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Since You Asked: New Grandparent

How much involvement with your grandkids is considered overstepping? Since you asked, David, Susan and Rob offer their thoughts.

How much is too much? How do I help but not hover? As a new grandparent, you’re probably asking yourself all of these questions and more. Listen in on Susan’s pro tips as a grandmother of 7. Do what you will with Rob’s advice to pretend you’re a drummer in a band and “get invited back.”

Featuring: Susan Guidi, Rob Angel, & David Stewart

Have a question for us? Comment below or drop us a line: info@sinceyouasked.co

David Stewart
Welcome to the Since You Asked show. My name is David Stewart. I am the founder of AGEIST magazine.

Susan Guidi
Hi, my name is Susan Guidi. I’m a 66-year-old competitive bodybuilder and standup comic.

Rob Angel
Hi, my name is Rob Angel. I’m the creator of Pictionary, traveler and explorer.

David Stewart
And since you asked, we’re going to answer your questions. Hey, guys. Welcome back. Looking forward to some awesome advice today. Maybe I’ll learn how to be a better human, or not. Susan, tell me about these purple glasses. There’s all this color going on on the screen here. The purple glasses, you’ve got the fuchsia top, you’ve got the…what color is the wall? 

Susan Guidi
Oh goodness, it’s this beautiful teal. I just did this. My son moved out, so I re-decorated, and I didn’t think I was going to like it, but I do. I can’t remember the name, though. Sorry. And yes, color is a big deal.

Rob Angel
Yeah, but you can tell with me as well.

David Stewart
Rob is an internationally known interior decorator and you can see the evidence of his work in the background there. Great job, Rob.

Rob Angel
Thank you, Dave. You know, I take a lot of time.

David Stewart
All right. So this week, we’ve got a question from April. And April says, “I’m a recent grandmother. And I want to be involved. But wondering how much is too much? I don’t want to overstep during my son and daughter-in-law’s first time having a baby. But also, I want to play an active role.” Hmm. What do you guys think?

Susan Guidi
Oh, I’m taking this one. I am a grandmother of soon-to-be-seven and, Miss April, let me just give you some advice. Don’t do anything unless you are asked to do it. I often say that when you get to be a grandparent it’s almost as if you have three companies. Like, in my case, I have three kids.

And you developed these companies and were super successful. But by the time you get to be a grandparent, you are off board. They fired you. They gave you your pink slip and nobody’s asking your opinion. So, if you want to protect yourself, let me just say, if they need something, if they come to you, you can do it.

But, girlfriend, do not devote your life, even as much as you’ll love these grandkids; it can be very, very harmful to your psyche because here’s the deal about being a grandparent: it’s no longer your relationship with the child. For instance, in my case, it’s my daughters who had the babies. Now it’s your relationship with your daughter and her relationship with her husband, and you didn’t raise him.

So his take on kids and everything else creates a dynamic that can be really, quite frankly, painful. Love on those babies, buy them things, but don’t give unsolicited advice.

Rob Angel
Wow. I agree with everything you said. This is one of those ones that we’re not going to fight. I’m not a grandparent; I’m really looking forward to being one. But I’ve had a mother-in-law, and I think your job, April, your job is to get invited back. If you start pushing your nose where it doesn’t belong, doing things that are going to piss everybody off, you’re not going to get it back.

That’s painful. And there is such a fine line between doting grandmother and just a pain in the ass. Speaking of asses, Susan, how are you?

Susan Guidi
Yes, my ass is just great. And I am no longer a pain in the ass. But I learned that a bit the hard way. And I think, you know, I wasn’t used to not dealing with my daughter on a one-on-one basis. I mean, we talk every day but then all of a sudden, when you’ve got a son-in-law that, like I said, you didn’t raise, culturally they’re not the same way.

Perhaps they don’t have the same mindset as your kids. And all of a sudden you start interjecting what your thoughts are, what you and your daughter think. I used to go in and do everything. I’d clean, I’d cook, and nobody gave a shit. The only people who care are those babies.

So love, love, love them. They’ll always know that you love them. But just keep your mouth closed. And that’s such a hard lesson to learn. But it’s so important to protect yourself. Because if not, there are so many stories, and it’s not talked about a lot, about grandparents being sort of not invited back. And can you imagine being told you can’t see your grandbabies?

So they hold up that grandbaby card and it’s really something that needs to be talked about a bit more because it can be extremely painful.

Rob Angel
Yeah. And something you said about your son-in-law and your daughter, they’re kind of a team now. And if you try to go with your side of your daughter and tell them, “I’d like to see the baby more, I’d like to do this,” you better go through the mother as men, and a new father, we’re clueless. We’re absolutely clueless. We’re good dads and all these things. But if you don’t contact or go to us both, we’re going to acquiesce to our wives. She’s the mother. We think she’s smart enough. So, yeah, don’t play one against the other or you’re sunk.

My ex-wife and I, we decided finally, after a year, to let her mom take care of our daughter. Guess what she did? Cut her hair. She was one year old, and she had this big curl. And we get back home and she has this little plastic bag. “Look what I did. Look what I saved for you.” She was not invited back for six months. I love her to death, by the way, just so you know, full disclosure, I love my ex-wife’s mother, but oh, man, that was super awkward. Super uncomfortable. Don’t do stuff to your grandchildren.

Susan Guidi
I really think there should be a grandparent manual. Because, again, it’s one of those things that you get to it and that chapter was torn out in the Handbook of Life. And then you get there and you realize you’re doing shit that they can easily say, “You’re not coming back for six weeks, you’re not coming back for a month.” And that’s really, really painful. 

The other thing is: get a goddamn life, you know what I mean? Just because you have grandkids doesn’t mean that now your world has to be focused around that.

Rob Angel
So you don’t have to move near your grandkids?

Susan Guidi
I would not recommend it. Because if something like that happens, now you’ve given up everything. You live next door to them and they tell you you can’t come over.

Rob Angel
Right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, we’ve done a few Since You Asked questions, and you’re really worked up over this one. I could tell your energy. I could tell you’re feeling really strongly about this. So, everybody listening, listen up. Because if not, she’ll knock on your door. I’d be very careful right now.

Susan Guidi
I love you, Rob.

Rob Angel
Love you, too.

David Stewart
Thank you, guys. This is wonderful. We’ll see you next week. Take care.

See medical disclaimer below. ↓

1 COMMENT

  1. As with your own children, it goes fast. Mine are teenagers by now and no longer interested in hanging out with Grandma. BUT, when they were little, we were very hands-on and did a lot more than my parents ever did. I was a SAHM and did not need or want the help; my daughter is very busy with her career. We had a crib, evolving into sleeping bags for sleepovers; spent time in children’s museums and playgrounds; picked up and drove kids to activities. I loved it and I am grateful for the opportunity. But they do not want to hang out with Grandma anymore.

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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

 

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