Gransnet forums


Am I hoping for too much from long distant DIL.

(46 Posts)
Coolgran65 Thu 14-Aug-14 06:41:34

My DS lives 7000 miles away and has lived and worked there for 10 years. He has a good highly professional job. His wife is also highly educated in the arts and it took her a long time to get regular employment, She does not work regular hours, rehearsals, gigs, teaching. Between them they work childcare as it so so expensive Emails are exchanged almost daily between me and DS, often at my instigation, and we have Skype about once a month to see DGS. DGS who is 12 months doesn't last too long in front of the monitor before getting impatient.... or 'overstimulared' The time difference is 8 hours behind me. I speak with DS on the phone about every 2 weeks.

Approx. 3 months ago we did a visit of 2 weeks. All went pretty well, we got lots of time with baby, got to look after him for a couple of full days, took him for walks, and played with him in the home. We had as much time as we wanted and there was no holding back on their part.

Considering we were in DILs home and kitchen, all went smoothly. DIL and I got on well. On the night we left I was very emotional leaving our little grandson and not knowing when we would see them again. It is 3 years since they have visited us. DILs family are not nearby and live up in the very north, Her father is in poor health and cannot travel DIL has tried a couple of times to visit but arrangements haven't worked out ....this time in was a measles outbreak.

When baby went to bed on our last night I was pretty emotional, but settled myself ok once he got to bed. My DH, DS, DDIL and myself had a nice evening chat and big hugs and a few tears when DIL went to bed. Note: we were leaving in the middle of the night.
DH ( stepfather to DS) went to bed and left me and DS alone, we had a lovely chat, nice honest talk about family life (his new wee family) and family life in general. I have 3 stepsons at home 3 DILs and 2 stepgrandchilrem that I love dearly and who we see all te time.

My difficulty is that loving my DSGC as I do, only makes the parting from my little DGS 7000 miles disatant, all the harder to hear.

We did get quite regular photos and short videos from DILs phone camera.
They are spacing out a bit more now.

My point, is that DDIL has never been great in sending emails, Over the years she would respond to some of my emails, but not all. When she does respond her mails are friendly enough. Every couple of weeks I send a wee email, sometimes chatty, sometimes just including a coupe of pics of the flowers in my garden. These aren't responded to but I keep in touch with her anyway, not expecting and response but keeping up contact, so that it can never be said that I didn't make an effort. I don't know if she would find this irritating or not.

Sometimes DIL will send pic/video to me of baby up on feet, but with none or very little text.
I am well aware of how busy a life they lead, DSs job is pressure, DILs work is scooting about to gigs, classes etc. She plays classical oboe and teaches also.

Also they are not young parents, DIL was 41 when baby was born and it was a traumatic and nightmare of a C-Section, DIL was not properly under when they first incision was made

I'd quite like more interact with DIL or should I be content with what we have. And just continue to send my little 'chatty' emails every few weeks.
DIL is classical muscian with a musicians outlook, don't use plastic bags, all organic food, She can be a little bit of a drama queen To give credit, she looked after us very well on our visit, good food, and make her home and kitchen to be our own. She was not possessive over the child, asked us to help him at mealtimes and solids had only been started.

I have not mentioned my thoughts on this to my son, no point in making waves. I haven't mentioned it to DH because he thinks DDIL is a bit of a 'tree hugger' and should 'join the real world' and not keep baby in a 'bubble'. i.e. still breast feeding at 12 months etc.
Our DGS here run about the farm free as birds.

Baby pics aren't arriving just as often as they did at the beginning. If I say something it could very well be taken as a criticism.

Do I go with the flow, their flow, keep mouth shut, and be happy for them. And I keep quiet.........

In my own mind I don't think it should be too much of a hardship for them to send a few pics more often that they do.
Son and DIL can be quite straight talking.. And my lovely DH can be stubbon if he felt he was being slighted, so I've said nothing of my feelings to DH.

Any thoughts or opinions are appreciated, Am I luckier that many and just expecting too much. I can be a bit over sensitive but try to deal with it, so honest thoughts appreciated. And don't be worrying about my feelings.

I am just interest to hear if Gnetters think our long distance relationship is an ok one. Most of the time I believe that it is. I wonder if I should try and let go a bit more.
Would like DIL to be a little more proactive but not a lot we can do about that.

Thank you.

RedheadedMommy Thu 14-Aug-14 07:00:57

If you'd like more pictures and updates then talk to your son.
Does he email you?

You only mention your DIL emailing you updates then you say 'I don't think it should be too much of a hardship for them to send a few pics more often that they do
Tell him you'd like to hear off him once in a while, its not all down to your DIL.

thatbags Thu 14-Aug-14 07:14:05

I think you expect too much and are setting yourself up for disappointment so, yes, go with the flow and be happy with what you have.

I also think you are being judgmental about your DiL. You cannot know how busy she is, nor how tired. She and your son contact you regularly and welcomed you into their home when they could. Stop complaining. You are lucky.

ffinnochio Thu 14-Aug-14 07:20:56

Coolgran. This all seems perfectly normal to me. It's part and parcel of living at such a distance from one another. Your time spent with them during your visit sounded lovely.
I think your expectations are rather high. Re-evaluate them.

Both my sons and families live in other countries, and to be frank, I had to realise that I am not paramount in their lives on a day to day basis. Nor are they in mine.

Trust the bond you have with them. This doesn't need to be displayed on a day to day basis. Like you, I send little snippets of my life - photos, emails, articles I find might interest them etc. Sometimes I get a response, sometime not. Both my lot have pretty hectic and busy lives, as does your son and family from the sounds of things. Keep doing what you're doing.

... and yes, try to let go a little more. If you don't then you are setting yourself up for constant disappointment, when really, there need be none.

It's not always

MiceElf Thu 14-Aug-14 07:28:04

They sound like lovely people and made you very welcome and wanted when you visited. I really think it's up to your son to send you a few more pictures if you want them. I think you are quite lucky really, and their parenting style is a matter for them. Continue to send your chatty emails. When little one is older you can email him, send him letters through the post, Skype and text - but not too much! A lot of men are bad at emails etc, I think their view is no news is good news. Whatever you do don't grumble, it will set up resentments, and you don't want to be considered a duty do you?

penguinpaperback Thu 14-Aug-14 07:33:29

Hi, I agree, gently, with others here. I do think you have very high expectations. It sounds as though your DIL and your Son are doing their best to make sure your GS is a part of your life albeit from such a distance away. Especially so when DIL's Father is very ill. I actually wondered if it may be an idea to drop the daily email to your son? Perhaps down to a couple of emails a week instead?
And personally I think it's perfectly ok your GS is still being breast fed at one year. My daughter was. Your OH does sound a tiny bit judgemental about your DIL. It does sound a lovely visit. flowers

Stansgran Thu 14-Aug-14 07:59:32

They could of course ,not be taking many photos. My DD is never off her phone or iPad but doesn't take photos. When the children were staying with me I took a daily photo to show they were alive and well! But the parents see them every day and after the first flush of excitement don't always take and share pics unless they are Facebook addicts. I used to send not personalised emails but information about the NE or her uni that she might or might not be interested in . I called them pinpricks of light .

MiceElf Thu 14-Aug-14 08:15:26

The other thought that occurs to me is that you don't mention your son's father. If they are keeping in friendly touch with him then that's double the communications and double the hospitality. It's a lot when they ate as pressed as you describe.

Gagagran Thu 14-Aug-14 08:31:12

It sounds to me as if you want to be best friends with your DiL and that she doesn't want that. She seems to be caring, respectful and dutiful but you can't force an intimacy that she doesn't want. I think you are quite fortunate with the amount of contact you do have and I certainly think that daily contact with your DS is OTT. You come across as quite needy and they will be aware of that. Your chick has flown a long way away and perhaps you need to loosen the strings a bit! Good luck. sunshine

Grannyknot Thu 14-Aug-14 08:52:25

Hi coolgran the way things are sounds perfectly normal, and probably is from their point of view.

Perhaps you are overthinking the matter.


shysal Thu 14-Aug-14 09:01:58

I don't think you should expect more contact, as they might find it a chore to read or reply any more often. My family live locally, but they are all busy so I try not to be a nuisance, and communicate less that you do. I always say that as long as I know they are all right I am happy.

Crow Thu 14-Aug-14 09:53:02

Coolgran I completely agree with what ffinochoo has written.

rosequartz Thu 14-Aug-14 09:59:15

Two things strike me here; if it was a DD and SIL you were talking about, would you be expecting your SIL to keep in touch rather than your DD? I think it is up to your DS to be more proactive in keeping you up to date. I take it they are not on Facebook.

Our DD phones most weeks, sometimes emails or posts something on facebook, and sometimes but not always we (mainly DH) have a nice long chat with SIL as well. Now DGS is a bit older DD gets him to phone, but chatting is like getting blood out of a stone. We have abandoned skype as hopeless.

Other DD is overseas and, quite honestly, it is a case of 'catch me if you can' although she is always loving when we do have a chat.

I am not sure what nationality your DIL is, but different cultures may have a different attitude towards in-laws, ie she sounds very respectful and caring, but may find it difficult to be effusive and show her feelings. Added to which she sounds very busy.

Keep in touch! Don't comment!

tiggypiro Thu 14-Aug-14 10:03:26

I totally agree with ffinnochio. My DD and DS both live abroad and I am in constant contact with DD. DS is another matter - we skype occasionally and sometimes DiL will be there and sometimes not. Pictures of the boys are infrequent. I get on well with DiL and her parents but I just think it is a boy thing. They just don't see any reason to keep in touch a great deal so I just go with the flow. It does not mean that we love each other any less.

Mishap Thu 14-Aug-14 10:19:05

I think that the answer is in your post: "go with the flow, their flow, keep mouth shut, and be happy for them."

It is so hard to have family a distance away, but it sounds a though they are doing their best and that you have a good relationship with them - it might be best not to risk compromising that by asking for more. Enjoy what you do have and think positively.

Elegran Thu 14-Aug-14 10:43:04

You already have more contacts with them than I do with any of my children/grandchildren, and two of those live within the same area as me!

I see those every couple of weeks, we phone about weekly and email snippets of interesting news or questions. The family further away are in contact even less often, but I am kept informed of important decisions and events, and have a good long phone call once a month or so. When we do meet up, we catch up on everything that has happened. The children are always delighted to see me and at home in my house, as I am in any of my family's homes.

I think you are indeed being a bit demanding in what you expect of them. Think back to your own younger self. when you were working and bringing up your family, and trying to fit in a social life, were you in contact daily with your parents? How often did you get a new photograph? How often did you spend an hour of your limited leisure time telling your parents the smallest details of your daily life?

If they had wanted more of your time, wouldn't you have wished that they had a more interesting life of their own, instead of wanting to use yours secondhand?

Let go a little, and put more of yourself into other things.

rosequartz Thu 14-Aug-14 11:12:45

Just re-read the OP and see that your DS emails you almost daily!

I really do not think that you could expect more from a very busy couple. It is sad when they are so far away, only yesterday I thought how lovely it would be if DGS was here to run in the park with his cousins. We have to accept that it is not going to happen except on rare occasions when they come over, but they have their own busy lives to lead in a different country.
Could you start planning and saving for another trip - something to look forward to?

rosequartz Thu 14-Aug-14 11:17:54

I don't think breastfeeding at 12 months is keeping baby in 'a bubble', it is probably convenient as well as good for his immune system. DD1 was very focussed on 'everything organic and pure' for DGS although she is much more relaxed now he is older.

Mishap Thu 14-Aug-14 12:26:38

I agree - my 18 month DGD still has a breast feed morning and night - she also eats a normal diet with cow's milk etc during the day.

I cannot understand why people think that breast milk over the age of one is some kind of aberration! It is nature.

Galen Thu 14-Aug-14 13:00:07

DGD at age 3 still demands the occasional breast milk feed. Darling daughter is feeding DGD2 age 9/12 still.

Coolgran65 Thu 14-Aug-14 13:09:30

Thank you all so so much, I have read every post and your comments have caused me to step back and look clearly at myself. The words 'overthinking' are so correct, 'demanding'.... I never thought of myself as demanding but perhaps in this case there is a stamp of truth.

My son's father was paranoid schizophrenic and unfortunately he made our lives unbelievably miserable with his delusions etc. etc. I left him at 22 years, son was an unit. Ex was institutionalized until his death. DH of many years and DS get on well.

I think perhaps it is the fact that our DGC (my step GC) here are such a treasure. I am their granny, no 'step' issues. I just miss the other wee one ... but as you have all said.... I AM SO LUCKY.
Thank you so much for your clarity and honesty.
My regular contact is with DS, it is DDIL who sends the pics usually because his phone camera is not so good as DDILS equipment, she is a keep photographer.

As suggested I will cut down on emails, step back a little.
Realise that my DIL is my son's wife..... and that we get on OK.

My OH can indeed sound a bit judgemental but he is all talk. he is the kindest man, and he and DIL have had several 'debates' where they ended up agreeing to disagree and shaking hands, and laughing. DIL has quite a strong personality.

I am now quite sorry that I perhaps described her as being distant. Perhaps she is the wise one.

I shall reassess my attitude.

Mishap Thu 14-Aug-14 13:26:53

Coolgran65 - I admire your willingness to listen and move on - three cheers for you! Good luck and I hope that all will go well with you.

Elegran Thu 14-Aug-14 13:28:12

Best wishes, coolgran They sound a good family. Keep up your loving contact with them, without overwhelming them - and save up for the next visit.

RedheadedMommy Thu 14-Aug-14 13:29:55

What mishap said smile
You sound like a very caring Grandma smile

rosequartz Thu 14-Aug-14 14:10:29

Good luck and start saving for your next visit.

How lovely that you have your other DGC to enjoy here as well!