boundaries with daughters first baby

bhamnannyNovember 21, 2008

my daughter and i have always had a pretty good relationship, but since her baby was born just under a year ago, she has shut me out of her life several times, once for 93 days! she says i want the baby to like me more than her. i have had to hold my tongue and walk on

eggshells many times. she thinks that i want to be this baby's mother. (i truly don't) i love the baby and just want to be the best grandma i can be. now the first birthday is coming up, and she has told me 3 times that i

should distance myself from the baby at the party so as not to make the other grandparents mad. the baby seems to prefer me, simply because i will get down in the floor and play, and also i will do funny faces and things to make the baby laugh. what do i do? should i just stay away from the party. should i stop playing with the baby. i have always been a real baby lover, i volunteer at the local children's hospital every saturday and go in and rock babies. i keep the nursery at my church and all the babies have always loved me. i want a close, loving relationship with this baby, especially, because it is

MY granddaughter. should i step back? am i doing something wrong? she wants me to distance myself from the baby and in the next breath, she says i should correct her

more. i think its her parents job to correct her not mine. the only way i would scold her is if she were doing something that would hurt herself. does anyone have any

advice for me?

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that's very sad, but if the two of have talked it out and she is firm in what she wants i think your only hope is to back off. you can't force relationships, it only makes it worse.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 4:35PM
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Geographically we were the closer grandparents thus grandson was closer to us and still is to this day. We always did what you daughter is suggesting, when the other GP's were there we stepped back.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 9:43AM
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Your daughter's thinking sounds a bit disorganized, which is typical for someone as tired as she must be, with the little one! You shouldn't be walking on eggs, but you may need to pull back a little and let her be in charge. You need to be a supportive mother and grandmother, not a teacher or "lover of babies."

She's right, you do need to stay in the background at the party. Go to the party and have a wonderful time, but don't monopolize your granddaughter. If she comes to you, pick her up, hug her, and hand her off to another grandparent, aunt or uncle who may not get to see and enjoy her very often.

I'm the only grandparent who spends a lot of time with my grandchildren ( 3 y.o boy & 8 month old girl), they now live in Texas, and I fly down every 6 or 8 weeks for a visit, but even when they lived here, I was the only one who spent regular time with them, and they know me and trust me and we have a lot of fun together. But when we've had family gatherings over the last three years, I did hang back at each one and let the other grandparents spend time with the kids. I know they are "mine" and I don't have to prove anything to anyone. Of course I was available to help out if needed, and the kids loved all the attention from all the other relatives. It was fun to spend time with the adults and let others bill and coo over the babies.

The rest of the time, you can spend as much time on the floor with your granddaughter as you want.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 1:04PM
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I know this is a somewhat old thread, but in case you are still reading:

As soon as I read that she shut your out for 93 days, red flags went off. Why did you count the days? Most people would say for a 'few months' or 'several weeks' or 'three months', but you actually were counting the days. It suggests obsession. You should be able to go 93 days without seeing your grandchild without panicking.

The fact that your daughter is accusing you of being 'overenthused' about the baby is another red flag. You cannot use other people's babies to give your life meaning. I'm glad you have other activities with your church and your hospital, that's wonderful and shows that your heart really is in the right place. But as they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. You say you want to be the best grandma you can be, but seem not to understand that it is not about you. This isn't about you being a grandma, it's about this child...and your daughter...and your daughter and soninlaw and this child...and about ALL of this baby's extended family.

Your daughter's made it very clear that she needs more space from you, and if she's cut you off several times and have told you 3 times to back off at the party, it's clear she feels smothered by you. It does not matter if the baby likes you a lot, or even likes you best--I imagine the baby likes chocolate a lot too, likes chocolate best of green peas. But the green peas are what's going to make her grow and the chocolate is expendable.

You say you walk on eggshells around your daughter now, and this implies there's something wrong with your daughter, that she's being harsh or unreasonable. But that's not necessarily so. People also walk on eggshells when they are in unfamilar territory, such as when they start a new job and don't know the routine and office culture and their role in working and their place in the organization. It doesn't make the company bad or unreasonable because the new employee is walking on eggshells, it just means the new employee is unfamilar.

Well, you have a new role in life, grandma, and several new relationships: that with your granddaughter and also new relationships with your daughter and soninlaw. You are in unfamilar territory. And it's made even more unfamilar because you are no longer 'boss'; your daughter is, and she's showing you your new role.

Much of the role of grandparent is defined by the parents. If they have similar concepts of what it means to be a parent and what it means to be a grandparent, there's no problem. But if the parent and grandparent have different assumptions, there can be problems.

Your daughter is telling you you are overstepping, and to balance your enthusiasm she needs time off from you. Apparently increasingly long time offs. It's not in your best interest to 'not understand' what she's unhappy about. She's telling you to back off, she's letting you know that her child is not going to be your new hobby.

Take her seriously, you have a lot to lose here. Back off, and if you find yourself thinking about this baby all the time and anxious about your relationship with her, talk to a therapist. There are some unhealthy reasons people get preoccupied with babies. There's a woman on welfare in CA with 14 babies under the age of seven because she had 8 of them all at once who honestly believes she's just being the best mother she knows how and has nothing but love for children in her heart. She'll probably never be convinced otherwise, but almost everyone else in America understands there's something wrong with her.

I'm not saying there's something wrong with you. That woman is an extreme. But it's clear that your needs to be a grandmother are clashing with your daughter's need to be a mother, and possibly with this baby's other grandparents needs to be a grandparent too.

I'm sure the birthday party has come and gone since you wrote this, and I hope it went well. I hope also that your relationship with your daughter is becoming more stable as well. Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 7:46PM
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In my opinion, (so take this post with a grain or TEN of salt), she sounds like a totally spoiled brat at this time.
But, I think the only thing you can do, is to back off and give her the time she seems to need.
Call once in a while and send a card or two so you can keep in touch.
I would wait until she asks you to visit and don't call her very often, perhaps every month or so.
Wait for her to take some initiative.
You did not do anything wrong, but that is apparently, not her reality.
To me you sound as if you would be the perfect Nana, but I am not your daughter.
Some people think Motherhood is a Heavenly calling and they go nutso.
I will be thinking of you. I sure do understand and hope the situation gets better as time goes by, and "The Heavenly Mother" finally settles down to reality ( a little smile here).

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 2:34AM
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i read every word here because i am having the same problem with my son. again this is an old thread but im hoping it stirs up more attention. i tried to read calmly and not take anything personal because i truly want the situation to improve. and if i look at it honestly, well even tho my son has been kind of difficult i can totally understand feeling this way. when i had him i felt the same way. i didnt even want him to bond with strangers like at the grocery store.
it must be a parental thing, you may have even felt it years ago about someone else and just forgot the feeling.

hormones i think when it comes to these things should also be taken into account. i dont know about you but im headed for menopause. got all the signs anyway. also your daughters hormones can be off after pregnancy.

personally, ive decided to back off and try to encourage their time together rather focusing on the time i want.

thats another thing. how much is the baby being attached to you vs you being attached to the baby. i know because again when i look at it honestly i feel a very strong attachment to this child. and like someone said above i believe it could be unhealthy.

i have always love babies and worked in a nursery at my church so that i could be around them more. maybe that is something to consider doing again. that way you get your baby fix and your daughter has the time to build the confidence she needs in attaining a strong bond with the baby.

i am so fortunate to have stumbled across this site. it really opened my eyes.

thanks to everyone for their honesty. it definitely opened my eyes to some things i needed to hear.

and i bet once you back off a bit you will have the opportunity to share beautiful bonding experiences with both of them at the same time.

peace love and happiness
gezzi girl

Here is a link that might b

Here is a link that might be useful: my blog

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 10:45AM
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