February 23, 2020, 03:29:39 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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Messages - Stilllearning

Hi MrsV!!  I am glad you found us!  I have been thinking about your situation and one thing stands out......why did your DIL wait 7 years to start getting an attitude?  Do you think maybe she is having problems with your DS?  Not that it changes matters any but it might make it easier to forgive her. 

Other than that I agree with Luise.  I can only change myself and by and large every time I have tried to suggest that my DS do something differently I have run into a brick wall.  So I learned to focus my life around things that make me happy and ignore the parts I cannot change that make me upset.  My parenting time is over, my DS's parenting time is here.  He will learn his lessons just like I did.

We are here if you need us!!
It is because it is so upsetting that you need to take your mind off of it.  Go do something fun with your DD today but make it an absolute must that you do not discuss your DS/DIL and GD.  You should make up a code word like Ice Cream to use to get the other person on another subject.  It could go like this....

"So what is your favorite flavor of Ice Cream?".......

It will be comical after a while, take the pressure off and you will be helping each other learn to point your thoughts in a more pleasant direction.  Have a wonderful holiday weekend!!

What a horrible mess!!

Since your DIL gave birth recently maybe you could just chock it up to postpartum stress.  Those hormones can really mess your thinking up and she may still recover her good senses if you give her time.  If you respond now you will only throw more fuel onto a fire that you do not want to burn.  Your DS is probably at his wits end defending you and catty remarks like the one about "giving birth" will probably haunt your DIL in time.  Of course none of this helps you

Here is how you help yourself.  Plan a trip for yourself and your DH.  Go somewhere you always wanted to go.  Spend the money you would have showered on your new granddaughter.  Invite your DD to go with you.  Visit the museums you always wanted to see, or go shopping with your DD.  What do you love to do?  Do it!  And while you are having a ball (this is the hard part) stop thinking about your DS and DIL and their issues (yes, their issues, not yours!).  Parenting is a learning process and you and I both know that they have a lot to learn!  Give them the space to learn their lessons (my bet is your DIL's mother has a few to learn too!).  If you aren't in the way they won't be able to blame you for anything, and trust me if you are there they will almost certainly blame you and make your DS's life miserable defending you.  I know this is not an easy thing to do so I will offer you my mantras:

1) No news is good news
2) Not my circus, not my monkeys
3) What you focus on expands

These three saved me and my DS married a bipolar wife against my wishes.  Talk about having to pull my mind away from something!  Ouch!  I finally decided to call that swirling quagmire that sucks my mind into such utter darkness and despair "the abyss" and now anytime I feel my self getting sucked into the abyss I pull out my three mantras and repeat them to myself and anyone around who brought the subject up.  Everyone in my family has heard them repeatedly over the years and eventually they have learned to avoid the subject also.  Finally my life is good, I mean really good!  My marriage is wonderfully solid (it was touch and go there for a while!) and I am planning a trip for next year with my DH and my younger DS.  This year I have spent getting two new knees, not fun at all but at least I live in an age where they can replace them instead of living in the pain I was in. 

Life is good!  Go out and live it, don't waste your golden years trying to fix something that is not in your realm of responsibility.  Put it on the back burner and ignore it.  Time wounds all heels.

Grandchildren / Re: Torn
May 23, 2019, 02:36:08 pm
Hi R!  I find it amazing that a 15 year old is texting and sending pictures to his father in the first place.  I would try sending him some silly texts and pictures like when you get caught out in the rain or dribble ice cream down the front of your shirt or anything that lets him know that you are as imperfect as anyone else.  See if that breaks the ice.

Good luck!
Welcome H!  We are glad you found us!  We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Open Me First to read the posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit for you. We are a monitored Website.

My saga started much less amicably than yours.  My DIL let me know in no uncertain terms that I was waaayyy down on her list of priorities.  In retrospect it is almost comical the extremes she went to in order to make sure I felt "left out".  I was not invited to the rehearsal but I was asked to host the rehearsal dinner (which I did).  I found out they had purchased a house after they had moved in and then only by figuring it out from clues on that horrible website Facebook (I was a real estate broker at the time, but they didn't want my opinion!).  I found this website a few weeks before that horrible wedding, when I had to smile and nod in spite of my breaking heart.  This site.......wow, what a lifesaver this site was!

It was here that the wise women told me that it is my job to be happy.  It is my choice what I think about and the less time I spent thinking about my DIL the happier I got.  The truth of the matter is that when I pulled back and stopped trying to 'fix' things my DS eventually noticed.  We were always a close family and he missed us too.  When my first grand was born I stopped by while my DIL was in labor and treated my DS to a meal in the hospital cafeteria.  He got a call to hurry back to the room so we left.  He called us a little while later and asked us to stop by to greet our new grandchild but I said no, let DIL's family have their time and I will see my new granddaughter later.  I think he was surprised by that.

Anyway as time has passed (grands are 5 and 3 now) my DS has made a real effort to connect with us and I have made equal strides to connect with both him and his daughters.  My DIL visits if she feels like it, or not.  Whatever. 

So my thoughts to you are you are dealing with two Mom's of only children and they tend to be really, really, really picky.  If your DS has another child then all of that pickiness will go out the window, kind of like that commercial.  If he does not then you just have to wait until your grandchild is old enough to make their own decisions as to whom she likes.  My bets will be on the grand who doesn't hover over like she is a piece of china.  After all it isn't over till the fat lady sings and I don't hear any music! 

There will probably be others who will chime in!  Hugs!!!
Welcome,L. We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Open Me First to read the posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit for you. We are a monitored Website.  Also please pick out a different name for this forum.  Luise is the only one allowed to use her real name since this is her forum.  Thanks!

Wow!  What a horrid situation!  Unfortunately I have nothing to offer to "fix" it.  My DS eventually came around once I completely pulled back (and I do mean completely, financially and emotionally) and we now have a developing relationship.  However your situation reminds me more of the situation that my DH has with his sister and she had with my MIL.  She was the eldest and has always resented her siblings just for being born.  She even told my DH's younger sister (while she was in her 60s!) that she should have been an only child.  How do you do that?  I can never figure that one out!  Anyway she never changed.  She is now retired and should be over the less than 20 years she spent with her siblings but she still resents him.  She even took advantage of her demented mother during her mother's last years (until my DH stepped in and stopped it). 

So how do you deal with this?  The same way as the rest of us.  I finally had enough of being mistreated and I decided that trying my best to hang on to a relationship with my DS/ GC was not worth the abuse I was receiving.  That by tolerating it I was teaching my grands that it was OK to treat me (and other people) like that.  I decided that I deserved to enjoy my life and I could do that with or without my DS/GC.  Once I decided that I started focusing on the things in my life that brought me happiness.  When my thoughts turned my DS I would forcefully wrench them back to the things in my life that I enjoy.  My mantras became:

No news is good news
Not my circus, not my monkeys
What you focus on expands

It took a long time and I revisited what I now call "The Abyss" many times and had to pull my thoughts back, but the more I pulled myself back the easier it got.  Things turned around for me long before my relationship with my DS improved.  I started enjoying my life!  What a relief!!

You deserve to enjoy your "after parenting" years!  Hugs!
Hi M!  Sounds like you are taking a giant step in the right direction!  When I first decided that I deserved to be treated better it was a huge weight off of my shoulders.  I hadn't realized that as a Mom I had taken on the responsibility for the way my DS was acting.  After all I raised him so it had to be my fault, right?  I was so wrong!  When they get to be adults they are responsible for their own reactions and we, as parents, are not to blame for their mistakes or failures.  Congrats on finally reaching that point!

The next thing I had to deal with were the trips back to what I now call "the abyss" because it sucks you under and drowns your happiness.  It starts with the negative thoughts about myself and how I had to have failed and how I deserve to be treated better and how the DIL's FOO gets all the time with my grands and how they live so close to my DIL's FOO and it spirals downward.  My DS never calls me,  they don't visit,  they wouldn't even notice if I died......I found it so easy to follow that downward spiral that made me feel like dog poo, not worthy of anything.  Here are the mantras I use to pull myself out of the abyss:

1)  What you focus on expands
2)  Not my circus, not my monkeys
3)  No news is good news

You can probably make up better ones than mine but reminding myself of these always seems to bring me back to the thoughts that bring me joy.  I still use it when I find my brain visiting places that bring me angst.  I just don't want to go there.  Good luck on your journey and remember that we are here for you if you need us!
Hi M!!  I know the resentment that oozes from your post.  Been there, done that.  At least for a while, until I found this website and decided that I deserve better.  I decided that following those commandments was actually doing a disservice to my ACs and grands.  I was teaching them that I was not deserving of common decency and that it was acceptable to treat people the way that I was being treated.  It is not.  Ever.  Period.

Once I decided that I deserved to be treated better there were several things I didn't do.  I didn't call my DS and tell him.  I didn't let him know that I resented the way he had been treating me.  I accepted the fact that I had allowed the situation to escalate to its present condition by deciding that my DS had all of the power over the relationship just because he had fathered two wonderfully cute and loving children.  I stopped looking at what was wrong in my life (relationship with DS/DIL) and started looking at what was right in my life (DH/younger son).  What you focus your thoughts on expands, so in the next few weeks I tried to think only about the parts of my life that brought me joy.  Whenever my thoughts wandered into the realms that brought me angst I would drag my mind away with the mantra "No news is good news" and force myself to think about something else.  It took a lot of practice but it gets easier with time.  It didn't take long for me to see the difference!  My relationship with my DH improved almost immediately.  I hadn't realized how unimportant he was feeling because all I could think about, all I could talk about was how to "fix" things with my DS/DIL.  Once I stopped that and started concentrating on him, my relationship with him and our enjoyment of life, well, what can I say, that part of my life expanded and I started living again.

Eventually my DS noticed that I not calling.  Not texting.  Not trying to 'fix' things. (It took a while though!) We have now settled into a very comfortable relationship where I get to see my grands fairly often (could be more if I wanted it to be).  He comes over and brings the grands and we spend the day catching up on everything.  He calls me every once in a while and I return the favor (but not too often...).  I am finally happy with my life and deservedly enjoying my golden years.  I hope you can get here too!

Hugs from ALL of us!!!
Hi C and welcome to the site! I hope you have checked out our Forum agreement under the "Open Me First" page to be sure that we are a good fit for your needs.  We are a monitored website.

Your post sounds like you are absolutely stuck in your situation, a daughter with MS.......how could anyone make her fend for herself?  Sad that you had to take on the boyfriend too but I trust your judgement about that situation. 

I have just one question.....What are you doing for yourself?  You are taking care of everyone else (even the boyfriend) but are you taking care of yourself?  I tended to put everyone else's needs and desires before my own.  As mothers we are actually programmed to do this.  The entire time we are raising children it is very important to put their needs first but lets face it, my kids are grown.  Their happiness is their responsibility and comes as a direct result from their decisions since they stopped listening to me. I now live by a couple of sayings......

1) What you focus on expands!  (So I try to keep my focus on the good things in my life....it works!)
2) No news is good news!  (So I stopped worrying about what they were doing/thinking/blaming me for)
3) Not my circus, not my monkeys   (a reminder that I could not "fix" their problems, they had to)

My life has changed in marvelous ways since I started using this approach.  I know that you have your DD living with you but I feel certain you could employ at least a little of this method.  Good luck!!
Oh the pressure we put on December the 25th!  For some reason most of us believe that if we are not surrounded by loving family and presents galore on that day every year that we are failures at life, love and happiness.  I decided a few years ago that I would no longer be held captive by that particular social phenomenon.  After all there were 364 other days every year and a gathering of my loved ones on any of those days is a great occasion for me!!  I have actively started avoiding celebrating holidays on the days every other person celebrates them.  It is quite liberating to shift the day for celebrating, say Christmas to lets say, December 27th.   Why not?  That way it doesn't interfere with anybody's plans.  I enjoy the holidays much more with this attitude.

Anyway I hope you find a way to make your holidays tolerable and if you don't feel like giving a gift to someone just don't do it.  Giving gifts when you don't want to is giving into the hoopla foisted on us by retailers who want to sell stuff. 

Good luck!
Oh M I agree, you are so worth it!!  Although your post did mention that you were focusing your thoughts (and money) on making yourself happy, it did not mention anything about how much fun you were having.   I would be really interested in the things you are doing so that you and your DH can enjoy your lives!  This is your time to enjoy, you have worked toward it your entire life and now it is here!! 

I found that I have a certain amount of guilt when I have fun.  For some reason I feel that I have somehow failed if my life is not centered around my DS and his issues.  I was so wrong!!  When I focused on making my life happy without relying on my DS it actually relieved the pressure on our relationship.  I had not realized that by making him responsible for my happiness I had put a burden on him and all of my demands that he act differently (visit more often, include me in celebrations, etc.) only increased his awareness of the burden.  I know this is difficult to visualize but bear with me........

My Ds's life definitely did not include me and that hurt my feelings.  It was like he had his life and in it there was a door marked "My Mom" and I was on the other side of that door.  I was constantly knocking at the door and when he finally opened it my first words were always something like "Why did you ignore me for so long?".  Every time he opened that door I reminded him that he was not paying me enough attention.  If I were in that situation I would start to ignore the door that said "My Mom" too .  Why open it when you know that you are only going to feel guilty?  So I stopped knocking.  I stopped calling.  I stopped texting.  I stopped begging.  It took a while (actually it is still a work in progress)but eventually he opened the door and said "Why aren't you knocking?" and our adult to adult conversation started. 

There are phases to every relationship.  I thought that once I raised my children and managed to stay married for all these years that I would be on the downhill side of all of those relationship issues.  I guess that I am not.  That is why I chose my screen name....because I am 'Stilllearning' and I guess at this point I will be 'Stilllearning" until the shovel dirt on my coffin. 

Good luck!  Hugs!
Welcome M, and although I said it before I am obligated to say it again for every new poster.....  We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Read Me First to read the posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit for you. We're a monitored Website.

Whew!  I am glad that is over!!  I too spent a long time just reading the posts here before I shared my story, and through this reading I came to trust that my story would be compassionately received and that the responses would be well thought out and helpful, like yours is!

I think we too often allow others to control our happiness.  We believe that someone else can "make" us unhappy when actually that is not the case.  I allow my DS to affect my emotions and I allow the fact that I do not see my grands as much as my DIL's FOO do to paint the rest of my life with these painful colors........or not.  It was when I decided to take control of my own happiness that my life turned around.  I did that by focusing my thoughts and energies on things that make me happy and deliberately ignoring the parts of my life that brought me grief.  Gradually the things that make me happy expanded and my life improved.  Now, as I said before, I remind myself that  "What you focus on expands" all the time and I make an active decision to focus on the happy stuff!  It works.

As time went by my DS came to understand that he was welcome to come by and visit but my life no longer rotated around whether he did or not.  With this understanding my relationship with him has changed and I have enjoyed getting to know the adult he has become.

I hope your relationship with your DD improves!  Try to remember that the grands you see the most often are often not the favorites.  Absence does make the heart grow fonder.............

Oh and I forgot to tell you that we try to use names here that are unidentifiable should someone we know decide to read the site.  Luise is the only one who uses her name (or any part thereof) so please change your screen name.  Thanks!!
Welcome L, we are glad you found us!!  We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Read Me First to read the posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit for you. We're a monitored Website.

Now that I have completed the official stuff....

I have been there!  I took care of my father when he was sick.  Fortunately he was not living with me but I still felt obligated to visit him daily for a long time.  When he died I really did not understand how much his death had effected me and I honestly did not realize that I was in the full throws of depression for years.  I don't really want to admit all of the mistakes I made but I will tell you that I ended up feeling totally worthless.  It was horrible and I do not know how my DH stayed with me.  My DS married during this time and that just added to my depression because I knew that his choice for life was mentally unbalanced (now diagnosed) and I begged him to wait , which I should never have done.  Anyway my happy life was unraveling and there was nothing I could do about it.  The harder I tried to fix things the worse they got.  Fortunately for me I found this website and the wonderful women here helped me out!

The first thing that I had to absorb from here was that I deserve a happy life.  The second thing was that I could no longer center my life around my children, they had their own lives to live and their own lessons to learn and my interference was only delaying their life lessons.  Once I digested those two facts my next step was figuring out what makes me happy, not things that other people do but things I can do for myself (and my DH).  I started planning something fun for my DH and I to do for different holidays.  We went canoeing for Thanksgiving one year (well you get the idea!).  Suddenly instead of sitting at home thinking about how my DS had deserted me I was too busy having fun to notice it very much!  During this time I adopted a few of mantras:

1) What you focus on expands (so focus on the good things and ignore the things that you cannot change)
2) Not my circus, not my monkeys (so no need to worry about my DS's decisions)
3) No news is good news (so no need to worry when I have not heard from my DS in a while)

These started me on the road to a happier life, a life where I avoid what I now call 'the abyss' (because if I dwell on it I just fall further and further into a depression) by actively pulling my thoughts away from it and focusing my thoughts on things that make me happy.  Yes, it takes practice and it does not happen overnight.  I still find my thoughts circling the drain on occasion but I know how to keep from sinking into the mire. 

Please remember that we are on your side!  You deserve to enjoy this time of your life, your parenting days are over and so is the taking care of parents part.  It is time to focus on your own life and make it into what you always wanted.  Sorry for your loss and I hope the funeral you plan is a comfort for you.  Hugs!!
Welcome S!!  I am glad you found us.

When my father was diagnosed with cancer he moved in with my family (Me, DH and two sons, one in high school and one in elementary school).  He was going through a really tough time with his health and we all tried our best to make things better for him and he did an incredible job of not judging my family's norms (which diverged from the way I was raised by vast amounts).  Every once in a while he would let something slip (dinner was too late, why were we playing with the kids instead of cooking....).  The tension naturally invaded my marriage and my DH and I had arguments.  Our house is small so there was no way that my father could not hear the arguments and of course he sided with me (how could he not?).  When he completed his chemotherapy he moved into an apartment because he was regaining his strength.  He wanted out so bad that he slept on the floor for the one night he had before his mattress and box springs were delivered.  I felt horribly guilty and begged him to stay with us for one more night but he was adamant (and stubborn)and off he went.

He rented an apartment close to us and was still available for emergency babysitting and I stopped by often to check on him.   It was the best thing he could have done for me and my DH.  Our lives settled down and my father got a life of his own.  He made friends, joined bridge clubs, enjoyed his life.  We still had him over often, especially for holidays, and I would invite all my siblings from out of town in for holidays too.  Anyway from then until the day he died he never slept at my house and that improved my relationship with him, my DH and my kids.  It was years later that my eldest did things that made me hunt up this website!

Anyway good luck and remember that you deserve to enjoy your life.  Start planning things that you enjoy doing to give yourself something to look forward to.  Hugs!