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Paternal grandmother

(53 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.

BazingaGranny Mon 25-Mar-19 11:22:52

Dear Gingergirl, I think it’s personalitues more than dd mum v ds mum.

In our case, our daughter has a very VERY bossy MiL who wants to do all the overnight babysitting, etc. She had told my 8 year old grandson that she does it best, because she has more children and grandchildren than me. Very manipulative behaviour on her part.

Someone on this thread has suggested that Gingergirl is ‘envious’ - and actually, it’s difficult not to be envious or concerned when the other granny seems to ‘take’ everything.

We certainly wouldn’t dream of showing any negative feelings about the other granny, but I do think that some Gransnetters are in a happy position where this type of bullying behaviour by the in-laws doesn’t happen - or, dare I even say, are some grannies the unknowing perpetrators?

What our children do and who they choose to babysit, etc, is entirely up to them, but sometimes they are nudged in one direction or another by a more experienced or canny mum in law, sad to say.

We do have a very good loving and close relationship with our d, SiL and their children - but it doesnt change how the MiL behaves, I’m afraid.

Coconut Mon 25-Mar-19 11:24:00

In this scenario you probably have to accept that the other Nan is going to be more hands on and there’s very little that you can do about that. However, as the GC get older you can offer to have them to stay over with you, plan day trips out etc and make sure that you build your own lovely memories for them. Take lots of photos when you are together and have Photobooks made to give them at birthdays etc This will ensure the GC are always aware that they are a big part of your life too.

Rene75 Mon 25-Mar-19 11:26:18

When my children were small grandmas saw them more or less equally. Both were widows and in their 60s. They each came for a day a week as lived near also both came on Sundays. There was no competition on the whole. However some of my own grandchildren live nearer to their maternal grandparents and see them much more often. We try and get to see them about every 10 weeks as they are200 miles away and we have to use a B and B as they have no room for us to stay we d love to be nearer and see them more often but it won’t happen however we have a great time when we see them.and all get in well. That’s just the way it is !! We also have grandchildren a few mile away who we see weekly so we are lucky in that

4allweknow Mon 25-Mar-19 11:39:59

It's really hard to accept you aren't able to be really involved. You say yourself you work a d your time would be limited anyway. Is that not your answer? Your DiL will know you are not so readily available. I live a flight away from GS so I too just can't turn up when needed. The other GM lives very close and can and does help out in emergencies. However I am prepared to travel to look after GS for their overseas holidays, school holidays etc whereas other GM will only have GS for a couple of overnights at the most. GS seems to think of me as his GM more than the other. What I am saying is that it would be the quality of contact, not the amount that seems to count. Enjoy whatever time you have with GC.

crazyH Mon 25-Mar-19 11:41:37

Yesterday my 3 year old grandson (son's little one) said, I've got 2 Nannies. I thought he meant me and his mum's mum. Then I realised he calls his mum's mum "Ma'', short for grandma, I suppose. Anyway, I then realised he was referring to my ex husband's wife (the one he had an affair with, when he was married to me). I was very hurt...surely, they could have taught him to call her something else like Nana or Nan, but not the same term he uses for me. Maybe I'm being petty but there you go...that's life

chris8888 Mon 25-Mar-19 11:56:24

Could you offer to babysit on. That would then soon become your time with the children.

Destin Mon 25-Mar-19 11:57:39

Hang tight ......your grandchildren are very young and as they get older, situations do change somewhat. It’s not possible to change the current situation and getting upset because you aren’t ‘constant’ in their lives now and in the foreseeable future is so futile, because it just makes you more miserable.

Look on the bright side......and because you are not “on call” for babysitting, childcare advice or family dramas, become the Granma that enjoys her life by being outgoing, tries new things and values new friendships. When your grandchildren hit their teenage years and start testing their independence they will see you through totally different eyes!!!

Floradora9 Mon 25-Mar-19 12:03:38

Keep in touch with the children as they get older by sending them little things in the post , post cards or phone them . I only wish my DDIL's family had more to do with the GC . They live far away but make little effort to see them ever . The only ones who miss out are the children the grand parents do not seem to realise what they are missing .

susanstroud Mon 25-Mar-19 12:10:13

You will never be as close to your DIL as her mother is to her. That is just the way it is. My sister in law tried to be the daughter to my mother that I was. It caused problems. My mother recently died and during her last days it was obvious that the daughter in law is never the daughter. Just enjoy what you can. The nice thing is the grandchildren over time will choose to be with the ones who are best with them. So, you never know what the future may bring.

DeeDum Mon 25-Mar-19 12:14:30

Be a adopted Grandmother
Make friends with a nice young mum who hasn't got a mum (nearby etc ) to be granny, and she would appreciate you as you should be appreciated!
Yours sound very shallow and don't deserve you ...

allsortsofbags Mon 25-Mar-19 12:22:04

I understand that you may feel sad or hurt as your DIL and DGC see more of her family than they do of you - your son's family. From your position I do get that your family culture isn't as strongly represented and your DIL and or her mum have the strongest influence. As upsetting as that is that is more often the norm.

However, what I can say from being with my own DGD, we see her most weeks and her other Gran, SIL's mum, only sees her when SIL and my DD go to visit her. My DGD always talks about visits, cards, gifts, clothes than she gets from SIL's mum with real affection.

The time we get to spend with them is more and often because of circumstances but talking to DGD she has as much affection and knowledge about SIL's mum as she has for us.

She tells me the cakes are that SIL's mum bakes are yummy but she likes the ones you buy too. She's right I buy other gran bakes beautifully. She talks about differences in our gardens and what she does at each.

I'm sad for other GP that she doesn't get to spend as much time with her son and DGD but it's the way life is. I can tell you DGD has a good relationship with her other gran and she clearly loves us all.

May be your DGC don't get to see you as often but may be they feel as if they do have a different but loving relationship with you. I hope as they grow that they do feel the benefit of a different and loving relationship with you.

My maternal gran lived with us and I loved getting away to my other GP. I got to have someone who was interested in what I was doing as they weren't there every day. Also I got to have GP's as my gran felt like another parent, she was also another person I had to please and not upset.

My other GP's felt like people who cared about me - I didn't have to do things for them, they did special things for me, not big things as they couldn't afford to. But I got meals I liked, little treats and time with them when they didn't expect me to do jobs.

I loved going to see them so may be your DGC will get to a similar place as they get older. I hope so and if you work to build that sort of relationship for them you could be giving them something special.

I'm sure you are being a loving and caring GP, it will show, chin up and carry on -as they say. Good Luck for the future.

ickle Mon 25-Mar-19 12:58:46

if its any comfort to you, the children know.

My 7 yr old GD said to me ''it's not fair, I get to see * more times than I see you.''

Those few little words really meant so much to me.

Peardrop50 Mon 25-Mar-19 13:41:55

Relationships with grandchildren is all about quality and not quantity. Lots of attention and fun, being interested in what they enjoy and always listening.
I have grandchildren who live miles away, I see them four or five times a year. They live close to their maternal Granny who is very involved in their lives. I feel they love us both the same but in different ways. My local grandchildren see lots of both sets of grandparents, again my feeling is they love both the same but in different ways. Other Granny is very touchy feely, a great cook and knits beautiful jumpers for them. I am not as touchy-feely and let them choose when cuddles are wanted, I am not a great cook and don't knit but I do crafts and gardening with them, let them build dens in the house and a tree house in the garden so we are loved for different strengths. We are probably equally irritating but again in different ways.

My advice is to take what you are given without complaint and make it the best time you can. It's not a contest and I guarantee they'll love you all.

Pat1949 Mon 25-Mar-19 13:48:06

There's a very old saying 'a daughter is a daughter all your life but a son is a son 'til he takes a wife', it's just as relevant now as it was years ago. I must admit I'm as guilty as anyone in not seeing my mother in law as often as I saw my mum, although I will say I did see her once a week for a few hours and she had 5 other Grandchildren through 3 daughters, so hopefully I wasn't too missed. I think one of the problems is that young mothers don't actually think about dividing time more equally between the two nannies (not much help for you, I know) but I'm sure it's not intentional. Just enjoy the time you do have with them, it will all change when they go to school.

gilld69 Mon 25-Mar-19 14:08:06

Sad to say my kids were closer to my family and my daughters kids are closer to me not because we didnt go and see my hubbys family i think as a daughter i just spent more time with my side of the family , and i live closer to my daughter than her MIL seems to be a thing though i actually dread when my son has children as i know they will spend more time with maternal GP

blue60 Mon 25-Mar-19 14:45:50

I think you just have to let everyone live the way they want to live.

Make the time you spend with your DGC good quality time - be fun, introduce them to different things and enjoy their company.

Try to stop comparing, it will do you no good and it's not good to allow resentments build up.

Gmum Mon 25-Mar-19 15:05:55

When I was young I only saw my grandmother twice a year, my grandfather had sadly passed. I was happy with just my parents and would have found it strange to have my grandmother raising me. As I was raised this way I do not expect to be in the middle of my sons marriage vying for attention, the parents are more important in the unit of a family. Perhaps your DIL finds her mother overpowering and actually respects you for giving her space to raise her children her way. May find the situation is not as it seems. You are not nothing in their lives, they will be comforted to know you are there, but as mum and dad come first that is all they can deal with when so young. As you know new mums learn from their mothers, not from paternal mother. Its how it is, you lose a son and gain a daughter.

moonbeames Mon 25-Mar-19 19:43:38

I agree with knspol. Some daughters are very close to their mothers like my daughter in law. Just keep quiet about it and don't say anything to your son or daughter in law. She is probably struggling at the moment with two small children. Someone advised you to take time off if you can and go down there and see them. Sounds like a good idea if you can. Make sure time with you is just wonderful and they will want to see you themselves.

quizqueen Mon 25-Mar-19 20:30:36

Really, I'm afraid, 'hard done by' grandparents need to start blaming their sons, rather than their DinLs, for their perceived unfair proportion of contact time with grandchildren. You need to bring your sons up to value family ties and not just settle for that 'easy life' doing as their wife tells them! My in-laws had 3 sons and were treated fairly by all their DinLs, including myself.

NanaKay58 Mon 25-Mar-19 23:57:36

I'm in a totally different boat. I get that my DIL is joined at the hip to her mom, and her mom is joined at the hip to the grandaughter. I have absolutely no beef with that.

Their beef with me is that I don't spend as much time as other GM visiting with her, but other GM lives 2 houses down.
I live fairly close by 2 towns over, but I still have kids and husband at home, an elderly mother I visit weekly and 2 jobs.....and rheumatoid arthritis.
All my adult kids have an open invitation to Sunday dinner every week, but I dont mind if they can't make it or if theye were busy. It's their life.

I think grandparents need to butt out more and let their kids be adults. Don't get me wrong, I love all three grandbabies and probably see them all about the same amount of time........when they come visit me, or on special occasions of theirs.
They are not my reason for living - those were my kids, and they are adults now.
I'm sorry, I have a life too and I want to live it my way, not on a schedule made up by DIL and her mother competing for grandmother of the year award or something.

Alexa Tue 26-Mar-19 09:14:36

Gingergirl, I guess that statistically the mother's mother gets the lion's share of grandparenting in the younger family. all else being equal. As the fathers' mother this was my own experience.

It might be possible for you to carve out a special place by a regular present of a book carefully chosen to suit your grandchild. This may seem trivial compared with the challenge that faces you, however it's possible that in later years your grandchildren will remember the books they enjoyed together with your faithfulness.

Grannyben Tue 26-Mar-19 09:24:14

My eldest DD lives 200 miles away so, my Dogs (9 months) spends considerably more time with the other grand parents.
However, they are living in a city centre. I'm 5 minutes walk from a beautiful seaside.
DD brings him every couple of months and, as he gets older, we are going to make the most amazing memories building sandcastles, paddling in the sea and riding the donkeys. Hopefully this will keep us in his mind and give him something to remember us by.
Is there something you can do with him to make special memories?

Grannyben Tue 26-Mar-19 09:28:07

Dogs! Dgs

grannyactivist Tue 26-Mar-19 09:33:50

gingergirl I'm glad you've had a re-think and benefited from the advice on here.

I'm swimming against the tide here. The reason my children have spent far more time with my in-laws than they have with my own mum (who incidentally couldn't care less) is that a) they live closer, and b) we get on extremely well together. My two sons live closer than my daughters do, so I see their children far more often. My daughter-in-law's parents also live just around the corner so she often pops in for a few minutes when she's been spending time with her mum (who is a good friend of mine).

I take my daughter's children on holiday every Easter so that although I don't see them as often as I see my sons' children I do get to spend a similar amount of time with them overall.

DIL17 Mon 01-Apr-19 16:37:39

My daughters see more of my family. I think it's down to a few things.

1) when you have a baby, I feel you naturally gravitate towards your own mum. I think it's natural and both times when I'm sore, tired and DH is back at work, my mum is all I want.

2) my DH isn't close to his family. As a family they don't communicate often and only tend to see each other for things like birthdays and Christmas. He never bothers contacting them. I tried to facilitate this when DD1 was younger but got annoyed with doing all the leg work when all they would talk about is how they miss DH. I gave up.

3) I don't trust my Mil to babysit. She isn't very clued up on babies and wouldn't know what to do in an emergency. My mum is used to babies, knows what to do in an emergency and will discipline and care for them they way we as parents want them cared for whereas Mil just ignores our parenting style.