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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.

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.

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

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

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 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!

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!

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 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! ;)

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

petra....good for you!

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.

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.

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 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 Fri 07-Jun-13 21:11:06

I know for sure that my daughter is the most important person in my life and having 2 little granddaughters has made that more so. Sometimes I suspect that I have become more of a grandma than a mum and think I probably make a far better grandma than a mum as I was so very young when I had my daughter.
In our last conversation she told me that I didn't seem to want to spend time with her any more and just wanted the girls which I think is true at the moment but that is more about her being very stroppy with me and quite rude at times and even though she is nearly 50 and me nearly 70 it seem as if she is lacking in respect for me. Sometimes I come away from conversations with her feeing really hurt but I don't say anything generally making excuses for her. They say a daughter is a daughter all of her life and in truth I realise that's it but on the other hand feel I need to guard myself from her moods and metophorical slaps which she gives me in one form or another.
I know she is angry most of the time and don't know why, I suspect it's not about me but then the way she is often very sharp with me and although I am fedup with her attitude I do understand it.
Been there, seen it and tried it as they say.

KatyK Fri 07-Jun-13 10:04:30

Wise words Hilda. I agree it is overthinking. When I talk to my husband about it he says 'it's not all about you you know'. It is hard though isn't it not being as involved as you were? I do have a pretty full life in my retirement and try to 'let it go'. Nice to know I'm not alone in this. Thank you.

HildaW Thu 06-Jun-13 21:13:20

KatyK....I think its called 'overthinking'.......I read allsorts into the smallest things. E.g. Elder daughter not phoning for four or five days when she can phone me three days on the trot some weeks, has be thinking the worse. Of course it just means she's been busy living her life and everything is FINE! Wish there was a pill you could take but hey ho.....some days are better than others. I find it helps to fill my days a bit more and now that husband and I are back on our feet after several years of coping with family illness etc I am beginning to find things that interest really me. Its wonderful to have a busy useful day and suddenly find myself thinking 'gosh I've not been worrying about such and such all day'.

KatyK Thu 06-Jun-13 19:10:43

HildaW. Your post to juneh made me feel so much better. I too thought it was just me. I am finding it increasingly difficult to talk to my daughter these days for fear of saying the wrong thing. As soon as I put the phone down I am thinking 'I shouldn't have said that' or 'maybe she'll take that the wrong way'. I have even called her back to say I hope she didn't take what I said the wrong way. She just says 'what are you on about'. When texting I am the same, 'did that come out right', 'will she think this'. If she doesn't ring or text for a few days I am thinking it's something I did or said/didn't do or say. Obviously she is just getting on with her own life. I find it very stressful I have to say.

HildaW Thu 06-Jun-13 17:08:38

juneh, understand you so well when you talk about grieving for what might have been. I also get quite worked up about what I could be doing for my two darling GC now that I have time and we are 'comfortably' off. However, I must also remind myself that they have loving and wonderfully capable parents who are there to guide and raise them - that's not my job and no matter how much I would like it to be I am 'only' a Grandma and must accept that I have to be patient and respectful of how they are brought up. I have had to learn to be tactful and accepting of visits as and when they can manage them (lives today are so much more complex with shifts/childcare etc etc). But, when they do come its wonderful. Its chaotic and exhausting and takes me a week to get over (I keep that bit quiet). But everyone has a lovely time and (so far) they are always happy to come back!
Just by way of a hint, years ago I had a wonderful but long distance relationship with my Grandma. We exchanged letters regularly from the time I was old enough to write. We kept it up more or less until I was married and it led to us having a very close emotional bond that I treasure to this day.

juneh Thu 06-Jun-13 13:59:48

thanks HildaW I remember the menapause too and used to feel so ill throughout, the night sweats were the worst and working full time as well but by then no children at home, so I do feel for her and anyone who is menapausal. I agree it's not just the body which is affected I remember feeling so down some days and as I had only one child who was at university then I had so wanted more. I remember thinking that I was grieving because I had so wanted more children but it wasn't meant to be. All past now as I am 69 can just focus on my granddaughters smile

HildaW Thu 06-Jun-13 12:56:41

juneh, good to hear from you. Yes, daughter's life sounds hardwork. I went through menopause in late 40s (seemed early compared to work collegues) and it certainly upset my state of mind. In fact it was not until I was almost through the worst that I fully appreciated how much it had affected me. Everyone talks about hot flashes but few talk about the complex feelings you go through (and everyone is different).
Hopefully you can just let things drift a bit now. All families have differences, and unless its going to cause real problems I must admit I tend to just let be and see how things turn out. Sometimes keeping quiet is the best action even though its difficult not to have ones 'five pennithworth'. Lots of luck.

juneh Wed 05-Jun-13 21:16:50

Happily things have settled but of course I agree that my daughter's life is not easy, two young children when your nearly fifty. She has only just gone back to work after nearly 8 years at home I think she has found that hard but anyway as I say it's a bit better. Hubby however is not so happy but it will pass I am sure. Thanks for your support and all who have it was great to be responded to in they way everyone did. Most helpful and caring. smile

Maggiemaybe Tue 04-Jun-13 20:18:13

I was wondering if the menopause might have something to do with your daughter's attitude, juneh - it must be difficult for her coping with young children and work as well if she's having a bad time of it. But of course we can all see that that's not your fault and it shouldn't be affecting her relationship with you. Family life can be so difficult sometimes. I hope that you enjoy your next trip and that it brings you all closer together again.

juneh Mon 03-Jun-13 20:05:03

Thanks HildaW you are very kind yes I am a bit paranoid about things especially when it comes to my daughter these days. We never had this tension between us a few years ago and I am putting it down to having 2 young children and being on the menapause she is nearly 50 having had her girls late. I know she is tired and finding working part time difficult but we have all been there and she chose to live such a long way away from any form of support. We all do things without thinking about the future don't we?
All I can do now is try to get back to where we were a few years ago but that probably means just doing what they want like me going down there 3 times a year. Thanks again for your support

HildaW Mon 03-Jun-13 16:23:47

juneh, not just you at all....was having conversation about this I get older I find myself fretting over so much - did I say the wrong thing? what did she actually mean? have I missread something? is she keeping something from me? should I have said such and such? the list is NO, you are not alone.

juneh Mon 03-Jun-13 06:39:34

Hello Deeda your story sounds awfully worrying sometimes life gives us such trials doesn't it? For us it is the distance that is the problem, well it certainly doesn't help. I miss my grandchildren a lot and know I should just go across on my own but the journey isn't easy. Driving for 7 hours on my own is hard even though I have done it.
I sound like a whimp I know and a few years wouldn't have worried like this but getting older has certainly affected the way I go about things nowadays. Is it just me?

juneh Sun 02-Jun-13 23:16:42

It seems that whatever I say to my daughter seems to get redefined into something else', something more complex but I get confused by it. Feel got at and defensive then get seen as the difficult. I feel quite sad because my relationship with my daughter is breaking down. I know life is difficult for her she is an older mum, working and struggling financially etc etc but we have all been there. hey ho!