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Torn between husband and Daughter/soninlaw

(38 Posts)
juneh Sun 02-Jun-13 14:35:42

I don't know where to start but I am very distressed. My husband is set firm against my soninlaw and my daughter because he believes they have no respect for him. I agree they have been off with him and I should say he is my second husband as my daughter's dad died 12 years ago and I remarried 5 years ago and we have been very happy together. However my daughter and my 2 little granddaughters moved away to Cornwall which is about a 7 hour drive. If it was left to my daughter I would not get to see them only once a year so I go across there at least 3 times a year and I miss them terribly. To get there I have to travel an hour or so to the airport then fly to newquay which isn't cheap and then return home the same way. It costs an average of £200 for the flight plus what I spend when I get there but to be with my gorgeous grandaughters it is worth it albeit stressful.
My daughter make little or no effort to encourage the girls to contact me through skype or emails the oldest is 8. I sent presents and litle notes with spending money etc in order to let them know I have not forgotten them. I have suggested that this time hubby and I book a holiday down in Devon which would be about one and half hours from them and asked them if they would fetch the children to where we were planning to book a Hoseasons hol but they are insisting that we either pick up the girls from them and return them at the end of the holiday or meet half way betweeen. I am quite happy to do this but my husband is furious about them expecting us to do that when we have driven all the way down. It is causing a terrible rift and I am torn in the middle because I know my daughter and SinL think they are compromising by doing half the journey.
I have realised that my daughter is also caught in the middle but when I go on my own I do not find it a pleasent experience.
My hubby thinks she is dismissive of him and I agree but cannot quite put my finger on it as she is dismissive of everyone as is my SinL.
I have had a terrible row with hubby because he has dug his heels in as have they and it is of course me and the girls who are in the middle. I really do not want to go on my own but he is refusing to go to their house now and that means a very hairy future for me everytime I want to see them.
I am sorry to rant but all support welcome. Of course the only way I have now is to continue going across there on my own to see them.

KatyK Fri 07-Jun-13 21:58:53

Juneh you are echoing almost exactly how I feel. I said to my husband last week, 'did I stop being a mum when I became a nan?' If I am feeling a bit low, my daughter will get my granddaughter to phone me which is lovely but sometimes I feel like saying, it's my daughter I would like to chat to. I also come away from conversations feeling quite hurt and that I get on her nerves, although I try really hard not to. And I too make excuses for her. I think there is the same age gap between you and your daughter and me and mine. Mine is 43, I am 63. She works hard and is a good person but sometimes I feel that I am 'just mum' which didn't used to be the case. Your daughter seems to want to spend time with you, I'm not sure mine does. I also think, as I said above, that HildaW is right, maybe too much 'overthinking'.

juneh Sat 08-Jun-13 15:12:10

Dear KatyK I suspect what happens with me and maybe you, over the years we become a bit reticent in what we say because we don't want to get the 'oh mother' voice which makes me nervous. A friend of mine told me that what she thinks to herself when her son speaks to her is 'just do as I am told'. I have decided that next time there is a tone in the voice I am going to say something along the lines of 'you do not seem to have respect for me why is that?' In some ways I think that they become the parent as us the child except of course that we are not children.
I had quite a long and emotional conversation with my daughter when all this started about my grandchildren and husband etc and she came out with a statement I found quite shocking and that was 'mother most grandparents want to spend time with their grandchildren but it seems like you don't because you don't want to come and you when you do it's only for a few days.' As if I have no life.
I told her that it was true that at nearly 70 I did want to go home but I also wanted to spend time with them however the fact that I had two days of travelling included in seeing them made me very tired. I did want to be with them and I did want to be at home with OH. In truth she wishes I had never remarried so that I would live near them. However I do not think that I would want to be that close.
I suspect that there are lot of grans who are in the same position and maybe have to get over the fear of having a row.

KatyK Sat 08-Jun-13 15:40:38

June I agree with what you say. I am very afraid to 'speak up' now that we have a granddaughter. The thought of not seeing her fills me with dread. My daughter isn't rude to me or anything, she just doesn't think that what she is doing/saying is hurtful. Like you say, as if I haven't got a life and as long as I am patted on the head now and then I will 'stay in my box'. I must emphasise I don't think for a minute any of this is done to hurt me, it is total thoughtlessness. My daughter has made a good life for herself through hard work, and it has not been easy for her at times. I am going to try to sit back and go with the flow, but as you say, pick her up on things occasionally, as advised by many sensible folks on here. I hope you resolve your issues.

petra Mon 17-Jun-13 12:25:44

This is hard, but it works. My DD has a very sharp tongue; not just with me but with whoever upsets her. For years I just took it. About six years ago, sitting there listening to one of her rants against me I had a lightbulb moment where I just stood up and said quite calmly: I'm not taking this anymore and I'm going ( I only live about 20 min. walk away) of course she was very sorry.
I have done this several times since. The funny thing is: her rants have become less and less.

HildaW Mon 17-Jun-13 16:33:23

petra....good for you!

maxgran Tue 18-Jun-13 13:45:27

Its sad how its most often the women, Grandmas and Mums who have to do all the compromising.
I don't think men fully understand how much it hurts when we cannot see our children or grandchildren. They seem to be able to detach and in some cases be more realistic than we are and are happy to let them 'go'
My partner is always happy to see my grandchildren ( his step grandchildren) but he cannot understand why I get upset about what he calls 'little things'

I think its best to learn not to rely on your partner/husband when it comes to maintaining contact with your children/grandchildren and to accept they do not feel the way you do about issues.

My son contacts me when he wants a favour - i.e. looking after the children.( which he thinks its HIM doing ME a favour!) Its me that makes calls and visits just to see or spend time with them.
My partners answer to this is 'Well stop doing him bloody favours if it annoys you!'
Logically - he is quite right! ;)

annsixty Tue 18-Jun-13 13:54:26

I think you are right maxgran about emotional detachment on the part of some men. I have a friend in a second marriage and her DH has a troubled grandson who has fathered two children with different girls who are lost to the family.My friend feels the loss of them far more than their GGF.He .just shrugs if the subject is brought up

maxgran Tue 18-Jun-13 14:04:11

Yes,.. That's exactly what I mean.
My partner accepts situations and doesn't see the point of trying to chase after someone. He reckons if someone wants to be awkward or manipulate you - don't let them!
Everything is in black & white to him!

Ella46 Tue 18-Jun-13 15:30:32

I wonder if thats down to the 'men scatter their seed in order to leave as many descendants as they can' policy of nature?
If they were as emotionally involved as women, they'd be no good at hunting and gathering!

JessM Tue 18-Jun-13 15:53:29

Not fair on men I think ella some are faithful, sensitive and emotionally literate. Some have a lifetime of avoidance of emotion behind them. But there is a lot of cultural pressure on men not to be emotional isn't there.

Ella46 Tue 18-Jun-13 19:04:51

Yes, Jess Some are and some aren't. I should have been more specific.

juneh Mon 01-Jul-13 14:34:05

I am sorry I have missed these last few posts because I think that it is true that specifically for a step grandpa they do not have the same attachment. I have decided to take myself down to see my daughter and her girls by hiring a car and taking my time to get there otherwise I just won't get to see them. My daughter and her hubby do very little to encoursage the girls to speak on the phone and we could use skype but they just cannot be bothered to set it up even though I have mentioned it loads of times. My husband has stated specifically now that he does not want to stay with my daughter etc and so that is why I have now resigned myself to going alone although how I will explain that to my family I just don't know.
In regards what Petra said I think that is good and I gave my daughter a few home truths a few weeks ago and said I did not want to hear all her moans and groans about me any more and to tell someone else if she wasn't happy about what I did or didn't do and that seems a bit more settled. WE'll see when I go down there for a week in the summer.