EP 24: Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren with Paige Butler

Today we are fortunate to have one of the co-founders of Mosaics of Mercy, Paige Butler, join us. While she holds the official title of Director of Operations, she, like many of us, wears many hats in the organization. In this episode, we talk about her title at home and how she has tied it into one of our programs. She is raising her four-year-old grandson who has been in their home since birth, and while she is delighted to be fulfilling the role of parent, it comes with its own challenges. There are so many reasons why grandparents step in to take care of grandkids, whether it is because their children are in jail or battling with substance abuse, or because the parents are unable to take care of them or have passed away. Some grandparents help out temporarily, some are in it for the long haul, and others even formally foster or adopt their grandchildren. Either way, this is a journey that requires a ton of support. Tune in for this episode to learn what you can expect from a support group and how you can get started with such a community!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Paige’s story and how it has helped her to create a much-needed support group.
  • Get a sense of the kind of situations the members of the group find themselves in.
  • The importance of understanding the many reasons why grandparents end up in this role.
  • Find out what the structure of the Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren support group is like.
  • Hear about the unique experiences that the group focuses on and provides support for.
  • Paige’s lunch and learn events that cover the legal aspects of raising a grandchild.
  • Hear about their library of resources for grandparents and their program for children.
  • Paige explains why family tree exercises can be a traumatic school experience.
  • Overcoming the obstacles involved in grandparents having other grandkids to pay attention to.
  • The importance of taking care of yourself first before trying to take care of your grandchild.
  • The role that being part of a supportive community has played in Paige’s journey.
  • Advice for starting a group and finding hope and joy in the challenging circumstances.

Tweetables:

“With some grandparents, it has been a mutual decision with their children and that was in our case as well. Some grandparents, and that is true in my group, have children in jail, so they are not sure if it is a short-term or a long-term commitment. Some know it is long-term. Some have come to this due to mental health issues with their children; some due to substance abuse, and I will say that is the most common scenario.” — Paige Butler [0:02:53]

“We are not just a group that talks about sad things, we are a group that celebrates victories in our grandchildren and our children and we laugh and smile a lot.” — Paige Butler [0:05:57]

“If any teachers or principals or administrators are listening to me, the family tree exercise causes trauma for our kids. We often have to seek therapy for our kids because of a simple exercise in the classroom that is supposed to be joyful and fun.” — Paige Butler [0:14:45]

“When we are grandparents raising grandchildren, we are parents. We are not getting to spoil; you don’t get dessert before dinner at our house – we are more the traditional parent.” — Paige Butler [0:18:16]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Paige Butler

The Grandfamily Guidebook

Mosaics of Mercy

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