Author Topic: Told by DIL that I cannot stay at their home when their first child is born  (Read 9315 times)

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Offline Mary Lee

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I live out of state and was told by my son that once my DIL goes into labor, I need to book a flight to come see the baby.  My DIL spoke up and said that I wouldn't be staying at their home.  They are in the process of purchasing a 4 bedroom 2 bathroom home.  I was so shocked that I did not respond. I was also heartbroken.
It costs money to fly out, rent a car and really do not want to spend the money to stay in a hotel, then try and figure out when I will be allowed to see the baby.  I need to tell them both how I am feeling.  I had thought of one thing to say to them and it is this: when they feel comfortable having me come out and be able to stay at their home, then I will fly out.  Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks

Offline Pearls

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Hi.  Please don't take your DIL's wishes personally.  There's another way to look at things, and it's not so hurtful.  If this is her first child (and even if it's not), it's quite possible that she has imagined how things would be when she brings the new baby home to the new house for the first time.  Maybe she wants to enjoy her new family privately and ease into motherhood on her own.  Maybe she's the independent type, or maybe she's insecure, or maybe she's worried that people will interfere too much, or maybe her house isn't in order yet and she doesn't want help.  At any rate, she's allowed to make this decision, and it doesn't mean she doesn't love you or want you to visit.

As a side note, I remember when my first child was born.  My dear mother lived nearby but she was still hoping I would want her to stay for a few nights.  She wasn't even the bossy type, but yet I said no.  I wanted to be in charge of my house and my baby.

Please don't think of it as not being welcome in their house.  I have a feeling that after the newness of motherhood wears off, they'll have a guest room in their house ready for you for the next visit.  Please, go and visit them, stay in a hotel, don't complain about the expense, let them be in charge, and be the best grandmom possible so that they'll welcome your visits.

Offline Stilllearning

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How wonderful that your son and DIL want you to visit when their child is born!  There are usually so many people around right after the birth that it can be difficult to see the baby, especially if you are staying in a hotel so I understand your disappointment at not being invited to stay at their home.  When my first child was born I invited my MIL out for the event.  He was her first GC and long awaited (12 years!).  My MIL said that she would wait until the hubbub died down to visit.  I did not really understand but in retrospect she was very smart! Daughters need their mothers right after they give birth, especially their first time.   There are so many questions about their own body changes and so many things that would be difficult to discuss with even a very caring, very close MIL.  My MIL visited a couple of weeks later and I got a wonderful extension to the help I got instead of everyone showing up (and leaving) at the same time.  Maybe it would do for you to plan your trip for later? 

Try not to hold the fact that she does not want you to stay in her home against her.  We all know how those hormones can do some strange things when we are pregnant and I have a feeling she is just feeling overwhelmed.
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Offline Lillycache

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I would tell my son that I couldn't afford both airfare and hotel.. Maybe he will be willing to pay for your hotel room..  If not.. then I would tell him to let me know when he and his wife felt I would be able to stay with them and the I would be happy to come.

Offline Lillycache

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How wonderful that your son and DIL want you to visit when their child is born!  There are usually so many people around right after the birth that it can be difficult to see the baby, especially if you are staying in a hotel so I understand your disappointment at not being invited to stay at their home.  When my first child was born I invited my MIL out for the event.  He was her first GC and long awaited (12 years!).  My MIL said that she would wait until the hubbub died down to visit.  I did not really understand but in retrospect she was very smart! Daughters need their mothers right after they give birth, especially their first time.   There are so many questions about their own body changes and so many things that would be difficult to discuss with even a very caring, very close MIL.  My MIL visited a couple of weeks later and I got a wonderful extension to the help I got instead of everyone showing up (and leaving) at the same time.  Maybe it would do for you to plan your trip for later? 

Try not to hold the fact that she does not want you to stay in her home against her.  We all know how those hormones can do some strange things when we are pregnant and I have a feeling she is just feeling overwhelmed.

I understand what you are saying.. and I am sure this is all very true.. I remember wanting my mother with me after my 1st baby was born too.. yet I don't remember being so incapacitated or hormonal  as to not want my husbands mother there.  I figured she pretty much understood what it was like to just have a baby too.. she had four of them...     You have to understand how hurtful this is to the mother of the father of the child.  She feels she is as much a grandmother to that baby as the mother of the DIL..  She is feeling left out of something she has dreamed about.. that being becoming a grandmother.  It is not her fault that the child making her a grandmother is a male.  Being relagated to the background is hurtful..so is being made to feel like "second string".   There is just no way to sugar coat that.   She can be as understanding as the day is long, but she is still going to be hurt.    She is not looking to interfer or interject her opinions..She is not an outsider or an interloper..  She is just  looking to share in the same joy the other grandmother gets.  I'm just letting Mary Lee know that many of us know how this feels and that she is not alone in her dissappointment, as well as explain to others how it feels to be the mother of the husband and the emotions that run through our minds.   



Offline jdtm

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It is not her fault that the child making her a grandmother is a male.  Being relegated to the background is hurtful..so is being made to feel like "second string".   There is just no way to sugar coat that.   She can be as understanding as the day is long, but she is still going to be hurt.

I am the mother of two sons.  One of our DIL's (now ex-DIL) "silenced/ignored" us out of their lives (at least, until she left our son and abandoned her children); the other DIL could not be more supportive or compassionate or caring or loving (and this includes her immediate family).  That being said - I am not the maternal grandmother; I am "second string" and frankly, grateful and feel blessed.  This is the reality of being the paternal grandmother. 

Offline herbalescapes

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I think DS was out of line A) for telling you that you have to get on a plane when DIL is in labor and B) not discussing the visiting arrangements with DIL before speaking with you.  We've had this discussion in this forum before: Some people, including me, simply hate having houseguests.  I have never, ever, ever had a rude/obnoxious/bad houseguest, but the situation just stresses me out.  Nothing anyone can do about it.  My mother dropped some pretty strong hints about coming to visit and helping out once the baby arrivedfor each of my kids , but I ignored them.  I made arrangements for my parents to visit (and they stayed at a hotel) about a month after each baby was born.  I'm sure my mom was disappointed and hurt, but better that disappointment then me trying to put a good face on it and - being sleep-deprived, etc. - totally loosing it and saying some really harsh things in the heat of the moment that could lead to an estrangement. 

Since you have to fly in to visit, you have a perfect excuse for a delayed visit - airfare.  You usually get cheaper prices two weeks or more out.  I don't want to be the voice of doom, but many things can happen during a birth.  By waiting til the baby is born and mom and baby are home from the hospital to make plans, you can avoid some bad scenarios. 

The funny thing about becoming a grandparent is that while it is a huge event for the grandparent, for the people in charge of the event, i.e., the parents, the grandparents are pretty low on the priority list.  When you are recovering from childbirth (surgery if it was a C-section), getting an hour of sleep a night and can barely find time to take a shower, having sympathy for a grandparent who doesn't feel s/he is getting a fair shake can be hard to come by.  More likely you decide the grandparent is selfish and needy and not worth your time. 

Lots of times - though certainly not all - the paternal grandparents are left feeling second string.  Whose fault is that?  Is it DIL's job to make grandparenting "fair"?  Is it DS's responsibility to make sure his parents get equal time?  Is it the maternal grandparents' responsibility to take a step back and suggest a larger role for the other grandparents?  Is it the paternal grandparents' job to just get over it?  Any of those scenarios could alleviate the situation.  Unfortunately, the only scenario the paternal grandparents can control is the last one.  Trying to get DIL/DS/other GPs to do the others could lead to a lot more hurt feelings and even estrangements. 

It certainly could be that once the baby arrives and DS and DIL have adjusted, you will be a welcome houseguest.  I have my fingers crossed for you.   If DIL is more of the type to hate houseguests, you may always have to stay at a hotel.  Trying to guilt trip her or DS probably won't help matters.  For the first visit, tell DS you will make travel arrangements once the baby has arrived.  Don't complain about the additional expense of a hotel room.  Always keep your eye on the prize - a lifelong relationship with the new family.  Please don't put yourself in competition with the other grandmother.  Kids don't have a limit on love.  Even if the other grandma stays in the house, changes more diapers, prepares more bottles, etc., you can still form your own unique valuable relationship with your grandchildren.  GC don't necessarily have favorites.  They accept each GP with open arms.   GOOD LUCK!

Offline Pooh

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Welcome Mary Lee.  When you get a moment, please read the highlighted posts under "Open Me First".  It is the rules of the forum and how we flow.  Nothing wrong with your post.  We ask all new members to do this.

I wouldn't discuss how you are feeling with DS/DIL either.  I would simply tell the truth about the financial part by letting them know that between airfare, car rental and hotel, you will have to wait a little longer until you are able to comfortably have the money.  I would add that although you would love to be there for the birth, you also know it would probably be easier on them both if you let them get settled in before you visit.

DIL may just be feeling like she doesn't want to entertain houseguests when she gets home.  That she wants that time with baby and recovery.  Let's face it.  Most men wouldn't think nothing of people coming, but normally, they are not the ones having to have everything clean, set-up, etc.  And I will be honest.  I am much more comfortable with my Mom coming to my house than my MIL, and I get along great with my MIL.  If my house is cluttered a bit, or the floors need mopping, it doesn't bother me for my Mom to see it, but when my MIL comes, I want everything in order.  And seriously, she has never said anything about my house, it's just my feelings because my Mom is more used to me and I don't want my MIL to think I don't clean my floors.

My question would be: How have you and DIL got along so far?  If everything has been fine, then I would try not to take it personally.  If it has been rough, then I can understand how that is hurtful.  The reality is that a GP's expectations sometimes don't match the parent's expectations.  And the reality is they get to make the decisions as it's their child/children. 
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Lillycache

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It is not her fault that the child making her a grandmother is a male.  Being relegated to the background is hurtful..so is being made to feel like "second string".   There is just no way to sugar coat that.   She can be as understanding as the day is long, but she is still going to be hurt.

I am the mother of two sons.  One of our DIL's (now ex-DIL) "silenced/ignored" us out of their lives (at least, until she left our son and abandoned her children); the other DIL could not be more supportive or compassionate or caring or loving (and this includes her immediate family).  That being said - I am not the maternal grandmother; I am "second string" and frankly, grateful and feel blessed.  This is the reality of being the paternal grandmother.

Oh I'm most definately ok about being 2nd string now.. and I accept my place.. After 10 years and 3 GKs.. it's not such a mystical magical thing to me any longer.    But I understand how Mary Lee is feeling.  This is her FIRST grandchild and that in an of itself comes with a certain amount of expectation on how it will be to be a grandma... and how we have imagined the experience.   She's hurt, and I can understand why she is.  She needs to know that she is not the only 1st time paternal grandma that has had to understand and accept the 2nd string thing, and the reality of being the paternal grandmother.

Offline jdtm

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LC - I hope you did not misinterpret my posting - I am in total agreement with you.  I only wanted to point out to the OP that being a "paternal" grandmother does not come with quite the same privileges as being a "maternal" grandmother.  At least, not in my case.  And, at times, I still feel hurt (even though it is not intentional and our DIL tries so hard to be overly fair).  After all, the mother of our grandchildren has known one grandmother her entire life; me - well, not as long.  And our DS's - hey - they're men (what more can I say) ....

And as for Mary Lee - I think things will be fine.

Offline Lillycache

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LC - I hope you did not misinterpret my posting - I am in total agreement with you.  I only wanted to point out to the OP that being a "paternal" grandmother does not come with quite the same privileges as being a "maternal" grandmother.  At least, not in my case.  And, at times, I still feel hurt (even though it is not intentional and our DIL tries so hard to be overly fair).  After all, the mother of our grandchildren has known one grandmother her entire life; me - well, not as long.  And our DS's - hey - they're men (what more can I say) ....

And as for Mary Lee - I think things will be fine.

Oh no... I didn't.  I understood what you were pointing out..  I just want ML to know that we understand her hurt, but it does get better when  acceptance sets in.  BUT still and all... it comes as a shock to most of us, don't you think?  It's one of those facts of life that's hard to believe at first..  Eventually we do "get over it"  but it's painful.. 

Offline Pen

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ML, welcome to the site. I'm glad you found us. I too would let DS & DIL know that as much as you'd love to be notified when labor begins, you'll wait to visit until things settle down and/or you can afford to pay for airfare, car rental and hotel.

Regarding paternal GPs being second string, my hope is that DILs, FDILs, and DIL FOOs read this thread and gain a little understanding of the position paternal GPs are in.

My DIL has already made it clear what our role will be with "her" children when/if they come along (she doesn't want us involved.) Although DS has said he won't let that happen, I'm working on acceptance now so I won't be devastated later. We don't expect DS to jeopardize his marriage for his FOO. As our DDD is not likely to marry or have children, a GP/GC relationship is probably not in our future.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
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Offline Lillycache

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Regarding paternal GPs being second string, my hope is that DILs, FDILs, and DIL FOOs read this thread and gain a little understanding of the position paternal GPs are in.

That would be my hope also Pen.. Before giving the stock "that's the way it is..deal with it and get over it"  which is SOOO hurtful,  it could be helpful to try to see the other side and to put oneself in the shoes of the paternal GP's   I always felt that open dialog and understanding of the other position is important to resolving problems.

In my case it was the complete and utter SHOCK of learning my place as the Paternal GM.  I simply had no idea about this sort of thing.   I was always very, very close with my maternal GM.. I stayed at her house during the summer... She took me on vacations, just her and I, and I took it for granted that I would have the same sort of relationship and privileges with MY grandchildren.  Of course it never occured to me that it was my MATERNAL GM I was allowed to be close to and I hardly saw my PATERNAL GM.. but that didn't raise a red flag for me..  I just KNEW I was going to be taking my GKs for weeks in the summer and going on vacation with them... taking them to Disney.. and other great destinations..   

 So IMAGINE when that access never materialized and in fact was forbidden.  For a time, I thought it was my fault..  Something was wrong with me..   But then I found out through this place and others that this is a common theme for Paternal GMs... and we DO have to accept it..  It was so disappointing.    I also learned over time that I wouldn't even be comfortable doing for my GKs what my GM did with and for me.  WHAT if, God forbid something happened to them..  Those are some other woman's kids!  A Paternal GM doesn't have the same latitude for the most part as the maternal GM does.   Those are her daughters kids.. and therefore and extension of her..   With US?   We are strangers..    A fact I guess we have to deal with... but it hurts to have that said to us.


Offline herbalescapes

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Lilly, do you have any idea why you were close to maternal GM and not paternal GM?  Was there a problem between your parents and your paternal GP, or did it just work out that way?  I was actually closer to my paternal GPs, but I wasn't alienated from the maternal GPs in any way, shape or form.  I look at the case with my own kids, I feel my ILs were poised to be the more involved GPs (geography played a big role), but instead of being grateful for what they had, they complained about things not being exactly how they wanted (I dared to host a holiday and use a variety of babysitters).  Eventually I washed my hands of trying to include them and - big surprise! - neither my DH nor ILs tried to pick up the slack. 

Mary Lee, again, good luck with your situation.  I hope you have a great visit when the time comes and things smooth out. 

Offline Stilllearning

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You have to understand how hurtful this is to the mother of the father of the child.  She feels she is as much a grandmother to that baby as the mother of the DIL..  She is feeling left out of something she has dreamed about..


LC I am about to be a GM for the first time in August.  I will be the paternal GP.  I will be surprised if I learn of the birth before it is posted on facebook.  I do understand Mary Lee's pain.  It does not change my previous post.  What we focus on expands and if ML focuses on the things that are bothering her it will only make things worse.  The only time my DIL contacts me is when she want a present......like the baby shower invite I got yesterday.  Ooops!!  Wrong way to look at that too!  My bad!  LOL
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