There are good grandmothers, there are great grandmothers and then there are the grandmothers who, as well meaning as they may be, make life for the new mom and dad harder rather than easier. Want to be the kind of grandmother who goes down as the best one ever? It’s easy, really…
1. Babysit. A brand new mom isn’t going to want to hit the town for an evening out, but she is going to want a long, hot shower without having to stare at a screaming baby in an infant seat on the other side of the steamy glass.
2. Help around the house. Fold some laundry, load the dishwasher, take out the recycling. No, you’re not a maid. But it wouldn’t hurt to play one for a few weeks.
3. Walk the dog. Rub the dog’s belly. Buy the dog a new chew toy. Tell the dog what a good boy or girl he or she is. New parents are most likely guilt ridden about the new hierarchy in the house and will be appreciative of any love and affection their first baby gets. (For veteran grandmothers, same goes for other children. The baby won’t remember those first few weeks, but older children will.)
4. If you are the MIL, don’t dwell on the baby’s striking resemblance to your son. Your daughter-in-law just carried and delivered that creature and she’s pissed off enough that your DNA trumped hers in the gene pool, so you’d be wise to keep your mouth shut. Speaking of that…
5. Shut up, often. If you aren’t asked for an opinion, don’t offer one up. Ever. Don’t reference how you did things back then, don’t suggest she try this old wive’s tale or that thing your great aunt used to do, and never, ever tell her she’s doing something wrong. Just zip your mouth up and busy yourself putting some silverware away.
6. Call when you’re at the grocery store. Offer to pick up dinner or lunch, or better yet, just show up with mom’s favorites.
7. Don’t go on and on about how much the baby loves you. No mother ever wants to think her baby connects with someone more than her. Gloat about your magic touch to your friends, if you have to, but never, ever to mom.
8. Don’t post pictures without permission. Back when you were a new mother, you didn’t have to worry about pictures of you with a newborn still looking five months pregnant living on the internet for all eternity. Lucky you.
9. Ohhhh and ahhhh over the baby. There are only so many people a new mom can talk incessantly with about how perfect her new baby is and you are one of those people.
10. Tell her she’s doing a great job. Because she is. And by telling her so, you are too.