Russian Babushka

Babushka – is a whole epoch in one word.

Babushka is a respectful way to address an elderly woman Russia.

Traditional Family

Just recently, in Russia were mostly common extended traditional families. Moms-dads, kids, grandparents and even great-grandparents – all lived together.

But now families are smaller – and grandparents often live separately.

It used to be that grandparents were the primary caregivers of grandchildren (and not always busy moms and dads). Rather, mostly grandmothers – because Russia has experienced a lot of terrible eventsin the 20thcentury. Not all grandfathers came back home.

These days, grandparents, if they do not live in the same city with mom and dad, can see their grandchildren on holidays or during summer months. And moms and dads now have all sorts of substitutes – kindergartens, boarding schools, nannies and so on.

Grandchildren – First Children

This strange, at first glance,saying meansthat modern moms and dads do not usually have a lot of time for their children. They need to make a living, take care of endless errands, including those related to children.

Therefore grandchildren for grandparents, who have a lot of free time, are the opportunity to please and even spoil the youngest and dearest members of the family.

That is why grandparents are willing to spend with their grandkids day and night, which is very appreciated by the younger generation which is not spoiled by meaningful communication in general.

All this is accompanied by some teachings. However, teachings are reciprocal: “Grandma! Don’t you know what VK is?!” (VK is the biggest Russian social network)

Conflict of Grandmothers and Mothers

Grandmothers in Russia spoil their grandchildren. It is an indisputable fact. And mothers, raising their children see this as an interruption of an educational process. Hence the conflict.

Where Russian Grandmothers live

Most recently, grandmothers used to live in villages and small towns, from where their children, moms and dads, moved to big cities.

But now, many grandmothers are urban dwellers. And to get a taste of short Russian summers, they often relocate from May to September to small country houses – “dacha.”

Moms and dads are usually happy to send their kids along too, so that grandchildren could spend more time in the care of grandmothers, and got healthier living in fresh air.

What Russian Grandmothers care about

The main objective of grandmothers is to make sure that their grandchildren were always well fed and warmly clad (in winter).

When you meet a real babushka, it is impossible to just have a cup of tea and refuse a meal. Grandchildren will certainly be seated at the table and fed.

Moreover, grandmothers do not consider sandwiches and other snacks as real meals. Meal – is definitely a cup of soup, a main dish, salad and fruit compote. And all of that must be consumed by grandchildren with bread, “to fill them up.”

If in winter in freezing temperatures grandchildren will show up at grandmother’s door without headgear – that will definitely upset her: “How so?”

Of course, when you enter a house you need to take off your shoes, or you will hear the plaintive cry of a grandmother: “Again you left footprints!”

But grandmothers can tell that it is impossible to tell mom and dad – my grandmother soon will understand and forgive.

What Babushkas cook

By the old age babushkas don’t simply master the secrets of the Russian cuisine. They knew these secrets before. It’s just that grandmothers have more time now on their hands and they are willing to spend it on their grandchildren. And grandmas now can make not just a sandwich, but, for example, a full-fledged Russian soup or meat jelly. They also can bake favorite Russian pies with different fillings.

Babushkas on a Bench by the Entrance of a High-Rise Apartment Building

They are the menace of the whole building. You can never go past them without getting noticed. They know everything and everyone.

Babushkas Clothing

Traditional clothing of babushkas – a loose dress and a headscarf. But today’s grandmothers do not look much different from moms and dads, and often even from grandchildren. They listen to the same music, travel and have a proactive approach to life.

P.S. Now you know that babushka and matreshka – are two completely different things.


To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

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