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New Grandma!

(38 Posts)
Fairydoll2030 Fri 14-Mar-14 23:08:10

I'm sure this is an age old problem but can someone please advise. I am in my late 60's and have only one child, a son. My husband and I are so delighted to have become grandparents at last. Our little grandson is 3 months old and, although we live within a few miles, we can see him at best once a week and then only for a short visit as we don't want to outstay our welcome. My daughter in law is a lovely person and we get on really well but the problem is....her mother! Although daughter in laws parents have a 3 hour return trip, they have now taken to visiting 2 or 3 times during the week and staying most of the day and then at the weekend, son and daughter in law spend Sunday at her parents house. My son doesn't mind as he has a very stressful job and he feels his wife is getting a lot of support from her parents which he sees as good. I agree, but husband and I feel sidelined. I have always (and continue to do,so) offered help but so far, apart from taking them meals when baby was first born, I am just not needed as daughter in laws mum has 'done it all'
I feel sad because Daughter in laws parents are much younger than us (15 years) and will most likely have many more years to spend with this grandchild and any more that may come along. Don't get me wrong DIL's parents are thoroughly nice people but her mum just takes over and I feel like a stranger in my own sons house if our visits overlap. By the way, we only ever go there if invited. I did speak to my son about this, but he just can't see there's a problem. I have asked him if they can visit us for a meal from time to time and he always says yes, but they don't. I really feel upset about this but am reluctant to make a fuss. Would love to hear from others who may have had similar experience, or anyone who can offer advice .

Fairydoll2030 Fri 14-Mar-14 23:31:06

Forgot,to add to my previous post..... My daughter in law actually emails me pics of her mother holding the baby! Obviously they don't see the irony in that!

DebnCreme Sat 15-Mar-14 00:29:33

Many congratulations on the birth of your grandson. flowers

As the mother of three daughters I try to be aware of how the other grandparents feel but have to say I do forget. It would be easy for the husband's parents to appear uninterested just because they can't get a look in and this would be a shame.

Please have a chat with your son and try to make him understand that you want some pictures and memories too - there is no need to get cross and as your DiL is a nice girl I feel sure they will understand. Perhaps she could come to you sometimes as you live close and then you won't need to worry about outstaying your welcome.

Good luck

FlicketyB Sat 15-Mar-14 07:41:51

Don't ask if they can visit for a meal. Be specific, 'Come and spend next Saturday with us, it would give DiL's parents a break, they have been so supportive.'

GrannyMilly Sat 15-Mar-14 08:21:43

I sympathise with your dilemma Fairydoll2030. I have dropped to 4 days a week and have our grandson all day so my daughter can work. It's great. I agree with FlickeryB defo need to offer specific times days.

Our prob will come if the stepson has kids we'll be well down the list after diL parents and the exwife.

J52 Sat 15-Mar-14 08:28:47

I have every sympathy. We have two sons and are in a similar situation, except one son and family live in the same village as the PILs. So they do the child care etc. We are only a couple of miles away and do see the GDS about once a week, but are never needed to babysit!

We always wait to be invited to their home. They are busy and we respect that they need time just to be a little family.

The other DS and DIL live in a village between us & DS, so even nearer. Hardly see them or get a text or phone call.
Without going into any details, we feel marginalised . I know DIL will have talked to her mum daily!

We have never had a falling out and are on good terms with DILs and DS, they are all lovely people, but do feel unwanted, at times. I also don't want to make a fuss, so that we are tolerated, as a 'duty'.

Only advice is to buy a big box of tissues! X[ flowers]

shysal Sat 15-Mar-14 09:09:29

Agree it is an age-old problem, which sometimes occurs when our sons have children. Your DIL is obviously close to her mother, so please try not to be hurt (difficult I know), and don't rock the boat. Try to make the most of the time you do have with your DGS, the balance may change as time goes on. flowers

glammanana Sat 15-Mar-14 09:24:10

I agree that daughters in law mostly gravitate towards their own mums,its a natural thing for a girl to want her mum close by when she has her first baby,your son is probably not seeing a problem as he is so wrapped up with his baby and his wife at the minute and making sure they are alright within their little unit.
Can you not arrange to visit your DIL during the week even if your son is at work ? you needn't stay too long just an hour or so and you can catch up on cuddles that way,or ask can you pick her & baby up to go shopping & coffee or to look after baby whilst she goes for a few hours on her own.Things will even out I'm sure and please don't say anything which will be hard to take back once it's

ninathenana Sat 15-Mar-14 09:28:45

DS doesn't have children yet so I can only imagine how you feel flowers I am in daily contact with DD, and babysit, do school run 2-3 times a week. SiL's parents live abroad so I always avoid contact with GSx2 when they are on their 2-3 trips to the UK each year. As I think it's only fair they have exclusivity at these times.
If you are on good terms with the other grandparents is it possible to have a light hearted word with them ? Maybe other nannie will take on board your feelings and speak to their daughter.
My SiL works lousy hours so I tend to see DD when he's working. They then get family time to themselves . Is it possible for DiL to visit when your son is at work ?

Mishap Sat 15-Mar-14 10:31:09

I recognise aspects of this situation and would simply say that it is not a competition. I have said to my DDs that this is how I see it and they must be free to use whichever grandparent they wish for child care, whenever they wish, and not to feel they have to factor in whom they might offend. I know that the other sets of GPs agree about this.

It is hard to feel marginalised because the truth is we love these dear GC as we loved our own, but I do think that the less this is made an issue the better, or people will feel they are treading on eggshells and trying to do the right thing, which is not comfortable for anyone.

Fairydoll I think you will find that as your GC gets a bit older and starts to toddle about there will be more opportunities to be involved. First time mums often look to their own mothers in the first few weeks and months - this then tends to broaden out as time goes by.

Nonnie Sat 15-Mar-14 10:31:13

Some good advice here. As I was reading the posts I had the same thought as nina except that I don't think I would be so lighthearted it could be perceived to be not important or so harsh that it could be seen as a criticism. Fine line between.

I think those of us who have sons often find ourselves sidelined in favour of the maternal grandparents and think it is very thoughtless of our DiLs.

I wouldn't push DS hard on this as he will almost certainly want whatever he thinks his wife wants.

If you say nothing there is a possibility they will think you are happy with things as they are. Speak up but kindly.

Please let us know how things go.

Mishap Sat 15-Mar-14 10:33:22

PS Whenever I feel a tinge of jealousy in this situation I always give myself a talking to and tell myself that it is wonderful that my child has so much support and that my GC will have the chance to relate to lots of different people who love them.

ninathenana Sat 15-Mar-14 10:36:45

Nonnie 'speak up but kindly' is a better phrase than I used smile

KatyK Sat 15-Mar-14 11:42:02

Congratulations to you. I think a lot of grandparents are in this situation. I won't bore you with the details of my situation be I too feel sidelined, but I have a daughter, not a son. sad To be honest I think it's 'swings and roundabouts'. I saw my granddaughter almost daily when she was small, and her other nan saw her less. Now the situation has reversed and the other grandparents see her more than we do. Hang on in there, it may change. Try not to get too upset, or into any conflict. I have spoken up in the past and it has made things worse. flowers

harrigran Sat 15-Mar-14 12:58:07

Just enjoy the time you do have with your GC and don't make a fuss about the other set of GPs. There is nothing more guaranteed to get their backs up than jealousy over who sees the baby the longest.
The only GC I have are DS's children and I have never had a problem, when DIL's parents visit I stay away to give them time to enjoy the GC.

Fairydoll2030 Sat 15-Mar-14 16:07:52

Thank you for all your replies, some of which are very helpful.
A couple of replies mentioned 'jealousy'. This is a very inapprorpriate word in the circumstances and simply doesnt not apply here. For example, earlier this week my son suggested I take baby out in his pram on Thursday afternoon, and I jumped at the chance. However, when I contacted him the evening before to arrange a time, he apologised and said that DIL.s mum had changed her plans and was coming over again on Thursday instead of Friday. She had been there all day on Tuesday and Wedneday. There is no deference to us, or our plans. In fact I had cancelled seeing my friend on Thursday afternoon as I didnt know what time DIL would want me to take baby out. When I discovered that other GP's were visiting again today (Sat) and son and wife visiting GP's tomorrow I was quite that really jealousy?
As some have said, maybe the situation will change. Prior to baby's arrival DIL's parents visited only on birthdays (seriously!). and when they did their visits were brief because they needed 'to get back for the animals' and they had 'a long journey' etc etc. DIL used to complain that they were more interested in their animals than her and it had been ever thus. Often her mother did not return her calls as she was 'too busy.' So, you can see this is all a bit full on for us and quite a surprise. What do we do - just turn up when other GP's are there? We were virtually ignored when we popped in last time just for 10 minutes. Very hurtful. We are quite nice people (honestly!). Clean, fully housetrained, quite laidback (normally) and with a sense of humour. Are we going wrong somewhere?
Thanks again for repliles - I was quite overwhelmed...

Nonnie Sat 15-Mar-14 16:12:24

nina I often think of a better way of putting something after I have posted too!

Nonnie Sat 15-Mar-14 16:15:34

Fairy I am sure jealousy does not come into it at all, I think you feel hurt and it sounds like you have tried hard not even to feel that. You just want to see the baby and family more which is very understandable. Just wonder if the novelty will run out for the others, I hope so for your sake.

Fairydoll2030 Sat 15-Mar-14 16:31:08

Ah Nonnie, thank you. So understanding...

Deedaa Sat 15-Mar-14 17:46:22

I think it is natural for a daughter to have a closer relationship with her own mother but travelling so far so often seems a bit OTT. My daughter lives 10 minutes walk away but I didn't see a great deal of her and the baby until I took over looking after him at 6 months, when she went back to work. I have seen very little of my son's baby as it was a difficult journey to see them and the parking was a nightmare. Now they are closer I see them more but I still don't quite get the attachment that I've had to my daughter's boys. I know my daughter in law has had a lot of problems but I still don't feel I can do much to help them unless they ask. With my own daughter I just walk in and do things. (Does help that because her husband is older there are no in laws now)

KatyK Sat 15-Mar-14 17:57:56

Fairydoll. No it is not jealousy. You just want fair play. I have cancelled plans when my DD has asked me to do things in the past, which she has then cancelled without telling me. It's very thoughtless. My DD has been off work for a while and last week was her final week at home. She texted to say 'as it's my last week at home, shall we go out for lunch one day and you can come with me to collect DGD from school'. Yes great I said. OK she said I'll let you know which day. Then nothing, it didn't happen. I then got a text on Friday to say 'we didn't meet did we? We'll pop in at the weekend'. No sorry, no explanation, nothing. It's hurtful. We have taken her to hospital appointments, out for lunches, done her washing and ironing which she has been incapacitated (I don't want thanks for this, I am her mum) but a bit of thought wouldn't go amiss.

BetterNotBitter Mon 17-Mar-14 13:48:41

If you do decide to approach the subject with your son and DIL, from a DILs perspective here are a few things to maybe bear in mind.

You've said your DIL is lovely, yet you seem to be apportioning much of the 'blame' in this situation to her, she may feel very aggrieved if you aren't careful to ensure it doesn't come across to them as it does in your posts. Your son surely has just as much say in what they do with their weekends as she does, so be careful not to accuse only your DIL of excluding you.

Also, it may be nicer (and more successful) if you go in along the lines of wanting to see them ALL more and not like you're trying to just get the baby to yourself. Especially if you don't see baby much, they may not feel confident leaving baby and if they feel this is your only motive may back away from any kinds of visits for fear of bring pressured into letting you take baby on your own. It can also come across quite unkindly if you're driven on wanting them out of the way!!

No idea if these suggestions are applicable in your situation, but from knowing many mils and DILs who have had problems, these things could help to resolve this well.

ginny Mon 17-Mar-14 16:32:46

Just to put another slant on this. Please don't always 'wait to be invited'. Ask when would be convenient for you to visit or for them to visit you. I spent years always being the one who invited or suggested a visit to my in-Laws, feeling that as they never asked they weren't really too bothered although when we did meet they were always very happy to see us all.
It is only since they moved closer to us after more than 30 years that we found out that they didn't ask because they didn't want to 'interfere'. Imagine what would have happened if we had decided not to 'interfere ' with their lives !

FlicketyB Mon 17-Mar-14 18:36:36

Ginny Here, here. I made that mistake with my parents, we saw them regularly but there was much I didn't do that they would have liked, but as they said nothing I assumed they were not particularly bothered.

FlicketyB Mon 17-Mar-14 18:38:31

I might add, with my children and grandchildren I am open, will ask and also express exasperation when dear disorganised son and DDiL arrange, disarrange and re-arrange constantly.