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Perplexed - meabt well but have offended

(53 Posts)
gransky Mon 22-Jun-15 20:55:58

I am new to all this but loving my new GD of 10 months. Son and DIL often visit at weekends and all seemed well. I know they would like me to look after GD when DIL returns to work in 3 weeks. They know I am recovering from major op following brief spell of cancer, caught early. I cannot pick up darling GD and am waiting for another op. I am friends with other grandmother and visited her last week when she was looking after GD for the day. We enjoyed sharing the care. Other grandparent is going away for 2 weeks and hinted that her other daughter would be covering on those days. She also expressed concern that other daughter might need help as she has little experience of babies. When DIL returned I offered to share the care on those two days. DIL did not say very much .
I later received a call from my son asking me to arrange care with DIL or himself. He told me DIL felt that I and her mother had arranged care for GD between us and that they should be the ones to sort out care. He was clearly not happy with this. I meant well but see now that I should have been more tactful. It is all a minefield and I do not know how I managed to be so tactless. Think I will see if they contact me to ask for care on those days and leave it otherwise. I cannot offer other days as I need another person there to pick DG up when necessary. How would you play it? Any advice would be good as I feel an atmosphere is brewing and want to avoid ill-feeling. On the other hand I do not want to tread on eggshells!

loopylou Mon 22-Jun-15 21:09:47

Welcome gransky to Gransnet and the world of Grandparentdom!

You're so right saying it seems a minefield at times but we're all learning quickly that what to us seems straightforward it doesn't necessarily follow our children will see it the same way grin

You weren't tactless at all, just being practical so I would probably apologise and leave it at that.

21 months after becoming a GM I'm still having to learn the ropes and that what's fine one day might not be so the next time!

I expect they are worrying about returning to work and coping with a baby. It will all work out in the end!

janeainsworth Mon 22-Jun-15 21:13:20

I think it's the other grandma who's at fault, if anyone is, as she seems to have decided to offer the services of her other DD who from what you say, is inexperienced.
I'd be upset if I was your DiL, frankly. Perhaps she doesn't fancy her sister looking after your GD.

So ..... it wasn't your fault.
BUT...... You will have to apologise profusely and reassure them it won't happen again.
Don't try and explain it was the other grandma's fault - that will become apparent anyway, and if you blame her you will be seen as the one who caused the problem, whereas if you simply graciously apologise, there's no risk of making things worse.

Anya Mon 22-Jun-15 21:24:25

I agree that it's up to your son and DiL to sort out care. He's told you how they feel, but not taken into consideration that you were only trying to help.

You have no need to apologise. Just leave them to it if they are that touchy and make sure when they do ask for your help they only get it on your terms.

Ana Mon 22-Jun-15 21:32:36

I certainly don't think you need to apologise for offering to help! It's not as though you were trying to take over...

I can understand that DIL felt that things were being discussed 'behind her back' as it were, but she needs to sort that our with her own mum. You have done nothing wrong IMO gransky.

merlotgran Mon 22-Jun-15 21:35:08

When they calm down they will hopefully realise that it's a good thing you get on well with with your co-granny. In a lot of cases it's 'daggers drawn' where the DGCs are concerned.

Don't blame yourself. This is just a misunderstanding and they'll have to realise there will be plenty more. That's life!

Concentrate on getting well and let them know you are more than happy to leave the childcare arrangements to them. smile

Deedaa Mon 22-Jun-15 21:56:21

I think they should be slightly more grateful that you are willing to help at all when you are not fully fit. I looked after GS1 and GS2 from this sort of age and it is a lot of work!

Jomarie Mon 22-Jun-15 23:32:24

Let's be practical here, You all get along fine - you are friends with Dil mum and have a good relationship with DS and Dil. But, you are not a well woman at the moment (you will be in time) so really your GC will be better catered for (not more loved) by others at this present time. Your time for one on one care will come later when you are fully recovered and DGC is older (and more fun)! Hold back now (they all care about you), offer support but understand also that DS and Dil don't want to upset you and, above all, want you to be well so that you can enjoy DGC without any stress. That's my take on the problem. They all care about you and DS has been given the job of telling you to chill out and get better but has managed in his manly way to make a hash of it grin Dil is just doing what daughters do - ie putting her trust in her mum first and Mil second. Most of us did the same. smile Good luck with the next op. flowers

PRINTMISS Tue 23-Jun-15 09:13:32

I think Jomarie is right, perhaps they are all concerned for YOU, and not wanting you to take on too much - this was so with my daughter, and whilst I felt quite hurt at the time, I realised that it would have been unwise for me to take on too much at that time - although the circumstances were different, I was not ill, or waiting another op. Just give it time, be kind, it will sort itself out, but above all look after yourself so that you will be able to look after your grandchild/chlldren!!! in the future.

gransky Tue 23-Jun-15 10:49:10

Thank you all for such a warm welcome to Gransnet. What a great community! I am amazed by the wisdom so freely given, such a help to a new gran trying not to wrong foot-it. As a mother of sons, and not having had a mother myself who got involved with childcare I did not realise how a daughter would view things. I think most sons would happily accept help however offered but I think my son felt he should support his wife when she was upset.
There will be plenty more days and, as you say, things will be easier when I am fit and the hour long journey will be smoother. I will play it all by ear and put the ball back in their court by waiting for them to ask me if they need cover.
There seems to be a great deal of pressure on grandparents these days to step up and look after GC when parents return to work and an assumption that those, for whatever reason, who do not are failing in their responsibility. I hear these sentiments frequently from all sides. My sympathies are with the young people who need to work and would like a choice. There are also many reasons why grandparents would not wish or feel able to commit to weekly care but would still like a close relationship with the GC and to help in other ways.

HildaW Tue 23-Jun-15 12:02:57

Must admit in all matters like this I am always quick to apologise (even if I am very doubtful I have actually been at fault). It matters not a jot to me that I've said 'sorry'....its all about keeping things on an even keel and understanding that I'm in it for the long haul.

I often find I'm having a conversation with own D and there is a pause down the end of the phone....I've not meant to offend but subtleties get lost in translation even on a one to one basis...its even more true when someone else is reporting a conversation (especially when they might have their own agenda)

Take it on the chin and just say that you will b ehappy with what ever is decided and you just want to be a help.
P.S. with your health background you just might be feeling a bit more 'sensitive' anyway so don't take too much to heart.

Grannyknot Tue 23-Jun-15 17:17:31

Hi gransky and welcome! I, too, am a new grandmother to a 10 month old (grandson) and my DIL is very close to her mum, who spends a few days a week with them. So I am very much Granny 2, although I also visit them regularly (usually every fortnight). Recently I gathered that something I had said or done had not found favour smile - to be honest I can't even remember what it was now. Anyway, I feel as if I am still getting to know my DIL (baby came along the first year they were married, much wanted) and I decided to say that to her. So on one of my visits, when we were alone, I told her how it was all so new to me - being a mother-of-the-groom, being a MIL and now a granny and we ended up reflecting on and chuckling at how much had happened in a short space of time, and found some common ground about how we felt etc. I find that just by me being honest about it being a steep learning curve, has made a huge difference to our relationship and developing friendship.

I wouldn't profusely apologise if I were you, but I might say "Sorry if I mess up, I'm still a trainee granny".

Good luck! flowers

loopylou Tue 23-Jun-15 17:43:43

I suspect we trainee granny's will be learning for the rest of our lives Grannyknot grin

gransky Tue 23-Jun-15 18:02:19

You may well be right , Grannyknot, when you say I may be feeling sensitive as everything is in sharp focus at the moment. If I get the right moment I will slip a "sorry" in to the conversation.

Thank you for your answer, Grannyknot, and good to know how you handled a similar situation. "Trainee Granny" is a great phrase and one I shall use in the future - I think I will be needing it!

FarNorth Tue 23-Jun-15 18:31:13

I think this is all to do with your DDiL's relationship with her own mother and you have been innocently caught up in that.

I agree with saying sorry, complimenting the parents on the great job they are doing with their child and promising to fit in with their wishes. flowers

Grannyknot Tue 23-Jun-15 22:02:37

loopy smile ... I'm a slow learner at the best of times grin

gransky that's also a good point, when I told my DIL that she's a wonderful mother (she is too), I got a text from her mum thanking me for saying that.

Anya Tue 23-Jun-15 22:29:45

The problem here is with new first time parents, not us grannies! With the first GC all food had to be organic and home made and there were all sorts of rules and regulations imposed and monitored hmm and they dashed back from work for quality time with their little darling.

By the time Nos 2 & 3 come along, oven chips, fish fingers and beans were more than acceptable, texts arrived asking if we could hang on to them for another hour while they did the shopping and could we have them overnight.

Now they're at school if we didn't interfere remind them it's PE day or class assembly etc. chaos would reign. I actually forgot to remind my SiL it was INSET day last week and he took GS1 to school and wondered where everyone was until the penny dropped.

So, it's all a storm in a tea cup and not to worry. But I definately wouldn't apologise as you've done nothing wrong.

FarNorth Tue 23-Jun-15 23:10:15

Where's the harm in apologising if it gets things back on an even keel?

FarNorth Tue 23-Jun-15 23:11:52

Us Brits are always apologising when we've done nothing wrong anyway.

janeainsworth Wed 24-Jun-15 01:17:27

I agree FarNorth.
It's quite possible anyway to say sorry without implying you're in the wrong, anyway.

As in, 'I'm very sorry you're upset by what's happened.'

There's nothing insincere about it, as obviously the OP is sorry her DS and DiL are upset, and at least it shows empathy and understanding smile

Grannyknot Wed 24-Jun-15 07:57:29

anya grin for the rules and regulations that fall by the wayside with number 2!

Anya Wed 24-Jun-15 22:36:23

Personally I think women are far to quick to apologise. Perhaps we could take a leaf from men's book and adapt a more 'let them get over it' attitude.

I've given up apologising unless I'm actually at fault and guess what? I don't have to walk on eggshells around my DD or DiL any more.

It's very liberating smile

merlotgran Wed 24-Jun-15 22:40:06


I should coco grin

Anya Wed 24-Jun-15 22:43:46

Merlot a woman after my own heart wine

AshTree Thu 25-Jun-15 07:41:50

Hang on, let's get this straight: your DiL wants/needs to go back to work and therefore needs help from GPs (and maybe others) to care for her little one. I'm assuming you will all be doing this free of charge? And she's getting touchy because the various prospective carers are trying to organise themselves for the care rota? Erm, think if any apology is needed it should be coming from her.