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Relationship advice needed please

(68 Posts)
NewNana2 Tue 29-Aug-23 00:30:50

I’m lost for words. Our son has a baby who’s 4 months old now. We seem to be seeing less of him living in the UK (21/2 hrs away) than mum’s family who live in France. Plans to see DiL’s family are made weeks in advance by the DiL. We are treated as an afterthought, non-equal to the other side in this relationship. It’s a miracle if we can see our grandson for a few hours when there. No amount of kindness, help and support seems to matter. They use us to dog sit and we do it to keep the peace and not upset our son or DiL. As soon as they arrive back home they expect us to leave with hardly any contact with grandson. I know this will resonate with a lot of grandparents but how do you deal with the ongoing heartache? Is there any way to change things?

Iam64 Thu 31-Aug-23 21:24:41

Mama20 - nope, don’t you get it, it’s always the daughter in law 😏

Hetty58 Thu 31-Aug-23 22:00:36

I see more of the GC who live closer - of course. My eldest daughter trusts me to babysit, sometimes, or help out in the holidays but brings them here. I've only ever been to her house at Christmas.

The youngest daughter lives a good three hours away, so her family tend to come and stay for a long weekend, just two or three times a year. I've only visited a couple of times - as it's too long a day, really.

My younger son brings his kids quite often, usually visiting and staying with them (DIL at work) but sometimes they have a night out, not often, and I babysit.

Older son has no kids yet - so my contact with GC is quite infrequent - but I've never wanted more. They're not my kids and I have other things to do. I wore out my maternal side bring up my four!

I have absolutely no idea what the other grandparents do or how involved they are. I've only met them once or twice - so how would I?

NewNana2 Thu 31-Aug-23 23:43:49

It’s very helpful to read your comments- thank you. I’ve talked to my son about how we felt. We listened to each other and acknowledged that some errors have been made and discussed way forward. I’ve also talked at length to a few friends who are mothers of adult sons with children. Unfortunately my situation is more widespread than originally thought. All these other women are going through near identical experiences with the DiLs, sons and children. Thanks again for your advice.

biglouis Fri 01-Sep-23 00:19:44

I am continuously confounded by people on Gransnet who seem to view any g.children (specially tiny babies) as some sort of commodity to beshared out equally between thbemselves, other g.parents and the actual parents

Yes when I read these types of threads I am glad I made the unselfish decision to be child free. Families now (usually with both parents working) find it difficult enough to carve out quality time for themselves without extended family members butting in and making entitled demands.

NotSpaghetti Fri 01-Sep-23 08:22:39

NewNana2 - thanks for popping back with an update.
I hope that things feel a bit better.

Redhead56 Fri 01-Sep-23 09:11:32

I have sisters who said they did not want to have children. They live hundreds of miles away and often rang up with their words of wisdom how to be a parent. I was often astounded by their knowledge based on nothing what so ever to do with the concept of family. Beside our parents and their siblings they didn’t have in-laws either as they chose single lives.

Quite often paternal grandparents are left out with no rhyme or reason and it can be hurtful. On the other hand there is no doubt that some family members want access to GC and make unreasonable demands on new parents. That’s perfectly true the subject is often discussed on here.

However not all grandparents do make demands they just want to be loving and included and for whatever reason miss out. It’s unfair to stereotype especially if there is no experience of being a parent or grandparent.

Madgran77 Fri 01-Sep-23 10:35:29

It’s unfair to stereotype especially if there is no experience of being a parent or grandparent.

It certainly is!

Smileless2012 Fri 01-Sep-23 11:22:04

Yes it is Madgran. Well said Redheadsmile.

Patsy70 Fri 01-Sep-23 11:24:12

This is a repeat of a thread posted earlier this week, to which I responded. The thread was then removed. When I asked the question why had it disappeared I was advised that the OP had been ‘removed’ by GNHQ, for some reason. It would seem that this is the third time NewNana2 has posted this.

Koalama Sun 03-Sep-23 11:17:00

Talk to them, and also when you dogsit, when they get back suggest that you take grandchild out the way for a bit while they unpack etc

Ydoc Sun 03-Sep-23 11:38:38

I am having a terrible time, one grandchild 6 years old, one daughter. This summer holiday ive seen her once. She lives 15 mins away. I will fit in any time any place. But no the wonderful relationship me and grandchild had is fast slipping away. They are only concerned with selves, even when i was ill no thought. I have tried everything and will continue for granddaughter sake but it is heartbreaking. I do hope karma is real.

knspol Sun 03-Sep-23 11:51:10

Hear, hear Mama2020! Dil makes arrangements to see her parents so it's down to DS to do the same. As he isn't doing this then maybe he needs a nudge?
I don't think inviting them round for a meal is a very good idea when quite a lengthy journey with a new baby is involved - not easy.

Susiewakie Sun 03-Sep-23 12:07:59

Take heart he's still little my DHD 1 and 2 now 6 and 8 will demand to see us and ask for sleepovers too in the holidays .Despite the other Granny being favoured in the beginning

Susiewakie Sun 03-Sep-23 12:08:47

DGD keeps auto correcting

grandtanteJE65 Sun 03-Sep-23 12:31:19

Your daughter-in-law's family live in France, so obviously visits to or from them have to be made in good time before the actually take place - a point that you seem to have totally overlooked.

And travelling with a four month old infant, apparently more than once since the child was born, cannot be anything but tiring for the parents.

So whatever you do or say now, please take a deep breath and consider these two points.

You don't say how well you get on with your DIL but surely you could ask her if her parents will be coming anytime soon and add that you always found travelling with an infant so tiring that you imagine she must be worn out.

You could say you would be delighted if DIL. son and baby came to yours for a meal, but hesitate to ask, as it probably is easier for them all if you visit them, rather than the other way around. Offer to cook a meal at home and bring it with you, when you visit.

Say you don't want to seem either to be ignoring the fact that the young family may have enough to do establishing a routine and not want or need visits, or uncaring by staying away, But you would like her to know that you would like to see more of the new family and help as best you can.

Nannashirlz Sun 03-Sep-23 12:42:29

It tends to happen being the inlaw unfortunately i have two lovely daughter inlaw but both head to parents before me. Why don’t you offer to babysit so they can have a night out etc that’s what I did and now I babysit once a month so they have a night out but they do live a few hundred miles away so they stay in a hotel for the night but I’m there a few days. My youngest lives near me and I babysit my grandson but not as much has her parents but they have a spare bedroom I don’t. But unless you offer there can’t read your mind.

Theexwife Sun 03-Sep-23 12:54:32

I am a bit confused as to how often you visit, you have said that you are expected to leave from dog sitting as soon as they return but also say that you only see your grandchild for a few hours, Are these extra visits not related to the dog sitting?

The baby is only four months old so surely the French trips have not happened very often especially as you say they are planned weeks in advance.

The French visits are not just about the baby, your daughter-in-law probably wants to visit her family regardless of the baby.

Some think twice-yearly visits are acceptable, and some weekly, you need to ask what the parents think is acceptable and accept it even if it is not what you want to happen.

biglouis Sun 03-Sep-23 13:05:27

I have sisters who said they did not want to have children. They live hundreds of miles away and often rang up with their words of wisdom how to be a parent. I was often astounded by their knowledge based on nothing what so ever to do with the concept of family. Beside our parents and their siblings they didn’t have in-laws either as they chose single lives

Having chosen a child free life does not obviate the ability to see that a "family" situation with both parents working and juggling jobs/life admin and young DCs can be a pretty fraught lifestyle without extra social demands from distant relatives.

ParlorGames Sun 03-Sep-23 13:11:47

Unless you tell them how you are feeling nothing will ever change.

In your position I would certainly not be available every time they need a dog sitter, let them suffer the inconvenience of having to research and book kennels - sounds harsh, I know but whilst ever you keep stepping up they will always walk over you.

Make a point of talking to them and explain how they make you feel by planning such detailed visits to France but nothing for you. They are not mind readers, they're simply inconsiderate individuals. Time you took control of your life

Philippa111 Sun 03-Sep-23 13:19:06

The reality is that the mother of the child is usually much closer to her own mother and the son's family can get a bit sidelined. The new mother of a baby is definitely in the driving seat in the early times. It's been mentioned lots of times here and I have also seen it in life. The father can get a bit sidelined for a while as the new mum tries to get to grips with her new situation with the baby. Both new parents will be sleep deprived and exhausted!

The baby is still young and the mother is probably still a bit overprotective and nervous and it's natural for her to see her own mother as her support... they have known each other all their lives.... you are a fairly new person in her life, no matter how nice and helpful you are.

But don't despair, the novelty and initial anxiety will wear off and she will ease up in time. A toddler is hard, hard work and you may come into your own later on... when they will be delighted with any and all help offered.

Try not to be hurt or angry as this will be felt by all concerned. Just keep on trying to get some space in the situation and say you'd like more contact if possible, and be cheerful when with them.

And equally you have rights here and can take charge of the situation with the dog. If you don't want to look after it, say so. Don't feel put upon and then resentful.

Having expectations of others that they can't fulfil only makes us unhappy!

It's a challenging new situation for you all and yes, not easy for you. It will get better!

Bugbabe2019 Sun 03-Sep-23 14:33:21

Not necessarily
I have an amazing relationship with my DiL
In fact my DS and DIL have just moved with my GS to be closer to me and not to her own parents. I guess I’m very fortunate!

Azalea99 Sun 03-Sep-23 15:14:35

OK, this is most definitely NOT meant as serious advice - As I read through the posts what sprang to mind was how much I’d like to send a birthday/ Xmas card to their dog which clearly stated “Happy Xxxx to my darling grandchild” Yes, you shouldn’t do it but it would certainly get the message over! OP you genuinely have my sympathy. I would be very hurt in your position. 🥰

Sasta Sun 03-Sep-23 15:59:55


May I ask why yet you open another qith same concerns?

What has changed since opened past threads?

I feel compelled to note Hithere, that your comments are, in the main rather unhelpful, and often acerbic. I don’t imagine you intend to be unkind, but that’s how it appears, to me at least. So what if the OP has posted a similar question already? She clearly hasn’t found a resolution yet and is asking for more support; if it irritates you, you could just ignore it.

Aven Sun 03-Sep-23 16:13:26

I'm going through this with my 3 sons. My grandchildren spend a lot more time with dils family as they live a bit closer (20mins compared to our 45mins). They stay over regularly but we have never had them. I am a retired childcare worker but that doesn't seem to count. I love all my family very much and have helped all my boys out when they got into money troubles when they were young. Every now and then I have a good cry, but I don't want to say anything as my eldest son stopped speaking to me when I pointed out we never got our grandchildren to stay over. It's been 7 years and I haven't seen his children, so I don't want to loose contact with the rest of my sons and families.
Thanks for listening, it's so good to get this out of my system. X

Lauren59 Sun 03-Sep-23 16:14:53


Ignore thread police newnana.
Post away.
I am maternal gran with similar situation so understand how upsetting this can be.

Thank you for posting what I was thinking. It doesn’t take much effort to be kind or be silent!