I'm raising my daughter's 6-year-old son as a single Gen X grandparent. I want my situation to be normalized.

  • Sabrina Wiggins took responsibility for raising her grandson when he was around 3 months old.

  • She is in the process of becoming his legal guardian.

  • The 47-year-old shared what it's like as a Gen X grandparent raising a Gen Alpha kid alone.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Sabrina Wiggins. It has been edited for length and clarity.

My daughter was 21 when she got pregnant. It was unplanned. The birth of her son, Aiden, in 2017 made me a very young grandmother at 41.

I took the role seriously. When Aiden was around 3 months old, my daughter agreed that it would be better if I took over raising him.

It was the right thing to do. It was a daunting prospect, especially because I'm older and don't have a partner.

Still, I'd raised my two girls as a single mother for nearly all their lives. I was in the Navy when my first child was born.

Luckily, my mom could sometimes step in and help. Our family tradition is for relatives to look after young children. When things got tough for me — my job was very demanding and relatively low-paid — I'd send my daughter to Mom's house for a month or so. Or she'd go to her other grandparents' home in Florida.

Otherwise, it was a struggle to afford childcare year-round. At one stage, I applied for food stamps.

Raising Aiden has involved some sacrifices

But I got by with the support from my family. They were there for me when my second daughter arrived, too. We were always a close-knit unit.

It was pretty natural for me to offer to raise Aiden. I wanted the best for him, even though it involved making sacrifices.

Shortly before he arrived, I'd decided I wanted to travel. I wanted to spread my wings after bringing up my daughters. But my travel plans were put on hold. They'll stay on hold until Aiden is much older.

My priorities have changed. I'm now becoming Aiden's legal guardian. My grandson is such a happy little boy. He's curious about everything, the center of my world.

A close-up picture of a smiling woman and a baby.
Wiggins said that Aiden is the center of her world.Courtesy of Sabrina Wiggins.

It hasn't been plain sailing. I work full-time as a financial analyst and don't have much time. I used to take my daughters to various after-school activities when they were young. Nowadays, I take Aiden to a coding club once a week.

It's quite tiring. I'm turning 48 soon. It can be hard to keep up with a rambunctious six-year-old.

I want our situation to be normalized

But I'm very social and talk to the moms at the playground, even though they're much younger than me. Nobody bats an eyelash that I'm Aiden's grandma, not his mother.

Meanwhile, I've recently started publishing children's books. They talk a lot about diversity and inclusion. I'm planning to write a book about a grandparent who is raising their grandchild. I know I'm not alone. I'd like the situation to be normalized and accepted.

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