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Are three grannies acceptable?

(54 Posts)
nangran Sun 08-Jul-12 22:07:25

I'd really appreciated advice/support on the situation I'm in.

My eldest daughter had a boy 2 years ago and a daughter a week ago. When my grandson was born I wasn't told my daughter was in hospital until late into her labour - although her father and step-mother had been informed and were there from the beginning. I heard through the grapevine that my grand-daughter was born last week, as my daughter (and her 2 sisters) didn't let me know. This whole nastiness stems from my writing to my daughter explaining how hurt I am that her step-mother has been allowed to take over my role - to the point where my grandchildren are being brought up to call her grandma.

Am I being possessive and silly to feel very hurt and angry that my grandchildren will have three grans in their lives, or is my anxiety grounded? I feel so alone and confused in all of this.

None of my daughter's have contacted me since March this year and I believe I am going to be deprieved of any contact with my two grandchildren from now on

tanith Sun 08-Jul-12 22:16:54

Its ok to feel hurt and angry but it sounds like the letter you wrote has upset your daughters to the point they no longer contact you or include you. Put the rights and wrongs of the situation aside if you want to have contact and a relationship with your daughters and grandchildren it looks like you are going to have to keep your comments and thoughts to yourself.

Extended families are often problematic and its like stepping on egg shells for some but for the sake of relationship with them it might be worth eating humble pie even if its through gritted teeth. Maybe you could send a care welcoming the new baby maybe with a small gift as a peace offering.

crimson Sun 08-Jul-12 22:25:22

I don't want to pry, but does all this go back to what happened when you and her father split up? Does she blame you in some way?

nanaej Sun 08-Jul-12 22:31:53

My grandsons have 3 grandmothers too. I think we are all called nana but with our name added. I am just delighted they are so well loved. We each love the boys and my relationship with them will be different from the ones they develop with the other nanas not better just different.

It is sad that your daughters have distanced themselves from you. If you want to maintain a relationship with your grandchildren it may be worth apologising to your daughter for upsetting her even if you feel you did nothing wrong. It feels as though you may still be angry that your ex is with his new partner but sometimes it's worth swallowing your pride for the bigger reward. Good luck.

nangran Sun 08-Jul-12 22:46:27

Hi Tanith. Thank you for your advice. You're right about the letter, however it did finish with my reiterating how much I love them, and it's something that needs talking about, but my advances to meet up to talk have been ignored. I sent my daughter a substantial cheque for each of my grandchildren, which has been taken from my bank account but not acknowledged. As you say, putting wrongs and rights aside is important, but if there's no hope of dialogue I'm at a loss as to how we can move forward.

Greatnan Sun 08-Jul-12 22:47:06

Yes, three grannies are acceptable - as long as they are all loving and kind, why should the child not have as much support as possible? Please don't let your own hurt spoil your chances of being part of your grandchildrens' lives.
Surely it is a good thing if your daughter gets on well with her stepmother? Sometimes, you just have to grit your teeth and keep quiet about your own feelings for the sake of your relationships. Nobody says it is fair - but you have to ask yourself whether you want to be happy or you want to be right.

I was thrilled when my daughter married and her new mother-in-law became Nannie to her four children by a previous relationship. I was happy that I was no longer their only grandparent and I loved the way the step grandparents treated them as their own. I didn't think they would love me any less - love is a very elastic commodity.

nangran Sun 08-Jul-12 22:50:18

Hi Crimson (I'm not sure I'm doing this right, I've never written on a forum before)? I don't think my daughter could blame me for the split, although it was acrimonious. She was very young at the time (llyrs) and her father and step-mother have been together ever since...

crimson Sun 08-Jul-12 23:01:28

Didn't mean to be nosy, nangran, it's just that I split up from my daughters father over ten years ago and, even though he left to be with someone else there still seem to be repercussions to this day which still emerge in all sorts of ways.

nangran Sun 08-Jul-12 23:05:22

Nanaej and Greatnan. Hi. You both make valid points. I hardly have contact/ or thoughts about my 'ex' or his partner/'step-mother' - even though she was once my best friend.
I hate the turn our lives have taken but am at a loss as to how to resume contact if there's no response to my requests. I feel I have offered an olive branch but it's been pushed away and I'm all too aware that at some time in the future my grandchildren will begin to wonder why they have never met mummies mummy, this breaks my heart

Anagram Sun 08-Jul-12 23:09:42

I feel for you, nangran, and I understand why you wrote that letter - although with hindsight I'm sure you feel it was was a mistake.
I think that all you can do is to write another letter, brief and to the point - you were wrong, you love them all dearly and want to be part of their lives again. Throw yourself on your daughter's mercy, if you like!
BTW, I don't think 11 is 'very young'. Children of that age feel things very deeply.

nangran Sun 08-Jul-12 23:30:00

Hi Anagram, I'm doing a lot of talking tonight, but Oh Boy, I need to talk to someone about this whole nasty affair.
Yes, hindsight's a wonderful thing and 11yrs isn't so young (though it seems a lifetime away to me now). I question if daughter would bend to 'mercy'. she has the support of her two sisters and their partners, plus her father and step-mother, I'm very much on my own and sometimes feel like the scapegoat of the family....

crimson Sun 08-Jul-12 23:38:29

Join the club; at the moment I'm just thinking to myself failed wife, failed mother and now failed grandmother.

Ariadne Mon 09-Jul-12 07:05:08

Oh crimson (((hugs)))

nangran keep talking;it helps. xx

JessM Mon 09-Jul-12 07:27:27

Aw... crimson consider yourself hugged
nangran your original post reads
This whole nastiness stems from my writing to my daughter explaining how hurt I am that her step-mother has been allowed to take over my role - to the point where my grandchildren are being brought up to call her grandma.
I am now thinking`;
Was the letter sent before or after the children were born? (sounds like it was before, in which case the 3 grannies thing not the original issue?)
did this letter writing stem from your jealousy?
How about an outright and unconditional apology and see if that works?
Could you do that?

Greatnan Mon 09-Jul-12 08:18:01

My daughter was so jealous of her grandchildren's relationship with their paternal grandparents that she tried to poison her daughter's mind against her in-laws, telling her that they favoured their other gc. In fact, they are lovely people who have been very kind to my granddaughter and obviously adore all their gc. Fortunately, she realised that this was part of her mother's problems and gently but firmly told her to stop interfering.
I cannot see anything wrong in children calling several loving women 'Grandma' - there are so many step families that it is good to hear of a happy relationship.
We don't own our gc and surely we can only be happy if they have a circle of loving grandparents.

nangran Mon 09-Jul-12 08:45:47

JessM Hi. Thanks for writing. The letter (email) was sent a few weeks ago - it was the last straw reaction to a culmination of years of my being treated like a second rate parent by my daughters, who as I say I love dearly (but at the moment don't like). I've looked deeply into myself and can honestly say I'm not jealous of step-mother, I feel more hurt by my daughter's behaviour than any emotion towards their SM. At the moment I don't feel an unconditional apology would be the answer, my honest belief is that any form of contact I make towards my daughter - positive or negative will be ignored, I can cope with that - after all that happens I will never stop loving her but it's unforgivable that my grandchildren are being used as pawns in the whole murky situation.

Greatnan Mon 09-Jul-12 08:55:22

nangran - your original post obviously gave only the bare bones of your problem which seems to have started some time back. I think your reference to your daughter's stepmother being called 'grandma' made you look petty and jealous, but it seems you have a lot more grievances.
I can empathise with anybody who has lost contact with children or gc through no fault of their own

nangran Mon 09-Jul-12 09:25:59

Hi Greatnan It's been pointed out earlier that being a gra/nan involves walking on eggshells, that really sums it up for me. I have cherry picked the most relevant part of the letter I wrote, as a lot of the stuff is not relevant to grandparenting, more about the tenuous relationship between mothers and daughters. SM being called grandma doesn't make me feel petty and jealous, it makes me feel pushed out and hurt! In my eyes there's only two gra/nans in anyone's life and my label of nana is something I feel priviliged to have reached in my (and my daughter's) lives, yes it's only a label and I've worn different labels throughout my life but this one is very important to me

Greatnan Mon 09-Jul-12 10:11:01

But why should there only be two grandmothers in a child's life? My daughter's husband has been a wonderful step father and his mother certainly deserves to be called 'Nana' just as much as I do. As far as I am concerned, the more adults there are around to love a child, the better.

nangran Mon 09-Jul-12 10:26:11

It's 'only a word' I know BUT. I have no problems with my daughters SM being known by us all as Step-mother but I am miffed that she should not then go on to the unique (to her) title of Step-gran (or whatever) to my grandchildren. I entirely agree that it doesn't matter what anyone's called as long as they love their grand/child and I don't love them any less because of what they, or I am called, but I still maintain that there's only four real grandparents in my grandchildren's lives

whenim64 Mon 09-Jul-12 10:51:27

Until my son ended his marriage, I was a fully-fledged honorary grandmother to his step-children and treated them the same as my grandson, especially because their paternal grandparents were off the scene (I now know why - ex-dIL alienated them in the same way she treated my son's family). The eldest step-daughter felt so attached to my son, who helped her financially and brought her back home when she got pregnant, that she changed her surname to his by deed poll, and still keeps his name. He continued to help her months after he left, despite his business going downhill when he was too distressed to work because he was not allowed to see his son. She has torn loyalties now. Her mother will not tolerate any attempt to speak to me or my son (although the step-children are all in touch with him and support his decision to leave their mother).

If the strength of feeling between 'grandmothers' and the step-grandchildren is a gauge, I would say it is not genes that determine whether you should be called grandmother, but the relationship. It doesn't confer any rights, and even if you earn the position, it can be broken by a parent for all sorts of reasons. If you can rescue the relationship, I would say do what you can. I'm not sure whether them knowing how hurt you are will swing it - that tells them it's all about you, and maybe a little humility will bring a change. That's not to decry your feelngs - I can imagne just how hurt you are, but experience tells me your hurt feelings aren't their priority right now.

.......and if the children are enjoying a good relationship with the other 'grandmother' how fantastic that there are more loving adults around them.

whenim64 Mon 09-Jul-12 10:57:27 afterthought....legally, you would be recognised as the real grandparent, and a genealogy record of the family tree would show you on there and not the step-grandmother, but who wants a paper relationship to be upheld? Please think about actively trying to restore your relationship with them before the rot sets in smile

petallus Mon 09-Jul-12 11:50:12

Well I do sympathise with you nangran. Based on what you tell us, I feel you are being unfairly treated. You mention that your husband has been with his new partner ever since you and he split up and that the partner was once your best friend!! Surely this might have something to do with your feelings now?

MY GS gets on very well with his stepfather's parents and it doesn't bother me at all but then I do feel I am 'first'. I get on well with my DD. In your position I would be feeling a bit like you say you do, pushed out.

On the face of it, your letter doesn't sound bad enough to warrant such a reaction in your DDs. I think it should have been okay for you to express your feelings on the matter.

Having said all of that you might feel like considering what practical steps you could take to re-establish contact. When you feel ready. Good luck.

petallus Mon 09-Jul-12 11:54:07

whenim64 I sometimes feel just a tad sorry for your ex DIL. It's as though she's seen as the only bad person in the situation, disliked and blamed by everyone, even her own children.

What an awful situation to get into!

whenim64 Mon 09-Jul-12 12:34:05

Blimey Petallus! If you met her you wouldn't feel sorry for her. I've only described the tip of the iceberg here!