• New Moms Share Stories When Lola Thinks She Knows Best: 'Nangingialam'

    Smart Parenting Village moms and an expert dole out advice how to deal with a medding lola.
    by Jillianne E. Castillo .
New Moms Share Stories When Lola Thinks She Knows Best: 'Nangingialam'
PHOTO BY iStock
  • If there is anything more frustrating to a new mom, it's getting advice from well-meaning family (usually her mom or mother-in-law). It's not that the tips are unappreciated; it just that the new mom is always left wondering why it needs to be a battle of who is right (with the new mom on the wrong side). 

    It can become a dire situation particularly if you're living with family, as one mom of a 5-month old shared with us on Smart Parenting (SP) Village Facebook group. 

    She shares with group, She writes, "Lagi namin napapagawayan ng mom ko ‘yung pagpapalaki ng bata. Simpleng mga bagay lang — mga bibilhing gamit for the baby, oras ng pag-inom ng gamot, etc. Mom ko is into mixed feeding, but I want to exclusively breastfeed (I have plenty of breast milk, by the way).

    "Yung pedia ko ang lagi kong sinusunod and not my mom, pero hindi niya matanggap yung ways ko. I want to decide on my own as a mom and as a wife pero lagi ako napapakialaman. Aminado lang ako, I need her help. Hindi ko na alam kung paano ko siya pakikisamahan. Anyone here who feels the same? Maybe not your mom, but someone in the family na feeling mo nawawalan ka na ng control sa buhay mo?"

    The mom also shared her mom told her babies are not supposed to be bathed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. “Nurse kami pareho ng mom ko kaya sobrang ironic!” she said. 

    Her post hit a nerve among her fellow SP Village moms who started sharing their stories of the frustrating side of living with family and pakikisama. Hopefully, the responses we've compiled below will make other new moms realize they're not alone in their situation, and they can get tips how to deal with a meddling relative.

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    These comments are edited for length and clarity.

    How to say a firm no
    “So si mama mahilig ilapag si baby ng tulog na naka-dapa or tagilid, para daw komportable matulog. Sabi ko huwag. Sabi niya wala daw masama, ganun din naman daw kami dati. Pinakalma ko ang sarili ko. I explained kung ano yung SIDS. Sinabi kong hindi ibig sabihin na hindi nangyari sa amin, hindi na mangyayari sa iba. Mas mainam na mag ingat. After nun, 'di na niya ginawa.”

    Keep calm and take the time to explain
    “Ang point kasi is matagal na yung panahon na naging nanay sila, and di na sila updated sa mga makabagong knowledge kaya sila ganiyan. Much better if i-educate mo siya para mas magkasundo kayo kay baby. Yung mga lola kasi gusto talaga nila maging part ng buhay ng mga apo nila and ayaw din nila tayo makitang magkamali. Minsan well-intentioned naman kaso nakaka-affect sa gusto nating paraan.”

    “There are times na kapag bumibisita [mother-in-law ko] dito sa bahay, gusto niyang ‘hiramin’ ang anak ko at iuwi sa kanila. Mag-bottle na lang daw. ‘Ay, hindi po,’ sabi ko, ‘kasi purong breast milk lang po 'yan.’ Napipikon ako doon sa word na ‘hiramin.’ 'Di naman laruan yung anak ko.”

    Let the husband help
    “Of all people, mom ko mismo nagsabi sakin na wala akong gatas at magugutom ang anak ko. Ibibili na daw niya ng formula. Umiyak talaga ako nun kasi gustong gusto ko magpa-breastfeed and siya yung ine-expect ko na pinaka susuporta sakin. Nakatulong sa 'kin yung asawa ko, kinausap niya mom ko. In-explain ng asawa ko na um-attend naman kami ng mga seminars bilang paghahanda kay baby. Makakatulong din siguro kung minsan isama mo mom mo sa pedia. Let her hear what the doctor has to say or let her ask away.”

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    Understand they mean well
    “Ako noon sabi ni hubby um-oo nalang daw ako. Hindi ako bumibili ng formula milk at tinuloy ko yung breastfeeding. May masabi man siya at masakit iniyak ko lang at pinagpatuloy yung alam kong maganda para sa baby ko. Kapag first time mom ka kasi at bata pa, tingin nila hindi mo alam yung ginagawa mo, kaya sila ganun sa'yo. Ang totoo, concerned lang siya sa'yo at sa apo niya.”

    Breathe in and breathe out
    “I agree with fellow moms here na pasok sa isang tainga, labas sa kabila. Instead of arguing, start appreciating your mom more. Kasi 'di natin mamamalayan...while we’re busy raising our own kids, our parents are getting old na rin. Mami-miss mo rin yan, mommy, kapag nakabukod na kayo. For now, sandal ka lang kay hubby kapag mabigat na sa pakiramdam.”

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    Ma. Araceli ‘Lala’ Balajadia-Alcala, a clinical psychologist at the Philippine Children's Medical Center, recommends a three-step approach when attempting to change the outdated ways of your child’s lolo and lola. “Grandparents are usually set in their ways, and it can be very difficult to ask them to shift their way of thinking.”

    Step 1
    “First, start with something positive. Let them know that you appreciate their help,” said Balajadia-Alcala. Say for instance that lola is looking after your sick child while you’re away at work. You can try starting off with something like, “Thanks, ma. I really appreciate you being here for your apo.” 

    Step 2
    “Next, give them the information you want them to know without being forceful. Be objective about it,” Balajadia-Alcala recommends. She suggests this script: “You know, the pediatrician said that it’s not good pala to...” 

    Step 3
    Then, try a collaborative approach. Get the grandparent involved again. Say something like, “What do you think? Let’s try it this time? It may be better.” “This way they’re not on the defensive,” said Balajadia-Alcala. 

    It can quickly feel like we’re under attack when someone criticizes us or tells us we’re doing something wrong. But, if you say provide context and gently phrase your thoughts, this doesn’t have to be the case. “Your child’s lolo or lola will feel that they’re still very much important in their apo’s life,” said Balajadia-Alcala.

    Good luck!

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