Becoming A Grandparent Is Not As Easy As It Looks

I did write a story here last week which I later deleted.  I was angry at the time I wrote it and decided it would be better to post a story after I stepped back and gained some perspective on the situation.   I apologize to those who took the time to read it and comment on it at that time.


My grandson was born nearly 2 weeks ago.  He was a month premature and weighed just a bit over 5 lbs.  Of course, I think he's perfect, adorable and a very fragile, little bundle of joy.   One of the first things I think all parents experience is knowing that you will do whatever it takes to care for and protect your child.  To me that means you also set aside some of your own wants and needs if it's in conflict with what's best for the child.   I'm certainly not professing to be any saint and I've definitely made my share of mistakes.  Perhaps it's just been so long since I was a brand new parent, I've forgotten what it's really like.

My son & daughter in law were warned repeatedly while still in the hospital about needing to be especially careful about exposing the little one to germs & illness.   I offered to pick up whatever they needed from the store, told them to give me a grocery list and I'd get them but they kept saying they didn't need anything.   So I bought the baby necessities they needed, bought lots of hand soap and hand sanitizer, washed clothes, did dishes and whatever else I could to help while I stayed with them the first 3 days they were home.  My son had gone back to work and as his wife had a c-section, she could use a little extra help.  Naturally, I didn't mind plus there was the added benefit of having extra time with my new grandson.

I then returned to work and my daughter in law's mother came to stay with her.  They spent their time a little differently than I had while I was there.  They went shopping, with the baby 2 straight days.  I was more than a little upset.  The weather here is very cold & snowy.  In my opinion they were doing exactly what they'd been told not to do by exposing the baby to the unnecessary risk of germs.  When I found out, I did have a rather heated discussion with my son.  Yes, I am now the overbearing mother in law & interfering mother.

I'm sure I'll continue to speak up in the future if I see things that are detrimental to the child's well being.  Yet I also have to realize he is not my child and these decisions are not mine to make.  I have to learn to walk that fine line between helping and causing problems.   Maybe what I think of as common sense is just being old-fashioned.  Based on how things have started out, I foresee a bumpy road ahead of me.   When I'm not saying my silent prayers, I'll be practicing biting my tongue.

SeriouslySappy SeriouslySappy
51-55, F
16 Responses Feb 15, 2010

I love this post SS!<br />
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Grandmother advise! Who knew there was so much to learn about this next phase in life! In my naive way of thinking, I never thought of all these interpersonal relationship problems. Well, your post has given me a heads up for when it's my turn to be a Grandmother. I never considered how my Mom must have felt. She just seemed to mind her business and only give suggestions when asked. I'm a lot more opinionated than my mother, so I've got to be cautious!

I have 2 children of my own and 5 step. 14 grandchildren. One thing I have learned is that no matter what you say they are gonna do what ever they want. One thing for sure though they syre don't mind ask ing for money but don't want you to make a commit about why they are in the mess they are in. My husband and I stopped giving out money two years ago unless it is an emergency with the grand children. If you want my money then I'm gonna make a comment about you blowing and I'm having topay the bill.. As for care of the kids just try to wait she will call you advice when the baby is ill or they need a babysitter then you will be her best friend.

Thanks for your comments LV. I guess I've learned my lesson the hard way. Now that my daughter in law has made it clear she does not want any help from me, I just have to step away from the situation. It's hard knowing her mother is there everyday and I only got to see the baby once last week. Just normal grandparent jealousy I guess ... lol. Anyway, I do try to remember what it was like for me once upon a time and let them make their own decisions without any interference from me.

I can relate to this story,<br />
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All I can say is it's hard for both parties,<br />
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The parents, specially the new mother, wants to raise the child her own way, and declare her independent,<br />
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While grand parents want to help, out of love, want to share their knowledge and experience.<br />
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I hope things work out.<br />
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love and hugs<br />
<br />
and congratulation on the loving grand son.

Gryfnn, that really is excellant advice. I will make sure they know I'm always available if they need anything. I am really concerned about the baby's health but I also know some of my ego may be showing here ... lol. I'll try to worry a little less. After all, we've all made it !

I have a lot of experience being a grandmother and a great grandmother...also being a mother and a mother in law. I have only one bit of advice for new grandmothers........Be available---period.<br />
That is the one thing that I have to offer my children, their spouses,my grandchildren, their spouses and now my great grandchildren....I am here---if they ASK for help or advice,,,I am here....period.<br />
As far as I'm concerned, it's a miracle that any of us survive.. what with germs and all the other dangers of life on this planet.....One of the most comforting things anyone ever said to me was:<br />
"We made it." I ran into one of my neighbors out in the wilderness---our children--hers and mine were gone and we were searching for them.....they came home safe---after climbing a tree to escape the attention of a pack of feral dogs.

Yes Jo, you're correct. I do need to keep my suggestions short and easy. I'll always be watching out for him and can only hope she'll will take at least a little advice.

Common sense is only old fashioned to those who have none. Taking a 2 day old premature baby on a shopping trip shows a serious lack of common sense. Unfortunately, he is your d i l's baby and you are but the grandmother. Keep an eye out for his welfare and keep suggestions short and polite. Maybe she will end up listening.

Yes, I do too!LOL<br />
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We're old enough to know better; Never say Never!!

I hear you Shepherdess. My son will be 26 next month and my d-i-l is 21. She does seem to call all the shots here so I really do feel as if I'm walking a fine line if I want to keep a good relationship and see my grandson as often as possible. Now my 22 yr old daughter says she's never getting married or having kids ... LOL. I suspect she may change her mind one day.

I'm afraid that's the world we live in now. I have two sons 24 and 27, my younger son goes to college, works full time and has a "serious girlfriend", I don't worry about him too much but have already seen how her words and wants will always be adhered to, my 27 year old son is thick headed, and sometimes raising my voice is the only way he'll be quiet long enough to hear me. I'm so thankful he doesn't have a significant other yet. He should be ready for parenthood in about l0 years if everything I hope for him comes true!LOL

Thanks again Shepherdess ... though I do need to work on holding my temper ... lol. Sometimes the only way to get through to my son is to state it very "emphatically"! The really sad thing here is he says he told his wife not to take the baby out and he responded as if he has no say in this. I'm afraid they have even larger issues. I've begun to wonder if my d-i-l is mature enough to realize the baby is much more than a doll.<br />
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It's rather ironic in that my d-i-l has had a turbulent relationship with her divorced parents. Her parents are nearly 10 years younger than me and seem to have put their own issues before their kids. Her mother always just does as she pleases. Having grown up that way, I actually expected my d-i-l to take a different approach with her children. Now I'm afraid she'll simply follow the example set by her parents.

I think it will work out just by your words here. You seem very reasonable and have a good hold on what's going on here. What's with your d-i-ls mother though? She should have known better. Were you able to speak to your son reasonably or did he get emotional too? I guess the best approach from now on is to speak directly to your d-i-l with just "happy little suggestions"!! That's what I would probably do.

Thanks TakenHeart. It does help to be heard. It's frustrating because I know there's not much I can do. It is different being the paternal grandmother for sure, which I expected to a certain degree. I've had a good relationship with them up until now so hopefully this will work itself out in time. : )

Thanks for your comments Shepherdess. My daughter in law is very young and unfortunately, I know I've already made her angry with me. I was looking forward to the fun part of being a grandparent, I didn't expect I'd worry so much ... lol. : )

Wow! That's a very tough situation to be in. I can see myself finding it very difficult to be quiet. You know all the love and care you put into your children, and this is your grandchild, but not your child. That's really difficult. Yes, you've made me aware of the difficulties of becoming a grandparent. I was very cautious as a new mother and very determined to do what was best for the baby, I think I'll feel the same way about a grandchild but as you've realized you're going to have to bite you lip. Very insightful post!!