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Am I hoping for too much from long distant DIL.

(47 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.

Coolgran65 Thu 14-Aug-14 14:16:11

I am so glad to have found you all. My close friends are quite able to tell me to ' wise up' but I wanted totally independent opinions. And I didn't want to discuss it with OH which might have made it seem an issue where none existed.

My OP did sound rather needy, when actually I am a pretty independent and capable person.... except when it comes to DS and his wee son. Growing up our home life would have been quite dysfunctional given mental issues of ex and I would most likely have been guilty of over compensating.

Thank you again.... this was just what I needed.

And is what I'd have advised another person.....when I wasn't wearing my ''crazy mother hat''.

Attentions now back to my lovely hubby who hadn't quite realised I was a bit distracted. He has been distracted himself with washing machine not draining, and a new ballcock needed in loft.....not to mention heating engineer coming tonight to check our 26 year boiler and system that has just died.

Crazy Mother Hat has been binned. smile

rosequartz Thu 14-Aug-14 14:26:43

smile well done.

ffinnochio Thu 14-Aug-14 16:12:57

Cool - Glad to hear the CMH has been binned for the time being. You'll probably wear it occasionally, like I do, but you'll see it more clearly for what it is next time. smile

Coolgran65 Thu 14-Aug-14 20:57:10

I hang my head and feel very humble.
My DDIL has just sent the cutest video of DGS having lunch today, eating some zucchini and chicken and then throwing the rest over his shoulder.

Coolgran65 Thu 14-Aug-14 20:57:48


rosequartz Thu 14-Aug-14 21:00:54

You were feeling down as we all do sometimes, especially when they are so far away. flowers

thatbags Thu 14-Aug-14 21:26:50

Coolgran flowers

Mishap Thu 14-Aug-14 22:34:26

The blip has passed! So glad that you have had this lovely video - isn't technology wonderful?

Lona Thu 14-Aug-14 23:53:16

Happy days sunshine

Eloethan Fri 15-Aug-14 01:10:14

You're a hoot Coolgran - pleased you've binned the hat.

I think that after recently enjoying such as lovely visit with your son and his family it's natural that you have been feeling their absence more acutely.

I'm so glad that you're feeling better now - and so impressed at your willingness to take on board the views of others.

Good luck with boiler, washing machine, etc. etc. - it never rains but it pours does it.

rubylady Fri 15-Aug-14 05:00:59

coolgran I understood your dilemma. I think it is hard to break away from a person you have been intensely connected to. Maybe you were more connected to your son due to his dad having mental problems and like you said, over compensating. I have done the same with my daughter due to divorcing her dad when she was 13 years old. But also because I lost a baby when she was 4 years old and felt like I had let her down. She became my rock. I don't know if I was hers as she has always had really close friends. But, and also because, she has had children first, I don't ever feel like I have "given her away". I know this sounds old fashioned but I have felt responsible for her even though she left home 8 years ago for uni. Now she has 2 children and a fiance, getting married next year. She wont skype, she did text and call occasionally (they live 60 miles away). Her visit to me was 19 months inbetween.

She won't let me give her away at her wedding or have any part in it. We have had words and we haven't spoken now for nearly 3 months. Maybe, like you, I have clung on too much. I think there should be give and take on both sides though. I don't know how it will pan out, I'm just enjoying the rest on my brain to be honest and doing my own thing a bit more instead of focusing on their stuff. Time will tell.

But I do think that you have a fantastic set up and that your DIL sounds lovely. Be thankful that you get on with her so well. My soon-to-be SIL wont even make me cup of tea. He says he doesn't know how to. At 24 years old. He's an ex Oxford University student. So enjoy, do your own thing a bit.

Take care. flowers

Coolgran65 Fri 15-Aug-14 16:53:30

Ruby - Your situation is much more difficult than what I perceived mine to be..... and actually I was probably in a feel sorry for myself because I missed them so mood, and didn't have a real 'situation' at all.

As for your SIL (soon to be).... does the person who doesn't know how to make a cup of tea exist, even if it was a rubbish cuppa. Is he being tongue in cheek, either way you still don't get a cuppa from him.

Living in a family situation with children, surely he's capable.

I truly understand that aspect of feeling responsible for our children even after they have finished uni etc. In my case wondering if I was wrong having only one child - thus no siblings. And wonder is this feeling of responsibility because we 'feel' we didn't provide the happy and enchanted childhood that we wanted to provide. I'm not saying this is how it was, but that it's something in our/my own head.... feeling that somehow we didn't make the Walton Family grade, that noone ever makes anyway.

It's a shame that you are not having a part to play in your daughter's wedding. Is it a very low key affair.

We've mentioned so many times in many threads, mouth zipped and paint on a smile. Hard to do sometimes.

You mentioned 'a rest on your brain'. That is so true.
Acceptance can greatly ease the lump in the chest.

Certainly it is good to get it off your chest.
Helped me no end.

rubylady Sat 16-Aug-14 03:50:19

Thank you Coolgran for your lovely reply.

I don't think one problem is bigger than another, we all just have different perspectives on it depending on how things are at the time. Sometimes we can cope and other times, when we are tired or low, it feels so much bigger. I do think though that to take a step back from a situation and take time to look at things can put a different spin on it. But your words have helped me too, thank you.

It isn't a huge wedding, 60 guests I think, so moderate. They have already picked and asked bridesmaids and two best men to do their duties so if they had wanted me to do anything, then they would have said already. There is to be no walking DD in, no speeches, no formal table arrangements, so no feeling like I am her mother, just like another guest. I have brought both my children up on my own for the last 14 years so this was like a punch in the stomach really. She has two children, which I have bought most of the nursery item for and supported them both aplenty. He has no parents, both deceased. And her father wont be invited as she hasn't seen him in for over 10 years. They seem to have the attitude now that they are their own family, which of course they are but we are still extended family and should be treated as such. My son has been given no place in this wedding neither.

It's more than that though. She has tried through deception to get more money out of me than what is available at the time. (£50 for baby shoes when in fact they cost only £25), that sort of thing. They (the children), according to her are always needing things and tries emotional blackmail. She lies all the time. She said she would have to pay for nursery for her 3 year old when there are free places for him. Allsorts of things.

She told me she was pregnant with the first son. I said I was surprised as she was taking contraceptives. She just shrugged. I found out that she had ordered ovulation tests a few months prior so she had planned to get pregnant. I don't know if her fiance knows about this or if she fooled him too. They had only been going out together for 3 months at this stage, not engaged. When someone lies like this it is hard to trust and believe anything else that they say. Lies helped to break me and her dad and she knows this.

They did say some time ago that they would only marry for financial reasons. (Romantic, eh?) His father died 18 months ago and he is about to receive thousands from the estate. Now she has agreed to marry him. That smacks of marrying him for his money, does it not?

I am in two minds. I was ok with her until I found out I wasn't involved with wedding. I wouldn't even get to see her as she leaves for the ceremony as I would go straight from train station as we live 60 miles away.

Then, because I had said something about this and words were said, she told me not to go to the wedding at all. Then I start thinking about all the other stuff, her maybe lying to him and wonder if I would want to be at the beginning of a marriage that could be based on lies. If I did try to have it out with her I would get more lies, so banging my head against a wall there.

Her fiance was ok with me at the beginning but over time I have a feeling that she has said bad things about me and now hardly gives me the time of day. I have a feeling she would do the same with the children as they get older too. She has done it with her friends, which I now feel uncomfortable being in their company, which I would be at the wedding. I honestly feel like I want to just stay away and let them get on with it.

I suppose time will tell, but I do feel lighter in mind not being in touch with her. Will she ever change? I don't know. I want to go and see her married, of course I do, but I also want to be there knowing that she is a truthful, loving, caring person., not one who lies, marries for money and has never, to me, said that she loves him, or even shown it with the was she looks at him etc. You can tell if someone loves someone without being told it, and theirs looks like a very weird relationship to me. It makes me feel really uncomfortable. I have seen her with ex boyfriends and she shone out with love. She's not like this with him for some reason.

I am sorry for the long post. It's hard to put into words sometimes. I am better doing my own thing, looking after myself (I have health problems) and getting on with my own life. She will either realise what she has done in time or she wont. But I wont give in this time, like I normally do. She crossed a line.

I wish you well and thank you again for your reply, it means such a lot to know we have friends who look out for us. X

Nelliemoser Sat 16-Aug-14 10:15:59

Coolgran65 Lots of us get these bad moments when we lose perspective and get very down hearted. I can fully understand it, particularly when you have just had contact with your grandchild and are missing them.

A good off load and the insight of others can often help us to get a more realistic view of what has happened.

I hope you feel more positive soon.

Crafting Sat 16-Aug-14 20:01:10

It's hard when you have given birth and brought up your children not to think in some way that they owe you. I loved my wonderful mother so much but not as much as my own sons. Maybe it is the role of the mother to love but to let your children go and lead their own lives. Be there if they need you but not expect them to base their lives around you. My own mum and dad were fantastic, kind and loving but I still felt I had my own life to lead and my own choices to make.

Coolgran65 Sun 17-Aug-14 15:35:06

Nellie and Crafting - the perspective of others is most enlightening. Sometimes if a blue day arrives for no known reason, it is easy to feel the need look for a reason, when actually there is no reason and it's just a case of (though we don't quite realise it) ''''' miss the kids'' or ''''feet fat today''' or '''I'm fed up today'''

Ruby, there seems to be a long history with your DD that has a great deal of negativity and deceit. As a mum you want to see her being married, but you describe how you'd like it to be as a very different person and situation than it really is.

Would you be happy to go to your daughter's wedding by train, alone. Or perhaps your son would be with you. Even so. Would you be willing to pay for an overnight in a hotel near to the venue. Could your daughter put you up for the night before the wedding. If these questions are answered with a 'No' .... then would you be really wanting to be at DD wedding where you also don't really know anyone.

I think it would be great if you were there, you could be spending time with DGC, But it is possible that how you dream it might be would not be anything like the fact.
It seems that you might be sad if you go, and also sad if you don't go.

I'm sorry, I don't know if I would go or not.
And as it stands, does DD expect you to be there.
If there is absolutely no contact ........

rubylady Mon 18-Aug-14 02:38:24

Coolgran Thank you for your lovely message. My DD has caused me many sleepless nights over the last eight years with her behaviour. She is very similar to my mother who is also manipulative and destructive in her ways. With my heart conditions and with an open heart operation looming, I am now taking steps to try to eliminate as much stress in my life as possible, after all, it is my life and I wont get it back if anything happens because of people who will not and do not help me with my health problems, i.e. my DD. She's already said the operation is something and nothing. When I was took into hospital a couple of years ago, she complained that she doesn't get paid to come and help me out. It's a feeling we both get, my son and I, when we see her. At her graduation, we arrived, went through the ceremony, went to pay for the official photo, then we (my son and I) got left while she went off with her friends. We knew no one there too. No meal, no celebration with us, no toast etc., and no photo that I had paid for. I suppose it's feeling used. My confidence has been awful and I deserve better. So for now I want a break. I need to feel good about myself and my life, really. The only way I would go to the wedding now would be if she came to me, apologised for the lying and an explanation of why she lied. The air needs clearing if we are to continue with a relationship, her being honest and a promise to try to work at our relationship. My son has suffered depression to the point of suicidal thoughts in last couple of years. My DD has known this and hasn't asked him how he is once in that time, either by phone or e mail or in person. Obviously my priority was with him at this time, even though I still caught trains to visit her and my DGC. She used to read his bedtime story when she was at home, he was 9 years old when she left, so I have no idea why she hasn't supported him. When I left my violent ex husband and took my children, I thought we would all continue to look out for each other, as a unit. Obviously they were going to leave and make their way, but still have that bond. It is not going to happen and I would be a fool to think it would now. She would rip her tongue out before opening up to me these days. It's not been one thing on it's own, it's been her behaviour over years. She has her family now and that is how she wants it. Good luck to her.


Jane10 Mon 18-Aug-14 08:36:34

Rubylady- while I quite see your hurt and point of view- are you being a little unreasonable in your expectations? She`s just not going to apologise etc etc. She`ll be busy with kids, wedding planning and life in general. She may just not have time to think things through the way you seem to have. Could you possibly be reading too much into things and dwelling on negatives? What would be her point of view? How might she see you? It might not be the way you think.
If you don't go to the wedding that could be a sore point for years and years. Can you not go with your son? Don't make any fuss and by your exemplary behaviour demonstrate to others that you are not what you think she says you are.

dorsetpennt Mon 18-Aug-14 09:37:18

It appears that your DIL is doing her best to make you welcome and spend as much time as possible with your GS. Have you ever spent any time with just her? Perhaps you and she would feel more comfortable with each other if you did.

Cressida Tue 19-Aug-14 09:44:25

Yesterday I found out that my eldest son & DIL are expecting their 4th baby. It's due this weekend! My son thought they'd told me.

Granulated13 Wed 03-Sep-14 10:48:42

CoolGran65 Only just got onto this. I am a long-distance grandmother and have posted before on another forum. I have to admit, I find it hard to adjust when I get back to the UK. I try to think of how I would have felt with a demanding MIL when I was a young mother and try to behave myself accordingly. Not always easy, but probably advisable. I think I am probably more in touch with my DS & family abroad than I was with my own in-laws, but that was in the days before the internet and cheap calls. We are so lucky these days with communication.

I send lightweight items in the post for my grandchildren, with a greetings' card enclosed; my DS Skypes from time to time and I get to see the little ones, both now saying "Hi, Granny!" which makes my day. My DIL sometimes sends a photo or a video, but it is mostly my son who sends lots of photos of their activities on Flickr. We see each other every year and sometimes more. I am truly lucky that our Grandparent counterparts abroad, are such caring people and we visit and sometimes stay with them and email each other.

Young families are always so busy and cannot always get the time to reply to an email, so don't think of it as a slight. I can certainly relate to the things that you say CoolGran65 and it makes me feel better, if you don't mind my saying!

Think of the positives, not always easy and plan your next visit, if you can, even if it's in your head. Give the family a bit of space - getting a balance is difficult - I am still learning after quite a few years, as I don't always get things right.