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Different situation

Started by LoveMyGrandkids, September 08, 2012, 02:07:15 pm

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Too me, MaMaw sounds like Mama. I agree with the rest that it's best to back off, let go...and focus on trying to get where DIL is coming from...so you can adapt. It's their marriage, their children and their call.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Welcome, LMGK. I agree that the spelling of the name is not important enough to jeopardize your fragile relationship w/DIL. I'm glad you accepted the alternative even though it's not your fave.

If DS was the working P, and DIL stayed home & got help twice a week from her DM, I doubt anyone would suggest that anything was wrong with the GK bonding more w/her than w/DS's DM. We'd probably be saying something on the order of "Suck it up, that's how it is, DILs & their moms are naturally close, enjoy the time you do get w/the GK."

I think you are very thoughtful to consider the feelings of the other GM, LMGK. Perhaps you could suggest trading off weeks?
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


I don't know, Pen.  Not many grandparents do as much as the Lovemygrandkids does.  She does a lot, irregardless of being a paternal grandparent.  I really do not know any families with a stay at home parent that has a grandparent doing a lot of the work. 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


I have been thinking a LOT.  I do suspect some underlying marriage tension, but all marriages have some of that.  I advised my son to keep his mouth shut about it and talk only with his wife and a counselor if necessary.  I only mentioned it when he made an inappropriate remark a couple of weeks ago.  DIL has asked for extra help in the past when she had to be gone and I have always been happy to oblige.  I have not mentioned one important factor -- the only time I see the kids is when I go help out at their house.  They have brought the kids to our house (20 minute drive) only maybe 3 or 4 times in 2 years.  I have been very understanding about that because I know she works and has little time.  I feel somebody changed the rules and didn't tell me.  I am considering telling my son I have to cut out one day a week for a while.  Bath and bed really are a two person proposition, DIL admits it freely.  One splashes and plays, the other howls.  Tending to the howler leaves the splasher on his own.  I wish badly I could talk this over with my son but he tels everything and makes it sound BAD.  If I try to talk with DIL I come away thinking I am foolish and paranoid.  I can't get anybody to come out and tell me what they want.  Except my son does want the help during the week!  I don't want to enable him to not fulfill his responsibility, but don't want to leave him in the lurch if he really needs me.  My grandma name is not a battle worth dying over, of course, I just feel I have put up with a lot, and I think my aggravation tank got filled up and spilled over.


LMGK, I've been thinking about your situation a lot and it sounds like you may end up going down a road you don't want to go down.  As much as you love your GC they are not an extension of you but are the children of another family.  It concerns me that you spend so much time with your DS and GC exclusive of your DIL.  If there is tension in the family then who knows what thoughts go through her mind while she's at work knowing that you are there with her children.  When we tried to talk our situation out my DIL made it very clear that she has her family, DH and I have our family and DS and she have their family of which we are not a part.  Not everyone views it that way but you don't want to find out that she does after it's too late.  If the children are toddlers it might be time to back off some.  Get a part time job if you think a bit of extra money would be nice.  That would be a good excuse to back off without hurting DSs feelings.  Buy them a playpen for bath time and bathe one child at a time.  There can be a solution to each problem if you just look for it.  Still go over to visit but as a grandma and not one who is helping your DS raise his DC.  They chose to have children and they are responsible for raising them.  No one said it would be easy.  If DS needs help he can always hire a sitter or someone to come in and do the cleaning.  Better to have less time now then to end up with no time later on.  As to the name, the kids can be corrected to use an appropriate name.  If they had come up with an unflattering name you would not have allowed it to continue and would have corrected them using a more appropriate name.  I suggest you consider doing the same with the name they have chosen.  Gently guide them to a name that sounds less like something they would call their DM and to a name more appropriate for GM.  Also remember that they won't always be toddlers.  What sounds cute now may be a source of great embarrassment to a 15 year old.   
Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable.   
~ Denis Waitley ~


Grandparents babysitting can be sort of a minefield, sometimes it works well and sometimes it doesn't, especially when expectations are way out of sync. When were were growing up my maternal GPs looked after us quite a bit (5 days a week, for free). My mother and maternal GPs were happy with this arrangement, my father and paternal gma were not - although she had told my mother when the oldest grandchild was born that she did not babysit. It caused some issues, and is one of the many reasons my Ps are divorced. Our son goes to daycare, and we're quite comfortable asking them to do or not do something because basically we pay them and have no emotional relationship to them. If I told my mom or MIL not to do something specific when they baby sat, it'd go over like a lead balloon. Especially with my MIL. It'd come across as critical, but as DS's parents, we get to set the rules in our own home. Maybe cutting back would be a good option for now. It sounds like something they need to work out on their own. It also sounds like you've talked to him before, and nothing constructive came out of it and they don't want to share what's going on.

I just wanted to add that if you see them 2 days a week, it sort of makes sense to me that they don't bring them to you that often. My mother probably sees my son that much (she drops in on her lunch break or suppertime, or if she's out running errands on weekends). I've taken him myself to her house twice I think in 16 months. We have 4 separate grandparents because my ILs are also divorced, so many of our weekends are spent visiting with the GPs or my brother and SisIL (DS's only uncle and aunt). We rarely get a weekend to ourselves as a family, because everyone is clamoring for DS's time. Mom sees him more than anyone, so she's pretty low on the priority list for a visit to her house. And she gets that.


LMG:  I agree with the other posters that this may escalate down the line if you don't step away now.  It sounds like this is a triangle
and the GK are already involved. 

However, Scoop gave the best advice when she said, It's not like the little ones can read.  I just don't get how this is a hill for you to die on.

I have always disliked the term grandma because of the images it depicts (grey hair, rocking chair, etc.). I was young (40s) had no grey hair and was off white water rafting,  etc. so I hoped my GK would call me nana.  But of course, the little ones want to do what they want to do so it became GrammaNana.  :D One way or another they wanted me to be called grandma!! 

As the DIL, I can see how this would tear my heart to have my twins mothered by someone who they were also calling mom...regardless of the wonderful care that's being given.  A mom is a mom is a mom and I really would lean toward letting DIL take the lead on everything...because she probably already feels left out.  And back right away from discussing anything about her with your DS, that will only drive more hard feelings.  They need to be the parents.  Hard to step back but trust the WW here who say, from experience, that that is going to make smoother waters.  Hugs to you.
Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a gift (Eleanor Roosevelt)


LMG:  I just have to add a bit of lightness.  I got the picture of one splashing and one howling...I bet these little tykes are absolutely darling....how lucky you are to be part of their lives in these ways.

I babysat for a woman when I was 14.  She and her husband were farmers and had 5 kids and the oldest was not yet five.  No twins. She was 21. They went on to have one more baby a year later.  I took care of those kids when they went out on Saturday nights  Maybe that is why I was never so crazy about having kids myself.  One was always crying, one was trying to get the basement door open, one was pulling another one's hair...it was a circus.  So I think your DS can manage just fine!! 
Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a gift (Eleanor Roosevelt)


What comes to mind for me is to let the splasher play while the dad does a quick sink/washcloth wipedown with the howler.  Or wash one one night and let the not-as-dirty one wait till the next night.

The way your son is going to learn how to wash and put his kids to bed by himself is to do over and over again.  You figured it out when you had to, didn't you? 

I say make up your own mind about the situation - if you enjoy this thing 2 days a week, keep it up, but if you're feeling used/manipulated, throw in some random curves.  That might remind them that what you are doing for them is a gift and not some court ordered community service work !   Don't waste time doing something that you're not enjoying.


Oh, I love taking care of them!  That's why I'm so torn.  If it is best for them that MamMaw bow out I will do that.  But I don't want to if I don't have to because it will break my heart.  But not as badly as it would if I were cut out all together.  it does take a toll on me, especially right now.  I am giving my niece one day a week.  She just had twin girls, had complications and nearly died.  She is still weak, struggling with having lost her milk supply, getting no sleep and some post natal depression.  I stay to be sure she does not start to hemorrhage while alone with the babies!  Also, she sleeps a few hours while i stay up with the babies who apparently never sleep.  She appreciates my help a lot!  So although all the baby keeping is tiring, I still love it.  I am formulating some ideas with all of your help.  I may stop being quite so available to my son very soon.  Not right away, not so soon after this grandma name dust up.  Don't want them to jump to the conclusion that I got my feelings hurt and am pouting.  I got my feelings hurt, but I am not pouting.  Any more.  Did we decide MamMaw was probably Ok.  And my niece has been made very aware that when she feels ready to go it alone she will tell me.  And yes, my GKs are completely cute and absolutely darling! 


I thought I'd add 2 cents worth of applied linguistics perspective. I guess I don't understand this whole naming business. You allow the babies to dub you with your grandmother title? How does this work? How do they know what to call you at all unless you have told them who you are in the first place? Since you were encouraging them to call you Grandma, isn't it logical that Mommaw was a 2 year old attempt to say Grandma, rather than an attempt to christen you with a brand new name? What if they had come out with something not so cute, like Doodyhead or something? 

My daughter's niece can't say Rs. She calls my SIL Uncle Weed. Yes it's adorable, but he's not going to start calling himself Weed. Grown-ups continue to model the correct pronunciation and she eventually masters the R sound. She hears Reed, she just can't say it yet. Likewise, your grandbabies have been hearing Grandma, and it came out wrong. A cute mispronunciation. Soon mommaw will be gamma or maybe gwanma and finally Grandma. Might it be confusing to them to change your name at this point?

If you've been going by Grandma all along and even encouraging them to call you Grandma, I don't understand the importance of changing your name to Mommaw, or why the spelling matters, especially if it causes a rift between you and the person who will ultimately determine how much you will be allowed to see the kids. Would you really want your very name to irk your DIL?

You ask if we decided if Mammaw was probably ok...I think the point everyone here is making is that it doesn't sound like it's ok with your DIL, and she's the one who matters, unfortunately.

No matter what they call you, it's gonna sound sweet. :)


Well, to tell you the truth, the whole grandma name thing does not make me happy any more.  The way it works is that when your grandchild begins to call you something, that becomes your grandma name.  So i received my name from my granddaughter.  That's how it has always worked in my family, and incidentally, that is how her own mother came by the grandma name she proudly uses.  It is not the name it was originally supposed to be. I think the name is not the issue anyway.  It's the being held to a different standard all the time.  I'm so tired of it.  But I put up with what I have to put up to be with those little angels.


LMGK, The name is the issue because incidents like this may be causing the tension.  Just because it has always been done one way in the past doesn't mean it can't change.  You must learn to be flexible.  Your DIL didn't like the name so if you want to see the GKs then you would do better to stay as far away from that name as possible.  You will lose the power struggle so don't go there.  If they won't tell you things then accept that is their right.  I know you're frustrated but imagine the frustration many of us feel with complete estrangement.  We are telling you what you don't want to hear but what you need to hear.  I've been in your shoes, helping out and loving my time with my GKs, thinking surely my DS would never hurt me, but he did.  Don't make DS choose sides because you will lose.  We had a disagreement over holiday plans because they were changing the way it had always been done with no discussion.  I got upset and now have been banned from their lives.  They are not loving and compassionate but cold, angry, unforgiving and uncompromising.  I see no end in sight.  All it took was one misstep to find out that there will be no second chance. 
Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable.   
~ Denis Waitley ~


I'm sorry, Grammie.  I have read so many stories that made me sad.  What I have been saying over and over is I GIVE.  I am not insisting on my way or my name.  But I need to vent a little and this seems a safe place.  I will not jeopardize my relationship with my GKS.  I also hold the opinion that any DIL who would do the things I have read about will one day reap a sorry harvest.  We are family, why all the rivalry and hatefulness?  I just don't get it.  One day these DILs will be MILs.  They would do well to remember that.


It's ok. We don't get it either. It's also ok to vent and be disappointed. I know these names can be emotionally charged. Once my XMIL heard one of my little kids call an elderly lady who was a family friend "Grammy Phyllis" and she got so upset she stormed out of my kid's birthday party and didn't speak to us for a year. She didn't want her title of honor to be used by someone else. I know that's an extreme example, but it kind of illustrates how important it is to some people. But to let it wreck an entire year of grandmahood? Now that, I really don't get. Talk about throwing out the baby with the bath water...

Letting go of family traditions can be hard. Change in general is hard. But I'm finding that the new traditions my adult kids are coming up with are pretty neat, too. Like Grammie said,  you gotta be FLEXIBLE, baby.

Just don't try and convince me that sausage belongs in the Turkey Stuffing.