Believe it or not, having a new baby and running your own business have many commonalities when it comes to managing various workstyles and personalities to keep things moving smoothly. Everyone involved has their own set of super skills and their own opinions about the right way to do things.
In business, there are also investors who weigh in on how the business is run and you have a certain obligation to take in their suggestions. At home, the investors are the grandparents.
It’s tricky to manage incoming feedback (solicited and unsolicited) from the older, wiser advisors. On one hand, they raised you and you have to assume they did some things right. On the other hand, there may be some things you know you’ll do differently. Everyone must acknowledge times have changed since the days when you were little and could cartwheel across the back of a station wagon at 60 MPH without causing concern from highway patrol.
No matter what concerns you may begin to have about everyone’s involvement, I have some tried and true business tips that you can apply to managing your working relationship with “The Grandparents.”
WELCOME PACKET FOR GRANDPARENTS
This is a great way to onboard a new employee and, if you think about it, getting promoted to grandparent falls into that category. However you want to share this (conversation followed by an emailed recap, a handbook of rules with a signed agreement), this is something you can even refer back to if everything goes off the rails.
You can even set up an “orientation” and invite them to attend courses with you like Infant CPR or How to Install a Car Seat. Some hospitals even do a Grandparent Boot Camp that teaches them current laws and rules around subjects like sleep safety.
Most grandparents will appreciate a regular check in with status items like “her first check up went great” or “he is sleeping cozy in the new pajamas you bought him.” Photos and even videos are great support material for the grandparent status reports. “I ventured out of the house and neither of us cried, please see photo reference [insert image of you and your baby enjoying being out of the house].” Grandparents are more savvy than ever and can easily learn how to FaceTime or Skype which you can schedule in advance or do on-the-go. This is a great way for them to see for themselves how things are going.
When you feed the updates to them, you will be less likely to receive a call when you’re in the middle of a chaotic diaper change or finally getting a 3 minute nap. It puts the control in your hands and is a great tool in “managing up” to your (original) leaders.
A new baby creates new roles, responsibilities and promotions. You were your parents’ child and still are but now you’ve accepted the new role as a mother or father. Your parents are promoted to grandparents. During this time, it’s helpful to have thoughtful conversations and an ongoing grace period for growth, trial and error. You as a newly minted parent will have ideas of how you’d like to run things. The old regime will have their lists of what works and what doesn’t.
Be patient, be open, be flexible, be able to pivot.
PERKS & BONUSES
Once you’ve established your dream team of people who love and care for your little one and have plans in place so everyone can be happy and thrive, it’s time to acknowledge everyone’s hard work with perks and bonuses. Everyone loves to hear they are doing a great job and grandparents are no exception. Recognition and appreciation goes a long way. A bonus can be doing something their way (if it differs from yours) when you are visiting them at their home. Maybe a handwritten note of appreciation or a “World’s Greatest Grandmother” gift is the way to go. Celebrating what’s right and acknowledging what they bring to the table really goes a long way and serves as positive reinforcement for all of the big and little things they do for your family.
Just remember, grandparents want to be recognized for doing a great job.
More importantly, grandparents are coming from a place of love. You just need you to make some executive decisions and then lead the charge in how you want things done.