How to be the other woman in your grandchild’s life 20



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How much do you remember about your grandmother? I bet you remember lots of things, but do you remember the way she got on with your mother? It can be a very delicate relationship. It doesn’t matter if your grandchildren’s mother is your daughter-in-law or your daughter, there will be times when you tread on each other’s toes.

The mother/grandmother relationship can require some extra work and real diplomacy on both parts if it’s to work, and it has to work – for everyone’s sake. It could be argued that to be a good grandma, you have to be a good mother or good mother-in-law first.

A grandma’s role can be tricky and yet it’s one of the most important relationships in ensuring a healthy family dynamic. You have a wealth of information and experience to share, and yet parents have their own ideas, just as you had when you were their age. It’s keeping that delicate balance between being supportive and helpful and going too far by courting popularity with your grandchildren in a way that undermines your children, or allows the grandchildren to use you against their parents.

Speaking as a parents who’s children have had the benefit of two grandmas and one great grandma, I know that the best relationships come from knowing that each other want the dynamic to work and that you share a love of the grandchildren. If everyone understands that basic motivation then it’s a lot easier to be generous when tempers fray.

Warm, loving grandmas are the glue that holds a family together. As a parent you want a grandmother who makes her grandchildren follow all the rules….but also knows exactly how to bend the rules by sneaking small treats at just the right moment to save the day, or stop the tears. As a mum you always have to remember that the only woman who loves your kids as much as you do is probably their grandma.


A good grandmother knows that she is important to the whole family, not just to her grandchildren. My mother and mother-in-law always respected my decisions and let me make my own mistakes, but if they were asked for advice they always gave it.

Both women were the first to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in with practical help. When the babies were new, they helped by making meals and cleaning. When we had flu they came and looked after the kids. They walked the dogs and went to the supermarket, all great help. But the most valuable contribution they made was to love their grandchildren.

Sometimes it’s nice for a mum to just accept that grandma is more popular than she is. If you put jealousy aside, and accept that your child wants the attention of another woman more than they want you, it can be really useful to exploit that popularity sometimes, and get children to do for grandma, what they won’t do for you.

There can be few greater pleasures as a parent than to see your perfectly contented child, head off completely absorbed in conversation with a woman who loves them as much as you do – leaving you to enjoy a few minutes peace.

Is it possible to be the perfect grandma – popular with your grandchildren and sticking to you children’s rules? How do you manage this sensitive relationship and stay on-side with everyone? Have you ever made a mistake and how did you rectify it?


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. My stomach this perfect I lost weight 28 pounds with the full program of weight loss that I found this site here WeightLoss33 .Com

  2. What is the perfect parent or grandparent, why would you try to be the perfect grandparent, just love them, listen to them, respect & support the parents rules & decisions, & enjoy every minute you get to share with them.

    1 REPLY
    • Yes Lyn I agree I didn’t know how to be a nana I had to learn where I stood with the family I don’t run around doing things but I’m differently there when they need us after having 7 children and now 13 grandchildren I now love them all and help them all

  3. Good comment lyn

    1 REPLY
    • I grew up without any grandparents – my last grandparent died when I was two. I’m not sure if having any makes any difference to a child.

  4. It takes tremendous trust to give your precious children into the care of grandparents,so there should be an understanding on both sides of the expectations involved. I was carer for all the grandies from about 6 weeks on and I felt very privileged to have that trust. There is now a tremendous bond with them all. There were never any issues,as I totally respected,and still do,the role and wishes of the parents.

  5. My Nanna’s Lavender scent. I just this year threw her bottle out. She died in 1979 and it didn’t smell like her scent anymore.

  6. I didn’t get a chance 2 ever meet my grandparents.They stayed in Germany when my parents came to Australia in 1948,no photos either,shame.

  7. I had no expectations what so ever. I always viewed them as another woman’s child. I was allowed to be part of their lives no trouble but there was no confusion on my part about who’s child they are. I have said “Do you think you should…..” and she replied, “Mum thinks that too” My mother visited me one day. I was so embarassed. The house was in such a mess. Food on the floor with a trail of ants, toys, washing up in the sink, dirty dishes on the table, the whole nightmare. Mum ignored all that (isn’t she a saint) and said “Your nappies look lovely and white on the line” She didn’t look at all that wasn’t done. Only at what was done. To this day, 34 years later I still like doing the washing and pegging it up on the line. To this day, it gives me a lift when the rest of the house is a shambles. I do aim to give the same uplifting words to my DIL.

  8. I don’t get any instructions from my kids on how to handle their kids, after all I raised them. My maternal grandmother smelled of lily of the valley and paternal grandmother of something lovely I don’t know the name of.

  9. Important to maintain a good relationship with your grandkids parents, respect their parenting ways. But whatever happens at Nanna’s house stays at Nanna’s. This is the tricky bit, I feel it is Important for your grandkids to know they always have a friend in Nanna as they grow throughout their years & have your confidence & trust. It gives them a person they can always come to & confide in when they have personal problems, it helps them to avoid depression & problems in their years of adolescence.

  10. My grandchildren and I have a common bond what happens at Nanas stays at Nanas we show respect both ways our love for each other is a done deal hugs and kisses galore laughs a plenty and a cuddle from nowhere for no reason by the grandkids says it all

  11. Of course it is possible with my granddaughter her parents at down and discussed what rules they wanted to apply to their daughter and i added two of my own…we stuck to the agreement my granddaughter and i enjoy a close relationship we understand one another and i have no problems with her parents or they with me…this is all because we agreed on the plan of behaviour they wished to initiate for their child.

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