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New family boundaries

(105 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!

stella1949 Mon 19-Mar-18 22:37:38

When my daughter had her children we were just the same - I lived 1,000km away so I stayed there for the births and for several weeks afterwards. I don't recall anything like "going out and relaxing", I mainly remember walking the floor with the newborn while my DD nursed her poor sore breasts , and taking her for long walks in the pram while my DD tried to get some rest . The idea that her mother in law would be jealous of that, is crazy. I was wishing that someone would come and look after me ! I'd say, don't treat this as a competition - you'll have plenty of time with the new family as time goes on. And don't start feeling sorry for your son ! Men these days do as much housework as their wives, they don't expect to come home to a pipe and slippers, with a meal cooked by the little woman. Let them work out their own family dynamics and don't take sides . Good luck and enjoy your grandchild .

trisher Mon 19-Mar-18 18:18:44

Well my mum came to stay after all my 3 were born. Thank goodness. It was only a week because she was working, but I couldn't have managed without her. I can understand that you are feeling a bit left out, but I'm sure it isn't intentional. Grandparenting isn't a sprint it's a marathon. The other granny is ahead at the moment but if you stay as helpful and loving as you are being you will find yourself drawing level and maybe even overtaking her
As for her driving a wedge between the couple, that's up to them.

knickas63 Mon 19-Mar-18 17:21:49

We have a similar issue with SIL mother. She lives some distance away and visit for a weekend once a month, but she stayed for a month over Christmas! I thought my DD was going to end up arrested for murder! As SIL is an only child, we have accepted that she is part of the package. She spends Christmas and Easter with them and consequently comes to all the family occasions. It was the only way really to maintain peace. I fully expect my DIL mother to be fully hands on when they have children. Most (obviously not all) women want their mothers at this time. I did, my girls did, and I expect my DIL to as well. To be quite honest I expect they will both be glad to see the back of her for a while, they do need time on their own as a new family, and like my DD MIL, she doesn't seem to get that. I am sure it will all work itself out. Enjoy your new littel addition.

luzdoh Tue 20-Feb-18 15:31:57

Oopsadaisy12 I can see your experience was totally different and must have been very stressful. I do hope your DGD is thriving now. I agree, we do not know enough about the circumstances of OP's new GD. However the mention of the two women going out suggests their experience is far from the very difficult and demanding experience you had.

Peardrop50 makes a very relevant and encouraging observation.

Daddima Tue 20-Feb-18 13:28:52

I’ve always said that the maternal granny is the ‘real’ granny ( or ‘bread and butter’ granny as one poster put it!). I know that’s how it was with my children. Mind you, I remember being amazed at how many mums had parents with them at hospital appointments ! It was normal in those days to be in hospital for a week with a first baby, and a couple of days for subsequent ones, so I felt quite comfortable coping on my own, though I must say none of my friends worked, and were happy to look after baby, or do a wee bit housework, and my mother did supply a few dinners!
I’m sure newbiedoobie that you’ll form your own special bond with the wee one . Congratulations!

Oopsadaisy12 Tue 20-Feb-18 12:57:05

Can I also add, that if my DDs MIL had ever visited with food, she would have been very welcome, but neither of us were in any condition to entertain her.

Oopsadaisy12 Tue 20-Feb-18 12:55:11

Can I offer another point of view (again) I stayed for 6 weeks with my DD and DGD, DD had a very difficult pregnancy and Labour, DGD was born with with a heart problem, 6 weeks prem and unable to suck, we had to feed her with a tiny cup, this is not necessarily ‘normal’ as most births are, however, I stayed, although I went to a local B & B in the evenings and went to help my sick mother at weekends. I didn’t cook as my SIL wanted to be useful in the evenings, at no time did we relax and go outside the door , most days, it was just me having a quick nip to the shops for essentials and if we all went out it was to the hospital and doctors.
My point is that the OP has no idea what is going on because she isn’t there, it’s unfortunate that she is out of the loop.
Just be patient, it’s early days and things might not be as well with your DIL as you think.

alchemilla Tue 20-Feb-18 12:04:34

luzdoh my pleasure. But I'm still quite confused about the need for any parent, DPs or DPils to come and stay unless there is a real problem in the household. Or even the requirement for immediate visiting rights unless asked.

luzdoh Mon 19-Feb-18 16:58:15

alchemilla Thanks! Totally agree about the food.

I imagine - but don't know, regarding the feared wedge - that it's a Two's Company, Three's a Crowd feeling. That is, two can sit together with the baby easily but three means someone is on the outside. I did wonder where the two women were when the new dad got in from work and had to spend time in the kitchen making his meal. It seemed like isolation for him, to me. I would have thought all day he was looking forward to being with his new baby daughter and his wife, but gets home to find Granny is hogging them and there's no meal so he has to just look after himself. That is how it came across regarding his cooking. Only our OP can explain exactly what the circumstances are, of course.

alchemilla Mon 19-Feb-18 15:05:24

OP and ludzoh I think all PILs should back off unless invited. Wait your time and offer help but don't get pissed off if it's not immediately taken up. An offer of food for them (with you dropping it off and not implying being there) would probably be hugely appreciated.

And OP I still don't understand why you're fearful your DIL's M is driving a wedge between them.

Madgran77 Fri 16-Feb-18 18:21:16

I agree with luzdoh!!

luzdoh Fri 16-Feb-18 17:07:19

indispensableme Hurrah! Someone who thinks like me!! I had a terrible first birth - baby given up for dead by midwife, I nearly died, then the second not quite so bad, but bad enough so that the extremely experienced midwife took husband aside and lectured him on how bad it had been. Then third delivery worse than that one- baby apparently dead, haemorrhage again - all the paraphernalia. On third time I was home 10 hours later and had to get up for people next door to let in their repair man. With second one I was home next day to an empty house, husband had no paternity leave then! First child - we were both kept in 10 days, then I was home to do it alone as husband went back to work 6 days a week.
Did my mother come and stay at all? Do pigs fly? I don't recommend new mums being alone in first 10 days, mind you - too dangerous. But a month?? Why a whole month when there are no problems? It sounds crazy to me and as it's a first child and it's not as if they have big brother/sister to look after, it sounds selfish, not letting the new little family bond together.

I'm troubled too because I think a lot of these replies are quite nasty, even when cloaked in seemingly sweet language. People make masses of assumptions, such as that Newbiedoobie is operating entirely out of jealousy. People tell her what her son would prefer her to do, but surely she's the one who knows him best. He sounds like a very good natured guy to me, by the way, Newby.

Even if you think Newbydooby is best leaving things as they are, which I do, but not necessarily for the same reasons others give, surely you can be KIND to her? I thought we were a collectively supportive lot. Of course we all do things differently. That's why asking GN is valuable - lots of views. But ideas and views are what people look for, not judgement and condemnation. Writing an AIBU isn't easy. Explaining a situation briefly while upset is terribly hard, so please don't pounce on people and interrogate them, or lecture them about what you have judged to be their "wrongs". Do not read into them motives you might have had yourself. Most of all do not assume these are their motives. You do not really know anything like enough about this person to judge them the way some of you have been doing. If I am coming across as lecturing you now, it is only because I am frustrated by the unpleasant tone that some people take against others and the way they pick on perhaps only one thing in the script to criticise and deride. It is cruel.

I love your comment Brigidsdaughter.

Seaside22 Fri 16-Feb-18 16:48:31

I too don't understand the need to move in, is it a new thing ? Both my dil's came home from hospital, one after a c section to just their husbands , luckily, they did have paternity leave, but can't imagine they would have asked for help anyway, of course I would have offered but their both independent girls, and just got on with it.I also didn't have my mum living with me, I was quite ill after my first baby, but just accepted I was a mum now with a baby to look after. There was tea on the table every evening for hubby too.I think the idea of inviting them round to your house is a good one, they may realise then, you wanted to be included.Good luck and congratulations.

indispensableme Fri 16-Feb-18 14:37:28

I've never understood this 'need' to have one's Mother move in, or anyone, after a baby's birth, I took the view of How hard can this be? and got on with it, I do think that many women make too much of it!
A relative had her parents at her beck and call for weeks, she hardly got out of bed, at least my Mother could be very smug about how I'd coped perfectly well! It also means that one isn't bombarded with 'advice', aka interference and it helps to live abroad, I did the same when No2 was born too and if anyone offered their 'opinion' I was able to tell them that only 2 opinions mattered, with some justification.

luzdoh Fri 16-Feb-18 14:34:08

Newbiedoobie I feel really sorry for you! It also sounds as if most people here are being all sensible and telling you, basically, to hold off, it's up to the parents etc. I don't care about all the common sense answers they are giving right now! You need a place to vent your feelings and you do feel left out at a crucial and what should be wonderful time in your life. Your feelings are important and are not groundless however impossible it is to actually do anything about the situation.

All 3 of my children are girls so I was the mum who would have naturally been there when the baby arrived especially when my eldest's 1st and only and my 2nd DD's first child were both kept in hospital very ill. Well, I did go to stay for a few days with my eldest daughter, but ONLY a few days while she was in hospital because baby was ill, so I could skivvy doing laundry, shopping and make a meal for her husband and left as soon as mum and baby were home ok. I was strongly aware of their need to start life as a family - Mum, Dad and little baby son, in their home without Granny hanging around. I remember telling them I was going because I wanted them to begin life as their little family together. Her DH could not take paternity leave. His mother lived nearby and popped in and out and I was very glad of that as I loved the other granny.

Then my second daughter was in hospital while her first was very ill but this time I only stayed two days and her MIL came to look after her son at their home while my DD was in hospital with sick baby. But her MIL also had the decency to not over-stay her welcome, and went home (a long distance) as soon as mum and baby came home, so the family could bond together. The dad had his paternity leave from then on.

I can't be as objective and understanding or whatever it is these other people are being when they seem to rationalise why your DIL has her mother there so long. I can't understand why your DS has to cook the meal when the 2 of them have been there all day. That made me shout out loud in horror! I really hope your son takes control of his home soon and says he wants his family to himself.

Good luck my love, don't hesitate to visit your new granddaughter in a normal way, not like this cloying granny/mother-of-the-mother who doesn't seem to have a home of her own, a life of her own, a finger to lift to cook a meal, or any sensitivity regarding the needs of new parents. You have all my sympathy. Give your son a big hug!

Brigidsdaughter Fri 16-Feb-18 00:38:17

This post reminded me how good it was we didnt live near either parent - no support but no hassle either!

Jalima1108 Thu 15-Feb-18 20:25:47

I agree with MawBroon and Kim re inviting them for lunch, perhaps when your DS can come as well.
I really value the granny to granny relationship too, we have some days out together with the DGC - and without them too.

Kim19 Thu 15-Feb-18 20:20:21

I'm rather with MawBroon here regarding the idea of you inviting them all for lunch/afternoon tea/ whatever. Make the gesture and you might have an encouraging outcome. I would go one step further by suggesting you try to build up a granny to granny relationship outwith the other family ties. I am fortunate to have this and I really appreciate it. A real ice breaker and discovery of many areas of mutual harmony and pleasure. Not something I particularly set out for but it evolved naturally and is now some thing I really value. Try to relax into the joy of your lovely new grandchild's arrival and the rest will fall into place methinks. Good luck.

Marianne1953 Thu 15-Feb-18 19:57:20

I think a little green eye monster is rearing it’s head here.
Leave the family be and wait your turn.
I lived away when my Grandson was born and was very grateful that my daughters MIL was on hand to help.
Your DIL mother lives away, so let her enjoy it while she’s there. You will be there when she’s gone and I can tell you it is hard to be far away from your grandchild.

GabriellaG Thu 15-Feb-18 19:12:03


I'm sorry to read that you had a traumatic time but the vast majority of births go well. Yours seems to have been particularly distressing but neither I nor my daughters or DIL have had any problems. I'm sure that it's just the luck of the draw as few of us know beforehand just how things will pan out. smile

Peardrop50 Thu 15-Feb-18 19:11:07

Congratulations Newbiedoobie.
I’m a mum of four ds and acknowledged from day one that dil’s respective mums would come first at time of childbirth. All the dil’s mums were more involved at first and some always due to distance. However 14 years and 8 gc later they love me just as much as they do the other grannies because quality over quantity is always tops. I’m lucky enough to be the fun Gran in most cases and the daily grind Gran in another, all equally as valuable. My only regret is that I wasn’t very thoughtful towards my mil, just never occurred to me that she might want to change nappies and discuss sore nipples.
Bide your time and prepare for lots of fun times.

harrysgran Thu 15-Feb-18 18:50:56

Most new mothers want their own mother around your time will come but its early days and if your son isn't complaining then I don't see what it has to do with you .

Sassieannie Thu 15-Feb-18 18:36:53

I would be careful what you wish for! I was too involved with my daughter's first child; as the relationship broke down within a couple of years and my daughter was quite a young mum, I now find myself called upon too often to deal with a lovely four year old who is prone to mega tantrums. Perhaps not surprisingly, given she spends her week in three different households. There is now a new partner on the scene and my daughter has just informed me she is pregnant again.......

Sennelier1 Thu 15-Feb-18 18:26:03

Well, at first my DIL kept em on a distance, kind-off'ish. Welcome to visit, and they would come in when in the neighbourhood, but no help accepted at any time - after a C-section! O.k., I know my place, so stayed on stand-by but not interfering. Fast Forward, dear baby-grandson is 7 months now. I get asked all the time, could you pick him up from daycare as I'm running late, if you have time would it be possible for you to bath him, is it o.k. if stays with you for his last feed etc....... So yes, very happy gran 😊And after's their baby, their choice.

leemw711 Thu 15-Feb-18 18:04:22

Possible rivalry between grandparents can be very difficult. I’m lucky to live only 10 drive from my son, his partner and my beautiful 5 year old granddaughter but I find DiL’s mother very difficult to cope with. It’s partly that she is covered with tattoos- can’ bear the sight of them - but mostly that she drinks very heavily. I remember the day when we were going out together for a family lunch but she downed an entire bottle of Baileys before we left for the restaurant. I just don’t feel happy that granddaughter sees such thing, but don’t know what I can/should do about it. Any suggestions?