Sometimes Grandparents can be every bit as much of a handful as your new bundle of joy. We addressed in our last blog the difficulties grandparents can pose when it comes to your decisions for baby. Sometimes they will not take no for an answer. In this blog we will address the time that grandparents want (or don’t want) to spend with their grandchildren.
Grandparents can be at one extreme or the other, and not always when you want them to be. If you want them to be involved, even a little bit, they might not want to be involved at all. If you want them to spend more time away they may be over…every day. So how do we field these curve balls our parents throw at us?
When a grandparent spends too much time with their grandchild it can be hard to ask them to cut back a bit. Especially because you know they mean well and are trying to help, but so often the ‘help’ can be unsolicited or bordering on obnoxious. When you find that the grandparent is coming over every day uninvited and overstaying their welcome the best thing to do would be to let them know that your baby needs to be on a schedule and that for your own piece of mind; it needs to take precedence. Because the best interests of the baby should at the forefront of the mind and that may be all it takes to set a bit of a boundary. For the most part, I think you’ll find that because they’ve done this before they will understand you want to spend alone time with your newly formed family.
Sometimes, though, it may take a harder nudge to have them understand. They may have had visitors every day for a few weeks when they had their children so in turn may find it normal to be around all the time. And let’s face it. Our mothers were superwomen. They did it all; they cooked cleaned and waited on guests all with a newborn baby and oftentimes with no help at all. Because of this they may find your resistance to company as a bit odd or a call for help. If you have to, let them know exactly how you feel. Don’t pull any punches, so to speak. I much prefer being tactful, but that’s not always easy with forceful grandparents.
Sometimes a grandparent may be trying to compensate for wrongdoings or time they didn’t spend with their children. While this may make it a bit more difficult to get your point across without hurting feelings it is still important that you stress to them the time you want to spend as a family is special, but the time you want to spend with your child is even more important. Though it may be hard to grasp, they may even think that they are being pushed aside and are trying to compensate by being around all the time. This is very possibly the case if the grandparent was a part of everyday life beforehand and required/s special care. In situations like this it is easy to let your needs go to accommodate others (especially if it is a live in situation), but the thing to remember is – Your child will only be little once. You may have others but THIS ONE, will only be small once. If what you want is to spend time with them by yourself or with your spouse, make it known. You only get one chance.
On the other hand, if you have a grandparent that you would like to spend more time with your child, let them know. It may be that they are just trying to give you space and not interrupt your time. If distance is an issue offer to come to them. If they still don’t seem to want to make an effort to be a part of things, they may be having an issue with the fact that you are old enough to be at this stage in your life (As odd as it seems things like this will just hit you one day. When your baby is having children you will just look around and wonder how five minutes ago they were just learning to walk.) and may need some time to reflect and deal with their emotions. They may also be cautious about spending time with a baby after so many years; things have changed since they brought you into this world and they may feel unprepared. Try to be as understanding as possible without pushing too hard. Another possibility is that they really are just not interested in such a small baby; if you feel this is the case, give it time. They may come around to the idea as your baby grows. Newborns are so delicate and that can be scary even for a seasoned veteran.
All in all it is important in any situation to get your point across as well as you can while remaining tactful and loving. Remember that usually grandparents are just as excited about the new edition as you are and can sometimes be overzealous. If you want them to spend more time with your baby you need to let them know how you feel and hopefully they will comply. (We all need baby sitters sometimes! Ha Ha) If you think you need sometime apart a little nudge should be all it takes. But remember that caring and loving grandparents are such a gift and can be few and far between. Try to pick your battles and take it in stride!
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