Advice columnist Harriette Cole offers some wisdom to a grandma who’s jealous of the “other” grandma and feels like she’s missing out. Cole has written the nationally syndicated advice column, Sense & Sensitivity for 15 years. She is also the founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter recently had a baby — my first grandchild. The problem is that she lives out of state, and she’s now living in close proximity to her mother-in-law. They spend a lot of time together and the mother-in-law is getting to know my granddaughter well. I cannot move closer to my daughter, nor can I take much time off work to see her. How can I be just as involved in my granddaughter’s life as my daughter’s mother-in-law? I don’t want to be bitter about their new relationship, but I am. — Missing Out
DEAR MISSING OUT: One of the downsides of living far away from family is exactly what you are experiencing. I want to caution you to work hard not to be jealous of your daughter’s mother-in-law. Consider it a blessing that she is there and can support your daughter and her young baby. As you know, tending to a newborn is time-consuming and it is invaluable to have support from your family.
Instead of being bitter, figure out creative ways to engage. Invest in a device that will allow you and your daughter and family to have video chats on a bigger screen. We got the Alexa Echo device in order to see and talk to my mother who is in an assisted living facility. It is easy to use and to see, and it creates an opportunity for us to feel close, even from a distance. Talk to each other daily so your grandbaby gets to know your voice and your face. Plan visits when you can and accept that you are all doing your best. Resist resenting the mother-in-law. Instead, thank her for giving amazing support.
If you’re a long-distance grandma, join our August 15 GaGa Sisterhood Zoom meeting. Kerry Byrne, founder of the Long Distance Grandparent will share some of her best tips for making sure you are part of your grandchild’s life, even from a distance.