Gransnet forums


Help me be a good Granny!

(35 Posts)
StillMedusa Tue 16-Mar-21 00:17:05

My lovely DD2 is expecting her first in a few weeks. She and her dh have lived with us for the last few years and finally moved into their own home a week ago (she has redecorated with DH's help and unpacked already..nesting!)

They are just 20 mins walk away, which is lovely as my eldest is a doctor 300 miles away and my no 2 went to Australia just before lockdown to be with his Aussie fiancee.. God I miss him, but he's happy and that's what matters! DS2 has autism will always live with us and is very excited to be an uncle soon!

I'm going to be helping with childcare when DD2's maternity ends as she and her Dh are nurses and I work part time in Special School.

I want to be supportive and am totally aware that it is their baby, their lives, and do not want to be the interfering mum/MIL. At the same time I know what a hell of a shock the reality of a baby is, and want to help as much as I can.

Any tips? (I'm new here having just hopped over from Mumsnet where I've been for many years)

GrannyRose15 Tue 16-Mar-21 00:35:19

Ask your daughter what help she needs. If she wants some shopping, or a meal cooking for her in the early days then you could do that. If she wants to sleep you could mind the baby - take him out for a walk if possible so she can get a proper rest. I've spent many happy hours in the local cemetery with a pram - it's very peaceful.
Be there to listen if she needs someone to talk to.
One thing I did in the very early days was accompany my daughter and GS to toddler groups and baby classes - it can be very daunting walking in on your own when you don't know anyone.
Later on she might want you to have the baby for longer periods if she has somewhere she wants to go - the hairdressers, or for coffee with a friend.
Think very carefully before you offer to have the child when your daughter returns to work. It is a big commitment and the relationship with your grandchild is different if you are their carer rather than simply their granny. It can be fun but is extremely exhausting, and once you've started doing it it is very difficult to change your mind. I did all the childcare or 2GSs until they started school so I know how challenging it can be. Make sure it is something you really want to do and can cope with.
Above all enjoy your grandchild. The relationship between granny and grandchild is very special and not like anything you have with another person.

Hithere Tue 16-Mar-21 01:45:36

Be supportive without putting your wants first - let your dd and sil call the shots.

Offer help and if the offer is not accepted - wait for them to reach out.

Do not put all your hopes and dreams on your gc and forget your dd and sil exist

Talk to your dd and sil and discuss what they expect of you as a grandmother, as you could have different expectations

CanadianGran Tue 16-Mar-21 02:49:09

Congratulations! Just the fact that you are asking others lets me know you are being thoughtful and considerate.

I agree with others above - let your daughter guide you. Text or call before you drop by, but always be prepared to fold laundry while she naps, or help with meals etc. The first few weeks can be sore and teary for a new mum, and a special time for her to bond with new baby and with husband as a new dad.

CocoPops Tue 16-Mar-21 04:00:14

My daughter lived abroad and asked me not to fly over until baby was 2 weeks old. She and son-in-law wanted time to bond with baby. I booked a flight 2 weeks after the expected delivery date. Baby arrived 2 weeks late at the same time as my flight landed! They returned home from hospital and my daughter was as white as a sheet and both she and my son-in-law looked exhausted. I made tea and listened to their account of the birth then took their dog for a walk leaving them to themselves. Thereafter I kept out of the way but did the twice daily dog walks, housework and the evening meals and anything else they asked me to do. I'm sure they didn't anticipate their initial exhaustion. They quickly learned to ask for help and I soon I became a hands-on Granny. In other words the parents called the shots and I responded!

Witzend Tue 16-Mar-21 07:34:42

What my dd really appreciated in the very early days, was someone turning up with a meal that just had to go in the oven to be heated up.

I have a very hands-on SiL but would just get on and do anything non-baby that obviously needed doing - putting washing on, hanging it up, sweeping the floor, etc.

A little bit later, as pps have said, taking the baby out in the pram for an hour, so that she could rest and with a bit of luck enjoy a doze.
Should add, though, that I don’t have the sort of dd who would see doing anything unasked as ‘interfering’.

PurpleStar Tue 16-Mar-21 09:50:53

How wonderful.I moved in and stayed with my DD for 3 weeks when her first baby was due (her partner was happy with this arrangement as he worked long hours and felt happier is she wasn't home alone around her due date) baby was 2 weeks over due in the end! I always knew I wouldn't be interfering but cooked,cleaned and took the baby for an hour so they could sleep.Its the practicle things that help the most in those early days.My daughters in-laws would turn up and stay for hours,not offering anything practicle,or cooking etc and showed no discretion when she needed to breast feed her baby.Saying they were fine with it(my DD however was not fine with them being there,why should she leave the room) If my DD is stressed or exhausted I always say "what can I do to help" rather than swoop in and take the baby.
Wonderful of you to do the childcare when the time comes.A grandchild is an extension of your children,so its different to minding Nieces,Nephews or friends children.I got my own car seat,high chairs and travel cot along with the necessities,to save my DD bringing everything with her.
Wishing your DD all the best with the birth.It's such an exciting and precious time. I would also say,don't think too far ahead, for now.You'll have a few months before your DD goes back to work flowers

TrendyNannie6 Tue 16-Mar-21 10:35:14

Hithere has made some very good points

TrendyNannie6 Tue 16-Mar-21 10:38:47

Congrats Op you are going to great, as you have the right attitude

TrendyNannie6 Tue 16-Mar-21 10:39:08

To be great

Nannashirlz Tue 16-Mar-21 11:06:53

Hi I always remember when I had my oldest son. My mum did that much for me. In fact it got to the stage where she wouldn’t let me near my own son. My now ex husband was away with military. When he came home. It was a nightmare when we came to move out. I made sure I didn’t do that with my grandkids. My advise would be ask them if they need any help and take baby one day a week so that they get a night rest.

Nan0 Tue 16-Mar-21 11:14:04

New mums need cook cleaner and bottlewasher so to speak whilst they get over the birth and bond with baby and time to have a sleep knowing someone reliable and loving is minding the baby whilst she and hubby/ partner have a sleep if they have been awake all night with the baby...

Hithere Tue 16-Mar-21 11:15:49

About taking the baby for a walk got an hour or a night a week so parents can sleep. - some parents will like it, others will hate it.

The baby needs the primary caregivers, a night weekly with grandma makes me lift my eyebrow and wonder what the real motivation for this is.

The instincts of a mother is to have her baby close to her - sussgesting to remove baby from the mother's presence may have a strong reaction

Greyduster Tue 16-Mar-21 11:17:22

A lovely time, but tread carefully. A first baby is a real game changer for a young couple. They need time on their own to adjust. Hithere and others have good advice. Tell them you are there for whatever they think you can help with - meals, shopping, laundry, especially ironing - and wait for them to ask - they surely will. You have such joy ahead of you as a gran!

LizzieDrip Tue 16-Mar-21 11:22:18

Congratulations! I agree with the previous posts. Be guided by your daughter and her partner. Let them know you’re there for them but tell them you’ll wait for them to ask / invite. That’s what I’ve always done with my DD & SIL. I have two gorgeous grandsons, now aged 11 & 13, who I have a brilliant relationship with. As they got older I’d have them to stay in school holidays etc but I never forced myself on the family. Remember, the baby is your daughters! As others have said, if you take this approach, you’ll reap the rewards of a wonderful relationship with your grandchild - a relationship so special it’s not like any other. Enjoy!

Sadgrandma Tue 16-Mar-21 11:23:41

Still Medusa, it sounds as if you'll be a wonderful granny as you say you won't intetfere. I think that's the most important thing- only give advice if it's asked for.

jaylucy Tue 16-Mar-21 11:26:35

I'd certainly agree with the asking how you can help at the beginning, when bub is tiny. Just having a cup of tea made for you, someone prepare lunch or an evening meal, or even having someone there while you grab a shower is such a help.
As the baby gets older, offering to babysit and at some point, shoving your DD out of the door so they can go out for a meal and some time together.
The main thing is to offer help and even advice - but only when asked for it and support, don't question any decisions that DD and her OH make about how they decide to bring up their child from discipline, to feeding , to later on choice of school etc even if you think that they are wrong!

Hithere Tue 16-Mar-21 11:27:13

How often to visit: as a pp said, wait to be invited.

The parents' sense of time is not the same as yours - a week for them may look like a day vs 2 weeks for you

Social media: ask the parents if they are ok with you sharing pictures in your sm. Privacy is a big thing with some parents.

Jane43 Tue 16-Mar-21 11:31:25

I can tell by your post that you have exactly the right attitude, you can’t go wrong if what you do is for them not for you.

aonk Tue 16-Mar-21 11:35:33

I’ve done this! Just take it day by day and let your DD settle into her new life gradually. Ask her what type of help she would like and be guided by her.
Another point has been raised which is more long term about childcare for a DD to go back to work. You’ve been wisely advised to think carefully but there are many positive aspects to this. I’ve done it and have only stopped because of the pandemic. It is wonderful and I would thoroughly recommend it. Consider the circumstances and start on a trial basis if you decide to go ahead.

Dalfie5577 Tue 16-Mar-21 11:38:02

I cooked many different meals and put them in microwavable containers for my DS and DIL to keep in the freezer. I also did potatoes, rice, pasta etc so they all they had to do was put everything in the microwave and they had a complete meal each day. My DIL said they couldn't have got through the first few weeks without them so I was really pleased to have been able to do something useful. It can be hard to know what will really help sometimes especially when new mum and dad don't want to be a nuisance (as if!) and probably don't even really know themselves what they need!

Doug1 Tue 16-Mar-21 11:53:33

My DD and SIL insisted that they would cope after the birth of my granddaughter until they realized how exhausting it all was. I was happy to help when they asked and even spent a night on their sofa to do the middle of the night feeds so that they could have a full nights sleep. I had the little one at my house overnight as soon as they were ready for that to happen.
Just take it as it goes and enjoy your time with the little one

Hithere Tue 16-Mar-21 12:00:32

Do not offer unsolicited advice, no matter how well intention it is.

Albangirl14 Tue 16-Mar-21 12:10:33

I agree with Hithere as things have changed so much since we had children. Totally agree with the provide a meal suggestions . I also took M and S type meals as they last in the fridge for longer and can be heated as needed.

Peff68 Tue 16-Mar-21 12:15:03

I’ve become a grandma twice in last 18 months, first my son then my daughter.
Two amazing granddaughters!

The dynamics are completely different depending on which child it is.

What I found is how different the advice they receive is from when I had mine. Try not to disagree with new advice even if you think it’s bonkers!

We childmind ours sons daughter one day a week which is fabulous as she loves our garden and being with grandpa. I’ll miss this when I go back to work after lockdown. My daughter lives 1.5 hours away but calls regularly. We have grown closer since she had her daughter and regularly asks my advice which is great. She is an amazing mum and I tell her all the time.

What I would say is don’t let them take advantage, it is wonderful having time with your grandchildren but look after yourself too as it’s exhausting once they’re mobile!

Last thought is how you feel when you see that baby for the first time as I found it overwhelming. The love you feel is the same as when you have you own children, sounds obvious but it still takes you by surprise! Hope all goes well and enjoy every moment smile