Making the Transition From Mom to Grandma: Studio 5
In November I became a first-time grandma! Everyone gushes about how being a grandma is the best thing ever…and honestly, I was skeptical. But…it IS the best. It’s like parenting, but only the good parts of parenting–the love, the joy, the snuggles. Grandparent is like parenting, but without the work, stress & expectations. It’s only love & joy. My friends at KSL’s Studio 5 invited me to show off baby pictures and gush about Kate, and to share some professional advice and tips I’ve learned in becoming a grandma.
1) Respect parents boundaries
Remember, even though you’ve been in charge of your own family, you are not “the boss” or in charge of your adult child’s new family. Even if you don’t agree with their boundaries, if you think their requests are silly, respect their boundaries.
2) Wait until asked to give advice
As a parent you have a lot to say about parenting and care for children, but it’s important to remember that every family has their own learning curve and their own style. Wait until your advice is sought out before sharing your wisdom. Or if you are having a problem waiting, ask permission to share (i.e. I have a few tips for helping infant sleep. Let me know if you are interested in hearing them.)
3) Be direct when making requests
Mothers and mother-in-laws have reputations for being passive aggressive. I think this comes from a good place — having expectations, needs, and desires, but not wanting to intrude. These expectations sometimes ooze out anyway in comments like, Avoid passive aggressive comments “It would sure be nice if I could see my grandchild sometime. You never come and visit anymore.” It’s OK to have expectations and desires. Just be upfront about them. For example, I say, “I am available to help one morning each week. Would that be helpful for you? If so, what day works best?”
4) Avoid keeping score
Grand-parenting is not a competition sport with other grandparents or family members. So, instead of keeping score about how much time or attention other family members have, or how much money is spent on the new baby, acknowledge the different roles each family member plays. In-law relationships are different relationships. I can’t expect my daughter-in-law to have the same intimacy and comfort level with me as she does with her mother.
Grand-parenthood represents a new life chapter. And so far, I like how the story is unfolding.
Dynamic self & relationship expert Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW loves to make a difference for women. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy and regularly contributes to KSL TV's Studio 5, and her advice has been featured nationally including Wall Street Journal, Parenting, Fox News, and others. Connect on Facebook & Twitter. Her book The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide for Women are available now.