Hello -- I'm new and this is my first post. I have two sons, one married for 12 years with 2 kids, one single. Our DIL and her entire (but rather small) family have been rude and dismissive of us since day 1 -- which wasn't all that bad since they were all living hours away in another state. About 5 years ago my son's job moved him back to our town, so now they live about 15 minutes away. Initially my son was a happy camper to be living back in his home town near us, his brother, and many of his old schoolmates. We were thrilled as well. But DIL's family didn't like her living closer to us so a year later DIL's sister and husband and kids moved here, soon followed by her dad and his girlfriend, and now all of DIL's extended family members have options when they come to spend weekends and holidays. DIL only allows our son to hang out with her sister's husband. (So much for our son's old school buddies.) Over the last 5 years we've been to my sons house maybe 5 or 6 times. Each time we've literally been shooed away after 30 or 40 minutes. We're not offered so much as a glass of water. A couple of times DIL said "hello" and then disappeared upstairs, never to come back down even to say goodbye. Until 2018, I invited them over for dinner every other Sunday. They always arrived late, ate (a lot!), made small talk for half an hour, watching the clock the whole time, and then left in a quick rush. At the beginning of this year I said "no more," and only invited them on holidays and a few special occasions. Last week for Christmas they were an hour-and-a-half late for dinner and left in a rush asking if I would make up a plate of food for her dad who was getting impatient and hungry waiting for them at their house. Almost all of the other rude, ungrateful behaviors that I have read about on these pages we have also experienced with her -- including causing a rift between our sons. The brothers barely speak anymore. Our once loving, kind, intelligent, gentlemanly son is unrecognizable to us. Even his appearance has changed. Our dilemma is the grandkids and the one thing she wants from us, which is free babysitting. We love the kids beyond measure, but to be honest we're getting a little too old for the rough and tumble, the baths, refereeing squabbles, getting off to school, etc. We just want to be grandparents who are treated with respect. Instead we feel like the kid down the street called to babysit, often at the last minute, and expected to bring our own food. DH thinks if DS and DIL are so énamored of her family, let them do the free babysitting. I kind of think this too until I read posts on this forum from MILs who are saddened that the DIL's mother always gets to babysit and thus spend quality alone time with the GKs. Should this be the way we look at it and be grateful we're asked? Our DIL's mother is not in the picture at all, she's gone, and a relative of DIL is the "stand-in Grammy" for her side. However "Grammy" does not do babysitting and is treated by DIL and son like a royal. The dad and his GF don't babysit and the sister has her own brood. Am I just enjoying the little bit of power I can wield in saying no to something I know she desperately wants to the detriment of myself, DH, and the grands? Thank you all for reading and any wise words you might have for us.
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My painful experience with my eldest son and his wife was that how I felt and what I wanted was of no interest to them. It took me a very long time to get that they had the right, as adults, to choose how the related to and used others. I finally got that the only choice I had was in how I accepted or rejected their attitudes and behaviors toward me. Eventually I decided that my grands were learning that abuse was Ok by example. I didn't want to be any part of that. Self respect mattered to me and I had pretty much lost it over the years.
I removed myself from the toxic relationship they defined and after a while found peace again in my marriage and in my other interests. My expectations weren't met on any level and it finally dawned on me that they were mine and no one had to meet them. My husband and I looked away from our biological roles toward what else would bring us joy and filled our lives by interacting with friends where mutual respect was a given. We started to travel and made new friends and a new life. We never imagined we would find peach but we did.
I don't know if any of that will be useful to you but it worked for us. Hugs!
Thank you, Luise, so much for your reply. I attempted to post this before and it didn't appear in the thread, so I'm posting again and apologize if it's a duplicate.
Yes, self respect does matter to me and I can already see that the grands are learning that abuse is okay by example.
I'm happy to report that right after I read your reply, DS called and said they didn't need us to babysit as had been planned, but were thinking next week would be better for them and he'd let me know. I said so sorry, but your dad and I are going out of state next week to visit friends and we won't be available next week. It was hard for me to do, but I did it! Thank you again so much!
Good for you! Retraining ourselves after decades of putting our children first is terribly hard. Getting that they are adults and responsible for their actions is a whole new world where there are consequences for them and choices for others. Hugs...
Hello, and welcome to WWU! So good to hear that you put yourself first! I used to put myself last, too, and realized that I got walked on a lot, letting my daughter know that my feelings, time, money didn't really matter. Now is our time! We matter! You matter! Happy New Year!! Hugs! :)
Thank you Luise and Bamboo. Yes, it is terribly hard for me to even consider putting my wants and preferences first. I have been repeating your words Luise, "they are adults and responsible for their actions" and "it's a whole new world where there are consequences for them and choices for others" -- my new mantra!
I have also been repeating your words, Bamboo, which are great! "Now is our time. We matter. I matter." I am repeating those words to myself as I go about my day so it sinks in and starts to feel natural.
As I sat down and contemplated the holidays I realized I exhausted myself and spent way too much on ungrateful rude adult kids. I blame DIL for the way DS is behaving and I even blame her now for the bad attitude of my unmarried son who is keeping a distance from all of us because of her. But it is time to put all the blame where it belongs -- on each one of them for treating DH and I like dirt.
Thank you again, ladies, for your support as I make 2019 the year I stand up for myself -- at long last. Hugs!!
And even one step further? Blaming yourselves for taking it. You did that. And that's where your power lies, it seems to me...in making other choices. You are in control of that. You can't change others but/and you can change you! Yippee-yay!
Yes, it's going to be hard at 64 but I really want to change. Thanks again, Luise.
Take heart. I am 91 years old and I'm still learning and growing. Change is the natural by-product. Hugs...