‘I couldn’t do my job with­out them – I’m very for­tu­nate’

Ni­cola Broad, 36, a school deputy head from Not­ting­ham, re­lies on her mum Bev, 58, to help with child­care.

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As I hear feet run­ning down the stairs, fol­lowed by the front door slam­ming, I smile. Although I’ve just had cross words with my el­dest, Joshua, who’s 10, I know where he’s go­ing – across the road to see Grandma. She’ll give him a drink and a cud­dle, help him see what went wrong, and send him back to me for a hug.

I’m lucky that Joshua, and his six-year-old brother Char­lie, have such a close re­la­tion­ship with my par­ents, but it’s no sur­prise.

My dad, Dale, 61, re­tired early and stepped in to look af­ter the boys as soon as my ma­ter­nity leave fin­ished. When Mum took re­dun­dancy two years ago, she was itch­ing to spend more time with them, too. Now she does the school run twice a week.

The ethos that un­der­pins our ar­range­ment is that I am al­ways grate­ful if they can help and never upset if they can’t. We work as

a team and have a meal to­gether ev­ery week­end to run through what’s hap­pen­ing the next week.

I re­spect that Mum needs time to her­self. She vol­un­teers at the ther­apy cen­tre at Not­ting­hamshire Hospice ev­ery week. Giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity is sa­cred to her.

I know we are very for­tu­nate. I couldn’t be so com­mit­ted to the job that I do with­out them. Mum and Dad even do home­work with the boys be­cause they know it’s late by the time we get home.

I’ll of­ten treat Mum and Dad to a meal to let them know that we ap­pre­ci­ate all that they do. GRAN’S STORY I loved hav­ing my own chil­dren, but we didn’t have much money and I fret­ted about be­ing a good mum. Now I feel more con­fi­dent and can spend more time do­ing the things Joshua and Char­lie love.

Af­ter I’ve picked them up from school, we head to the park and some­times go out for tea. When the weather’s not good, we play old games, such as domi­noes.

With vol­un­teer­ing at the hospice, my re­tire­ment is busy, but I love be­ing a part of their lives. When I hear our front door open, fol­lowed by the shout of ‘Grandma, where are you?’ it al­ways makes me smile.

Bev with her grand­sons Char­lie (left) and Joshua

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