Dressing like a grandma: what that will look like for me

I have just become a grandma. Having a new baby in my world is the most wonderful thing imaginable. My granddaughter was three weeks old yesterday and I love her to bits. She is utterly perfect. Last night, as I was twirling around in the kitchen to her favourite song – Ed Sheeran’s Perfect – with her in my arms gazing up at me, I thought ‘Life does not get any better than this’.

‘You look perfect to me.’

I am absolutely loving being a grandma. But I’ll be honest with you, I’m struggling with the whole ‘grandma’ thing: the title and what it implies. I haven’t relaxed into it yet. When someone says ‘Grandma’, I look around for my mum, who was the best grandma ever and yet sadly, hasn’t been around for a good few years.

I have an image of a grandma: how a grandma dresses and behaves, who a grandma is, and it is nothing like me.

You know how much I love clothes. I’ve discovered a freedom to dress the way I love and I’m not ready to let that go. However, a couple of days before Delilah was born, I entered crisis mode. I think it was nerves. I became convinced that I needed to sort my wardrobe and get rid of ‘non grandma suitable’ items. I was convinced I couldn’t be a good grandma as I was. I needed to change to fill the role. I looked at my clothes and thought ‘Grandmas don’t dress like this.’ There was one particular item that stood out as needing to go: a crushed velvet short skater dress from Miss Selfridge. Somehow it suddenly seemed far too young for someone like me, far too young for a grandma to wear. And then that perception spread to the rest of my wardrobe:  I didn’t own anything suitable for a grandma to wear!

In my panic, I messaged my daughter and my best friend. My daughter was to be the mother of this precious baby. Her opinion mattered. I won’t repeat the single word she replied with, but it was basically ‘You absolute idiot!’ My friend was no more understanding. Her response was ‘If you start dressing like a grandma, then we’ll have to go out separately from now on!’ Both responses raised a shadow of a smile, but did nothing to alleviate my nerves.

However, when I gazed into the eyes of my grandchild for the first time, everything changed. This is what I communicated with her without speaking aloud.

Hey there, Delilah, I’m your grandma.

I’m not a normal grandma. I don’t knit. I’m a bit quirky. I’ve been called an eccentric dresser.

But that is who I am and that is what I offer you.

I will love you with my whole heart. We will have such fun together.

I’m a big kid at heart and I look forward to being a big kid with you.

I will be unapologetically me, for that is all I can be.

I will love you just as you are and I hope that you will be able to love me just as I am too.

That skater dress has not made it back into my wardrobe. It became a symbol of something and I don’t believe I ever will wear it again. But everything else is staying. I am not the stereotype of a grandma, but then, who is? I will be a wonderful grandma, because I will love all my grandchildren with all that I am and that will be enough. I’m throwing out the stereotype and doing it my way.

I will teach Delilah and all my grandchildren to follow that it is OK – more than OK – to be exactly who they were born to be.

Because that is exactly who I intend to be too.



1 Comment

  1. Linda Clark November 26, 2017 / 8:21 pm

    Hi Helen I know what you mean. Your granddaughter is lucky to have such a young grandma. I too look at my leggings and boots and wonder if I should wear something for an older person. If you are happy how you dress, then that says it all. Your happiness will show in your confidence and that will benefit Delilah with a content grandma. I don’t want to wear twin sets and pearls! Have fun xxxxxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *