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(70 Posts)
Annali Sun 29-Dec-19 00:27:34

Hello ladies. I am in need of wise counsel, opinion, advice etc. please. Myself and husband have just spent week with my beloved 2 yr old grandchild, and my son and his wife. We had fabulous Christmas- I don’t like my DIL but I do my best for her and am always kind and giving. I spent most of Christmas looking after my grandchild and being helpful to give her and my son a break ( nights out, long lie ins, housework etc). I felt wonderful and happy on leaving, thought we had all had lovely time, although I was a frustrated at how moody my DIL was throughout our stay. 2 days after I got home, my son text me to to tell me next Christmas would be different, they had actually just booked a 14 day trip away for just 3 of them and I wouldn’t see my grandchild at all. I was so shocked and felt like I’d been slapped in the face. My son told me they wanted to do things their way next year. My DIL doesn’t have any family - and she resents the closeness we have, our son (daughter too) and me and my husband. My DIL has actually admitted she feels jealous sometimes as she hasn’t ever had the secure and loving family we have created with our children. I truly, hand in heart, have done my best for her and made her feel welcome and included. She had told me she feels lucky to have me and my husband as in laws. She also knows how we are totally and completely besotted with our grandchild, who is our absolute world. It seems so cruel and such a snub to exclude us from their Christmas next year, and to leave us in no doubt we don’t figure in their plans - on 28th December, 2 days after we left their house after a fun and love filled Christmas.
I am very tearful and hurt. Can anybody please offer me some wise words?
Thank you

Urmstongran Sun 29-Dec-19 10:12:07

The timing was a bit off and I think that’s what made you feel raw*Annali*. Your son and his wife just want to make some of their ‘own’ Christmas memories. I’d have said ‘ooh how lovely!’ in reply to the text. It takes the pressure off them both and they would have been grateful (and relieved).

Btw we are our 2 grandchildren’s only grandparents and our daughter and son in law also do childcare alone (£800 per month for childcare fees) so I do know where you’re coming from on this. Take your foot off the pedal a bit and like that song in ‘Frozen’ - let it go!

Witzend Sun 29-Dec-19 10:19:56

Personally I would think that spending a whole week with them was too long, and was at least part of the reason for their deciding to do it differently next year.

Especially if, as you say, you don’t really like your DiL - as pps have said, she may well sense it, no matter how careful and sensitive you try to be.

I’m sure you know the saying about fish and guests stinking after 4 days! Maybe your DiL was dying to have her house to herself again, as many of us do after a few days of guests, no matter how much we like or love them.

If at all possible, another time could you stay in an inexpensive hotel e.g. Premier Inn, nearby? It would cut down any stress your DiL might be feeling at having you there 24 hours a day.
My sister and BiL nearly always do this anyway, when visiting their son and DiL - not because of any difficulties, but because they enjoy a quiet retreat at both ends of the day!

Luckygirl Sun 29-Dec-19 10:22:58

Beg pardon - it was a text, not a call - but all the same applies.

Luckygirl Sun 29-Dec-19 10:24:43

I went to DD and family - arrived Christmas Eve in the evening, stayed till just after lunch on Boxing Day - she wanted me to stay longer, but I said no - they need time together as a family with the busy lives they lead.

KatyK Sun 29-Dec-19 11:03:02

We only have one child, a daughter. I always thought we were close but have had a bit of a rude awakening over the years. She is married and we have our gorgeous 19 year old granddaughter who we see a lot of. Our DD has never shown the slightest interest in spending Christmas with us. I found it hurtful at first and felt sad when I heard other people's plans to spend Christmas with their children but I have to accept that they want to do their own thing. They come to us on Boxing night along with other family members, which is always nice.

pinkquartz Sun 29-Dec-19 11:13:00

If you can take next Christmas in your stride and not get too upset there is a very good chance that they will ocme back to you the year after.

If the Dil did have family then you might have to be content with alternate years anyway.
You cannot change how Dil feels but over time she may come around and get over her insecure jealousy and just love you as you sound a very kind and giving Mil.

Sussexborn Sun 29-Dec-19 11:21:34

If your DIL had a difficult childhood she probably has developed a strong sense of others feelings towards her as a defence mechanism. Possibly she stayed in bed to keep out of your way? If she senses your dislike then she probably doesn’t feel happy about you cleaning her home. I know I wouldn’t.

The timing may seem a bit off but she probably wanted to clear the air and not let things drift. Your son obviously loves her enough to put her well being first which is what he should do! You’ve brought up a kind and loving son so should be proud of him.

Some very good suggestions here about not overstaying on a visit. Travel lodge etc often have special offers so you could suggest staying elsewhere or, if you are asked again at another time of year, say that you can only stay for 4/5 days.

Just reread your first post and it seems odd that you felt your DIL was moody throughout your visit yet you left on a high. Did you have preconceived ideas of how a DIL should be and I wonder where your DD figures in all this?

TrendyNannie6 Sun 29-Dec-19 11:28:00

Totally agree with lucky girl and naty, I also think staying over a week is a long time. Your DIL has probably sensed you do not like her. And maybe felt that is was a long time to all be together, it doesn’t sound like she was that happy as you say she was moody, your son n DIL obviously discussed the time you all spent together and decided to do something different, and that’s their choice. I think your DIL is trying though as she said that she is lucky to have you n her FIL in her life. That’s a lovely thing to say, you probably are besotted with your grandchild we all love our grandchildren and don’t take what I’m saying as being spiteful but if we spend a whole week with in-laws for Christmas holiday, we would find it too long, esp if we had a grandparent that was besotted. For you to say it feels so cruel and a snub comes across as you want to control them,

Cabbie21 Sun 29-Dec-19 11:48:07

Very many good words of advice here which you have taken on board. It must have seemed like a body blow, given the timing, but there is another point of view.
As a DIL my MIL stayed virtually every Christmas- nine days one year, which was far too long.
What you thought of as helping to give them a break felt like you were taking over their home, their child.
I imagine you will be seeing them at some other time during the year? Do they ever stay with you? Do you meet on neutral territory? At least you can make sure you plan something different for next Christmas, given a year’s notice,
BTW I have never spent Christmas Day with my son and his family.

Hithere Sun 29-Dec-19 12:04:00

I am glad you are open to a new perspective.

You may not think you were overbearing and smothering, but for actions may have accross like that.

midgey Sun 29-Dec-19 12:12:15

There is never a good time to talk about plans for Christmas, unless you are Christian you can have a fun time at any time of the year!

rosenoir Sun 29-Dec-19 12:34:12

I feel the DIL was rude to ensure we knew her plans and firm dates for next year, just in case we were in any doubt!

Sorry to say but that sentance speaks volumes, it is their plans not hers. Please try not to blame DIL for anything you are not happy with,it puts your son in an awkward position and he will always side with his wife.

quizqueen Sun 29-Dec-19 12:35:41

It's not only your DIL's decision to go away next Christmas, it's your son's too.

vinasol Sun 29-Dec-19 12:56:38

I'd hate the idea of anyone staying with me for a week. I'd be mentally and physically exhausted at the end of it no matter how well we got on. Your DIL and son probably felt like that and have decided to change their plans in future.

You and your husband should also book a nice holiday for next Christmas and it will be something nice to look forward to.

FarNorth Sun 29-Dec-19 13:24:15

If you want to have a relationship with your GS, you need to have one with his Mum, and not just dismiss her as someone not to like.

And not jump to the conclusion that there is a snub intended when it is, in fact, a perfectly reasonable choice by your DS and his wife.

craftyone Sun 29-Dec-19 13:56:47

what a lovely chance for OP and her husband to get away for a nice holiday, guilt free, over christmas. Your own marriage should also be cherished and I say that as a widow

A week was 5 days too long btw.

Hetty58 Sun 29-Dec-19 14:05:02

Annali, as you admit, you don't like your DIL. Therefore, when they let you know their plans, you took it as a snub, a rejection.

I think that you were very lucky to spend a whole week with them. You can't possibly expect to do that every year. Of course, they'll want family time alone next year - but you have plenty of days to meet up or invite them in the year to come!

SueDonim Sun 29-Dec-19 15:26:05

Annali you’ve obviously taken on board the different opinions on here and I do hope it’s helped you get a little perspective and feel less unhappy about your son’s plans for next year. (It’s only recently I’ve discovered that people have to book Xmas trips a year in advance if they’re to get the holiday they want!) The timing could have been different but tbh, unwelcome news is always going to be unwelcome. At least you’ve a year in which to make some fun plans for yourself. smile

BlueBelle Sun 29-Dec-19 15:45:42

Annili this is meant to be kindly said but you are being unreasonable and actually dare I say it a bit greedy why should you have every Christmas with them and why can’t you live without your grandson for a week You are really sounding loving and kind but over the top with your adoration Give them a break... thankfully your son has listened to his wife and made a decision to cut the ties next Christmas Be happy for them and I m sure they ll be back to you the year after and lots and lots of times in between
Big thumbs up to the fact you are open to looking at this from a different angle even if it goes against your original thoughts
Please don’t overdo the adoration, not good for anyone and certainly not for the little one to be so central
Love is about letting go too

Harris27 Sun 29-Dec-19 15:56:46

I can see how hurt you are and I would probably be too. However maybe it’s time to take a step back and reassess the situation try to be as friendly as you can with the dil. Make an effort to get to know her, your son needs both of you and won’t want to be in the middle. I have two dil,s one is ok the other quite brash and in your face but I try my hardest with both. And next Christmas have yourselves a great day book a nice hotel and enjoy each other’s company on the day.

Tedber Sun 29-Dec-19 17:50:05

I agree that people should spend their Christmas how they want it but come on...... sending a text within 2 days telling you point blank you wouldn't see your grandchild next year? Unless he started off saying.. ".hi mum it was a fabulous Christmas, we all enjoyed it, thank you for your help with GS etc oh btw we have booked a holiday for next year, just so you know, see you soon I hope" Was that more how it went?

It DOES seem like slap in the face if it was just a direct text saying that you wouldn't be invited next year.

BUT next year is a long way away and hopefully you will have many more meetings during the year? How far away do they live? If you need to stay for a lengthy time, maybe consider booking into a hotel?

I would just text back and tell them what a wonderful time you had, thank you for inviting them, lovely idea for next year and see you soon?

I CAN understand how you felt though receiving a text so soon after returning about next year's plans.

MadeInYorkshire Sun 29-Dec-19 18:15:00

I had an issue with my ex MIL - when I first met her I could tell that as soon as I opened my mouth and a broad Yorkshire accent came out, and the fact that at the time I didn't have a degree like her only son, that she disliked me on sight! Over the years I did try really hard, eventually my husband said to me that it would be ok once we had children! My response to that was that it would be too late then! I never ever stopped them visiting etc but she would come and ask to help by doing the ironing for example - and did just HIS!

Roll on a decade later and we were living in Scotland, so whenever they drove up to us from the Midlands it was a very long way and therefore they stayed for at least a week/ten days .... ugh! One day out of the blue, she said to me ".... are we ever going to be friends ...?" I was a bit taken aback, but answered, "well you don't like me". Her response to that was to say "nonsense, Brian and I think you are very intelligent and highly efficient"!! That said it all ......

Just saying Annili you do know! Take care xx

Annali Sun 29-Dec-19 19:16:40

A huge heartfelt thank you to each and everyone of you. I have taken on board all you have said and advised. You are right.
I am feeling a tad guilty and ashamed of my neediness and know I have to step back from this obsession with my GS!
I did respond to my son’s text and also spoke to him on FaceTime( he initiated as he knew I was upset) I told him I was hurt and shocked to receive a blatant ‘ you are not part of Christmas next year’ message, whilst still in the midst of celebrating this year! He said soothing words etc but didn’t ring true for me. This is all his wife’s idea - I know my son so well; we are a very close family and spend a lot of time together ( me and my husband - and adult daughter when she can) which is part of the problem, I think. The DIL hates it. She has come from very damaged background and has no concept of family. She has no siblings, no parents, no grandparents. Truly, I have included her and been kind etc. it it isn’t really accepted. She tolerates my son’s family and as mentioned earlier, she has admitted to him she feels jealous at times.
But - I have expected too much - and I am ready to make some changes. My son lives 3 hours a way - we visit every 6 weeks or so and stay with them and spend a glorious weekend with our GS. I am going to reduce this frequency of visits. I am also going to focus on my husband and I a bit more. We are nearing retirement so need to think of future plans. Ironically, my son and DIL have asked if we would move closer to them on retirement, to help look after GS!
Thank you so much again - it is only through your advice I’ve realised I need to back off and make some life changes

Luckygirl Sun 29-Dec-19 19:33:37

You really really must try and find some way to establish an amicable relationship with your DIL. Your dislike creeps into even your very reasonable posts! That needs to change.

Perhaps you should write down what her virtues are; and instances when she does good things - and sneak a look at the list before each visit! - or learn it by heart!!

I too am a MIL and have to do this sometimes - always looking for the good even when I have doubts and concerns.

This lass is now your son's prime focus and responsibility - both her and their child. If you want to get a look in at all, you will need to try and see what he sees in her - not love her in the same way, but trust his judgement that there is something really good about her that he can see. YOu need to search for that too.

It is too easy to blame every wrong move (as you see it) on the DIL. She is an easy scapegoat as the person who has made off with your son. But sometimes the easy route is not the right one.

Dottygran59 Sun 29-Dec-19 19:40:20

What a magnanimous, sensible reply, OP. The lovely, wise grans on here can always be relied upon to give a balanced view.

I was so besotted with my first DGD, and had to take a step back. But all my DGC adore me as I do them, and I certainly don’t see as much of them as I would like and certainly not every Christmas.

Wise words re Focus more on your DH. Mine admitted to me that all my affection seemed to go on the grandkids.

You are lovely, and a loving granny. His only granny. He will adore you, all the more for not seeing you all the time.