Gransnet forums


Step Grandparents

(16 Posts)
Georgina12 Mon 20-Jul-20 23:21:47

Im finding it so hard being a Step Grandmother. I don’t have any children if my own but do have a stepson who now has a gorgeous 10 month old baby girl. It goes without saying that the Grandmother on baby’s Mum’s side sees baby and has her to stay overnight etc and I get that as the Mum’s mum that is to be expected. What I find very hard is my husbansds ex wife who lives only a mile away and her husband get to see baby so much have her to stay over and are now looking after her 3 days a week. For Covid reasons I understand this part. What hurts me most is that pre Covid we were never asked to babysit or to have a sleep over. Even though once it was discovered that a baby was on the way I was one of first people to be asked to do childcare. From my own point of view I could accept this easier if I did not feel my hubby is missing out so much. He loves this little girl so much but has to stand back and lets his ex-wife’s husband play the the role of granddad. I’m finding this all very upsetting and my husband says he does not mind but I know deep down he does and only says this because he knows I am upset. Are there any other Step Grandmothers out there in a similar situation to me I might pass on some advice please..?

Hithere Tue 21-Jul-20 00:35:40

The relationship with the gc depends a lot on how good or bad the relationship with the parents is.

It also depends on how long you have been on the stepson's life, did you marry his father when ss (stepson) was a child or was older?

Being grandparents is not a competition. If you make it one and start comparing what the other grandparents get, you are going to lose.

"Even though once it was discovered that a baby was on the way I was one of first people to be asked to do childcare."

What happened between being asked to babysit and no babysitting at all?

Your husband will manage his disappointment the way he sees fit.
There is no need for you to take over his possible mental anguish on this situation

Floradora9 Tue 21-Jul-20 21:43:56

I think perhaps once the baby is a toddler and past the very little stage they might be glad of some babysitting . Toddlers are hard work .

MamaBear20 Tue 21-Jul-20 22:49:19

It is a very strange time with Covid, and wanting babies to be around the fewest caregivers possible is completely understandable and safest for all involved. If you have a good relationship with your stepson and his wife, there’s no reason to worry that you won’t have a good relationship with their child. For you own sake, please stop comparing the time you get with the other sets of grandparents. No good will come of that. Once things get back to normal I’m sure your stepson will want your babysitting help, as long as you continue on in their good graces and keep your (Understandable) jealousy to yourself.

welbeck Tue 21-Jul-20 23:43:32

maybe your husband didn't do much hands on care when his children were born; the messy tasks. many men didn't then.
and you have not had children yourself.
so maybe the parents think it's best for people who have hands on experience of all the tasks of baby care to do that now.
maybe when the child is a little older, and routines more established, you may have a turn at overnights etc.
try not to get wound up about it.

Lolo81 Tue 21-Jul-20 23:55:41

Whilst I understand you’re hurt over this, ultimately this wee person has 3 sets of grandparents who love her and parents who are obviously trying their best to keep working throughout a global pandemic and keep their baby safe.

It is a stressful time for everyone, but I’d think as a new parent it would be especially trying, so maybe take a step back and try to be objective.

Having these feelings of being left out is normal, it’s what you then do about them that’s the tricky bit. Talking it out with a friend or counsellor might help.

Finally, SS’s mums husband is every much a grandparent as you are and as much as you’re worried about DH missing out it sounds a wee bit petty to say he’s “playing a role”.

My mum used say fair doesn’t always mean equal - and I think this applies here. Be grateful the wee mite has so much love around and focus on being there to add to it. Just because other people see her more doesn’t devalue yours or your husbands place in her life.

anonymous44 Wed 22-Jul-20 06:41:52

How was your/ your husband's relationship with your stepson and his wife before the baby? I would expect that trend to continue.

Focus on being supportive to the young family, as opposed to getting a stake in their baby, and they may feel inclined to visit more.

Lesley60 Thu 23-Jul-20 09:21:55

I’m just wondering if you offer to babysit rather than wait to be asked, they may feel you don’t want to look after the baby if you don’t offer so therefore don’t like to ask you.

crazygranny Thu 23-Jul-20 10:05:00

Keep up with the offers to help. Sooner or later you will be needed when the usual arrangements fall down for whatever reason. Your turn will come.
Children are incredibly sensitive to who loves and cares for them. They don't count the number of times someone looks after them. This little girl already knows that your husband loves her and that won't go away.
Life changes constantly and what look like arrangements carved in stone can, for all sorts of reasons, change overnight. Keep in touch about her likes and dislikes but just wait. Your turn really will come.

newnanny Thu 23-Jul-20 10:29:42

I rather think that Covid 19 has played a role here. The parents tightly are trying to limit exposure of their child to lots of people. Do you Skype call so child recognises your faces and voices. That is important. It is not just up to parents to ask you, you too can ring and volunteer to baby sit. Why not get in early and offer to organise child's first birthday. If you leave it you will be disappointed if other grandparents get in and do it. Being a grandparent is not a competition. I live much further away from my dgc than other grandparents so I Skype call and send postcards which children love getting. When I do see them I spend my time on floor playing with them or taking them out for the day to zoo. I send them little things through the post. Last week I sent little trowels and forks so they can help in the garden. Before I have sent a packet of seeds they can plant. I had some play sand delivered to them. I make sure they do not forget me in between visits. You can do this too. My dogs send me back rainbow pictures to put in my window, little thank you notes and a hearts painted on a stone. You need to make an effort and not leave it all to parents.

ayse Thu 23-Jul-20 10:30:29

I am in the three sets of Grandparents situation as well but I’m ‘Mum’, in this set-up. I’ve been caring for my now 5.5 yr old grandchildren, twins since the day they were born. The Mum and Dad were very protective of the babies and my role was housework and support with crying babies, one after the other plus shopping etc. whilst Dad worked and Mum was on maternity leave.

My ex plus his wife, who also had no children really wanted to help but my daughter found it initially difficult. They live 5 hours drive away so could not just pop in. Their Dad’s parents are not fit although they did visit on a weekly basis.

Five and a half years on, my grandchildren stay overnight at Dad’s parents, at least before Covid. My ex and his wife (they are lovely) are going to have the children to stay for a couple of nights later this month for the first time.

My DD and her now ex-partner have always made decisions in the best interest of the children and how well the grandparents manage with their children.

Please be patient and hopefully all will be well. My grandchildren are very aware now of who is who and how we all fit together. The GCs welcome all their Grandparents now be they step or not.

Congratulations and best wishes to you all.

georgia101 Thu 23-Jul-20 11:18:26

Have you asked to babysit? Maybe you could mention that when things are better Covid-wise, you would love to look after the child sometimes, especially as they will probably appreciate a bit of a break after the intensity of these past months. They might not like to ask if you haven't previously offered.

2old4this Thu 23-Jul-20 11:49:04

We have two sons, they both married. One son had two children, the other one child. Both marriages failed and they all went into new relationships. Our sons new wives had no children.
One ex wife's new partner had parents that had divorced and remarried, so our two GC now had ‘blood’ grandparents and two sets of step GP’s.
On remarrying this son has three children, his new MIL became another step grandparent to the two children of his first marriage, and GM to the three (under 10). This MIL had divorced years ago and not remarried, her ex had, so add another set of step grandparents into the mix!
Son’s wife decided to ‘play away’, moved out with the three’s a mess.
So my 5 GC have 2sets of original GP’s and 4 sets of step GP’s,

Being the parents of sons is not like being the parents of daughters who lean towards their mothers for trips out, socializing, etc. One is assumed to be available for occasional childcare, but in truth it’s the step GP’s who get the relationship with the children.

Don’t get me wrong, we have a lovely relationship with them all, but we don’t get to see them much.Believe it or not we all live in the same town.............

I have given up feeling sad and hurt, When they go to step GP for Christmas, I don’t compete with gifts. We give them gifts, and the greatest one we can which is love, and they know it.

I have a life and no longer wish to be on call when the extended family are not available.
And I feel a lot better for it!

Pinkrinse Thu 23-Jul-20 13:19:40

Hi, I’m a step grandma, my husband has 3 children, who lived with us for a while. The gc do see the biological gp more then me, but I have a good relationship with the gc. They come to stay I take them out I initiate all of my relationship with the if I left it to my oh I’d never see them. If I haven't seen them for a while I ring and arrange a visit, I’m an hours drive away so will go up and see them. And when the green eyed monster emerges as it sometimes does, I remind myself I am responsible for my relationship with them and their parents, not anyone else’s, and I’m happy with the relationships, but if not I have to do something about it. I have a busy life and am very happy seeing them every few weeks. Ring and offer to pop over and visit, or baby sit, and don’t compare.

Starblaze Thu 23-Jul-20 13:33:29

I think there are 2 things you can do to be proactive.

1. Offer to babysit

If that doesn't work

2. Be honest and say that you would really like to spend time with your grandchild and maybe take her to do xyz

You need to bare in mind, the answer may be no for now. That's not because anything is wrong with you, it's because new parents are protective and often keep their babysitting circles small at least at first.

So then we have:

3. Invite them places, arrange get together, take some stress off them.

Also bare in mind. Pandemic. Which is another reasons circles are small right now

GreenGran78 Thu 23-Jul-20 13:43:40

If I had a newborn I would be limiting how many people handle her right now. I’m sure that, if you offer and stay positive, you will see a lot more of her when this horrible Covid has finally gone (fingers crossed that it’s soon)
It’s no use comparing who gets the most contact, or being jealous of the other GPs. Keep smiling, FaceTime as much as possible, and make it clear that you are looking forward to building a good relationship with the baby. It will come.
I chat several times a week to my 3 year old Aussie GD. The poor child has no GP nearby. I’m in the U.K. and Dad’s parents are in Peru, but she knows us well, thanks to the internet. My new baby Aussie GS sees his Mum’s parents often, as they live five minutes away. I survive on photos, videos and FaceTime, which I get in abundance. I’m dying to get over there for a cuddle, but it will have to wait.