Ask Grainne | Sad Dad Syndrome & Mother in Laws

Need parenting advice that doesn’t read like you joined a new age cult? Ask Grainne for the unvarnished truth about modern Irish parenting.


Dear Grainne

Sad Dad Syndrome

I was recently diagnosed with SDS. Sad Dad Syndrome and my wife doesn’t get it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love our little bundle of joy. But, seriously no one ever mentioned the resulting lack of sleep. The crushing feeling of responsibility. The change in my relationship with my partner. I barely see her now except when she crashes into an exhausted heap on the couch. When it comes to her ‘number one priority’ these days its baby first. I understand. I respect it. But why don’t women understand that new Dads have it bad too? No one told us it was going to be this way.

Depressed, new father of one from Galway.

Dear Sad Dad,

Guess what, no one told me about a ripped perineum, infected stitches or post birth abdominal cramps. What did you think? That your other half would just pop out a fully functioning adult and things would continue as normal?

Grow a pair of tits and woman up. If that’s too tough, go talk to your own Mammy. She is probably the only woman on this earth who won’t want to slap you as you bemoan the loss of your childhood.


Dear Grainne

My mother in law and her parenting advice from the ‘60s is wrecking my head.

When I first met my partner we had this perfect life in London. Then Brexit and a new baby happened and we are now back home. My mother in law who I barely saw before is now determined to make up for lost time.

She retired last year. Since then it feels like she is spending all her time at our house. Offering endless ‘helpful’ parenting advice from the 1960s while expecting me to wait on her hand and foot. She has also completely mastered the snide comment and made it into an art form. Somehow she seems to feel that I am not feeding my partner or my child enough (and definitely not enough of the right foods).

How do I politely ask her to back off before she ends up driving me insane with her constant presence?

Yours stressed out new Mum.

Dear Brexit refugee,

My initial reaction – change the locks and pretend you are not home, but, that feels like a wasted opportunity.

So, Mother in law wants to play mammy to her son and your child – let her. When she walks in the door, you walk out. Start with “since you’re here” hand her the baby and go. Get a coffee, join a gym and have leisurely swims. Go. Do your shopping, meet up with friends. Or take the other option. Leave a big pile of ironing out and go to bed. She wants to help, let her! She is obviously feeling redundant right now. Let’s face it, she probably had it a lot tougher than you but that is no reason not to take full advantage of the situation. As for the 1960s advice, listen up, you might learn something! She has done this before – you haven’t. It obviously worked quite well, you married the result!


About Grainne: Proudly known as a bitch by her nearest and dearest. Surprisingly still married to the father of her three, only slightly dysfunctional children. Has opinions about everything.

*Disclaimer Grainne is not qualified in any way to answer your problems. She doesn’t do feedback but if you want you can leave a comment below or email her at [email protected] We can almost certainly guarantee you she will NOT get back to you, but, one of her cousins who helps her might. Alternatively, you can stalk them directly Twitter: @Triona_Campbell or @KearneyRoisin or both.

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