Nobody told me that becoming a granny would involve taking on a split personality. But from the moment I first took my granddaughter in my arms it became clear that I was expected to renounce my old life out in the wide world in favour of one in which this delightful little person was absolutely central.
Most of us, besotted by our grandbabies, do our best to go along with what society expects of us and adopt (or pretend to adopt) the traditional behavioural patterns of a good god-fearing granny. We know that we are no longer allowed to do things like swear or smoke or dance and drink gin. We know that quite a lot of the things we used to love – like lipstick, high-heels, scary movies, shopping and ‘girls’ nights out – are no longer considered appropriate to our status as a grandma. And we are in absolutely no doubt that sex (if we can remember it) is something that we never mention let alone, well, do (even those of us who might be lucky enough to be happily married to a game old granddad).
But while it is possible to live up to being that goody, goody granny for some of the time it’s difficult not to occasionally lapse back into that person you used to be. That independent-minded woman who worked (probably still works) and enjoyed having fun (and I don’t mean finger-painting or balloon modelling) hasn’t disappeared she has just learnt to switch from being Good Granny into being Bad Granny. As long, that is, that the children and grandchildren aren’t watching.
Jane Gordon is a granny of one, mum of three, interviewer of many a celebrity, author of several books and, of course, newspaper columnist. Until recently she co-authored the column 'Mum and Me' with her daughter Bryony in the Sunday Telegraph's magazine Stella. Her new column 'You Are Never Too Old To Learn' starts soon. Her latest book 'How Not To Get Old - One Woman's Quest To Take Control Of The Ageing Process' is published on 7 May this year, by Trapeze. ISBN-10: 1409194752; ISBN-13: 978-1409194750