“I’m not working,” he said. “If they need my help, I’ll help.”
He sees Nathan five days a week, often eight to 10 hours each day. Now that Nathan is 3 and goes to preschool in the afternoons, Mr. Wolf can take a nap – for himself. “Running after 2- or 3-years-old is tiring,” he said. But he plans to continue, even when Nathan attends school full-time.
Overall, grandmothers still take the lead in spending time with grandchildren, often rearranging their schedules to do so, says Madonna Harrington Meyer, a sociologist at Syracuse University and author of “Grandmothers at Work: Juggling Families and Jobs.” he said.
And Jennifer Utrata, a sociologist at the University of Puget Sound who has interviewed dozens of parents and grandparents, found that even when grandparents are involved, “caregiving is often organized, monitored and checked by the grandmother.” Grandfathers see their role as complementary, helping their spouses. “The more intense grandparents are still the more intense grandparents,” Dr. Utrata said.
However, researchers believe that change is on the horizon. Cultural and demographic trends, including better health and longer lives, mean that grandfathers may play a more active role. And there’s some evidence that American fathers spend significantly more time caring for children than their predecessors: an average of eight hours a week in 2016, compared with just 2.5 hours in 1965, according to the Pew Research Center. As contemporary fathers become grandfathers, caring for children can feel satisfying and familiar.
“I see that both grandparents want to be involved, although I don’t think grandparents are changing diapers much,” said Kathy Hirsch-Pasek, a developmental psychologist at Temple University and a senior at the Brookings Institution. Fellow.