The (sad?) evolution of Czech grandmas/ (Smutna?) evoluce ceskych babicekThe evolution of Czech grandmas | Czechmatediary
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The (sad?) evolution of Czech grandmas/ (Smutna?) evoluce ceskych babicek

babicka_1971According to a recent poll the role of a classic Czech grandma, who sees her meaning of life in an unconditional care for her grandchildren, is gone in a not-so-distant past.

When we were little most grandmas were basically slaves; but  the happy kind,  the part-of-the-family kind of slaves.The parents had to work, and  the Communist after-school program was considered only if there was no grandma available. So, babicka would pick children up from school, drop them off at the ballet or a piano class, wait until it is over and walk them back home (most of them did not have a driving license). Since a lot of grandmas lived with the immediate family, they would also make lunches and sometimes even dinner….and clean up and fold the laundry.

And if we were sick? Grandma is here! In my case I would either go to my dad’s parents who lived in Tabor (that would have to be a longer-term sickness, like chicken pox for example) or the other grandma would watch me at home.

Babicka Lia who lived with us would always make all of the Christmas cookies and birthday cakes. She was a wonderful cook. Babicka Kaja, who lived in Tabor, was more of a brainiac so she would teach us things: how to knit, how to speak (some) French, history, Czech language…And she was a wonderful cook as well!

Basically, my generation would spend A LOT of time with babickas.

Well, the times are changing. Nowadays,according to the study, grandparents seem to be more independent. They want to help and spend time with their grandchildren but on their own terms. Why? Czech seniors have more hobbies and do more activities than in the past. Many of them do well financially to pay for these hobbies. I even found out that most countries have some kind of Miss Grandma beauty competition where they prance around in their bikinis, for goodness sake!

I personally don’t necessarily think this change is bad. When grandparents used to be so tightly bound in the family, family tension and drama seemed almost inevitable. Many times there were strings attached to the “I-would-do-anything-for-you” attitude which did not create a healthy atmosphere in the family circle.

What do you think? What was your experience?


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4 comments… add one
  • B J King August 20, 2014, 5:00 am

    Where was the grandfather? Was he his children’s slave also? What if there was more than one child? Knowing what was ahead of me in my old age would make me not want any children. This is one thing I am happy that has changed in the Czech Republic. Now they have senior apartments where they can live near people their own age and enjoy the remaining part of their lives.

  • Lenka August 20, 2014, 9:47 am

    It breaks my heart to read this 🙁 “Babicka” isn’t just a word for a grandmother- it’s an experience. It’s an integral part of every Czech (or Slovak) kid’s upbringing. Time spent with my Babicka in Moravia is one of my fondest childhood memories.

    I’m so sad to hear that Czech grandmothers would rather spend their time prancing around in Senior Citizen beauty pageants (which is ridiculous!) than passing on the cultural legacy that they themselves enjoyed as children. It’s a rip in the cultural fabric. I feel very sad for the generation of children who will grow up without that experience.

  • Tanja September 6, 2014, 8:28 pm


    the grandpa wasn’t really as active in his grandchildren lives as grandma was. My grandpa, for example, had a little garden that he tent to, sometimes would talk to me, but otherwise was very distant. My other grandpa died before I was even born.

  • Jana Vaculik Riley March 26, 2015, 10:07 am

    You do not know what it is like to have a Czech/moravian babicka unless you had one. Now that all of my grandparents are gone the memories of my times with them. My grandfather passed away when I was young and my other one was always serious. My grandmother’s were different too but they lived me and that is all that matters.

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