So, your son or daughter is about to welcome a new little bundle of joy into their lives. Congratulations on your soon-to-be elevated status of Grandparent! Having once been in their shoes, you couldn’t be more proud or excited for them.
As eager as you are to meet your grandson or granddaughter, it’s important to take a moment to understand your new role as a Grandparent. No matter how great a relationship you have with your child and their spouse, things can quickly turn sour when a newborn enters the picture.
Before you rush out and buy the most adorable baby clothes you can find, read these 10 tips to help you keep the peace:
1. Don’t push to see the baby.
Your son just texted you the good news: the baby has arrived! While you’re probably itching to run over to see their newest addition, it’s important that you hold off until both parents give the signal.
How long can you expect to wait? Sorry to break the bad news, but it’s not uncommon for grandparents to go weeks or even months without seeing the baby. Some couples use the first few weeks with their newborn to form their own family unit and bond with the baby. Although it may hurt your feelings, respect their decision and realize that it’s not out of malice.
2. Ask them what they need.
When you’re expecting your first grandchild, it’s tempting to buy every cute burp cloth and cozy pajama set you come upon in anticipation of their arrival. Keep in mind that not every parent is enthusiastic about receiving baby gifts outside of a baby shower, especially if they already have a stack of newborn clothes.
Rather than randomly buy them clothes and baby items, ask the expecting parents what they could use. Did they get everything on their registry, or do they still need a few essential baby items? They will no doubt appreciate you helping them fill in the gaps.
3. Accept their baby’s name.
It doesn’t matter whether the mother is in her first trimester or her last, don’t try to change her mind on the baby’s name. Even if it’s an odd name that will forever be misspelt and mispronounced, it’s her and her husband’s decision and no one else’s.
Who knows? Once the baby is born, you may find that their creative name suits them perfectly.
4. Offer to cook or clean.
You probably remember how it was to be a first-time parent with a newborn. The dirty clothes everywhere, dishes piling up in the sink and quickly shoving food into your mouth before passing out from exhaustion.
Many parents would welcome a home-cooked meal or a helping hand with the laundry. Of course, some new parents will prefer to have the house all to themselves. In this case, you might consider offering to bring them meals in Tupperware to avoid being too intrusive.
5. Leave drama at the door.
The first few weeks of a new parent’s life can be a chaotic, sleep-deprived mess. The last thing they need is any drama adding to their stress.
If you can’t stand to be in the same room as your ex, just know that this is going to pose a significant problem for your son or daughter. Every birthday or milestone in your grandchild’s life will be a huge battle if you can’t get along.
Try patching things up as best you can with your ex or any tense relationship with a family member. Both the new parents and their child will benefit from a functional household.
6. Keep advice to yourself.
No matter how well-intentioned your advice may be, it’s best to keep it under wraps. Any unsolicited advice regarding how to lose the baby weight, the proper way to breastfeed or how to maintain a clean house with a newborn isn’t going to be well-received.
Yes, you’ve done it all before and know a thing or two about parenting. But times change and parenting styles evolve. You aren’t an expert on child-rearing, so let them parent their newborn as they wish.
7. Play nice with other grandparents.
With the arrival of a brand-new grandbaby, it’s not uncommon for strong feelings of rivalry to appear between the two sets of grandparents. This is more common in grandparents who haven’t spent much time getting to know the other side before the arrival of the baby.
Remember that this isn’t a competition to see who can shower the precious little one with more gifts and affection. Just be present in your new grandbaby’s life without making it a huge contest.
8. Don’t set up a nursery at your house.
Babyproofing your home in anticipation of future visits is perfectly acceptable. Building a complete nursery without asking your child and their spouse first is not.
It’s presumptuous to assume that you’ll be asked to be the babysitter once the child is born. If you want to build a nursery in your home, always ask your child and their spouse if it’s something they would be okay with you doing. Once they give you the go-ahead, feel free to design your dream nursery.
9. Ask before sharing photos.
Many new parents adore sharing pictures of their newest addition on social media, while others prefer their privacy. If you take pictures of the new baby with your phone and want to share on social media, get the parent’s permission first to avoid stepping on any toes.
If the new parents haven’t shared any photos of their newborn on social media, they may simply be waiting to do so. Don’t steal their thunder by posting first! Give them the chance to share with friends and family before you show others your own precious shots.
10. Let your relationship with the baby develop naturally.
Does the baby cry whenever she is in your arms? Don’t stress too much over this. Although you probably wished that the baby would instantly take to you, some babies just won’t be happy anywhere but in their mother’s arms.
Let your relationship develop at a natural pace and don’t force it. Soon enough, your grandbaby will soon be reaching out for you to pick her up.
Embracing Life as a Grandparent
Being a grandparent is a rewarding experience that is filled with happiness and laughter. It also comes with its fair share of challenges. To embrace this new role with ease and grace, always defer to the parents of your new grandbaby.
By respecting their boundaries and unique parenting style, you can enjoy watching your grandchild grow up surrounded by love and affection. What more could you ask for?
What kind of Grandparent are you? Have you given your children the chance to parent their children, with just the right amount of support, encouragement and well-timed advice?