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Am I hoping for too much

(46 Posts)
Blondie49 Wed 02-Mar-16 08:24:06

I live on my own on the mainland, daughter lives abroad for app 15 yr and son in Ireland app 7 yr. I don't have any other family but do have a lovely man friend nearby and lots of great girlfriends. When my son moved with his family there he said he would be back every month , I took that with a pinch of salt as would not expect that ever, especially with a busy job, wife and now he also has 3 kiddies. I had hoped though he might pop on a plane say once a year for a wee visit. They have only been back a couple of times for friends weddings and he has been on a couple of work courses. I have only brought it up once in 7 years and his reply was it didn't cross his mind to come on his own. I go over every 2/3 months and love seeing the kids, but it wd be lovely to have some quality time with son as understandably he is to busy for that when I'm at his house. Am I asking for too much, should you just learn to let them fly and realise your special time with them is over. My daughter is coming back soon to UK, but again a few hours away and with her big family the situation will probably be the same. I wish I could be like my man friend who has 6 kids in total and all quite near and never really bothers about visiting or getting visited, he says it's his time now and wants to spend it with his friends and me, is that men do you think. Any feedback will be gratefully received.

mollie Wed 02-Mar-16 08:45:46

We think it's not too much to expect Blondie49 but they (offspring) clearly do or there wouldn't be so many like minded grans asking the same question here on GN. My son lives in the same town but he's busy, time is short, and he prefers to spend it with his own little family rather than his old mum. Take a look through the posts on this site and there will be lots more asking much the same question. Your situation isn't uncommon and I doubt that you'll find a simple solution. I know my son isn't being unkind nor does he have an issue with me, he just doesn't think that it might my day if he dropped in for half an hour just to see me. Thankfully you have good friends so I suppose the best option is to enjoy their company as much as possible and to relish time spent with your son whenever, however, it happens.

Teetime Wed 02-Mar-16 08:56:56

There is a void isn't there some times when we long to see our children and have special time with them just you and them. I feel the same my daughter is welded to her son aged 11 who I love but I cant just get a few hours shopping on our own. I suppose we do have to say they are living there own lives now and we have to fit round that. I suppose its different for our generation who were brought up to put our parents first. I'm sorry you are missing them so much if its any comfort your not on your own. flowers

Imperfect27 Wed 02-Mar-16 08:59:43

Blondie I feel I would have to battle with a sense of hurt if I were in your situation.I am glad that you do get to see your son's family a few times a year. It seems to me that you have been realistic in your expectations -which have been proven to be true - but I don't think it unreasonable of you to have hoped for more quality time with your son. It does seem he just hasn't given it much thought - and without wishing to be too sweepingly generalistic, I think this tends to be more typical of sons than daughters.
Maybe you have been silent and forbearing for too long so that he has had plenty of time to neglect thinking about what a quality visit could mean for both of you, though equally I think I would have been silent up to a point too - we never want to come across as demanding!
For what it is worth, I have to nag my DH to see more of his mum and she lives just around the corner from us - it really isn't lack of love, just lack of thought, but he just doesn't seem to get that his mum might want to see him by himself.
Could you possibly have a word with DIL and explain that you would love to see him / them both for some quality time, perhaps without children in tow? Could you take them out for an adult meal? Do you think she might be understanding and give him a little nudge in the right direction?
I have lost both my parents now - that is probably why I nag my DH, because I think he will feel guilty and reproving of himself if anything happened and he lost his mum or dad suddenly. We sometines forget we won't have them forever.
I feel I really got to know my parents better as people when I was in my 30s/40s. I hope this can happen for you and your son and daughter too, but I do think the time may have come for you to speak up more on the subject - not in an admonishing way - but as a sign that you want to enjoy the adults your children have become. xx

Luckygirl Wed 02-Mar-16 09:27:32

I never yearn for "quality time" with my DDs - I love seeing them in their family context and expect nothing more. Why should I? They are busy people and I feel privileged to be welcomed by their families and able to share time with them all.

Why would you want to see your son on his own? Whatever would you find to talk about for any prolonged period? He is wrapped up in his family and work now - that is how it goes.

I think that you should take delight in what you have and not let that be spoiled by wanting more. Just enjoy.

Grannyknot Wed 02-Mar-16 09:31:30

I do think this is a fairly common problem (of getting "time alone" with a son, perhaps more so). I rarely see my son on his own (he is married with a baby) - but we do find the time on occasion when they visit e.g. when the baby is ready for a nap and a walk in the pram pushed by daddy is called for, I will walk with him and so we find the time to be alone together. Often too when he is in London for work he'll try and catch me for a lunch meetup but it is isn't always straightforward to match timings. But at least I know he makes the effort.

I never have the same problem with my daughter, her husband is quite insular (which is fine) so her and I often have time "hanging out" together - walks, coffee, even shopping ( although she hates shopping with someone else, doesn't see the point grin ) I'd say my daughter is one of my best friends.

Perhaps your son views your visits as fulfilling the need to see them and doesn't think of it as being necessary the other way round.

annsixty Wed 02-Mar-16 09:36:55

Once our children have families of their own,they are more important to us than we are to them. It has always been so.
The family obviously welcome you when you go over so just accept that they love you and want to see you.
Make the !most of your new relationship with your man friend,you are very important to him it would seem.

Luckygirl Wed 02-Mar-16 09:37:42

BY the way - I have grown to hate the phrase "quality time" - it feels self-indulgent and unrealistic.

I never go out and do things with just my DDs and feel no special desire to. If it happened I would enjoy it, but I have no expectations of it and do not miss it. But my Son-I-L and I went to a concert together the other week!

harrigran Wed 02-Mar-16 09:39:30

Blondie I would not broach the subject of visits with DS or DIL, they may see it as you being needy and demanding.
Modern families seem to have to do a lot of juggling because of both parents working, I would hate to add to their stress by insisting on frequent visits which would lead to them doing it out of a sense of duty rather than love.

jinglbellsfrocks Wed 02-Mar-16 09:46:35

I don't think that you can expect him to visit on his own. He is bound to bring his family with him when they visit. That sounds normal to me, especially with a son. My DD sometimes visits with the boys, whilst leaving son in law at home to do his own thing. She knows she will get a nice few days holiday, apart from anything else. Enjoyment all round. But I don't think men think that way.

Can you manage to wangle the odd half hour or so alone with him? Perhaps ask him to pop to the shops with you? Or help you in some way while his wife has a sit down?

kittylester Wed 02-Mar-16 09:50:27

I think a read of the thread entitled 'Like mother Like Daughter' would be a good thing to read.

harrigran Wed 02-Mar-16 10:02:16

jingl I had to laugh at your comment about asking DS to pop to shops with you. My DS does not do shops and probably would not know where to find them, that's what internet is for.
I get to talk to DS while he is playing with the Lego on our lounge floor, yes I know he is 40+ but it is so much more interesting than when he was a child grin

Imperfect27 Wed 02-Mar-16 10:14:21

This has really exercised my 'How demanding a mother are you?' thinking and made me reflect on how my children might perceive me! I also posted on the Like Mother/Daughter thread and would be the first to say I don't want my children to visit because they feel obliged, but they have had the model of a parent who treated her own parents respectfully and with consideration. I honestly visited my parents with gladness - perhaps because they were not imposing - and I loved time to myself with my mum in latter years when the children were not so demanding of our every minute together. I think of my own daughter as a special friend.
I really hope all my children will have the same sense of wanting an 'adult' relationship with me where each side sees and enjoys the person beyond the relationship title. I think this is helped by me refraining from 'being the parent' re advice (interference?) now they are so grown ... Mind you, they enjoy a lot of 'yer mum' - and now granny - jokes around me so I suspect sometimes it will only work when it suits them grin.

jinglbellsfrocks Wed 02-Mar-16 10:15:20

Yeah. On thinking about it you're right harri. Last thing my son would do too. But - you know what I mean! grin

Teacher11 Wed 02-Mar-16 10:15:52

Did your DH visit his mother on her own without you and the family, and if he did, how did you feel about it?

They say, 'A daughter's your own for all of her life, a son's your own 'till he has a wife. Men and women are different and while your son will never stop caring for you his time is his family's time.

If you do succeed in getting your son to yourself you might regret it if your DIL takes it amiss and puts her foot down.

Having said that, when my FIL died and my MIL's health started failing my DH spent much of our family time dealing with her and looking after her. I tried to be supportive but it was very hard working full time as a teacher and then having to deal with two young children on my own while the man I married saw to his mother's needs.

Life is very difficult for everyone and we should all try to be tolenant and generous, hard as this is.

Grannyknot Wed 02-Mar-16 10:20:56

luckygirl I also dislike the phrase "quality time" and the person who taught me to question it was my daughter when she was about 5 or 6 years old and I called her in from play (how daft is that?! - but it was all the rage in the 1970s) - saying I had time to spend with her.

And she put her hands on her hips and wrinkled her nose in disgust and said "I just want your time." And ran back out to play.

It made me realise what a crock of sh*te "quality time" actually was.

pattie Wed 02-Mar-16 10:30:39

When my dad remarried I didn't see him on his own for 6years it was always with my stepmother. When I eventually mentioned it he said he'd never realised it. Obviously he hadn't missed me perhaps men are wired differently. He just said why hadn't I said anything before? Considering I was an "only" you would have thought he would have wanted to see me. We had a good relationship and I had a really happy upbringing so just think it's a man thing.

tanith Wed 02-Mar-16 10:57:08

Looking back to when my parents were alive I have come to realise I was guilty of exactly what you are talking about , my own little family came first and Mum and Dad were visited and baby sat when it suited me , it wasn't till a couple of years ago when I began to feel that my son who lives abroad with his little family wasn't making the effort to come visiting that I realised my own failings.
Its difficult but I think we just have to accept that our adult children naturally put their own family needs before what we think is important and rightly so. It still hurts though flowers

Greyduster Wed 02-Mar-16 10:57:34

I see my daughter briefly a couple of times a week as we pick our GS up from school, but we don't find a lot to talk about other than trivial family stuff. I was fortunate recently to be able to persuade her to have a shopping day with me - a departure for both of us because she hates shops, doing most of her shopping on line, and I hate shopping full stop. We were shopping for her birthday, and I treated her to lunch. We had fun, but we don't ever seem to get round to having in-depth conversations about anything these days and certainly not 'heart to hearts'. She has never encouraged it. Our son lives two hours drive away and visits whenever his team have a match here and then I get very little time with him, just a chat over lunch and then away. Outside the football season we are lucky to see him. DH has more time alone with him than I do and I know that if he has anything on his mind, he will chew it over with his father in the pub before the game rather than me. I am toying with the idea of taking him to a Japanese restaurant for his birthday. I know DH won't want to come because he hates 'furrin' food' but whether my d-i-l would take umbrage about not being invited i don't know. I'm with harrigran and all those who say don't insist. I'm happy to take what I can get!

elena Wed 02-Mar-16 11:00:45

Wanting to spend time on your own with an adult child who's got their own family and resenting the fact they come with the 'package deal' of the new family is a recipe for ill-feeling, to be honest.

I think it's wonderful my children have got lovely partners/spouses and now, children of their own. If it's a competition for their time between me and dh and their own set-ups, then I'm happy to cede defeat smile

Not that I think of it like that....I don't mind a bit if I see them alone or with their families. The idea of somehow wangling time alone with any of them is one that wouldn't even occur to me - I can't be the only one to feel that way, surely? smile

Neversaydie Wed 02-Mar-16 11:06:13

One of my daughters has just come out of a three year relationship and yes I did miss rarely seeng her without her partner (she doesnt live near us)But he wasnt the easiest of people to get to know which didn't help. Had he been I think she and I would have gone off shopping or whatever and left him with DH...
My other daughter really missed seeing her sibling on their own ..
I suppose one just has to accept that the dynamic changes

nannynath Wed 02-Mar-16 11:21:14

Blondie I do know how you feel. When I see my son which isnt often due to work commitments and life itself. His very long term partner is with him. I think it would be very nice to have a little chat with him - just the two of us. When we phone each other she is in the background. My consolation is she is a lovely girl. So answering your question yes wanting quality time I think is impossible. I always had time alone with my parents both as a child and an adult and it strengthened me. To quote Neversaydie (thankyou) the dynamic changes.

Juggernaut Wed 02-Mar-16 11:26:13

I can't get over how lucky we are with our son.
He went to university an hour and a half drive from home, then started working almost two hours away from us.
He was desperate to get back to live closer to us, and both he and his wife now live in the next road to us!
Admittedly, we live on the coast, and in a much nicer area than they were in before, it's also a far more pleasant place to raise a family.
I wondered if DDiL would be happy here, but she sees her family regularly (they're an hour away) and seems settled in this area.
He often drops in to see us on his way home from work, just ten or fifteen minutes usually, but we appreciate that.
DS and I have a very close relationship, maybe because he's an only child, his dad worked shifts and we spent a lot of time as just the two of us.
For mother's day DDiL is going to her mum, and DS is spending the day with me, no DGC yet (one due in August) so the freedom is there to visit both mums.
I may be something of a 'smother mother' but he obviously doesn't mind!

NonnaW Wed 02-Mar-16 11:35:14

I rarely see my 3 sons, even though none are married, but that's ok, they have busy lives and I know they would be there for me if I needed them. No 2 son visits most, tho only flying visits, overnight stay, be fed (😊), then off. Whenever he has a few days off he maps out his visits across the country to his friends and mum.

Someone mentioned never seeing her dad alone since he remarried - that had never occurred to me, as Ian always with DH when we see his children. Wonder if they resent that? I do always want to go along to see his youngest DD as its my chance to see the lovely GS, but maybe I should suggest he has lunch with them alone sometimes. Don't think he'd be happy about that though, he likes me with him.

Imperfect27 Wed 02-Mar-16 11:43:34

Juggernaut I am the other MIL in that scenario with DD living an hour /15 mins away in a coastal town, but just 10 mins away from SIL's mother. He has a very good relationship with his mum (single parent) which hasn't been a problem for my D. Equally, he is happy that she and I are close and he is very welcoming and respectful towards me. I am glad they have a supportive parent nearby as GS1 has just arrived. They used to divide their time up re visits for special occasions thoughtfully - we have encouraged them to spend it together though and have taken turns with welcoming them for visits over the past few years. Now GS1 has arrived, it may happen that we visit them more. I can remember how much I wanted to be in my own home once the children were a little older. I think my DD was homesick for a time, but she has really settled now and I am happy that she has been embraced by SIL's family. And an hour plus is not bad at all re day trip visits.