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Challenges with DIL

(53 Posts)
NewGMa Fri 14-Feb-20 09:39:18

I have a wonderful DIL whom my son loves very much. She is young, 22 & my son 25. My DH & I are in our late 40's. Her parents are much older than us... they are in their early 60's.

Our DH & DIL recently had their first baby, our first grandchild & we are thrilled. It has been a difficult road for my DIL as she has postpartum anxiety. We've all been respectful and supportive of her and our DS as much as we can being several States away.

Its been 2 months now and she still won't seek professional help. My son is being so patient with her but it is draining him. Recently our grandson was blessed in our church. Her parents flew out & so did my DH. I was going to surprise them and come but because I knew she was still not right I called and asked her what she thought. And she told me she loved me & knew everyone would love to have me there but it was overwhelming for her & she preferred I didn't come. So I stayed home. My DS calls us & we talk & i always say - How's my baby? How's my handsome boy? I was recently told not to say that to my DIL because it causes her anxiety. So I'm trying to watch what I say.
Now her new issue is what we're calling ourselves. When they were first married & we talked about grandkids she asked us what do we want them to call us. We said Mama & Papa. That's what my husband called his grandparents and we've always looked forward to the day we had our own grandchildren so they can call us that. When we told her that, she smiled. But now, it's an issue. She said she called her parents Mama & Papa/ Dad and doesn't want to confuse the baby because he will call her Mama (its really that name she has an issue with).
I am so hurt and frustrated. I feel I have bent over backwards to accommodate, support & love her through her struggles but she continues to have more rules and demands.
For 30 years we have dreamt about being Mama & Papa to our grandchildren and now she's not allowing it. I'm at a loss. Advice?

notanan2 Fri 14-Feb-20 09:44:35

Youre not the babys Mama and Papa though are you really surprised that that makes them uncomfortable. Most parents would hate it. Ditta you calling it your baby.

These are not "symptoms" of there being something wrong with your DIL. There are few parents who wouldnt object to you using language that implied you were the childs parent not grandparent.

GagaJo Fri 14-Feb-20 09:45:44

It's a name. Not anywhere as important as the relationship you'll have with your grandchild.

I wanted to be called granny. Grandson came up with his own name for me. Which is even more precious because it's so personal.

Let all expectations go to facilitate a lovel grandparent/ grandchild relationship.

Nico97 Fri 14-Feb-20 09:51:03

I would back off in wanting to have these names applied to you and your husband. Essentially, and you probably know this in your heart of hearts, Mama and Papa mean Mum and Dad, that is why there is the word Grand applied to grandparents - Grandma/Grandad etc. I too wouldn't want my children calling anyone else Mama - there is only one.

I'm sorry that this is probably not what you wish to hear but I think you will all gain much more if you accept this. At this early stage I would be wary of creating a battleground - in that there are no winners, only losers, usually the grandparents sadly. Take care flowers

Callistemon Fri 14-Feb-20 09:51:59

I must say that it never occurred to me to decide what I would like to be called when I became a grandparent five years before I even had my own children!

In fact, I hadn't even thought what I would want to be called as a mother at that time (if I ever became one).

What's in a name?
What about asking your DIL how she is when you phone?
He is not your baby, he is your DS and DIL's baby.
Don't confuse him

Granny and Grandpa?

Callistemon Fri 14-Feb-20 09:52:46

Grandma and Grandpa

Eglantine21 Fri 14-Feb-20 09:53:54

I think you need to ask yourself why she finds you “overwhelming”.

And why you’re making such an issue of what you want to be called. It’s really not at all important.

Trouble ahead unless you make some changes, I’m afraid.

Callistemon Fri 14-Feb-20 09:55:35

Or Grandmama and Grandpapa if you wish to be more formal.
But don't be surprised if your little DGS can't say that at first and shortens it to Gangan and Ganpy

GagaJo Fri 14-Feb-20 09:57:59

Eglantine is right. There is already friction there. You need to back off completely. Let your daughter in law and son lead on what they want. You'll win if you do that, with more cuddle time. Turn this into a fight and you'll lose.

MiniMoon Fri 14-Feb-20 09:59:00

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet".
When my DD got married and had our first grandchild, the baby had three grandfathers and three grandmothers plus four sets of great grandparents. We all had to have different names. I became Granny and my DH Grandpa, (not what he wanted but is now happy with).
Please give your DiL time, and don't worry about what the baby will call you. When he starts to talk, he may very well make up his own names for you.
And by the way, he is not your baby, so asking how's my baby is not the thing to say.
Take a step back for a little while, give her space, your DiL is very young and anxious she needs time to work through it all. Perhaps you should be encouraging your son to persuade her to seek help for the anxiety.

ninathenana Fri 14-Feb-20 10:01:53

I agree with previous posters

FlexibleFriend Fri 14-Feb-20 10:04:03

She sounds perfectly rational to me unlike yourself, you're in your 40's and been dreaming for 30 years what your grandchild would call you. What even before you had children are you crazy? Seriously get a grip and give her time to adjust to being a mum.

Hetty58 Fri 14-Feb-20 10:04:56

You are (either joking or) being very difficult. First, you expect DIL to get 'professional help' just two months after having a baby. New parents, especially mums, are often anxious with a small baby to look after - it's normal. You just expect too much too soon.

Next, you call the baby 'my baby' - wrong! You expect to be called Mama and Papa - wrong again.

Callistemon Fri 14-Feb-20 10:09:21

Did anyone else look at their new infant and think "when you make me a grandmother, I want to be called whatever"


M0nica Fri 14-Feb-20 10:17:42

Why have you built s much of your life around the idea of having grandchildren and clearly building your life around them? How would you have coped if your children had, chosen or unchosen, remained childless?

This child is not your child. He is your sons and DIL's child. It is up to them to decide when and if you see him and what that child calls you.

We all have dreams of what our children will be and do and how they will be just an extension of us. But for most of us this stage of our lives, rarely lasts for more than a month or two after they are born before we realise that they are individual and separate people and while we can have hopes, these will certainly be dashed as they do and act in their way not ours.

You have stayed in that first phase rather longer than most. You have to accept that they are two separate individuals who want anything to do with their child to be done their way and not to do something they do not want to do just to fulfill one set of grandparent's day dreams.

BlueBelle Fri 14-Feb-20 10:18:17

My goodness I would never in a million years get upset by a name it’s just a name are you so ultra sensitive... let the baby call you what ever it wants to call you, and in the meantime you are it’s GRANDPARENTS not it’s parents you are not it’s Mama and papa and I can’t believe I m reading this
Good grief woman for 30 years you ve dreamt of being called Mama and papa what a strange thing to focus on

Anyway congratulations on being a granny and granddad or a Nana and gramps or whatever you decide to be but mama and papa NO never, that title s gone to the lass and your son so you think of another one and do back off with the possessiveness he’s not ‘your baby’ or your ‘little man’
I don’t understand why you didn’t go to his christening with your husband that all seems very strange

Coolgran65 Fri 14-Feb-20 10:21:05

When our first doc was born we were asked what we’d like to be called. We said granny and granda. Other grandparents were the same. The dgc added our Christian names themselves. We became granny A and granda B. The other grandparents became granny C and granda D. As did the other dgc as they came along.
When it got to dgc number 6 he calls us nanny and gandad. He is now 3. Even tho we refer to ourselves as granny and granda. No idea where this came from and it doesn’t matter.

The name doesn’t matter it’s the relationship.

annsixty Fri 14-Feb-20 10:22:06

I am still struggling to understand the third paragraph.
“The baby was blessed in our church”
“My H and her parents flew out”
Flew out where?
“ I thought I would go and surprise them”
Excuse me, who takes a flight on a whim and who doesn’t go their precious GS’s blessing?
“She told me not to go”,anyone else would have taken the very big hint that something is very wrong
Have I totally misunderstood the post?

NanaandGrampy Fri 14-Feb-20 10:22:14

I just wondered why everyone got to go to the naming but you were the one who tipped her anxiety over the edge so by you not going everything was ok?

mumofmadboys Fri 14-Feb-20 10:23:53

I would have been very upset if my parents called my children 'my son'. Equally if they expected to be called Mama and Papa. Ask your DS and DIL what they would like your GS to call you and go with it. I hope the situation improves and you can enjoy your little GS.

endlessstrife Fri 14-Feb-20 10:26:48

Your daughter in law has just had a baby at a young age. There is so much going on in her head at the moment. You’ve had babies too! I think your ‘ worries ‘ are the least of her problems. You’ve acknowledged her anxiety, and now you’re stressing over trivia, such as what you’ll be called. Please don’t make this about you, and possibly jeopardise future relationships. Be accepting of anything you are offered, and don’t hanker for more. Remember, this is their turn now.

DoraMarr Fri 14-Feb-20 10:27:38

It seems to me that you are the one who is anxious. I know how overwhelming it is to have your first grandchild, but you need to take a step back, or you will risk alienating everyone, including your son. Mama and papa are not the names your son and daughter want their child to call you ( and by the way it is nearly two years early to be worrying about that) so you will have to accept it. Take a deep breath, relax, find something else to think about, follow your own interests, and stop being overbearing.

Callistemon Fri 14-Feb-20 10:48:46

our church could mean their particular brand of religion, I suppose, annsixty, but not in a particular church building. eg Anglican or Non-Conformist or Church of the Latter Day Saints etc.

It all seems rather odd to me.

Doodle Fri 14-Feb-20 14:03:08

I would have liked to be called nana but that was chosen for my DILs mother because that is what my DIL called her own gran. Fair enough. I haven’t given it a thought since and am happy being Grandma. You certainly shouldn’t expect to be called Mama and Papa. That is mother and father which you are not. It’s just a name. As others have said the child may come up with its own name for you.
I think the impression from most of the replies here is for you to back off a bit and not be so anxious. Be more relaxed about things and it will work out better for all.

sodapop Fri 14-Feb-20 14:16:55

Congratulations on your new grandson NewGMa and he is exactly that not your son.
You do need to let go of this Mama & Papa thing, it may have been a tradition in your husband's family but your son and daughter in law want their own traditions. Step back a little now otherwise as DoraMarr said you risk alienating your family.