Monday, November 12, 2012


It was the end of a long day in the garden for hubby as he put his beds to sleep for winter and a long day for me going through all of my office files and moving an ugly wooden file cabinet out of my bedroom and up the stairs into my little office on the stair landing.  We had moved all the patio furniture into the shelter of the porch and finished the process of getting it ready for winter.  We both were basking in the success of a well organized day. We had just stuffed ourselves on spaghetti Bolognese with a side of garden vegetables while we were waiting for NPR news to start on TV when hubby turned to me and leaning forward asked:

"Do you think you will treat grandchildren differently from your new daughter-in-law than you do for those from your daughter?"

I thought for a minute and realized that indeed I probably would.

I know my daughter intimately and while I allow her to raise her children as she wants, I do sometimes offer just a little advice when I think she needs guidance.  I also stretch the rules just a little when they are alone with me.  With my daughter-in-law, if they are lucky enough to have children, I will stand back more and wait for her actions to help me.  I already love her, but I only 'think' I know her.  She is very close to both her mother and her role will be much smaller.

I will live closer to them geographically, so I hope they feel free to call on us for babysitting and child-watching.  I feel strongly that is my biological role in life.  I cannot explain. but being a grandmother is a calling in my book.  I think it goes to the deep root of reproduction that is the core of most of us.

As I pondered on my husband's unusual question, I realized I had never given thought to how different these two families would be in my life.  I accept that our relationship with our children colors so many things that happen in their lives.  So tell me, if you have children of both sexes, who marry and have children of their own...does it make a difference in your relationship with the grandchildren?  I am not asking if you love more or less, that I know is stupid.  I am just asking about your philosophy in providing guidance to the children and interacting with them and their parents on a subtle and small scale.


  1. Yes. I was much more reticent to offer advice to my DIL than I am to my own daughter(s). Luckily, we agree on most things. She has raised two beautiful daughters (now ages 14 and 17) and I could not be more proud of them. I mist admit that they are very mannerly and well behaved, and those of my daughter fall short in that department.

  2. My DIL whom I adore was always asking my advice (she still does). My daughter has asked me into her house three days a week to care for her wee ones. In thinking about it, I don't know that I feel any differently in either house. I'm looking on that as a blessing.

  3. What was it you said? Being an grandmother is a calling? I love that. And I agree.
    I am blessed with two grandchildren by my daughter. I offer aid and comfort, but not much advice. While I have a son, it doesn't look like he will be having a family, so I will not have the experience of a DIL's children.

  4. Our only child is thirty-two and still looking for the right woman. We're starting to give up on the idea of grandchildren, but hope springs eternal.

  5. I am the proud grams of five grands...all from my son and his wife.
    I am very close with my grands and treat them all equally. When younger and they were in my care...I did feel it was my responsibility to discipline when necessary. Did I overstep? Sometimes and I would apologize. Grin!
    But I do take these precious relationships seriously. They are so important.

  6. I have always thought it impractical to try to treat children in exactly the same way. Their individual differences prevent that in any case.
    Usually there are other factors as well. The important thing, it seems to me, is to be aware of the fact of what you are doing and the why and how of it. Difference doesn't have to imply preference.

  7. Here is another point of view. Take a Mother with two sons and a daughter.

    Daughter has a child. Mother thinks daugther is perfect and can raise child just like she did.

    Sons have children. Mother thinks son's wives are idiots and does not know how to raise children so she has to step in and criticize or "help" all the time.

    Grandchildren love her, but there is much resentment from dil's. Causes many family fights and tug of wars for the children.


  8. OH, Peruby, I think this is common and so sad. I have times when I think the in-laws are not nearly as perfect as my children...but I know that is just stupidity on my part and seeing through he wrong colored glasses.

  9. Linda P.11:01 AM

    I, too, think being a grandmother is a calling, and it's a different calling than being a mom. I know what my grandmother represented to me: unconditional love tempered with wisdom. She felt no need, however, to ensure clean hands and clothing at each moment, to interrupt my attempts to balance on railroad tracks or other such activities. I want to offer that unconditional love to my grandchildren. I have two daughters. However, one daughter feels fully adult and not challenged when I might have a different opinion, while the other, while fully adult and living a life that I certainly could not have managed, doesn't feel quite so fully adult and is quite prickly. I have to be very careful not to offer any opinions with her or even anything that sounds as if it might be an opinion. Yet her children do spend quite a bit of time with me, and are much beloved, as are all my grandchildren, so I guess she trusts me after all. As Dave King said, it's impractical to try to treat all children--and their children--the same, even if both children are of the same gender.

  10. My grandkids are all one son's. I'm very lucky with my DIL, she feels like a daughter to me. I do not offer much in the way of advice, she is stricter than I was with mine and she loves all her children, three home grown, three adopted, and two fostered. I couldn't do what she does. I do have much younger sister whose kids are the same age as my grands, and I treat them like grands. She does not require my advice either, just a listening ear.

  11. Fascinating thoughts. With seven adopted grandchildren, we find we do treat the kids about the same. It did take a while tho.

  12. I have only grandchildren from my daughter's. My son not married but if he does at this late age
    I will adore that child and hope so the dil thinks I am special :)
    I love being a grandmother, my grandchildren treat me so special :)

  13. You are absolutely right in referring to grandmothering as a calling. I was fortunate enough to know both sets of grandparents and two great-grandmothers. They added immeasurably to my life in too many ways to count.

    I think you are wise to stand somewhat in the shadows when it comes to your d-i-l's children. Observe her ways, which will echo those of her mother. I suspect you'll be comfortable with them. After all, your son chose this woman, right?

    I'm sure you'll carve an important presence in your grandchildren's lives. :)

  14. I have a son and a daughter. I am very close to all of my grandchildren since my son's wife abandoned the family when the kids were 5, 3 and 8 mos. Prior to her leaving, I could say of do nothing right for those three grandchildren. After she left, my son certainly appreciated my help and interaction with his children.

  15. I have two daughters and four grandkids. I am very light on the advice.I think they are better mothers than I was.

  16. I have a daughter and 12 month-old granddaughter. I believe that we have had a good triangle relationship so far. When asked, I give some advice to my daughter; otherwise I say nothing even her way of treating my granddaughter is different from my experience.
    If I had a DIL, what relationship would I have with her and her children? Hope it would be the same as the relationship I have now with my daughter and granddaughter, but in reality, it would be probably a bit distant.

  17. Since I have two boys, I do not know about having a girl child. I find that I try to not interfere, but, being a baby nurse, I found it easy to give out advice. Now that they are older, no one cares about my sage advice. Just kidding. I find the daughter in laws take my advice differently, and I feel easier talking with one more than the other....However, I feel that being a grandmother is a calling too! I think of it as an extension to mothering my sons....


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