It is often said that being a grandmother is even more fun than being a mother perhaps because grandmothers get to enjoy their grandbabies, but without the responsibility and stress of parenting? Still, grandparenting is not an easy job. If your daughter or your daughter in law is expecting a baby, you may have to fight the urge to go shopping for the baby, get out your old parenting books, and give tons of advice.
You may think that you have a lot of valuable experience to offer to your son or daughter, and you are probably right. Or, you may just be extremely excited about the arrival of a new baby into the family, and want to be as involved as possible. Perhaps, you relied on your mother a lot when you first had babies, and would love to offer a similar kind of support to your loved-ones. But new parents may well have very specific and well-formed ideas about pregnancy, birth, and parenting. These may even differ considerably from your own.
Here are some tips to maintain a great relationship with your son, daughter, or perhaps most challenging your daughter in law:
- Don't assume that they agree with your views on parenting.
- Don't offer unsolicited advice, but do prepare for lots of questions about pregnancy signs and baby illnesses.
- If you want to buy baby gear, ask before buying. Believe me, I have read too many threads on internet message boards along the lines of "Help, my mother in law bought [X item] and I don't want it!" to forego mentioning this. It sounds petty, but it is a real issue.
- Offer to babysit if you want to, but don't assume that your grandchild's parents will want regular babysitting gigs.
- If you don't have time to babysit or spend lots of time with the new baby once he or she is born, gently say so in advance. Just like some grandparents are looking forward to babysitting only to find that it is not happening, many new parents count on their moms to help with baby care.
And on a related note, you may like to read: When your mother in law wants to come to your birth.