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The sydney morning herald
The army that powers the nation's workforce by taking care of its young is not so much devoted to duty, for the most part, as it is devoted to grandchildren. Susie Balderstone begins her pilgrimage in the dark, rising before 5am at her home in MacMasters Beach on the central coast to drive to Woy Woy and catch the train to Sydney before her daughter leaves for work.
Credit: Wolter Peeters. For the next two days, she looks after Matilda, sometimes sleeping on her daughter's couch overnight, other times spiriting the one-year-old back to MacMasters and returning her on Friday evening.
By the time the weekend arrives, she is spent. But the idea of accepting money for her pains is anathema. The Productivity Commission's draft report into childcare proposes government subsidies for paid grandparent carers. It is a prospect that might be expected to cause an outbreak of joy among the photo-swapping set.
Grandparents were the most commonly used type of care among children aged under 12, according to a study by the Bureau of Statistics. About 24 per cent of children under the age of two were in the regular care of a grandparent.
The work can be weary. It can restrict the spontaneity of post-working life.
It entails a commitment that, if broken, arouses unjust feelings of guilt. But grandparents said they performed it out of love, and seniors groups predicted that few would take up the offer of remuneration.
National Seniors chief executive Michael O'Neill said most grandparents willingly gave their time to provide informal care to their grandchildren. Woollahra grandmother Louise Leibowitz, who devotes two days of her week to looking after her two-year-old granddaughter and month-old grandson respectively, said she would not dream of accepting money.
I don't do it for my grandchildren, I don't do it for my daughters-in-law, I don't do it for my sons, so for me the money would taint the specialness of that. I absolutely love it.
The granny nannies: it's a labour of love, not money. Please try again later. The Sydney Morning Herald.
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By Harriet Alexander July 25, — 6. Save Log inregister or subscribe to save articles for later.
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