How do you handle jealous grandparents? #I've got a parenting question!#grandparents#Step-parents June 18 2013 | Offbeat Editors offbeatbride Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter. By: André Mouraux – CC BY 2.0 My husband and I are expecting our first child in September. My parents are divorced and both remarried. My mom has some anxiety issues that she generally handles very well, but can get overly emotional very easily when it comes to me (an only child). She has a jealous streak when it comes to my Step-Mom, which is not helped by the fact that while my Dad and Step-Mom live 10 minutes away, my Mom and Step-Dad are a good five hours away. Has anyone else had to deal with blended grandparents and jealousy? Any suggestions on how to deal with it without ending up caught in the middle? — Lee Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo PREVIOUS Impress your cat with a DIY rainbow deck NEXT I am Deaf, my partner is hearing, and we're about to have a baby Show/Hide comments [ 46 ] Just a gentle reminder: since the topic of this question is definitely more personal than others we've run, please keep in mind that Offbeat Families is a public site, and anything you say in the comments could be potentially be read by the people you might be discussing. Please keep the comment policy in mind, and try not to say anything you wouldn't also say to the person in question. Thanks, guys!! 10 agree Reply This is very difficult but always remember how lucky you are that you have two sets of grandparents that love your children. Everything else can be worked out. If you hear one set trying to influence the children against the other you as a parent will need to take action by speaking to the offender directly. In my case my adult child made me aware and I make a point to let the other set of grandparents know how much I appreciate all they do. I am hoping they will get over their jealousy at some point but in the meantime I try to be as gracious and pleasant as possible when I visit. 1 agrees Reply My grandparents were INCREDIBLY jealous of each other growing up. The situation was a bit different, since both lived a state away and it was my father's parents and my mother's mom, but the jealousy was always there. Even when I was a kid, I picked up on it. The best advice I can give you is what my parents did: Set boundaries now, before the kid's born, and be fair. Will you be going to grandparents' houses for the holiday of your choice, or will you be at home and they'll come to you? If they're simply incapable of being civil to one another for a few hours (like mine), try switching off. For example: We always had Christmas at home, but we switched off which relative we visited first when we visited after Christmas. We also always switched whose house we ate Thanksgiving dinner. Because your father lives so close, let your mother know that you'll have an open door policy when it comes to visiting, provided she gives you some warning. My parents had this with both sets of grandparents, but neither set liked to travel to see us. Which was their loss. Also, try setting up a Skype date with you, Mom and Baby. My roommates do that with one grandparent who lives in a different time zone. Either way, be firm about it. They will throw temper tantrums. My parents got cussed out more times than I can count over it. (that is, however, how my father's family generally rolls; your parents may just make passive-aggressive remarks for the rest of their lives like my mother's family does) But while it makes me incredibly sad that I never had that 'the whole family happy around the Thanksgiving table' experience, I am so thankful to my parents that they gave me as many peaceful holiday memories as they could. 2 agree Reply Whenever possible, I'd say keep grandparent visits separate. I am in a similar situation with my parents and my mom (with anxiety, like yours), sometimes says the most ridiculous and rudest crap about my dad and his wife. I don't think it's ever mean-spirited, but more because she is so anxious and worried all the time. So it is my responsibility to make sure she (and my other parents, though they don't really do this), know that that type of behavior is absolutely unacceptable around the grand kids. Mostly though, keeping the visits separate seems to work very well. That way, each side of the family gets to have 'me time' and no one is competing with anyone else for the kiddo's attention. But really, they are adults too and so as much as it is my responsibility to make sure my kids are healthy and happy and surrounded by loving family, its is their (the grandparents) responsibility to act like grown-ass adults and keep their grown-ass problems away from my kids. Y'know, till they are old enough to understand that these kinds of issues are part of life. 2 agree Reply Very yes to this: my parents live four hours away, and my husband's parents live directly across the street. We need to keep visits separate so that my parents feel like they get "quality" time with our son, and so they don't feel the need to "share" what little time they get with him. There is a lot of tension with my currently-divorcing parents, so Skype is not a very viable regular activity. As a low-impact alternative, we have a blog where we post pictures, videos, and fun stories about our kiddo. They – and other family and friends far from home – can get their baby fix any time they need one. Reply We have a similar issue, but it's between grandparents. Our daughter, born last year, is the only grandchild on both sides. Both sets of grandparents live far away from us. My mother-in-law has taken to tracking how much time each set of grandparents spends with our baby, in order to make sure they get more time than my parents. How often they talk to her on skype, how often we're planning to visit, how long we stay. Objectively, I know it's because she's struggling to cope with being so far away, but it can be tough to deal with. I try to divide time fairly, and if I make an offer to my parents, then I always extend the same offer to my partner's parents – we skype daily with both sets, we do equal amounts of visits, we buy gifts for both. I try to go out of my way to do special things for my mother-in-law, that I know she'll like – like sharing a really cute photo of the baby with her, or texting her with funny things the baby did ("she just dumped orange juice over the cat!"). These extra gestures seem to really help her feel less forgotten and far away. It's the 'killing her with kindness' approach I suppose 1 agrees Reply I am so impressed and so should your mother in law that you skype so much!! 1 agrees Reply Seriously! I don't think I could handle *daily* Skype chats. We do weekly ones and I thought that was impressive. Haha. Way to go! 1 agrees Reply Heck, I'm basically best friends with my mom and I talk to her maybe twice a week! And that's just on the phone. My SO is the only one who I skype daily (we're currently 500 miles apart) Reply I don't have a blended family, but both my parents and my husband's parents would like for us to bring our twins over every single day of the year. My parents are an hour away and his are only 15 minutes away, but I still don't need to see my inlaws that frequently! At first, I felt the need to sort of protect everyone, but then I realized: I'm raising twins! I don't have time to make sure everyone in my life feels good all the time. I had to let go and let everyone deal with their own feelings. Trying to make sure that everyone is okay just wasn't healthy for me. I'm polite and considerate, but ultimately I'm living my life. I won't try to control how everyone else feels. 5 agree Reply I'm glad to hear that someone else is taking this approach. We live a fair distance away from all future-grandparents and my first baby is due around the holidays. Already my divorced parents and my in-laws are making claims for Christmas and New Year's and every day in between. It's clear that my mother especially expects my husband and I to segregate the time between them — not easy when there are only so many vacation days in the holiday season and I have no idea how I will be feeling in the first days with our new child. Finally my husband reminded me that I'm the one having a baby here! I'll be grateful for any supportive visits that we receive, but the last thing I need to be worrying about is bending over backwards to make sure everyone else is comfortable when the hubs and I are going to be the ones going through the biggest transition of our lives! 2 agree Reply Congratulations on your new baby, and don't do it! Don't fill the quota!! Screw them! I know they're your family, but they didn't make and aren't raising the baby. They should be honored if you can make time, and understanding if you can't. Entitlement issues are ugly, and you should think of what would make you and your little hub family happiest, especially in the beginning. They should be accommodating YOU. Not the other way around. It's not an object, it's a baby, and a happy mommy means a happy baby. If they can't play nice together so you can reduce your rigmarole, then that's their problem, and their loss. 1 agrees Reply My husband and I went through this last year. Luckily our families were fairly reasonable. However, we still announced that we weren't really doing Christmas and told people to go ahead and make plans without us because there was no way for us to know how we'd be feeling. Then we firmly told people what we would be doing if were were up for it. It's hard, and next year our plan is to host and just invite everyone. Not easy, but it'll work out. 1 agrees Reply Ditto, ditto, ditto. For me, I thought of my mom as having some anxiety and jealousy issues. Later I realized how severe it was (not saying this is true for you!) and it has taken some good therapy to realize I am totally not responsible for my mom's feelings. Even when her feelings get very loud and aggressive and jealous. There's only so much you can do to accommodate and be "fair," but, at least for me, the rest of my time and energy will be focused on me and my new little family. Not on trying to make sure everyone else is happy! 2 agree Reply I'm very interested to see people's comments on this thread, as I am worried about creating a grandparent jealousy/imbalance situation: my in-laws are so much better with my son than my parents, and so much easier on me and my husband. Not exactly the same as Lee's original question, but I suspect the family drama is somewhat similar! 1 agrees Reply Can you come up with a special activity only she does with the baby? Maybe it's a special song she'll sing or something. As the child gets older something like that might become easier, when they can do more things together. 3 agree Reply I like this suggestion. Both of my gmas had different songs that they sung to me and different things we liked to do together. I don't think it was intentional, but it definitely gave me nice memories of both of them that were special to just us. 2 agree Reply My MIL is incredibly insecure! Both her and her husband never really created a life outside of raising their single set of twins and other people's children along the way. She is jealous of me as well as my mother!! My mom is equally insecure for other reasons, and they get competitive with each other in a horribly passive aggressive way. While I can totally call my own mother on it, my MIL has alpha female issues, and is nigh impossible to deal with. My inlaws also have entitlement issues, laying claim to my children as though they owned them in some fashion. They already see them more than any other grandparents I know, but it's never enough. It's really bizarre. When the jealousy strikes, I make all attempts to stay away from them. Talking to them would just end in denial and more drama, and there is no way to make them less insecure. If you can't communicate with someone about a problem, coddling them, playing to it or finding things to divert it really don't work. We've tried everything, but an inch turns into a mile, and emotions start running really high. A good solid boundary always works best when positive confrontation is not an option. 8 agree Reply yeah, i have the same problem with my MIL being jealous of me over kiddo. it's so stupid. it's like…well, naturally the kid is going to want his mama if he slips and gets a bump that needs kissing, or if he wants a kiss goodnight from me when she's putting him to bed. WTF woman? you raised your kids. this one is mine and i'm raising him, so of course he wants me a lot. lol. 9 agree Reply While I haven't noticed any jealousy between grand parents and we only have 2 sets to deal with; I do try to keep an even balance of involvement between the two sets. And I feel it really started at birth with our daughter. Both were welcome to come up when she was born. They were kind enough to balance their time with us though so only one set was there at a time and this really helped to not overwhelm us. Skype calls began immediately. As an infant, we were able to do daily calls to each, but again, we only had 2 sets so that was manageable. For you, maybe 2 on one day, one on another. Learning baby's pattern so they see baby awake is great, but even if baby is sleeping and you take the time to share how things are going with them is nice and keeps them involved. Baby Pic of the Day. For us, this started when my husband had to go back to work 1 week after she was born and I was home alone for the next 4 months. So I started doing a BPotD. This kept dad not feeling so glum, but I also added the grands to the email and any friends/relatives that expressed interest in seeing her. This guaranteed they all got to see her every day of the week (excluding weekends). And meant that even if a skype call didn't happen they got their baby fix. Time with the grand kids. When I was growing up, I only had one set of grandparents and they had each grandchild come spend a week with them alone during the summer. It was always the best week of the summer. It meant getting to see a different place, different play grounds, getting to ride old rusty bikes and granddad's old antique car. Playing with my dad's childhood toys and just experiencing life differently and living by different rules. I decided as soon as I was pregnant that my daughter would get this with each of her grands too. The first year each set got a few days to come and watch her at our place while the nanny got her vacation. The second year each set got to take her some place for 3-4 days, not quite a week so we wouldn't miss her too much. This year is the first year of a full week with each. She's worn out the first set already, the second set gets the fun in another month. This is a great way to let them bond and give us some much needed one on one time. I can't recommend this enough. For holidays, we choose 1 holiday a year to travel and switch between the relatives. So one year we traveled to his parents for thanksgiving, the next to mine for thanksgiving, the next to his for Christmas. Next year it'll probably be mine for Christmas. We used Skype for spending Christmas with the grands on the years we stayed home. The best thing in the worlds was having 2 skype calls going at once, all pointed toward her and opening all of our gifts together. If that doesn't work, schedule part of the presents with one and part with the other. Or in your case, save a portion of presents for a skype call with your mom and the other portion for when your dad comes over or you go there. Birthdays everyone is welcome but my dad doesn't usually come up for that. So we skype him for a portion of the party including birthday cake and presents. They seem happy to sit and watch and guests can stop by and talk to them as the event happens too. It's weird, but it works! Hope some of those suggestions help 🙂 7 agree Reply Oh, and to help with present issues, I try to send out suggestions in an email thread to all the grands and ask them to discuss amongst themselves what they'd like to get her. I like to be surprised along with her so I try hard not to be in the middle of it and leave it to them. 1 agrees Reply I love the Baby Pic of the Day thing! That's a great, easy way to help grandparents feel involved and up-to-date without a huge time commitment. 3 agree Reply With my parents in Canada where I'm from and my in-laws only a 30 minute drive away in the UK where I'm now living, one of our solutions has been to set up a Flickr account and give the whole family the passwords. I upload pictures as often as I can – multiple pictures daily when I was on maternity leave, fewer now that I'm back at work. This means both sets of grandparents get to watch my son growing up, but I can keep my own parents feeling involved despite the distance while holding my in-laws at arms length a bit – I really did not need them around once or twice a week! It has turned out a low stress, low family politics way of keeping everyone pretty happy. 1 agrees Reply If you have any crazy relationships before the baby gets here, it can get a lot worse after the grandkids are born. It can get extra sticky if the grandparents are involved in social media (of course, this is a 'your mileage may vary' situation). My husband and I both agree that we have a nice, happy, and healthy relationship with one set of grandparents and one that's…… just not 🙂 I had a long story typed out, but the point is to set boundaries and do what is best for you and your family; they had their turn to raise their family and now you have yours. You can still be sympathetic to family members feelings, but don't let them guilt trip you into molding your life around theirs. One family member told my husband and me that we needed to do something (something that was completely unsafe, btw) because we had to be the bigger person. I replied that being the bigger person doesn't mean being a doormat. Sometimes you just have to say, "I'm sorry you feel that way" to let them know that you don't mean to hurt them intentionally, but you're sticking by your decision. 1 agrees Reply Unfortunately, in my experience, there is little you can do to avoid being caught in the middle – you are "the middle". All you can do is not take responsibility for their emotions. My in-laws live an hour away (they moved from Oklahoma to Seattle to be close to us), my mom lives in California, and my dad and stepmom live in Pennsylvania. I've found that the conversations I have with my parents about visiting soon is mostly about THEIR guilt of not being around or able to make time for a visit. I had to stop letting their guilt be a burden on me. It is not 100% my responsibility to make the trips to visit. I'm the one with a toddler who is difficult to travel with after all. Turns out my mom makes the time to visit about every 3 or 4 months; I always take days off work when she visits and try to pay for meals & activities so that the time and financial burden are shared. We haven't seen my dad since we visited him 2 years ago, even though every phone conversation involves the need for a visit. Do I miss him and wish he could be a bigger part of my daughter's life? OF COURSE! But he organizes his life priorities differently than the other sets of grandparents. What I'm saying is this – its not your responsibility to make sure visits are even between all the grandparents but that the effort with each set of grandparent individually is shared between your family's life and their life. Otherwise, you will kill yourself trying to make everyone happy. 2 agree Reply I second the statement "it is not 100% my responsibility to make the trips to visit." I no longer have a relationship with my parents (long, completely not relevant story) but when I did, I only had one child and my parents, for the life of them, would not make an effort to visit. But they were constantly trying to get me to take the time off, spend money and make the 1,000 mile trip to visit. It really hurt my feelings, a lot. When we did have relationships with both grandparents, we always separated visits so that they did not interact with one another. The one time we didn't was for my daughter's first birthday and it was WAY uncomfortable. Reply I second the Skype suggestion. While I'm not dealing with remarried grandparents my parents live in the UK (4000miles away!) while my in-laws live about 90minutes away. We have a regularly scheduled Skype session with my parents who feel bad they can't see their granddaughter in the flesh. My in-laws see granddaughter a couple of times a month, but feel bad they don't see her as often as my parents. I guess we're lucky that our daughter is the 2nd grandchild on one side and the 3rd on the other so the 'pressure' is slightly relieved 😛 2 agree Reply With my grandmother who lives far away, I speak to her on the phone regularly (every fortnight). With grandparents about ten minutes away I see them every so often and my mum (who speaks to my other grandmother every day) relays a lot of information. I think it helps to have different routines with the different sets of grandparents. That way there's less direct comparison and you can tailor the contacts so that your Mum can have the extra reassurance she needs 1 agrees Reply Unfortunately, I'd second the separating the grandparents approach. My parents are divorced, both remarried, and refuse to be in the same room or communicate at all. My husband's parents are still married and generally much easier to be around, and live on the other side of the country from my family. When we lived near mine, it was like being a kid all over again, with my mother manipulating every situation to her advantage to try and get more time with the grandkids, and my dad silently accepting it to try to make it easier on me, but still being upset. We had to just put our foot down for things like Christmas, saying we would spend the morning at home with OUR family, then would visit both sets. We ended up moving back east and now see my in-laws on a regular basis, but when my mother comes for a visit, we generally give her that time and not have any of my husband's family over. It sucks, because we like to see them, but the last time our mothers were together it was just a horrible passive-aggressive power struggle. I was in the hospital having our third baby, and my mom came out to stay to help out and meet the baby. My oldest was at school, and when my in-laws got the phone call that the baby was about to be born, they drove up (we're an hour apart) and waited at our house. With my mom. Without us. According to my father-in-law, it was hilarious. Both mothers kept trying to one-up each other with things they did with the kids, things they knew about the kids, etc, and then school ended and they had a very polite fight over who would go to pick up my daughter from school. They ended up BOTH going, and my father-in-law laughed the whole time they walked back, BOTH holding her hand and having a silent tug-of-war over my kid. At least he found it funny, because I would have just asked them both to leave. So after that confirmation of how childish they can be, we've resolved to just keep everyone separate. Easier on us, easier on the kids. Annoying, but necessary, at least for now. I'd say either keep them separate or establish firm boundaries and expectations with them now (as nicely as you can!). Previous posters are right, your family is YOUR family, and whatever works best for you, your spouse, and your kids is what you should do, not what happens to work best or what favours your parents, as much as they'd love you to think otherwise! Good luck! 1 agrees Reply I'm sure it will be hard for her living farther away – your father and his wife will inevitably have a closer relationship based on proximity. Because of that, I would give mom priority over them for holidays and special occasions. Presumably your dad will be babysitting or having playdates and seeing your child once per week or more. That will tend to build a much stronger bond with them but at least your mom can have the privilege of being "Disney Grandma" ie associated with extra special, happy occasions in your child's mind. I don't know what the situation is with your inlaws, but as far as your parents go they should understand. Almost forgot! Skype is crucial so that she's not a "stranger" during these first few snuggly years. It can be heartbreaking for a grandparent that has to win over a child anew with every visit while the other grands enjoy a close relationship. 1 agrees Reply oh boy do we ever. my parents are divorced and both remarried…only that's not the issue here, because my dad is hardly in my life and his wife is a complete trainwreck, so we don't really see them much anyway. no, there's my mom and stepdad, who live two days' drive away and are broke (so they can't travel much), my husband's parents (my husband passed away before our son was born, and his parents ALSO live two days' drive away BUT they have a lot of money and time they don't know what to do with), and then my fiance's parents, who live about 2.5 hours away. needless to say, my son sees my fiance's parents and his father's parents about the same amount, but my fiance's parents visits' are shorter and much more frequent, whereas his father's parents will come for a week to 10 days at a time 4 or 5 times a year. so far, my fiance's parents are my son's favorites, because while they don't shower him with new toys every time he sees them like his father's parents, they do connect with him on his level more, and play with him outside and stuff. and "grandpa phil" also has a tractor, so that helps. 😉 i think the bottom line is that he sees them more frequently and in shorter doses, so they don't become old news. needless to say, his father's parents (grandma especially) sort of resent this, especially considering that they see him as their only link to their lost son (which *i* resent, but that's for another post). all i can say is that it's not a contest. i mean, my own parents are the real losers here. they love him to pieces but can't afford to travel to come see him, and i can't afford to go to them very often either, so they only get to visit for a few days a year around thanksgiving or christmas. but they're also very understanding of this. jealousy is a useless emotion. i figure that for now, with him being only 3 and not really understanding much beyond instant gratification, of course the people he sees the most often are going to be his "favorites"…he remembers them best. when he gets older and his memory is a little longer, he'll start to see visits with my parents as extra special, since we don't get to see them often. i should also add that my son is the ONLY grandchild all-around, so it's especially frustrating. Reply Damn. This sounds like a lot to manage. 4 agree Reply I for one would love to see you write your story up and have it published on Offbeat Families. 1 agrees Reply I was in a very similar situation with my parents when I had my daughter (now 1). In addition my mother is an alcoholic who dragged us all through the mud with her on her road to recovery. I told my parents that I was done accommodating them and it was their turn to act like parents. Their own personal issues were not my problem anymore. I was not going to have 2 birthday parties for her every year so they didn't have to see each other, for example. Whoever was nice would be invited. After I had my daughter I realized what a huge, lifelong responsibility parenting is and that my parents had been acting more like children than parents for the past 8 years. I told them that and they were surprisingly receptive. I have only had to give them a couple of reminders since then. It has been a real load off my back, and I'm hoping my daughter will never feel the pain of childish, selfish parents or grandparents. 9 agree Reply Before the baby is talking speak to both sets of grandparents and see if they can pick mutually agreed grandparent names. That way one grandparent doesn't feel left out that they are grandma firstname while the other is just grandma 6 agree Reply I second this. My parents are divorced and remarried, plus my inlaws. We plan on picking a different name for each grandparent. So it's not "Grandma Lisa" and Grandma Janet" and "Grandma Roz" but "Nonna", "Oma" and "Baka". Nonna is Italian, Oma is German and Baka is Croatian for Grandma. My father-in-law has already claimed "Pop-pop" for himself. It might be confusing at first, but hell, our theoretical children are going to have six grandparents in three different states….it can't make it too much worse. Reply I won't get into details, but my son has 3 sets of grandparents. He generally gets to spend longer amounts of time with the grandparents who live further away and see him less frequently than the grandparents who live 10 minutes away. We have told them all they can come over whenever, but must call first. He will spend the night with one set or another once a month, and they all love that. All visits are separate, except holidays and birthdays, which are the only times when all 6 grandparents are in the same house together. I have told them I expect them to be adults, and there have been no issues so far. 1 agrees Reply Oh yeah, hear you on the jealous grandparents! As a reunited adoptee, my kiddo (the first grandchild on ALL sides) has my in-laws, my adoptive parents, and my bio-dad/his wife as grandparents and there are LOTS OF FEELS about it from everybody. I mostly take the "be an adult" policy with all of them, with an attitude and verbal boundary that they are to keep the kiddo in mind. My mother-in-law lives 5 minutes away and watches him twice a week, whereas my adoptive parents live 2.5 hours away. While it annoys me, we invite my parents over at least 1 time a month (if they can make it) to spend the weekend. When they are here they are on all-baby-all-the-time duty. Since they whine about not getting to see him and whatevs, then I make them feed/change diaper/put down for nap/etc. etc. etc. They get 3 full days of joy, and mama gets a wee break from the mundane tasks like diaper duty ;). Mostly their jealousy has been around what "names" to be called, and I said they can go by whatever they want, and then our kid will decide what they're called when he gets old enough. I also name the feeling when they start to seem anxious, like "wow, sounds like you're jealous right now. But, I'm glad Potamus has so many grandparents who love him," or whatever…make the focus back on the kid and less on the anxiety. Because when they're just interacting with him in the moment they don't need to be worrying about his relationship with some other person. 4 agree Reply Wow, so much good advice, thanks everyone! Skype is already a big thing in our house as my Mother-in-law lives in Thailand, and we already have plans for regular skype calls with her since she will only see baby once a year or so in person. We already have what each grandparent will be called sorted out (sadly my Mom came up with that one so she could get the title she wanted, but whatever works). Reply I don't have advice per say, but I can chime in with my observations. I feel like this is a problem we will all have to deal with, especially new parents, and first grandchildren. Whether it's divorced parents tallying up who gets to see the grandkids more, or your parents vs. your in laws. I watch my sister in law battle it out all the time between her own mother and MIL. On my end, my mom lives 2 hours away and my MIL is only 20 minutes away, therefore my mom is already freaking out about the frequency in which my MIL will get to see our kid vs her. And the best part is the expectation for ME to travel to THEM, baby in tow, for their viewing pleasure. I don't understand why our parents feel they need to be a daily presence in our kids lives. I remember seeing my grandparents on occasion (holidays, special events, short weekends at their house, etc.) and it was great! Our relationship was and is very strong, without having to be up each others arses! I guess it's just one big popularity contest. 2 agree Reply My Mum gets totally jealous of my nieces nana. They live 2.5 hours away, while other nana lives 10 mins away and is over all the time. She was moaning to me one day because L decided to be called Nana even though my Mum had wanted to be called Nana since they were pregnant. I told her to grow up and that they could both be Nana, and the kids could manage that. I also reminded her that my SIL is totally needy and my brother probably doesn't WANT Nana L over all the time, so she should be thankful that she's a special Nana and not one that's constantly in the way! 1 agrees Reply We have 3 sets of grandparents to deal with here – my in-laws, my mum & stepdad, and my dad & step-mother. They all live within 5/10 minutes of us. My in-laws are no trouble at all by my parents do not get along at all. AT. ALL. In fact, the only time they've been in a room together since they separated 17 years ago was on my wedding day. I have zero patience for bullshit from grown adults so we have a pretty simple solution. If they want to see us, they come see us. If it's an event where the other might also be here (birthdays/christmas etc), they are free to arrange the visit so as to not bump into each other. If that isn't possible and they can't avoid one another they have to suck it up and play nice or leave. This approach totally works for us – for reasons I won't go into here, my step-mother is not allowed in my house at all. We don't get along and if I never saw her again it would only be a good thing. She is certainly not allowed anything to do with my kids so we don't go to their house. Similarly, my mum and step-dad's house is not even a little bit safe for small children so we rarely go there either. This all means that the only way to see us is to visit us here, or somewhere outwith all of our houses. So far there have been no major upsets and all the grandparents are quite content to do their visiting separately. Reply I'm sorry I have no suggestions. I go out of my way to send things, blog things I am always reminding my husband to skype (they are his parents after all)…still they are insanely jealous. They wont come visit just because we don't live where they want us to live. It sucks. But you have to live your life anyway. 🙁 sorry but I understand! 1 agrees Reply I would just let it be. You will stress yourself out worrying about making things "fair" for everyone. That may not be the popular choice, but it works. My mother is no longer in my life because she couldn't get herself in check (something I've had to deal with since childhood), but before that she was all about HER grandchild, SHE was THE grandma, SHE was going to do this or that BEFORE everyone else because SHE DESERVED it . . . . . .I'm way too laid back for all that mess. She saw a pic of my son hanging on my dads wall, she lost her mind, blowing up my phone, even begged my brother to "borrow it" and make her a copy. Even before my son was born she was worried about my step mom being at the hospital to see him before she did (jokes on her, I didn't allow anyone but my husband in the hospital) That kind of jealousy is just too much. So, when you send pictures out, send the same photos at the same time to both grandparents. If you need a babysitter, and they offer, take turns between them. I would avoid doing things with one grandma and not the other. For example, don't take one with you to get baby's pictures done unless you plan on taking both. There's also something that seems trivial, but grandparents can get butt hurt about- holiday clothes. I would just buy your own "baby's 1st" clothes. You can always take pictures of baby in the grandparents outfits, and have them wear yours around them, so no one is hurt. There's so much you could tip toe around and stress about. But just don't, it's not worth it. Their guilt trips and hissy fits aren't healthy, and you can point it out to them, if you think it will help. I know I don't want that kind of negative tension in my kids' lives. 1 agrees Reply Lee, I had pretty much the exact same situation. This is what I did. I wrote a letter to my mother and told her; she is my mother, she will be our child's Abuela & she will always have my love. Then I told here that once the child is born there will be moments that are uncomfortable for her and that myself and my family need her to be strong. My mother is a very private person. She and I have never spoken about the letter. I know she has been uncomfortable at times and yet she has not let me down. I love her so much more for facing her challenges. She knows that her problems are hers and she must address them; no one else can fix her. 1 agrees Reply I don't have any advice but I wanted to say I hear ya. I don't even have a kid yet and my mom's turned into a jealous teenager toward my mother-in-law because we get along leaps and bounds better than I do with my own mom. Having children is going to be a nightmare for me because, same as you, my parents are quite a drive away and my in-laws are around the corner. I know I'm going to take my kids to my in-laws a lot more and I know my mom's going to guilt the shit out of me and be resentful and bitter. The difference is that, at the end of the day, I don't really care lol… My parents are kinda selfish so I've gotten used to just rolling my eyes and brushing it off. 2 agree Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Subscribe me to your mailing list No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.