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How to survive your first grandparent visit

The shift from parent to grandparent changes family dynamics, and leaves everyone reeling to find their new place.


t And the biggest transition? Finding your boundaries with the people who made all those decisions for you. But keeping a few simple suggestions in mind can make that first visit with the grandparents go smoothly and happily for everyone involved.

tThis is Where I Leave You, an awesome new movie starring Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda and Tina Fey, explores some of these family dynamics when four combative siblings are “grounded” for a week after their dad’s death; his last wish is to have his whole family in one place for one full week. I love the idea for this movie; as each of the characters discover, our families make us crazy and love us more than anything, and they’re the ones who have our backs no matter what.

t So, with that, when your family has just expanded and suddenly everyone is under one roof, here are a few ideas.

Make it easy (well… easier)

t Whether the grandparents are coming to you or you’re going to them, travel and house guests can throw a lot of balls in the air. This tip is for the grandparents; make things as easy as possible. If you’re the house guests, make the bed and put on the coffee in the morning. Offer to straighten up, hold the baby, run some errands, anything you can think of. Your efforts will never be more appreciated than they are in those early days with a newborn.

Smile and nod

t Oh, this is the biggest one. As I know firsthand, when you’re a new mom, you have no idea what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter how many books you read, how many forum posts or Google searches or doctor calls you’ve been through. When they hand you that baby, your first emotion is love.

And the second is panic

t And do you know what the best grandparent will do, when talking with that panic-stricken new mom? Smile. Nod. Assure her that whatever decision she’s making, even if you disagree with it, is the right thing for that little baby. And once you’re done smiling and nodding? Tell her she’s doing a good job.

But still listen

t On the flip side: If you’re the new mom, when Grandma gives you some advice, a gracious and useful reaction is to smile and listen. Sure, you’re making the decisions for your own kid, but grandparents have been through this rodeo once before, and they’re a wealth of knowledge and support when you’re willing to accept it.

Do your best

t And finally: We’re all human. It would be perfect if life came with a script or a playbook, so you could be certain you’re making the exact right move in every situation. But it doesn’t, so you do your best with the moment that you’re in.

t And here’s the most wonderful thing about families: They’ll forgive you for just about anything. Parent, kid, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, second cousin: Family is the bond that never breaks, the people you can always lean on. My favorite thing about This Is Where I Leave You is that it captures that feeling, that no matter what stage of life you’re in, no matter what challenges you’re facing, they’ll be there for you, if you just let them.

tDisclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of SheKnows and This is Where I Leave You, a Warner Bros. Pictures film.

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