Grandmother Manifesto

In honor of my grand babies’ eight month birthday, here are my 5 Rules of Grandparent-hood.

1.  The parents are in charge and what they say goes.

This is the most important, the mother of all the others, THE GOLDEN RULE of being a grandparent.

Of course we, with experience and wisdom, might be tempted to think we have all the answers. HA! These are different times, different circumstances, different parents and different babies.  With the internet at their disposal, your children have likely already researched the hell out of every aspect of parenthood and come to many, many decisions about how they wish to raise their babies. That is their unalienable right as parents.  And it is your responsibility as a grandparent provide unconditional support.

2.  Offer but don’t insist.

This rule goes for everything: offering to feed, walk, change diapers, babysit, get up in the middle of the night….  Anything you are willing to do to help out should be presented as a suggestion, not a command (see Rule 1).

3.  It is their news, let them spread it.

With the instantaneous nature of social media, it’s tempting to blab about the babies on Facebook, Twitter or via text message.  When there is some milestone (say Dale’s first tooth) it is NOT my the grandmother’s job to spread the news.  The first tooth, the first step, the first whatever is a huge thing for new parents.  Don’t steal their joy in spreading the news.

4.  Share.

Yes, yes, yes, I know you want nothing more than to snuggle and cuddle and hold the baby all the time.  But share.  Share with aunts and uncles, cousins, friends.  Share with whomever the parents want you to.  Since our family is geographically spread out we try to be extra mindful of the fact that some folks get very little time with Chip and Dale.  They get first dibs.

5. Love, love, love and more love.

The grandparent cliche is that you can love and spoil the grandkids then send them back to their parents.  I guess that is true.  But I believe that the loving part should guide everything you do as a grandparent.  It’s fun to buy presents but the biggest gift you can give the grand babies, their parents and yourself is just to love, adore, cherish and treasure their very being.

Hallmark card


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  1. Mo, I am in on your grandparent-hood rules! I’m sharing this on Facebook. And, I love your blog–all of it, content and looks.

  2. Excellent manifesto! One we all should heed. Thank you for sharing it in the GRAND Social!

  3. I love your manifesto and agree completely — however it isn’t always easy! Especially when they get a little older (think 9) and they give you that look and plead — please may I have another _______ (fill in the blank!) Being a mid west girl myself I hope you come to love CA the way I do! It is a wonderful place.
    Just stopping by from the GRAND Social Linky Party. Hope you get a chance to do the same!

    • Hahaha! I’m sure it will get tougher to resist their charms as they get older! Unfortunately one of the problems with California is that the two little guys live in Boston! Too far! Thanks for stopping by, I’m headed over to your neighborhood now.
      Mo recently posted…Bread SaladMy Profile

  4. Such beautiful guidelines. I think you nailed it. Grandchildren probably aren’t too far off in our future. Our kids are 15-22. I’ll keep these suggestions in mind for when the time comes.

    My favorite is to respect the parents’ wishes. When my kids were little, my husbands parents sometimes broke that rule. They were no longer allowed to babysit the kids until we had a long talk and they understood. This was important because it was about being in their carseat whenever they rode in the car. His parents thought we were over protective about that. “Okay, you just proved you won’t take care of my kids; they won’t be going anywhere with you!”

    These are their children. I will respect that. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Loved the post, Mo 🙂 I have a bit of empty-nest-syndrome at the moment with both my kids out of the house {more or less at the same time, too!} and due to a number of reasons, I do not see any future grand kids soon, if ever. But I love reading about being a grandparent {just in case 😉 }

  6. I completely agree Mo! I need to remember this for the future, not too far away I hope. Thanks a lot for sharing this and enjoy your feature day on SITS!

  7. What a great manifesto! I’m a parent of 4 teens, the oldest is 19 so I’m still a ways (gosh, I hope!) from being a grandparent, but I love this list! It is so honoring of your relationship with your grandchildren, your children, and yourself. I’ve really had an issue with #1 as some family members and my ex, especially since my divorce, have found it their business to criticize my parenting–the “unconditional support” is very conditional and critical. My lesson has been to establish rules and boundaries around what is acceptable and what is not. Unfortunately, some of these people have chosen to withdraw from my life. I miss the connection and there’s a loss, but having people in my life who lift me up and don’t put me down is important. Being judgmental and critical of someone is different than giving helpful advice. Please remember that grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.!

    • Nicole, I couldn’t agree with you more! I’m always amazed that people think they have the right to weigh in on issues that are none of their business. It’s hard when this results in the end of a relationship but you hit the nail on the head. “Having people in my life who lift me up and don’t put me down is important.” Hang in there!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Do It NowMy Profile

  8. What a great llist/manifesto. I think sometime the grandparents get so excited about their grand kids they forget what it was like to parent. Thank you for the reminder.

  9. So true, especially number one. Research has changed so many things. When the girls were born, it was lay them on their side to sleep and use swaddling and blankets to make sure they didn’t tip over. Grandbabies are so special. Thanks for the gentle reminders in your post. Enjoy your SITS Day.

    • There are two big reasons why I shouldn’t force my ideas on my grown children. As you said, research has changed so much – everything is different now. Also, my son has twins. I have absolutely NO experience with that! But I sure am having fun being their helper!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Do It NowMy Profile

  10. Oh this is just so sweet and SO wise…
    Reading this made me think of my In-Laws who follow every one of your rules. I just love that they RESPECT us as parents, and LOVE LOVE LOVE our kids.

    Bravo Grandma!! XO

    • I am lucky enough to also have wonderful in-laws who do nothing but support us and love our kids. They have been great role models and helped me to be mindful of how I wanted to behave as a grandparent. We are very blessed, eh?
      Mo Lux recently posted…Do It NowMy Profile

  11. I love your rules!! I have learned to live with my parents (mother) breaking most of them. We’ve talked and both come to a compromise. But there are still some things I refuse to budge on!
    Rabia recently posted…The Sunshine AwardMy Profile

    • It is great (and important) that you and your mom can talk this over, coming to a compromise. But you are right. There are some things that you can’t and shouldn’t budge on. Hold your ground!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Do It NowMy Profile

  12. The best grandparent rules ever! Very wise!
    Michelle recently posted…Feeling the Blog LoveMy Profile

  13. I absolutely loved this post! Thanks so much for sharing – I may just have my daughter’s “Gramma” to check these out! 😉 You have wonderful insight, and your blog is SO pretty, too! I hope you had an awesome SITS Day, CONGRATS!!!
    Andrea recently posted…Pretty and Playful Paper Lantern Projects! {Curated for Hometalk}My Profile

    • I’m glad you liked it. I wrote that post while waiting in the jury pool room waiting to be called. One of the babies had gotten his first tooth, I posted that on Facebook and then regretted it realizing I had overstepped my bounds. The manifesto was a reminder to myself to behave.
      Thanks so much for your kind words of support! I’ve had a fabulous day!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Mickey Ears for EveryoneMy Profile

  14. This is a great guide for ‘some’ grandparents that have a bit of an issue with boundaries…lol I may need to print it and send it with a nice card…:D Thanks so much for sharing and Happy Belated SITS Day!
    Tiffany recently posted…Donate STUFF. Create JOBS. ~ Be A Part!My Profile


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