November 30, 2023, 09:00:59 AM


"Welcome to -- When adult children marry and leave home, life can sometimes get more complex instead of simpler.  Being a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law can be tough.  How do we extend love and support to our mothers-in-law, adult children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren without interfering?  What do we do when there are communication problems?  How can we ask for help when we need it without being a burden?  And how do our family members feel about these issues?  We invite you to join our free forum, read some posts... and when you're ready...share your challenges and wisdom."

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Topics - jdtm

Grab Bag / 50th Wedding Anniversary
November 04, 2018, 05:35:17 AM
Here I am complaining again!  This week-end, my husband and I celebrated 50 years of marriage.  Our marriage has been very blessed - health, finances, good friends and family.  So, what is the problem?  Everyone, and I mean everyone, forgot!  My husband and I went out to dinner on the said date - it was a nice dinner but it was not a special dinner.  During the meal a  couple of tears escaped my left eye (I'm sure my husband did not notice). 

I guess we should have planned something but it would have been thoughtful and, yes loving, if someone (anyone) had given us a moment's notice by sending a card, a telephone call or even a text message. 
I love my grandchildren dearly.  Our grandson is in college - I try to message him every few weeks - he replies within 24 hours or less.  Our granddaughter is older and in the workforce - she rarely replies to any messages or emails.  She also has mental health issues and drug issues (according to her father is still "clean").  I try to support her by contacting her a couple of times a month by sending her newsy but mundane family stuff by computer.  But she has not replied in three months.  She does come home and that is a good sign.  I am beginning to wonder if something is very very wrong - I cannot stir the pot by asking anyone (I am always accused of interfering and the relationship with our son is tenuous at best, unless, of course, gifts and money are involved), but I am so sad.  I have changed my longer e-mails to short text messages (don't have her telephone number or address) - honestly, I think that I am being blocked and she does not receive my messages.  So, do I continue trying to be supportive (if she is on drugs or severely depressed this would be important) or do I just give up.  This behaviour started after she finished college and is trying to live on her own - she did ask if she could stop in for a visit three months ago and, unfortunately, we had plans for that week-end.  She has not contacted me since and is in our area once or twice a month.  Her birthday is coming - the usual money gift which I could leave with her father, or just a card or maybe an e-mail card - I still am on Facebook with her.  I am just so tired of this ....
Grab Bag / Hosting Large Holiday Meals
April 09, 2017, 01:37:09 PM
Do you still host large holiday meals?  Or have you made changes in dealing with holiday functions.  I know - Easter is around the corner and I don't know what to do do.  I don't want to "host" (I am still able but it is difficult) and I'm not sure how many of my immediate family would be available.  It is the uncertainty (two sons with families) that bothers me - do they only come because it is a duty?  Would they rather not?  If I don't host, will we see our family even less?  I could ask but, well - I am embarrassed to say that I might not get a reply (which hurts even more).   Sometimes one of our daughters-in-law hosts but, well - often times not.   My beloved mother-in-law told us when she turned 70 "I don't do big holiday meals any more"; my beloved mother told us "I want to host holiday gatherings as long as I can".  As I said, I do not want to host (restaurants are okay but not for  every holiday).  What to do?  Most of us are here because of a "fragile" family relationship.

Just wondering what the rest of our wise women do or think ...
I have myself in pickle.  About a decade ago, the husband of one of my dear friends passed away.  My friend became very very depressed.  To help her get back into world, we started meeting once a week - without fail.  I love her, but honestly, this schedule is too much and the luncheon that used to be fun is not any more.  There could be an easy exit (my husband was ill last year and prefers to spend more time with me) except my friend is very insecure  and has few other friends (she says that she can always count on me - I try to explain that I cannot always be there but...).  Honestly, it appears our outing is her only "fun" time of the week and she constantly reminds me of this.

I don't answer the phone every time she calls, I have been making our luncheons shorter, I am careful what life events I share with her, I have booked appointments on "our day", I have expressed that I haven't been feeling that well (this is true), and I have mentioned that my husband is more demanding since he has been ill (a bit of an exaggeration but not untrue).  I just do not want to hurt her; but I suppose that I already have.   She is not getting  any of my hints (she claims she has ESP). 

Any brainwaves - please don't suggest a heart-to-heart.  Or, just continue as I am - I do want to keep her as a dear friend; but one I see only from time to time.  Frankly, it is getting easier to "not" answer the phone and easier to return only "some" of her calls.  I just wish she had another friend.  Oh - thanks  for letting me vent ...
Grab Bag / I Don't Know What to Do or to Say
May 09, 2016, 05:39:05 AM
Wisewomen - any ideas?  We have a DIL whom we love very much.  Since we have moved to a retirement location (about 30 minutes away), we do not see our grandchildren as often as we would like.  To further complicate the situation, sadly, the maternal grandmother passed away a couple of years ago (I feel I am supposed to do "double duty").  Whenever we see our son/DIL, our DIL always says that our grandchildren miss us (especially me).  She says to "drop in - you will always be welcome" and that is very true.  However, whenever I try to "drop in" unplanned, no one is home or there is a "strange car or two" in the driveway.  We always "drop in" with a gift when it is someone's birthday (although never have all been there simultaneously even when they knew we were coming).  Our grandson is in international sports, so being home on the weekend and most holidays is rare. 

I did see my family yesterday for Mother's Day where I was reminded that I do not spend enough time with our grandchildren.  Our son drops in from time to time but it is early in the morning or when the kids are at elementary school.  Honestly, I just don't have the energy to pick the kids up and take them to a movie or somewhere and then drive them back home. We try to go to the local sports events involving our grandson, but that is only one or two per year (and even that could be a two-hour drive)  We attend every party and/or invitation that is extended to us (and we reciprocate at most major holidays).  We have a limited amount of energy with some health issues (and, of course, the younger generation does not "get this" - especially our DIL).  Frankly, I am "wore out" (I really do look better than I feel - I guess that is a blessing as well as a curse - LOL).

My husband says we are going to continue "doing what we do".  Any suggestions?
Grab Bag / Dealing with Losses
March 16, 2016, 06:40:45 PM
This year I will reach a significant birthday.  Yet, all I see ahead is "loss".  My parents are now gone (as well as many family members) and tonight I find out a close friend is dying from cancer.  My husband is doing well although he suffered from a major health issue late last year.  Every time I read the paper or talk to someone or even shop for groceries, it seems all I hear about is illness or sadness or death.  Honestly, life seems so overwhelming - isn't retirement supposed to be "the best time of one's life"?  Not really looking for advice - just venting ....  But at times, life seems so bleak and frankly, dark.  Sometimes, it is so hard to continue on ....
I am just "down" today - our beloved DIL's birthday is this week-end and we offered to drop by on any one of four days - they were busy on all of them (just like Thanksgiving, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Easter and probably Christmas).  There was a letter to an advice columnist, Amy Dickinson, in our local newspaper (a world-wide columnist) concerning the issue "older boomer parents wonder why our children ignore us" - the reply was very astute. I believe that my crediting this columnist with her words, I am able to copy and print them here (if not, Luise, then delete).

    DEAR DAD: Here's my take: People in your generation (older boomers) raised your own children to occasionally miss a tournament or a birthday party in order to climb into the station wagon and spend time with (and have their cheeks patted by) older family members.

    I'm describing a family structure that was more "top down," where the parents made choices on behalf of the family.

    But there has been a significant shift. First of all, two working parents are working long and hard. But these parents are also exhausted because they assume their children's priorities -- including dropping everything for sports tournaments that are scheduled during national or religious holiday weekends. These parents promote a family structure where everything revolves around their kids.

    I assume that when they're older your grandchildren might see their own parents the way your adult children see you -- as a "waste" of vacation time.

    My advice to you is to accept the parameters and do what you want to do -- but to do your best to love them, regardless. More than ever, young people need to spend time around older relatives.

Grab Bag / Love My Needly Friend but ...
April 26, 2015, 07:11:31 AM
Several years ago a former friend of mine (from high school) lost her husband due to cancer.  At this time, we reconnected.  We have been meeting once a week for almost a decade now and, frankly, it is too much for me.  However, she tells me that she "so looks forward to our time together" and I know she has very few friends).  She considers me her "best friend" and would be horribly hurt if I chose not to meet her weekly.  But, I just can't keep it up any more!  Any suggestions on easing the pain - right now I am trying to see her three time a month and then work down to twice a month .  But, she is very smart and will see through this quickly.  I just do not want to hurt her and yet ...   Anyone have any additional advice to help us?  I suspect when she figures out my "plan" that she will choose not to speak to me again - discarded into the "bad friend pile".  Perhaps this is why her "friend list" is short.  Nonetheless, I feel so guilty - she has had enough pain already and I would be adding more.  Any suggestions?
Grandchildren / Any Suggestions ...
February 27, 2015, 05:42:23 AM
I believe our teenaged granddaughter suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder.  I believe that she inherited this awful disorder from her mother.  Our granddaughter has been ousted from her mother's home, her father's home, her maternal grandparents's home and is now residing in a cousin's home.  She was doing well in school, but has not been attending classes for one week (and probably won't return).  She also spent six months in a drug rehabilitation facility.  She threatens suicide - don't know how much of this is attention and how much of this is real.  I believe she saw her doctor this week who started her on a new and stronger medication. 

My husband and I were willing to take her into our home up to one week ago.  I just can't handle all the drama.  And yet, if she does commit suicide ....  I know having her in our home will not work.  I just don't know what to do to help her.  I am tired of crying.  Anyway, I guess I know what you are going to say - cry and then get on with your life.  Nonetheless .....
A close relative passed away a month ago.  My husband is the executor.  One person is upset that he/she is not included in the will (other members of that particular family were compensated fairly).  I have been sent many, many e-mails (the last 20-30 I would consider to be harassment).  I feel the will is fair.  It does not concern me, and neither my husband nor I are beneficiaries.  So, I told the harassing person that I did not know all of the facts and thus would not be responding to any more e-mails (prior to taking this stance I was trying to "smooth things over" so the family would not break up).  The last few I have deleted without reading.  This person feels that my husband did not influence the now deceased in his/her favour, and also  feels that I am guilty of not influencing my husband.  All the other family members feel the will is equal and fair.  I know I am doing the correct thing but my heart is broken. This situation will probably end the family ties - and I am so sad.  Any suggestions ....
Grab Bag / Looking for ....
March 10, 2014, 07:26:46 AM
It has been a long and difficult winter in my corner of the world.  The days have been long and dark.  Many friends and family have passed away this winter.  My health and that of my husband is good; however, I feel so blue.  I know that I have so much and I am grateful; however, I feel so blue.  So many need our care and attention; however, I just want to be left "alone".  I feel that we are the "givers" while friends and family are the "takers" (and this is not their fault).  But, we are "worn out".  A holiday is out of the question - I guess I just need to vent.  Perhaps after Lent and Easter comes ....
Grab Bag / Any Thoughts?
January 30, 2014, 06:39:59 AM
For years, our granddaughter has suffered from extreme anxiety - was on medication until three months ago.  She was also very close to an aunt (more so than either her mother or father or grandparents).  Last month her aunt passed away rather unexpectedly.  We expected our granddaughter to be devastated; instead, she has grown up, appears to be very self-confident, and shows no sign of anxiety.  At first, I thought that perhaps our granddaughter was "growing up" as a tribute to her aunt.  However, (I believe her aunt was suffering from BPD), I am wondering if her death has released our granddaughter from unreasonable expectations and/or demands.  Or is it a combination of these two thoughts?  Or perhaps something else?  Or perhaps ....   Whatever, it has been great news for us.  Any additional thoughts?
Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / A Question to MILs
November 04, 2011, 08:29:31 AM
I'm wondering how others deal with this situation.  We live minutes from our son's homes so "what do you say when asked to babysit".  For years I said yes to our elder son's wife - only once I said "no" and she stopped speaking to me - it's now been over six years (for the past two years she is now our Ex-DIL).  Our younger son's wife does not ask me as much to babysit (about once a week or so) but I am so afraid of saying "no" that I always say "yes" even if it means rearranging my life/schedule.  I just got off the phone and committed one day this week-end to babysitging when I had hoped to spend it with my husband.  I'm scared to say no when I know they are aware of my "free time".  What do the rest of you do?  And, does no one hire babysitters any more?  (Oh - we're moving several miles away by the end of the year - can anyone guess why)
QuoteWe are all open to various viewpoints and don't always agree, but we also do not badger a poster and pick apart every post.

This statement was a bit harsh - I think what BunnyMa was trying to do was to find logic in a person's actions, when sometimes, there is no logic.  When I first joined this site, I, too, tried to find a "reason" for what had occurred in my life, and sometimes, the reason is irrational, not logical, not concrete, perhaps even fantasy or mythical.  Oh,  there's always a "reason" but as I have said many times "one can not reason with one who cannot reason"  Many times, we just have to "Let go and Let God" because there is no other way.  BunnyMa - I think this is what Pooh was trying to say.

By the way BunnyMa, I really enjoyed your thread on "Neediness" and I'm not sure why it was locked.  I think that may have been my downfall with our son - he just could not accept his mother being less than "strong".  Take care ...
Grab Bag / I Guess This is Where I Start
June 05, 2011, 05:57:40 PM
I've been reading for over a year now and actually responded to a few postings.  Maybe someone could help with this struggle.  I  don't think there is a solution.

I've been married to a wonderful man for over 40 years.  There are no problems between us.  The problem is with his family - his two sisters (particularly the younger one and his father (now deceased).  To put it bluntly, they hate me.  My father-in-law told me over 35 years ago that it would be best for everyone if I would leave my husband and our two-year old son.  He came in one evening (drunk) and that is what he said.  I didn't know what I did wrong - I was so stunned I didn't even reply.  I should have told my husband but decided to "ignore" it by not saying anything to anyone (which I did for many decades) and making sure that I was never "physically close" to him at family activities.  I guess we both pretended everything was fine.  My husband's mother, by the way, although shy and dominated, was always very kind and good to me.

I forgot about this (or at least, put the statement) on a back burner.  Two years ago, my father-in-law passed away.  Problems have surfaced unbelievably since then.  A few months after he passed away, I was told by my nephew and sister-in-law that "everyone in this family hates me and it would be best if I would pack and move away - leave my home and my husband" - just leave.  I was again stunned!  I discussed this with our two sons and my husband this time (they led me to believe that our sons also hated me - I knew my husband didn't). My husband confronted his sister and nephew but it only resulted in a screaming match.   Now, my husband is not speaking to his younger sister (and only marginally to his older and timid sister) and our sons have practically nothing to do with their aunts or cousins.  Everyone still is in contact with their mother or grandmother (in her 90's now - aware of the fighting but not able to or cares about mending fences).

My husband thinks the problem is pure jealousy.  Frankly, we are quite well off and both my sister-in-laws are not.  We worked hard and nothing was given to us.  Also, my younger sister-in-law is twice divorced and feels that her brother should be first in her life and vice versa (her father always put her first, even over his wife).  I was always very careful about mentioning any material acquisitions, etc., I was the one who hosted the family get-togethers (never my sisters-in-law), my husband always helped whenever asked as did I; in fact, my husband and I felt it was "us" who held the family together.  Our family is now torn apart.  I guess what bothers me is that for over 40 years I have been bad-mouthed behind my back and I wasn't even aware of it.  Always, whenever I speak to them or help them, there is/was always a little "dig" which I continue to ignore.  My husband did speak to his mother and said he was tired of his sisters mistreating his wife.  Frankly, she is or never was "strong enough" to confront her husband or daughters.  But, this is not what I want.  Even the "pretend" family was better than no family.

The worse part is that we all live within sight of each other.  We have very few other neighbours.  The pain is constant - I can't seem to get away from it.  I am so tired of this.  Please - anyone - give me some words to "fall back on" when I get down.  We are not able to move just yet - maybe in five years or so.  Thanks for reading ...