and people in general?  Are we lazier or just worse at making our time efficient?  Did people in the fifties just fake it and pretend everything was wonderful all of the time?

I start my day between 5:30 and 6.  I get ready, get the kids ready and do my job at school.  I get home, make supper, get the kids where they need to go, clean the kitchen, grade papers and then get to bed by 10. (Okay sometimes 9……I’m tired!!)  Then the next day, I get to do it again, and the next day and the next.  Now, I love everything about my life, but I struggle with feeling overwhelmed.  There is always more stuff to get done.  I honestly don’t watch TV because if I stop moving, I will fall asleep.  Also something to ask Jason, he will tell you.  But again, did Grandma feel this way?  How did she do it?  Was there ever a time she struggled to feel balanced?  I have never asked these questions of my grandmas because they always seemed happy and fulfilled.  Happy to see me and willing to do whatever I wanted, pretty much all of the time.

So I am just a whiner?  Don’t answer that…….  I don’t feel like I complain more than others.  I generally try to be a pretty positive person and I try to work really hard and efficiently, so I can pack as much into a day as I can.  But I know, because you have told me, I am not the only one struggling with this idea.  Is it society that has really changed so much??

Challenge Time!!  Not really a challenge this time, because I am not sure any of my questions have answers.  Maybe I just need to throw them out there for you and the world to ponder.  But I am going to challenge you, like I am challenging myself.  Be like Grandma.  I don’t have any clue how she did it; but I know she was happy, both of them.  I know her world was perhaps smaller than ours is today, but maybe that was a good thing.  Maybe we are not meant to be such a global society with everything right at our fingertips.  But that is the challenge.  When I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I am going to be like Grandma.  Thinking of her will give me strength to get through just about anything and be happy right now.  Be like Grandma, mine are amazing.

I would love to hear your comments on this one.  Did you or do you have amazing grandmas?  How did they do it???!!!  Share your thoughts with me on this page or on the Facebook page, Speaking Jelinese.  As always, likes, comments and shares mean a lot to this blog!!

Talk to you soon,



10 thoughts on “How did Grandma do it?

  1. Yes they are amazing, but the one thing different, they did not work outside the home like we have done all our lives. I can only imagine what it would be like to get up and be able to stay home and get all my work done at home. First I go to work at my ‘job’ all day long and then go home and complete all the work at home that needs to be done. I have always dreamt of what it would be like to be able to stay home and do my work during the day and then make dinner. I have always had to do that work after dinner dishes are complete. I think we do a pretty good job Angie, keeping it all together with all we do as ‘working’ Moms. If they did what we do, they would tell us they couldn’t walk in our shoes.


    1. Well I think we do a pretty good job, too. Especially you, you never sleep!!! But I just wonder if they felt overwhelmed by everything or if that is something we feel more now??

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My grandma’s are/were amazing as well. I always thought that they set excellent examples in always putting their families needs above all else. This was a lovely write-up. Thanks for sharing. Now I need to go hug my grandma!


    1. Thank you for your kind words. Grandmas always seem to be excellent examples. Something to strive for as we get older……..


  3. Feeling overwhelmed used to my life!

    I too am a teacher, a wife, and a mother of three kids. All three of my kids are in sports (track, baseball, soccer) and, my husband is a fireman…we all know a fireman’s work schedule. So, when he is not home, it all falls on me. But, he has been able to be more flexible and can sometimes take off work and take our middle child to practice. From April to July we are a fully involved, non-stop athletic family.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, in the midst of ALL of that, I still have to grade papers and plan for my 46 students, help my two youngest with their homework, spend time with my children together and individually, work on my blog, my graduate schoolwork…I can go on an on.

    I don’t think MY mom was this overwhelmed. Probably because I am her only child.

    Your article is a must read! I am sure mom’s EVERYwhere can relate!


  4. I have amazing Grandmas too! I’ve talked with one of my grandmothers about this, and she said she was overwhelmed at times as a mom too. With a lot of similar things–children’s health and education, homemaking, managing finances, etc. But she said we have a lot more “distractions” today. I’d like to be more steady like my grandparents also.


  5. My grandmas were/are amazing! I’ve been thinking a lot about both of them lately too. My paternal grandma passed away two years ago on my 40th birthday, which was last week. She had eight kids and I have two. I don’t know how she did it! I’m lucky enough to still have my maternal grandmother and I’m going to visit her next weekend where she will turn 86. She had four kids! They are both amazing Women and I feel blessed to have had them both in my life!


  6. I can really relate to this blog. I was raised by my grandmother from a baby after she had already raised her 8 children. Now that she has passed and I have my own children, I try my best to do the things she did for me for my own children. I honestly don’t know how she did it with a smile on her face. She raised her kids when there was no such thing as electric washers and dryers, The hauled their own water in and out of the house, everything made from scratch. When I have hard days and think I have it rough, that little voice of my grandmother pops in my head saying “this is easy, You got this” We have been spoiled with modern technology and forget what life use to be like. I’m certainly grateful for that. But even more grateful that I was raised by a wonderful women who taught me that life could be way worse and god only gives us what we can handle.


  7. I so missed both my grandparents! They baked and gardened and we had some of the best meals ever when they were alive. I’m a Baby Boomer myself and I can relate to all that you wrote. Well done.


    1. Thank you!! Grandparents are awesome and I don’t think we always realize how lucky we are to have them until they are gone……


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