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Does the maternal gran always have the advantage?

(76 Posts)
Cambsnan Thu 29-Jun-23 07:47:34

I have 3 daughter and 6 grandchildren. We are close and I have been involved with all of the children. They range from 25 to 3 so nicely spaced out. The oldest boy is soon to be a father and I realise I have no experience of being on the paternal side of the baby. How do others manage that role? I have never had to ask if I could pick up a crying baby or gently correct bad behaviour. I expect this time it will be more of a challenge to not overstep!

LRavenscroft Thu 29-Jun-23 07:52:48

Yes, but you sound like a very wise lady with a lot of experience. I just remember my mum being my first port of call with my new baby and she automatically took over from me. My mother in law, who was a very nice lady, did her best but I must confess that after baby's routine was established most of her time with baby was a weekend visits and set times, not because we purposefully did that, it was just how it fell.

Kim19 Thu 29-Jun-23 08:12:53

Unless DiL has a poor relationship with her Mum then I would say it is completely natural that they have a much closer and regular relationship than with MiL. As most of us have, I've been both and I do miss out on seeing more of the GC than the other GPs. This is not a grudge but a mere fact of life that we have to live with. Obviously there are exceptions when geographical locations are concerned and this is a generalisation but it is and has always been my experience. What I do have is a lovely relationship with the other GM and we lunch regularly. That's seriously to be recommended. Lucky me.

Blondiescot Thu 29-Jun-23 08:17:39

I'm only a paternal grandmother, and my experience is probably very different from most. My GS is 5 and I've been the main GM in his life since he was born, and also his main carer for much of his life too. I know I'm lucky in many ways, as I had a very good relationship with my ex-DiL even before he was born. Unfortunately, my son's marriage broke up under very trying circumstances when GS was just two, resulting in both my son and GS coming to live with us for a couple of years. My GS does have maternal grandparents too, but they don't see much of him.

Marydoll Thu 29-Jun-23 08:24:55

As the paternal grandparent, we have always been more involved, because DIL's selfish sister is very demanding and commandeers most of her mother's time to babysit her children.

It can be awkward at times, because they are our neighbours and it upsets me to see how DIL has been treated over the years. However, I keep my own counsel and say nothing.

Redhead56 Thu 29-Jun-23 08:26:46

I helped rear my two GC for over 2 years when my other GC was born I wanted to be available for that GC. My DS and DIL didn’t take it too well at the time which I thought was unfair.

We do get on well however my DIL mum I am told is a real hands on gran. I was but that counts for nothing obviously I see all of my GC at least once a week.

paddyann54 Thu 29-Jun-23 08:41:36

My sons relationship broke up when GD was just over a year old.He moved back in with us and brought GD with him and although he moved out when she was 8 to live with a new partner ,GD stayed with us half of every week .
She's almost 14 now and only moved in with dad when her baby sister was born although she still counts this as home and we see her at least twice a week .Her bedroom was redecorated for her during covid and she loves to take her laptop up to it to have a quiet space,No different to our other GC with our daughter .They are all much loved and love to stay with us regularly .

Visgir1 Thu 29-Jun-23 08:47:59

My DIL is American lives in UK, but when her Mum comes over, I told her her she's the "Senior" Grandmother. I get the love and hugs she sadly doesn't.

My Mum was the senior one in our lives as I am to my Daughter's son. I would be called first in any issue.
Girls tend to go to their mums for help and support.

Lathyrus Thu 29-Jun-23 08:55:30

Well you’re the great grandma? So actually I don’t suppose you’ll actually have that much to do with the baby. There’ll be eight great grandparents and four grandparents. Possibly even more if there have been second marriages.

Just be yourself when you do get to see the baby but don’t expect to be very involved.

Daddima Thu 29-Jun-23 08:59:32

My mother was the ‘ everyday’ granny, while the Bodach’s mother made a royal visit, always including posing for photographs. With my grandchildren, maternal granny is either deceased ( Granny Dora in the sky!) or far away. I’d agree that daughters will be closer to their own mothers, but dad’s mother will just have to make their own identity as a granny!

Kim19 Thu 29-Jun-23 09:05:12 very kind (and lovely). Warms my heart

1summer Thu 29-Jun-23 09:08:57

I have a very good relationship with my Daughters MIL, I made an effort to get on well with her as she is a divorcee and I know she felt lonely and was worried she wouldn’t have a close relationship with our granddaughter as I am very close to my daughter.
Granddaughter was born height of Covid and I was in her bubble to help Daughter so was very involved for first year. But I discussed with my daughter that when GD was one and daughter went back to work that as well as going to Nursery her MIL and myself shared childcare. To be honest MIL is better than me as she had worked in childcare for many years.
It has worked so well that next week, MIL and myself are taking Granddaughter on holiday to a caravan in Cromer.
I feel lucky that Granddaughter has 2 Grandmas she loves very much and we both love her to bits.

Bella23 Thu 29-Jun-23 09:10:41

I'm a maternal GM. One daughter does not have a MIL or FIL any more so we are the first port of call. The other DD lives much nearer her MIL she is not the first port of call for DD but she certainly is for SIL.
She is completely different to me and the grandchildren just accept it.
If you are thinking ahead I am sure you will adjust to what is asked of you and be a lovely accommodating gran.

Lathyrus Thu 29-Jun-23 09:15:37

She isn’t the Gran! She’s the great gran.

Sorry, but she’s over thinking her role in the baby’s life.

Witzend Thu 29-Jun-23 09:21:04

So much is going to depend IMO on a) what sort of relationship the DiL has with her own mother, and b) which of the grandmothers lives closer, not to mention being willing and able to help - not invariably the case.

Glad to say my dd has an excellent relationship with her lovely MiL, but although it’s still 60 miles, dh and I do live considerably closer.

Bella23 Thu 29-Jun-23 09:26:20

Well great gran are there to give cuddles and odd sweeties. My DDs only had one the paternal one and she was lovely and full of fun but I never left the DD's with her she could not have coped.

Lathyrus Thu 29-Jun-23 09:31:45

Yes they are Bella, but there will be parents, grandparents and lots of other great grandparents who all want to give cuddles too.

I can’t imagine the OP will have enough time with her grandsons baby for it really to make a difference what she does or doesn’t do.

I’m concerned her expectations of a significant role may already be leading to disappointment and feelings of rejection.

Kartush Fri 30-Jun-23 12:22:44


Yes they are Bella, but there will be parents, grandparents and lots of other great grandparents who all want to give cuddles too.

I can’t imagine the OP will have enough time with her grandsons baby for it really to make a difference what she does or doesn’t do.

I’m concerned her expectations of a significant role may already be leading to disappointment and feelings of rejection.

As a great grandmother to a now 5 year old boy and step great grandmother to two six year old boys I can tell you that I am the first port of call for any babysitting duties and always have been. Don’t assume that all great grandparents are relegated to the background.

Nannashirlz Fri 30-Jun-23 12:37:07

I’m a nanna my grandchildren oldest is only 12 and youngest is 2 lockdown baby. I’ve two daughter inlaws and an ex daughter inlaw I’ve never pushed myself onto the grandkids from birth Id waited for the mums to say would you like a hold right up until the little ones came to me for a cuddle etc my youngest granddaughter only sees me and her dads partner her mum had a run in with my daughter inlaw and she as throw her dummy out so she doesn’t have contact with my GD my other one her mum only likes few doors away so she always looking after my grandson and step grandson

Lathyrus Fri 30-Jun-23 13:00:14

Well you’re not relegated to the background Kartush. How about the other seven (or more). Are they sad that they don’t see as much of the children as you do?

Just pointing out there’s one baby and lots of people in that baby’s life.

We get so many posts on here of people disappointed in their expectations of time with the baby and feeling that others see more.

Annierob Fri 30-Jun-23 13:08:09

As the mum of grown up sons with their own children, I just act as a support, make it clear I am happy to help with the children. It works well. All three of my daughter in laws are lovely so feel very lucky.

Wyllow3 Fri 30-Jun-23 13:11:01

Yes, unless good reasons.
Us paternal mums just have to accept it.

Greenfinch Fri 30-Jun-23 13:30:27

I am very close to my daughter and her family but not so involved with my son and his 4.DiL’s Mum says the same. She has 2 sons and 2 daughters and plays a bigger role in her daughters’ families although they are all very local to her.

Newatthis Fri 30-Jun-23 14:02:45

From a DiL.. when my children were born they were the first GC for my MiL. I wanted to make sure they had an equal relationship to our children as my mother did. We didn’t live near either so both sets of Gp’s had equal ‘access ‘. MiL was not a baby person so was never warm or affectionate towards them. When her daughter had her first baby my how things changed. She treated him (the baby) so differently, cuddles, kisses, babysitting, gifts sometimes to the point where our children were left out completely. It got to the point where my children asked if Nanna loved him (Daughter’s baby)more than she loved them. The reason I am writing this because I think the most important thing is to treat this new child exactly the same as any other of your grandchildren. Your relationship might not be the same, but I found this whole experience. Very painful did my children.

Greenfinch Fri 30-Jun-23 14:10:24

What an unpleasant and upsetting experience for you Newatthis but I can assure you that this is not the norm. Speaking for myself I have to say that all my grandchildren are equally precious to me and are all treated the same.