Guest Post by Carol Covin
Thanks first go to Wendy for giving me this opportunity to guest post on her blog. Her generosity is felt throughout the blogging community.
Eight years ago, when I blithely announced to my son and daughter-in-law that a young friend had decided I looked too young for her to call me Grandma, and coined “Glam-ma” for me instead, their faces fell.
My daughter-in-law had lost both her parents within a year of her marriage to my son and had never known her grandparents.
My son finally stammered, “You will be our child’s only grandma. And, we thought you’d be honored.”
Of course, I am thrilled and honored and Grandma it is.
However, I realized in that moment that our relationship had changed and I could hurt my son’s and his wife’s feelings.
I resolved to be more sensitive.
In subsequent conversations with other grandmas, I found I was not alone.
There were many things grandmas were not saying, to keep from hurting feelings.
I started writing down these issues, exploring what prompted the generational split of opinions and sensitivity and eventually decided to collect them in a book.
Not long after that decision, I thought, “I bet mothers have things they are not telling us, out of respect and to avoid hurt feelings, as well.”
Of course, they did.
Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers (http://newgrandmas.com/book) is a series of articles based on interviews, half with mothers, half with grandmothers, in which I asked, “What are you not telling the grandmother of your children or mother of your grandchildren that you would like to say?”
Each of the women I interviewed replied first with, “Oh, the mother of my grandchildren is a wonderful mother,” or “the grandmother of my children is a wonderful grandmother.”
I waited, and then, they told me.
From a grandmother, “I’m irrelevant.” From a mother, “Your son is not perfect.” From a grandmother, “When are you going to start feeding those children properly?” From a mother, “Ice cream is not a meal.”
Should grandmothers be allowed to spank? To take a toddler granddaughter on a first date with someone they met online?
Should mothers require that grandmothers have a working, charged cell phone when they take their grandchildren two blocks down the road to the park for an hour?
Should grandmothers bite their tongue when a toddler granddaughter is playing around on a pier without a life jacket?
The book invites readers to understand the different generation’s perspective on the issues discussed and open up a candid conversation in their own family.
Respect. Compassion. Understanding.
Mothers and grandmothers will gain a deep appreciation for the many ways their children and grandchildren can receive the love and guardianship of generations.
Bio: Carol Covin is an author and blogger. You can find her blogging at http://newgrandmas.com Proceeds from the book go to support bringing a promising cancer treatment to clinical trial through the company she founded for that effort, Sky Blue Pharmaceuticals, LLC.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]
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I love this!! I have a two year old granddaughter and I thought the same thing. I told my son and daughter in law that I wanted to be called Kiki and they looked at me like I was crazy. My son said “mom, you are grandma” I am sure I could push it and my granddaughter would call me whatever I want but for now I am “grandma”
I love Kiki, but I learned from this experience not to mess with my children’s romantic image of Grandma. It’s OK, I am thrilled at the role and love my beautiful grandchildren as I’m sure you love your sweet granddaughter.
Oh this is brilliant!! I know that I am blessed to have a real authentic mother. We are quite honest with one another but I am sure there are things we both don’t say out of respect and keeping the peace;) I can’t wait to check out your book and I will more than likely read it WITH my mom;)
Thank you so much, LabLover. How fortunate that you and your Mom can be candid, knowing you both come from a place of love. And, I love the idea of reading the book together. There is one article from a grandmother who said initially, “I’m not shy. I tell my children anything they need to hear.” She had run a daycare for 20 years and had a degree in childhood development, so felt pretty confident in her opinions. But, as with the others, she had been holding back some things she really wanted to say. Enjoy the book!
Thank you I had not heard of the book till now and have to say it looks and sounds interesting
Thanks, Joanne. It was very interesting to write. People have so many great stories.
I found myself truly engaged with what you had to say. It is one of the hardest things to, keep your mouth shut. My stepdaughter tells me I say little but when I do speak it hits the center of the target. Sometimes that’s good, and somtimes not so much.
Thanks, Susan. My children and children-in-law are all good parents, but sometimes I have to remind myself to let what they are doing play out, and, of course, I can hardly disagree with the outcome - two beautiful grandchildren!
I wondered about the origins of that book and the title. Now I know.
So, Cheryl, the answer to the book title was, it wasn’t me.
Perhaps the greatest compliment I can offer to Carol is the fact that I wanted to “talk back” as I read this post!
Of course, as a grandma, I have learned that a whole lot of the art of parenting adult children (the parents of those grandchildren) involves the fine art of keeping one’s mouth shut. Which shall become a blog of my own, I’m sure.
Except when the toddler is on the pier without a life jacket.
I’m curious what you wanted to say, Lynn, when you wanted to talk back:)