A gift to my daughter (for every mother and her mother to read)

My wonderful friend Mary posted this on her blog, and I think it is the best advice for grandmothers I've ever heard expressed.   She has graciously allowed me to share her thoughts with you!   Jane


I’m getting ready to fly to Ca for 3 1/2 weeks to help my daughter and her family as she’s about to have her second baby, another grandchild! Woohoo! They have opted not to find out the gender until the birth, which is exactly the same thing they did when their son was born 2 years ago.

When they told me they were pregnant with the first, Of course I was thrilled. Imagine how excited I was, my daughter was pregnant, and now I could share all my firsthand knowledge with her about being pregnant, labor, delivery, raising children, this was going to be great! I could hardly wait to impart my wisdom to her, and surely she would hang on every word and be so extremely grateful.

Here’s how our first conversation went. Me:”Do you want me to tell you all the stuff they don’t tell you about when you’re pregnant?” Her: “No thanks Mom, I googled it, and I’ve got a couple of books. If I have any questions, I’ll ask you, thanks!”

She googled it???? They didn’t have Google when I was pregnant! Argh! But instead of being hurt and angry(which started to be my first reaction), I made the choice right then and there to be proud of my daughter for doing her homework, making her own way and figuring things out on her own. I kept all my advice to myself, sat back, and watched her go. She was great and she still is!

When they asked me to come out and stay 4 weeks when the baby was due, I was thrilled for all the obvious reasons, and one not so obvious. I would have gone nuts if my mother had come to stay 4 weeks with me for ANY reason. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved and still love my mother(she passed several years ago), but our relationship was difficult. In a nutshell, she was never wrong, I was never right, and she felt it her obligation to always point this out. I could not do ANYTHING right. When my daughter was born, she came and stayed for a week, told me I was putting her diapers on wrong, I had to breastfeed, was breastfeeding too much, I should stop breastfeeding, etc. Anyway, you get the picture.

The other part of this is, she seemed to want my baby to be hers. Whenever my daughter cried, she would pick up the baby and take her away from me! (my mother in law did this as well). They were always taking her away from me instead of trying to help me so I could figure my baby out. It was very frustrating.

So when it was my turn to be the grandmother, I told my daughter and son-in-law that I would love to come help, and my plan would be that I would take care of the house, laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. while they got to know their child and figured out taking care of the baby. Needless to say, they liked my idea and that’s what we did.

Now, I can’t say that everything was hunky dory for the whole 4 weeks, there were a few tense times, but we did really well, AND, they’ve asked me to come back for the second birth! The plan is the same, I will do whatever is needed to give them time with their children now, fit the new baby into the family, keep the first child feeling loved as well.

So, the gift I am giving is my love, encouragement and presence. I will not criticize, only praise all efforts, and offer to help whenever I can. Here’s the coolest part though, the gift I’m giving to them comes back to me a thousand fold. Being wanted and loved is everything. My daughter will never know my baby experiences firsthand, nor do I want her too. Her experience will be better because of her choices in her life AND my choices because of my life.

If you ever get the chance to be a grandparent, please remember a few simple things.

1. Offer no advice unless asked

2. Do as many dishes and as much laundry as it takes

3. Never miss a chance to say how great they are doing

4. Let your first reaction always come from a place of love