Grandma Basics 101 Post #1
There are as many different kinds of grandmas as there are kinds of women … some are great grandmas, some are good grandmas, some glamorous grandmas, some Earth Mother grandmas, some grouchy grandmas, and some are uninterested and absent. Want to be the kind of grandmother that goes down in history as the best one EVER?
I am writing a series of 6 posts, each about a way of becoming that kind of grandparent … think of it as being enrolled in a basic course in grandmothering from the Gung Ho Grandma School of Awesomeness!
Here is the first post …
Post #1 Make Life Easier For the New Parents
Yaaay! … your child has just had a baby! You have just been officially welcomed into the Grandma Gang.
I have just returned from visiting my second oldest daughter after she had her first baby … an adorable little boy. Here are 8 ways that you can help the new, overwhelmed parents out (and I swear I did try to follow them) :
1. Remember, you are there to assist the new parents and to give the mom and dad time with their baby. You are NOT there to hog the baby and try holding it all the time yourself. This is not about you, but about the parents bonding with their new little person. You help make that happen (and of course, by default, you will get some bonding time alone with that bundle of cuteness, too).
2. Help around the house … unload the dishwasher, do some laundry, clean the bathtub, change the bedding, weed the garden, walk the dog. A new, sore, tired mom does not want to tackle household chores. No, you are not their maid, but maybe consider paying for one for a few weeks if you cannot/do not want to do the work yourself.
3. Make sure that older grandchildren in the home get a lot of attention from you. Sometimes new parents feel guilty about all the attention a new baby gets and they will appreciate the extra love their other kids receive from a sensitive grandma. You also don’t want to encourage resentment in an older child towards the baby. It is a good idea that if you bring a gift for the baby, also bring ones for the other children (kind of a “Congratulations on becoming a big brother!” gift). The baby won’t remember those first few weeks of life, but older children will.
4. Call from the grocery store and offer to pick up needed items for lunch or supper. Better yet, just show up with mom’s favorite meal ready to go, or if you are visiting then cook the daily meals for the family. Making some freezer meals to give them can also be a life-saver. There is something comforting knowing there is ready-to-go food in your freezer.
5. Offer to babysit the new baby (or other grandchildren in the house … taking them away from the house for a few hours will be super appreciated). The mom and dad aren’t going to want to go away for the weekend anytime soon, but the new mom would occasionally like to have a bath and nap without a screaming baby looking at her from the infant seat. It will help with her sanity and recovery.
6. Don’t post pictures without permission. When I was a new mother I didn’t have to worry about my mom posting photos of me on Facebook or Instagram, still looking haggard and like I had a 5 months pregnancy gut, with my newborn in my lap. Those pictures hang around for all eternity.
7. Don’t brag about what a great touch you have with the baby (only you seem to know how to calm him) or how much the baby seems to love you. No mother wants to think that their baby is connecting more with someone else, or that someone is better at understanding the baby’s needs and can meet them with more success. Just keep your bragging to your friends and people at work.
8. Fuss and fuss over that baby a lot. There are not many people a new mom and dad can talk endlessly about how perfect their new little baby is … but you are one of those lucky people. There should be constant ooohs and ahhhs coming out of your mouth all the time.
By trying to follow these 8 ideas I hope that my visit to my daughter’s home is remembered as a blessing rather than something that had to be survived. As a grandma I know you really can help those overwhelmed new parents!
What have been your good (and bad) experiences as a grandma helping out new parents? Leave a comment below and share your experiences with us!
And if you like the ideas in this post, please share it with other grandmas!