Gransnet forums

Grandparenting

Double granny-ing

(40 Posts)
RubyLou Mon 02-Sep-19 21:39:06

My Dil and son are due to have their first baby, a little girl, in mid November. They were childhood sweethearts so I have known Dil and her siblings and dad for more than 15 years. Tragically, Dil's mother died when she was 7. So I will be the sole granny. Dil has felt quite confused during the pregnancy though she's picked up lately. I am thrilled to be a grandma and have offered to look after baby a day a week when Dil and son go back to work. Dil's father will also do a day with Dil working from home.

My question is: what should I offer when baby's born? I know some grandmas, but in my mind more commonly mum's mum, go to stay to help out for a week or two. I live nearby so wouldn't stay. I'll ask them what they'd like of course but I'm wondering if there are any norms and if anyone else feels there's something a bit sensitive about being the sole grandma. I worry I'll remind Dil of what she's lost.

Doodle Mon 02-Sep-19 21:45:21

I think you sound a lovely granny to be RubyLou and I think the best thing would be to ask the young couple what help they would like. There is no hard and fast rule but asking is usually the best way. Hope you enjoy the new baby.😊

RubyLou Mon 02-Sep-19 21:52:13

Thank you Doodle, what a welcoming reply. I suppose i'm worried that a) they won't know what they want! and b) that might let me hang around just to be kind to me. But I will ask DD to sound them out too. She's a straight talker!

ElaineI Mon 02-Sep-19 21:54:50

Ask I think as some young parents want to be left to bond with baby and some like all their family around. Most useful things - doing washing, preparing easy meals, shopping. Both DDs appreciated someone walking round singing/nursing colicky babies so they could actually eat! Granny was more comfortable doing this than their DH and partner who tended to get panicky with crying. I lost a lot of weight!

RubyLou Mon 02-Sep-19 22:02:39

Lost a lot of weight! This sounds great. Hmm - maybe I'll volunteer more.

paddyann Mon 02-Sep-19 22:25:28

just ask what they want you to do and how often they want you to be there .Simple and saves you stressing about it.Enjoy your new GD when she arrives,I'm waiting for GD due on Thursday ,fingers crossed she 's not 2 weeks late like her sister

GoodMama Mon 02-Sep-19 22:51:50

RubyLou, you are kind to worry about your DIL’s sensitive and conflicting feelings regarding welcoming her daughter while no doubt missing her mother.

Your awareness of this makes me believe you will be just fine smile

However, the best advice is to wait to be asked, don’t force yourself on them. Even if you think they need it or that they are afraid to ask. Trust me, if they want help they will ask.

Also, understand that their needs/wants will change as time goes on. So be prepared to roll with it and don’t take anything personally.

Nansnet Tue 03-Sep-19 07:18:14

Tell them that you remember what it's like to be a first-time parent, and that you understand they will no doubt want to have time together to bond with their new baby, but also that it is such an exhausting time, both emotionally, and physically. Let them know that anytime they want a little help/assistance/support/advice, you will be on hand to help them out, and they shouldn't worry about asking you, as that's what grandparents are for. Let them know that you are there for them, and they only have to say the word.

M0nica Tue 03-Sep-19 07:39:22

Just ask and make it clear that you can be flexible if they change their mind after the birth, either wanting time together without you there, or needing help with any extra shopping from food to clothing for mother or baby.

I suspect first time round they will probably not want you to offer help and advice about caring for your DGC. There is nothing worse than a 'helpful' grandmother when trying to work out which end of the baby the bottle/breast goes and which end the nappy.

sodapop Tue 03-Sep-19 07:43:51

Rubylou you are a kind and caring mother in law, obviously considerate of your daughter in law's feelings. Ask the new parents how much or how little help they want, preparing meals, laundry etc are always jobs which are useful for you to do. Enjoy your new granddaughter, good luck.

BlueBelle Tue 03-Sep-19 07:49:49

Wish there were more grans like you caring about what the young couple want and not what the granny wants
Ask them what they would like you to do Say you can help with the baby or the housework or a bit of shopping as much or as little as they want and you won’t be offended if they want time to themselves but you re free and happy to help anyway anytime
I m betting you ll have a fantastic relationship with them lucky girl and lucky you long may it last
What a refreshing thread

BlueBelle Tue 03-Sep-19 07:53:59

Just a note about the sole gran bit Two of my grandkids lost their dad when they were 4 and 6 and Dads mum and dad had already died I m divorced so these little people only had mum and one grandparent in their lives I think they have missed out a whole lot but I ve done my best to fulfil an extra role or three
Life is always what you make it

littleflo Tue 03-Sep-19 08:23:48

My DiL sadly lost her mum just over a year ago. We are close and I treat her the same way I treat DD and my other DiL. I don’t try to replace her mum even though at the funeral she said “you’re my mum now”. I think it was just the emotion of the day and, although her mum asked me to look after her before she died, it is a different role I play to that of her mum.

As for taking care of a new mum, women are much more independent these days. Many husbands play a larger role than ours ever did. I don’t think my DH came near ours when they were tiny.

My advice would be, don’t buy anything for the baby without asking them first. Don’t expect to be visiting unless they specifically ask you. Text to ask if there is anything they would like you to do. Don’t be offended if they don’t reply or refuse help.

There are quite a few posts on GN from people who expect to play a larger part in the GCs life than they do. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing this generation with our own. So many things regarding babies have changed, so be prepared to listen and learn.

I think you sound very sensitive to her loss, very thoughtful and caring. It is a great compliment to be asked to care for the baby and I am sure it will bring you so much joy,

Nannarose Tue 03-Sep-19 08:27:01

RubyLou, I was in exactly the same position (although DiL was a bit older when her mum died).
I said to her 'I can never take the place of the wonderful woman who raised you ( I can see you might change that a bit, although 7 years is a significant time) but I stand with you to help and support'.
Let her, your son, and her dad guide you. Thank goodness that living nearby means you can pop in with a casserole, take home some washing, or similar.
My DiL found me one day, looking at a photo of her mum. I said to her 'I'm telling your mum that we're both doing our best'!

bingo12 Tue 03-Sep-19 08:57:20

Your DIL needs for help may depend on what sort of a birth she has -good or bad and how she actually feels afterwards.

GrannySomerset Tue 03-Sep-19 09:22:29

When my GD was born I went to stay a couple of days after they came home from hospital. I saw my job as meals, laundry, making drinks for visitors and taking in the numerous bunches of flowers which arrived. My reward was to give the baby her first bath when both parents chickened out! This gave the new family time together without some of the chores of every day life and made me feel really useful. Win-win!

Grammaretto Tue 03-Sep-19 09:56:29

One of my DiLs is an orphan and certainly missed her DM when she had her DC but I wasn't a substitute. I could only sympathise but there was no way she wanted me to be a mother to her.

Her siblings are close so they still have the childhood memories and we are welcome to spend days out with the family and occasionally have the DGC to ourselves but it's like they, DS & DDiL are the grown ups and we have been shifted to be the old ones now!

I hope you continue to have a good relationship with your DiL it's such a joy.

Tigertooth Tue 03-Sep-19 10:04:40

You just sound so lovely - it will all be great. So pleased that they live near you too. Cook for them if you can - I’m sure that will be appreciated and as you know her so well just be mindful of post natal depression - so common and so often missed.
Enjoy the new baby, I’m jealous.🙃

maddyone Tue 03-Sep-19 10:21:39

What a lovely MiL and granny you are, you’re so considerate of your DiL’s needs. Of course she will miss having her mother when the baby arrives, but she was only seven when her mother so sadly died, and her father is the prime parent for her now.
Just ask, offer, but never railroad, in fact you never would do that, it’s obvious from your post. Remember that fathers get more paternity leave these days, so they may prefer a bit more help when dad has gone back to work. Show interest, love them all, and help whenever they want you to help.

Dalfie5577 Tue 03-Sep-19 10:30:43

I cooked and froze a lot of meals for my DIL as the situation is slightly different and she has a very hands on mother but she said later that they were an absolute life safer in the first few weeks. She also suffered badly with painful stitches and (sorry if too much information) but was finding it really hard to go to the loo - I took round loads of oranges orange juice prune juice bran and anything else I could think of that might help. She burst into tears and said it was one of nicest things that had been done for her! So basically I would say play it by ear you will probably discover as the weeks go by after the birth ways of helping you would never have thought of in advance! I'm sure it will be an even more emotional time for your DIL as her mother will not be there for her but I am equally sure she will be glad you are there and willing to help in any way she would find helpful. These situations usually work out fine and you will probably wonder why you were anxious. Good luck and enjoy every second of being a grandma smile

Craftycat Tue 03-Sep-19 10:36:39

Sounds as if you are getting it right anyway.
Just sit them down & tell them you will do anything they want to help but will be guided by them as you know that time to bond with a new baby is very important.
I was in a similar position when first DGS was born although DDiL's parents were both alive but lived 35 miles away & I was a short walk away.
I was always happy to do any shopping or take him off for a walk while DDiL had a much needed daytime nap but never ' just popped in'. I only offered to shop over the phone if I was going anyway & waited for an invitation to visit- which came quite often.
They moved to a bigger house in a cheaper area before DGS no. 2 was born so I was them about 30 miles away too.
Never had a cross word & still very close to DGC & they come to stay often.
My own Grandmother lived in the house with a garden backing onto ours & was always in our house & I know my Mum was frustrated by it- I loved it as I could escape there if Mum was cross with me!

Janet29 Tue 03-Sep-19 10:41:51

So much good advice, go with the flow but make lots of meals! Evening times are the most exhausting for new parents with feeding, bathing, trying to get your granddaughter to sleep so not having to cook (or even think about what to cook) will be bliss. Help with shopping, particularly in the first few days when they need supplies they have forgotten to get in, but most of all make the most of those first grandma cuddles, nothing will be the same again! smile

NannyG123 Tue 03-Sep-19 10:47:19

Mention before the baby is born, that you will be there to help in any way once the baby is born, just tell her you don't want to seem interfering,but if they need help you'll be there.,they just have to ask. Then it's up to them.

luluaugust Tue 03-Sep-19 10:51:01

I am sure the main thing is to chat to them and see what they would like you to do. I am sure because I didn't really do this and muddled through and I sometimes think now they might have liked more or less help! Have a wonderful time and enjoy it all it goes by so quickly.

ps just thinking be a little careful, in all the excitement, not to offer to do more than you can manage with child care.

seadragon Tue 03-Sep-19 11:21:04

I would suggest you think about some boundaries (eg time, and self care) for yourself, having been an accessible grandma myself .......