There was a time in the U.S. and it still exists in many places in the world - where grandparents lived with their children.
Recently, I met my mother-in-law for the first time as she came in from Russia. My husband had not seen her in 13 years. She has a syndrome that causes severe arthritis and despite being only 72, she is in pretty rough shape. Of course, she is very "old school" - she kept poking my ribs and saying I was too skinny to have kids (my husband and I have started trying), she brought me three pairs of socks and a shawl that she had knit, she made dinner every night, brought an entire box of Russian chocolate candies, and admonished anyone who said anything nasty in front of us women.
My husband told me that, in Russia, grandparents essentially raise their grandchildren. Parents have to work and when they come home, they are tired or want to play with the kids so grandparents prepare dinner and wash the clothes.
There are benefits to this way of doing things. Children gain appreciation for the elderly, specifically, their grandparents. Meanwhile, grandparents get to feel useful, needed, and being around children can keep them young. Parents save money on child care. Grandparents save money on a mortgage and possibly a nursing home later in life.
In America, grandparents often live far from their grandkids and grandkids feel awkward and bored around their grandparents. In Russia, grandparents are a playmate for many years. And they are not alone.
I have to say, it was enjoyable to sit around the table in the evening, eating tradional Russian foods, hearing stories about the old Soviet Union. I couldn't see how it would be bad to have our children exposed to this way of home life.
Maybe we're missing this concept in America. Why can't grandparents be a more integral part of raising our families?