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New family boundaries

(104 Posts)
Newbiedoobie Wed 14-Feb-18 12:35:18

How much time with grandchildren is too much?
My new granddaughter is only a month old, but from a week before her birth until now her other granny has lived with the new family for about five out of seven days a week. I feel sorry for my son who works all day whilst his wife and mum in law have been out or just had a relaxing time at home and then he often has to cook. Obviously I’m also not very happy because we aren’t getting much of a look in either, but mainly I’m worried the other granny is driving a wedge between them.
Other granny does live away so she has to stay with them or not be here, but I think it’s time she backed off and let them be a family. Am I being unreasonable?
I feel very impotent; can’t see how I can help the situation. I’ve offered to help in lots of ways, cleaning, cooking, looking after baby, getting groceries, but haven’t been taken up on any of them yet. Mum in law obviously helps with these things and I suppose it seems that she’s indispensable as no other help is accepted.
I wasn’t expecting it to be like this!

travelsafar Wed 14-Feb-18 12:44:48

Oh dear how unfeeling of the new parents not to see how hurtful this must be to you. Lets hope they' wake up and smell the coffee before its too late.' Also I think the other Gran is being totally uncaring too by way.

Ilovecheese Wed 14-Feb-18 12:53:03

I'm not sure that being at home with a month old baby is exactly 'relaxing'

MawBroon Wed 14-Feb-18 13:03:45

I am sorry you feel this way but it is really a matter for the new parents and your DIL in particular. It always used to be traditional for the maternal mum to “move in “ to help the new mum out in the “lying in” period.
One month is a very short time, and if your DIL and her mum are close, it is perfectly natural. Don’t fall into the trap of competitive grandparenting, you are the one who will get hurt.
If the other granny is there at the weekend, how about inviting them all to Sunday lunch?
Otherwise you are just going to have to be patient and understanding.
I don’t agree that the new parents OR the other granny are being uncaring or unfeeling. 4 weeks is VERY early days.
BTW you must have a very short memory if you think your DIL and her mum are “out and about” or having” a relaxing time! “ With a 4 week old baby? I was lucky to be out of my dressing gown and into clothes by lunchtime!!

Violetfloss Wed 14-Feb-18 13:04:00

Your DILs mother is probably there to help her daughter who's just given birth and help take the stress off.
Did your son have paternity leave?

Your DIL is 4 weeks post partum. So shes still bleeding, she wouldnt of had her 6 week check up yet which means she has stitches still. Did she have an easy birth? C section?

Also, a 4 week old baby isn't relaxing.

Nonnie Wed 14-Feb-18 13:08:15

Ignore it, no matter how much it hurts you may have to get used to it.

You will find many GPs on here who have been completely cut out of their GC's lives because of conflict with DiL so don't do anything that could cause that to happen.

Maybe when her mum has gone back to her home later on you will get to do more for them but, in the meantime, just tell your son you are there when they need you and leave it at that.

Newbiedoobie Wed 14-Feb-18 13:44:07

I think I said they were out and about or relaxing, because if I ask if I can go over they are often out and son has to do chores and cook so presumably not doing those when they are in. In my experience toddlers keep you much more busy than a new baby. Perhaps I was just lucky!

Newbiedoobie Wed 14-Feb-18 13:52:29

Son did have about a week paternity leave. DIL had an easy birth (well as easy as any birth can be!)
Im trying hard not to see it as a competition and I think ignore it is good advice. I can’t ignore it, but I can ‘not let it show’ that I’m not as happy as I hoped I’d be. Just don’t want it to boil up with son and MIL and lead to bad feeling all round. I don’t tell son how I feel or what I think as don’t want to put pressure on him.

Violetfloss Wed 14-Feb-18 14:01:39

Maybe she wants to spend as much time with her mom before she has to go back home.
There's also alot of stuff you can talk to your mom about, like piles and chapped nipples, that you don't want to talk to your MIL about.

Your son sounds like a good bloke. It's normal for husbands to clean and cook when they come from work, espcially if his wife has not long given birth and is at home with a 4 week old.
The night feeds will be a killer too.

Jalima1108 Wed 14-Feb-18 14:34:24

I don't remember having a relaxing time when I had my first baby! My DP stayed for a month although DH didn't have to come home from work and cook (thank goodness, although he has improved over the years).
At least he came home from work to a clean house, washing done and a wife who may have been able to snatch a quick nap in the afternoon courtesy of DM, also DF, who did the chores and 'minded baby' for an hour - baby was prone to sleeping in the day and waking all through the night.
MIL knew she was able to pop in whenever she liked although she had her hands full herself so never really offered to do anything practical.

Let's hope that she goes home again soon when your DIL has got herself in a routine. I can't imagine that a new first-time mum is out and about a lot in these early days.
Does her DM live a long way away and that is why she has to stay at the moment?

Greenfinch Wed 14-Feb-18 14:48:35

I understand where you are coming from but in my experience there is all the difference in the world between being a maternal and a paternal gran though I know some here would disagree.We see my daughter's children three or four times a week where we are lucky to see my son's once a month. It is not a question of distance because they all live within five miles of us.My daughter in law's mother sees them nearly every day.We have learnt to accept it but it still hurts.

Greenfinch Wed 14-Feb-18 14:52:10

PS I know we are very lucky to see them once a month but I was just making a comparison and mentioning the attitude of my daughter in law who would prefer not to be at our house and never invites us to hers.

judypark Wed 14-Feb-18 14:55:13

I think it's natural that DDs turn to their own mums in the early days, I know I did. However my mum would sort out the laundry, run the hoover round and prepare a meal for when DH got home.
I think it's unreasonable for your son to have to make a meal for himself after a day at work when there has been two adults in the house all day, it seems that he does too or it wouldn't have been mentioned to you.
However, for now, just grit your teeth, remember, this other Gran does not live close by so when it comes to babysitting, child care, school runs your time will come.

FarNorth Wed 14-Feb-18 14:57:55

Once I told a friend I had been out, when she called. In fact, I just didn't answer the door, as the baby was asleep and I needed to sleep too.

Maybe the baby is crying a lot, or just needing a lot of attention, and "being out" is an excuse.

Jalima1108 Wed 14-Feb-18 15:18:21

I feel very impotent; can’t see how I can help the situation
Has your son been complaining to you? Is he unhappy with the fact that MIL is there 5 days out of 7 at the moment?

And who 'sets these boundaries' and should 'boundaries' be set?
No, there is nothing you can do without causing a rift.
Just be pleasant, go whenever you are invited with a smile plastered on your face

nanaK54 Wed 14-Feb-18 15:37:48

I want to tell you, ever so gently, to stop.......
As you rightly say it is not a competition, DIL probably really needs some help from her mum right now, a 4 week baby can be so demanding particularly if your DIL is breastfeeding.......
I do understand why you are concerned that your DS is coming home to cook dinner and see to the household chores but has he expressed any concern himself?
I truly hope that you will get to see more of DGC soon, but hope that you keep schtum and just wait for opportunities to come your way

BlueBelle Wed 14-Feb-18 15:38:26

It happens and looking back first was born overseas totally on my own for everything, the second was born whilst staying with my mum and dad after come back from abroad I m ashamed totally ashamed (as she was a lovely lady) but I never thought about my mother in law just wanted to be near my Mum and dad and my mum in law didn’t see him until he was probably a good few months old for the third one my Mum came and stayed with me for a couple of weeks to help with the other two
I really think you have to accept what is what, your time will come, maybe when they ve gone back you ll get more of a look in
Its just how it is, girls want their mums usually when they need help

nanaK54 Wed 14-Feb-18 15:41:36

I beg your pardon - you didn't say 'household chores' you just mentioned cooking - my apologies

Washerwoman Wed 14-Feb-18 15:55:51

Mm. It does sound a long time to be staying for a relatively straightforward birth. Personally I would want some time with just my DH and the baby,but on the other hand I feel sorry that new mums are booted out from hospital so quickly and often have little or no support.So as others have said try not to interfere or let your disappointment show.A friend of mine felt very shut out and hurt for the first weeks after her DGC was born,DIL made it obvious she only wanted help from her mum,but she's getting much more involved now and is lined up to help more after maternity leave.
I'm so lucky my DD lives so close,I can see DGC almost each day,if only briefly.But from the start I urged her to involve other granny,and even if I was available ask her to help out sometimes.She has -however other granny has upset her at times by ignoring her routines and requests and doing things the way she prefers a few times.But it's still important for her partner that his mum's involved ,and I've pointed out grandmas provide free childcare,so unless it's something unsafe or really messing up routines to cut her some slack.

MawBroon Wed 14-Feb-18 15:57:56

Is this your first grandchild* newbiedoobie* ( hazarding a guess from your user name)
And do you have other children - daughters for instance?
I am discerning somewhat dismissive and negative vibes which may or may not reflect an underlying attitude to your DIL “ she had an easy birth, well as easy as a birth could be”
And “ I think he had about a week paternity leave”
We don’t just pop them out behind a hedge and get back to the hay making like women (apparently) used to.
Regarding DS’s paternity leave, don’t you know?
And your comment about toddlers being harder than babies takes NO account of your DIL being postpartum.
No I am sorry you have let yourself get into this state, you must see reason before it taints your whole relationship.
What does your DH feel about this, by the way?
Rethink, please.

grannyactivist Wed 14-Feb-18 16:14:49

My daughter is expecting her third child in late April and will be living back at home with me from early April until some time after the baby is born. I was present at the births of her other babies and she needs lots of support after birth so it was the obvious solution. I have no idea what the other granny thinks of this arrangement, but I would hope that she is glad my daughter will be getting the help she needs. When my son's baby was born I took a back seat and was happy to do so because it was what baby's mother needed. The little one doesn't know who's around at the moment so maybe look forward to spending time with your granddaughter and building a relationship with her as she grows older.

FarNorth Wed 14-Feb-18 16:26:27

"It does sound a long time to be staying for a relatively straightforward birth."

After a very straightforward and quick birth, I found myself with a colicky baby who screamed at all hours of the day and night.
I had no routine at all, following advice given to breastfeed whenever he cried.
I needed practical help and was completely unable to spare energy to be sociable.

A straightforward birth does not mean that everything is straightforward from then on.

Luckygirl Wed 14-Feb-18 16:50:22

Newbiedoobie - first of all it is very important that you try and quell the underlying resentment that can be heard in your original post. We cannot necessarily control how we feel; but we can control what we do.

Please try and be glad that your new GD is getting lots of love and care; that your DIL is feeling supported in the way that she has chosen; and that your son seems to be happy with the arrangements.

I am assuming that you live fairly close by and that DD's mother lives further away and will be setting off home for a longer period as time goes by - that is when you will come into your own. You have made your offers - so they know you are available to them when they need you.

When you have just had your first baby you do not have the head space to be tiptoeing around other people's feelings.

I have occasional moments when I feel a bit sad about one of the other grannies - she is much younger than I and is not looking after a sick OH, so she is quite rightly often asked to step in - when I might have liked to be asked. But I just tell myself that the important thing is that their families are getting the support they need; and that it is wonderful that my GC have several tribes of people who love them and will be by their side as they grow up.

Your moment will come if you make ure that any resentment is kept under wraps.

Luckygirl Wed 14-Feb-18 16:51:16


Oopsadaisy12 Wed 14-Feb-18 17:06:12

I stayed With my DD1 during the week when our first GDD was born and came home for the weekends, for 6 weeks, we were both exhausted! SIL was fine and relieved that I was there whilst he worked long hours. If I was in the way I would have expected them to tell me. Don’t look for trouble Newbiedoobie, I doubt that any wedges are being put into place between the doting new parents. I expect that when the first few weeks are behind them and the DILs M goes back home , it will your turn to help as you will be close by. I don’t think that it occurred to any of us that my DDs MIL would want to be there and I wouldn’t have expected her to be upset about it anyway, I think it’s probably a mother daughter thing. At the end of the day your son is old enough to sort out the arrangements with his (new)family. Congratulations though on the new arrival, I’m sure you will soon be very involved.