Rent-a-Grandparent: The Best Idea No One’s Ever Had.

Once upon a time, extended families lived, if not in the same house, then definitely within walking distance of one another.

smiling rent-a-grandparent by  sean drellinger

Tired mothers (and fathers) could knock on a door, hand off their little bundles of, ahem, joy, and go home and collapse for a little while.

Then the industrial revolution came. Trains, planes, and cars took over the world, and families scattered.

Now it’s not uncommon to live thousands of miles away from your nearest and dearest. We, thankfully, are within a day’s drive of both sets of grandparents (for the moment, at least), but such a trip requires planning. And once we finally arrive at their doors? We no longer feel like escaping.

Which means, on days like this? When it’s seemingly one fit after another and my temper is one frayed thread away from snapping? We’re on our own.

That kind of sucks.

What the world needs now is a Rent-a-Grandparent service.

Forlorn grandparents with long-distance grandchildren could create profiles, list their qualifications, and wait for needy parents to come to them.

Moms and dads living way too far away from their own parents could click through smiling photos of gentle-looking older folk, read their ads and find the perfect substitute grandparents for their monsters.

There would have to be an interview process, of course.  Prospective rental grandparents would be advised to arrive with cookies in hand, presents tucked under an arm, and hugs at the ready.

They would agree to be paid in hugs, snuggles, and giggles.

They would be available for date nights, weekend breaks, sick days, and the occasional unscheduled panic attack.

And they would, of course, love the kids unconditionally (if not quite as much as their own grandchildren).

Parents, for their part, would agree to be incredibly grateful for every moment said rental grandparents spared them.

They would promise to deliver clean, snot-free children whenever possible.

They would stop by their substitute grandparents’ homes at a moment’s notice to shovel snow, move heavy things, and do all those other chores that get tougher as you get older.

It’d be a win-win for everyone! Frazzled parents would get some back up. Lonely grandparents would get some kid time. And everyone would be the happier for it.

All we need is someone to start it.

Any volunteers?

Photo by Alex E. Proimos via flickr.




6 Comments on Rent-a-Grandparent: The Best Idea No One’s Ever Had.

  1. Lady Jennie
    January 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm (3 years ago)

    In France, one of the jobs you can have is to care for an elderly person in your home, living right alongside your family. You get paid a pension and help in making your home handicap-friendly. I think it’s a brilliant idea.

    • Amber
      January 22, 2013 at 8:36 pm (3 years ago)

      The U.S. could learn a lot from Europe. That makes so much sense! It will never happen here though.

  2. Rebecca
    January 21, 2013 at 9:49 pm (3 years ago)

    Actually, I was watching Shark Tank a week or so ago and that was the very idea that some family pitched to the judges. I can’t remember if the judges liked it or not but it seemed they already had a pretty strong customer base and wanted to expand.

    • Amber
      January 22, 2013 at 8:35 pm (3 years ago)

      Rebecca! Oh, I’ve missed you! I totally need to look for that show on Netflix or something…and invest in that company. :)

  3. Andi
    January 24, 2013 at 12:31 am (3 years ago)

    Yes, yes, for all the rice in China, YES!

    I need this.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have been headlocking one child who is smacking me across the back of my head because I won’t let her down near the wine bottle aisle (where I spend most of my days), whilst trying to hold onto the sweaty, sticky hand of a 3 year old in the throes of a super tantrum and some older man or woman has said to me, “Ohhh, my grandkids live in Michigan/Toronto/Florida, and I just feel I am missing so much of their life!” To which I usually respond, “What’s your address? I’ll drop them off for two hours this afternoon and you can get your grandkid fix.”

    Truth be told, they usually run faster than I thought they would be able.

    • Amber
      January 31, 2013 at 9:15 pm (3 years ago)

      Dang old people. They have no business being all spry like that. Someday we will get a night to ourselves. Someday..calgon, take me away!.


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