Grandmothers who do too much

06 Mar

I understand Grandmothers who do too much for their grandchildren. Really, I do! I have a huge desire to protect my children, even when they are full grown, and just because my child has a child of her own doesn’t reduce that Motherly instinct. But …

2012,03 Kevin Erickson by JVS (52)

Photo by dayspringacres, of my daughter and grandson


There is a point where a Grandmother can “protect” her child too much. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the grandmother take charge of the sick child, with Mother (with or without Dad) following behind.  Momma looks to Grandmother for the answer. Or, Gramma tells the “kids” to leave the room during an unpleasant procedure.  I am always dumbfounded, speechless, and even a bit angry. I bite my tongue: Just how did Gramma get to be such a strong maternal figure, except by coping with the hard times.  How is Momma ever to learn this herself?  I watch the mommas whose body language indicates they are unsure of themselves, and are timid, and don’t really know their own baby.

Well, of course they don’t! Because Gramma is taking over, the mother HAS to feel as if she is worthless — I know I would have, if my mother had done that to me!

I strongly feel that the Grandmother’s role is to support her child. She is to instruct her daughter how to be a good mother, not to take that job from the mother. She is allowed to give momma a break — HEY! We have to have Lovey Dovey time with our Grandkids, don’t we? But our primary job is to tell our daughters and our sons what a good job they are doing raising THEIR children. We had our chance, and I am one who is glad that I have all the fun and none of the responsibility! If the kid is sick (and momma is handling it well and isn’t sick herself) he is better off with his momma.

There is a quote, defining a Grandmother as a Mother who has a second chance. I disagree. Grandmothers are not mothers, and have a very different job. The jobs overlap sometimes, such as when we teach our grandchildren, but the emphasis is different.  I am more set in my ways, now, and this could get in the way of my relationship with my daughter and my grandson.  I know what is the right thing to do, but I don’t have the responsibility to act on what I THINK is the right thing to do.  That responsibility belongs to my daughter and her husband.  I may not agree, but I am not to say that I don’t agree.

Again, my job is to support my daughter, tell her lots of times what a wonderful job she is doing, and to love and teach my grandson the wonders of the world, and of his heritage.  I get to sing to him, and tell him about his momma when she was his age, and about where he came from.

Today, as I babysit my grandson, I put away my computer while he was awake, and I got down on the floor with him, we pulled out all the books from the bookshelf, we ate what foods we wanted to eat (within reason — we did NOT have leftover birthday cake), and we did not eat the carrots that Momma wanted him to eat.  And I sang to him and we danced together.  That is my job as a Grandmother — Show him how fun life can be, how interesting the world around him is.  this job will become even more important when siblings begin arriving, because his parents will be very busy, but I can pay special attention to him.  This is something I could not do to my children when I was Momma.

I am beginning to like my new role.


Tags: , , ,

3 responses to “Grandmothers who do too much

  1. laura Mansfield

    11 January 2014 at 8:21 am

    I really appreciate what you have to say, but you are only one Mother. For instance, African Americans, consider it a privilege and honor to raise their grandchildren. I’m just saying….I guess our heritage plays a role in child rearing. You do have some great ideas.


    • dayspringacres

      17 January 2014 at 3:28 pm


      You are right in that heritage plays a very important role in child rearing. I have done a little research into this since your response — which I appreciate, by the way — and found several articles addressing Grandparents as primary caregivers in general, and Black grandparents in particular. There are almost double the African/American grandparents who are primary carers in the USA than Caucasians, with Hispanic people group following closely. The grandparents who care for their grandkids because Momma and Daddy are away is one situation which I understand. Totally. I have no problem with that.

      In my post, the adult children (who were just barely into their 20s themselves) were standing by while Grandmother answered all the questions and took over. Grandmama was very proud of her role, and enjoyed it immensely. But, my question is, how does Momma learn how to become an adult if Gramma will not let go?

      To be fair to the adult children, Gramma should teach the MOTHER how to become a mother, not take over the job when there is no contraindication. If momma is able to, then momma should.

      Again, I appreciate your contrasting view, and I have done research into this issue BECAUSE of your reply. I have annual cultural sensitivity training, but I don’t recall hearing this. I will definately look for it when training rolls around again.

      The articles I researched are below:

      Non-creditable sources:

      Creditable source:


      • Laura Mansfield

        17 January 2014 at 4:35 pm

        You have very good ideas. I love learning. I took a college course on Ethnic Values and Principles. Enjoyed it. Sent from my iPad




Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: