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Seeing adult children over Christmas

(103 Posts)
Mynxie Wed 29-Dec-21 08:08:38

I’d really like to know if I am being unreasonable! My son and his family live about 100 miles from me. Twice in early December I willingly traveled up to their house to babysit our grandchildren (6 and 2) and stayed overnight whilst my DS and DIL met up with friends and stayed out all night in a hotel.
When it came to meeting for Christmas (even just for a meal) the earliest they can fit me in is the end of February as they say they have so much on until then. I feel sad as they are staying with his dad all over the new year (he left me for OW when my son was 4) but cannot find time to see me. I raised him on my own after his dad left and we used to be very close. AIBU to feel so hurt and upset?

Humbertbear Wed 29-Dec-21 08:55:29

Muncie - I really feel for you and I can understand why you are feeling hurt. However, there is nothing you can do about the situation so the best thing you can do is make some plans of your own and make sure they book in some time with you over Christmas early on next year. Like most young parents they have busy lives and don’t always realise how much a visit might mean to their own parents. Harbouring a grudge or feeling of resentment isn’t going to good for you. Let it go and get on with your own life.

Kim19 Wed 29-Dec-21 09:13:04

M, I so agree with H. Try to let it go. Oh I know that's easier said than done (many Tshirts!) but letting it irk away will only cause you discontent and unhappiness. The distance factor doesn't help but there's no guarantee things would be any different if you lived closer. I just take whatever I'm offered in terms of their time and always enjoy it when it happens. Unfortunately, time is a commodity I have much more of than they do at the moment. Circle of life, I guess.

Sparklefizz Wed 29-Dec-21 09:19:54

It's not the time not spent with you, though, is it Mynxie, it's the feeling of not being cared about and valued. Hugs to you. flowers

JillyJosie2 Wed 29-Dec-21 09:24:58

M, I'd find it very hard to deal with the feelings brought up by the situation you describe. Is it possible that because you saw them twice in early December, they somehow feel that was Christmas contact with you and so Christmas with their dad is the equivalent?
Even so, it seems a bit mean. Might it be possible for you to say something light just about contact with them, how nice it is, how you know that they are busy but you so love to hear and see them? Do you have other means of contact? A WhatsApp group or similar?
It's hard to swallow these situations. I have a forthcoming wedding of one of my daughters where the mother/new MIL is an absolute control freak and expects her four children and partners to all pay court and be there when she expects. I'm not looking forward to the sharing!!

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 29-Dec-21 09:35:04

No you’re not being unreasonable. It’s a painful position to be in and you must feel way down on their list of priorities, though being very busy they probably haven’t thought it through, having seen you twice in December. We have so much more time on our hands than our children do. I agree, let it go and look forward to meeting in February, also book them well in advance next Christmas!

Blossoming Wed 29-Dec-21 09:41:56

Not at all unreasonable. I agree there’s not much you can do about it now, but as others have said make plans for next Christmas early.

MacCavity2 Wed 29-Dec-21 09:42:51

Similar circumstances similar outcome. Easier for them to keep the golden goose happy. I’m so used to it now, have been making my own arrangements for years and am much happier.

henetha Wed 29-Dec-21 09:45:27

I don't think you are being unreasonable to feel hurt. It's rather thoughtless of them isn't. As others have said, it's best to let it go, but I don't blame you for being fed up.

Kate1949 Wed 29-Dec-21 09:49:51

Sorry you're upset. It's the same here. We've done everything we possibly can for ours but get 'fitted in' after the world and his dog.

Juliet27 Wed 29-Dec-21 09:57:07

Perhaps your son’s father would babysit next time they want to stay away overnight.

Mynxie Wed 29-Dec-21 10:51:45

I seem to be the only babysitter - despite her parents living in the same town. I know they see a lot of each other but they hardly ever babysit. Like Kate1949 says, I’ve always bent over backwards to be supportive but seem to be last in the queue for time with them all not just the children much as I love them.

I will not make a fuss and try to let go of the feelings of rejection as has been advised but I might also try and take a step back from being at their beck and call all the time - maybe they’ll be more appreciative then! I’ve helped them out by giving them money for their house deposit, paying for a once in a lifetime honeymoon destination as a wedding present and substantial monetary gifts to help make their life easier. They are both extremely hard working and the children are very well cared for and I love them all to bits - including my DIL - I treat her exactly as I treat my son.

Redhead56 Wed 29-Dec-21 10:59:01

Next time they need a child free night don’t be available. I know you get to see GC but you are being taken for granted. If they can’t put themselves out to see you make your own plans when they need a night out. In the meantime have a nice lunch out with friends and enjoy yourself ?

Hithere Wed 29-Dec-21 12:13:37

1. I cant imagine how hurt you are they are at his dad's who cheated on you.
However, he is his dad and the cheating cannot change that.

2. You saw them in December.
In the future, why not celebrate xmas in a week that is convenient for everybody? Does it have to be the end of December?

February is better compared to now, with the Omicron wave being in full swing in Europe

3. I disagree with the advice of changing your babysitting availability in response to this- do you want to hurt your relationship with your gc and son's family?

Xmas expectations kill the spirit of this celebration

Hithere Wed 29-Dec-21 12:15:41

How early in advance did you ask for his availability for xmas this year?
Young families are very busy and usually need to plan ahead

Elizabeth27 Wed 29-Dec-21 12:58:41

It is hurtful when you are not top of the list but sadly is something that has to be accepted.

I am sure you don’t want them to see you because you have helped them out financially or because you were the wronged party in the relationship with their father, you want them to make an effort because they love you.

Kim19 Wed 29-Dec-21 13:10:47

I disagree with the option of making yourself less available - unless you really want to, of course - as that's going to deprive you of even more opportunity of seeing them. Perhaps you do 'give' too much as you list here. Re-evaluate that with an open mind and heart and adjust accordingly.

AGAA4 Wed 29-Dec-21 13:40:04

It sounds like thoughtlessness on the part of your ACs and with no intention of hurting you.
Just forgive them for that and let this hurt go as it will damage your relationship if you brood on this or lessen the babysitting.

Teacheranne Wed 29-Dec-21 17:17:39

I would be very upset if my adult children did not spend time with me over Christmas but saw their father instead. I have no idea how I would handle it though as I can’t imagine it happening, in the 21 years since we separated, my children have always spent Christmas with me and my family. I think I’d be very angry and it would bring home the traumas of my divorce which was very nasty. I would force myself not to make my feelings known to my children but it would not be easy and I totally understand how upset you felt.

I travelled to my family home on Christmas morning when they were younger so they could see their dad for a couple of hours ( all he wanted really) but now they see him on a different day.

I guess things might change, it looks like my son will now visit on alternate years as he lives with his girlfriend so obviously they want to see her family as well but I’m sure we will find one day close to the 25th for our get together. I suspect my children will collude to make sure I am not alone, either with one of them or with my sisters family, they are very caring and sensitive of my feelings.

In your position, I don’t think I would stop helping out with babysitting, I’d love to babysit my grandchildren but they are in the US, but I would try to fix a mutually convenient day to see them over the festive season well in advance - get in before other family or friends!

Harris27 Thu 30-Dec-21 10:38:41

No you are not being unreasonable. As the mother of three sons and a nice husband I’ve felt second best to dil families in the past but once I gave myself a talking to I realised this was the way it was and I’ve dealt with it. But if I was on my own like my dear sister I would dwell on it more. Circumstances prevail in different situations and we can either let them hurt us or try and distract ourselves. Saying that I’m sending you a virtual hug?

LuckyFour Thu 30-Dec-21 10:39:49

I know how this feels but fortunately I have two loving daughters and if one wants to do something else the other one kicks in. One DD prefers to go to her neighbours /best friends than be with us at important times but usually fits us in around this. I've given over bothering and and just take what I can get which is usually a lot better than I was expecting.

Buffy Thu 30-Dec-21 10:42:45

So sorry about how you feel Mynxie. I child mind quite a lot and there’s only time for a quick hello and goodbye. Never a long conversation or a meal. I was resentful that the other mother-in-law saw the family less often but for quality time but now, for some reason I’m just glad my children have so many friends and enjoy their social life. However, I’m not in exactly the same position as you and if I were I’d be hurt.sons are often influenced by their wives.

MollyG Thu 30-Dec-21 10:43:12

This doesn’t sound like a very equal relationship, yanbu I’d be upset too

polnan Thu 30-Dec-21 10:46:16

lots of hugs, for what it is worth, no you are being human!
it hurts, we , somehow, each of us, at some time or other has to deal with these hurts.

the main problem for most of us, is, , as I see it, when we are young, and yes, how many of us have been there, just cannot imgine what it is like to be getting older etc. etc. etc.

I wish I could be stronger, and feel less hurt and I can pray for you also.

icanhandthemback Thu 30-Dec-21 10:49:42

I can understand why you feel like you do but put your expenditure to one side. You gave them help because you wanted to, not for what you expected in return, like an acknowledgment at Christmas.
It is especially hard for young people at the moment to fit everything in especially when their parents have divorced so they get a 2 for one situation! With the latest Covid scares, they may even be trying to protect you by not meeting up.
You don't say how far away your ex lives from them. If it is close by, it might be easier but if it is more distant, 2 long journeys might seem exhausting with a young family.
Swallow your hurt and keep doing what you are doing. Being a Mum and Grandma who is there for you may seem like a thankless task but at the end of the day, most offspring realise how much you give of yourself eventually and you are role modelling what you would wish for with your Grandchildren from their parents in the years ahead.