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Birthdays blues

(61 Posts)
Thistledoo Tue 13-Jan-15 17:45:54

I'm wondering is any GNs out there might feel the same way I do at, or, am I just being a truly selfish and indeed childish. I had a birthdays on Friday, not a big one (69 actually). I received a nice pressie of earrings from Mr Thistle, I also had a couple of cards from a cousin and friends, I was well pleased with this. I have 3 GC and two children and did expect to hear from them with some cards or perhaps a small gift, but alas nothing came, GC are too young to do anything themselves, but I kind of thought the DS or DD might think of something for the kids to give me.
I do loads of Childcare for all three GC collecting from school taking to activities cooking plus buying lots of clothes shoes etc.
it's not as though they forgot as my DD told me when she came to collect GD that she had a card for me in the house. However this turns out to be a lie.
Am I just a moaning old cow or do I perhaps have some justification in feeling used and not appreciated.

Rhinestone Fri 27-Feb-15 17:26:20

The therapist said that some of the young people today are selfish and entitled. Certainly she was trying to tell me it's not unusual. We both know not all are like that. What she and I have both seen is there is a feeling out there from some, not all, that each one take care of their own parent. This means she's not involved with his family's birthday like getting a gift but he decides what and if to get something. Unfortunately for us its conditional love and if my stepson decided we haven't done this or that we get punished.
When I married I felt we BOTH took on the responsibilities for each other's parents. By for some reason our kids don't ferl that way.

annodomini Fri 27-Feb-15 09:53:33

I don't think much of that therapist. She may have had bad experiences herself but shouldn't have brought them into a therapy session. That was just plain unprofessional.

Jane10 Fri 27-Feb-15 09:46:26

Yes OK I take everyone's point but I was keen to say that not all the younger generation are selfish and/or self absorbed. I suspect that Elegran is on to something re selective filtering what a therapist may have said. Its hard to believe that s/he would have said this. I reckon that maybe the rhinestone was referred to a therapist for more than disappointment with her family's behaviour towards her? Are there other issues too, all of which might have a bearing on how she feels about life in general?

Eloethan Fri 27-Feb-15 09:39:21

As I said before, I do think your children were rather thoughtless but, like Anya, I too was very surprised to hear that a therapist made such a sweeping statement about young people. It is not a therapist's job to sit in judgment on the actions of others but to help the client to reflect on her/his negative feelings and to find more effective ways of dealing with them - that don't involve manipulative behaviour.

I agree with annsixty that trying to make someone feel guilty is not likely to make them more attentive but may risk driving them further away.

Elegran Fri 27-Feb-15 09:30:23

"Anya* That was what I thought, too. A therapist should not be giving an opinion like that, she should be supportive but neutral. On the other hand, sometimes what is heard is not exactly what has been said.

Are you sure you have not filtered it to hear her agree with you, Rhinestone ?

annsixty Fri 27-Feb-15 09:04:54

Jane10 sorry but I really think that pointing out out their shortcomings and saying how wonderful other's families are is the way to build up resentment and not guilt.

Anya Fri 27-Feb-15 07:39:09

I should change your therapist Rhinestone . A good therapist ought to help you to come to terms with your feelings NOT feed your sense of grievance.

Jane10 Fri 27-Feb-15 07:31:01

That's rotten rhinestone (and others). I truly am not meaning to be smug but the younger generation are not all like that. Maybe I'm just lucky but my DD and DS tend to do me proud on special occasions like birthdays or mothers day. I'm not that bothered but it is lovely that they make the effort. Doesn't always involve a lot of money either - DS came to make me lunch last mothers day. A big thing for him involving a very early start, shopping for my favourite things, a long journey then preparing and serving it all. Half asleep too as he'd not finished work till 2am. I am lucky. Maybe you could tell your family what some people do?

Rhinestone Fri 27-Feb-15 01:32:22

Well I went to my therapist today and after beating myself up for expressing my feelings to my daughter in law my therapist said she saw nothing wrong. She said its her experience that today's generation are selfish, feel entitled and gave no feelings of obligation toward their parents or grandparents. When my DIL said she has no time to stop over and she's busy with her kids on the weekend I could not believe it. She and her husband are teachers with ten weeks off and we never see them UNKESS we make the plans. But they do love our gifts to them. On our 25 th anniversary they barely could wait to leave the restaurant and told us the baby had to get home. The baby was quiet. No one even cared to take our picture but they have a million selfies of themselves. I ask myself how it got like this since our generation raised them. The only explanation I couldfigure out was that it has to be what they hear and see in the media.

janerowena Sun 22-Feb-15 23:26:40

absent I still regret telling DS to send his grandma (my mother) a birthday card when he went off to uni last year, instead of picking one myself. Apparently he sent one of a very old lady holding her skirts up and dancing a jig whilst hanging on to her zimmer frame! she was furious with ME and requested that he stick to flowers on his cards in future.

He was rather upset as he had genuinely thought that she would love to be thought of like that, a sprightly old lady. grin

I think I shall send one on his behalf again, this year, just to be on the safe side. It's a real pain in the butt, but I ring them both up before every relative's birthday and Father's day. DBH rings them up before Mother's Day and my birthday. It saves so much hassle, it's worth it.

absentgrandma Sun 22-Feb-15 22:24:44

Aw...cut your kids some slack! They live in an instant world of Facebook, Twitter et al. You remember their birthdays 'cos you were there grin Mum's and Dad's birthdays are dates our children are liable to forget. There's so much else to remember... like their social diary , and of course the demands of their own family commitments.
When I do eventually get a Mother's day/ birthday card it's usually so rude I can't put it on the mantelpiece in case the vicar should call shock

I personally don't need flowers, smaltzy words in a card, or expensive perfume (just because they can afford 50 quid on something smelly).

Stansgran Sun 22-Feb-15 21:56:38

I have everything it want and if I want something I can get it. Unlike health and time . Like Oscar Wilde I like only the best so a card and a phone call is what I love. I will do anything for my family. Odd isn't it how they take us for granted. I now surprise them by taking off and sending emails from far away places. It does them good. We do threaten them with a disappearance to Addis Ababa .

annodomini Sun 22-Feb-15 14:35:55

Apologies jo1book - it was you, not loupy who were allegedly a 'nightmare to buy for'.

annodomini Sun 22-Feb-15 14:33:38

I recommend having a birthday on a conspicuous date - mine is Nov 5th - which makes it hard to forget ignore. I enjoy going to a fireworks display with the GC. My families have given up giving me 'things' - they provide vouchers for facials/massages/ pedicures/Kindle books - none of which adds to the clutter in my house. This time, DS2 took me to Rome for four days as a joint birthday and Christmas present; DS1's family have bought me a flying lesson - to be taken next month. Exciting! So, loupy, you needn't be a 'nightmare to buy for'.

loopylou Sun 22-Feb-15 13:46:56

Regardless of being a nightmare to buy for, surely a bunch of flowers or a bottle of wine is always a lovely gift?
It doesn't have to be a big gesture.

jo1book Sun 22-Feb-15 13:13:01

Apparently, I am a nightmare to buy for; "you have everything and if you want it you buy it" the children say. True.
But, I love the GC to give me their homemade dawings, pottery painted mugs and plants and , best of all, a goat or a hen in the third world or help a horse with Brookes.

Eloethan Sun 22-Feb-15 13:00:06

Rhinestone I can understand you being upset - it does seem rather thoughtless. It's interesting that when you tackled your daughter about it she started to bring up all sorts of grievances she had about things you had done. Isn't it funny how that happens - I think it's something that occurs in a lot of families - certainly it does in mine from time to time.

My feeling is that if a person is aggrieved about something, the adult thing to do is to address it at the time - your daughter could have said "I was disappointed that you didn't speak to ..... on the phone when it was his first birthday". (Personally, I think for a child that young it wouldn't have registered anyway - but it seems the parents were upset about it). Then you could say you hadn't meant to upset them - you didn't realise that's what they would have liked. The childish thing to do is to store up the resentment and then deliberately do something hurtful in return or to use it an attempt to justify your own hurtful behaviour.

I think because parents are a constant in most people's lives, it sometimes goes unnoticed that they are getting older. Some adult children have been so used to being in "child mode" - with parents helping them at every turn - that they find it more difficult to understand that a time might be approaching when their roles are changing and perhaps reversing to some degree. I see this with my mum's neighbours. Both of them must be in their mid 70's. They have an only daughter of around 45 living with them. Until very recently, I used to see her dad in the driveway with a bucket of water, cleaning her car!

You obviously don't want a big rift in the family so it might be better to just let this drop for the time being. When things are calmer, it might be worth explaining that you both have a lot on your plate and are finding it quite tiring as you get older. Also, perhaps, as ruby said you should not always be available to help out when it is requested - not because you are being spiteful but because you need to have some down time yourselves and other people need to understand that.

loopylou Sun 22-Feb-15 11:47:50

I truly feel for all estranged grandparents and cannot begin to imagine the anguish it must cause.
Personally I don't believe any of you did anything wrong - most parents do the best they can to bring up families but as newborn babies don't come with a book of instructions we all try to do what we feel is best.
A family member has very difficult family dynamics with two children who literally loath each other and she spends much of her life trying to keep the peace with each of them. They had a very comfortable childhood but for some reason the acute jealousy started at a very young age, and 30 years later, it still continues. It's incredibly painful to watch, and there's nothing anyone in the family can do to change it.
For my mother's 90 birthday I arranged a lovely lunch for the whole family and was on tenterhooks in case they spoiled it- it went well but only because individually they were told to behave or else...... and this is two adults!

TriciaF Sun 22-Feb-15 11:47:29

I'm feeling bad now because I forgot DIL's birthday, and she always remembers mine (which I want to forget because I'll be 80 next year.)
I'm going to email her and apologise.

Rhinestone Sun 22-Feb-15 11:36:19

Thank you for your comments. Since we brought up our kids did we go wrong? My children were ALWAYS brought to their grandparents on their birthdays and Mothers or Fathers Day. I made my own in laws feels special having them over for a meal or barbecue and driving two hours on our days off to see them. The problem is that the other two moms are single and live for babysitting two days a week. I don't want to do that anymore on a regular weekly schedule yet I am made to feel that it is wrong and I won't be seeing my GC.
This is my stepson and his wife. They do not feel an obligation to us at all. How did that happen?

rubylady Sun 22-Feb-15 06:50:02

Rhinestone I would say no to some of the things which they ask you to do and then see how things go. If they are already not appreciating what you do for them, then you are just being taken advantage of and that is not nice.

I agree with you that our children are not teaching their children to be caring towards elderly or disabled (in my case) parents and grandparents and to show respect to them also. Because I couldn't run up on the train to see my DGC the same now due to health, my daughter refuses to bring them to me. When she did she only came to see how much money she could get out of me with a sob story. I fell for it for a while until I cottoned on.

Be a little more selfish, look after yourself and your DH. Don't be as available for their needs. It should be fun to be a grannie, not a full time responsibility unless you have taken over parental responsibilities. Take care. flowers

Rhinestone Sun 22-Feb-15 03:51:28

My husband just had a birthday and this year he did not get a gift. Two cards came one from the toddlers and one from the parents. Mind you they live 40 minutes away. I'm so fired up my heart is racing. They are irractic in their birthday gifts holding the gift hostage if you don't live up to their expectations. After spending three retirement years helping them out for eight hours once a week, helping out two other grandkids once a week and taking care of elderly in laws, I had to open my mouth up to our selfish children. I asked my DIL if there was something in the card since the envelope was torn up and I would report the theft to the post office. She wrote me back saying the only thing in it was "love."
Well the love must have fallen out because I asked her if it was too much of a financial hardship to give their dad a $10 ITunes card. I said he doesn't deserve that. She wrote back that her kids didn't deserve his only seeing the baby a handful of times this last seven months. Both my husbands parents died within six months of each other in th last year. We were caring for them.i was babysitting once a week my daughters two kids as the other kids had two other mothers taking care of them. And they didn't care about what we were going thru.
My DIL then proceeded to say they were mad we were in Florida for the year olds birthday and didn't call him to say Happy Birthday. I put is picture of the baby and a Hapoy Birthday on FB. My DIL said Thank You but it wasn't enough. We had not talked to the one year old on the phone.
We are sixty five and sixty eight and worn out from kids and parents. Now I'm taking care of my mom.
Since when do these kids feel entitled to have grandparents do what they want at their whim. Why couldn't they come over on their dads birthday and hand him a card and show their kids how it's done?. I asked why they can't come by and they said they work. Well they are both teachers and I was one also. I managed to see both sets of parents and one pair lived two hours away. I saw them on their birthdays and holidays. What happened that they are so selfish?
I don't want to be a nanny for eight hours at a time. It involves me setting up an alarm, picking up the kids at DILs school and taking them home. What do they do to help?
How can I handke this. I just want to enjoy my retirement all ready. We have been retired for nine years yet seven of those involved care taking. Help!!

rockgran Tue 20-Jan-15 20:06:01

I usually drop a few hints beforehand as I would hate my birthday to be forgotten. It's not the present it's the thought. If it was overlooked I think I would complain - after all you don't forget theirs do you? I'd be happy to forego presents but I do love a card - especially if made by the grandchildren.
Happy Birthday! sunshine

Katek Tue 20-Jan-15 20:02:54

Oh yes, Rosequartz!

hildajenniJ Tue 20-Jan-15 19:55:31

I had my birthday in December, two weeks before Christmas. I had a card and chocs from my DS (surprise, surprise). My DD phoned to say she had not got to the shop for a card so I didn't have to look for one. She has the four DGC and she hadn't sent me a card from them either. I was a little disappointed, as we try to help them as much as we can while her DH is trying to get his career back on track after leaving the RN.