Gransnet forums


Have I got a choice?

(115 Posts)
louisamay Tue 14-Jul-15 15:35:48

My sons partner moved in with him three years ago and they have an 18 month old gorgeous little boy.
We enjoyed a good relationship with DIL until DGS was a few months old and then for no reason that we are aware of, she became distant and, at times, quite rude. We have never been intrusive (only go to the house if invited by her, babysat on request etc) , critical or unkind to her. We were so sad but put it all down to post natal depression. Things eventually got back on a reasonable track until March of this year when I suddenly became very ill and spent a week in intensive care followed by a further month in hospital. Since then she has barely had any contact with me. She has been to our house once - and that was to collect her birthday present (she didn't want us to bring it to the house). Since coming out of hospital my son brings DGS to see us for a couple of hours at the weekend and we love to see him. DS is aware of DIL distancing herself from us but has no explanation for it. He is very frustrated and angry about it. Her mother, who lives some distance away visits for the day frequently. No problem with that BUT I recently emailed DIL and said we would, if possible, like to resume the occasional visit as we are happy to watch DGS while she gets on with her chores (this was always the basis of our visits before I was hospitalised) and her response was that she is very busy but we could see him on a Monday morning - she would meet us at the local park (weather permitting) at 9.00am where she will drop DGS off and will pick him up at 10.45! She said DGS is very clingy to her so she wouldn't be able to get on with her work if we were there (make of that what you will).
To say we were speechless is an understatement! I have told DS and he said he will invite us to the house when he is home from work. He's annoyed that DIL is blatantly sidelining us when he has lived in his home for ten years and we have never 'abused' visiting. However I see further problems arising and have asked him not to say anything for the time being while I work out my response to the suggestion Of course we are fortunate that we have been able to see DGS for a couple of hours a week but can't understand why DIL is almost banning us from the house. We dont drink or smoke or use bad language so what the *k is wrong with her - sorry couldn't resist that!! Anyone got any suggestions?? I'm not trying to project myself as a paragon of virtue or the perfect GM but really, we have only ever shown her kindness and respect (but we don't get much of that back - sad)

Anya Tue 14-Jul-15 16:31:47

I'd simply say 'lovely idea' (re the park) and carry on as if normal. After all it is your GS you want to see and you will.

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.

Accept with pleasure..

granjura Tue 14-Jul-15 16:36:33

Yep, great advice Anya, and the only way forwards. I learnt a long time ago that you have to eat humble pie and even crawl- and that grandchildren are truly worth it.

thatbags Tue 14-Jul-15 16:38:13

Agreed. Meeting in the park is a perfectly good idea. Why knock it?

Maybe you're right and there is something wrong with your daughter-in-law, in which case let her be. She's allowed to have something wrong with her. It isn't about you.

And if she has got something wrong with her of course she will prefer her own mother's company to yours. That isn't about you either. Take yourself out of the picture and just be agreeable.

Alea Tue 14-Jul-15 16:48:06

I too would counsel against "overthinking " it. She may not be comfortable getting on with chores while her in-laws are there, I for one like the place to myself and she might feel you could be judging the state of the place before she gets going with the Hoover or whatever. Most houses are a bit of a tip after the weekend, aren't they? It sounds a bit weird, but on the basis that DGS will enjoy being in the park, go with it. I am assuming plan B will be for you to have him at your house?
She may be a bit short on social skills, but don't read too much into it!
I hope you all have a lovely time!

louisamay Tue 14-Jul-15 16:50:40

Hi and thanks for your response. Problem I have with meeting at 9am is I have been very ill (didn't want to the labour the point) and running around the park after a toddler at that time isn't really on for me as I am not strong enough yet - have just managed to walk without a stick. I am concerned that when DIL drives off DS is going to be upset (' he's very clingy' she told me) and I will have to call her's about a 15 minute drive from their house to the park. I Know all about the 'zipping' and not commenting and I've obeyed all the 'rules' but to be effectively barred from going to the house is hurtful and puts my son in a very difficult position.
Anyway, thanks again for your comments but I'll have to wait until I'm fitter to take up DIL's offer...

Alea Tue 14-Jul-15 16:54:03

Won't 18 month old DGS be in a buggy some of the time -apart from in the little kiddies' playground?
I fear you may be cutting off your nose to spite your face, unless you can come up with a reasonable alternative.

thatbags Tue 14-Jul-15 16:55:37

You mention "our house" and "we" so I presume you have a husband or partner or friend living with you. Why don't you take him or her to the park as well to do the running about you anticipate?

It doesn't matter if you don't understand why your DiL is behaving as she is. She's not cutting you off from your grandchild. You have nothing to complain about that I can see.

thatbags Tue 14-Jul-15 16:57:20

So, in answer to your opening question, in my view, no, you haven't got a choice? Why on earth do you expect to have a choice about someone else's child?

Tegan Tue 14-Jul-15 17:05:30

I wonder if it's something to do with your sons partner 'moving in with him' which sounds as if the house is still regarded as 'his' and she feels uncomfortable in some way. I'm not saying this to ciritiscise by the way because I'm in a similar position in that, being honest about it I still feel strange about the fact that the house that we helped my son with, both physically and financially is now nothing to to with us and that, for quite a while we could just pop in to see him and now we have to arrange to do so [which is, of course, how it should be].

louisamay Tue 14-Jul-15 17:18:26

Alea - she is comfortable with getting on with chores while we are/were at the house. That formed the basis of our visits before I was hospitalised....'can you come round at 4 as I need to cook/clean the bathroom/ Hoover etc etc.

louisamay Tue 14-Jul-15 17:28:51

Tegan - you could be right of course but if she is, then it's something new. We seemed ok before my hospitalisation. I guess I'm feeling delicate after what happened to me and find it hurtful that DIL doesn't appear to want to have any thing to do with us apart from dropping off and collecting DGS at the park! I didn't have an infectious disease - just was very ill and lucky to survive. Didn't really want to hear that but doctors insist on saying how it is!!

Luckygirl Tue 14-Jul-15 17:47:32

This is a difficult situation for you and after all your illness must feel like the last straw.

The only piece of advice that I might venture is that it might be better not to discuss this with your son, as your DIL might view this as going behind her back and this might make the situation worse. I think you probably have to go with her flow and see GS in the park - I know you are a bit wary of it, but it is all that is on offer.

louisamay Tue 14-Jul-15 18:05:37

Lucky girl. No, she won't know I have told my son - he would never tell her. He has noticed that she has withdrawn from us and he is upset about it.
We all got on ok - until I got ill. To be honest her suggestion of dropping him off at the park makes me feel like a childminder. She will spend 40 to 50 minutes at the least, depending on traffic, driving to and from the park twice. I don't think it's unreasonable for anyone in my position to wonder what the hell is going on. Maybe she thinks I will drop dead in the house but it won't matter if I am in the park with DGS!!

Luckygirl Tue 14-Jul-15 18:11:13

It is a fact that some people are wary of illness in others. I came across this when a fellow singer refused point blank to countenance giving a lift to another singer who had early MS and who lived very near her. She was normally a very kind and pleasant person, but she ran a mile from this idea.

louisamay Tue 14-Jul-15 18:20:28

Lucky girl - I'm making good progress. Full recovery soon. Not walking with a stick. Clean living and God fearing. Have to joke or I'd cry.....

janerowena Tue 14-Jul-15 18:29:03

It may be that she feels pressured to keep the house tidier if you are coming round - I know that's how I felt with my MiL. If you are working or have a small child, the last thing you need is an MiL saying' Did you know you could reach that grease under your cooker with a sharp knife?' especially since I hadn't even noticed it was there! Or turning my washing up bowl over to inspect the base...

harrigran Tue 14-Jul-15 18:43:04

Years ago my MIL had an operation and was being discharged from hospital but FIL was still at work, I invited her to come to our house thinking she would only be with us a day or two. My MIL stayed 8 weeks and did not want to go home, she even started suggesting that she might stay permanently if we built an extension. I am just telling you this as perhaps an explanation as to why your DIL is wary.

vampirequeen Tue 14-Jul-15 18:49:37

Are there indoor places in the park that you could use if the weather isn't so good?

Are there ducks and/or other animals? You could make feeding the ducks part of his routine. Everyone (well nearly everyone) likes to feed ducks.

Could you take a rug and some toys so that you can sit for a while but still play with him when the weather is nice?

It's difficult but I don't see what else you can do atm. If you say no then your DIL could say she offered and you didn't bother. If your DS makes a fuss it could lead to friction at home which wouldn't be good for your DGS.

I think you'll just have to bite the bullet, see your DGS on her terms and hope that in the future she eases up a bit.

janerowena Tue 14-Jul-15 19:19:04

Harrigran a friend of mine's MiL did that to her - not only that, but one of her daughters had kindly given up her room as it was nicer than the tiny guest room. In the end, she was the one who evicted her grandma by telling her that school started next week and she wanted her room back! She had been there for six weeks, and wasn't even ill.

FarNorth Tue 14-Jul-15 19:54:48

louisamay, I understand you feel you are not physically well enough to deal with an 18 month old child on your own, even if he is in a pushchair.
As this is the only option being offered, tho, is it possible to take someone with you?

I agree with others, this most likely is not about you so all you can do is put up and shut up.

merlotgran Tue 14-Jul-15 20:18:29

Heck! Am I the only one who sympathises with louisamay? Some of this is about her. She has been very ill and surely has some status within the family dynamic?

I think the DIL is being selfish and uncaring and is obviously using the child as emotional ammo.

I'm b*****ed if I'd want to be traipsing round a park early in the morning if I wasn't firing on all cylinders.

I think the only person who can sort this out is her DS.

It makes my blood boil when grandparents are treated like doormats angry

granjura Tue 14-Jul-15 20:59:30

Golly Merlot- I totally agree, and I think most here do and really sympathise. But we are talking about a way forward which will not lead to an excuse to stop contact with the GCs- which it seems maybe what dil wants. Asking DS to take sides is asking for trouble to my mind. Show willing and let her win this one- asking DH/partner to support to make it a success- and it may well lead to a truce and better access long-term.

I have total sympathy with Louisamay and feel her pain.

FarNorth Tue 14-Jul-15 21:04:57

I do sympathise with louisamay but don't see how the situation can be improved if her DS and DiL can't talk about it between themselves.
We don't know what pressures they might be feeling and it sounds as though louisamay doesn't either, so she can really only accept the situation as offered, it seems to me.

She can, of course, compliment the DiL on her lovely son and how well she is looking after him, as well as showing pleasure at spending time with him.

ffinnochio Tue 14-Jul-15 21:26:35

louisemay. I'm sorry to hear you've been so ill, but it seems you are making a good recovery. You are indeed fortunate to see your grandson & your son for a couple of hours each week.

Meeting in the park sounds fine. If you feel it is too physically demanding for you at present, then say so.

Be content with what you have. It is more than many have.