Seeing your Grandchildren - whats the best way to do this?(19 Posts)
Am a new grandmother - first one - and really want to see more of my little granddaughter but finding it difficult to know how - she sees her Mum's parents alot and also my ex so lots of support already there. What should a new grandparent do to make it easier to have contact?
What do new parents want from their parents/in-laws?
How old is your granddaughter? Is she your daughter's or your son's child and how well do you get on with her parents? Assuming she is too young to come round without her parents, I always found that cooking or providing food is a great way to lure new parents - when my dd was very young I was always too exhausted to cook. Or you could suggest taking her for a walk in her pram to give her parents a rest? If she's just been fed and you take her out for an hour or so this would be fine even if she is quite little. You could take her to a nice park. If she's a bit older then you could take her to the park, soft play or to a library (they often do story time which is suitable for babies I guess 6 months plus right through to toddlers/pre-school). Are you a good swimmer? If so could you take ger swimming (but remember you won't get a chance to swim yourself!). Are her parents at work? If so can you make a regular commitment to help with childcare perhaps one morning, afternoon, or day a week? If not could you offer to do a nursery pick-up and take her to her parents house (this can be organised with nursery and get a spare set of keys to their house) that way it saves them a nursery pick-up and not such a long day at nursery for DGD. If you can make a regular commitment I would just say I have x time on x day, could I do x, y, or z to help out? Is she's 6 months to a year old it helps to have something regular that can be fitted around naptimes/childcare etc as remember the routine rules at this age! HTH.
My mother in law offers to babysit and will often give me lunch or watch the baby when I go over. I love having a rest and putting my feet up while she and my son are playing in the same room or next door.
I'm too shy to ask her to cook for us but it would be brilliant if she would make a casserole or something some days for our dinner. I know she won't want me to think she's interfering but I could get my husband to ask!
When I was on maternity leave my mother in law used to come one day a week, I would go to the gym or shopping or walk the dog, she would take the babies for a walk and look after them if I just needed to sleep. It was great and I really really appreciated it!
Agree with all the above but...
I think you have to build up/ earn the mither's respect. If you've given indications that your own parenting philosophy is very different from her's you are on the back foot. She needs to know that you support her unconditionally.
Why are the others involved but not you?
Lastly the baby is not a possession to be carved out amongst those who Claim an interest!
Approach your dil or sil directly as that's the best way to get more contact. I am a dil and love the direct approach as I'm so busy it can be hard to know what my in laws would like. We see mil loads though and the kids love going to grandmas house! I think it is important for a dil especially to make sure the kids see as much of their ils and not just their own parents.
There are lots of ways but not all may suit you or you may not think them appropriate.
Don't make any judgy comments about the parenting skills - they are just finding their way like you did. Instead, praise and be positive. And always say nice things about them to your dgd.
Don't be grabby with the baby. There is nothing more insensitive than a gp who just whisks the child off a new, hormonal mother. The new mother will react like a tigress!
Don't act like your dgd is all you're interested in. That's quite insulting. Show interest in the parents too. And if you take photos, please don't edit out the parents!
Offer to babysit or have the child around for a morning. If the answer is no, don't push it. Just wait and be patient. It may well happen in time.
Be helpful. Take round a casserole. Offer to help clean and babysit. Do the washing up.
Don't focus your life on your dgd. She's not there to keep you busy or entertained in your old age.
All in all, make your presence a positive, enthusiastic, helpful one. Not a broody grandma who wants to relive her parenting days.
These are really useful comments - thanks so much.
I get, most of all, that if my dgd welfare is the priority in all things, instead of fretting about my 'role' as G, then I should be much more on same page as her parents - and find out more about her routine. Cooking is good idea. I really respect and like my dil and think she is excellent mother, so no negativity there.
It sounds like practical help is really valued and not seen as interfering if not done in a negative way. Lots to act on.
Hope it goes well ginfly. Now I come to think of it my mil did all of the things that winkywinkola said and it really p**sed me off! So would agree with all those. My MIL even asked me and dd round saud she wanted to spend the day with us then when I got there she just sort of suggested I leave her alone with dd! Also used to refer to her as "my little girl" (she only had boys) which made me really annoyed too. Would also take photos of her when I was holding her and cut me out! But, although she isn't any better now that sort of stuff doesnt get to me as much as dd is a bit older and the help with childcare is much more appreciated. Would add only give actual suggestions/advice if actively sought but do empathise with dil - nothing wrong with saying "oh I can still remember how bad those nights can be, can I do anything to help/get some shopping for you/take the baby for a walk?". Also if she's breastfeeding be really positive (I mean obv be positive if she's bottle feeding too but BFing can be a lot harder at first esp when they decide to feed all night). Hope it all goes well, and the food is a sure fire winner - even I couldn't stay annoyed with MIL if she brought some food round!
I think Winky's advice is spot on, my MIL went against everything on the list-it didn't end well!
Yeah I agree about the photos. There are no photos of me and my dd at PILs. Just DH and dd, or MIL and, or FIL and dd, you get the idea. MIL also calls dd 'my wean' (sp? - Scottish) which bugs me. She openly says she visits just to see dd. She only buys gifts that mean we need a babysitter. She doesn't support any of our parenting choices - bf, BLW, 6 months till solids, you get the idea.
My own Mum is dead so it would've been nice to have a better relationship with MIL. C'est la vie!
ginfly - i wish you could be my MIL! You sound lovely, and very thoughtful.
I think you have to play it by ear and find ways to ask what is going to be the most helpful. It seems from a lot of posts that GPs wanting to spend time with their DGCs can be seen as 'demanding', so there is a chance your DIL might see offers to look after GD as pushy or demanding. Or she might take offers to do stuff around the house as questioning her abilities to do housework.
I'd just ask what you can do to help! Honesty has to be the best policy, surely. Just say you really want to see your GD and to help your DIL whichever way is best. So say you are happy to babysit if needed, or you're happy to come around and do some housework if that's what she needs done, or bring a meal around one day. I imagine you'll soon get an idea of what she would like!
I agree with some of the others that there might need to be a period of her getting used to looking after your GD, but if she can see you being friendly, supportive, helpful and that your GD is bonding with you then she will learn to trust you. Follow any routines to the letter and don't question anything she has decided to do - I was always going to be happy with my parents looking after my baby, but seeing how they followed what I wanted for DD without questioning really made me relax (and the opposite is the reason why I don't trust my MIL yet, though I would dearly love to).
But you sound like a lovely MIL!
Thanks for all this encouragement - v. positive and helpful
I have 9 dgc and have a close relationship with them all.
Never offer advice unless asked but always offer help without waiting to be asked. If you are asked for anything at all say 'Yes' without hesitation whether it is to babysit, change a nappy or make a cuppa-the answer is always YES for the first year at least .
Dont visit without letting them know but dont wait for invitations.
Dont visit emptyhanded but dont shower baby with plastic or charity shop buys.At this age a pack of nappies for baby and some posh biscuits for mum would be good. Offer to babysit while mum has a sleep.
Remember your d-i-l is feeling her way as a mum and her confidence needs building not undermining.Unless she is actually harming the baby [unlikely] her way is fine-it isn't likely to be your way but it isnt your baby.
Good luck-enjoy what is one of the best relationships in the world
Oh I so wish I could show my MIL this thread. If she grabs my baby off my lap one more time I might scream!
thegreylady - that is exactly how to be an amazing MIL and grandmother. Very jealous of your DILs!
I also agree with greylady fab advice. I have a very strained relationship with my mil because she is overwhelmingly keen to see DD as much as possible but gives me no respect as DD's mother, ie never said a good word about my parenting, itching to give unsolicited advice (which therefore comes across as judgement), edits me out of photos, buys us junk we don't want/need for baby without asking.
Best advice is take her lead - if you want to get dgd a present ask them for ideas what she might like/need, praise her as a mum and let her know you think she's a good mum, say you'd love to babysit but understand she might not be ready to leave dgd yet so say let me know when you ard etc.
Be supportive but not pushy, once she feels you respect her as the mum she'll respect you as the gran and let you in more.
The fact you are even asking for advice on here shows that you want to get it right so i bet you're lovely and it'll turn out fine :-)
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