Mum’s the word as a grandy
“YOU’LL have to master the art of biting your tongue” – that’s what friends said when they heard I was going to become a grandparent.
And they were right. When we are busy doting on the new arrival it’s easy to miss the reshaping of the relationship we have with our own child.
In making us grandparents our child has now become a mum or dad and that guarantees the dynamic we have developed after a lifetime has changed.
In most cases they have become instant parenting experts. It can be easy to dismiss their ideas because we have been their parent for so long that their new role can pose a threat to ours.
It might feel like everything you know about parenting is as outdated as a telephone book... “Mum, things are different now, nobody does that anymore.”
And you’re bound to hear this one at some point: “Mum, she won’t be eating that – we only give her home-made organic puree.” But if you just bite your tongue and wait a little while, I promise you will enjoy the last laugh as the ruthless determination of a toddler gets the better of them.
Of course there’ll be times they are correct. Research and advice around Sudden Infant Death Syndrome must not be ignored, but the fine art of getting a baby to sleep through the night doesn’t always come easily. This could be your moment to shine as nothing beats a few years of baby-rocking experience.
As you redefine the relationship with your child (and their partner) it’s important to respect their decisions and remember they are trying to navigate new territory.
Their confidence might be a bit shaky so shower them with love and kindness and always reassure them they are doing a good job.
There might be times you feel hurt by a sharp comment but try to remember what it’s like to feel out of your depth. Most new parents are permanently tired and their nerves are likely to be a little too close to the surface, so don’t take things personally.
If you can’t bite your tongue any longer try offering your advice in gentle terms and give them time to think about it. I’ve found it helps to say things like “I read the other day that it can help to do this ...” or “remember you used to like your apple grated”.
Relationships can be a bit bumpy when new mums and dads are putting all the pieces of their new life together, so give them room to do that and just nurse that cute little baby every chance you get.