In Italy grandchildren currently engaged highly qualified army numbering 3.2 million. They work 24 hours a day – and being totally free. The name of this army – grandparents, nonni Italian.

According to the National Statistics Institute in Italy, home to 21.7% of pensioners have stepped 65-year milestone, and 13.8% of kids from birth to 14 years. And if in the north of the country with their children sitting in the main nurse, and Nonna just waiting in the wings, the care of children in the center and south of Italy lies entirely on the grandparents.

Are you surprised? I bet that you will surely abide in full confidence that all European grandmother live their lives and are happy and grandchildren see only on holidays, and even then only just enough to give a gift with a large bow, time to say goodbye and assumed a goat? No, the vast majority of Italian grandparents, especially in the south – are quite different. Why? Because the family is here – it is not an empty phrase, and yet other European parents happily let 16-year-olds to float freely, here and in 40 years kids and continue to be children, for whom it is necessary to take care, look after and who need help. Good or bad – debatable and controversial, but nevertheless, this is so: the Italian Nonni – this is the main (if not only) a stronghold of the young families with children.

What is their help? Grandparents take grandchildren from school, cook them dinner, play in the pool and on the inspection to the pediatrician. Daily care of the grandchildren, more than 30% of Italian Nonn. For comparison, the same figure in the advanced plan sotsuslug Denmark or Sweden varies between half and two percent. The situation in Italy is undoubtedly a human is wonderful, but in reality is often just the reverse side of the coin, when the one on the other hand with the sign “minus” stands the risk of losing their jobs, the economic difficulties and the inability of the state to create a system really working of social services. Is it any wonder that the Italian Nonni sometimes help adult children financially, paying out of their own retirement accounts for public services or even take a loan in the bank? A couple of years ago I was an au pair, an old Italian, who ironed linens and mopping the floor in someone else’s apartments not for an increase to the pension, and working to feed her son and his family, which by the end of the month barely make ends meet.

The role of grandparents in the welfare of young families is particularly noticeable in the summer, when the Italian nonni tradition – sometimes alternately with her matchmakers – take out of the sea grandchildren while the parents of kids do not come out, finally on vacation and will not be joining them. On the beach, where we rest from year to year on a visit at our Italian grandparents, full rebyatni all ages. Almost all – with nonnami, and only occasionally to help him in the charge of the nurse. Parents will come a little later – and then a babysitter to go home, and Nonna relieved by passing children on parents hands. It is noteworthy that the average age of Italian grandparents at a local beach tends to eighty years – and they are still in service, even from their own children and grandchildren.
One of our elderly neighbors on the beach umbrella confessed to me the other day: “We are working Babysitter year round, with virtually no days off and holidays.” Her second husband, a prominent judge in the past: “Yes, and I am now as retired, is running for the couple, well, and the driver has little by little.” During the year, this elderly couple five days a week for children delivers sports clubs and schools, nursing them during illnesses, accompanied by all the children’s holidays, and in summer takes to itself the sea, completely replacing constantly working parents. Why so, you ask?

Then let me step aside: in Italy is not easy to find a job, let alone finding, the Italians are in no hurry to part with it. And even if many young mothers giving birth to children, prefer home career, even more numerous back – or forced return – to their former workplace. In Italy, all the time, then subsided, then flaring up, there is debate about how unfair and unwise in relation to mothers arranged work market in their country. Like, instead of every year is becoming more flexible and loyal to the women, the labor market and the competition is tougher on him. That forced mother of all Italy to look for, where to place the child, especially after the closure of schools and kindergartens in late June. Many Italians, especially in the center and south of the country, choosing, as they say here, Parcheggio – literally in Italian “parking” Kids on the sea with caring grandparents.

So, Italian beaches from Sanremo to Spotorgo from Sestri to Rimini from Gaeta to Ischia and Ostuni, inundated nonnami who stoically trying to carve out a moment to look at the newspaper, while the kids build sand castles and upset at the favorite grandmother bucket with sand. Nonna indulge endless whims kids, ice cream every day permit in the afternoon and patiently admonished to start playing on the beach pranksters. And why only on the beach ?! Although the sea in Italy, and is considered the best “health resort” for children, many still prefer the hot sand and the sea breeze refreshing coolness of the mountains or the moist breath of the lake. So, go-go-go Nonni Bambini and the sea, the mountains, the lake, the village, in general, away from the urban jungle of stone.

Just look after your children – is not easy craft. This was told to me – as if I do not know – Georgia, familiar Italian, mother of two brats and three and a half years. She complained that, well, her parents give her disposal a house by the sea with full contentment, but are not ready – either morally or physically – to take over the function of the nurse, believing that she should take care of their own children. All this, needless to say, much to the dismay of most of Georgia – it is something expected quite a different life views.

Yesterday night, we, after putting his two fidgets, came to her while away the evening together, while her parents dined at a restaurant. Between Georgia and another married couple is childless, a heated debate. Not yet had time to become a mother Italian, let’s call her Marina, fully supported the position of the parents of Georgia, and the mistress only lamented his fate, picturesquely wringing her hands and inquiring what she had not pleased God. And this is only after two days without a babysitter, alone with two muzzy from the heat and fresh air boys. In recognition of Georgia, at work, she is just resting and nanny salary – the most successful of its investment.

It says kids mom (Georgia, only 36), but what accounts for eighty pensioners whole day alone with their children, even though they are, according to my personal observations, and much more nimble than their peers in Russia? All the same old Italian grandfather judge sighs: “Here, my daughter and her husband finally went on holiday – taken grandchildren with him to Apulia, to other nonnam. Now we can relax and sunbathe. But that’s somehow strange – after all, we all year with children … So what, you say, Twomey kids “?

And I think I still agree with Georgia, but only that the position of her parents – rather unusual for Italy, especially in patriarchal south and center of the country. Wherever you look – everywhere I see those other Nonn employed small bawlers happy, satisfied, proud.

Just know that the most difficult thing in the craft of Italian grandparents? No, not five days before the driver from the school of karate studio. No, not a daily fresh cake in the afternoon granddaughters. No, not two months sea alone with young loafers. The main problem of the Italian Nonn that they only have a duty to be waiting in the wings, without the right to decide anything. Incorrect decision or taking the initiative despite the abandoned mother strict guidelines for “exploitation” of grandchildren (and rest assured that those typed on a couple of pages of fine print!) – That and look, “fired” to the dogs, that is sent to all of the following summer the children to nonnam others, those only this and waiting. I once overheard in a Milan park, a quarrelsome daughter vygoravivala nonnam because they are once again a child a ride on a carousel – it will spoil the same razbaluyut! Oh, in the Italian families and simmer Bubble passion hotter lava in the crater of Vesuvius!

Meanwhile, Georgia’s mother returned with her husband out of the restaurant, as summed up our night debate: “The most difficult thing in the life of the parents – is to be responsible for everything to do with your children. And the hardest thing that we must take all the grandparents – is that they have no responsibility at all. ” Italian Nonni – is that seasonal workers in the field: an extra pair of hands, which is the host for weed out only those beds, which he pointed out (you still remember the rules of “exploitation” of grandchildren?) …

Suddenly I picture, the truth has drawn? Not quite in the style of bright and juicy Italy? Italy in general – that the caramel in the chocolate bags, ripped colorful wrapper … and was very surprised! But I wanted to ask you: whose point of view is closer to you – Georgia and Marina? Anticipating your counter question, I – that dvuglavny snakes: I’m home – Marina, and at work – a break from the children’s whims Georgia. I wish I had more of them, and a couple of extra hands, and then the next day in-law ordered a Russian patties.