January 19, 2021, 09:29:27 am


"Welcome to WiseWomenUnite.com -- 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 - Smilesback@u

Hi all, I joined a year or so ago and have been on a journey of healing.  I thought my issues were with my sons and how they disrespected me.  I just spent a week with facetime with my ms, after having been on the phone with other two sons as well as discussing with dh the family dynamics.  Turns out, that this is much more about me, and my issues and how I deal with them.  I am not grieving the losses anymore of what I perceived was going on.  I don't feel mistreated actually.  What I do feel is responsible for my own feelings and actions.  I think life is tough.  I think about where I am coming from...my upbringing, my choices and the consequences on me.  I totally get that I have to respect myself and develop appropriate behaviors to honor me, as a Mom, as a daughter, as a mother in law, as a wife, as an ex-wife, as an aunt, as a sister, as a friend.  I guess I am just not running away anymore from my feelings, from my pain, and actually am taking on caring about myself, nurturing me, and avoiding putting myself in harm's way.  I have choices and do not have to be driven by past family patterns of relating.  I have hope, I have faith and I have love.  It might be necessary for me to realize that my sons are doing the best they can.  I have used tough love on them, and sometimes, it is not the tough part they need so much.  So, sending this out to you all to acknowledge that we are each on our journey to get through this life with care, compassion, and integrity.  It is a tough life.  (With recent news events, I count my blessings).  Hugs and may the peace that passes all understanding be with each and every one of us tonight and available to us always in our hearts.   
Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Pressure from my dad
November 05, 2012, 05:18:53 pm
I have a middle son (ms) who does not want to get a job.  He does yardwork for a living but is not making it.  He used to complain it was the economy for why he could not find a job.  But the last time I talked with him, he says that's not it, he can get a job if he wants.  He is living out of his car.  My dad wants his address to mail him a bday card.  So I told my dad to give it to me and we will get it to him as he is living with friends, but that the last time I talked with him he said he was looking for an apartment, and considering doing seasonal work with Amazon shipping.  (I will believe that when I see it)  Of course, I keep hoping, but I feel so much pressure from my dad.  He said that dh and I should be able to do something for ms.  I know my dad.  If he knew that it was my ms's choice to not work, he would write him off as a deadbeat, a bum.  I know my dad and he is unforgiving, holds grudges and is a control-freak.  I believe my ms will come to his senses (at 34) soon as the weather is getting colder.  My ms won't take my 3x calls recently so I leave a message each time, that I think is encouraging.  I know this is his decision to make as to how he wants to live.  I asked his 2 brothers if they would talk to him please, and let him know we support him.  Unfortunately, he got mad at them too and it didn't go well.  It looks obvious that he must be smoking pot and not motivated to change his life.  It is so sad that it has become my problem too.  I am working towards detachment, and not giving him money anymore.  But now this pressure from my dad, which is not the first time, about ms.  I think ms has to solve this himself.  We give him help to move, store his things, and ask him to pay us for any bills that we pay for him.  So far, he paid us back for Sept bills, and owes Oct.  I believe he will get it together.  He is just so mad to get pushed and my dad now is pushing me.  I don't like it either!  I just don't want my dad blowing up and disowning me too because I wouldn't "do" anything.  Right now, I think doing *nothing* is doing something.  Does that make sense?   
I have a mss who is hardly working by choice and living out of his van by choice.  He gets irate with me because I harp on he should be getting a job, making something of himself, paying his parking tickets anything that has to do with living responsibly.  And he is sick of it!  Well so am I!  But 10 years from now if he is doing the same crapo, I would feel guilty if I didn't give it my best shot now.  If he has depression, which I suspect, I do not want to give up on him either.  That's why I am in conflict with him -- I don't want to be in this role of trying to rescue him, or being negative that he is not doing what he should be doing.  So after spending this weekend with him at oss' house celebrating dh birthday, I am so d.o.n.e. with feeling sorry for him and trying to figure out what he needs to do.  I will be here, light in the window, try to keep him from going down the tubes, but not going to save him from working for a living at all.  Feels right to me -- what do you think?
Grab Bag / :D If real life could be this funny
October 03, 2012, 04:23:01 pm
My dh ex-mil sent me this funny story and I laughed.  Hope you see the humor.   :D

HOW TO BE A GRACIOUS WITCH  Jennifer's wedding day was fast approaching. Nothing could dampen her excitement - not even her parent's nasty divorce.   Her mother had found the PERFECT dress to wear, and would be the best-dressed mother-of-the-bride ever!
A week later, Jennifer was horrified to learn that her father's new, young wife had bought the exact same dress as her mother!
Jennifer asked her father's new young wife to exchange it, but she refused. "Absolutely not! I look like a million bucks in this dress,
And I'm wearing it", she replied.  Jennifer told her mother who graciously said, ''Never mind sweetheart. I'll get another dress. After all, it's your special day.'' A few days later, they went shopping, and did find another gorgeous dress for her mother.  When they stopped for lunch, Jennifer asked her mother, ''Aren't you going to return the other dress? You really don't have another  Occasion where you could wear it." Her mother just smiled and replied, ''Of course I do, dear.....I'm wearing it to the rehearsal dinner the night BEFORE the wedding.''  We are flexible like that.
Am I getting this right?  Seems that when I visit my DS/DIL/GD, they have allocated time to spend and focus on GD.  When that time is completed, then it is time to focus on themselves.  I am delegated to babysit while GD sleep.  Don't want to, said so, having some grace about it, but they don't want to pay for a babysitter so that we can all go out together.  Is the message, we don't want to spend time with you?  Seriously?  Don't grownup sons want to spend time with their parents when they come for a visit?  Huh?  I think I am getting it, and don't want to get it.  If that's the case, why do I have to visit them?  I can GD and then leave after they go to bed.  What am I missing here?   :(  Can't believe it, is it true?  You don't want to spend time with me?  Why not?  I came all this way to see you and your family and what?  You don't want to spend time with me, other than have me spend time with your children?  I think it is true, and can't believe it!   :o
Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Righteous anger
September 20, 2012, 05:15:24 pm
Hi everybody, I have been living in denial.  Yes, the land where I don't make the necessary changes in my behavior that are needed.  When I live in denial, I also make excuses for my sons' behaviors.  This is the proverbial drunkard's dream, where they do not even have to speak as I will defend them as I try to make it right in my head.  HA! With WWU, I have been recovering, starting to become stronger by facing my reality and although it has been difficult, I am out of denial now.  As a result, I am not feeling so sad, depressed, angry, hurt, rejected, and living out my issues of always trying to make it right when it is wrong for me (Of course, St Johns Wort has kicked in now too and helps :)  Do I sound crazy?  I was but not anymore!!!  So my head is on straight now.  I understand that being a 60 year old parent / GP does not mean that I have to accept poor behavior from any of my sons.  This month I have dealt with all 6 sons in what I would consider as a reasonable way to speak my truth, without judgment or blame, it is what it is (It used to be called Mommy's On The Warpath when they were little!) about how I want to be treated, basically.  Well, I just got off the phone with the sixth son, and having given him his comeuppance.  My truth is that when I am mistreated and I begin to point out that I do not want to be treated like an idiot, spoken to in a disrespectful way, or blamed for somebody else's problem,  I am met with their anger and finger pointing at ME, to not be so sensitive, to listen to myself getting mad over their unpaid bills, like What is MY problem?  So I was ready, oh baby, I was ready for that!  I said, with firmness and in no uncertain tone, that this will not be turned around on me, as if it is my problem.  No, my son is expected to figure out what he will do to be responsible and let me know.  This is about what HE will do to make it right.  So There!!!  (Needless to say, he hung up on me before I could finish saying *I am going to go now*).  I am so proud of myself, I stood up for myself, and put the responsibility back on the shoulders of my son.  Just like I have done with the other sons.  I gotta tell you --- it felt good, real good.  Now I am so tempted to call my sons back and make nice...but I will not let myself slip back into the land of denial.  They are going to face their feelings and figure them out.  In the mean time, they are expected to treat me with respect or just plain leave me alone until they can.  I refuse to make life easier for them anymore or make excuses for them.  They will be responsible for how they feel, think and live, and treat me with respect not matter what.  AND they will take the consequences when they do not do that.  Yes, righteous anger.  And you know what?  I just got a call from said son while he is at the bank making good on those checks he mailed.  Just let me say, I will not lose my self-respect again because if I allow myself to be treated poorly, I have no one to blame but myself.  I know they can choose to not talk to me again or see me again but that is out of my control.  If they choose to do that, then I believe They Are Living in Denial, and they will be sad, depressed, angry, hurt etc., until they make the necessary changes in their behavior (just like I  had to).  Hope they grow up - geesh!  I have had enough!!  >:(   I have not heard back from 2 other sons, but you know, it does look like there is hope, doesn't it? 
Grab Bag / Grandparents Answering Machine
September 18, 2012, 04:16:33 pm
Good morning . . . At present we are not at home but, please Leave your message after you hear the beep.
beeeeeppp ....
If you are one of our children, dial 1 and then select the option from 1 to 5 in order of "arrival" so we know who it is.
If you need us to stay with the children, press 2
If you want to borrow the car, press 3
If you want us to wash your clothes, press 4
If you want the grandchildren to sleep here tonight, press 5
If you want us to pick up the kids at school, press 6
If you want us to prepare a meal for Sunday or to have it delivered to your home, press 7
If you want to come to eat here, press 8
If you need money, press 9
If you are going to invite us to dinner, or taking us to the theater, start talking we are listening!!!!!!!!!!!"   ;)
Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Grief process
September 18, 2012, 04:12:58 pm
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow sums up the lifelong experience of grief in the first 3 lines of his poem,
Secret Anniversaries Of The Heart:
The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart.

I wanted to share that I think my experience with DS/DIL as a MIL is a lot more about me learning to let go than I realized.  Of course, they have to learn to let go as well.  So together we will get through this better realizing that we are all going through changing roles, letting go of our past roles.  When we visit, we can recall, but not really re-create what it was like when we were growing up together with me as the parent.  I believe I am feeling the loss of being The Parent.  I am sad and miss it in a lot of ways.  And when I visit, I am in the *no man zone* of Not Being The Parent with other grownups, as well as with the GDs.  I feel a loss at not being the most important adult in my sons' lives.  I feel a loss at being the *visiting GP*.  It is what it is under the best circumstances in relationships.  Someone sent me a funny Grandparent's Day that I will post in our grab bag.  I am certainly feeling all the stress of moving into retirement, letting go of a job, putting the house up for sale, getting rid of household belongings with recurrent thoughts of *no one wants these*, with lots of donations and really facing the economics of the future on a fixed income.  We are fortunate to have been savers so we will manage our household bills including medical bills.  Which brings me to my new sense of loss of good health.  I have had 3 incidents of pressure, crushing chest pain in the last month.   The most recent this weekend and now I am not willing to slip back into denial!  Maybe all the stress will be a blessing if they do find a heart problem before I have permanent damage to the heart.  Interesting to think that I may have *heart* problems - you think?  :-\  Usually I stress at this time of year with holidays ever since I was a child with an absent dad in the military gone for 9 months to a year at a time and mom drinking over missed birthdays, holidays etc.  I start taking St Johns Wort because of mild depression with this time of year which really helps.  My sons' birthdays are fall birthdays and I don't get to see them as they live out of the area.  There is a lot of emotional stress for me to deal with now.  All of my WWU friends know how we came to be here with our heart pain.  So I am following up with my family doctor and expect a full cardiac workup this week.  Also I am  communicating with DH that I realize that I am not going to live forever, that I don't want stress with my family to keep going on, and I will deal with this stress better.  I will stop worrying about my grownups and believe in them more, knowing that I am not the answer nor the problem.  If there is anything I can give you all through your struggles here, is to remember that life goes on, our children grow up, and we can get through these losses, as we grow older, get stronger from it and realize we don't really get over the losses, we learn to get through the sadness in order to make our living not only bearable but better.  Sending hope and love to you all.   :-*     
I certainly am starting to have some regrets.  My middle son has an abrasiveness when he talks about issues.  Seems like a trigger anger point.  Last phone call several days ago I thought I had good news for him.  Called him up, he twisted the news and was getting upset.  I found his response unreasonable, tried briefly to discuss and was met with more of his anger, not directed at me, but still, I didn't want to hear it.  So I said I have to go, bye --- and quickly got off the phone.  Today I call and he puts my call on HOLD  I send an email and ask him to call so we can talk.  This is the same son who let go of his apartment to live out of his car to save money.  No future plans of what he will do, just living without bills.  Except for the cell phone, gym and storage unit.  He says I try to control his life whenever I discuss what he is doing and plans to do for the future.  I believe at this point, that he has more to lose than I do by not being in communication.  And so it goes...  what is happening to me?  I have 3 sons, all 30+ and they are freaking me out with their attitude with me.  It was not an easy time those teenage years, and then we got through them.  This seems to harken back to those days.  This son I recently had to tell that I would not be paying his bills, and he questioned why am I cutting him off?  I don't know...maybe because you are almost 35?  I am being sarcastic as I didn't say that -- I said you are expected to make a living and plan for the future to be able to take care of  a family someday.  At least he has no unwed mother to support.  I do feel guilty and do worry but I keep doing the tough love with my sons.  Now this...well so be it!  I have mixed feelings, between being aware that this is not going to last hopefully, and that he realizes he has more to lose by not staying in touch, and feeling relieved that I don't have to talk with him.  I am nearing retirement next year and will be moving to the Islands.  Sure seems like all everything is breaking loose -- is there any relationship?  Are we all struggling to form new relationships?  It is getting to me today, where I feel sad.   I am going to start on St Johns' Wort, as I do seem to start a mild depression this time of year.  But crap!  I should be happy -- I am going to retire and live in paradise.  Does anybody want me to be happy for heavens sake?  It affects my marriage as I keep dwelling on things I cannot control with my sons.  Any help would be appreciated...even if you have told me before  :(   
Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Is it all about me?
September 05, 2012, 10:38:49 am
Sometimes I realize my part that I play in problems with my family.  I am not real happy today with myself, with the way I perceive them.  I seem critical but realistic.  Some sons think they are smarter than they are and insult my intelligence with remarks.  I don't call them on it, but beginning to think I just might.  It makes me sad when I perceive that I am not being treated in a friendly, respectful way.  Seems friends treat me better than my family sometimes.  So I am finding it hard to keep turning the other cheek with my family.  Some days I feel strong and determined to be myself, engage with family, and not worry about what they think or how they deliver -- thinking they can adjust to me too!  Other days, well, I feel sad or mad when I think I am being too critical but not feeling respected and wish it was different.  I guess the better part of valor would be for me to keep putting forth my best effort with family, and let go of my expectations that they give more to me.  They are busy with their own lives, meeting their own needs.  Sometimes it feels like I am being asked to admire the Emperor's beautiful new clothes, and what I see is that the emperor is naked.  How do you keep silent about misperceptions - to hold your tongue, and why?  I think I should not stir up a hornet's nest and complain, unless there is harm being done to GD.  I have learned that much on WWU, that it is best for me to move on with my own life, not confront DS/DIL about anything, and deal with my personal issues on my own.  I get that my feelings are my responsibility to manage in healthy ways and it is hard sometimes.  This Thg, I choose to visit DS/DIL for less time just a couple days to keep it less stressful on me, also by staying in a motel, fixing my own meals, and basically fending for myself as they do not like to entertain.  I will visit more with them if I want to, but it is not likely.  It seems chaotic in their home with a lack of planning for meals and what to do, and so child-focused that I can't think straight it seems.  I really love them in the best way possible that I can manage, but it is hard to spend much time with them.  Maybe that is mutual?  Maybe I am showing my age?  I think of DS/DIL often but don't visit but a couple times a year, as we live across the country from them.  I don't call often because they are busy, sometimes the GD get on the phone, and then there is a disconnect, or they call when they are in the car and it is hard to hear.   I find calling DS at lunchtime at his work he seems less stressed, and seems the best time.  Sometimes I hunch that I am not such a fun phone call anywhere at anytime.  Not a pity party, just trying to face reality here -- it is not all about them, but I play a part too.  I do send souvenirs from our trips, little gifts for special events to show that I love them and wish them the best.  I bring fun activities to do with the GD when we visit, we babysit in the daytime and I do call DS to send good cheer.  I have called DIL but she doesn't answer, so I leave a cheery message and don't worry about it.  When DS/DIL do not meet my expectations, I feel unimportant.  I suppose they feel that way about some of the things I don't do too?  I really don't like FB lately either as I read how DIL is doing this and that and DS does not communicate much about what they are doing.  Other than seeing photos and keeping up with what's going on, I am thinking I will stop putting so much value into FB.  Maybe it is for their friends mostly to see.   I see to misinterpret what I read and then negativity sets in.  I think I will call more often to stay connected rather than pick up through FB.  I have the time now that I am not working.  Hope that's a good idea --what do you think?  Am I on the right track?
I didn't grow up seeing my grandparents often at all, let alone on a *vacation*.  So I don't really know if family vacations with GP are all that fun for anyone?  My parents didn't take us on vacations at all as we were a military family.  Our vacation was driving coast-to-coast to the next duty station.  We would be seeing the inside of motels, play in that pool, watch the car plates and roadsigns and eat out at restaurants.  I never even knew about national parks, or thought about having holidays with relatives.  We hardly had holidays with Dad home.  I didn't know any way of life to be different really, so I didn't think anything of it growing up.  I knew Mom was sad about missing Dad and her family - but he was gone so much, I really didn't even know my Dad or relatives.  When I married I planned things to do with family on holidays and did get a vacation but worked full time so didn't have all that much time off.  We were the typical nuclear family when I was growing up and I carried that on raising my family but I would have liked doing more family stuff together.  Sometimes I think that my problem with my DS/DIL might be more about this, that her culture is that life is ALL about the family.  What do you think about family vacations? 
Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Jealous or what?
September 01, 2012, 01:09:30 pm
I just found out that DS is going on an *family vacation overnight* with MIL.  He has tried to make a family vacation plan with us before, and I didn't want to go to a resort as they are usually expensive.  I also didn't want to pay the bill.  His FIL and MIL not only clean, cook and babysit on visits, but stay for weeks, and pick up the tab on visits, vacations, shopping, meals and well everything.  Sorry, not my culture and yet I do feel jealous about the *special times* they have together.  But seems to be my problem because I am getting what I pay for it seems.  Will I ever get over these emotional conflicts of mine about what I am expected to do, and what I am willing to do? 
I might have lost my mind.  I told my DS that when we visit at Thg he will need to plan to get a babysitter so we can all go out together.  I didn't want what happened last visit to happen again.  We did not want to babysit and plans were made without us expecting us to babysit.  So I took back what I have said in the past, that I will babysit every time I visit.  They had a difficult time trusting a babysitter when the girls were little.  I wanted to help them get some couple time.  But now the girls are 3 and 5 and they have been using babysitters, I don't feel I have to babysit.  DS's response really stuck in my throat...*you mean you want me to pay for a babysitter?*  I suppose that was supposed to make me feel that I was insulting him.  I know I am changing what I said I would do whenever we visit but I don't want to babysit anymore...I would like to go out with him and his wife without the girls.  It is not always fun to do things with little kids - it gets boring.  I must have lost my mind??  I could lose contact with the GC --- and I hope it doesn't come to that.  That's out of my hands, but I have my mind made up.  I think I cramp my DSs style, I guess.  I think they can go out when I am not there...and when I am there, we can all go together.  If they don't get a babysitter, then DH and I will go out by ourselves.  Sound good?
Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Cruise
July 19, 2012, 10:28:59 am
Grammie, I appreciate your sharing how you are getting on with your own life.  I hear you're in a lot of pain and need time to heal; I am not the happy camper here either.  Some things take forever to change, some things may never change, who knows??  I read on FB yesterday that DIL got a promotion.  I called her, got no answer, so left a message.  Then I called DS to let him know we congratulate his wife's success.  I think that is supportive and I really wish them the best.  I am working on getting my mind wrapped around the idea that I can be happy no matter what happens between us.  A holiday cruise sounds great!!!  I wonder where you will be going on your cruise?  I took one cruise a couple years ago to Eastern Mediterranean that included Turkey and Egypt.  It was very relaxed and I liked all the ports.  We danced, played bridge, used the gym, made friends - it was a blast!  It was on the NCL Jade and a great price for 12 nights.  Bon Voyage!     
Grab Bag / Please release me Let me Go
July 16, 2012, 10:50:34 am
Remember that song?? After completing a visit to DS/DIL/GC which I have posted about recently, I have been struggling with the aftermath of stress from a cross country visit let alone the trip itself.  Since I was not meeting my needs on the visit,  I realize I am responsible to plan better next time for me, myself and I.  Yes, I already am planning Thanksgiving to visit them and putting on some limits as a wise woman should.  I will stay at a motel a couple nights and visit Thanksgiving day and the next day only.  Short visits are more comfortable for me so I will stop worrying about how they will feel about that.  I already know from experience how they feel about that.   They do not like it, and that sounds real friendly and all on the surface, but when it comes down to the visit, they do not want to entertain.  They want me to work when I visit them, though.  I don't see that they need that at all anymore.  I help when they need it gladly.  I don't want to work when I visit to prove anything, my love or whatever.  We were never asked one time if we would like anything to eat or drink as an example of lack of consideration.  IT feels like Everyman for himself - and I am disgusted by that.   It is just too stressful staying with them in my opinion.  I own that it is partly stressful because of my expectations, I admit.  I also find fending for myself at their house for meals and being under pressure to pay for everybody's way a big turn-off to visiting them.  I don't see myself as Money Bags.  I am GM and love the GC - good times, fun times, laughs, drying tears, hugs - all the good stuff.  Not the drama of making me babysit or pay for things. So my visits will mean that I stay in a motel, eat out, come and go as I please, plan when to come over, as well as agree to *go dutch* ahead of time.  I will do this with grace and no vengeance.  That has been my process to date, getting over being mad, and accepting responsibility to make my visit and life better.  I feel after two weeks like I am getting back to normal.  So I was quite surprised to hear from my DSs this week as they did not seem interested in talking with me when I was there.  I did not like how they talked to me when they did as it was with disrespect for not cooking and babysitting.  They called me in order to ask for help.  HUH??? One to have a loan for a down payment on a house next year.  The other called last night to discuss which job to take and how hard it is to live on 60K with his student loans.  (That's more than I make - let me tell you.)  Anyways,  I am so done with psyching myself out over what my DSs are doing to me.  They have no idea of who they are dealing with, as I still see myself as Their Mother to be honored and respected.  I will always have strong feelings about my role and expect respect from them.  I actually feel like thanking them for their calls now.  Because of these *guilt trips* they gave me,  they may think this approach works to soften me up to feel that I owe them in order to keep their love.  This does not mean that at all to me.  I will not be giving them what they want ever with poor behaviors.  This seems so logical makes me want to laugh.  Where they learned this business I don't know, because it has always hardened my heart when I feel manipulated.  SOOOO, now I feel pretty doggone determined to detach from them and let them deal with their money problems.  I know I will not be seeing them except a couple times a year and get calls now and then.  It is not that hard to let go of the past, just do it!  Instead I will focus my money and time on my health, my HB and our life together.  I do not need to say anything about any of this to them, as their behaviors speak volumes of what they need from their mother -- they are sending me a big cry out *PLEASE RELEASE ME LET ME GO!*  So off you go DSs, you are all grown up, see ya, bye-bye-bye, do write and stay in touch.  Had to share my epiphany with you all.  :-X
Grab Bag / Great Movie
July 12, 2012, 04:23:05 pm
I just watched To End All Wars and wanted to share that with you.  Such a great movie - moving, critical moments.  It is based on a true POW story that supports the title very well.  I am anti-war and a daughter of a career naval officer.  I have strong feelings about finding ways to forgive, always.  this movie really speaks volumes on how to be in this world.  Hope you get a chance to see it!
Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Cheating Hearts
July 06, 2012, 05:25:41 pm
This issue of cheating on girlfriends bothers me.  My DS has a new GF who I really like.  I feel compelled to tell her that he has been known to cheat on GF.  The purpose of telling her is that she has a heads-up.  I don't want to tell her and have the consequences of DS knowing I was the one.  Is ignorance bliss here or am I cruel?
Hi, I recently visited DS/DIL and our GDs ages 3 and 5, along with other DS and his GF.  Same-o, same-o, with DIL not fixing one meal, DS not offering to pay for any meals out and expecting me to babysit without asking.  So after spending $$$$ on dinners for everybody three nights in a row (6 adults), and babysitting 5 hours in one afternoon, which I enjoyed btw, I was ready for dinner out with DH alone.  I called DS asking him to return by 7p so I could go out to dinner.  I went out to eat, and when I returned asked what plans they had...none, or so they said.  I offered to pick up something for them at the store as I needed to go buy a soft drink -- and DIL gave me a hard time - do you ever find people who are drinking, thinking that they are so funny, clever and cute with their remarks -- they come off just as being rude?  I snapped back at DIL and it felt goooood!  Then I thought that is it - I don't deserve a hard time!  So DH and I went out and since they did not have plans, we called to let them know we were going to a movie.  That did it! Their expectation was that after I ate, I would babysit so they could go out again.  Since I would not comply, there was a lot of anger directed at me.  I was embarrassed, and really found my strength in talking my feelings out with DH.  We decided to cut the visit short and leave the next day.  Why did it take me this long to say *forget it* to this inconsiderate selfish behavior, I don't know.  I really never took it from them when they were growing up -- now they are dishing it out to me, and I really do not deserve it.  Where did they get the idea that I was a doormat - I ask myself?  Am I to blame for their bad behavior towards me?  Maybe it is like what luise has said --- as a mother, I know my needs come second to taking care of my children and that is a habit hard to break.  Thank God, I have more than that habit as a mother -- like using tough love a lot to raise these sons of mine.  So I called on that strength and my DH support, and I held my head up high, and in the morning explained I would be leaving.  No one objected, so I am sure we all were glad to separate.  But I separated with a smile on my face (You can believe that!), and thanked them for providing us a place to sleep.  I left, and called the next day, thanked them again and said I had fun -- ignoring the drama they had created.  Not giving them any more attention -- I had said my peace - that I do not come to visit to cook, clean and babysit.  I would like to take the family out and pay for one meal then everyone pays their own way.  I doubt that I will hear from them for quite a while -- and I am not interested in visiting them for quite a while either.  I even suggested that they hire a babysitter when we visit so we all can go out together.  We will see what they do...I don't think they really want to spend time with me... they just want *help*.  Well, I refuse to do for others what they can do for themselves -- unless I want to.  And that is that.  I am not really even sad about the idea of not being called, invited or seeing them any more.  It is a 2-way street after all, and I really enjoyed the GC.  So my intention is to visit again but on my own clearly defined terms.  I have no idea if my sons will *grow up* before then, but I will always have a contingency plan just in case they haven't.  I think when it comes down to it, if it is a matter of my sanity or theirs, I will go with preserving mine.  Does that make me selfish in a bad way?     
Hi, it has been a long time since I posted because I have been pretty happy with my relationship with DS and DIL.  On my 60th birthday they surprised me and visited.  Can't say there were "birthday plans for me" as the GK were there and they always take front and center.  We did kid-friendly activity but they could not get it together to make a special dinner (not once out of the four days and nights) together.  Truthfully, I don't think DS is all that comfortable taking GK out to dinner because they do not discipline them correctly.  So they are not used to table manners...at 3 and 5 years old that is understandable.  But they do not practice at home, with dinners that I can see when I visit.  It is always a quick bite to eat, no relaxing family time.  I have posted about this before, and the decision has been when I visit, I will eat out in order to have a relaxing meal.  No one cooks apparently.  On this visit, my other son's girlfriend fixed all of us a nice Mexican meal - we so appreciated it.  The gesture means a lot and goes far with me.  It is respectful and caring -- my kind of people.  DIL does not like to cook, and seems to portray a Princess mentality.  I have refused to participate in that scenario any more.  So be it.  All that said, I was just grateful that they thought enough of me to pay for airfare and visit with all 4 of them.  I really was surprised, we actually met up at another son's house.  This is the thing for me now...my feelings are hurt because DS did not call me on Easter as they went to visit DIL's family for Easter week.  I asked DS to call me on Easter so I could wish the GK Happy Easter.  No call.  I choose to not call when they visit DIL's family as I don't want to interfere and look like I am desparate for their attention.  It is the DIL's family time.  But still, I wanted DS to call.  Hard one -- is this what to expect from here on out?  No calls from DS?  I got a call from my other 2 sons and appreciate that.  They are not married -- then will they not call when they have wives?  I am not going to ignore that I made the request to DS and got no response.  In the past what I can be tolerate,  forgive and get past, has come back to bite me - it gets blown up out of proportion by DS/DIL and turned around at me -- making me in the wrong.  So I am thinking of being proactive -- I emailed and asked DS to call now that he is back home this weekend and tell me how their visit went.  And I really would like to hear how much fun they had etc.  I truly think I will wait this one out...and not call them.  I think I should not call them and keep chasing after them for attention.  I can call when I feel like it, and right now, I don't feel like it.  Am I being petty?   
I remember getting divorced after 23 years of marriage and 3 sons (I am happily remarried now for 11 yrs) and I thought it all came down to money and how sad and pathetic life can be sometimes.  Today I feel that way again.  I am having a bit of a problem thinking that I am supposed to be paying for all expense trips for family get togethers.  >:(  I am disappointed, and angry at my DS/DIL.  I found out they will not be visiting for my birthday next month which is also my GD's birthday weekend too.  About a month ago, my DS/DIL came up with the idea of celebrating my 60th and GD birthday together that weekend and meet up at our other DS in Az.  I felt loved and agreed it would be fun.  I made flight and motel arrangements and looked into toddler birthday party for GD.  (I called a couple weeks ago to confirm and DS said it was not for sure because, "it is going to cost a lot to fly all 4 of us"---- hint hint hint).  No bite.   :-[  And now today - they are definitely not going to visit.  DIL wants GD to have her 3 year old friends birthday party (designer style of course) and there are no other weekends available.  Is it all about getting me to pay for our get togethers?   (They make enough money).  I did feel mentally prepared, and said I was disappointed, that it wouldn't matter to GD when her bday is celebrated, travel is good this time of year to AZ.  I also admitted that I must respect where they are coming from and that we were not going to be together for everyone's birthdays.  Had to get off the phone... just had a thought...maybe this will be a Surprise birthday party?  Maybe I am the one who is so pathetic?   It feels like I am getting to the point of having *I don't care* relationships with DS as a defense.  Doesn't feel so healthy to me - what gives?