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Feeling hard done by! AIBU?

(47 Posts)
Sbhrt21 Thu 05-Mar-20 20:10:39

It was my 60th birthday recently and my son in America sent me a card and a balloon and box of chocolates from Moonpig!! He earns a fortune and I spent quite a lot on him and his family at birthdays and Xmas. I was gutted that he’d put zero thought into a gift. Me and hubby went over to stay at Xmas and it was quite challenging as my American DIL is weird with us. Sometimes she speaks and sometimes she doesn’t - she would make herself food and we’d have to get our own. All very strange - I’d say up until now we had a reasonable relationship with her - they’ve been married 7 years and now have 2 lovely kids. I do feel like we’re drifting apart as when we FaceTime we almost have nothing to talk about - which makes me feel very very sad. I feel like he doesn’t really want us in his life anymore and I can’t see us visiting again. Is it me or should I just let the estrangement continue as I don’t know how to get the relationship back on track even though I don’t know where it went wrong?

fourormore Thu 05-Mar-20 20:30:14

It's tough I know and you living so far apart doesn't help, so you have my sympathy. flowers
My three AC live within an 8 mile radius of us and we seldom even receive a card 'on the day' from any of them - if we're lucky we may get a text but it's always a case of "I've got your card etc here and will drop it in sometime!" 'Sometime' can be anything up to a fortnight later and it does hurt!
Just put a stamp on a card for goodness sake!!!
What we have to accept is that they have their own lives, and although we would never have felt that way towards our parents, we parents are not so important to our kids nowadays sad
Just be thankful that he actually remembered and took the trouble - ok it was all of 10mins on the computer - but he did it and remembered the date!
Perhaps cut down on your generosity - we did - we are pensioners!!!
It is hard I know - you are not being unreasonable - perhaps we are guilty of being too easily hurt? flowers Relax a little and hopefully it won't end up with estrangement.

phoenix Thu 05-Mar-20 20:36:23

I wouldn't think it counts as " estrangement", as he did actually send you something, albeit with not much thought.

Does sound as if perhaps new(ish) wife, new lifestyle (hate that word!) might have meant a general shift?

You could of course try calling him, thank him for the gift, tactfully ask how things are?

TerriT Thu 05-Mar-20 21:16:35

I have a saying and it’s this ‘our children are people we used to know’. When our children become adults and go out into the world, to their jobs,to friends,to their houses and hopefully partners we gradually fade into the background. Some parents don’t seem to understand this process and get hurt that they and their opinions are no longer of the same importance to their off spring. In the situation where a son/daughter goes to another country, culture and lifestyle the gap generally grows wider. Any relationship between a mother and a is often difficult. You only have to read gransnet forums on this subject. Add in another culture and believe me America is another culture and more room for difficulty in understanding and expectations. I would have felt hurt by your sons present but in my experience men don’t set a great deal by birthdays and Christmas. I don’t think my husband ever sent his mother a card and a better mother than her didn't exist. He doesn’t see the point!

Summerlove Thu 05-Mar-20 21:46:32

Is being marred 7 years, and likely dating prior really a “new(ish) wife”?

I think you need to take it Day by day OP. While your gift isn’t what you wanted, hr did show he was thinking of you.

Mrst1405 Thu 05-Mar-20 22:07:56

I would be over the moon with that from either of my 2 dc. You need to cut back your expectations. Estrangement is a lot more than this.

Juliet27 Thu 05-Mar-20 22:13:40

That’s a good answer from TerriT

BlueSky Thu 05-Mar-20 22:18:20

Agree with TerryT I have 2 sons who live abroad married to foreign women and yes it's just like that.

Evie64 Thu 05-Mar-20 22:19:37

Sbhrt21 - I'd write your son a letter and tell him how you are feeling. He will read it, discard it, but will then read it again and perhaps have some understanding about where you're coming from? Much more personal than Face Time or even an email. I just think a written letter is more personal and holds more meaning?

Hetty58 Thu 05-Mar-20 22:24:21

I agree that TerriT has hit the nail on the head. It's a whole different world now, people are busy and many just don't do cards and presents at all.

Give only what you are comfortable giving - and don't expect a return gift of equal value. Keep in touch, though.

HettyMaud Thu 05-Mar-20 22:33:40

I agree with Evie64. A letter is a good idea. Men generally sometimes need "waking up". Their work and immediate family are what they concentrate on most. Parents are rarely foremost in their lives. I know it's a cliche but I actually do believe men find it difficult to think of more than one thing at a time. You will never be estranged from your son. He sounds perfectly normal. Letting him know how you feel will probably sink in as Evie says. Don't ever give up. When my DS left home 20 years ago I thought I'd lost him so I encouraged him to ring and visit regularly by actually asking him to, messaging him sometimes, sending newspaper cuttings from home and occasionally by telling him to his face how much he means to me.And he has responded by regular phone calls and visits -admittedly not as often as I'd like. Like your son, my birthday present is something he's ordered online - very little thought involved but at least it's something. My advice is do not be afraid to tell him your feelings.

NotSpaghetti Thu 05-Mar-20 23:20:17

My husband's mother sends him newspaper cuttings and it drives him mad. He loathes it with a passion but she still does it. I definitely would advise you to not do that!

mumofmadboys Thu 05-Mar-20 23:53:38

If I was you I would not say anything. It might well make things worse. Continue to maintain contact and be friendly and loving

CanadianGran Thu 05-Mar-20 23:58:03

At least he was thinking of you! You shouldn't put a monetary value on a gift. It's also hard to organize something from overseas.

Keep trying to keep the relationship going, especially for the grandchildren.

OutsideDave Fri 06-Mar-20 01:45:06

I was always taught that criticizing a gift, especially for the presumed value; was incredibly gauche

Nansnet Fri 06-Mar-20 04:34:24

I don't think you are being unreasonable, and I can totally understand how you feel. Up until my DS married, my DD always had to remind her brother when it was my (or DH's) birthday/mother's day, but now he's left home, and lives in another country, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if he totally forot! He usually gets flowers delivered me, again, not much thought gone into it, but at least he's remembered, so I'm happy with that!

I know not all sons are the same, but from what I hear from friends, this seems to be the norm amongst many. My daughter, on the other hand, who also lives in a different country to me, is one of the most thoughtful people I know, and would never dream of forgetting anyone's birthday/mother's day/father's day.

Right from when I was a young child back in the 60s, into my teens, 20's, and after I married, I would always remember cards & gifts for both my parents, and grandparents. I can only think that 30/40/50 years ago, we had more simple lives, and these days young couples seem so busy with everything from their family/home lives, to their working lives, that perhaps they simply do forget?! Or, I don't mean to generalize here, but is it a 'man thing'?

Personally, I'd try not to let it upset you too much. He did, at least, remember your birthday.

annep1 Fri 06-Mar-20 05:43:58

I know some children are wonderful and even after leaving home act very lovingly and include their parents. But a lot don't. And it's a different world nowadays. I am often disappointed. I have just got to the stage where I get on with my own life and leave them to it and don't expect too much. That's my advice.

BlueBelle Fri 06-Mar-20 05:50:29

I m sorry but I dont agree with the posters that said write a letter to him ....... what possible complaint have you got ? Your son remembered you and got the date right, rejoice! you got a card, balloon and chocolates, ok not particularly original but blokes don’t really do presents, unless it’s for the woman in their life and I m really sorry to say you’re not the woman in his life now A letter will blow it all out of proportion and probably puzzle and annoy him
You're not estranged or anything like it
As for conversation I have a weekly call with my son who se been overseas 22 years and of course we don’t always have a lot to talk about men don’t do small talk and what interest would he have in me going out to lunch with friends or having a good day at the charity shop 😂

It’s all natural and you’re expecting too much and reading too much into it BE HAPPY and be happy for him that he’s in a good job has a wife and children and decent life style and that HE REMEMBERED YOU

annep1 Fri 06-Mar-20 06:02:43

I definitely wouldn't write a letter. You might regret it.
Of course we are happy for our children Bluebelle but sometimes, it would be nice to think you mattered, just a little bit, to them. I got my son's Christmas present in February. And he hasn't visited since June 2018.

BlueBelle Fri 06-Mar-20 06:22:42

Haha I know that’s how it goes annepl if I didn’t have a daughter in law I don’t think I’d ever even get a card but I know he loves me
I suppose the 2 year non visit depend if your son lives overseas or in the next town !
It is sad when we realise we aren’t so important in their lives anymore we all (well most of us) feel it deeply but have to accept it as reasonably normal if your ve brought your kids up to be confident, adventurous, independent people
I think it’s more noticeable in our generation as world movement is so much more prevalent and life is very much busier and more stressful for our kids generation

Oopsadaisy3 Fri 06-Mar-20 06:40:26

I think as he sent you something himself, that he is definitely thinking of you, and he did it probably without any ‘ help’ from his wife.
I’ve been married nearly 50 years and DH has never bought a card or gift himself for any of his family, I did it all and still do.

ArtySue Fri 06-Mar-20 06:52:42

Ha ha bluebell: 'men don’t do small talk and what interest would he have in me going out to lunch with friends or having a good day at the charity shop 😂'. So true! I have two sons who live nearby and we are very close and loving but I was a bit shocked the other day one of them asked me how my (arthritic) hips were! It's either that or how's the allotment/library/charity shop visits/church/coffee with friends. Fair enough!!! 😂😂

BlueSky Fri 06-Mar-20 07:15:57

So right Bluebelle it's sad when we realise we are no longer number 1 in their lives, but that's life!

NotSpaghetti Fri 06-Mar-20 07:21:30

Sbhrt21, "am I being unreasonable?"
Yes, afraid so.
His earnings have nothing to do with your birthday (except tangentially). Nor does how much you choose to spend.

He remembered your birthday and no doubt sent love. That's what most of us want as parents, to know that our families care about us and think of us now and then.

Many young people think birthdays are just another day. Those with better paying jobs buy what they want, when they want, and therefore have no real needs or wants. I'd assume that's why you had a balloon and chocolate. Not only can it be done easily online but it speaks to the "not really needing anything" generation.

I visited my son who lives some way away two weeks after his birthday to find a stack of post on the side in his kitchen. When I pointed it out he said, "oh, they're just birthday cards". He hadn't even opened them. I'd phoned him on his birthday and he'd even thanked me for my card yet here it was in a stack unopened!
He opened them to please me and the one from his grandmother had a large cheque in!

Your son wouldn't have sent the card etc at all if he didn't care for you. Put your unhappy feelings aside.

FindingNemo15 Fri 06-Mar-20 07:25:03

Our DD has never been good at posting cards. Last year she actually sent a photo on her phone showing us the envelope that she had not got round to posting! When she does send cards they are always expensive ones which I find hypocritical.