How New Grandmas Get in Trouble
My friend, Julie, was a new, first-time grandmother.
She had raised both boys and girls to adulthood and had some pretty definite ideas about how to raise children successfully.
Now, with her new grandchild, she could pass them on to her daughter.
Except, she didn’t ask her daughter’s opinion.
I watched this comical dance in which Julie would take the pacifier out of her granddaughter’s mouth, telling me that the baby didn’t need a pacifier all the time.
Her daughter would come behind her a few minutes later and tell me, “My Mom just doesn’t get it. There’s nothing wrong with letting a baby have a pacifier.”
One of my favorite sites, grandparents.about.com, addresses these and other common differences between Moms and Grandmas in an article that all new grandmothers should read, “What Not to Say: Baby and Toddler Edition.”
The editor of the site, Susan Adcox, who, by the way, also includes a link to newgrandmas.com in her list of grandmother sites, has practical, sensitive advice for new grandmas.
Here’s her list of What Not to Say: Baby and Toddler Edition:
- Are you feeding her again?
- Don’t you think it’s time for a haircut?
- Why don’t you put him in that outfit that I bought for him?
- If you would put a headband or bow on her, people would know that she’s a little girl.
- I don’t like her name, so I’m going to call her ___.
- How can you stand to leave that precious baby to go back to work?
- He was a perfect angel until you walked in.
- Isn’t it about time she was weaned?
- Isn’t it time for potty training?
- Does he have to have that plug in his mouth all the time?
- Do you think he might be hungry?
- Back in my day, we did it this way.
Click here to read the entire article from grandparents.about.com, “What Not to Say: Baby and Toddler Edition.”
Is Your Advice Really Helpful?
One of my wise daughters-in-law headed off one of these items by taking pictures of her new son in each of the outfits he was given for the first three months, to be mailed with thank-you notes.
When she told me she was doing this, I was not only in awe that she would take the time and trouble to do it, but newly aware of the expectations we levy on new mothers.
Thank you, Susan Adcox, for letting us see what it looks like from the mother’s perspective.
Now, you know how new grandmas get in trouble.
Don’t you wish you’d had this list when your grandbabies were born?
Read more about the differences in the way Moms and Grandmas look at the same issues in raising the grandchildren in my book, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers.”
I interviewed 40 Moms and Grandmas for their advice to each other and they talk about everything from choosing your Grandma name, to candy, life jackets and baby-sitting.
How did you handle suggestions from your Mom or mother-in-law when you were a new mother?
When did you figure out that “advice” may be heard as criticism?
What do you wish your Mom or mother-in-law had done differently?
To you and honoring the loving parents of your grandchildren.
Carol Covin, Granny-Guru
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