Grandmother Is Taking Over
ANSWER: The good news is that your son has a very enthusiastic grandmother. Eventually, when your mother-in-law finds her appropriate place in the family, this could be a great resource not only for your son, but for you and your husband. Meanwhile, however, there is definitely work to be done!
You are a new mother, and you have undergone the stress of a premature delivery. Not only are you finding your own way, but you are no doubt quite protective, and rightfully so, following your son's fragile entry into the world. Your mother-in-law will likely take guidance from you and your husband once you establish boundaries. Do not be shy to exercise your authority as the mother.
Consider the following suggestions in establishing a comfortable role for your son's paternal grandmother:
It may be wise to allow your husband to take the first step, as it is his mother who needs some loving feedback about her new role in your family, and it is his job to give it. She will be more likely to be able to hear it from him, as there is already a well-established bond of love. Hearing it for the first time from a daughter-in-law may not go over as smoothly, and can encourage feelings of competition rather than cooperation.
But rest assured, once your own confidence in mothering is solidified, you will likely feel less intimidated by your mother-in-law and better able to enjoy what love and enthusiasm she has to share. In the meantime, be clear that you are in charge and establish boundaries with the help of your spouse. After all, it is your turn to mother!
Gayle Peterson, MSSW, LCSW, PhD is a family therapist specializing in prenatal and family development. She trains professionals in her prenatal counseling model and is the author of An Easier Childbirth, Birthing Normally and her latest book, Making Healthy Families. Her articles on family relationships appear in professional journals and she is an oft-quoted expert in popular magazines such as Woman's Day, Mothering and Parenting. . She also serves on the advisory board for Fit Pregnancy Magazine.
Dr. Gayle Peterson has written family columns for ParentsPlace.com, igrandparents.com, the Bay Area's Parents Press newspaper and the Sierra Foothill's Family Post. She has also hosted a live radio show, "Ask Dr. Gayle" on www.ivillage.com, answering questions on family relationships and parenting. Dr. Peterson has appeared on numerous radio and television interviews including Canadian broadcast as a family and communications expert in the twelve part documentary "Baby's Best Chance". She is former clinical director of the Holistic Health Program at John F. Kennedy University in Northern California and adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. A national public speaker on women's issues and family development, Gayle Peterson practices psychotherapy in Oakland, California and Nevada City, California. She also offers an online certification training program in Prenatal Counseling and Birth Hypnosis. Gayle and is a wife, mother of two adult children and a proud grandmother of three lively boys and one sparkling granddaughter.
Copyright 1996-2003. Gayle Peterson All rights reserved.