The new cool gran­nies

The days of lit­tle old grey-haired grand­mas are long gone. Janet El­lis cel­e­brates a new gen­er­a­tion of grand­moth­ers with at­ti­tude

Woman & Home - - Family Life -

I can’t knit. I haven’t got a fire­side to read sto­ries next to and the only stick I use is the mem­ory one I put in my lap­top. If you add in no (ahem, vis­i­ble) grey hair, a ten­dency to­wards skinny jeans and an­kle boots rather than a shawl and woolly hat, and an ap­petite for life, not Werther’s Orig­i­nals, you might think that I’m supremely un­qual­i­fied to be a grand­mother.

If you be­lieve the ma­jor­ity of chil­dren’s books and tv ads – who’ve been slow to keep up – the cliché grand­mother is a lit­tle be­hind the times too. she’s a lot about doz­ing in a big, old arm­chair and has a gen­uine rosy glow on her cheeks rather than a swift brush of or­gasm by nars (the best blusher out there, trust me). time to get real! Just as the granny emoji doesn’t suit me (who is that grey­haired, bun-wear­ing woman?), nei­ther does any out­dated stereo­type. these days, your av­er­age granny is hip, hep and fit in every way. she also doesn’t mind be­ing told “hip” and “hep” went out with the ark – she’s re­laxed about these things, thanks to a com­bi­na­tion of ma­tu­rity and mind­ful­ness.

If you’re ever tempted to put us grand­mas in the un­cool box, may

I re­fer you, m’lud, to bianca Jag­ger. or Jo Wood. or lulu. not to men­tion vivi­enne West­wood, twiggy and Prue leith. Women who would give you short shrift if you tried to la­bel them as any­thing. and we’d all raise our or­ange neon-nailed hands (my colour this week) if you asked “Who’s cool?” ex­cept we’d be too busy face-paint­ing, video-gam­ing or even wall-climb­ing with our grand­chil­dren to an­swer.

one of the many joys about be­ing a grand­par­ent these days is that we’re health­ier and live­lier in our dotage than any gen­er­a­tion pre­vi­ously. We can keep up with things and get down with the kids too. We’ve got all the at­tributes of days gone by, but sub­tly up­graded. It’s great to be thought of as wise, for ex­am­ple, but no one need know you googled the an­swer to a ques­tion. Don’t as­sume Grandma doesn’t know any­thing, by the way – our gen­er­a­tion are at the top of the chart for con­tin­u­ing our ed­u­ca­tion long af­ter we left school.

you can’t make as­sump­tions based on looks any more, ei­ther. sta­tis­ti­cally, women are hav­ing ba­bies later than ever. I defy you to play “spot the grandma” in the play­ground. For some grand­moth­ers, that’s ex­actly how it should be. When my el­dest daugh­ter so­phie had her first baby (that was 14 years ago, there’s an­other three now – and an­other on the way), my girl­friends di­vided neatly into ei­ther the “you lucky thing” or “omG, get them to call you Janet and no­boDy WIll knoW” camp. For the record, I bag­gsied Grandma pretty early on, I didn’t want any­one to think these were just some kids I was hang­ing out with. I un­der­stand my chums’ re­luc­tance, though. I think it’s largely maths-based. you have to be pretty good at num­bers to lie about your age with ab­so­lute proof pos­i­tive of how old you are tug­ging at your sleeve and ask­ing for your com­puter pass­word. yes, it used to be a liquorice stick the kid­dies wanted, but you can’t play Fort­nite with that.

your grand­chil­dren will think you’re funny, kind and beau­ti­ful be­cause they adore you. you’ll be a soft touch, a safe pair of hands and the per­son who disco-dances to the Paw Pa­trol theme be­cause you wor­ship them. What­ever you do to your hair or hem­line, they’ll think you’re old. It goes with the job. you’ll stay cool – but love is hot­ter. w&h

“if you’re ever tempted to put us grand­mas in the un­cool box, may i re­fer you, m’lud, to Bianca Jag­ger. or Jo wood. or lulu”

At 78, Prue Leith’s colour­ful style and state­ment glasses are in­spir­ing Dame Vivi­enne West­wood, 77, struts the cat­walk with grand­daugh­ter Cora Corré Bianca Jag­ger, 73, with daugh­ter Jade and her grand­daugh­ters

Jo Wood, 63, is a hands-on grandma Proud nan Lulu, 70, spends time with her grand­daugh­ter

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