Annie's Mailbox: Too Many Grandmas
Dear Annie: I am the mother of a 4-year-old girl. My mother, "Edna," watches her for a few hours every Friday while I'm at work.
Last Friday, after I brought my daughter home, she told me, "Grandma was crying today and told me that 'Grandma Kitty' is not my grandma." Annie, Grandma Kitty is my Dad's fiancee. Kitty was the reason for my parents' divorce 12 years ago. Dad and Kitty have been together ever since. I have managed to forgive both of them for their affair, and we visit them weekly.
We have found it easiest to differentiate between grandmothers by saying, "Grandma Edna," "Grandma Kitty" and, for my husband's mom, "Grandma Dina." I try not to mention either my father or Kitty when my mom is around, knowing she is still quite bitter. But I am aware that she tries to pry information out of my daughter.
I know my mother's feelings are still hurt, but my daughter doesn't understand why she shouldn't call my father's fiancee "Grandma Kitty." This woman has been in her life since the day she was born. How can I get my mom to accept this? -- Too Many Grandmas
Dear Too: Acceptance may be asking too much. But you can certainly set boundaries and make them stick. Tell your mother that the subject of Grandma Kitty is off limits when she is with your daughter. Make it clear that if she continues to use your child as a weapon against Kitty, she will not be permitted to babysit. And mean it, even if you have to hire someone to replace her.
Mom has to learn to respect the relationships you have created for your daughter and not undermine your authority as a parent. Kitty is going to be a part of your daughter's life for the foreseeable future. Twelve years is a long time for Mom to hold onto this grudge and be so bitter. Suggest to her that she get some counseling so she can move forward with her life.
Dear Annie: This is in response to "Also a Grandma-To-Be," who disliked the burden of being invited to "sprinkles" for second and third babies. I'd like to share a positive spin on this tradition.
When I was pregnant with my third child, we didn't need any baby items. However, my wonderful sister-in-law, who is of the opinion that every baby should be celebrated with a shower, gave me a "Diapers and Dinners" sprinkle. This was a small party for close family and friends, and everyone brought a frozen meal, a restaurant gift card or a pack of diapers.
Everyone had a fun time having brunch at the party, and it was a tremendous blessing to me after the baby was born to have food and diapers ready to go. It made those first crazy weeks so much easier. -- Mom of Three
Dear Mom: Your sister-in-law did it right: She only invited close family and friends who would not find this to be a burden, made it specific to your needs, and kept the gifting to a reasonable amount. We approve.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.