Author Topic: Not bonding with GC  (Read 13115 times)

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Offline pam1

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Re: Not bonding with GC
« Reply #30 on: July 19, 2012, 12:06:53 PM »
Good point, Scoop.  That's a common complaint I've heard amongst my friends, and not just about their in laws.  Even their own parents would assume that "help" meant for the actual baby, not around the house.

I do think things like the first bottle (or first anything) should be reserved for the parents and I can easily see many people expecting it only for parents.  I'm not sure why your DS would go to give it to you?  That seems a little out there.  So, maybe there was also some mis-communication between DS and DIL?  Not that that is your fault in anyway, it just might explain some more of their reactions right now.
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Offline Smilesback@u

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Re: Not bonding with GC
« Reply #31 on: July 19, 2012, 01:50:53 PM »
Hi Grieving, you are brave to acknowledge a sense of not bonding like you thought it would feel.  I had a weird feeling when I saw my first baby too -- he was soooo fat cheeked his eyes looked like they were lost in the folds of his face.  I wasn't sure he was mine!!  Have to laugh about it now, but then I was feeling confused that I wasn't feeling *in love* with this baby.  That feeling went away after I spent time caring for him.  I feel that way with my GC  too although I did do a lot with them as newborns and babies.  I think for me it is because they are not my babies, and so I am a bit removed.  Maybe it is respectful to not be all that bonded?  Kahil Gibran says children aren't ours anyways.  Being a GM feels different than when I mothered my own babies.  I love the GC, have fun with them as GM, am happy to play with them, and I am rewarded with their hugs, kisses, and sing-alongs.  They are not afraid of me, but do not particularly seek me out when we are visiting, as they prefer GP.  I had boys and these are girls so that might be part of it too, I don't know?  They seem to like to join in when I come up with nursery rhymes, preschool songs, games, cooking etc. It is different feelings overall and I was surprised that I didn't feel a deep connection.  I just love them anyways I can for however long I can.  Hope that helps somehow. 

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Offline Beth 2011

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Re: Not bonding with GC
« Reply #32 on: July 19, 2012, 06:40:55 PM »
Hi Grieving,

Welcome to WWU.  It is a great place.  I just want to comment on being a GM.  I am one but have not even seen my GC yet.  I have received pictures but that is it.  Now DS and DIL have moved out of town and I don't know if it will ever happen. 

You know everyone that writes a book now a days is an expert and they know more than us parents even if they are single and have never changed a diaper.  They have an education and all the answers straight out of books..... not life experience.

Wait until they call you asking about the something like continuous crying because everything that the book said does not work....just give them a chance to see the light and realize that they survived childhood with us at the helm.  What a concept!  :) 


Offline herbalescapes

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Re: Not bonding with GC
« Reply #33 on: July 20, 2012, 05:39:11 AM »
Ain't nuttin wrong with not being gaga over your GKs.  Or even over your own Ks.  We have an image of "falling in love" with the baby as soon as it's born and then feel like something is wrong with us if that doesn't happen.  Many parents don't feel an instant bond with their children.  I know I've read some articles about mom's getting depressed because they didn't feel this instant bond and the medical community trying to educate parents that it is ok not to feel gaga over their kids.  If it's ok for parents not to feel gaga, it's gotta be ok for GPs not to feel gaga. 

I think kids are better off when they are not the center of the universe to everyone around them.  I think it's healthier if the parents and grandparents have interests outside of their GKs.  You have to find that balance between not neglecting and not smothering.  That balance will be different for each kid and each parent and each GP. 

I'm not a GP, but I remember when my kids were smaller, some parents would consider it a failure not to chaperone every class trip or miss a baseball game.  Not me.  That doesn't make me better or worse than those other parents, just different. 


Grieving, throw the guilt in the trash.  Good luck finding a way to be involved but not belittled.  I'll keep my fingers crossed for ya. 

Offline SCW

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Re: Not bonding with GC
« Reply #34 on: July 20, 2012, 08:17:19 AM »
Welcome G!
I just want to add two things
#1.  I have never been close to any of my 14 GC, don't see them often, have never "babysat" for any of them, really, I do not know why, I have had loads of foster children and have been close with most of them.  My own parents are closer with my Biological GC then I, or DH.

#2 Maybe she was watching over your shoulder during a diaper change to find out how a "pro" does it.   :P
We also deem those happy, who from the experience of life, have learned to bear its ills and without descanting on their weight.
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Offline Purple Eyes

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Re: Not bonding with GC
« Reply #35 on: July 20, 2012, 09:58:46 AM »
Hi Grieving :).  I hope you aren't grieving so much after all the wonderful support you have received here at WWU.  I believe your first post was in response to MY first post, about not being gaga over GC.   And I have to say that after I posted about my sadness and not bonding with GD, the wisdom that was shared with me made me feel immediately better, and I hope that you feel better now, also.  We are not alone!

The attachment parenting thing is interesting...I hadn't put the two issues together.  It appears that it has become the modern way to parent in one form or another.  I have been told more than once that if I didn't play by DD's rules I wouldn't be allowed to be alone with GD...I am beginning to see that this is not unusual... 

I remember having to insist that my parents and PIL would have to use a car-seat and then the seat belt.  And I told them they wouldn't be allowed to take their GC anywhere unless they promised to always use it.  I remember my in-laws rolling their eyes at that, but they did comply and of course now wouldn't think of not buckling.  But I wonder how they felt about my demands?

No wonder it's hard to bond, with all of these rules that we don't know about.  But thanks to the wisdom gained here, I am going to try to just go with the flow, just like OUR parents probably had to.  My son and DIL are trying to get preggo, so it will be interesting to see the dynamics of having a GC with a DIL.  :).

Good luck, Grandma Grieving, I hope you are feeling better and please share if you've come up with any good answers to "aren't you thrilled to be a grandparent?"  xoxoxo

Offline Monroe

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Re: Not bonding with GC
« Reply #36 on: September 11, 2012, 12:45:46 AM »
Grieving -- you said:
" I am afraid to get to attached, as never know what DIL might do, don't feel like they really want us in his life---. . . . . . . But some of it, is the ugly fact that being with him is not worth the effort of being with DIL. . . . . . , that being with GS is not worth putting up with them"

I do not have GC, and frankly dread it.  I loved being a mother, but DS married a DIL who is very possessive of him.  She is so territorial of DS (who was MY baby) I would expect her to be even more possessive of HER baby.   I've lost my son, essentially, because he belongs 1,000% to her.  I would not have any opportunity to connect with any future GC.  So I really don't want any.  I'd rather not have GC than have them and not be allowed a real relationship with them. 
 


Offline Grammie

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Re: Not bonding with GC
« Reply #37 on: September 11, 2012, 09:32:23 AM »
I would not have any opportunity to connect with any future GC.  So I really don't want any.  I'd rather not have GC than have them and not be allowed a real relationship with them. 
 

Monroe you hit the nail on the head with that statement.  So true!  It is the worst pain in the world to be denied the love of your AC and worse yet you GC.  When DS and his family lived with us for 3+ months we couldn't figure out what child rearing technique was being used.  OGC spent a lot of time in "time out" sitting on the steps alone and crying.  He had no idea what "no" meant or so it seemed.  He would play with light switches, the TV remote and the TV on/off switch at will and was never told no.  He was redirected only to repeat the same action over and over again.  One time DS told GS to give me a hug and he said"no" and ran away. DIL followed behind him saying "that's okay you don't have to do anything you don't want to do".  Gee I can see that statement sticking.  Wouldn't it be nice if they would say this is the book we're reading for advice or at least discuss ideas with GPs rather than expect us to be mind readers then get mad and ignore us when we make a mistake?
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Offline Monroe

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Re: Not bonding with GC
« Reply #38 on: September 12, 2012, 08:58:08 AM »
Grieving, perhaps when you were invited to "help", they meant help around the house so they could do the baby-work, not for you to help with the baby?

I can see that as being a very basic mis-communication that could easily be the root of the problem.

Excellent point, Scoop.  Should my AC ever have children and I be invited to come help after the baby is born, I will certainly clarify what their needs and wishes are. 

If they truly want help with the baby, I'll go.  I can understand they might want help with laundry, cooking, cleaning, errands, etc. while THEY have all the baby interaction, and that would be fine.  However, I would not want to do the household work that can easily be hired out to a service.  I'd probably be willing to pay someone to go there several hours a day for a week or two, so that they could tend to the baby without the laundry and dirty dishes piling up.  But I would not want to take my time, trouble and $$$ to travel to a far-away (or even near-by) city (or even the next block over) to simply be a maid and scrub toilets.  I don't like scrubbing my OWN toilets, so I'm not going to do it for somebody else.  I'll take what I would have spent on airfare, and let them use that $$$ to hire their own maid.  I'm not looking for that. 

Offline Scoop

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Re: Not bonding with GC
« Reply #39 on: September 12, 2012, 10:05:16 AM »
Monroe - I think this is why the maternal Gma gets invited to help more often than the paternal Gma.  I know that I wouldn't like the idea of my MIL changing my bed or washing my gitch.  However, my Mom came and helped with all of that.  She cooked, she cleaned, she held the baby while I showered / napped.  It was heaven and I really appreciated it.  You should have seen how we both cried and cried when it was time for her to leave.

I think it's a fair boundary though, for you to say that you're not willing to do this for DIL.

Offline NewMama

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Re: Not bonding with GC
« Reply #40 on: September 12, 2012, 10:10:06 AM »
Helping with household stuff doesn't mean no baby interaction ever. It just means helping out a couple of sleep deprived new parents. We were so overwhelmed with looking after our son that the household stuff just fell to the wayside. We ate take out for weeks. I would've been eternally grateful to anyone that came over to help us with any of that.

And I'm sorry, but to say 'I'll only give helps if it meets my needs' means it isn't help. I could barely meet my own needs to eat, shower or sleep, so for someone to turn around and say you're not doing enough for me would've just made me blow a gasket.

Offline lancaster lady

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Re: Not bonding with GC
« Reply #41 on: September 12, 2012, 10:21:44 AM »
Hello everyone , coming in here , my favourite subject ...... ;)

I have to say that most MIL's would jump at the chance to be invited over period !

Whether to do laundry of make dinner , just being part of the fun of having a new baby home
would have been wonderful .
I don't think my DIL would have wanted me to do her smalls either , but cook the odd meal or shop ,
whatever , it would have been nice just to be asked .

Offline Monroe

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Re: Not bonding with GC
« Reply #42 on: September 12, 2012, 10:55:49 AM »
Monroe - I think this is why the maternal Gma gets invited to help more often than the paternal Gma.  I know that I wouldn't like the idea of my MIL changing my bed or washing my gitch.  However, my Mom came and helped with all of that.  She cooked, she cleaned, she held the baby while I showered / napped.  It was heaven and I really appreciated it.  You should have seen how we both cried and cried when it was time for her to leave.

I think it's a fair boundary though, for you to say that you're not willing to do this for DIL.

I think it is just fine that the maternal GM is invited to come after the baby is born more than the MIL/PaternalGM is.  I don't fault the young mothers for that one bit - they would naturally be more comfortable with their own mother than a MIL. 

I would be willing to go help (even if that meant cleaning the house) a DIL that was friendly, caring and considerate of me as a person.  But I am not willing to be a scullery maid for a DIL who is aloof and uncaring towards her husband's family.  I would also not want to "get in the way" - which I see as a high risk for a MIL who doesn't have a wonderful relationship with the DIL.  (If relationship is strained in normal times, add the new mother's roller-coaster hormones, put the MIL under the same roof, and I think you have a recipe for disaster). 


And I'm sorry, but to say 'I'll only give helps if it meets my needs' means it isn't help. I could barely meet my own needs to eat, shower or sleep, so for someone to turn around and say you're not doing enough for me would've just made me blow a gasket.

Not sure who would be saying "you're not doing enough for me".  If a DIL asked for my help, asked me to take my vacation time from work, fly myself to her city to help - and then complained I wasn't doing enough, yes, I agree, I certainly might blow a gasket.  But I would try not to!  :)  I, however, would not ever say "you're not doing enough for me" because the whole purpose of the trip would be for me to help them, not for them to do anything for me. 

I would not want to get in the way of new parents bonding with baby - so it would not make sense for GM/MIL to take charge of baby - but this is one potential GM who doesn't want to go be a servant and scullery maid to a DIL who has always been disinterested in us.  I can help in other ways - like paying a night nurse for a couple of weeks so the new parents can get some sleep.  Or hiring a cleaning service to come in and clean for them.  Or have some meals delivered.  I would not want to get in the way, but I also have no desire to travel across the country at significant expense to do household labor.  Paying someone else to do it is an easy solution. 

I very much disagree that  And I'm sorry, but to say 'I'll only give helps if it meets my needs' means it isn't help.


I think the new mother is entitled to specify the kind of help she wants and needs - and the MIL/GM is entitled to help in a way that is satisfying to the MIL/GM.  I think if the new mother wants help with cooking and scrubbing toilets, it shouldn't matter who scrubs those toilets -- the cleaning service hired by the MIL or the MIL herself.  I'll be happy to pay for that cleaning service - that would be a way to help that would fit my needs, and also help that new mother who naturally wants to be totally in charge of the little one, but doesn't want the housework to pile up.  I don't think that sort of an offer "isn't help."

Offline Elise

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Re: Not bonding with GC
« Reply #43 on: September 12, 2012, 06:26:51 PM »
Reading this thread has been very helpful in making me begin to think about/consider what may be expected of me when I travel at the end of the year to 'help' with my first granddaughter, as has been requested by ds and dil. This is my first grandchild and their first child.  I feel better prepared now to be forthright and will nicely ask closer to that time or when I get there, what my dil would like me to do.  I am ok with cleaning and cooking and errand running and just being supportive if that is what she would like. Although they are clear they want me to stay with them, I will also be ready to find other arrangements near them should it seem tensions are increasing during the anticipated week long stay, so they may have time without me around in the evening or when they wish or if I need some space myself. As always, the threads here give me lots to think about I might not otherwise consider, so thanks to all.

Offline Pen

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Re: Not bonding with GC
« Reply #44 on: September 12, 2012, 07:02:59 PM »
Wow, I remember doing all that stuff myself after the kids were born since we had no FsOO nearby. I was supposed to stay flat on my back for a week according to the midwives, but DH had to go back to work (no family leave act in those days.) When my second child was born, same thing but with a disabled toddler in tow as well. BTW, no diaper service either - did those myself too. DH did what he could after a long day of work, for sure. Somehow we made it!  Boy, were we tired!  ;)
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
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