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Does the maternal Grandmother have more clout?

(56 Posts)
dorsetpennt Mon 21-May-12 21:51:03

I'm a paternal grandmother [hence the subject matter] and luckily I get on with my DIL extremely well, in fact she seems to prefer my visits to that of her mother.But that could be mothers and daughters for you nothing I've done. However, I always feel that the maternal Granny has the edge of me. There are times I feel it's not my place to say anything whereas her mother can just barge right in. As my daughter hasn't had any children yet I haven't been able to test this personally. However, I have asked friends who are both paternal and maternal g/mas and they agree with me. They are somewhat reticient to give advice or remarks to their DIL but have no problem with their daughter[s]. I'd love your comments, as always excellent on this forum.

whenim64 Mon 21-May-12 22:00:00

I don't know about clout, but I certainly find I can speak more openly with daughters about their babies than with ex-DIL (mind, she wasn't your average DIL). I find with both daughters that I can make suggestions if they ask for advice and they won't necessarily act on it till further down the line, when it becomes their idea! My daughters make suggestions to me nowadays and try to tell me what I should be doing decor-wise or what gadgets I should buy. I sometimes listen - same as them! grin

Anagram Mon 21-May-12 22:13:42

I do think it's only natural that daughters tend to be closer to their own mothers, and sometimes there can be female rivalry (even if unadmitted) between the mother and the wife of a son.
A lot depends on the individual relationships between the parties. Sometimes the DIL is virtually a stranger, and other times she's been a welcome family member for a long time. Personalities can clash, too!

nanaej Mon 21-May-12 22:46:28

I am far more involved in my DGCs lives than their paternal grandparents.

With DD1 her in-laws are divorced and remarried & so not sure if this made a difference as they are with partners not directly related to DGs (though all love him!) They live close (15 mins away) and he does visit them at least monthly and sometimes more..but it tends to be more 'formal' ie planned lunches, sleepovers etc. Wheras I look after DGS 2 x week plus DD will pop over at weekends if her husband is working or ask if I can look after him for short periods whilst she goes to supermarket etc. I suppose I tend to prioritise DDs support needs as my mum did for me. Am not a 'doormat' but try to help if I can!Feels like other grandmother loves our DGS but does not always offer support but waits to be asked. Feels like she does all on her terms,

DD1 partner has poor (almost non-existent) relationship with his mother & she has never seen themsad. She met my DD2 when she was 5 months pregnant with her first DD but MiL chose not to make further contact! Apparently she is close to her own DD and is v involved with her family. She lives in midlands & DD2 is South

vampirequeen Tue 22-May-12 08:02:48

I think it's natural for girls to turn to their mother (in most situations). It's what they've been doing all their lives.

nanachrissy Tue 22-May-12 08:10:35

I think it depends on all sorts of things. Personalities, proximity, time available to spend helping or visiting etc. and how many other grandparents/step gps are involved.
I'm not competitive at all and I just join in when I'm asked and do what I can. I love them all and they know it,and so far it works.

dorsetpennt Tue 22-May-12 08:29:48

Interesting comments. I do most of the visiting and helping as the maternal GM, although loves the two GDs, will only visit if her husband drives her. I have to go by train as I don't have a car. I also work 2 days a week, she hasn't for about 15 years at 50 years old she retired. Last weekend I went up from the Thursday to the Sunday as my DS was on a stag weekend. I went to help DIL with the babies. Her mother never offers any help like this as it means a bit of working, she is far too lazy. But she makes remarks and comments to my DIL that I feel I can't as the paternal GM.Mind you there are some remarks she makes I wouldn't make to anyone!!!

goldengirl Tue 22-May-12 08:36:41

I like to think I get on very well with my son's partner and add my two penn'orth as I do my own daughter. She sees her own mum quite a bit and I'm quite happy about that but also asks for advice from me both directly and through my son. She doesn't text me much unless I text her first but I like to think we're both comfortable with each other. I see the children regularly and I ask her advice about their care too. I take it as read that her mum has priority over me and that's fine by me.

Annobel Tue 22-May-12 09:37:27

DS1's wife is close to her parents (thought not geographically) and there is no reason on earth why I should resent that. They are lovely people and treat my son's first daughter as if she were their own GD - take her to football matches when Arsenal is playing! My DiL lived with me for several months when she and DS came home from working abroad and he had gone south to work. We had a wonderfully amicable relationship and this has continued for more than twelve years now. My other DS's partner is also a woman after my own heart and we have great conversations. Her mum is even further away than I am and is in poor health, so is even less able to be of help.
I know this sounds complacent, but I really am very lucky in the choices of partners my sons have made.

nanaej Tue 22-May-12 10:35:33

I do not consider the relationships a competition. Just pleased DGSs have so many loving adults around them and sorry that DGDs do not!

Charlotta Tue 22-May-12 10:37:07

I think that the maternal grandmother is that bit closer, but there are exceptions. My own mother was closer to my brother's wife than she was to her own mother. This was a personality thing.
I've just spent a weekend looking after my GDs. the 6 yr old was really naughty and I find I can discuss this with my DD and think she wouldn't like to talk to her MIL about it.

I never talked to my MIL about anything that really mattered. She spoilt the relationship from the very beginning.

Bez Tue 22-May-12 10:55:46

I too think it depends on circumstances and I am certainly closer to my DDs children than DS but geographical locations play their part here as I have always been within 20 miles of DD whereas DS was the other side of the country and then moved to USA some 10 years ago.
Things have never been absolutely calm with DiL and in fact she did remark to DD once how she had not been very nice to me some years previously and she wondered if I had ever forgiven her. DD said I was not the sort to carry grudges but she told me of the conversation and I sent an email not mentioning that I knew but made it very plain that I only ever thought of the good times we had when she lived with me when working nearby.
People change too with events - DIL once said how when I lived with DD and SiL in the early days of being on my own, she thought it was awful they were not on their own with the new baby BUT when she was miles away from all family when she had a baby how she realised what a help it had been and wished I was living with her! When her sister was thinking of moving back nearer family before having children DiL told her to do it as it was very hard having little ones with no family back up.
Although I do not see DS children as often as I would like I still have a very good relationship with them and I think that is to do with the way my DS behaves as he, DD and I have always been very close. I try never to give much in the way of advice or opinion unless specifically asked and DiL has said that she cannot believe some MIL that her

Bez Tue 22-May-12 10:58:39

Something happened here as I had not previewed the post so was surprised to see it disappear!!

I was going on to say that having heard stories from her friends about their MIL she had decided that she was in fact quite lucky with me!!!! Praise indeed!

nanaej Tue 22-May-12 11:57:18

Not having a DS & DiL not sure how I would be..but hopefully as close as I am to my DDs children! But circumstances can interfere! confused

Bags Tue 22-May-12 13:09:09

I have never wanted to have any 'clout' with my daughters once they grew up. Bringing up her son is my daughter's responsibility. I have no desire to and no intention of ever imposing my views if they differ from hers. She's perfectly competent. I get the impression the other grandmother is exactly the same. All we do is sit back and be friends and relations, utterly impressed with our mutual grandchild's parents.

As it happens, her style appears to be very similar to what mine was with her and her youngest sister who was born when she was nearly twenty. There are a few variations in the detail, but our general outlook and approach is the same.

specki4eyes Tue 22-May-12 16:11:04

In those far off halcyon days when I might have been able to help with advice (see my latest saga in Legal thread) I was strongly discouraged from any input by my DIL. Nevertheless I did once enquire whether she had a cat net for the new baby's pram, at which point, I thought she may have been inspired to call Childline at the very thought! However, her mother was in the delivery room no less, to the obvious chagrin of my DS. I have no DD so will never be able to test the difference! envy

JessM Tue 22-May-12 18:58:25

i get on well with my DIL. Since GD born I have always viewed my role, when I visit, to be: roll up my sleeves and be as helpful as I can, to take a bit of pressure on the hard working parents.Her mum is a bit of a worry to her, rather than a big support and this has its down sides for all concerned. But I don't have to compete!
My other S had an OH with whom I did not find it easy to gel - i was not alone in thinking they were not well matched. Fortunately he has seen the light. Phew.
I think it depends so much on individual family relationships and proximity.

Charlotta Tue 22-May-12 19:43:46

I realise bags that I don't know what clout means. I thought more clout meant that you were closer and perhaps were listened to. I don't expect to bring up my GCs or to interfere with my daughters.
You couldn't these days even if you wanted to.As my daughters bring their children up how they were brought up it is easy not to interfere.

jeni Tue 22-May-12 19:51:29

I'm just here for advice when wantedsmile she rings when she wants it! I very rarely offer it unasked as she seems to be doing a good job!grin

MaureenM Tue 22-May-12 19:55:49

I am sitting here with my 83 year old MIL as I write. She is staying with us for a couple of weeks and I have always got on well with her. My own mum has dementia and doesn't know who I am anymore. They lived nearly 200 miles apart, but both families always got on well and we lived nearer the In Laws at first and then my folks later. I would like to think that my children had an equally good relationship with both.
I am lucky in that I live within a mile of all my grandchildren. Both DDs and DS are glad of any support we can give. Son's two children here after school today, and three of daughters' children here tomorrow.

Butternut Tue 22-May-12 19:57:12

Well, my son has brought the kids up, whilst his wife works, being the higher earner. There is also a cultural difference. I spend time on skype with my son and we discuss all sorts, including how the kids are doing. My son's mother-in-law lives locally and is quite a character, but it is accepted that both my son and his wife do their own thing. I am perfectly happy with that, and as one of my grandchildren has special needs, I am more than comfortable with their choice of developing his education.
The thing is, I really have no input on their chosen life, nor how they raise their kids, being so far away, apart from our conversations. I do trust, however, that my son's influence aligned with his wife's culture, makes for an interesting mix.
What I am most pleased about it that they so happy together - they have fun and so do the kids.
OK - so maybe I would chose to have more boundaries, but there is a freedom for the children which I embrace.

Elegran Tue 22-May-12 19:59:10

The dilemma must come when DD or DIL is seen evidently not to be competent, and a mother or MIL worries about the effect on the grandchildren. Not something that I have experienced - my mother and mother-in-law both let me go my own way, with the occasional "have you tried...." or a "what about....."

Both my daughters are very successful with their families. Not always exactly how I would run things, but the overall results are excellent, in different ways. My son and his OH don't have any children so the question does not arise. I wish they would have some, but that is their business, I can't interfere .......

Butternut Tue 22-May-12 20:40:20

Yep, that's it. I think, E. Trusting in the competency of the mother/father in how the children are treated and brought up by the major caregiver. So many variables, but in essence that's the bottom line from which one can either be comfortable with the parents decisions or have concerns.

nanakate Tue 22-May-12 22:08:46

hmm There are so many interesting ideas and opinions in this discussion. I don't know about clout. Certainly when my first grandson was born to my daughter I felt almost as though I had a gag on me. I didn't feel confident about saying anything. I didn't realise at the time that my daughter was so worried about seeming less than perfect (to her partner) as a mother that she was holding back from confiding in me. After he cleared off that barrier just seemed to lift.

I also have a son but he doesn't have any children yet, so I don't know whether things would be different if I were a paternal nana. But the thing that struck me in an almost spiritual way when I became a maternal grandmother was an amazingly strong sense of a bond with my own mother, with her mother, and with my daughter - a sense of generations of mothers linked together through history and blood. Maybe that biological connection makes the maternal grandmother more 'powerful' somehow.

PressReturn Tue 22-May-12 22:52:54

Why are you looking to have "clout" with other adults?

I think that probably says an awful lot about you, op, in that you clearly feel that you don't have enough clout.

These are grown up people who really probably don't appreciate comments, however well meaning.

I would simply wait to be asked my opinion. And if it were never asked, well, so be it. Gcs and how they are brought up is done by the parents.

I am amazed at gps who think they have a say in this. "Incompetence" often means things aren't being done how you would like them to be done.