87 answers

What Is the Best Way for a New Grandma to Help?

I am a 53 year old Mom whose daughter just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl last week. My first grand child! I am staying with her, and want to do whatever is needed as far as house work and support, but I seem to just annoy her. We had a great relationship and talked about anything, but not now. She is very quiet and I feel like a stranger. She does not want any opinions or advise, it seems I must not have known what I was doing when I raised her. She made it to 27, I must have done something right.
I know this may be hormonal, but it is very hard for me. I think this is a dangerous combination....post partum daughter and menopausal Mom! Should I just go home?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Once again, thank you to ALL of you wonderful Mom's who responded so caringly. I am home now, and left on good terms. You were all right! She was anxious about her mothering, she made a jar and suggested I put any advise or opinions in the jar and they would read them at their leisure! Good Idea, Huh? Thanks to everyone, I will be much better prepared with my oldest daughter who should deliver in 3 weeks!

Featured Answers

All I can say is how I felt at the time. I remember my child being 6 months old and I was working full time and I was so tense every night I could not relax. Everyone was telling me what to do with my baby all the time. Even complete strangers feel free to comment. You are absolutely exhausted and all you get is criticsm or unsolicited advice. I am not saying you are criticizing but maybe you do need to back off an leave her alone but do offer to help if she is exhausted - such as maybe she would like to nap or go out briefly. People seem to offer advice but very few offer to help you out when after 8 weeks of no sleep at all you can barely function.

2 moms found this helpful

offer to come over w/ food. Offer to clean up.
Or just offer to watch the baby so she can get out to do her nails. Give advice but, only when she asks..

1 mom found this helpful

Don't worry Grandma...I had the exact same problem...I was devestated...He is 5 months old now,and things are better...We really can't help them very well...Just do the work,and praise her,for being such a good mother...Don't stay too long,a week or 2 is long enough...It was my first too....We live and learn...Good luck...We are still here but we rented an apartment....

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

As a daughter (28 yrs old with 3 kids), the best thing I think you can do is cook, clean, and keep your mouth shut! LOL! It is very hard to have Mom's and Mother-in-laws hanging around us telling us what we're doing wrong, what we should try and what you did with us to solve the problem. Not only does it aggravate us, but things are a lot different today then they were when we were born. Many of the recommendations have changed (example, no solids until 6 months and extended breastfeeding is highly recommended) but a Mother's instincts are always right. She needs to time to bond and get to know her baby. To get nursing off to a good start...to have her baby skin to skin in a quiet bed...all of these things she needs to help her hormones kick in so she can respond well to her baby. The BEST thing you can do is prepare healthy meals and bring her lots of water to stay hydrated while breastfeeding. Maybe do a load of laundry or offer to change a diaper or rock the baby while she showers. No advice needed for now...let her get into her own skin. Hope this helps!

2 moms found this helpful

M.,
I can only give you advise in the eyes of a daughter. I am a 31 year old mother of three (7years, 5 years and 8 months). My mom lives with my husband and I and kids. There are days that are very tough, but I think the best part of it all is just knowing that she is there. After the birth of all three of my kids, my mom took some time off of work to help me out. It was a little tough to have her with me all day after my first child was born. Being a new mom I just wanted to figure as much as I could on my own. I really didn't want anyone to tell me what worked best for them. I think it is really importsant for you to just be their for you daughter. Even if you are doing something as easy as handing her the remote and taking the baby so she can take a shower. It is the little things that count. My greatest comfort with my mom was knowing that if I did need help with this new baby she was right there to help. And If you daughter is anything like me she will appreciate the fact that you are just there and when she does need advise, you are available to her. Good luck and CONGRATS!!!
C.

2 moms found this helpful

dear gramma!

i love you and wish you were my mother!

my mom passed before either of my children were born and boy oh boy did i need her. my mother in law came to town to help us and i felt terrible all the time because i was so post partum crazy that i couldn't articulate what i needed and i was constantly in a foul mood because i wasn't sleeping at all. sound familiar?

i would say this to you; take the initiative and do the house work, but do not ask to be thanked. and do NOT offer advice! your daughter should and must learn about how to care for her baby her own way. she is probably totally freaked out right now that you might be passing jugement on every thing she is doing, and that's probably making her very uncomfortable, even tho she surely is so happy that you're there to support her.

it will probably be very important for her to establish herself in her new role in her own home; remember, she's not a daughter first and foremost any more, she's now a mother first, and that takes a lot. my kids are still so youg, 3 and 1, but it's very vivid for me, that feeling of needing to prove myself right out of the gate. it was not possible for me to ask for advice until i really felt secure enough as a mom to know that advice wasn't criticism, and that advice wasn't a reflection of my inadequacy. that takes some of us more time than others. so please give your daughter a chance to ask for advice when she's ready, and don't offer. remember, this isn't about you; yet. it will be when she's ready to really celebrate you as a grandma, but right now it's really all about her.

i would also say that the way for you to be a great gramma is to send out a vibe of peace into the house. be the big mother by making peace and order, always send out a feeling of everything being ok. don't get into your daughter's anxiety. and don't ask her for anything. instead, offer her things like a drink of water, a healthy snack, and not with instruction. in other words, don't say, "You need to drink water," try instead saying, "I'm getting a glass of water. Here's one for you, next to you on the side table here, for when you need it."

and keep that mode of communication; like if you do the laundry, say, "i'd like to do the laundry if that helps. would you want me to fold it or hold the baby so you could stretch and fold it your own way?"

lastly, try telling her each day that she's doing a great job. you could even say something like, "oh you do the diaper like that? that's brilliant, i wish i did it that way, it's much better." or, "i love this stroller that you got, it's much better than what i had. you have a good eye for these things." let her know that you support her as she finds her own way and help build her confidence. never be afraid to tell her that you love her and that you're proud of her.

it will get better!

J.

2 moms found this helpful

All I can say is how I felt at the time. I remember my child being 6 months old and I was working full time and I was so tense every night I could not relax. Everyone was telling me what to do with my baby all the time. Even complete strangers feel free to comment. You are absolutely exhausted and all you get is criticsm or unsolicited advice. I am not saying you are criticizing but maybe you do need to back off an leave her alone but do offer to help if she is exhausted - such as maybe she would like to nap or go out briefly. People seem to offer advice but very few offer to help you out when after 8 weeks of no sleep at all you can barely function.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi M.!
Congratulations and good luck! Yes a lethal combination, but not necessarily if you can sit down and ask specifically what your daughter needs/wants from you AND STICK TO IT! Even if you feel like the maid or chef. You said you want to be the best Gramma, so you will be if you listen to her and not your inner voices. I am your age and managed to have a baby at 45, so I was perimenopausal AND post-partum when I gave birth! I hated when people offered unsolicited advice--even the most useful/helpful things were annoying. When she feels that her experimenting and gut feelings aren't sufficient, if you have kept mum she will turn to you. But right now she needs to follow her own inner voices--she's got to connect to the baby and follow the baby's lead, too. It's her turn--you had yours with your 2 daughters. Any outside information can be distracting and confusing, unless you see something dangerous. I remember feeling that everybody had advice, but nobody brought what I needed--FOOD!!!!! Yummy, quick, fresh, shove it into my mouth food. See if that's all she wants, and a pair of spare hands WHEN SHE ASKS FOR IT!
Enjoy, Gramma!

1 mom found this helpful

You have probably gotten a lot of responses already, but...
I'm a first-time mom (6 months now) and my mom gave me the promise that she would only give advice when requested. This has worked very well because I know she raised two kids successfully and is a great resource, but she gives me the space to figure things out on my own, make mistakes, and develop my own style and confidence. In the meantime, clean the house, let her sleep, buy her favorite groceries, and adore your new granddaughter.

1 mom found this helpful

I only wish my mother would have offered like you -- but I can understand how your daughter is feeling. Remember, it is overwhelming and you need some time to sort it out and figure out how you are going to handle being a mom. If I were you, I would lay back with the open offer that when you need help or a break, I am here for you. Or, maybe you can pick a day and say, "I am available on Mondays and Thursday if you need me to babysit or whatever." You'll see, she'll love that offer and she will come around. It's so funny how everyone handles things different -- I would have paid for a break from my first son...and actually I did -- I ended up paying for a sitter during the week to get a break. Give her time -- lay back -- and put out the offer. I would literally say that "I don't want to be in the way -- so you tell me what you need and when you need it. I will give you space right now." I believe she will apreciate it. -A.- (ps. I am 44 soon to be 45 and mom of two crazy boys -- 5 1/2 and soon to be 8yrs. And I know hormones!!!

1 mom found this helpful

You are a wonderful mother for seeking advice. I wish my mom had, because so drove me nuts! If I could have done it again, I would have wished I could explain how tired I was, overwhelmed by the reality of my life change, and hormonal. The worst thing you could do right now is share advice on how to parent. I have no doubt you have a wealth of knowledge to share, but it is her journey. She might be ready to hear your advice in a few months, but not right now. It is so important that your daughter builds confidence as a parent and that means going through trial and error with parenting. What you can do is everything else. Vacuum, laundry, cook meal, and send her to sleep when the baby sleeps. I hated that I had to ask my mom to cook me food, I wished she had just read my mind and prepared and served it to me and my husband. If you can make it possible for her to have no other worries but parenting, you'll be a wonderful asset. Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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