What to do when the other grandmother takes over? 231

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Imagine this: you’ve just welcomed your first grandchild, and you’re so excited to meet her and him and babysit. The only problem is, your daughter-in-law’s mother has given herself the title of primary grandparent, and hasn’t let you get a chance. What do you do?

This exact scenario happened to Starts at 60 reader Dee. She wrote to us and said:

My beautiful daughter-in-law just gave birth to my first grandchild, but her mother has taken over completely.

I don’t want to start a fight and the joyful feeling everyone has, but my husband and I have not yet had a chance to see the bub since the birth.

Any advice before I tell her off?


Tell us, have you been in this situation? What would you do?


Starts at 60 Writers

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

  1. Well it’s up to the parents who sees the bub, not the other grandmother, perhaps you need to have a word with your son. That’s very cruel if you haven’t even seen your grandaughter.

  2. nothing you can really do about it just make the best of the situation when you see your grandchild. Things may change but sometimes they don’t

    1 REPLY
    • What you’re saying is so true – my mum explained the son/wife and daughter/daughter story thus – it’s generational/placenta/ral? That is her mother gave birth to her; she gave birth to me; I gave birth to my three sons. I love my daughters in laws who gave birth to my beautiful grandchildren (whom I love very dearly in a special way) it is easy for me to understand and to accept the special/different bond between them and my sons in laws the other grand parents – like me.i also believe in giving my son his wife my daughter in law and the children space to be and bond as a family to make new or blended family traditions for themselves. I love my grandchildren dearly near or far- they are definitely a part of their other grandparents and most certainly my/our history. I’m here when they need me my love is unconditional 💕💜💕💙💕

  3. I’m really lucky in that I have 3 daughters. In close families – daughters will always turn to their mums first. It’s really up to the daughter in law to do something about it (does she even realise that it’s happening?). The other grandparent should also be ‘sharing’.

    4 REPLY
    • I beg your pardon??? Did you actually READ my comment?? I pride myself in ensuring that ALL of my daughters mother – in – laws are as included as I am. That’s the ‘type’ of mother that I am- I resent your insinuation!

    • Think it was a misunderstanding , it happens on these posts.. we don’t push ourselves in on our three boys marriages , but have always been included , if not relied on in our grandkids lives.. we are blessed…

    • Thanks Alison. I get on really well with 2 of my 3 daughter’s in-laws. The other set don’t even have anything to do with their son and his family – very sad.

  4. Welcome to the club. Our son’s MIL took over everything, even our son, are we pissed, you betcha. The sorrowful part of it all is there aint nuthin we can do about it. He has joined his new family and forgotten about his old one.

    16 REPLY
    • Sadly it’s not an unusual situation. I know of someone who is a stranger to her grandchildren, even though they all live in the same town. They are also denying the grandchildren a relationship.

    • Sorry Dee, my response would not have been what you are looking for. The many other good people here will be able to help you.

    • I am reminded of the old adage “A son is a son til he takes a wife, a daughter is a daughter all her life “

    • When our son got married his words to us were” (names) family is my family now”. So I would like to know what are we, his parents and siblings in the bigger picture? And this pearler from his wife “I hope when the boys (our grandsons) get married, I hope their mother in law is dead or lives a long way from them.” But being his mother is fine and she can cop it.

    • There is an old saying
      “A daughter , a daughter all your life,
      A son a son till he takes a wife”,

    • I’m the same with my son, his MIL he also calls mum and I never get a look in with his children, my grand-children. I haven’t seen them for over three years and yet they only live 3 hours away. I’ not only disappointed with my son but his wife also, she could at least suggest they visit or phone me. Last time I visited was one Christmas but I was made to feel so uncomfortable I don’t feel like I want to visit again and to be honest I haven’t been asked. Luckily I have three daughters who I always see and their children. Horrible thing to say but if my son can’t visit when I’ alive, I hope he doesn’t come to my funeral once I’m dead.

    • My granddaughter is 2. I have only seen maybe six times since she was born. My son is gutless where his wife and family are concerned. Unless your son has a spine there is nothing you can do.

    • This happened to my parents with my brother. I even remember being at a family wedding and my brother was on his way over to greet Mum, who he had not seen for weeks when his MIL with whom he was living at the time appeared from nowhere, tucked her arm through his and whisked him away to meet someone she knew. I was stunned.

    • Thank you ladies, I do get too see my son and grandsons when he brings them for a visit usually a Saturday morning for an hour or two, about every 6 weeks or so. He doesn’t invite us too visit much because he knows how uncomfortable I feel at their home. I can’t believe he picked her too marry. On the flip side I have a wonderful son in law. I love my grandsons so much, my daughter has two girls who I see a lot.

    • Sandra and Rosanne I know how hurt you must feel. I had a wonderful mother in law, and like you would have done I tried too make my dil feel part of the family, but was rebuffed all the time. I could never have treated my mil this way. We can only hope our sons will come to their senses one day. Good night to you all.

    • I am blessed with a very special DIL, she feels more like a daughter than a DIL, I know she appreciates my contact , advise and support and I have a special relationship with my grandies both locally and those that live neatly 5 hours away . We all bring our children up differently but I make sure that I do what I know she does ,play by the rules and every one is happy . Thank goodness for special DIL’s . I can understand that not all of them are nice to their MIL’s so I do appreciate her .

    • It’s up to him to be a man and stand up to the new family and tell them he wants to spend time with you.

  5. This happened to my Mum and Dad with one of my brothers. They were given secondary status from day one. They just made the most of what time they were allocated – usually very last resort babysitting – but I know they would have loved a little more involvement. I will never understand some people.

  6. Talk to her daughter in law and let her know here you don’t want to step on any toes but would love to have time with your new grandchild and you are always at the end of the phone if she needs you you can’t force it. Failing that talk to your son but don’t whine about it!

    3 REPLY
    • Some DIL’s are like ours and have put up a massive brick wall. She hates us for no reason. Nil discussion allowed at all. We see our GS when they say.

    • Noel Wilson that is so sad, it does happen a lot. I’m glad i have a good relation ship with all my kids spouses and i hope it continues

  7. Dont worry just let things settle I’m sure your time will come be patient not time to argue with a beautiful baby in t world

  8. Whatever it is, try not to make it any more stressful for the new mum. If I was her, I’d absolutely HATE having my mother so officiously involved with my new baby’s care and routine.
    If you can be patient and caring without making any waves at this stage, it could produce long term benefits of trust and friendship.
    What I would do is let the new mum know you are there for her if she needs it, and occasionally ask if there is anything you can do to help.

    1 REPLY
  9. My daughter has just given birth twelve days ago and I aim to be as inclusive as I can be. Yes, I am her mother and am here to help for two weeks, but her other grandparents have been to visit twice (we all live a long distance away). I am sending the other grandma photos and news and updates. Your grandchild has a right to the love of both sets of grandparents, just as your son needs you to be there. Best not to do anything that will cause division and stress because that helps no-one and might make it harder. Be there in practical ways, take a meal around and all sit down together, put a load of washing on for them, burp the baby between feeds. You raised a son worthy of his wife’s love and care and you have done a good job. Best of luck.

    2 REPLY
    • Sometimes the Daughter in Law doesn’t want you to do anything i use to hang the washing out and was told not to touch it, another time told to get out of the kitchen i was wiping the dishes nothing else.On special occasions was told i don’t give presents your not my mum your son will get you one. But they have to go through the same thing when their children get married what goes around comes back to get you, as the saying goes.

  10. So sorry for you but that is what happens you are in a no win situation it doesn’t matter what you do if her family has decided to shut you out that is what happens it’s not just her family it’s her friends too you don’t know it but you get called dreadful names ec,t but you don’t know because nothing is ever said to your face you just become invisible and you are a loving person and just don’t know what’s happened it is a dreadful situation but I just don’t know what to do about it

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