But I'm going to put it out there because it troubles me sometimes. I never had the access to my grandchildren that my DILs mom did. I WAS invited to the hospital for all three births. The first one.. my first GS was really really exciting AND touching as I had lost my husband suddenly about 5 months prior. GS#1 was sort of an affirmation of life going on for me. However, I really only got to see him about every 6 weeks or so.. partly because I worked full time and partly out of not wanting to be a pest. But I have to say... I would only start getting "antsie" about wanting to see him again after a month.
Now I have a GD and GS#2... so three of them. With each child I have been moved farther and farther into the background. So GS#2 really doesn't know me that well as I have seen him perhaps 4 times in his 2 years of life. DIL kept the kids from me completely for nearly a year. But... and here is the bad part. I didn't like it.. I would have liked to have seen them more, but it didn't kill me. In fact, I even told DIL that if she was looking to punish me by keeping the kids from me.. it wasn't going to work. The reality of the matter is that I was more torn up about not seeing MY son... or having MY son estranged than I was about the GKs. Guess I should turn in my Grandma wings.
Please don't get me wrong. I love the GKs.. I would do anything to help them if they needed me.. but I'm just not that enthrawled. Perhaps it's because of the distance DIL has kept that I have grown to view them as "another woman's Kids" Perhaps if I had a daughter and she had children I would feel different. With a daughter, I somehow think a mom has more latitude and feels more involved. (not meaning to generalize as I know some DDs are difficult) AND in reality... I've never been a "kid" person... except for my own. I cannot look at her kids as my own... even though my son is their father. It's just not there. Reading over these paragraphs, I'm sure I sound kind of hard and cold... I am not.. seriously... and then again, perhaps if I had been given more access over the years I would feel differently. But as I have become fond of saying is "It is what it is"
I am one of the unfortunate ones with a DD who is difficult I have a GS & a GD, was really hands on with GS who lived with us for 3 and a half years, was told when they moved out that nothing would change, that i would be able to see GS whenever we wanted, boy did that change ! :(.
DD and BF are very controlling. For instance today myself and ODD went over because we all go to a diet class, was told by my YDD we could not speak to my GS as he had been naughty had to sit there saying nothing whilst he was quietly crying in his bedroom and trying to catch our attention was horrible :(.
Anyway to get to my point, as i say heavily involved in my GS first 3 years so do find it hard to detach, and switch of my feelings, but as for my GD because i don't see her any more than my GS I kinda feel the same way as you say with your GC.
I feel i cant get too close to my GD as i don't want to have the hurt magnified by two, this is such a pity as she deserves as much of my love as my GS, .........do i sound bad?
Also like you i would like to see more of my DD, I understand she wants her own little family but she is so cold and uncommunicative, not like I expected my own DD to be. You usually have the parents of men saying that there sons are terrible at communication well in my case its my YDD.
I wish i could insulate myself as you have managed to but feel this may be a long ride with lots of bumps along the road.
I don't think I have intentionally insulated myself. I think that I was never really allowed to form a bond. I have a closer bond with my oldest GS as he was the one I had the opportunity to spend more time with But there has been a lot of distance imposed since. Time is making even that bond lessen. It's not that I am ok with it. I cannot do anything about it.
Lillyc.- I could have written those same words almost. I remember meeting my GD the week after she was born, thinking that I better not get too attached since her mom would be controlling factor in our relationship. It's a good thing - 3 mos later, her mom cut me off and deleted all the online videos, pictures, etc. DS has given me his list of things I need to do in order to be a part of his family. ::)
I would so much rather have a relationship with my son and then if it worked out, I could enjoy his children. I don't relate to the GMs who would prefer to be with the GKs at all cost, forget the parents.
I thought maybe that I had turned into a person who wasn't good with kids until last weekend. I had a great time working with a 5yo on a project and loved it. She sought me out the next day so I guess she liked it, too.
You don't sound cold to me at all.
It's hard to 'miss' people you weren't allowed to form a relationship with in the first place. I don't think it sounds cold at all. Some people form that insta-bond, and some people need time/contact to build a relationship. If you weren't allowed the chance to bond with them, your feelings seem like a normal reaction to that to me.
Thank you for understanding what I am saying. It's not that I wouldn't love to have a close relationship with my GKs. I always imagined being one of the elder members of a loving family. But that is just not going to happen for me. Too much water has gone under that proverbial bridge. The loving bond between a GK and a GP is not instant. At least not for me it wasn't. They are, after all, not my children. I didn't have that instant attachment like I did with my own child. That bond with my GKs would have taken time to develop. I didn't get that chance. I can't pretend I am Pining and longing for it either.
I have to add that when the initial "blow up" happened with DIL... my initial thought wasn't fear that I wouldn't get to see the GKs... I think that really upset DIL. I believe she expected me to cry and beg. It didn't happen. The thing that DID strike fear in my heart was that I would lose contact with my son. Thankfully that didn't happen. I don't get to see him as much as I'd like, but at least we still have contact....such as it is.
I think you sound very balanced, to be honest. Nothing sounds out of the ordinary and I think I will be similar to you as a grandparent. My kid will always come first and being a grandparent is a bonus, I think I would worry about my relationship with my own child more.
Just because we fade away and move on with our lives doesn't make it disappear. I'm glad to know in some cases the pain is lessened with less exposure, but I'm not thrilled about the strategy. Is this how some of our AC/DILs/SILs go about lessening their guilt about not wanting us involved? If they limit exposure we'll simply fade away w/o a fuss? No worries, no guilt. And it's true; there's nothing we can do.
I'm having such fun hanging out w/DH & my retired friends (although I'm still working) that I definitely don't want to be a 24/7 GM. But neither do I want to be a once a year only GM.
Doe, I'm glad you had a good time with the 5 yr old :)
I have to say Lily that, as a DIL, this doesn't sound good to me.
Because even a 4 times a year Gma can be close to the GK's. It takes some effort, but it's possible. The bond between GP's and GK's is something that needs to be 'maintained', it doesn't just 'exist. And it usually has to be the adults, the P's & the GP's that do the work.
Wow, this is another hot button for me (that's 2 already today). I'm not saying that you're like my MIL, but this *IS* one of the problems I have with my MIL. She doesn't *care* about her GK's. Not even the physically close ones. She makes ZERO effort to get to know them or make a relationship with them. My DD LOVES MIL, but without effort on MIL's part, I can see that relationship dying from attrition. There have been MANY instances where MIL has ignored the GK's, in favour of fawning over my DH (the Golden One).
And the thing is, I wouldn't care how my MIL treated me, as long as she was GOOD to my DD, I would overlook almost everything. But she's NOT good to my DD. She doesn't KNOW her, and doesn't seem to WANT to know her. It's too bad, because MIL tries to 'buy' my DD's affection and it doesn't work, because MIL doesn't know her and doesn't know what she likes / wants.
I have to say Lily, this then comes down to the relationship you have with your son. As a DIL of a MIL who only cares about her DS, I have not put any effort into their relationship, I've left it to them to work it out. Sadly, it's settled to the lowest possible level. I hope it doesn't come to that for you.
Being a grandmother is not like being a mother.
After 6 kids, I am all out of Mommy-Gas. I love my 3 grandkids, they're so cute, but they're all under 2 years old. They're exhausting! I just don't have it anymore. I wonder if we lose the maternal energy when our estrogen levels start to peter out.
I love little visits with them, but a little goes a long way.
My focus now that my kids are grown up is my husband and the next chapter of our lives together. I plan to include my GC, but not to make them the centerpiece. I hope my kids understand that their children are just that. Theirs. I am looking forward to developing relationships with them as they get a little older and can talk and walk and not poop in their pants anymore. How cold does that sound? And of course, it all depends on whether or not my children are speaking to me when that happens. haha
I think I'm just suffering from burn out. :-X
Lilly it's interesting to me to hear your perspective on this. My DH and I joke about how no one cares about us anymore. Whenever any of our parents call the first question is "How's DS?" and they run to him as soon as they see him. Even though we see my MIL the same amount that we did before DS was born, she's now saying that it's not enough. She seemed fine with the amount of time she spent with my DH before our son came along.
MIL has a peculiar bond with my son, it's very one sided because most of the time she scares the daylights out of him rushing at him or hovering over him. She's upset that he hasn't bonded with her the way he has with my mom, but she's her own worst enemy in that. I think that's why I think your reaction is fairly normal - my mom's relationship with DS has taken time and a lot of effort on her part since he's still so young. It also reminds me of what my husband says about being an only child - how can you miss having siblings if you don't know what it's like?
I would miss my gc like crazy, don't see them often enough to suit me bc of distance and ds being so busy and dil's social/foo life.....
But i was allowed to bond w them, dh, too. Not as much as the other foo, but I'm grateful. I do think the gps who don't seem to care about the gc so much just haven't been able to spend time w them; and that hurts and the gps throw up an emotional detachment bc it HURTS SO MUCH. (I know some gps don't seem to care much, and some gps aren't allowed to see the gks for sometimes valid reasons.)
Scoop,sounds like your mil didn't let her son "go".....still too attached. Strange and not usual; don't know the problem; I love being w ds but also gkids.
And OT, you do seem to get it that if you had seen the gc often and bonded w them, they would be more important to you, you would love them similarly as you did your own children; I didn't think i was much of a kid person till i had kids and gks.....you have to have your own life and not cry over the gks if you don't get to see/bond w them; it drives a person nuts; I think your reaction and feelings are healthy....you love them but they aren't your life.
This may be off topic; if I'd never gotten to see the gc at first or very rarely, I think I'd hurt a lot; but maybe it's facing facts if the parents don't allow access; you can only dwell on absent gc for so long before moving on to other interests....cards and projects are good when they get older so they will know you, but those early years are so important. but you can only do what you can and self-preservation is important.....I have to get a life apart from ds/dil/gc bc they aren't in my daily life, more once or best, twice monthly; and they are still momma's kids, sometimes don't want us.....love to have them all to ourselves sometimes, makes all the difference, but that doesn't always happen. have to take what i can get.....
NewMama, I laugh about your mil rushing to the gs; it's so hard not to! They are so adorable! But since our gc don't rush at us (maybe the baby will someday), we do hang back till they get used to seeing us again. Maybe try to let her know somehow (maybe dh will have to tell her) that the gs needs time to come to her....when we see the little family, we try to hug the parents and ask how they are before rushing after the gc; then the parents know we care about THEM, not just the gc; and it gives the gc a while to come to us....
Lilly, I understand that this is a very difficult topic and took a lot of courage for you to bring it out, I believe that the fact that you've opened your heart to discuss it will begin some very meaningful healing. I have held this fear in the back of my mind for many years. Most of you here know that my DS is my great trial, and I always assumed he would not marry and that g/c would not be an issue as far as that goes, but I have heard that he is now seeing a very young woman, and for the first time I've having to face the possibility that I may not be out of the woods. My DS is very estranged from me, and even to be in the same room with him is excruciatingly painful, as his distance and hostility are for the most part unbearable to me at this stage in my life. I always imagined that if he had children the cruelty and craziness would be ramped up to a degree heretofore unimaginable to me. I don't know how I would handle that. I always thought I would not allow any attachment on my part to those child(ren), as I could not imagine he could maintain a long term marriage (here again, I could be wrong) and I know what divorce/custody can lead to - absence from the children. I have to leave that to God, mainly and trust that I'd get the wisdom and direction I would need at that time. In my heart, I know that detachment to save myself from further suffering would not be the right path for me, we are often called upon to suffer in this life for a higher goal, and the unique bond of love we give to our g/c, even if it must be given at a distance, is invaluable to those children and will be remembered by them, and integrated into their lives, long after we are gone. Personally, I do not enjoy babies and small children. I had to just force myself through those stages. My g/c are now older teens, and I am able to reap some of the good seed that I sowed in tears during those early years. I guess what I'm saying is, that most things in my life I do not do because it feels good to me, or I get a great deal of personal satisfaction out of it, it feels like everything now to me from the time I roll out of bed in the morning is a personal sacrifice, as i struggle with energy and discouragement, but I refuse to give up and let the important things fall to the wayside. I feel there is too much at stake for me to rely only on my feelings or lack of them at any particular time. To be honest, most of the time my g/c tire me, and I don't really want to put another pan of cookies in the oven, or make another phone call, pick out another gift, etc., but I keep the goal out there in front of me. I hope this made some kind of sense to you. You haven't missed the boat, Lilly, I believe they are just now getting to the age that your gifts can kick in.
This certainly hits home for me and thanks Lillycache for bringing it up. Now our little gs is almost 4 months I've seen him only on 5 short day visits( while SIL is at work, as he it too rude to be around for me me right now) excluding going to the hospital. He was so colicky up until about 3 months that all he did was nurse , not good at sleeping so he was cranky on top of that. So there was really no way to bond with him , as he was so hard to hold maybe 10 minutes till he cranked back up. I did enjoy being with DD to keep her company as she was so worn out with lack of sleep. My concern is from the SIL being so hostile at the hospital I fear getting to close as I think he will pull him back if he thinks we are getting to close , or spending too much time with him. I want to bond with him but I felt closer to gs before his was born , buying things , talking to DD about all the things going on , planning a shower, shopping with her etc. Hospital situation took the wind out of our sails. I'm close and bonded to the other two step gs, love time with them . WE are retired working part time and do have other things we like to do also. but I'm just afraid I'll lose dd and never get to know the gs, so I feel I"ve got a big wall around my heart already when it comes to the gs, just to protect me from more pain inflicted by the prickly SIL. I can keep contact with DD by emails/ texts. It is a sick feeling but i do understand where you are coming from Lilly C
Scoop What kind of effort would have worked for your children if your mil had made the effort? I am coming off a terrible few years with ds married a year ago and live far from them. Even 4 time a years will not be possible, so I am already thinking how to be close as they tell me they want me to be with their child - they are just preggers, due around Xmas. It seems easier once the gc are older if they are allowed to come for vacation on their own as my ds did with his gps. The early years though, how can one be close from far away - other than skype. I am thinking discs of reading books to baby - what else might work?
Elise, I am going to be in the same boat. YS/FDIL due end of year, and when he get back from deployment in May, she and baby (we affectionately call it jelly bean right now..Lol) will be leaving with him to go to his base, 14 hours away. I'm in on the skype, we also FB. I thought about making videos with my cell phone to them all and posting them to FB for them to watch, and hopefully seeing MiMi will make jelly bean familiar with my face. (You can post to FB and when you upload it, set it to private so only they can see it).
Pooh guess I will have to figure out FB, which I have managed to avoid till now. I like the video idea - thanks. By the way, my dil is calling her little one "the olive" right now - it was blueberry, then raspberry and now olive - it makes me smile and it has been a long time since I smiled enough in my heart. I keep your son in my prayers Pooh - he is my hero!
Thank you. You wouldn't have to use FB. You could email them too.
What great ideas! Congratulations to you all...love the nicknames, lol :)
Quote from: Elise on May 21, 2012, 06:52:00 pm
Scoop What kind of effort would have worked for your children if your mil had made the effort?
Wow. I have so many ideas, I don't know where to start. Being a silent observer on Facebook, with the occasional "how cute" comments would be nice for when the GK is a baby.
But really, at the 1 year mark, you can send cards. You give a toddler a singing card and a sheet of stickers and you're GOLDEN.
My DD LOVED opening the Christmas cards and was always sad in Jan when the cards stopped. When I told my P's this, they EACH sent her a 'letter'. My Mom cut out pictures of kittens (or whatever) and wrote a little blurb for her. My Dad sent a donut-shop gift card ($5) because his "thing" with the GK's was having a "coffee break".
I would also suggest trying to have a "thing" with the GK's. ASIDE: This is what you'll be known for, so when the teacher asks about the GP's, this is what will come out. For example, even though my IL's and Mom all live far away (and my Dad has passed away), DD said that my Mom "played with her", my Dad "built things" and my IL's "lived far away". My Mom's "thing" is that she plays with DD. DD once tried to play with MIL, and MIL didn't know how. She couldn't "do the voices" for the dolls and invent a story. So that was the end of that.
When we DO visit the IL's, my MIL is NOT interested in DD. MIL likes to do crafts, and will take out the craft stuff, but it's DD and I who craft together. MIL has to go clean or something.
My Mom is DELIGHTED by my DD. Whereas, it's obvious that MIL doesn't think of her as a 'real' person. This shows in SO many ways. MIL doesn't try to cook things that DD might like, never mind trying for her favourites. One time, DD made a picture for MIL and MIL trashed it (verbally and then literally).
My Mom knits and sews. (For dolls & teddies too.) My Dad built stuff (he made DD a rocking zebra!). You can't get more absent than being dead, but my Dad is STILL a part of our lives, because we have stuff from him and we talk about him.
I guess my advice boils down to: keep in touch (phonecalls, FB, cards, send pictures of your cat, whatever), when you do see them, be present and interested in them as people (ask questions, ask about what's been going on (i.e. how did your recital go?) and have a presence in their lives, either with some special things or special events.
Okay, I *have* to rant a little bit! This is a list of what NOT to do.
- when we called MIL to tell her that DD got her ears pierced, her first comment was NOT "did it hurt?" or "what earrings did you pick?" NOPE. It was "Now you can wear the earrings I bought you for Christmas!" (Yup, MIL bought DD fun-fashion earrings when she didn't even have pierced ears, because MIL just buys DD and DNiece the EXACT same gifts, without care that one has pierced ears and the other does NOT.)
- MIL once made us a supper where there was NOT ONE SINGLE THING that DNiece (one of the local GK's) would eat. And she's NOT that picky. For the record, once, my Mom made us 3 different meals at one sitting, DH's favourite, MY favourite and DD's favourite - just to make sure all of her bases were covered.
- We had bought one of those DIY stepping stone kits for DD to make for MIL. MIL fought it ALL THE WAY. First, they didn't have a bucket to mix the concrete in (not true). Then she fussed over DD's design, because it wasn't nice enough. And I haven't seen the stone since.
- Once, when DD was 10 months or so, MIL was hosting a gathering and she walked by DD and said "I'm going to have to bond with you sometime." and just kept on walking. Huh?
- DD was jumping on DN's trampoline and was calling out to MIL "Gma! Gma! Gma!" She must have called out 10 times and finally MIL looked at her when she said "Gma Lastname!" I'm sure MIL doesn't *like* being "Gma Lastname", but if she doesn't answer to Gma, that's what she gets. This has happened more than once.
- MIL's gifts to DD are never special for her. They're always exactly the same as DNiece's. MIL could have been the HERO this past Christmas. We told her a gift that DD would have ADORED. But no, it didn't interest DNiece, so no-go.
Really, it does come down to the fact that my family (plus SIL & her family) are DELIGHTED with DD. MIL loves her, but doesn't consider her a real person. (MIL will look right past DD and ask me if DD likes xxx. Uh, she's right here, why don't you ask HER?)
Good luck Wisewomen, it should be an easy relationship but it's not always.
It is cute, all the nicknames. FDIL first said it was "It", then we went to "Zat" because the Dr. told her it was the size of a grain of rice (Zaterain's) and now it has changed to "Jelly Bean". We have laughed and laughed about it because I post silly pics on her FB of blue and pink jelly beans going, "Are you are blue or pink jelly bean?"
I plan on being creative in the videos, dancing, singing silly....something that hopefully my GC will see MiMi as fun and loving and when we/they visit will want to play with me. :)
Great suggestions Scoop.
Thank you Scoop. I'm starting a list from your suggestions so I will not forget when the time comes. Cute jelly bean fb story!
My GD and I have matching pink wellingtons so we can splash in puddles together .
I guess you have to be in touch with your GK's often to know what they're into .
For a while it was Tangled , then the Lion King , anything princess , now its Toy Story .
Cool grandma's keep up with the latest trend , but it changes fast so you gotta be quick .... 8)
more entries for my list - thanks LL.
Give yourself a break! The truth of the matter is, your grandkids are another woman's kids, not yours. There's no reason to feel ashamed that you don't want to be a 24/7 grandma. I bet a lot of MIL/DIL problems wouldn't arrise if some MILs would remember that her GKs are another woman's kids and some DILs would recognize that a bit of involvement doesn't mean her MIL wants to be a DM all over again.
You are who you are and there is no perfect way to be a GM. If you can find a way to be a GM that you enjoy, don't let anyone else's standards make you feel bad about yourself. If you tried to do the 24/7 thing (assuming you had the opportunity), you'd probably resent it and end up with a bad relationship with your GKs. They'd pick up on your lack of true enthusiasm.
I never considered motherhood a vocation. I didn't like playing games with my kids. I would do a bit of it, but there was a limit. I was never enthralled about hearing every last little detail about preschool or whatever. Sometimes kids feel suffocated when a parent or GP is too involved. The Gk may feel responsible for the GP or P's happiness, and that's not good.
I get what Herbal is saying. A person can drive oneself into distraction trying to please the ps and gc; for some it comes easily; for others, not....sounds like Scoop's mil is just not into small children and is sometimes very untactful, doesn't seem to get it....but she does love gd as you said, and gd must know that or she would ignore her.....gd probably knows who the fun gma is and must accept the other one as distant but "there."
Guess the good thing is although the gma doesn't do all the things the other gma does, she isn't complaining about being the left-out gma bc she isn't being left out! That's a good thing, Scoop, that you have your mil in your lives even though she does thoughtless things like the picture trashing.
My mother didn't "play" w us as children; she loved us and we knew it; she also didn't play w the gc or ggc (they were too "rowdy" when small.) She did pick up interest as they grew older, wanting to know about their activities and very proud of their achievements. Her gks felt the love she had for them although she wasn't the fun gma.
She had her own life as Herbal is saying, I think. Her job, her dh (my dad) and other activities were foremost in her mind; she didn't obsess over her gkds; she would worry about them if she knew a problem, so I tried not to let her know about issues that she couldn't help bc we would worry.
DH tells me I overdo the gkd thing; I'm frustrated bc I have scads of pics I need to organize, having overdone it; I want the gkds to know and love me; but at the same time, I know I can't begin to keep up w the maternal gps/relatives who shower them w so many gifts that the c soon just ignore; too much! So I keep gifts to something I know they need; they have so many dolls, balls, stickers, handmade things (I've done this, too) that more means nothing to them.....
Dil has so many pics, etc., that when i special make an album of pics for her it isn't special; if one pic isn't perfect of dil, the album is never seen again (she points out the pics she doesn't like although I'm thanked for the album.) Nothing is special if there's too much of it.
I don't get to Skye w them as I'd like; the ps are too busy; so when I'm w them I give them attention but also discipline (dh the same); discipline the ps agree with; I've seen too many gps give too much attention/gifts/whatever they want; the gc sometimes treat the gps rudely.....the gps won't even tell the kids to behave for fear the gc will dislike them....
Herbal is right; if we overdo it, the gc and we all suffer. We have to remember the gkds aren't responsible for our being happy.