From pregnancy bonding to getting tech savvy, use parenthood as a chance to give your family relationship some TLC
Whatever your dynamic, becoming a parent yourself can often make you see yours in a different light.
Suddenly, you get why they were so proud every time you ate your peas. Or you think about how they disciplined/fed/spent time with you – and whether you’ll do the same with your child.
True, some families are closer than others, but there are ways to make your new grandma-mum relationship the best it can be.
1. Get some perspective
Use pregnancy as a chance to think about what your relationship’s like with your parents – and how you want it to be when your baby’s here.
‘Talk about it with your partner and decide whether you’d like them to be around more or even take a step back if you feel like you might need some space,’ says Relate counsellor Christine Northam.
It’s about actually acknowledging the relationship you have.
2. Encourage involvement
If you want your parents to play a hands-on role, take the lead and invite it – they may be unsure.
This could mean asking your mum along to pregnancy scans, organising a family day out or just seeing if they’ll help you with bathtime one evening.
‘If you haven’t always had a strong relationship but want to improve it, think about gradually opening up communication,’ says Christine. ‘Phone more frequently or perhaps arrange a celebration dinner.’
3. Make the most of technology
Instagram. Skype. Text. There are so many techy options for keeping in touch and they’ll probably never be more valuable than when you have a baby.
The smallest update about your baby makes for a thoughtful gesture
Quick and easy if you don’t have the energy for a phone call, they’re especially ideal if your parents don’t live nearby – even the smallest update about your baby’s latest gurgle makes for a thoughtful gesture.
Try new website lifecake.com for an invitation-only way to share videos and photos with relatives.
4. Be advice savvy
Chances are your parents will love it if you ask for baby advice, plus it’s a nice way to show how much you value their input.
‘Remember habits change though, so do your own research and make sure you’re not relying on your parents all the time,’ says Christine. Perhaps ask for ‘feedback’ on an idea you already have or do a hypothetical ‘I’m thinking about XYZ – how would you have done it?’
If the advice is unsolicited, remind yourself your parents are probably just trying to help, thank and reassure them you’re fine for now but will ask if you need any guidance.
5. Balance your childcare set-up
Parents are often a big part of childcare arrangements – so how do you keep the relationship positive?
‘Lay down your guidelines and make sure everyone’s clear to avoid problems or disagreements,’ says Christine. ‘But also show your appreciation by regularly telling them how much you value their help or even writing a nice card or letter.’
Baby scribbles make a brilliant sign off.
How do you involve your baby’s grandparents? Let us know below.