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Not bonding with GC

Started by Grieving, July 17, 2012, 06:52:01 am

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July 17, 2012, 06:52:01 am Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 10:29:46 am by Pooh
Wow, I am not the only one ;) I have been 'lurking' here for several months, and have realized that more people than I thought have problems with their DILs, etc. but have never quite figured out what to post. My story re: DIL is similar to many, just details different. To summarize, loved her until she got pregnant and she turned into a "pain", tried to give her benefit of doubt(hormones),but she blew up at Christmas over something I considered trivial, and certainly unintentioned. I apologized, but she never did ( I felt we both were at fault), it has tainted the relationship with DS, and GS ever since. Prior to birth, DS/DIL kept saying how much they wanted us in GC life, I was excited about being GM.....to an extent. I always had some reservations, such as I did not want to be like most of my friends who thought their lives were so much richer, better, exciting, fulfilled, yada yada , now that they were GPs. Even before holiday blowup, I did not feel that close to GS , who was born in fall. Some of that could have been lack of bonding due to inability to help with the care after birth. We were asked and expected by DS/DIL to be there, changed our schedules to do so, then were pretty much ignored.(We live several hours a way) Keep in mind, I told them I thought it was their time, but we would do what they wanted, glad to help if they wanted/needed us. The few times I was allowed to hold GS by DS, DIL swooped in and took him away,so very little bonding or warm fuzzy feelings during that visit.  Oops, just realized I was in danger of posting more about DIL problem than keeping on thread. We just a nice visit with DS family recently, but not the warm, happy kind we had pre-preg/birth, more the stiff, formal, polite kind of casual friends--every one careful not to step on toes. Playing with GS was fun, entertaining, but I still do not feel a real connection to him. He is adorable, looks so much like DS, but I am content to see pictures. I am sure some of it is my self-protection kicking in. I am afraid to get to attached, as never know what DIL might do, don't feel like they really want us in his life---he has teeth we were never told about, if I ask how much he weighs/height, it is viewed as national secret. But some of it, is the ugly fact that being with him is not worth the effort of being with DIL. I realize that it is their right and duty to raise him--I certainly don't want to do it--but her ideas are so far-fetched IMHO, that being with GS is not worth putting up with them.Since I can't be the fun loving, doting GM that I wanted to be(ie. grieving), I am content to maintain my distance both literally and figuratively, so it is nice to know that there are others out there, and I am not the cold unfeeling soul that I feel like when I am among those goosy GMs.


Hi Grieving-

I hear you loud and clear.  And isn't it annoying that you started out not really wanting your GK to be the only fulfilling thing in your life but here you are grieving over the lost opportunity.  I know the feeling but I think I've come full circle so that I don't feel the need to know about my DIL/DS's secret weapon, aka GC.  Today, anyway.

I hope you'll stick around.  Sometimes people come in with a name like yours and then after awhile they change it to something like "insouciant" since it reflects the changes they go through.  I hope you'll find some relief and camaraderie here.


Welcome Grieving.  I fully understand your post.  I think most of us have a whole different notion of what being a GM is before we actually become one.  Especially if the GC is your son's child.. not your daughter.  Many of us are completely unaware that it will be different... that is until our DILs let us know how it will be.  Yes.. our Grandmothering experience is totally at the descretion of DIL.. make no mistake about that.    I also understand your feelings on not really being that head over heals about becoming a GM to begin with... but then being hurt that we are not really allowed to anyway.  It's probabley just an innate sense of what is fair, and anger when it isn't quite fair.  It's difficult to deal with these conflicting feelings.  However, it certainly helped me when DIL decided to try to use the GKs as a weapon to hurt me.  I was able to tell her to stuff it.  After not really ever being allowed to bond with the GKs, it wasn't such a difficult thing to do.


Welcome Grieving.  I split your post and the replies to it into it's own topic so people could find it easier and welcome you.  Take a minute to read the topics under open me first for our history, forum rules and to get a feel for the way the forum runs.  Nothing wrong with your post, we just ask all new members to do this.

I'm sorry for what you are going through and I can totally relate.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Welcome, G and I'm glad u posted.  I hope our sisterhood brings comfort.  it has for me in a great way.



With respect to your DIL's unusual parenting practices - if she's not actually abusive or neglectful, just let it slide.  She's figuring out this parenting thing just as we all did.  Let her find her way.

Someone once told me, "There are many roads to Dublin." The kid will likely turn out all right, no matter what sort of quirky ideas your DIL has.


...and they'll probably complain about how awful it was, lol. Ah, the circle of life  ;D

But seriously, welcome G. I know you'll find support and comfort here as you progress through the maze that is grandparenthood. So glad you found us!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Welcome Grieving :)

Grieving, can I ask you what happened at Christmas? 

Lilly, I would be cautious in trying to find blame on anyone for a grandparenting experience. 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


@ Karenna , I can accept that she (DS seems to be following his DF---and most men's--footsteps and letting DIL determine childrearing practices) may do things her way, but I cannot accept that I am made to feel like I am 'having supervised visitation' because I am incompetent( after all, she loves DS, thinks he is good guy). She can do what she wants, but if she wants me in GS life, she needs to back off, realize that if I change a diaper or wipe a face a bit differently, it is not going to cause irrepable harm. In addition to our backstory, this is another reason I am having trouble bonding with GS. While my own DM and wonderful MIL did things differently than I did, I would never have dreamed of criticizing or correcting them....just secretly laughed at how old fashioned they were, and went back to doing it my way.


Quote from: pam1 on July 17, 2012, 02:53:43 pm
Welcome Grieving :)

Grieving, can I ask you what happened at Christmas? 

Lilly, I would be cautious in trying to find blame on anyone for a grandparenting experience.

Sorry.... I should have clarified that MY grandparenting experience was totally dependant on MY DIL.  That is a fact... and I certainly blame her. 


Thanks to all for the welcome, and the knowledge that I am not an awful, cold hearted person for not being completely gaga over GC. I am so tired of hearing " aren't you just thrilled now that you are GM, being a GM is the most wonderful thing in the world, yada yada" that it is nice to be able to say "no, not so much", and not have mouths drop open. As I said, I know a good deal  of it is self-protection, especially after reading all that some of you have and are going through,but I never did anxiously await GC as so many of my friends did.

@pam1  Details of holiday event are not that important, someday I might tell whole story, but, at this point, I don't think it is something that can be fixed.


Grieving, I understand your frustration with being corrected about child care.  But the experts' recommendations have changed a lot since we had our children.  My own DS/DIL were quite dogmatic about sleep and feeding.  (The new rules forbid having the baby sleep on his stomach, because of cot death, keep somehat more flexible sleep schedules, and set a strict schedule for introducing foods, because of allergies.)

I was hurt by the way DS informed me I was doing it wrong.  But ultimately it was his right as the parent to do so.  And after a while I was able to accept that he was legitimately trying to do right for his child.  We have other issues, of course, but with respect to his parenting, I can't fault him.

So which parts of her parenting do you find "far-fetched", per your original post?  There are some kind and sensitive young parents on this forum who might have some input on the way things are done now.


Karenna, Maybe my wording was wrong. I am well aware of changes in parenting norms, re: allergies, sleeping, etc. It is the manner in which she goes about them, as well as expectations I had as to family participation, involvement. Everything is timed--to point of looking at clock multiple times while wondering if it is meal time, bedtime, etc. Not being a very regimented person myself, this is very strange to me.

I feel if I am invited to visit with GC and am expected to bond, some accomodation should be made. I do not spend that much time there, so what harm is a slight change in schedule, or a bottle feeding instead of breast feeding while disappearing into the inner realms of house so we can spend more time together. I really don't enjoy being left without a 'by your leave'(explanation) for hours at a time. GC is not expected to fall asleep on own,or even sleep in own crib. My expectation vs reality, I know.

In addition, while norms have changed as to sleeping, baby's still need their tummy time for upper body development. GC did not like tummy time, so was not given it. No frustration is allowed.

There is certainly no abuse or neglect, in fact, I think GC might benefit from some 'neglect' so to speak. There is absolutely no flexibility. I believe I mentioned diaper changing, DIL watches over my shoulder whenever I changed GC----I mean really how much danger could GC be in--it's not like pins are involved. I can be trusted with sharp objects--my keepers haven't taken those away yet!! LOL I have quit changing or even offering to do so---just say Oh, think we need a new diaper. No point if she is going to stand there and watch....let her do it all.


I understand where you're coming from - I kind of suspected that it was an issue with "attachment parenting."

My DS once launched himself bodily across the kitchen table to stop almost-6-month-old GS from tasting applesauce on my spoon, then lectured me about choking, allergies, and caries-causing germ transmission.  Then he brought out pamphlets from the pediatrician spelling out what's allowed and what isn't.

A simple, "Hey, mom, please don't let him eat that!" would have sufficed.

If you read the attachment parenting baby books, several do make it seem like the consequences for deviating from the plan are serious and irreversible.  For example, one of DIL's books said that a single bottle could cause "nipple confusion," leading to inefficient nursing, a drop in milk supply, and early weaning, then childhood obesity and diabetes.  I'm not saying that I believe this 100%, but if your DS/DIL are being warned about all sorts of dire consequences by their doctor, books, friends and the internet.... then they are going to ignore alternative perspectives.

Keep in mind, too, that they may become more flexible as the kid gets older and more independent.  They will also get more confident in their parenting decisions, and more willing to discard practices that don't work for their family.   (For DiL, this point came when her gently-disciplined 4-year-old had a tantrum in a store, and she realized that he could handle stricter rules.)

Just keep in mind that all of these kids turn out fine, too.  Late crawlers end up climbing the monkey bars at school.  Teenagers prefer their own rooms. Nobody FedExes frozen milk to college.


And please let me add that I'm not criticising attachment parents - the quotes around it were meant to show that I was referring to the formal philosophy with that name.  And I know that other parenting styles are promoted with scare tactics as well, and it's probably been that way since the dawn of time.

Different philosophies work for different families, of course. :-)