Do Maternal Grandparents Have it Better?

Since I wrote this post my feelings about maternal grandparents have not changed much.

I am really interested in what others think… especially, moms, dads, grandmoms and granddads, themselves.



Do maternal grandparents have it better…maybe, is all I have to say.

It truly depends on the relationship that a mom has with her daughter. If the relationship with your daughter is marginal then I believe the relationship with your grandchildren has a greater chance of being marginal. As a grandmother, you will have to make more of an effort at your relationship with your grandchildren as well.

Relationships are work…grandparent-grandchild relationships are no different in many ways than relationships with other relatives or friends.

Grandchildren should not, in my belief, have to “kowtow” to their grandparents. I have said this in other posts.

To me, it is nice to have grandchildren who respect you, but if you want to have them visit, call or talk to you, then you will have to be the engager.

Sorry to say, but I remember being really bored by my paternal grandparents…even though I loved them dearly…they just were not fun and to top it off, most of the time they spoke Italian which I did not understand. I remember thinking this, was kind of rude.

Since my parents were divorced, my paternal grandparents were visited only on weekends with my dad. It was kind of an obligation of his and he brought me along for the ride.

Since I lived with my maternal grandmother, I loved her like she was my mother and sometimes, she was my “stand in” mother. She taught me to cook and do things around the house like ironing and making hospital corners on the beds. All girls need to know these things…Right?

Divorce or any rupture in a family does nothing to enhance the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. Of course, it does depend upon the age at which the rupture takes place and to how extensive is the animosity between father, mother and family members.

In these situations, grandparents may find it difficult for various reasons to remain in contact with their grandchildren, because of loyalty to their child, conflict with daughter-in-law or son-in-law and the trickle down effect that all of this has on the grandchild.

Even if there is a seemingly amicable situation, there will be unspoken feelings that a child may sense, which will interfere with a developing relationship between them and their grandparents. Grandma and grandpa will have their work cut out for them in this family scenario. But hopefully the work will be worth it in the end.

Being a grandparent is the best thing that has happened to me. I cannot imagine any thing better. Being a mom was great and yes, I definitely had more energy but not more wisdom or patience…those I have acquired with age and life experience. For me, being the maternal grandmother has been a perk because I had and still have a good relationship with my daughter.

Do I have to walk on egg shells?… sometimes, certainly… will my relationship with my grandchild continue to be as wonderful as it currently is…well that will depend on me now won’t it?


Do maternal grandparents have it better?
Posted on October 8, 2012
Like I said: Its complicated.

via Do Maternal Grandmothers Really Have It Better? –

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Commentary: July 2014

Grandparents when it comes to you, there are boundaries just as in any relationship . If these boundaries were not established with your own children first, you may have a hard time establishing them with in-laws and even with your own grandchildren.


There is no entitlement that goes with the status of grandparent…just like every other role in life it must be earned. Your place in the family genogram or family tree is fixed but your role is not…


I would like to go back to Jackie Kennedy for a moment…she said, “if you bungle raising your children, nothing else matters much.”


So grandparents, if your relationship is not what you would like it to be with your grandchildren …. maybe you need to look at your relationship with your own children and see if you did “bungle” somewhere. Then look at the relationship with your grandchildren’s parents.


Remember, it is not about you and what you want, it is about your grandchildren and their parents.


Life is not easy…



Grandmothers…”Discuss Amongst Yourselves”.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a grandmother.  Several friends of mine including myself are now grandmothers. All of us agree, it has been an awesome experience, one that cannot be imagined until it actually happens.

Recently, I read somewhere, as a grandparent “You actually are in love with someone else’s child”… how well put. But if this is so…how do you explain what being a grandmother is all about?

In searching for an answer, I came across a website……where a few contributing writers really nail down some controversial grandparent feelings, which let’s face it, we all at times experience, whether we want to admit it or not.

My grandmother friends just happen to all be maternal grandmothers, which seems to create a special bond between them and their grandchildren. I can attest to this since I was raised in a three generation home. My maternal grandmother was, for the most part, my primary caretaker since my own mom was divorced. She worked outside the home, had two jobs in NYC, which kept her away from early morning until after 9 pm at night. As a child, my grandmother was the person who was always there for me and my mom was a phone call away at all times.  I did not know any different and thought that all grandmothers were as caring as mine.

When I first met my grandchild…I did fall in love. At the same time, memories of my own grandmother flooded my thoughts. I wanted to be a grandmother just like her…warm, caring and always there, when needed. Fortunately, for the most part, I have been able to be present in my granddaughter’s life on a regular basis since her birth. She has been a joy beyond all expectations.

I have to say, my friends express feelings very much similar to mine. In particular, one close friend, who has been taking care of her grandchildren regularly since their births has loved every tiring moment of the time she has devoted to them. Both of us look at our grandparent experience as a gift, admitting to having more patience as grandmothers than we did as moms. As moms to two girls a piece, we find ourselves among the sometimes “coveted” group of maternal grandmothers.

Our styles of grandparenting are not seen as the same as own grandmothers. We think of ourselves as younger versions…whether this is true remains a question in my mind. However, we do not seem as “old” as our mothers were at our age and of course nowhere near as “old” as our grandmothers were either.

As maternal grandmothers, we enjoy a bond with our granddaughters much like the bonds that we have with our own daughters.

I, myself, remember my grandmother saying “a daughter is a daughter for life…a son is a son ’til he takes a wife”.  When it comes to being a paternal grandmother I am lacking in experience since I have no sons. For this, I have to rely on what moms of sons tell me.

At times, I can imagine grandchild/grandparent relationships can be lopsided for many reasons…multiple sets of grandparents can complicate situations, distance, and marital relationships all factor into the grandparent/grandchild picture.

In reading some grandmother blog posts, I found a few in particular to share…see what you think. In some cases, the comments that were generated imply some sensitive nerves were touched by these articles.

In general, I have learned, life is about balance and when the balance is off for any reason…it takes time to equate itself.

Grandparents are part of the family dynamic but they are no longer in charge. For many this secondary in command position takes some getting used to. It can be quite an adjustment, not necessarily on their terms or their schedule depending upon many mitigating circumstances

Many feelings and emotions are involved in family life, which make generational relationships tricky. Hopefully, due to some prevailing wisdom of age, grandparents are more equipped to gracefully accept their rightful positions in the family constellation which is in my opinion, supportive, emotional and yes, sometimes financial, providing unconditional love and attention to their grandchildren.

Eight years ago, when Ryan Adair Anderson, the cross-eyed little scrap of a thing, arrived on the planet to make me a grandmother, I was struck by how little the word “grandma” fit me. My hair was not gray. I held an iPod, not a lace hankie in my hand. I was a baby boomer. We had made middle age hip and would do the same with grandparenting.I was, in short, Grandmother 2.0.The experts agreed with me. Mattie Dychtwald of Age Wave and author of Cycles, How We Will Live, Work, and Buy said, “We’re the generation that’s going to transform the image of grandparenting.”

via Grandmother 2.0? Ha! –


So much effort to go to, I think, when the mother of the mother is the real grandmother. I read that the mother of a daughter who then gives birth to a girl is the closest kind of grandmother there is. This is so obviously true that I am amazed some days to remember that the girls have only some of my genes. Ryan, certainly, is a little replica of me, right down to the crossed eyes, straight brown hair — and tendency to interrupt people. And Maggie clearly got her left-handedness from me. I don’t see the other grandparents in them at all. Also, both Trevor and Morgan, although they are now separated, live closer to me than they do to the other grandparents.

via How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Other Grandmother –


There is a mysterious transmission of accumulated wisdom and babycare know-how that seems to pass along bloodlines from maternal grandmothers to their adult daughters. No doubt this is biology at work, and paternal grandmothers are simply not part of that intimate loop. Still, I successfully raised a child myself and so when my daughter-in-law turns primarily to her mother for advice, I’m caught off guard. Feeling like a third wheel on a hot date is not something I anticipated.

via Are You the Left-Out Grandparent? –