‘Coronation Street’ star Kym Marsh has been doing the rounds recently, sharing her delight that she is going to be a grandma at the age of 42. The mum of four announced before Christmas that her eldest daughter Emelie was expecting and has now revealed the baby, due in spring, will be a boy.
She is revelling in the fact that people don’t think she looks old enough for the role. But I say, Kym: you need to back off. I’m two years deep in this Glam-ma game and it’s a title I’m unwilling to relinquish to anybody, celeb or not.
Let me introduce myself. I am the proud daughter of the Windrush Generation, raised in the east end of London by Jamaican parents. I like sparkly gel pens, musicals, and Arsenal and Leyton Orient FC. Fuelled by 90s hip hop and R&B, I’ve been caught many a time singing loudly and dancing badly whenever I hear a Jodeci, SWV or Tupac track. I harbour dreams of becoming the next Nicola Adams, but I’m more of a Clark Kent – and not just because of my glasses.
My career highlights have included interviewing Sir Richard Branson on a trans-Atlantic flight, flirting outrageously with ‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman (who still owes me a date!) and doing a midnight phone interview with Russell Simmons – all while juggling life as a single parent to a son who now has a two-year-old of his own.
That’s right. I was 43 when I returned to the world of all things baby and toddler, graduating with honours from being a mum to becoming a full time Glam-ma (don’t make me use the other G word). And it’s a role which I absolutely adore.
Fast forward two years and being a Glam-ma has turned my life completely upside down – for the better. There have been challenges: I’m not as footloose as I used to be and my son and I have to work to a strict timetable. I’m in bed at decent hour, there is strictly no smoking in our house, and I now have to plan my evenings and weekends way in advance. I’ve embraced life as a Glam-ma wholeheartedly and it’s a role I’m proud of and take very seriously.
But it is weird. In my head I’m still that chubby cheeked girl who loves chips, laughs loudly and is really scared of cats. When the reality is that I’m now matriarch of my own little dynasty, two generations that will – I hope – always love me unconditionally.
Kym, if you need to know what to expect of young grandparenthood, give me a call. Right now you’re trying to work out how your baby has grown up so quickly and is now having babies of their own. Soon you’ll experience that rush of unconditional love when you first hold your grandchild in your arms. And once he’s a bit bigger, you’ll get used to the look of surprise on people’s faces when they see you out together and try to do the maths on how old you are.
It happened to me just this Christmas when I was out with my lil man. Complete strangers struck up conversation with me when they realised I wasn’t his ‘mummy’, then proceeded to ask loads of questions to establish who I actually was and what relationship I had with this child who calls me ‘nanny’.
It’s turned out to be a blessing, personally and professionally, that I can now see family life through older and wiser eyes. In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing for HuffPost UK about my take on (grand)parenting, discussing the issues that parents and glam-parents face in a millennial age.
But, most of all, I’m going to be me. Because, in the excitement of becoming a Glam-ma, I vowed never to lose my identity. The old me will not be chipped away by the arrival of the next generation. I refuse to become a 24hr on-call babysitter. My shine will not be dimmed, the piercings and tatts will stay, and so will my trainers, tracksuits and vibrant social life.
Oh, and Omari Hardwicke of Netflix ‘Power’ fame will read my opinions avidly, suddenly dropping everything to fly to the UK and whisk me away to somewhere hot and exotic so we can embrace the role of modern day Glam-ma/pa together…