There’s growing attention on a new grandma rite of passage: grandma showers! And there’s lots of disagreement between the generations on whether it’s a good idea.
I can see both sides of the argument.
From the expectant mom’s perspective, I can see why a grandma shower might not be welcome. It takes away from the mom’s spotlight. But the only way to find out is to ask your daughter or daughter-in-law how she feels about a grandma shower. By asking her feelings, you’re getting off to a great start by empathizing with her. It’s a good way to test the waters.
I personally have not experienced a grandma shower, but I love the idea of a grandma-to-be sitting in a circle of wise, supportive grandmas who want to help her celebrate her exciting new status. What I envision for this “shower” would be for the seasoned grandmas to shower the grandma-to-be with words of wisdom. They could each write down a bit of advice they’ve learned as grandmas and share it in the group.
New grandmas can always use words of wisdom. They are often so infatuated with their new grandchild they forget the most important people in this new relationship: the grandchild’s parents. Newbie grandmas are thinking “I can’t wait to get my hands on that baby and smother him with kisses.” What they should also be thinking is: “How can I best support my adult children in their new parenting roles so that we can all feel like a cohesive team?”
Instead of a grandma shower, another option for new grandparents would be to create a rite of passage to celebrate their new status. Dr. Lillian Carson, author of The Essential Grandparent: A Guide to Making a Difference, describes a meaningful way to celebrate your own experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s simple or elaborate or if your grandchildren have already been here for a while.
Any ritual is an opportunity for transformation. What matters is that it has meaning for you. It is a way, not only to honor yourself, but to honor the value of family. Dr. Carson shares a few examples from her friends.
Examples of Grandma Rites of Passage
- One couple planned a picnic in a lovely park to talk about their feelings about grandparenthood. They reminisced about their own grandparents and how they both envisioned their own role as grandparents now. Together, they planned how to become the grandparents they hoped to be.
- Another couple hosted a tree-planting ceremony when they became grandparents. Watching their growing tree reminded them of their growing family.
- One grandma paid a visit to a beautiful church and lit candles for herself and her grandchild then spent a contemplative hour there.
- Another grandma wrote a poem about her passage and shared it at a special family dinner.
You can write in your journal about your thoughts, hopes and dreams of grandparenthood. You can write a letter to your newborn grandchild describing your values and philosophy of life. Whatever you decide to do, you will no doubt feel a deeper awareness of your purpose and your connection to the past and future through your family.
Dr. Carson offers some thought-provoking questions to consider when planning your ritual. Consider both your positive and negative feelings.
Questions to Consider
- What meaning does grandparenthood have for you?
- What are your feelings?
- What rituals have had meaning for you in the past? Religious? Family? Personal?
- Would you like to adapt any part of them into your grandparent ritual?
- Do you prefer a private ritual or one with your spouse or with others?
- What activities hold meaning for you?
- What are the new tasks of grandparenthood?
How do you feel about grandma showers?