The original housewives of the Bravo TV franchise are back – and Vicki is a new grandmother.
During the premiere of season eight, Vicki is shown preparing for a multigenerational household.
One would think I would be saying, “Way to go Vicki! Embrace the “new”clear family.”
Instead I was yelling at the television telling Vicki she needed to call me.
Because based on Vicki’s judgmental point of view of how Brianna and Ryan didn’t date the right amount of time, didn’t get married the right way, and became pregnant too soon – I do not see Vicki setting up a foundation for a successful multigenerational household.
Vicki is loving, emotional, concerned, and has no boundaries. She uses her love tank, full or on empty, to explain away practically every interaction she has with loved ones. The interactions can be positive, negative, hostile – you name it – and Vicki explains it away by saying how much she cares.
I believe her.
Here’s the thing – if Vicki wants to be the grandmother who is nurturing – not overbearing – supportive – not barky – and contributing – not blocking, then she should listen up to these multigenerational household and new grandparent tips:
Actually read the terms and conditions
Multigenerational living is tricky, especially when an adult child is moving back in. Vicki should take care in not treating Brianna like an adolescent. Vicki would be wise to set up time to speak with Brianna about giving their adult mother/daughter relationship a facelift. They have to outline the terms and conditions of this adult relationship and agree to operate within these parameters.
Put the seat up
Vicki has to remember she’s not Ryan’s mom – but his mother-in-law. She cannot base their relationship on fixing whatever his parents didn’t do, how she wants Ryan to behave as a husband to Brianna (and father to Vicki’s grandson), or on how Ryan can please Vicki.
Hopefully Vicki will be smart enough to keep her energy and communication open (aka putting the seat up) so Ryan can be his true self with Vicki. I suggest Vicki spend some alone time with Ryan getting to know him before he is deployed. This way Vicki will be able to have meaningful and thoughtful conversations with Brianna when she is missing Ryan and trying to care for their new baby.
Clean the dryer lint trap – regularly
Nothing crushes a multigenerational household like an Acme anvil on Wile E. Coyote – than holding on to things and letting them fester. You know how you should clear your dryer’s lint trap after each use to prevent lint build up and a potential inferno? Same goes for a multigenerational household. A Safe Chat protocol has to be established so if anything feels, looks, smells, or sounds wonky – it can be handled right away.
(S) Say exactly what you are feeling – not what you are thinking.
(A) Answer any questions that come up after you say what you are feeling.
(F) Forget your ego. This is your family – the ego is not invited to the Safe Chat.
(E) Exhale. Start fresh. This keeps the multigenerational household warm, open, and functioning.
Run software updates
A new multigenerational household and adjusting to a new baby is a lot to take on at once. Once they think they have things running well, some type of glitch will surface. This should not send Vicki, Brianna, and Ryan into a tizzy if they are running software updates. They should set up time for family discussions to celebrate what’s working, clear the air on any misunderstandings (aka viruses), outline what may need tweaking, and decide whether they need to upgrade their living situation (aka software) or not.
No clothing items “laughing out” the drawer
Growing up, my friend’s grandmother lived with them during certain parts of the year. She was bossy, outspoken, and hilarious. She liked things tidy and neat and on laundry days when my friend was putting away clothes her grandmother had meticulously folded, her grandmother would exclaim, “Get all of those clothes neatly into the drawers – nothing sticking out and laughing out of the drawers. Laundry ain’t no joke!”
I think this same sentiment can apply here – specifically for Vicki when she wants to support Brianna and Ryan as new parents. Yes, Vicki is an experienced parent, and she has cared for babies – but this baby is NOT Vicki’s baby. This is Vicki’s grandbaby and it may be hard for her to keep her good intentions folded neatly.
I encourage Vicki to try her best not have baby advice, tips, and “should dos” laughing out of her experienced mom (new grandmother) mouth. It’s enough to have the pressure of caring for an infant when you are tired, leaky, sore, overwhelmed, and afraid of breaking the baby. Having information laughing out and over into your baby haze mind is no fun and new parents do not forget how unsupportive and judgmental that felt.
What other multigenerational living and grandparent tips would you offer to Vicki?