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"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 - forever spring

I haven't been here for a while but feel I could do with the wise women listening to my dilemma.
DS left small family in November 2011 (situation described in earlier posts). Since then his ex-wife has not allowed him to see the children on a regular basis. We have only seen the GC three times since then.
However, DH and me get emails from ex-wife and her parents on a more or less regular basis to ask us to see GC and have a relationship with them. The other grandfather send an email to DH to plead for understanding his daughter and her motivation for not letting my DS see the children. Emails from this family are always full of abuse against DS.  DH is adamant that we can't do anything as long as our DS is unable to see his children and I agree.
DH and I have decided not to respond to either ex-DIL or her parents until some sort of visiting right habe been established between DS and his children (our GK). This has now happened as DS went to court and can have the children one day a week and every other Sunday.
I have an extremely bad conscience for having cut all the ties with the other GP and my ex-DIL. I got on well with the fellow GPs when DS was still there.
I'm the kind of person who wants to be friends with everybody and not having responded to emails makes me feel almost sick. I think about it all the time. On the other hand I know if I got in touch with ex-DIL and her parents, I'd risk to alienate DH and DS. It's really painful because I'm also thinking of the children who are between two camps. I so want to go to the house of their mummy and spend time with them there but feel my hands are tied. (Mind you, I did have a very volatile relationship with exDIL when she was still DIL but now I'm so sorry for the pain she has to suffer because of what DS did to her. I also have a feeling that she has changed and we could forge some sort of relationship but I'm not sure).
Thanks for listening dear WWU community.
Grab Bag / Happy Birthday Luise
March 09, 2013, 01:38:34 AM
If I remember rightly today 9. 3. is your birthday. Many happy returns of the day, Luise.
You have created a forum which has been very helpful for me in the past. Thank you very much for this - also to your son Kirk who looks after this site so well. I wish you many more years of success.
DS left family 6 months ago - I now know it was for another woman - didn't know it then.

I'm torn between being a DM and loving DS no matter what, bottom line loving your children unconditionally and
being a GM who is trying to keep lines of communication open with other GPs (FOO) to make sure that GKs are not alienated.
As a woman I feel deeply about what xDIL is going through.I didn't get on with her when all was okay but now I cry for her too.

Now DS has decided he will only see his DSs (4 and 1 1/2) with the new woman who gives him love and support in these difficult times.
I have told him that he is not doing the right thing by anybody but he is stubborn. As a result he is not seeing his DC -I'm so torn because I can't help but agreeing with xDIL and her FOO now.
MY DS is not behaving correctly in this matter and I'm so upset. He comes from a stable family, has no role model for this kind of behaviour. What is happening and what can I do? I would be prepared to go and help again with the GKs which means leaving DH on his own again but I fear I'm losing DS when doing this.

Thanks for listening, WW.
Grab Bag / Reminder
April 29, 2012, 10:37:45 PM
We are only in this world for a relatively short time - why waste this time with feuds and bad feelings?

Totally rhetorical question of course. There would be no literature, music or art if all was hunky dory and we loved each other 24/7, I know that but sometimes it would be so good to live in peace and harmony always! As in the song:

'I want to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony with honey bees and apple trees and snow white turtle doves.'  :D :D :D

I like posting on the positive thought thread. I read it every morning, then go for a brisk walk to face the day - and it works wonders. I'm not disconnecting myself from my pain but I have found a way to make it bearable until it passes - and pass it will!

See, I feel better already humming the song above.
Have a good day when it starts in your part of the world!
Grab Bag / Separation issues
April 15, 2012, 12:09:59 AM
Dear WW community,
I put this in grab bag because I know that for most of you this is not an issue of interest (fortunately). If you think, dear global Moderators that it isn't appropriate here, just delete. I just felt I wanted to share this if you are interested.

What follows is my response to an article in the UK broadsheet The Independent on separation:

Dear name,
thank you for your article in the Independent and the Radio Four interviews on separation. You write in detail about the heartache that is caused by a husband and parent leaving. If I understand your thoughts correctly, you believe that there is no chance of redemption once a marriage has been broken and as a result, the life of the children will be thwarted forever.

I  wonder whether this attitude does not lead to even more heartache than what has already been afflicted through separation?

Our son has left his family five months ago but not for another woman. We are grieving as a family now and don't know where to turn. The Family of Origin has closed ranks and neither we, the grandparents, nor our son has access to the children (4 years and 1 1/2 years) any more. Our son does not want to row in front of the children, so at the moment he doesn't fight for his right to see the children in the court.

I'm a mother of two sons and have been married for 32 years. I have no experience bringing up a daughter and I'm not in tune with girls of this generation. I struggle with the thought that my former Daughter-in-law will be miserable for the rest of her life. Our allegiance is of course with our son, hard as this may be. However, as a woman who grew up in the seventies with strong links to the idea of Feminism, I have empathy for what the former wife is going through and thinking of her hurts. I've never felt as inadequate as I feel now.

You say in your article: 'It's as if my eyeballs were turned inwards and my other senses too. Many have accused me of unseemly solipsism, of washing too many wet hankies in public, of being dementedly obsessed with the past. All true. It was all I could and can do. It must be hard for the dear departed, never being allowed to forget.' and you quote 'one distraught mum': "He leaves me, broke and broken-hearted and I am just to take it, give him his share of the babies I carried and gave birth to, treat him well, never cry, never tell him I want to die."

If what you say is true than there can be no redemption if a man does this to his wife. Can there be no forgiveness? At this bleak time in our lives, is there no hope for us as a family that things can mend with time? You are also very critical about shared parenting in an article entitled 'For the sake of the children. That means that in our case the family of origin will create a warm and secure space for the children, and we will be out in the cold. If this really is the best for the children I wouldn't mind the pain but I'm not sure whether they really benefit if we stay away for ever.

I'm writing to you with my personal thoughts to point out that your opinion published in a major broadsheet paper in the UK does resonate and while it makes people think, it can also lead to some of us losing hope. I speak without the experience of having been left by a husband so my opinion may not count - I understand this - but can forgiveness and understanding of the motives of the Other and a reflection on ones own contribution to the failure of a marriage be the building block for a better future of two people - more in tune with life as two individuals?

Thank you.
Regards from a very sad Grandmother
My DS left his family about five months ago and though we did see him in the meantime he was very distant and strange, so DH and myself had no way really to get through to him. He rang the other day to ask whether he could come to see us (DH and I live in a different country, so it is an effort). We are very pleased about this.
Of course, we are looking forward to him coming very much indeed but at the same time I want to get it right and take this visit as a chance to improve our relationship, at the same time I don't want to be too clingy or expect too much.
I'm very upset about what happened to him and his former DW and our GK who we now can't see any more because the FOO have taken over completely. So how can I get this right and make the most of DS visit?
He is in a very bad state at the moment because he is declined access to his own DSs, so everything is in limbo at the moment and we are all hurting.
I haven't posted here for a while because what I'm going through at the moment is really rough and I didn't know how to put it into words.

Those of you who keep an eye on the postings on this forum will know that I never got on with my DIL right from the start. I was always respectful of their marriage though and thought that DS had found a support in her and was proud of what they had achieved together, 2 kids, nice house everything in the garden just wonderful!!

I was wrong. My DS has left her two months ago though he is still closely involved with the children and looks after her financially. He is with the children 3 days a week and works 60 hours a week, so I believe, without being too biased, that he takes his responsibilities very seriously indeed. He said that he could not live with her any longer, and thinks that the children will be happier in the long run because they do not have to live in a house where the parents are not happy together. My DH and I have to believe him and respect his decision even though we always believed that marriage is for life and thought our children would too.

We got on with the other GP and want to have a good relationship with them for the sake of the GC. As we don't live close I went to see the family for a fortnight last month to see how things were and also to be with the GC and the other GP. I had to go on my own because DH is still working, now I wish I hadn't. This visit has been a total disaster, because the other GP wanted me to talk my DS into going back to their DD - something I had no inclination or indeed power to do. My relationship with DIL turned from bad to worse because she accuses us, my DS and me of not caring enough and not being around when we should have been around. We believe that the marital problems they had are their own and we do not interfere. 

During the 14 days I spent near them I saw the GC once – and only because it was an emergency and nobody was available. I saw my son twice to talk to him about the change in the situation. He seemed distant but explained well why he left.  On my last day the DIL asked me to come to see the GC which I would have done, even though I had my doubts about being alone with her and the GC, as I thought she may accuse me in front of them. Fate had it that my train was delayed for 5 hours, so I couldn't see them after all.

My worry is now and I like to have some advice on this from this forum. I do feel really sorry for my DIL and the pain she must endure now and I would like to extend the hand of friendship and indeed express female loyalty and let bygones be bygones but at the same time I need to be aware that more friendliness on my part may be misinterpreted and I will be abused even more. I'm in a really bad situation because I may not see my GC in the future or only see them when DS has them. So what can I do now, be nice to her no matter how bad she treats me or take the risk? The other GP are now disappointed in me because I could not wave the magic wand.

I do know that it is early days and things may fall into place somehow. But for now I'm heartbroken. I envisaged many problems to affect my happiness but never this one and the worry about the small children is huge.
Grab Bag / Lack if advertising on this site
November 06, 2011, 11:30:14 PM
I just wanted to say quickly how wonderful it is that there is no advertising on this site. There are other forums which are full with adverts, it's distracting etc. as you can't get away.
I will buy a goat from Save the Children for Christmas and dedicate it to all of you here at WWU who keep this forum what it is - a safe haven! Thanks again.
Hello All,
I read the past thread with interest and copied some replies from it which have given me a lot of insight into my own situation. Clearly we cannot agree on everything all the time. IMO the discussion of different points of view is very important and at the same time really enlightening.

Moonchild wrote:

"Not all DILs are quick to adopt their husband's family as their own right off the bat, so perhaps she did not feel close to the one who passed, but I would assume she did console your DS over his loss in private and isn't that what matters. Just because a woman may be 'cold' to others it doesn't mean that she isn't warm and loving in private with those she is close to and comfortable with. I believe I have stated in posts before that I do realize I tend to come off 'standoffish' with my FILs – FDH points it out all of the time – however he also knows that I am just trying to find my niche with his family as they tend to be quite different from mine; it is not that I do not like them, I just haven't found my comfort level with them.

I'm sure my DIL could have written the same things as it describes our situation exactly. I've always tried to see things from her point of view also but maybe I either haven't tried hard enough or we are just so different that there is no common base. I don't know yet but I do know that I have to give it time. Thanks for this post, Moonchild. You like my DIL are loving wives and that counts for a lot.

Luise said:
I once had a situation where, when I looked closely at it, I could see that the other person would have to be someone else to comply. I just had to let it go and move on because I actually wanted him to be somebody else.

That is the most difficult but the wisest thing to do. 'Let it be ...'

Pen posted:
AM, I'm still not ready to discuss our unequal treatment. I'm a big ol' chicken when it somes to self-advocacy. I have three jobs around DS & DIL: 1) don't cry  2)don't bring up problems & 3) don't talk about my needs or desires.

I'm thinking I should have planned more family activities that included DS & DIL. I should have filled up a more equal amount of time on their calendar & in their memory banks. I could have given DS family photos, nicely framed. We didn't do that because we were backing off and letting the newlyweds make their own way. What we didn't realize was that DIL's FOO would ooze into that vacuum and completely take over.
Now that I see this in writing I realize that may not have worked either. We couldn't have competed w/ the ILs financially, and the comparison between our activities and theirs would have been laughable. But I could have tried harder to put together camping trips, hikes, gallery crawls, beach days, etc. Perhaps DS would have enjoyed doing that stuff again. Maybe it's not too late?

That's exactly the situation I find myself in at the moment. I struggle with this no end and it is the great disappointment of my life. I have taken a stoical attitude to it for the moment, just hope that it won't raise its ugly head in deteriation of my health in the future. I try to laugh a lot and look after my sense of humour as a tonic. On top of that I do have a great DH.

I just wanted to post this here to illustrate how wonderful this forum is and how much insight and food for thought is has given me in the past few months. I do feel for everybody who posts their woes here. The best thing we can do IS NEVER TO GIVE UP HOPE AND GIVE OUR RELATIONSHIPS A CHANCE!
Dear WW on this site.
I do need some advice today.
I am moving away to a different country on Sunday (it is only about 2 hours flight time away, so not so bad, but still I'm not round the corner any more).
My relationship with the family here has not been good for a while as you probably gathered from previous posts. Since last Thursday it has gone particularly bad because now my DH and I are accused of being bad parents. We were not available to do babysitting duties on a specific day so DS 1 and DIL could not go out. We had a prior arrangement with DS 2. This is the background. My DIL sent me and DS 2 a txt complaining about our lack of assistance for DS 1, her DH. It was sent behind the back of our son.

My DH sent a txt to DIL about 3 days ago to offer talking about the situation but has had no reply.

Now in view of the fact that our time here is limited and I won't be able to see the family (2 lovely GS) here for the foreseeable future (3 months or so), I'm not sure whether I should txt DIL and offer to sort things out, apologize for everything I've done that might have hurt her etc. or whether I should wait for her to make the first step. This may not happen before we leave, though.

We are at an impasse at the moment but I don't want to leave in anger. That wouldn't be good for anybody. My DIL is not a bad person, I'm not a bad person, but somehow so many bad things have happened in this particular relationship that I don't know where to from now? A good relationship between MILs and DILs is vital for the healthy functioning of a family, I know that and would go the extra mile to create it but so far I've been really unsuccessful. We are key women in the family dynamics.

Any advice from this community of like minded people/ WHat do DIL's think.
A few weeks ago I posted on this site. I said I was leaving my DIL, DS and GK to be with my husband who is working in a different country until the end of next year.
Since I revealed my intentions to everybody, I feel like the villain of the piece. The only good relationship I seem to have now is with my DS. When we are on our own we talk normally and I feel relaxed. I can play with the GC and it's great fun.
I feel really guilty in my relationship with the other grandparents because now they have to do an awful lot more and are beginning to feel resentful about that. But in return they have a good relationship with their DD and GC.
I feel I have abandoned everybody. Only, when I was still there and available full time, it didn't work either. I have not spoken to my DIL for some time now and quite frankly I don't know how this is going to be mended with time.
I'm so concerned about my DS, he is working so hard to keep everything together and he is often tired. I do hope that my leaving does not lead to a split in DS and MIL relationship. I feel thoroughly helpless and deep down inside guilty. They have 2 small children, a good house, income, help from many sides, the opportunity to take time out occasionally - I really can't see why they are not coping. I think that is at the bottom of everything. I just don't emphasise enough but I don't want to feel sorry for them, that's not a good emotion. It will not change anything.
Also I will still be around until the end of August and we could have a real fun meaningful summer with DH, DS, MIL, FOO and GK.
Thanks for your ear, everybody. I've never been the villain of the piece before and it's not a part that suits me well.
but somehow it has changed for the worse because of my decision to be with them. Strange but true. Hope it can be mended.

Greetings to all wise women out there!
(No worries I'm still smiling and seeing the funny side of things ;D)

In my view my DS and DIL have a good life, job, house, healthy children (one baby), lots of help from FOO and me. There is always a babysitter around. However, they are not very happy, always tired, always complaining. 'Nightmare' is the favorite word. I have made a grave mistake by suggesting that they look at their lives and count their blessings. Even told them about a friend whose 3 year old twins are mentally disabled. I just thought that would get their sympathy. Instead, I am made to feel that I have said the wrong thing and that I lack in sympathy for their situation. That's actually true. I can't feel sorry for their situation because they have so much help in all ways. I don't know what to do! Obviously if they percieve their lives to be a nightmare at the moment (granted they don't get much sleep, but both GP often look after the babies during the night and in my view they do have a lot of outtime). DS workes very hard and unsociable hours so that DIL is on her own 3 evenings a week but during that time there is always one set of GP to help.
I know about the invisible tape over my mouth, but it is so difficult in this situation. I can't understand that they do not get strength in their current situation by 'counting their blessings'.
Maybe I'm not the best person to tell them, I know but it is all so alien to me. Am I envious because I never had any help whatsoever?
I also think that looking at their situation and seeing how good they have it, would make them feel happier in themselves. DIL's out there. AM I an ogre?  >:(
I found this poem by Seamus Heaney (Irish poet) which in my view is the best summary of how mothers feel when the son leaves their life to forge his own life.

    Mother of the Groom by Seamus Heaney

    What she remembers
    Is his glistening back
    In the bath, his small boots
    In the ring of boots at her feet.

    Hands in her voided lap,
    She hears a daugheter welcomed.
    It's as if he kicked when lifted
    And slipped her soapy hold.

    Once soap would ease off
    The wedding ring
    That's bedded forever now
    In her clapping hand.

I start this as a new topic because it may allow some of us to address our feelings of being 'made redundant' on so many fronts. These feelings may contribute to problems we have in our everyday communication with DIL. I am now trying to interpret my feelings towards my DIL and the ensuing problems from this root cause. Intellectualy I am willing to let go but after four years of their marriage I have not been able to do so from the bottom of my heart. It still hurts in a place deep deep down. It has taken me a while to acknowledge this because I feel mean and small minded thinking like that. It does not square with the outlook I have on life but it is nevertheless real and I feel I need to address this to gain equilibrium of mind and start a better relationship with the ever growing family who I love dearly.
Does anybody out there feel like this too? Or am I really a possessive mother who can't let go?
 :) Hi there, I am a new member, joined only today.
Upto a few months ago I was an absentee MIL as I lived in a different country to my son and DIL. Now I have moved closer to them to help with the toddler and the 3 months old baby. I got on well with my DIL when I was far away, but the close proximity has brought about some problems which I wish I didn't have. I'm not good with conflict and like to have everything harmonious. Now things have changed quite amazingly. I thought I would help and with a lot of good will everything would be fine. Now I have to find out that I cannot be a help in the house because I do not do things the right way. I cannot look after the toddler, because he only wants his mum. I seem to be doing the wrong things all the time. I get reprimanded from my son for saying the wrong things and that hurts.
My DIL and I are perfectly reasonable people with a good deal of human warmth and understanding for other people.  I do like her a lot and appreciate what she is doing. But I do feel such a stranger in her house. She is very close to her own parents who help her a lot. This is okay with me.
I did have a responsible job before I retired to become a full time grandmother, but now I seem to be failing on all counts.
I am quite spontaneous and often do my own thing without telling the son or DIL. My husband is still working abroad so I try to see as much as possible of him too. Maybe that is the crux of the matter. I have my own life and son and DIL expect me to be at their beck and call. I need a job description for the new job I'm embarking on.
Any help from the community? I don't think I'm an awful MIL but not sure anymore and after all 'it takes two to tango.' I love my grandkids and would like to play an active role in their lives. Maybe DIL is stressed with the new baby and when things have settled down our relationship will be better. Here is hoping.  :)