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Not sure how this is going to sound.

Started by Lillycache, May 17, 2012, 11:49:50 am

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But I'm going to put it out there because it troubles me sometimes.   I never had the access to my grandchildren that my DILs mom did.  I WAS invited to the hospital for all three births.  The first one.. my first GS was really really exciting  AND touching as I had lost my husband suddenly about 5 months prior.  GS#1  was sort of an affirmation of life going on for me.  However, I really only got to see him about every 6 weeks or so.. partly because I worked full time and partly out of not wanting to be a pest.  But I have to say... I would only start getting "antsie" about wanting to see him again after a month. 

Now I have a GD and GS#2... so three of them.  With each child I have been moved farther and farther into the background. So GS#2 really doesn't know me that well as I have seen him perhaps 4 times in his 2 years of life.  DIL kept the kids from me completely for nearly a year.  But... and here is the bad part.  I didn't like it.. I would have liked to have seen them more, but it didn't kill me.  In fact, I even told DIL that if she was looking to punish me by keeping the kids from me.. it wasn't going to work.  The reality of the matter is that I was more torn up about not seeing MY son... or having MY son estranged than I was about the GKs.    Guess I should turn in my Grandma wings. 

Please don't get me wrong.  I love the GKs..  I would do anything to help them if they needed me.. but I'm just not that enthrawled.  Perhaps it's because of the distance DIL has kept that I have grown to view them as "another woman's Kids"  Perhaps if I had a daughter and she had children I would feel different.  With a daughter, I somehow think a mom has more latitude and feels more involved. (not meaning to generalize as I know some DDs are difficult)    AND in reality... I've never been a "kid" person... except for my own.  I cannot look at her kids as my own... even though my son is their father.  It's just not there.    Reading over these paragraphs, I'm sure I sound kind of hard and cold... I am not.. seriously... and then again, perhaps if I had been given more access over the years I would feel differently.   But as I have become fond of saying is  "It is what it is"


Hi Lily,

I am one of the unfortunate ones with a DD who is difficult I have a GS & a GD, was really hands on with GS who lived with us for 3 and a half years, was told when they moved out that nothing would change, that i would be able to see GS whenever we wanted, boy did that change !  :(.

DD and BF are very controlling. For instance today myself and ODD went over because we all go to a diet class, was told by my YDD we could not speak to my GS as he had been naughty had to sit there saying nothing whilst he was quietly crying in his bedroom and trying to catch our attention was horrible  :(.
Anyway to get to my point, as i say heavily involved in my GS first 3 years so do find it hard to detach, and switch of my feelings, but as for my GD because i don't see her any more than my GS I kinda feel the same way as you say with your GC.
I feel i cant get too close to my GD as i don't want to have the hurt magnified by two, this is such a pity as she deserves as much of my love as my GS, .........do i sound bad?
Also like you i would like to see more of my DD, I understand she wants her own little family but she is so cold and uncommunicative, not like I expected my own DD to be. You usually have the parents of men saying that there sons are terrible at communication well in my case its my YDD.
I wish i could insulate myself as you have managed to but feel this may be a long ride with lots of bumps along the road.
Jill x


I don't think I have intentionally insulated myself.  I think that I was never really allowed to form a bond.  I have a closer bond with my oldest GS as he was the one I had the opportunity to spend more time with  But there has been a lot of distance imposed since.  Time is making even that bond lessen.  It's not that I am ok with it. I cannot do anything about it. 


Lillyc.- I could have written those same words almost.  I remember meeting my GD the week after she was born, thinking that I better not get too attached since her mom would be controlling factor in our relationship.  It's a good thing - 3 mos later, her mom cut me off and deleted all the online videos, pictures, etc.  DS has given me his list of things I need to do in order to be a part of his family.   ::)

I would so much rather have a relationship with my son and then if it worked out, I could enjoy his children.  I don't relate to the GMs who would prefer to be with the GKs at all cost, forget the parents.

I thought maybe that I had turned into a person who wasn't good with kids until last weekend.   I had a great time working with a 5yo on a project and loved it.  She sought me out the next day so I guess she liked it, too.

You don't sound cold to me at all.


It's hard to 'miss' people you weren't allowed to form a relationship with in the first place. I don't think it sounds cold at all. Some people form that insta-bond, and some people need time/contact to build a relationship. If you weren't allowed the chance to bond with them, your feelings seem like a normal reaction to that to me.


Thank you for understanding what I am saying. It's not that I wouldn't love to have a close relationship with my GKs.  I always imagined being one of the elder members of a loving family.  But that is just not going to happen for me. Too much water has gone under that proverbial bridge.  The loving bond between a GK  and a GP is not instant. At least not for me it wasn't.  They are, after all, not my children.  I didn't have that instant attachment like I did with my own child.  That bond with my GKs would have taken time to develop.   I didn't get that chance.  I can't pretend I am Pining and longing for it either. 


I have to add that when the initial "blow up" happened with DIL... my initial thought wasn't fear that I wouldn't get to see the GKs...  I think that really upset DIL.  I believe she expected me to cry and beg.  It didn't happen.  The thing that DID strike fear in my heart was that I would lose contact with my son.  Thankfully that didn't happen.  I don't get to see him as much as I'd like, but at least we still have contact....such as it is.


I think you sound very balanced, to be honest.  Nothing sounds out of the ordinary and I think I will be similar to you as a grandparent.  My kid will always come first and being a grandparent is a bonus, I think I would worry about my relationship with my own child more. 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Just because we fade away and move on with our lives doesn't make it disappear. I'm glad to know in some cases the pain is lessened with less exposure, but I'm not thrilled about the strategy. Is this how some of our AC/DILs/SILs go about lessening their guilt about not wanting us involved? If they limit exposure we'll simply fade away w/o a fuss? No worries, no guilt. And it's true; there's nothing we can do.

I'm having such fun hanging out w/DH & my retired friends (although I'm still working) that I definitely don't want to be a 24/7 GM. But neither do I want to be a once a year only GM.

Doe, I'm glad you had a good time with the 5 yr old :)
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


I have to say Lily that, as a DIL, this doesn't sound good to me.

Because even a 4 times a year Gma can be close to the GK's.  It takes some effort, but it's possible.  The bond between GP's and GK's is something that needs to be 'maintained', it doesn't just 'exist.  And it usually has to be the adults, the P's & the GP's that do the work.

Wow, this is another hot button for me (that's 2 already today).  I'm not saying that you're like my MIL, but this *IS* one of the problems I have with my MIL.  She doesn't *care* about her GK's.  Not even the physically close ones.  She makes ZERO effort to get to know them or make a relationship with them.  My DD LOVES MIL, but without effort on MIL's part, I can see that relationship dying from attrition.  There have been MANY instances where MIL has ignored the GK's, in favour of fawning over my DH (the Golden One).

And the thing is, I wouldn't care how my MIL treated me, as long as she was GOOD to my DD, I would overlook almost everything.  But she's NOT good to my DD.  She doesn't KNOW her, and doesn't seem to WANT to know her.  It's too bad, because MIL tries to 'buy' my DD's affection and it doesn't work, because MIL doesn't know her and doesn't know what she likes / wants.

I have to say Lily, this then comes down to the relationship you have with your son.  As a DIL of a MIL who only cares about her DS, I have not put any effort into their relationship, I've left it to them to work it out.  Sadly, it's settled to the lowest possible level.  I hope it doesn't come to that for you.


Being a grandmother is not like being a mother.

After 6 kids, I am all out of Mommy-Gas. I love my 3 grandkids, they're so cute, but they're all under 2 years old. They're exhausting! I just don't have it anymore. I wonder if we lose the maternal energy when our estrogen levels start to peter out.

I love little visits with them, but a little goes a long way.

My focus now that my kids are grown up is my husband and the next chapter of our lives together. I plan to include my GC, but not to make them the centerpiece. I hope my kids understand that their children are just that. Theirs. I am looking forward to developing relationships with them as they get a little older and can talk and walk and not poop in their pants anymore. How cold does that sound? And of course, it all depends on whether or not my children are speaking to me when that happens. haha

I think I'm just suffering from burn out.  :-X


Lilly it's interesting to me to hear your perspective on this. My DH and I joke about how no one cares about us anymore. Whenever any of our parents call the first question is "How's DS?" and they run to him as soon as they see him. Even though we see my MIL the same amount that we did before DS was born, she's now saying that it's not enough. She seemed fine with the amount of time she spent with my DH before our son came along.

MIL has a peculiar bond with my son, it's very one sided because most of the time she scares the daylights out of him rushing at him or hovering over him. She's upset that he hasn't bonded with her the way he has with my mom, but she's her own worst enemy in that. I think that's why I think your reaction is fairly normal - my mom's relationship with DS has taken time and a lot of effort on her part since he's still so young. It also reminds me of what my husband says about being an only child - how can you miss having siblings if you don't know what it's like?


I would miss my gc like crazy, don't see them often enough to suit me bc of distance and ds being so busy and dil's social/foo life.....

But i was allowed to bond w them, dh, too.  Not as much as the other foo, but I'm grateful.  I do think the gps who don't seem to care about the gc so much just haven't been able to spend time w them; and that hurts and the gps throw up an emotional detachment  bc it HURTS SO MUCH.  (I know some gps don't seem to care much, and some gps aren't allowed to see the gks for sometimes valid reasons.)

Scoop,sounds like your mil didn't let her son "go".....still too attached.  Strange and not usual; don't know the problem; I love being w ds but also gkids.

And OT, you do seem to get it that if you had seen the gc often and bonded w them, they would be more important to you, you would love them similarly as you did your own children; I didn't think i was much of a kid person till i had kids and gks.....you have to have your own life and not cry over the gks if you don't get to see/bond w them; it drives a person nuts; I think your reaction and feelings are healthy....you love them but they aren't your life.

This may be off topic; if I'd never gotten to see the gc at first or very rarely, I think I'd hurt a lot; but maybe it's facing facts if the parents don't allow access; you can only dwell on absent gc for so long before moving on to other interests....cards and projects are good when they get older so they will know you, but those early years are so important.  but you can only do what you can and self-preservation is important.....I have to get a life apart from ds/dil/gc bc they aren't in my daily life, more once or best, twice monthly; and they are still momma's kids, sometimes don't want us.....love to have them all to ourselves sometimes, makes all the difference, but that doesn't always happen.  have to take what i can get.....

NewMama, I laugh about your mil rushing to the gs; it's so hard not to!  They are so adorable!  But since our gc don't rush at us (maybe the baby will someday), we do hang back till they get used to seeing us again.  Maybe try to let her know somehow (maybe dh will have to tell her) that the gs needs time to come to her....when we see the little family, we try to hug the parents and ask how they are before rushing after the gc; then the parents know we care about THEM, not just the gc; and it gives the gc a while to come to us....


Lilly, I understand that this is a very difficult topic and took a lot of courage for you to bring it out, I believe that the fact that you've opened your heart to discuss it will begin some very meaningful healing.  I have held this fear in the back of my mind for many years.  Most of you here know that my DS is my great trial, and I always assumed he would not marry and that g/c would not be an issue as far as that goes, but I have heard that he is now seeing a very young woman, and for the first time I've having to face the possibility that I may not be out of the woods.  My DS is very estranged from me, and even to be in the same room with him is excruciatingly painful, as his distance and hostility are for the most part unbearable to me at this stage in my life.  I always imagined that if he had children the cruelty and craziness would be ramped up to a degree heretofore unimaginable to me.  I don't know how I would handle that.  I always thought I would not allow any attachment on my part to those child(ren), as I could not imagine he could maintain a long term marriage (here again, I could be wrong) and I know what divorce/custody can lead to - absence from the children.  I have to leave that to God, mainly and trust that I'd get the wisdom and direction I would need at that time.  In my heart, I know that detachment to save myself from further suffering would not be the right path for me, we are often called upon to suffer in this life for a higher goal, and the unique bond of love we give to our g/c, even if it must be given at a distance, is invaluable to those children and will be remembered by them, and integrated into their lives, long after we are gone.   Personally, I do not enjoy babies and small children.  I had to just force myself through those stages.  My g/c are now older teens, and I am able to reap some of the good seed that I sowed in tears during those early years.  I guess what I'm saying is, that most things in my life I do not do because it feels good to me, or I get a great deal of personal satisfaction out of it, it feels like everything now to me from the time I roll out of bed in the morning is a personal sacrifice, as i struggle with energy and discouragement, but I refuse to give up and let the important things fall to the wayside.  I feel there is too much at stake for me to rely only on my feelings or lack of them at any particular time.  To be honest, most of the time my g/c tire me, and I don't really want to put another pan of cookies in the oven, or make another phone call, pick out another gift, etc., but I keep the goal out there in front of me.  I hope this made some kind of sense to you.  You haven't missed the boat, Lilly, I believe they are just now getting to the age that your gifts can kick in.


This certainly hits home for me and thanks Lillycache for bringing it up. Now our little gs is almost 4 months I've seen him only on 5 short day visits( while SIL is at work, as he it too rude to be around for me me right now) excluding going to the hospital. He was so colicky up until about 3 months that all he did was nurse , not good at sleeping so he was cranky on top of that. So there was really no way to bond with him , as he was so hard to hold maybe 10 minutes till he cranked back up. I did enjoy being with DD to keep her company as she was so worn out with lack of sleep. My concern is from the SIL being so hostile at the hospital I fear getting to close as I think he will pull him back if he thinks we are getting to close , or spending too much time with him. I want to bond with him but I felt closer to gs before his was born , buying things , talking to DD about all the things going on , planning a shower, shopping with her etc. Hospital situation took the wind out of our sails. I'm close and bonded to the other two step gs, love time with them . WE are retired working part time and do have other things we like to do also. but I'm just afraid I'll lose dd and never get to know the gs, so I feel I"ve got a big wall around my heart already when it comes to the gs, just to protect me from more pain inflicted by the prickly SIL.  I can keep contact with DD by emails/ texts. It is a sick feeling but i do understand where you are coming from Lilly C