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As a woman who has lived through many passages and learned through my larger than life experiences (positive and negative), I’ve discovered how to take a big empowering bite out of life.

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A Step-Grandmother’s Guide to Success!

Think Grand. Act Grand. Be Grand

I am a “step-grandmother” to several grandchildren. When I remarried after losing my first husband, the package included my “new-found family.” I felt set apart. Twenty-three years later, I am “their grandmother.” I am my daughter-in-law’s second mom, and my natural grandchildren feel no jealousy. How did this happen? Here is my step-grandmothers guide to success.

A Tale of Two Grandmas

I was the granddaughter of a “step-grandmother.” One of my grandmothers passed away before I was born. I loved my “step” grandmother as much as my biological grandmother. They were women who loved me unconditionally. Titles meant nothing to me. Their actions meant the world.

I had to call my “step-grandmother” Aunt Clara instead of Grandma because my grandfather insisted that all 14 grandchildren respect the memory of our deceased grandmother, the grandmother we never knew.

For over 40 years I did just that. But, in my heart of hearts, I wanted to call her grandma. She was a “granddaughter’s gift.”

One day I whispered in her ear, “I wish I could call you Grandma.” I wanted her to know how much this little girl loved her. She smiled, pulled me to her, and told me she loved me. Little did I know that one day I would bear the title: “Step” Grandmother. But not for long!

A Step-Grandmother always has a smile!

The Key to Step-Grandmother Success

Today I am, like many of you, an “Aunt Clara!” A large group of us have step-grandchildren who have a deceased grandmother, no grandmother, or a few biological living grandmothers. We are the outsiders who yearn to be insiders. Right? You will not be thought of as a “step” grandma if you think of your blended grandchildren’s feelings before your own. Don’t be a narcissist. That is the key to a “step” grandmother’s success.

Please don’t feel helpless in your role. Celebrate it. Think Grand! Act Grand! Be Grand! Understand that there is a lot of love to go around. Find your niche with each grandchild. They have different personalities and needs and one ingredient in common: They want to be loved and recognized as special. Make them special. In return, they will make you special.

A Simple Recipe

This is my recipe. I hug and kiss my grandchildren no matter their age.

When they were younger, I took them to Johnny Rockets for hamburgers and fries, to Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Company and the Dairy Queen for ice cream. Before COVID-19 we would take trips to a museum, a play, or a movie. It’s always a treat when they visit so we can have pizza afterward at Lou Malnati’s or Giordano’s in Chicago. We sit at a round table and discuss the event. I like to hike and bike and I like to go for walks and talks. I even email and text with my grandchildren, especially now being so far away. We bond as a family laughing and learning and exploring.

I have told my blended grandchildren about my family history and the “Aunt Clara” story. I never discuss my grandchildren’s parents or another grandmother because I want my grandchildren to think of me as their guardian angel. And, I am available to them at a moment’s notice. I am not confrontational nor am I a disciplinarian. I learned “to get it.”

You have your special ingredients! Turn them into a loving recipe for step-grandmother success. For more tips, if you live far away, read my story from last week. This will help you!

Are you a step-grandmother? Tell me what you have learned or your questions in the comments below. 

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August 23, 2020


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  1. Luz E Rivera says:

    It has not been easy for me. They are not very loving children, quite aloof I should say. I have learned to keep my distance to protect myself. I woukd have liked it to be different, but it is what it is.

  2. Judy Govern says:

    My son just remarried. She has three boys. When they first met me they called me grandma. I did ask them if they felt comfortable calling me grandma and they were surprised. They said after all you are our grandma now. So sweet. They are 6, 8, and 11.

  3. Krista Buck says:

    hi I clicked on your article or your post because I am a step grandma my three granddaughters call me oh Mah oh and I just believe it is so endearing and loving my biggest question is that I don’t really know how to do this grandparent thing as I have no biological children of my own therefore no biological grandchildren.

    • Honey Good says:

      Just be yourself. That is the secret! There are no rules or regulations on how to be a grandmother. Be open and loving and they will adore your. Warmly, Honey

  4. Honey Good says:

    Thank you so much. Love to have you and your friends. The more the better. Women need women. Warmly, Honey

  5. Tianna says:

    As a step-grandmother of a 9 year old girl, & a 6 year old boy, how do I approach them both to find things, (i.e., activities, outings, etc.) that I can do with them, without
    overwhelming them, or overstepping any boundaries? I really want to be close with them, but they seem to shy away from me more than not…It’s worth mentioning, I have been married to their grandfather since before they were born, & I love them like my own…Any advice would be humbly appreciated. Sincerely, Gramma Ti.

    • Susan Good says:

      You just have to be ‘you.’Do you tell them how much you love them? If you don’t that may be your answer. Take them for ice cream and a new pair of jeans or buy them a big Mac, french fries, and a milkshake for lunch or take them shopping for a favorite book or toy they want. Ask them. And, most of all hug them to you and express your feelings of how important they are in your life. Warmly, Honey

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