Gransnet forums

Paternal grandmother

(52 Posts)
Gingergirl Sun 24-Mar-19 17:17:49

I know this subject has come up before but I just don’t know how to deal with it. My DILs mother is forever spending time with the grandchildren whereas I see them every few months. It’s not to do with distance (neither of us is close)but with the fact that my DIL is utterly attached to her own mother (who is extremely dominating) and doesn’t seem to be able to do anything without her help/presence. This has only really been such an issue since the children were born (3 and 1 yr). My son just lets things be...I think he just wants a quiet life..I do feel left out, although I don’t think that is the intention. But also, I feel that our side of the family has so little influence (or perhaps that’s not the right word). I don’t want the children to grow up only being familiar with one family’s way of living. We are quite different in our attitudes etc. And yet, what right do we have to expect to influence them in any way at all really? AIBU about this? Will it all change when they go to school and have a whole different range of experiences? I don’t want to feel like I’m ‘nothing’ in their lives. I should say that I still work and so even if I was invited to, I couldn’t spend long periods of time at their house, as my DILs mother does. Sorry for rambling on and would love to hear others’ experiences.

Grammaretto Sun 24-Mar-19 17:40:37

What was it like when your DC were growing up? Did you divide your time equally between both sets of DGP?

Just saying. We had mostly sons so have 3 Dil who all parents but we spend more time with our DDs children.
Once I mentioned to another set of DGP that they saw so much of the DGC. Whereas for us it's twice a year if we're lucky.
" But we only see them when they're sick" was the reply. It's true when Dil went back to work the nursery wouldn't accept the DC if they weren't 100% fit so Monday mornings there'd be a phone call to her mum and dad.
Once DGD referred to them as her real grandparents. That hurt.

I hope you can build and keep a good relationship with them all. Don't call them the opposition which is what friends of ours do! There will be something special that only you can do.

agnurse Sun 24-Mar-19 18:05:55

Really, how much time they spend with DIL's family is not your concern.

We only saw Dad's parents two or three times a year when I was growing up. My DSD sees her paternal grandparents once every few years because there is an ocean and most of a continent between us. But she knows them, just as we knew our GPs.

March Sun 24-Mar-19 18:16:39

If your DIL has a good relationship with her Mum she is obviously going to spend time with her. I take it she's a SAHM and with a 3 and 1 year old I imagine she's greatful for the help and company.

Please don't mention it to your son, I can't imagine that conversation going well, or the conversation he will then have with his wife.

Chewbacca Sun 24-Mar-19 18:27:32

Really, how much time they spend with DIL's family is not your concern

Is that your "go to" answer for every question agnurse?
Is there any chance that, just once, you might be able to offer some support or constructive advice on grandparenting questions? How often you saw your own grandparents, when you were growing up, is of little relevance to the OP's situation because there isn't an ocean, or a continent between her and her grandchildren.

Gingergirl is there any chance that you could arrange to take some annual leave from work, book into a nearby hotel or B&B and spend a few days with your GC? You could do fun things with them for a couple of days?

Luckygirl Sun 24-Mar-19 18:27:42

Is your concern that they are missing out on a variety of experiences, or that you are missing out?

This is all a recurring theme on Gransnet and a source of anguish to many. All you can do is offer your help, and issue invitations and hope for the best, whilst widening your life and activities so that you can be deflected from thinking about it too much.

I only have DDs, and we do see lots of their children; but then so do their in-laws and I am proud to see them treating them with respect.

BlueBelle Sun 24-Mar-19 18:27:54

It’s ho w it is I only saw my paternal grandparents for an hour or so once a week and my maternal grandparents every day, all though we all lived within a couple of miles
My own children saw loads more of my parents than my ex husbands and I rarely see my sons children as they moved to NZ and live round the corner from their maternal grandparents....It’s just how it is
How you come across to your grandkids is up to you You can ring them send them presents talk to them on WhatsApp or Skype invite them round instead of waiting for them to invite themselves ask if you can have them for an hour to tea or a show if the answers no you can’t do much but keep trying every now and then and try not to let it eat you up

paddyann Sun 24-Mar-19 18:40:19

I see just as much of my sons child as I do of my daughters ,if not more .I treat them all the same and although my GD's other GP's live 400 miles away and she only sees them three times a year she's very honest and tells me I'm not her favourite granny.Does it bother me...not at all .I know it doesn't bother "other granny" that I see her more often either .Dont get into competition its not healthy or wise.Let it be how it will .DIL's mother is their granny too and your imterpretation of her relationship with her daughter may well be wrong,theres no problem with a daughter being close to her mum.In fact I'm sure you would prefer it if your children were close to you ,all familiesa ren't the same .

Gingergirl Sun 24-Mar-19 18:46:09

Thanks for these comments. And yes, I am aware of much that has been said and do agree with the points made. Sometimes, you just need other people to state the obvious don’t you! We do infact, visit them often and have them all to stay regularly and I feel very close to the children when I’m with them and do speak to all of them each week and send things etc., so there is a good relationship going on. I just need to get to grips with things I think, and give myself a talking to! This group is so valuable!🙂

Mycatisahacker Sun 24-Mar-19 19:19:57

Aw op I have sons and dils and we do see the one GC more as my dils mother isn’t a granny type of you see what I mean. I know I will see my dds kids more ( if they have any) 🤣

Just be happily available keep phoning and inviting and be upbeat and supportive to your dil and son.

That’s all you can do. Don’t compare or feel bitter. The kids are very little and I know I needed my mum around then. Things even out more when they get older.

Katyj Sun 24-Mar-19 20:25:03

I know where your coming from Ginger. When our dgc was born ds lived a 4 hour journey away, we went every 4 weeks to see them, sometimes staying with them, other times in a hotel.It seems to have worked, as he is school age now, and comes to visit most school holidays, for a week or more, also because he's with us a while, he gets used to our family values, and gets to visit extended family too.Hope this helps.

luluaugust Sun 24-Mar-19 22:08:12

I guess a lot of people would think you are doing very well. With a 3 year and 1 year old maybe your DIL does need mum's help at present. As they visit and you visit them make the most of your time with the DGC, they will get to know you. It's almost impossible for both sets of grandparents to have equal time with the DGC and probably doesn't mean anything, you are not 'nothing' you are their gran.

Mycatisahacker Sun 24-Mar-19 22:45:28

In my experience if you are supportive kind and interested in your dil you get to see the grandkids.

You sound all of those things op. Hang in there.

Blencathra Mon 25-Mar-19 07:18:40

I am a paternal grandmother. I don’t think it matters. You are there for the long term. You just establish a good relationship when you do see them. Ultimately a grandchild/grandparent relationship doesn’t hinge on the middle ground of parent or length of time you see them. It hinges on how you both get on.

littleflo Mon 25-Mar-19 09:04:11

My youngest GCs spend a lot of time with the maternal GPS. I would say 90% to the 10% we spend with them. I don’t think it matters. Children need love from wherever they get it and they provide childcare, outings, visits and a great deal of support for my Son and DiL. They are not dominating it is just circumstances. My Dil says she sometimes feels a bit sorry for her parents because the children will get very excited about visits to and from us, just because it is something different.

It is easy for me to think that my son and GCs are fortunate, because my DiLs parents are lovely. I guess it is a bit harder if you feel the maternal GM is domineering. As for influencing the children from your side, hopefully your son will be doing that, if he seems appropriate.

Please try not to worry too much about what can’t be changed.

loltara Mon 25-Mar-19 10:38:35

You could offer to have the kids for a few days over the summer holidays at your place. Am sure any mum woukd love a bit of a break over the 6 weeks. You would obviously have to arrange your hols accordingly. I went to Butlins with my grandparents and have found memories.

Johno Mon 25-Mar-19 10:38:52

You may not like my reply but I believe in honesty (without nastiness) I feel that the DiL and her inner direction of life should be left to them. It is their life. Of course, you want to be involved but that should not be done as some inalienable right, it should evolve naturally. If you set markers you set yourself up for not meeting those markers, which are not the same markers as the DiL wants. It is her life, she has a family unit.

sodapop Mon 25-Mar-19 10:42:50

Don't stress about things you can't change Gingergirl You have a good relationship with your grandchildren build on that. One of my granddaughters is much closer to her paternal grandparents than to me but we get on well, relationships are always going to be different and doesn't mean we care any less. It's good for our grandchildren to have people who love them. Enjoy the time and contact you have, they will be grown and gone before you know.

Blondie49 Mon 25-Mar-19 10:43:32

I never saw any of my grandparents as all passed away by time I was 5. My own situation is formed by the fact that both my kids are plane/train away. It is always me that goes to them, I think they are just too busy with all stuff grandkids and themselves have on at weekends and I could not fit all of them anyway. That’s not to say I wouldn’t like a visit ( it’s always talked about 😂) but what’s the point of moping, so I just get on and enjoy the friends and life I’ve made for myself and enjoy my visits to family when I go

ReadyMeals Mon 25-Mar-19 10:46:11

Gingergirl, you speak of influence and showing ways of life. I kind of feel our turn at that ends with our own children. If you did that job well with your son, then HE will be passing some of your attitudes to his children. If they're getting lost altogether it either means you brought him up too weak to bother, or he didn't like his own upbringing and decided not to pass it on. I'd guess the reality is your influence is represented in your GC's lives by their dad so you don't need to feel unrepresented.

As for the amount of time you get with the GCs, if you're laid back and make sure none of the sentiment of your first post is making itself visible to your DIL (which could definitely make her want to limit your time), then simply start inviting them over more often.

NudeJude Mon 25-Mar-19 10:47:21

I'm a bit confused Gingergirl, you said in your OP that you 'see them every few months', but then in your later post you say 'We do in fact, visit them often and have them all to stay regularly'. Surely it's one thing or the other?

It sounds to me more like you're perhaps a little envious of your DIL's closeness with her Mum. Sorry if that sounds nasty, but could it be that you're fed up with your job and wish you could give up work and spend more time with your grandchildren?

jaylucy Mon 25-Mar-19 10:49:33

I don't think that it is how much time you spend with them, more what you do when you see them.
Until I was 10, we lived next door to my Nan, so spent a fair bit of time with her.She was my dad's mum. My mum's father and stepmother lived about 20 miles away, but we did see them on a fairly regular basis. I can never remember being bothered about the amount of time spent with either sets of grandparents each one had a special effect on our lives. I unfortunately lost my grandad when I was 4, but used to spend a week or so with my step grandmother each summer, which was great.
Like several people have said, this subject keeps cropping up - your DiL has a close relationship with her mum - why does that make her mother dominating? It's natural for a girl to turn to her own parents first - the main thing is that you see the grandchildren - the time to complain is when you don't!

dragonfly46 Mon 25-Mar-19 10:58:08

I am in the same position added to the fact that DiL's parents are separated so she has to make time for both of them as well as us. We all live over 100 miles away. My DiL's mother sees them much more often than we do but I do not think it matters. I found it was good to be friends with my DiL's mother. In fact we both looked after the children when my DS and DiL went to a wedding for a weekend. We had a great time as we are very different in our approach but get on.

knspol Mon 25-Mar-19 11:00:53

At the risk of repetition, some daughters are almost joined at the hip to their mothers and of course rely on them to help with childcare and anything else. This will not change. I would just keep quiet about it and make every time you see GC's make it as special a time as possible. Saying anything to DS or DIL will only cause problems.

Craftycat Mon 25-Mar-19 11:16:08

Just a thought.....how well do you get on with Dil's Mum?
I got on very well with my younger son's MiL & we did things with children together until she unfortunately died 3 years ago. It was great fun & gave DiL a good break if we took them out for the day.
My older son's MiL is not my cup of tea but we are always pleasant to each other & get on OK. We have also have taken children out together on occasions.
If it works it would be an idea at least.