My son thinks Grandma is his mom and not me... Any advice?

Crystal - posted on 02/13/2011 ( 8 moms have responded )

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We moved from Denver CO to Lima Peru 1 year ago and we have our own home, but on the weekends my family and the parents all go to our family beach house together. We have a great time, but my 1 year old son is extremely attached to his Grandma. He calls her mom and always chooses her over me. Last night my son had a nightmare and my mother rushes in and takes him from his bed. I have a hard enough time on normal issues with him, but this is my job as his mommy to make him feel better because I am his mom. I know she loves him, but she is not the mom it is not not hers to handle is it? Unless I ask for help. Please help me I don't know how to handle this situation, any advice out there?

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Crystal - posted on 02/15/2011

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I wanted to thank all of you for your advice and prayers. Even though I do not know any of you on a personal note, I am thankful for all of you. You have all touched me with your understanding and common sense. Thank you for that. I love her very much and I never want to hurt her feelings, but I will speak to her and I know all your prayers will guide me through it. I love all of you and may the Lord bless you.

Judy - posted on 02/13/2011

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I guess I'm on the Grandma side of this equation. My son had to move home after a divorce, and my grandson is here 2 of every 3 weekends. When he is here I click into mom mode so easily and quickly. My son did have to ask me once to back up and give him more space to be the dad, and for me not to swoop in and undermine his job of parenting his child. He did add that he values my experience and will gladly accept any advice, pointers, and tips when I feel he could be more effective. (That last bit helped) I have to work really hard to remember my grandson's dad is here and can take care of him just fine. Even though I felt a bit hurt I am really pleased to see how my son has grown as a dad. Talk to your mom, and sandwich the request to give you space and time to BE the mom between two complements. It will make it easier for her to hear, and then just gently remind her, I'm here, I've got this one covered, thanks! (for when she forgets and goes into mom mode again, as my grandson is 6 and I still need occasional reminders)

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Lyn-z - posted on 07/23/2013

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I am going throught the samw thing with my 5 year old son. Luckily, your son is younge enough that you can stop it before it gets worse and too late! When I am around my sons grandma, and I go to discipline him around her, she gives him prizes and coddles him! Now in my sons mind, I am the bad guy and he feels he can't trust me, only her. STOP THIS IN IT'S TRACKS. I was too scared to hurt anyones feelings and now I fear the damage is done. I now have to tell her what and why this behavior needs to stop and I need a little advice on how to do that myself. BLUNT is the way to go, the way I see it, I'd rather hurt her feelings for a little while then scar my sons for life!!

Alexandra - posted on 02/15/2011

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I worry about this as well, because my daughter ( 11 months) spends most of her weekdays over at grandma and grandpas while I work ( I am widow, and these are my husbands parents). I don't feel comfortable putting her in day care for strangers to watch when she can be with family, and I don't want his parents to feel as though I am stealing her away from them, (their only connection they have left with their son) but sometimes I wonder if she spends too much time with them. She doesn't talk too much yet, but I worry that this will really be a problem when she is older. She knows grandma and grandpa are "Gram and Gramps" and I am "Mommy" but still...I worry sometimes that they will take over. (They are really respectful now, and constantly tell me I am doing a wonderful job, but I'm still worried about it.)

Carla - posted on 02/15/2011

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Crystal, Judy hit it right on the nose. It's so easy to slip into 'mama mode'. I went through the same thing when my kids were little. My brothers and sisters were 4-6 years older than my kids, so everybody called her 'Mom', so that's what my kids called her. I was desolate. First I talked with my kids and told them I was Mommy, this is Grama. Kids also have a hard time figuring out Grama, Aunt, etc. Our grandbabies still have a hard time thinking that I am their mom's mom. Mom's don't have moms ;)

Have a little talk with Mom. I'm sure she isn't thinking about what this is doing to you. Maybe limit the weekends together for a little while and get him used to YOU are Mama.

Being a Grama means you have to walk a careful line. You are there when they really need you, but if Mama's there, Mama is where they should go.

God bless, honey

Nikki - posted on 02/14/2011

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I have been through the very same thing . It is very trying on you emotionally I know :( I would suggest speaking to your mother about your feelings in a very sweet and gentle way as I am sure she adores your child but you are "momma" and children that young do get confused. It usually happens when the grandmother is the primary caregiver as was my case because I had to work so many hours to keep our bills paid and a roof over our head so my oldest daughter thought of my mother as "momma" simply because my mother was with her ten hours a day , seven days a week . I can recall feeling so sad and helpless. As life would have it , I found myself single again after having my son very late in life once my girls were grown and well history repeats itself!! I did stress the fact that I knew how much my Mother loves my kids and how grateful I am to have her yet there are boundaries to be drawn and followed and she did understand and now tells my son to "go to Momma" when he gets confused! He knows I am Momma and the LAW !! LOL so we had a peaceful resolution and I pray you will too :) It is a mother's instinct as our mothers have been mothers for so many years longer than we have yet sometimes they just need to be reminded that their "instinct" is interfering the mother/child bond. I hope all gets better and I promise you I know just how you FEEL :) It will work out :) Stay strong :) God Bless, Nik

Jennifer - posted on 02/14/2011

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maybe you could do the "where'e mommy" game... Both you and you mom sit him in your lap and say "where's mama?" "where's his name" where's gramma?" where's mama?" might help. He is a baby still so maybe he just needs some extra coaching.. I've struggled with feeling overshadowed before too. But at the time I didn't have the patience to be gentle and confront it properly. It's better now but my daughter is 9 so it's a big jump. Praying. ~Jen

Heather - posted on 02/13/2011

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I recommend bringing this up with your mom. She might not even realize how this is effecting you. My youngest son was somewhat the same way. My mom always corrected him when he called her mom and said something like "No, I'm grandma, that's mommy over there" and would point at me and then her and my son would both wave at me.

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