Gransnet forums


How do I deal with this and am I being unreasonable?

(121 Posts)
Bex52 Tue 22-Apr-14 09:41:29

I have an 11 month old granddaughter. I have never been allowed to look after her, not even for 5 minutes. Never pushed her in a pram, fed her or changed her or taken her anywhere. Only half of my family have even met her. We are a big family and my son's partner has very little family. We dont get to see her very often, maybe once a month or sometimes once a fortnight if we are lucky and they live really close.

I was told off for offering one piece of advice early on, never again. Told off for taking too many pictures of her. I offered my time in the early months to help out but was told they dont need or want any help. I got told off for buying her too much when she was born and at Christmas and made to feel really really uncomfortable about it. Even though they were happy for us to purchase all the nursery equipment and prams etc. I have been made to feel like a monster for wanting to be part of her life. I was even told my expectations of being a grand parent were ridicuous. My only expectation was that we would be part of her life and not exlcuded from almost everything.

We cant just ring and say can we pop over to see them all, we almost have to have an appointment to visit (or thats how it feels anyway). This is fine because we respect that they have their own lives to lead and my son works very hard but if we dont contact them, they dont contact us and we would never see them. The excitement of being a grandparent and all that entails has now become very sad.

There is a lot more to it than this but too much to write. I just want to know whether our experience is normal and if not what can we do about it.

J52 Tue 22-Apr-14 10:04:44

I think this is quite a common feeling when the Grandmother is the father's mother.

It is unfair, but my motto is bide your time, hold your tongue and thoughts. Be pleasant and make no requests, have hopes and no expectations.
Then one day you will be appreciated and there will have been no major falling outs.
You have my sympathies flowers x

glammanana Tue 22-Apr-14 10:28:14

Bex52 Its seems to be very true with regard to mums of the father and is something we just have to get used to I think,I know for a fact that when my DS2 & DIL have any little ones that her family will be much more involved as she is so so close to them but I also know that my DS2 will make sure we are involved,can you not have a chat with your boy and tell him how much you miss seeing them,can you arrange to meet up with DIL and have a coffee and chat and maybe smooth things over,and the golden rule of being a nanna is never offer advice unless asked for and then be careful how you give it.Things will settle down eventually I'm sure I think they are just enjoying their happy family unit and doing it their

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 22-Apr-14 10:36:25

That seems so unfair. And unkind of them. Hard to know what to say without knowing some of the background you mention. But I feel very sorry for you. sad

janeainsworth Tue 22-Apr-14 10:45:34

Bex perhaps the clue is in your son's partner having very little family of her own.
Perhaps she feels threatened in some way by yours. Perhaps, if they have said that your expectations of being a grandparent are too high, they feel you want to muscle in and take over.
How much did you see of them before the child was born?
Perhaps they feel you are only interested in the child and not in them?
Sorry if that is all too blunt.
It is hard, but I think you will have to stand back, let things take their course and just let them know that you are there to help them if and when they need

J52 Tue 22-Apr-14 10:58:23

I would like to think, as a mother of sons, that mothers of daughters would suggest to their daughters that the other granny might feel left out.
Or am I being too idealistic? Hasn't happened in my case! X

lucyinthesky Tue 22-Apr-14 11:12:03

It is hard. I don't see my DD1 and 18 month old DGS more than once a month because of distance. But when I do they are happy to let me babysit so they can go out for the evening (if they are not too tired).

I learnt very early on NOT to offer any advice but just to say that I was there if they needed me.

My DD1 sees her inlaws more than me usually for long bank hols like this past weekend etc as they live by the beach and when DD1, SiL and DGS visit my DD can leave the baby to be looked after and have a break herself Her inlaws (large family whereas I am on my own with just DD2) play a large part in their lives, which hurts so I do empathise Bex52

Aka Tue 22-Apr-14 11:13:15

Sorry to hear this...again. It's not uncommon so don't feel you are in any way to blame.

If you want advice, and this has worked for me... step back, be there is needed, say nought, be pleasant, in fact everything that J52 advised.

That way you there will be no come back on you, no hard feelings on their part, nothing to wrong foot you. Eventually they may well need your help and then you will be part of their lives. I've been where you are now but things have moved on [tbusmile]

Aka Tue 22-Apr-14 11:15:34

Oh! The bunnies have gone sad

Bex52 Tue 22-Apr-14 11:31:39

Thank you for all your replies, its very much appreciated. I can understand where all of you are coming from and I too have had the same thoughts as most of you.

I dont think my expectations of being a grandparent were too high. I didnt really know what to expect. I know from experience that the mother of a child will always turn to their own mother for advice etc. and I understood that and accepted that was the way it would be. Like I knew her mother would be at the birth and that was fine, thats how it should be if the daughter wants her mother to be present. But it was understood by me and no one said otherwise that I could go to the hospital once the baby was born and thats what I did but even then I got it wrong by not being officially invited.

We are not only interested in the baby, yes we were very excited at the beginning when she was born. I was so proud of them both. I remember my own mother being really excited when her first grandchild was born. I miss my son and we have stood back to let them get on with their lives but if we didnt take an interest in them I dont think we would ever see them.

I tried asking the DIL if she would like to go out for the day or if she had somewhere she wanted to go I would be willing to take her and that way I would get time to spend with her and my granddaughter and may be get to push her in her pram. I got accused of only wanting the DIL as a milk machine and that I had asked the question in the wrong manner. She was always saying she was very tired and the baby was keeping her awake at night, I offered to sit with the baby for a couple of hours so she could get some sleep but was accused of thinking she was not a good mother.

I feel I have to watch what I say all the time, even the way I sit has been cause for accusations.

I think like most of you have said, I will just have to take a step back but I love my granddaughter and my son and his partner so much I just want to be part of their lives. i thought it would be lovely and we do things together and they would ask me to babysit occasionally and we would go out and do family things together. Its just not worked out like that and it makes me so sad because time is flying by.

Aka Tue 22-Apr-14 11:40:31

It's a wise woman who can take advice and act on it flowers

grannyactivist Tue 22-Apr-14 11:40:34

Bex52 it seems to me that there is more to this than just the issues centreing on the baby, but that there is something fundamentally wrong or out of kilter with the relationships (both son and daughter in law) as a whole. It is a very sad situation, but I expect that you just need to hang in there and bite your tongue for the sake of seeing your grandchild at all.

Grannyknot Tue 22-Apr-14 11:46:29

Bex52I feel for you. I'm about to become a grandmother (I'm the mother of the husband) so this makes me bit nervous, especially as my DIL is very close to her mum and her sister. But so far, so good with my tentative suggestions of what I can do or buy etc.

My instincts would be at some time, choosing the time to just have an honest conversation with them and say that you feel as if you are walking on eggshells - "even the way I sit has been cause for accusations" - what is that all about?!

Bex52 Tue 22-Apr-14 11:50:43

I would welcome further thoughts on this. Are you talking about my relationship with them or there relationship with each other?

Bex52 Tue 22-Apr-14 11:53:16

I sat on the floor with the baby playing and was leaning against the sofa, my DIL was sitting on the sofa, so I sort of had my back to her even though I was on the floor and this was brought up that I had my back to her.

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 22-Apr-14 11:55:27

Just that you said "there is a lot more to it than this but too much to write".

janeainsworth Tue 22-Apr-14 11:59:34

Bex Is it possible your DiL has post-natal depression, and doesn't want to admit it to you? Sadly, appropriate help (from the NHS I mean) isn't always forthcoming.

grannyactivist Tue 22-Apr-14 12:01:17

I was thinking of your relationship with them Bex - it seems to be a one way street at the moment. How do they get on with other members of your family?

Mishap Tue 22-Apr-14 12:02:11

You do say in your initial message that "there is a lot more to it than this but too much to write." From your description of what you have done since the birth of the baby, it would be difficult for anyone to take offense, so it is likely that the problem lies with the other issues that have been previously present. It is probably not a good moment to tackle these with two tired new parents, so, as others have suggested, you may simply have to bide your time - hard though this may be; and you will be feeling that babe is moving through its development and you are missing out on these early stages.

I can only send commiserations and hope that given time things will settle down a bit.

From reading posts on here over the last few years it does seem that every family has to work these things out in their different ways and their roles and involvement as grandparents differ a great deal - I hope that gradually things will ease for you and that you will find the right balance for everyone.

Bex52 Tue 22-Apr-14 12:59:08

Hi Grannyactivist - what do you mean a one way street? They dont really have a relationship with any one in my family, they go and see my parents occasionally, my mother in law has only seen the baby twice. Her great great grandmother has never seen her. I would take her to see her byut they wont let me look after her. My daughter sees more of her friends children than her own neice. My DIL doesnt see much of her own family as none of them talk to each other.

annodomini Tue 22-Apr-14 13:01:35

I am wondering what kind of relationship you had with the mother before the baby arrived. Could the seeds of this unpleasant situation lie in something that happened earlier?

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 22-Apr-14 13:05:57

Families are funny things. Not always easy. Especially son-in-laws. hmm

Bex52 Tue 22-Apr-14 13:13:39

Nothing major happened - we did get off on the wrong foot years ago but not because I said anything to her. I said something to my son and he told her. There was a real reason for saying something though. I wont go into it on here. However, they split up for a while and when they got back together I went to her and said I was sorry that we had got off on the wrong foot the first time and said I hoped our relationship could be better in the future and it was, until now.

Bex52 Tue 22-Apr-14 13:18:31

They didnt split up because of what I said to my son, the split came 2 or 3 years later.

rosesarered Tue 22-Apr-14 14:13:25

As J52 and AKA and others have offered good advice, feel I can't really say things any better.It's so true that it's a different situation when your own DD has a baby to when your DIL has a baby.As time goes on, things usually ease up a bit though.A case of least said soonest mended.