An Open Letter To A New Grandma Preparing To Visit Her Grandchild

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tumblr Dear Grandma:

Your daughter is going to have a baby and you would like to visit your new grandchild when it is born or shortly thereafter. I recently wrote an article entitled “10 Things A Grandma Can Do For An Exhausted New Mom Including Shutting Up A Lot.” I would like you to read the comments on this article, because moms share their experiences with their own mothers and their mothers-in-laws and I think it is very enlightening.

Here’s the deal. I don’t know your daughters. I mean, I know them from this website and we may have exchanged comments and judging from the comments they have left I know them a bit. And I can tell you they are some pretty amazing women. They are kind and funny and smart and interesting. They are your daughters, you know this all ready. But I also know they are worried, and stressed, and tired and even though they want you to meet your new grandchild they are also worried about you meeting your new grandchild.

It had probably been a few years since you had a baby. You may have had no visitors and no help at all, or your own mother may have visited shortly after you gave birth. Try and remember back to that time. Try and remember what helped you a lot and what drove you insane. This is all I am asking you to do for your own daughters. You have all done this baby raising thing. You know so much, so many tips and tricks and what is important to worry about and what isn’t. You know how to rock-a-bye and swaddle and that breastfeeding can be difficult at times and that you get so tired after having a baby. You know after giving birth that your hormones may be out of whack and that your own daughter may be overjoyed and weepy and sometimes at the same time. You know that no matter how helpful he is, or how many diapers he changes, or how involved of a parent he is that her partner will never fully understand what it is like to give birth. You do.

Do no harm. Now is not the time to criticize or berate your daughter for any choices she has made. Help when and if you can. Helping her with the cooking and cleaning is nice but if for some reason you cannot do not make additional work for her. My other article lists  things you can do, but if you don’t feel like doing any of them at the very least do not make more work for your daughter. Giving birth is incredibly exhausting. Help her when you can.

Your daughter loves you, and she needs you now, to be her mom. She needs you to love her with a ferociousness and unconditionality like you did when she was a baby and you held her in your arms and marveled at what immense joy you could feel over something not much older than the milk you have in your refrigerator.There will be times when your daughter is doing it wrong with her baby, when she snaps at you for no reason, when she gives you the evil eye when you offer help, when she is a total jerk to you. Keep in mind that one day, either when her new baby is a teenager or she is in the position you are now and visiting her new grandchild, she will get it all back at her.

And you can also get her back while letting your grandchild have candy when they are a toddler.


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