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Introverted DIL and new Grandbaby

Started by Kjg1960, August 23, 2015, 08:04:53 pm

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August 23, 2015, 08:04:53 pm Last Edit: August 24, 2015, 11:55:05 am by luise.volta
I'm new to this but need to vent and get advice from those who have been in my position.  Our son has been married for 4+ years to a very sweet girl.  They are very compatible in all areas (religious beliefs, musical).  When they married our DIL had graduated from college but our son was still attending.  So she brought home the bacon or the majority of it until March of this year when our GD was born.  Our son will graduate from college in December and he has been working part time for 1.5 yrs.  they have been able to pay rent up so our DIL doesn't have to work but 2-3days a month.  We have always paid his college expenses and been there for them if needed but have left them alone because our DIL worked 4-5 nights a week and then our son was working, going to school and doing homework and such during the rest of the time.  We did go out to eat and they would come to the house and to special occasions/holidays.  Long story to get to the issue.  We have always known our DIL was introverted but has always been very sweet.  Our GD was born in March, our first.  We only have one child.  We were so excited, especially me.  I had been buying girl clothes and just couldn't wait for her birth.  I knew that our DIL was going to have her mother in the delivery room with her, which was awesome.  My DILs plan as far as I knew was to call her mother and us when she was close to delivering so everyone would not be at the hospital long.  Well I believe that worked well with her family but we were not called until after our GD was born.  I was crushed.  We did not get to celebrate her being born.  I don't understand.  I don't just fault my DIL for this.  I fault my son and his MIL.  She turned 5 months old in August and we have seen her 7 times sine the weekend she was born.  We live 30 minutes from them.  We have to wait for an invite.  I no longer ask to come to her because that puts our son in the middle.  I am at a loss.  I believe I am a good MIL or would be if given the chance.  And a loving GM.  Sad and waiting.


August 23, 2015, 08:47:55 pm #1 Last Edit: August 24, 2015, 11:58:53 am by luise.volta
Welcome, K. We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Read Me First, to read the four posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit. We're a monitored Website.

I have been where you are. Many of us have. We've had to learn in various ways how to get on with our lives and find joy and peace elsewhere...beyond our biological role. Most of us had simple, normal, reasonable expectations when our children entered adulthood. For me, it was extremely hard to get that they were my expectations and my eldest son and his wife weren't obligated to fulfill them or be judged for not doing so.

As parents, we did out best. Now, our adult children are doing their best. They get to make up the rules, live and learn, follow their own drummers and all of that. We may be included and we may not. It isn't about us. I found no peace, personally, until I accepted that they did not choose to continue a relationship with my husband and me. Their choices and the dynamics of their marriage were none of my business.

Since my son was my business for over two decades, I wanted them to change and it was a long, tough road for me to get that I was the one who needed to do that. I eventually did, and since then my life has expanded in many directions that I have found to be fulfilling...matters that I did get to vote on. Creating this Website is one of them.

Others will respond to you. We have many years of archives that you can read through, as well. None of us have identical circumstances, and none of us have healed in identical ways...but...most of us have moved past how we wanted it to be to how it is...and learned to respect that. I don't think there is one woman here who did it overnight. It usually takes a long time and there are relapses...where some of us have gone into how unfair it is and we deserve better. I sure did. I had to go through some tough spots where I got really attached to my anger and hearbreak and slid into self-pity. In the end, I just wanted my life back, and if it needed to be a different life...that was, for me at least, a whole lot better than no life at all. I'm now in my late 80s. I have a great grand daughter that is 22 years old,,,that I wouldn't know if I met her on the street. That's simply too long to be unhappy, disappointed, living in hope, trying to figure it out and expecting it to change. Sending hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Personally, Kjg, I think you are doing "good" - better than I did when our both of our sons' children were born.  Most of us here who are the mothers of sons have come to realize that we are not the primary grandmother.  We are the "other" grandmother (or as one person here has been designated "not the real grandmother").  Seven times in almost five months - frankly, that is good (not fair, but good).  It seems that you are on the right path even though (in your words) "crushed".  Keep inviting them to holiday functions, offer from time to time to babysit (I found having my husband contact our son worked more favourably) and sometimes (not too often) contact them through the mail (either computer or postal).  And, as Luise said, "expand your life in different directions", include new friends, reconnect with old friends - life can be good again.  By the way, I do not think this situation is anyone's fault - what is the old saying "a daughter is a daughter for the rest of her life; a son is a son until he takes a wife".  Really, you are doing well - it's not fair (and it will never be fair) - but you are doing well.  And, congratulations on the birth of your first grandchild.


Actually my experience with my DIL made me reassess the way I had treated my in laws when my DH and I were first married.  I tried to include them in our lives and since my DH was almost completely estranged from his parents I got the credit for bringing him back into the fold.  I talked with my MIL more often than my DH did and when he called her it was usually because I told him to.  Men are taught that to ask for advice is a sign of weakness and I think that that is why they do not call their parents.  Women, on the other hand are taught to ask for help from everyone.  It is a sign of being feminine.  So daughters call their parents and most sons do not, especially the sons who were raised to believe that they could handle life.  In a way the fact that our sons do not need us is a sign that we did a good job but boy do we get the short end of the deal! 

I love my MIL but I did not truly get close to her until after my mother died.  At that point she became the person I looked to for advice, but up until then I called my Mom when I needed help. So in hind sight I see how I did not give equal treatment to my MIL, I was just fortunate enough to have a MIL who was just happy to get any contact from her son that she could.

Now, armed with this information, I can accept the fact that my DIL turns to her mother for everything first and I, like many others on this site, have turned my focus to the things I enjoy doing that do not involve my DS/ DIL/ GC.  My DH is very happy with the change and so am I.  I love seeing my GC but I do not want to raise any more children.  Besides I think that my DH and I will be the "fun grandparents" because this side of the family likes to camp, fish, hike, canoe and such.  My DIL's family like the indoors.  Even the playgrounds she takes my GC to are inside!  Of course they will want to get a little muddy here!  LOL

So my advice to you is the same advice that I got.  Start focusing your thoughts on things that make you happy.  Plan trip for you and your DH.  You had a full life before your DS was born and you can have a full life now.  Enjoy when you get to see your GC but when they are not there plan something fun for you and your DH.  Oh and by the way I only get to see my GC about once every two months.  Sometimes that feels like an imposition.  So much to do....so little time!!!

Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


Welcome K....  I'm the designated "not the real grandmother"..   That came about when my 4 y/o grandson was trying to tell me about something that happened at my DILs mother's house..  "You know... my REAL Grandma's house" was what he said.  Oh boy... did that hurt.. but I had to step back and realize that this is exactly how a 4 year old would express himself,  especially since he gets to see his mother's mom so much more..   I see my grandkids about 4 or 5 times a year.. and I consider that pretty good.   7 times in 5 months is really great.. 

K....  it's a matter of acceptance as others have said.  Stop focusing on what is fair.. and how things should be.. focus on how things are.   Remember.. our grown children do not have an obligation to meet our expectations.  It takes a lot of time to accept that.   Focus on what you have.. and what things make you happy.  That is all any of us can do.


I felt more comfortable with my own mother than my MIL and I think that's natural.  I wanted my own mother's help after my child was born, but she was not able to come due to her mother being very ill at the time.  My inlaws started driving the 7 hour drive to our house the minute they found out I was in labor.  My husband had said it was ok, and they were so excited that I didn't want to deny them.  This was their first grandchild.  I did not have a minute alone with my baby for the first 3 days of his life and I resented it.  I should have spoken up and I didn't. 
My family and my husband's family are very different.  I am an introvert and it takes me awhile to feel comfortable with people, but I usually get there with time.  I never got to a point where I was comfortable with my inlaws, but included them anyway.  I'm not saying they are the sole reason the relationship has always been uncomfortable, as I know my own issues have played a big part in the problem.
I'm not sure, what I am trying to tell you exactly other than, sometimes families are very different.  Daughters usually stay closer to their mothers and sons typically don't stay as close.  Unfortunately this doesn't seem fair to mothers of sons, but it's not personal.  I got to spend more time with my daughter and her children after they were born.  There is a comfort and ease in our relationship, more honesty, more love, etc. than in my relationship with my DIL, but I think that's natural.  My DIL is naturally closer to her own mother.   It doesn't mean I can't have a good relationship with her and I'm willing to take what is offered and respect their space.  I think the more one tries to push the worse things could be, so I think you are wise not to do that.  I have been lucky that our DIL is receptive to letting me spend time with their kids, though, and I have them both once a week for the day.  It saves them a day of daycare costs so it is a win-win.  She and my son spend some time with us when they have time.  I do feel bad for the MILs here who have been denied a relationship with their grandkids.  That is certainly hurtful and unfair.
By the way your DIL does sound like a good person.  I hope with time she becomes more comfortable with you and that you can spend more time with your grandchild.  Perhaps as the baby gets older you could offer to watch her so your DIL can do some of the things she would like to do.  Or offer to watch her for a weekend so that they can have some time together as a couple. 


I think what you are not understanding is the K was denied the same experience of being there for the birth that the DILs mother was..   Normal or not... Natural or not... It hurts..  We mothers of boys expect to have the same experiences in becoming a grandmother that mothers of girls have...  9 times out of 10 we are not allowed to.. It hurts... it's NOT fair... but we have to learn to live with that and accept what we are given..  AND that is very hard..


I do understand that it hurts.  I didn't mean to give the impression that I didn't understand that.  I was just trying to suggest that it might not hurt as much if you don't take it personally.  It's my opinion that childbirth is mostly about the mother and what she needs.  It is about her.  But it's not fair to cut the MIL out of the children's lives just because you don't like her or don't feel comfortable, unless of course there is a concern for the child's wellbeing. It doesn't sound like any of the MILs here have been cut out because of concern of the child's wellbeing and I understand that is not fair. 


Quote from: confusedbyinlaws on August 24, 2015, 03:05:32 pm
I do understand that it hurts.  I didn't mean to give the impression that I didn't understand that.  I was just trying to suggest that it might not hurt as much if you don't take it personally.  It's my opinion that childbirth is mostly about the mother and what she needs.  It is about her.  But it's not fair to cut the MIL out of the children's lives just because you don't like her or don't feel comfortable, unless of course there is a concern for the child's wellbeing. It doesn't sound like any of the MILs here have been cut out because of concern of the child's wellbeing and I understand that is not fair.

There is nothing more personal than when your child has a child... It's something nearly every woman looks forward to.   Whether it's your son or your daughter... The feelings are the same.   To NOT take it personal would be completely impossible...  Telling someone who is hurting over this cannot be told to "not take it personal"..    The whole situation is unfair... and to put it bluntly.... it sucks..    But what we are telling others who are going through this is to accept what is.. and build a life that makes you happy..  Acceptance is difficult.. but in the end is the only thing that works.   


I am sorry if I offended anyone by saying that.  It wasn't my intention.  I am a mother of a son and MIL too.  I chose not to take it personally when my DIL wanted her mother there and not me because I understood.  I felt the same way and wished I had said something.  I do understand that many DILs have not been fair.   I am sorry if I haven't been more understanding.  I am trying.


You're fine, L. We all are. All we can share is our take on whatever is being discussed.

I know someone, a very dear friend, who never takes anything personally. However, I can be dropped in my tracks by a nasty look. She hears something that I consider vicious and she looks at me, perplexed, and simply wonders why the other person doesn't get how great she is. That has actually happened! And she is wonderful. She's just not sensitive. She was built up a lot as a child. I was put down. I get we are all doing our best and when we share here it's from our experience. I'm trying, too. But I will never be like my friend. There's a lot of diversity on WWU because 'we're all snowflakes'...no two alike. The same is true of our DILs. (In my case, the culprit was DS not DIL!)
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Luise,  I am actually more like how you describe you than your friend.  I do take things personally, and did take things my MIL and FIL said and did personally and that only caused me more pain.  So I am working on not taking things so personally because it does help things not hurt so much, especially things that aren't deliberately meant to hurt me. 

Green Thumb

Welcome, Kjg!

Childbirth is such a personal thing, just think about it, strangers are going to be looking at your vagina! Some women like their mothers to be there but lots of women balk at have others there because the baby comes out of  very private and personal area of the body. Many women are taught as children that the vagina is "dirty" or shameful and they carry this over into adulthood.

I am wondering if this was even discussed with them in advance -- or assumed on your part and then it didn't happen. If you were invited to be in the delivery room in a discussion before the birth and then they did not call you, well, yikes, this is something.

For my births, I did not allow any relatives. (Husband and a friend only) My own mother and my sister came to help me by cooking and cleaning house and my MIL was allowed to come visit after the birth of  the second one, but she did almost nothing to help. My then MIL only wanted to receive attention from her son. My mother even talked to her on the phone before she came and told her all the things that I needed help with, washing diapers, playing with the oldest child, etc. MIL still did almost nothing and napped all afternoon and when my ex husband came home from work, all she wanted was to talk to him. Her total attention was on her son and even he got annoyed. No one to help me bathe the kids, cook, clean, etc. and finally my ex husband had to tell her time to go!

So what I am asking is, which mother are you, the one who makes a person's life easier by doing chores or tasks for the other person without being asked (a work horse) or the one who makes life harder (the attention seeker)?


Actually.. those of us who have given birth to only sons are pretty clear on how they came out and where they came out of being that we have the very same body parts.  What I was trying to convey to those that have not experienced being left out of your grandchild's birth was that the disappointment and slight of not being included still hurts... and it hurts very badly.   To most of us it came as a surprise that we were NOT allowed to be as much a part of the process as the DILs mom.   I am not trying to minimize the feelings of the DIL as we have all given birth and understand the process and the emotions.  I am only trying to explain that understanding is one thing... but it does not make  feeling of being "less" than the grandmother any less hurtful. 


Maybe I'm a little weird on this, but I truly never expected to be involved in the birth as much as DIL's Mother, even though she lived with us.  I hoped to be included, but not to the extent of being in the delivery room.  I was a happy little camper to sit in the waiting room and wait for DIL to tell me she was ready for me to come in.   Now, had she told me not to come to the hospital until the next day or something, yes, I would have had my feelings hurt as I was as excited as her Mom for the birth.  I think this one has to be a give-and-take from both parties.   She included me and I wasn't intrusive to her.  It worked.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell