‘The Grand Life’ examines roles of grandparents


Emily Morgan came up with the idea of a podcast to address the changing roles of grandparents in modern society.

Morgan has completed 10 episodes of “The Grand Life” for Season 2, with 12 episodes in each season.

“We’re taking cues from people we hear from about what they want to know about grandparenting,” said Morgan, who is assisted by her husband, Mike.

The Fishers resident said the podcast started by discussing the evolution of grandparenting and how it has changed through the years.

“The expectations are so much higher now of what kind of involvement is expected of grandparents,” Morgan said. “It’s demanding of us as older people.”

Morgan said one episode they are working on is the situation that many baby boomers find themselves in as a “club sandwich” generation.

“We’re responsible for our parents, our children and our grandchildren in some way, shape or form,” she said. “We’re stuck in a club sandwich. It’s a lot of extra work and time, but there should be enough love to go around, we hope, and we work at that.”

Morgan said one of the missions of “The Grand Life” podcast is connecting older people to one another to talk through things that are frustrating, hard, wonderful or rewarding.

The former role of a parent or grandparent was adult-focused, it wasn’t child-focused, Morgan said.

“We’ve reached a place in our society where much of the things are child-focused. I’m not saying that’s bad, it’s just different,” she said. “We have all these things we are trying to fulfill for our children and our children’s children.”

Morgan said that might mean attending more grandchildren’s sporting events or recitals or helping with finances.

Morgan said social media has increased expectations as well.

“You hear from other grandparents that they just took their kids and grandkids on a cruise or to a play,” she said. “You start thinking I should do that or amp up what I’m doing and do some more that I haven’t in the past.”

Morgan said the health, in general, of grandparents is better.

“Sixty is the new 40. We’re much more active than our parents or grandparents were at that age,” Morgan said. “We’re jumping from planes, all sorts of things that wouldn’t be expected or thought. We’re just a more fit generation. I know a lot of people in their 60s that are very active.”

During the podcast, one topic is setting boundaries for grandparents. Morgan said there is more talk about communication with adult children about each other’s feelings.

“In times before this, you squashed things and grandparents didn’t talk about how they felt,” Morgan said. “The (adult) kids would not come back to their parents and say, ‘I don’t like it when you do this.’ They would just let it go.”

That has changed. If there is an issue with a parent or grandparent, it is discussed.

“There is a great need for developing boundaries with your kids,” Morgan said. “For example, we did an episode called ‘Facebook Fails.’ These are when you maybe post pictures you shouldn’t post or announce a birth before it should be announced. It should be announced by the parent, not the grandparent.”

Every episode includes a segment called “The Stretch it Takes,” during which Morgan encourages grandparents to become flexible

“If you don’t, you won’t have a great relationship with your children and your grandchildren,” she said. “I think of it as relationship yoga.”

The Morgans have four children and nine grandchildren.

“’The Grand Life’ started because I was in a mentorship situation with some younger women and they would say, ‘You need to tell my mother that,’” she said. “They were asking me to tell their parents.”

“The Grand Life” has a Facebook page. The podcast is available through Google, Spotify and Apple or thegrandlife.libsyn.com.