Gransnet forums

Grandparenting

Double granny-ing

(41 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.

Nanna58 Thu 05-Sep-19 11:57:14

Oh Rubylou you sound an ideal ‘combi nan’ , you seem to have a great grasp on tact and thoughtfulness am sure things will be fine.

4allweknow Tue 03-Sep-19 18:38:27

Ask them. Initially they will want a few days alone with the baby, You could offer to do shopping, laundry and tidying up and being there if Mum wants a nap . Helping with transport to appointments would be good. You really do need to be guided by the parents being prepared for every day to be different. Enjoy !

Pat1949 Tue 03-Sep-19 17:54:57

Offer your help, in that way you're not invading their private space, they can either say yes or no.

Missiseff Tue 03-Sep-19 17:10:41

She's very lucky to have you. Best to ask things now, just to be clear. I'm my new Grandson's only Grandparent but I've been told I've got to adhere to my daughter's and her partner's 'terms'. It's not only me that's suffering, the little boy is missing out too. Such a shame. The pain is unbearable. Enjoy every minute with your Grandchild.

Aepgirl Tue 03-Sep-19 17:08:18

I think you should ask your DinL what she would like you to do, and be ready to do whatever is asked of you. Enjoy your grandchild.

Soozikinzi Tue 03-Sep-19 17:07:24

You sound like you will be such a lovely thoughtful granny I must say . And as others have said if you ask the young couple what help they would okie that may be best although of course they won’t yet realise the nitty gritty. If you do the boring tasks putting washing in , making heals cleaning round then mum and dad can concentrate on the newborn Im sure you’ll get a few lovely granny cuddles for your trouble !

25Avalon Tue 03-Sep-19 15:51:54

Dad should get 2 weeks paternity leave when baby is born so mum's don't need to go and stay like they used to but when dad goes back to work more help will be appreciated and there will be some things your dil will be happier talking to another woman about. I think you need to play it by ear when baby arrives but before that let both parents know you are there for them and if they need any help just to let you know.

knickas63 Tue 03-Sep-19 15:42:34

My only advice, is make sure that you show your love and concern for your DIL, so that it is not just about the baby - I am sure you will anyway.

It will be that feeling of not just being a brood mare for a new baby that your own mother can give that she will be missing. I know this.

Merryweather Tue 03-Sep-19 15:12:09

If she's planning on breastfeeding you could read up on baby led feeding and find a local support group. Some don't find it easy and feel guilty if it goes wrong and or give up at the first hurdle.
Baby led breastfeeding and baby led weaning the author slips my mind but both were invaluable sources of information.

Lots has changed.
Allow them to lead you with help.
My mother offered no help and criticised everything I did or didn't do.
If she did 'help' it was how she wanted to help and not how I wanted her to help.

You sound amazing xx

philly Tue 03-Sep-19 14:41:16

Oh forgot. Do the laundry. Nothing nicer than a Granny at the front door with an arm full of clean and ironed washing !!!

philly Tue 03-Sep-19 14:37:04

When I had my first baby many years ago my mother did not offer me any help so I just got on with it. However my MIL was wonderful, always at the end of the phone but never interfering. My best advice would be FOOD FOOD FOOD. Nothing better after a tiring day than to know there is a lovely meal stashed in the freezer.

Hm999 Tue 03-Sep-19 14:28:26

Make a list of all the things you could be doing - making dinner, babysitting for an hour or an evening, washing clothes etc. Show her the list. Tell her there will times she wants there to be just the 3 of them, other times she'll be desperate for company. Tell her that you won't know what she wants unless she tells you.
You are already turning into a lovely gran. Enjoy. It's the best job in the world.

Madmaggie Tue 03-Sep-19 14:04:28

Reckon some home cooking, a ready ear, offers of a spot of housework will be welcomed. You sound lovely, I'm sure you'll play it by ear and be very tactful.

Jillybird Tue 03-Sep-19 12:42:52

Ask. Offer. My DIL and I are very close (thankfully). She doesn't get on with her own mother and they live further away than I do, so I've always been the contact. I think probably the only thing she doesn't like me doing is cleaning. Taking meals in, babysitting, insisting they go out as a couple while I look after baby, rocking cross baby while she has a shower, I think it will all fall into place. Lucky you, really, at least you won't have all that angst with 'the other grandma'. 😊

grandtanteJE65 Tue 03-Sep-19 11:36:19

Congratulations ! Why don't you tell your daughter-in-law what you have told us?

You would love to help when the baby comes, but you don't know what your DIL would like in the way of help and that you are concerned that you might hurt her by doing things that she would have loved her mum to do, or doing them differently from what she expects.

Right now, she probably has one idea of what she will need and want of help and when reality kicks in, she will see things differently.

I tell young mothers that I am here and would love to help or advise IF ASKED TO DO SO, but I have no intention of becoming one of the pestilential know-it-alls some grandmas turn into. Make sure your son and his wife know that you are there, they only need to phone and certainly offer to help, but don't just turn up unannounced or start doing things when you visit. Ask whether you should wash up, etc. They might just prefer to sit and chat with you.

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 .......

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.

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.

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

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!

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

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.

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.🙃

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.

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!