Ask OMT! #3: Do Grandparents Get Jealous of the Other Grandparents?

Do Grandparents Get Jealous of the Other Grandparents?

Well, that’s some question, isn’t it.  To tell you the truth, it makes me a little uncomfortable, simply because the short answer is yes.  YES!  YES, WE DO!

Let’s delve deeper, shall we?

The question, from a loving grandmama, who is happy to share, yet found herself in the momentary and surprisingly unexpected throes of jealousy brought on by the other grandmama holding her grandchild/spending time with her grandchild WITHOUT HER PRESENT (!) caused her to ask OMT!: Do other grandparents feel this way?

As stated in my inaugural Ask OMT! post:

Here’s what I promise:

* I’ll answer as honestly as I can.

* I won’t sugarcoat or bs my way through the answers.

* I’ll offer this caveat: Once some things are seen, they can’t be unseen. Are y’all sure you want to know some thangs?  Yeah?  Ok…

* You’d trust this face, right?

Oh, Mrs. Tucker!

Jealousy.  Just the word causes my lip to curl. The sound of it evokes discomfort and madness.  The feel of it, the same.

To be completely clear, let’s define jealousy: an unhappy or angry feeling of wanting to have what someone else has.

So, in the world of your lovely grandchildren, can it be true that jealousy has taken up a spot in your warm and squishy grandparenty heart when you see the other grandparents acting like those are their grandchildren too?!  What?  How dare they! THE NERVE! (humor is a diffusing mechanism, y’all!)  Is it true that you are feeling unhappy because you want what they have, IE your grandchild?  Yes.  The answer is yes.

Why is this?  I think it’s simple for us mommas: we spent all our child-rearing days protecting and sheltering our children from those we didn’t really know and now we are in the position of not only sharing our precious grandchildren, but with those we may not know too well.


Your head will reason with you:

Yes, these are the parents that raised your DIL/SIL.  The same folks.  They are loving parents and, most likely, loving grandparents.

Yep, your grandchildren most likely love/adore them as well.

You can imagine the other grandparents might feel the same way you do when they see you, the other grandparents, holding their grandchild and it makes you have the feels in your tender heart for them.

Oh, my.  This is dizzying.

The easiest solution is to get to know the interlopers other grandparents.  I mean, how can you not come to love and bond with people who will be happy to talk about your grandchild/ren all day long?  HOW?!  The great thing is they will probably have cute cute cute pics of your grandchild that you have never seen and that you would be happy to ooo and aww over (unless you have a tiny black heart and wish these people ill.  come on, now.  don’t be like that.  let your heart grow, grinchy mcgee.)

I know when Sweet E is with his maternal side of the family, I always wish I was there too.  I feel like I’m missing all the Sweet E fun.  My guess is they probably feel the same at times when he’s with us (my adorable facebook photos of E probably doesn’t help matters).

Grandparent jealousy can take you by surprise.  The thing to remember is that jealousy is a normal emotion.  The problem persists when you don’t take the time to ask yourself why you are feeling the way you are feeling.  And if it’s not obvious up to this point in this post, I’m talking about normal relationships between families and am excluding the relationships that may be dangerous, because we all know that families aren’t always sunshine and unicorns.  I’m talking about jealousy between folks that won’t shank anyone for doing something as lovely as loving your grandbabies.

When I find myself feeling anything other than grateful that Sweet E is loved by many, I call to mind when Boy was an itty-bitty.  My motto back then was: Boy can’t be loved by too many people.  It’s simply impossible.

Even if the person loving him was someone I may have had an issue or two with, as long as I knew he was safe and loved with that person, I always reminded myself that love was the ultimate gift we give one another and who was I to stand in the way of love?

I think that holds true with our grandkiddos.  The more love they are shown and offered, the better.  What a blessing it is to be loved.

So, anonymous grandmama who bravely asked the hard question concerning grandparent jealousy, my answer is simply this: I think most grandparents have felt this way, more than they’re willing to admit. You are feeling a normal emotion.  It’s okay to feel like you are missing out or to feel like you want what they have (your grandbaby in their lap).  Just try and remember that they are probably feeling it too.  There’s comfort in shared misery, right?

So much of grandparenting is out of our hands.  The best we can do is be a support to our children and love their babies.

Oh, and deal with the gut-wrenching grief reality of knowing others are going to love those babies too.  And hug them.  And read to them.  And tuck them into bed.  And…

Sorry.  That’s probably enough for one post.

Buck up, grandmama!  Your turn to do all those things is probably next.  Then I’ll be getting the next round of emails from the other grandparents to Ask OMT!

Thanks for asking!

Anything you guys want to add?




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  1. Wow! This was a good one. I always suspected the grandparents were a teensy jealous of each other; you’re brave for writing about it! 🙂

  2. The only moment of teeny bit of jealousy I have ever had that I laughed at later, especially since I accidentally snapped a picture of it.. was when my oldest had her baby and only 2 people were allowed back to see her at a time. Well, of course the ‘mom’s’ want to go back, right? Well, my daughter has 3 moms (bio mom (not the one that raised her, but birthed her and then chose a powerful drug instead of being a mommy), mom in law, and me (step mom that raised her since she was 5 and put up with all her teenage crap and I hate you’s and ‘you’re not my mom’!)… Set up the scene… daughter just gave birth, 2 people allowed back, Bio mom and mom in law were in a stance as if they were trying to catch a bridal bouquet at a wedding. When it was time to go back, neither one looked back at me and said.. Hey I understand you raised this girl since she was 5 and put up with all her crap.. did you want to go back first? Nah.. but hey.. that’s okay. I just sat their with my mouth shut and waited. I waited last.. everyone .. except for them asked if I wanted to go back next, but I politely declined because I am smart! I am smart because the last one that gets to go back .. gets to stay the longest.. Bwhahaha

  3. I must be a strange person as I don’t get jealous, I do not think my grandchildren other grandparents have anything over me, they are not better, they are different, they do not spend more time with the grandchildren and if I am wrong and they do so be it. I know my grandchildren now I love them and I know they like to spend time with me so all good.

    • Tamyra Grayson says:

      I’m having these feelings, worrying if the other is going, was there, or is there, it’s awlful I know, I try not to do this but can’t seem to help it. I keep praying for myself to get over it. Sometimes I think about maybe building a good relationship with the other Grandma will help, because she is not a bad person, Ive liked her ever since my daughter met her love. (Mind you this is my daughter and her first baby,)

  4. What a great and honest post! I know I will have some jealousy when I have grand babies and will deal with it good, but the feelings will still be there.

    • I think the biggest part of this is that it’s normal. We’re human; we feel ALL THE THINGS! The worrisome part arises when we don’t take the time to examine the feelings and understand them.

  5. I truly love the paternal grandmothers of my grandchildren so it’s hard to conjure up anything but goodwill toward them. However, I did catch myself squirming one day when our four year old interjected, “Nana is my BEST friend!” into every paragraph she could. Nana is “the other woman.” It all went away later though, when Nana informed me that the little princess tells her that it’s ME who is her “best friend!” What a little politician!

    • It’s those little moments that make us catch our breath as we feel caught between loving everyone and feeling left out. It’s exactly this kind of thing I think we all feel at some point during our grandparenty reign. Thanks for the sweet story, Joyce. You made us laugh at that sweet little thing.

  6. I always wonder if this happens with my in-laws who live far away with our daughter. I also can sense it with my own mom when we visit them. It’s human nature, I guess!

  7. A post that speaks to my own heart! At first I was jealous then I realized I needed to share -they love us all. Plus I’m can get too tired to keep them all to myself!

  8. Haven’t had to deal with that YET… but wow, what a great post!

  9. I pretty much LOVE this blog post. Hello, let’s give a shout out to the truth bomb! Heck yes! Grandma Envy exists and I have fallen victim to it more times than I care to admit. The go-to emotion is generally, “what is that lady holding my grandchild for?” As the paternal grandmother I think it automatically puts me in the red-ribbon spot which is second place in terms of right of refussal on baby sitting. Nevertheless I do LOVE my co-granny and there is definetely enough love plus to go around.

    • Truth bombed! I know lots of grannies will squinch at this post, but it’s true. It’s okay, too. Like you said, definitely enough love to go around. Thanks for the laugh, Michelle!

  10. This is so true and it is important for us all to be bigger than that. Insecurity is natural but love and patience win over all. Thanks for sharing a touchy subject. Your post was most viewed at last week’s Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop on Ducks ‘n a Row…. you’re featured this week. Congrats!

  11. Being a first time parent and having to deal with jealous grandparents I was glad to find I’m not the only one going through this…sadly though unlike what o have read my in-laws have let both myself and my parents know they are jealous. They have not been hiding how they feel which makes it very hard on all of us. They do live elsewhere so they don’t see the littles as much as my parents do; also I am the first DIL who talks and actually cares about her parents. Their other two DILs don’t see theirs families at all, and one actually lives with them, so they don’t have to share the grandchildren at all with any other grandparents. When it came to me ha in my parents around right away they couldn’t stand it and now I have found out we are pregnant again and I’m super worried!!!!! I’m worried it’s going to get worse still. Is there anything I can say to make things better? I don’t know if I should speak with them or not. If I do say something not sure how to even say “hey I need this jealousy thing to stop. I won’t stand for things to be so uncomfortable for my parents to be so uncomfortable and myself. I’m worried that it’s going to get worse when this new baby comes.” It’s unbareable really to have to deal with everything. I think they just are use to being the center of attention and since I have a great relationship with my parents and want my parents around they are confused. But to me it’s a poor excuse and I know even adults get jealous however we are adults we should be able to act like adults and deal with these issues unlike my toddlers. They can’t reason or really understand yet but we as adults can so its confusing for me to see this behavior go on for an entire year. It’s easy to say I need help!!! Anyone have suggestions…

    • Since your in-laws are vocal about their jealousy, would you feel comfortable having an open discussion with them about your needs and concerns? If so, write down the key points you’d like to discuss beforehand, so you can stay on point. Also, if you can, try to detach emotionally from their issues throughout the discussion and lay the ground rules for yours. What they are feeling is natural, as is what you are feeling. But, in this case, you get the last say. Your kiddos; your decision.

      Good luck!

      • Thank you yes I have been debating on whether to sit down or not. I’d hate for things to get even worse. Thank you very much I think it’s a for sure thing we need to all talk. It’s just getting completely uncomfortable and getting to a point where I don’t want to be around or have my kids around that kind of negativity. Thank you again and I’ll be sure to write down my key points first. Thank you a million!

  12. Boy did this part of being a grandparent hit me like a train…..when the expected parents found out they were having a girl the other grandmother to be went totally out of control. She tried to take over their lives and push me out of the picture. It was awful thankfully the parents are strong and put their foot down but I suffered with depression for a couple of years. She finally admitted she was jealous of me because I am the new moms mother and not her (how selfish). But she is also jealous of her own husband when he interacts with his grandchild…I used to get along with her and now I feel nothing for her she hurt me that badly.

    • It pains me that this happens. There’s enough love to go around, but somehow that gets lost with some folks. Sorry you had to experience this, but happy the kiddos were strong for you.

  13. I am the MATERNAL grandmother of two beautiful little girls, ages 5 and 10. We have always been a close and loving family. My daughter married a young man who also comes from a close and loving family. I’m so heartbroken that since they’ve been married my daughter and husband spend more time with his parents. I feel like the forgotten grandmother and like my granddaughters hardly know me since I see them so little. We used to be great friends with his parents and would more often then not have each other for dinners or get together a whenever our children were visiting one family or the other. They stopped inviting us when our children would visit them, just all of a sudden and for no reason we can think of, other than wanting our children and grandchildren to themselves. We are not pushy people and I try so hard to look the other way like I’m not bothered by it, but I’m so heartbroken over it I just sit and cry. I’ve tried talking to my daughter about it, but she has gotten cold hearted and sometimes mean and thinks I’m so wrong for feeling the way I do. She’s said things to me that hurt so badly, it was like a stab in my heart. Everything I’ve read tells me, “the seemingly chosen family,” that gets the most time are the maternal families. Why are most maternal grandparents the lucky ones and we don’t fit into that category? In fact, my youngest granddaughter, when I wanted to help her with something, told me she wanted her other grandma to help her because as she said to me, “I love her more!” Sadly, I’m heartbroken.

    • Being a grandmother, a grandparent, can be challenging and I’m sorry you are having a tough time of it. Instead of focusing on the hurt you are feeling, focus on the good, the unique fun, you can share with your grandchildren. I hope in time the situation resolves.

    • It is not easy when a grandchild expresses her love out loud for her other grandmother; this has happened to me. The pain is very real. Unfortunately, I am new to this pain and can only relate to yours; I have no answers. For me, it’s one day at a time.

  14. We are the maternal grandparents that often feels pushed out. It seems to hurt more when it’s my own daughter, as mother and daughter should be closer than daughter and MIL. I do believe my daughter’s husband takes control. He is very close to his mum. I have a lovely relationship with my daughter – in -law as she always treats both grandparents so fairly. She also has family get togethers where both sets of parents are invited. I’m mentioning this just to point out that I’m not a ‘pain in the bum’. I try to stay smiley and cheery whenever they call but the jealousy nags away inside. It’s a bit like this. The MIL was the first to go out and about with them, to see and hold the new grandchild. The first to pick up from nursery, the first to pick up from school, the first to see their new house and so it goes on. My daughter seems oblivious on how this makes us feel. Even my husband feels upset at times. If I was to say anything then it would just make matters worse because we become the trouble makers, while MIL causes no problems at all. Is my daughter being insensitive or are we just being childish. It’s certainly not easy coping with the jealousy, which I guess is what it is!

    • Oh, Susie, I’m sorry. If there is any way possible, I’d say it might help to have a conversation with your daughter. You say she’s oblivious. Sometimes we project our stuff onto others, when in fact the person we’re having a silent conflict with has no idea how we feel. Maybe plan a date with just your daughter and bring up the subject in a loving way. I’m wishing you the best and I hope you can resolve this.

  15. Sadly I am a paternal grandma who feels really left out. It’s breaking my heart and causing depression to the extent that I have to take medication. I can’t understand it. Our son was always very close to us and I thought our DIL liked us very much. We have done a lot for them. Now after the baby arrived (our only grandchild) everything had changed. We are not allowed to visit unless our son is home and we have to wait for an invitation. Our DIL won’t visit us with the baby unless our son is with her. She seems to have taken a dislike to me for some unknown reason. She visits her family often and they can visit any time. They are even going on a weekend break with her family. Would appreciate some advice on how to cope and get off the medication.

    • Jo, the best thing I can offer is to start a conversation with your son and DIL. I have found throughout my life that so much can be resolved with approaching problems like this with love and concern. Ask them if they’re open to talking about the situation. Keep calm. Listen. Offer what you can. If nothing is resolved, perhaps it’s a start.

      I pray you the an ease of heart and a new beginning within your family.

  16. Chris Fritts says:

    Yes, I get jealous, but broken hearted also. The other grandparents got the first of everything. Children are only 6, but got the hold them, (not ask once to help). See they had triplets. They let her mother stay there for a year or more. They got their first family Christmas with them (we were left out). Ever since they were born they had every Christmas with my son or at their home. No worry we got a call every Christmas except this last one, in which we had to wait the next day. Ever since they were born we wanted to go to Disney World with them (be the first on that). But the other Grandparents took that away from us, our son claiming they went alone but on DIL Face Book Page is a picture of the kids and Grandparents. My only hope is someday not to be forgotten each and every time. A couple weeks ago our son called us (surprise) to tell us they might be moving to Atlantic, Ga. What we did not tell him we been thinking of moving back to east coast so they would not have any excuses any more. Guess what it still a secret and now we wait to see if they are truly moving, if so we will be in the same state. Maybe we get the next 6 Christmases and karma will bite the other Grandparents butts.

    • I’m not the only forgotten gramma, it should make me feel a little better but unfortunately it doesn’t. My son in law has parents that have spent Christmas Eve, Christmas morning and that whole day with my daughter and their family for 11 years now. We were invited once for Christmas morning to watch our granddaughters open gifts, but two days before we were “uninvited.” The reason being as my daughter put it, because I am jealous of her mother in law. I was so hurt and told her the only thing I’m jealous of is the love she has for her mother in law, and uninviting me only proved that. She came to me in person and apologized that day and said I would be welcome to come after all. There was no way I was going then. We shouldn’t have even gone there for dinner, but we did and I honestly felt so unwelcome. All of these years we were invited for Christmas dinner only. We had a weekend home just 3 doors away from the weekend home her in laws have and that’s where they stayed to visit on weekends, rarely spending time with us. Sometimes the only time I would see our granddaughters would be if our son and his boys would pick them up to visit me. I cried my eyes out many weekends and became so very depressed. Youngest granddaughter one time when I asked her to sit with me she said no, she loves her other gramma more. Well sure, they get more time to love them. Last year we moved to another state across the country, with the hopes of visits back to spend time with our son and his boys and daughter and granddaughters. My daughter asked where we would stay when we came to visit, I said, at your house, with the hope she might say something like you’re always welcome to. That didn’t happen, she seemed offended by my response, and her husband told me, three times no less, that I should stay at our son’s home. My daughter and I were once so close, but since she married into a well to do and prominent family she has changed so much. We have helped them so much with babysitting and lovely gifts for them and their girls, had them over for beautiful dinners, etc, etc, etc. I can go on and on. As it turned out I feel like I’m only the “babysitting gramma” and only good for what we can give. Living far away has given me some peace, because now I know they aren’t just 3 doors away on the weekend, Christmas too was a bit easier until I got to FaceTime watching granddaughters opening our gifts and there again were the inlaws! I don’t love my daughter and her family any less for how I’m treated and will always continue to show my love as I have in the past, but I know I’m defeated for the love I expected and my heart has been broken for so many years. But life goes on and I will continue to be the loving mom, mother in law and gramma that I have always been. Also, I will continue to pray to get the love from them I yearn for.

  17. We live 6 months away from grandchildren so have limited time with them. The other grandparents are with them year round and spend WAY more time with them. Yes, I feel like a 2nd class citizen, or the like, most of the time. The problem for me is Facebook posts sharing all their fun fun fun with other grandparents. I have quit fb for this reason. It gives me such a jealous, horrible feeling and I can’t UN-see it ! I never post nor take many pics because it is so painful for me. It’s a constant chore feeling ok after these viewings…maybe no more FB. I know I’m not alone with the feelings but I continue to struggle. I do pray and ask for ability to Let go of it!

    • Oh yes, Facebook! The pictures! I so truly know the feeling. It was a depressing jealously for me, so I quit Facebook. I can go back and look at want I want to see but I never post anything anymore. The time they’ve spent with my daughter’s in laws depressed me so much, it was one of the reasons I was happy to move across the country because now it isn’t rubbed in my face, so to speak. This has helped me to deal with it so much. It may not be the answer for everyone but it was for me. So now the time I get to spend with them is the most quality time I’ve ever had, seriously! We FaceTime and talk, text, and phone calls often. I send them gifts, cards, even just little things I know they will love. It seems I’ve gotten closer to them than ever. Now I know they really do love me and know how much I love them and that they really won’t forget me. My relationship with them has never been more loving.


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