Is picture taking wrong for grandparents?

Lyndy - posted on 01/03/2012 ( 10 moms have responded )




Hi everyone, I am a grandmother of 2 and care for them on a daily basis. I love them deeply. I am having a problem communicating with my daughter-in-law and son on some issues. First issue I have is that my d-in-l is jealous that I spend so much time with them because they work. I understand how she feels as I had the same feelings raising my own. I would like to ask if anyone thinks it is wrong that I wanted to have some picture of the kids done by a professional friend of mine. It wasn't going to cost them anything and I wasn't going to share them with anyone unless they wanted to. They think it is crossing the line between being a grandmother and a parent. I don't understand so can someone please explain it to me. I also would love some suggestions for better communication with them. I feel always on edge afraid I'll do something they won't like all the time. Would love some thoughts from all of you. thanks a bunch, gramma


♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/03/2012




How about suggesting a full family portrait? That way, you are not usurping your son and daughter in law's wishes, and have a opportunity for the entire family to get together.

One thing to remember is this: YOu'd have probably reacted the same, had your mother in law wanted to have portraits done of your kids. It is a family thing, in that the family usually wants to schedule that for themselves.

Yes, you are family, but for a young couple, having the MIL be too "overbearing" (not that you are, just that she sees it that way) can be intimidating. Maybe she thinks that you're trying to take over too much, and suggesting the photos may have tipped it over the top.

Krista - posted on 01/03/2012




You absolutely meant well, Lyndy, but when a mother feels like someone else is playing her role, it's hard to not feel a bit territorial and resentful. It doesn't always make sense, but it's a primal mother thing, I think. A friend of mine babysat my little boy when he was about 10 months old, and brought him for ice cream, and then posted a photo of it, with the caption "Sam's first ice cream!". And I was surprised to find out that I was upset. It wasn't his first ice cream -- he'd had that with me. And I wanted everybody to KNOW that he'd had his first ice cream with me, his mother -- not with her.

I didn't say anything, because I knew I was being silly. But the feeling WAS there, and I don't think it's something that we parents can help feeling.

I think that overall, a good general rule of thumb would be to always try to avoid leaving out the parents. They should be involved in pretty much everything. So with the photo session, the way you describe it sounds like you pretty much had it in your head that you were going to take the kids to have this done -- and that probably made the parents feel left out. So perhaps it's worthwhile to try to operate under the assumption that the parents will ALWAYS want to be involved with anything to do with their kids, unless they specifically tell you otherwise.

Denikka - posted on 01/03/2012




I don't personally get that attitude. All of the professional photos I've gotten done of my kids have been planned and paid for by their Nana (MiL). I don't have the money/time/energy to put into getting professional pictures done. My MiL wants them to show off, so why not. I'm always open to free stuff :P

[deleted account]

As a parent, I would want to be the one to plan and schedule my child's formal pictures. I would want to be the one to select the outfit and be present at the portrait session. I would want to be the one to then say, "Here Grandma. We took pictures of Baby. Here's one for you."

Elfrieda - posted on 01/03/2012




I don't think it's wrong - being a grandparent is all about the bragging after all, and how can you brag properly without pictures? ;) - but I can see how the parents might feel a little trampled.

I think it might be a bit that they feel that you already do so many "parent-y" things, and you've probably been there for a lot of first words, crawling, etc. Taking your child for pictures and then handing them out to people is usually the parents' responsibility, but it's not like they can only get pics taken once. And if you want professional photos to hang over the piano, and you haven't received any, why not do it yourself? Like you say, it isn't hurting anything.

I think it might have been better in the circumstances to say, "hey, my friend is a professional, and has offered a good deal, did you want me to talk to her and set something up?" Maybe not paying is what is bothering them. Or maybe this has become an issue not because they care so much about this particular thing, but it's just the last straw in a load of concerns/regrets.

It would be nice if you could all talk together, and you explain that you're not trying to take their jobs, it's just that you're a very proud grandma and are excited to do things with these little ones that you weren't able to do with your own kids. (if that's the case)

My parents are also very fond of my son (first grandbaby), and sometimes in MY opinion overstep what is okay. For example, my mom wanted to host his first birthday party, invite people, and bake him a cake. I felt like she was trying to take my role away, but I understood that she was just excited. I ended up saying that she was invited to his birthday party at our house where we would invite his other grandparents and some friends, but it was a good idea for her to throw a party, too, because my sister wasn't going to be there for the big thing, and we would have a family party with her. I did it kind of clumsily, I think, and my mom was a little hurt (and actually forgot to come to his real birthday party, not on purpose, but I think it wasn't as exciting to her so it just slipped her mind. She felt really bad later.), but I would do it again, just I'd word it better.


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♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/03/2012




I think if you want to do professional photos you should work with your son and DIL getting the session set up. I believe thay would appreciate you asking for your input. It's not wrong of you to want to do it, but I don't believe it would be fair to be secretive about it. I know I'd be upset if my MIL did that without my knowledge.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/03/2012




Lyndy, another thought: If your DIL is resentful, how did the situation come about in the first place? Did you offer, and they initially accepted the child care, or did your son ask if you'd do it (maybe without consulting his wife)?

It is always better to discuss ANYTHING you want to do with those kids with their parents before you do it!

My mother watched my son twice. The first time, she asked what I'd like for my birthday, and I said it would be nice to leave my son with her for an overnight stay so that hubby and I could have some time. Since my own grandmother had watched us from the time we were babies on, I assumed that my mother would be the same. However, she neglected to tell me that (even though she had 3 of her own) she didn't like babies! She took him, and with my stepdad, went to their mountain cabin. Not a problem there. The problem was with her taking him out of his car seat for the entire ride. Um, big issue! She did not follow my instructions for care. That bothered me!

Yet, the same woman (my mother) assumes that she can arbitrarily give me unsolicited, unwelcome "advice" which is usually a snippy put down.

If your DIL is having problems with you watching the kids, have you discussed it with her at all? A lot of young mothers feel overwhelmed, and by grandma stepping up all the time, it can feel like you don't think that we are capable of taking care of our kids.

You are probably a great grandma, and are only trying to help, but you have to take into account everyone else's feelings too. If communication is an issue, you need to open a door for your DIL to communicate.

Personally, I'd rather talk to my MIL than my mother, but that's for a lot of reasons. My MIL is supportive, loving, caring, and a superb personality. My own mother is selfish, judgmental, and rude. I'm certain that, with a little effort and communication, you and your DIL can have a great relationship, and eventually, she won't mind having you get the portraits done.

Chrystal - posted on 01/03/2012




I don't think that's stepping over the line for a grandparent and would be fun thing to do with kids. I know my husband has had issues with certain types of gifts or amount of money my parents have wanted to give the kids; it's a we are the parents we provide for them kind of issue. I personally don't understand refusing a gift but it's important to him so I respect it. Even if you don't think it's over stepping they do and you have to respect them as the parents. As far communicating better and feeling on edge maybe you need to sit down with them. Ask them what they feel a role of a grandmother is and tell them what you believe the role is. Ask if there is something you are doing that they feel is over the line. And honestly listen communication isn't really about talking it's about listening you'll figure out how to talk with them better when you've really listened. Everyone involved wants what best for the kids so just go from there.

Dora - posted on 01/03/2012




I don't see what the big deal is. I love my mil and wouldn't mind at all if she took my boys for pictures. My grandmothers were never very interested in us so I'm just grateful that she is so active in all 4 of my boy's life.

[deleted account]

I don't really understand the notion of "formal pictures." I'm an amateur photographer and take pictures of my son all the time. But I prefer more natural pictures.

I understand Sharon's point of view, if formal pictures are an important occasion.

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