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I feel shut out

(52 Posts)
Confusedgranny Wed 11-Dec-19 20:36:47

Hello fellow grannys. This is my first post as I’m looking for some advice from you lovely ladies. My oldest son and his partner gave me my my first grandson 3 Years ago. My granddaughter followed shortly after and I feel completely shut out from their lives. They live 3 hours away so I rarely get to see them. The first year after my grandson was born we only got to see them once a month. We either went to stay with them or they came to ours for the weekend however this has dwindled down to about 4 times a year. I split with my husband about 2 years ago and this was an extremely difficult time for me but I don’t feel like I got any support from my son or his partner. Just spending time with my grandchildren would have brought me so much joy during this very stressful time but I feel like I have to beg to be allowed to stay with them. When I do stay I am only permitted to stay for one night which just isn’t enough time.
I was so very excited when I found out that I was finally going to be a granny but I feel rather deflated about the relationship I now have with my grands. The atmosphere is so tense when I visit and my sons partner practically ignores my presence. I have tried so hard to be helpful and get involved but she just won’t let me be a proper granny. I have never bathed the children or changed a single nappy. She barely lets the children out of her sight. I recall one occasion when I tried to take the baby out into the garden and I was told to bring him back. I just can’t make any sense if it. Where am I going wrong? Does anyone have any advice as I am truly a loss?

MerylStreep Thu 12-Dec-19 08:42:12

You might be feeling a little bruised after reading some of the posts? But believe me they are all meant with the best intentions 🙂

Sometimes things just have to be said. For most of their lives my friend and her daughter had a difficult relationship. I knew what the problem was but always nodded and sympathised when she was upset. Then one day I just came out with it. I knew by her face that I'd hit a nerve. Not long after she left.

About a week later she came to tell me that, yes, she had been very upset at what I'd said but had thought long and hard at her attitude. She has completely turned around their relationship.

harrigran Thu 12-Dec-19 08:54:15

where am I going wrong ?
In just about every aspect of being a grandparent, you don' t get to make the rules or the decisions.
By the way, an exploding nappy at 6am is no fun 😱

Confusedgranny Thu 12-Dec-19 09:19:28

I feel like I’m being misunderstood here. Everything I do is with love in my heart and with the best of intentions.
I just want to spend quality time with my grandchildren doing things that they will enjoy like baking and painting and reading them stories. Building memories and a close relationship with them. Is that really so wrong? I can’t do these things if I’m only spending a couple of hours every few months.
I don’t think that I’m asking too much by staying with them for a weekend every so often. My husband also visits them separately so why is it wrong for me to do the same?
Of course I know that I can’t look after the children on a regular basis but I would like to pick the children up from play school on a Friday afternoon, take them to the park and then take them home and make dinner for my son and his partner for when they return home from work. Surely that would be helpful to them? I am rather afraid to suggest it though as everything I ask seems to result in a no. Although I do feel that the decisions are coming from my sons partner rather than my son himself as he always seem embarrassed and unable to give a valid reason for turning down my suggestions.

GagaJo Thu 12-Dec-19 09:22:51

My husband also visits them separately so why is it wrong for me to do the same?

Because you obviously make clear to them that you want more than they want to give.

You can't MAKE them do what you want.

If you try to force what you want, you'll end up with less, not more.

Bridgeit Thu 12-Dec-19 09:25:24

You are not being misunderstood, we do understand, But like most of us have already found out, we have to back off & let them get on with their lives & be happy with the times you do share, you never know by doing that they may suddenly realise that you are and can be a great asset. Give it time, give it a try , best wishes

annodomini Thu 12-Dec-19 09:31:22

'My son and his partner both work and I so desperately want to help them. I could help to look after the children to give them a break'

Is that all you think you could do to help. What about volunteering to do their ironing, for example? They could then have more time to play with their children.

March Thu 12-Dec-19 09:35:17

'I' that's all that stands out in your last post.

Please dont blame your DIL for your expectations not being met.
I feel that your son feels 'embarrassed' because you're not listening to him. The reasons he gives aren't 'valid' enough for you.

ayse Thu 12-Dec-19 09:47:29

It’s a sad thing but quite often daughter’s mum generally gets to see the grandchildren more. With 3 DDs, I’ve only been able to be the sort of granny you want to be for number 3 as work and continents got in the way.

Anno is on the right track. I’ve spent hours helping out by doing washing, ironing etc. Maybe you could try asking your son what help they most need, rather than expecting to look after your grandchild. First children for any couple are very special and it’s all new for them. They are under a lot of pressure to do things right and want to have time with their child.

Please try not to feel too disheartened and make the most of the time you do have with them. It’s so difficult and I feel for you but as others have said it’s up to the parents who sees their children and when.

GagaJo Thu 12-Dec-19 09:50:05

My grandparents were lovely. I adored them. They had their own lives, did their own thing. I used to go to stay with them, which I loved.

But when my granny died, my grandad married again. His new wife was different. She wanted. She'd try to get the family to do what she wanted. Go to theirs for a party? OK, but they weren't fun. They were an old persons party. Visit them regularly. Why, when it was boring when we got there?

Grandad and new wife decided that the reason they didn't see family much was because they lived further away from us. So they moved nearer. And nothing changed.

The new wife continued trying to get things the way she'd like (which to be fair, now I'M the granny weren't that demanding) but it just drove a wedge between an otherwise quite happy, easy family relationship.

The moral is. You have to let them WANT to see you. And the more YOU try to do, the LESS you will get.

Sara65 Thu 12-Dec-19 09:52:34


Wait to be invited, then book into an hotel or B&B, and take it from there.

Luckygirl Thu 12-Dec-19 09:55:10

Confusedgranny - oh dear; your last post makes it all the more obvious that you are sadly making your own problems. Of course you could do all the things you have listed - but only if THEY want this. It is not helpful if they do not want these things from you.

This site is heaving with experienced grannies who are feisty and have opinions of their own - it is very rare to find a thread where all agree on the same advice.

It really is important advice, or you will lose contact altogether and that would be so sad for you.

I have to say that if my MIL had come bustling in insisting on doing stuff that I had not asked of her I would have been pretty irritated.

Please stand back and think about this - it is no good digging your heels in and shooting yourself in the foot.

Smileless2012 Thu 12-Dec-19 09:57:35

Enjoy the time you do get to spend with them Confusedgranny. It's hard when things don't turn out the way we thought they would and I do understand your disappointment.

Try and find other things to occupy your time and your thoughts, and try to come to terms with how things are. You can't change them, you can only hope that circumstances will change.

GagaJo is right, they have to want to see you.

I hope that over time things will improve but don't let your grievances spoil the time you do see

endlessstrife Thu 12-Dec-19 09:58:08

Hello Confusedgranny. Sorry you’re getting a bit of a pasting on here, but I can understand what people are saying. How did you get on with your son/ them both, before the split from your husband? Has there always been animosity of some kind? I think what comes across in your post, is expectation. So that could be just once a month, but it’s still expectation nonetheless. Your son and daughter in law may have sensed this, and then panicked it would become more, particularly when you split from your husband. I know with my late mother in law, it wasn’t actually seeing her which was the problem, but the threat. So every time the phone rang, doorbell etc. We couldn’t relax, so when we did see her, it was tense. I would advise you find something to interest you, outside of family. Take a step back, and let them come to you when they’re ready. Of course, there may actually be something that needs discussion, but only you would know that. All the best to you.

hazel93 Thu 12-Dec-19 10:16:30

Well, you asked ! I do so hope you take note of the excellent advice given here.
My adored GD, a toddler, lives locally so I see her often. I love the fact that parenting is not my responsibility, I get all the fun without the angst !
What's not to like ?

Nansnet Thu 12-Dec-19 10:16:46

Confusedgranny, I do understand where you are coming from. Of course we all want to be a part of our grandchildren's lives, but it's not for us to decide when or how often we see them, especially when our sons/daughters lead busy lives, and spend most of the week at work, with little time to enjoy relaxing together with their own little family.

Some grandparents get to see their GC far less than you do ... and some see them far more than they would like!Lol You suggest picking up your GC on a Friday and cooking dinner for your DS & DiL ... but don't you think that, after working all week, they probably relish the thought of spending Friday night relaxing alone, perhaps cooking a meal together, or ordering a takeaway, and enjoying a bottle of wine after the children have gone to sleep ...? I know that's what my DS and DiL enjoy doing, and I certainly wouldn't want to intrude on that time by expecting to stay with them for the weekend. In my view, that wouldn't be helping them ... it would be encroaching on their valuable time that they like to spend together at weekends. My son & DiL live overseas, so I don't get to spend a lot of time with my GC, although we do skype regularly, and I visit occasionally for a few days, but only when it's convenient for them.

Many of us find it difficult to accept that when our sons/daughters leave home, and have their own families, their parents are no longer the most important people in their lives, and we need to let go and let them get on with their own lives without interfering, or expecting too much from them. As others have said, try taking a step back. Tell them you look forward to visiting again, but ask them to let you know whenever it would be convenient, as you appreciate they are busy and need their own time together.

Confusedgranny Thu 12-Dec-19 10:20:34

I do lead a full and active life and have lots of hobbies and interests. I just feel that I would like to have more involvement with my grandchildren. I see my friends who regularly look after their grandchildren and often have them to stay over and yet I have never even had my grandchildren on my own. I have offered to babysit on numerous occasions but the offers are always turned down. I know that my sons partner has no family help as they all live overseas and they have looked after the children on their own so I just want to be there for them.
My relationship previously was great. They would come and stay with us for long weekends 3 or 4 times a year and we would go to them every so often but since the children came along everything seems to have changed. When my grandson was first born I would frequently message my sons partner asking after her and the baby, and to let her know that I was available to help and would love to see them both but the messages were either ignored or replies were few and far between. I’m afraid that I gave up after a few months and all contact is now through my son.

Madgran77 Thu 12-Dec-19 10:42:25

If your relationship was great before the children came along then could you sit down and talk to them openly about how you feel things have changed and you are wondering why?. By that I mean ask if they are worried about you spending time with the children? are you doing things that annoy them? are you getting something wrong?

Then really really listen.

Your responses depend on their answers but I think it is vital that your responses link to their needs not your own. I really do understand how hard this is, but the fact is you can't change what they want. You are the one that has to adapt. flowers

Nansnet Thu 12-Dec-19 10:43:31

You say you had a good relationship before your GC came along, and then everything changed. Well, generally speaking, things do tend to change when people have babies. They don't have the time, or the energy, to do the things that they always did before, or at least not as often. Your DS & DiL are parents now, and their own little family is their priority, not you I'm afraid.

When your GC came along, and you frequently messaged your sons partner with offers of help, and saying you would love to visit, maybe she thought you were being a bit too pushy, when all she wanted was to have time alone with your son and their baby. Young couples these days like to do things their own way. Maybe that's why she stopped responding, and has since become a little frosty towards you ...? Much better to tell them once that you're here for them, and should they ever need any help or advice they only have to ask, and leave it at that. That's what I did and believe me they do eventually ask when they need you for something!

endlessstrife Thu 12-Dec-19 10:47:38

when my grandson was first born, I would frequently message............ you did this for a few months and then gave up! Here is your answer. You overwhelmed them when they’d just had a baby. Like I say, you panicked them and now they can’t relax. You really need to back off big time, sorry, but read it yourself to see how it sounds.

notanan2 Thu 12-Dec-19 10:58:51

You really need to stop the fixation with getting the GC alone

It is not necessary for a good relationship and if you dont let it go they wont want to see you as much as they do at all!

You see a lot of the GC. Try enjoying the time you do have rather than bemoaning that its not alone time. Then everyone can relax and enjoy your visits!

Hithere Thu 12-Dec-19 12:12:45

Help is what people need from you, not what you are willing to do for them

My mother is like you. She wants to help "from the bottom of her heart" but she would tell me what she wanted to do, not what asking what and how she was needed.
That meant she pushed her own agenda with the excuse of "help"
It is very easy to see through it.
That is what you are doing so you are pushed away.

Have you heard "the road to help is paved with good intentions"?
You are paving that road very well

This is not a competition. What your friends do with their gc, babysit, sleep overs, etc is not a reflectionnor guide of what you should be doing too.

I am amazed all posters are all in agreement. Do you know how rare this is in gransnet?

Now you know what's wrong, you can change it

hazel93 Thu 12-Dec-19 12:37:07

I really cannot understand why you have not sorted this way before now.
Surely the fact you only communicate with your son yet had a good relationship with his partner in the past tells you something.
Have you thought of simply writing to her, pen on paper I mean not email. Tell her you miss her , ask her how she feels, admit you may have made mistakes no matter how unintentionally. Focus on her not your GCs , hopefully an olive branch will be the start of a new understanding.

MerylStreep Thu 12-Dec-19 14:18:41

I don't think you understand the dinamics of some/most families. Your comment RE Friday nights. Friday nights mean a great deal to young working families. It's that, ahh, Friday night, lovely, working week over 😄 The last thing most of them want is mother/mother in law taking over ☹️

It's obviously a part of family life that passed you by. I've come to conclusion that there's no hope for you. Not once have you said you will think on what most of us have said. It's still: but what about me.

Labaik Thu 12-Dec-19 15:01:21

Two of my grandchildren live 20 minutes away but I don't see them every month. As a young mother I never entrusted anyone with picking my children up from nursery/taking them to the park etc. I did have more involvement with my daughters children, but that's probably because she knew my attitude to raising children was the same as hers; with sons and DIL's it's different. They're also having to cope with working and having two grandparents visit at different times. Having been through a divorce etc myself I'd say rebuild your life but not around your grandchildren; back off a bit and the relaxed atmosphere might change things. I think you're probably putting more pressure on your DIL than you realise. Also, working and having young children puts quite a strain on marriages and, as parents we don't want to make that worse. By the way, I do sympathise as I would like to see my grandchildren more often, but that's the way it is so I have to accept it.

Luckygirl Thu 12-Dec-19 15:08:39

I have never even had my grandchildren on my own. - I cringe when I see this on Gransnet. You obviously feel that you should have time with them on their own - I wonder why?

Are you able to answer that question? - I think it is an important one to think about.

Why should you have them on their own if the parents have no need of that?

I am sure that they have picked up on these irrational wishes that you have and this may be why they are keeping their distance.

What happens with your friends and their GC is completely irrelevant - what your own family want is the only thing that matters.

You could apologise for being a bit pushy and try and mend some fences - or you could keep repeating the same mistakes. The choice is yours to make.