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Paternal Grandparents Advice Needed

(37 Posts)
Mumofone88 Thu 10-May-18 07:04:16

Both my parents are retired and for the past few years come up for dinner once a week to catch up. This was fine with my parents in law as we see them once a week for tea too but since we had our baby they have started to get jealous. As I am on maternity my parents now come up for a full day but we still see my parents in law for tea once a week and on weekends if my husband wants to do anything with them. My father in law works but mother in law is retired. She said (via my husband) I should spend a full day with her, but I said to him that when I am back at work (I work longer hours than my husband) he will be going around hers with our child most days and will never invite or see my parents without me so why do they expect me to spend a day a week with her? I don't understand why daughters in law are expected to spend time with their in laws without their partners but that son in laws are never expected to make a effort? My issue now is that because I have said I won't spend the day with my mother in law she has told her family I hate her and keeps texting my husband saying I don't like her and she's upset, I text her how our baby is most days and send her photos... Which my husband would never do to my parents, and when we go for dinner I am trying but she has decided I don't like her and so has stopped talking to me like she used to? I just need help on what to do? I still have an online business, a newborn baby who feeds every half hour and have three days of baby classes as well as seeing my parents and friends so although alot of you will say I should give her a day it's a lot for me, I don't understand why she can't see that my parents are visiting me as well as the baby and that I saw them before the baby too? My parents are upset as they know my mother in law has the better deal as when I am back at work they wont see the baby for weeks as my husband isn't expected to make any effort with them and I honestly wouldn't ask him to as I know if he had a free day he would rather see his own family than mine! What can I do to try and explain to them it's not reasonable to get upset I won't spend a full day a week with them without my husband (we haven't so much as gone for coffee alone before baby was born so it's not that they actually want to see me)? And have you had anything similar and how did you sort it out... Baby is breastfed and won't take a bottle so giving them the baby for a day without me isn't an option either at the moment.

OldMeg Thu 10-May-18 07:18:54

Families! Who’d have ‘em!

There’s lots going on here isn’t there? Your MiL is feeling left out and jealous. She’s retired but her husband is not so she’s lonely too. I don’t know how you can fit her into your busy life, but I think you have to try somehow before this all gets out of hand.

You sound a reasonable woman, so I’m sure you will come up with something and I’m sure there’ll be lots of alternatives offered on this thread. I think a bit of compromise on bith sides might work.

Incidentally I loved it when my DiL would ring me and ask me to meet her and baby for a coffee out somewhere.

mumofmadboys Thu 10-May-18 07:28:14

Could you occasionally invite MIL round to have lunch with you and your parents?

BlueBelle Thu 10-May-18 07:43:00

I can’t add anything these mother in law threads are really getting tedious now Why do so many people have these huge problems nowadays Welcome both sets of parents when you can and when you can’t refuse with a smile
No one should expect anything not you, not your parents, not your in laws, just get on with life and enjoy the baby

Grandma70s Thu 10-May-18 08:05:16

As far as I can see many of these problems are caused by people taking offence far too easily. No wonder there are so many difficult, squabbling families.

harrigran Thu 10-May-18 08:05:33

As a mother in law I would not dream of making demands or have any expectations. I love my DIL and we have a great understanding, she is always honest with me and if she needs help she asks for it. I do not understand these women who get jealous and needy.

sodapop Thu 10-May-18 08:13:20

It seems like you have a great deal going on as well as caring for the baby. I think you need to look at your schedule and set aside some time for yourself without worrying about others. Have an honest talk with your family and tell them all how pressured you feel. Let both sets of parents help where they can and relax and enjoy this time with your baby. Good luck.

Iam64 Thu 10-May-18 08:59:46

sodapop puts it well. Start by working out what would be best for you and your baby, then talk that through with your husband. Your comment that you don't understand why daughters in law are expected to spend time with mothers in law but the same doesn't apply to husbands is an important one. That isn't a Rule in Life - don't let it dominate this special time with your baby and your husband.
Grandparents really ought to be mature enough to realise that there isn't a competition about who gets to spend most time with their grandchildren. Our role is to support the next generation of parents and children lovingly, Kindly and without ridiculous competition about maternal v paternal grandparents.
This is a special time for you and your baby, enjoy it and give yourself a break.

yggdrasil Thu 10-May-18 09:03:02

You seem to have listed the problem quite well. Why not send what you wrote to both sets of parents, Exactly the same, and make it clear they are both getting the same.

Eglantine21 Thu 10-May-18 09:05:24

Say you need some help and ask her round for one afternoon a week. Feed the baby, hand the baby over to be changed and cuddled. Go and work at your on line business. Feed the baby. Back to work.
Repeat as necessary.

She will feel useful and have time with the baby, which is what she really wants. You will get work done.

Win, win.

M0nica Thu 10-May-18 09:06:49

There seem to be an awful lot of older women around with too much time on their hands, investing too much of themselves into their DGC. They need to get out and get a life.

eazybee Thu 10-May-18 09:21:09

I can't believe grown people can be so childish!

Well actually I can because I have seen this 'you must spend equal time with both sets of parents' even before grandchildren arrive, (and it destroyed the marriage, because the couple spent all their weekends with respective parents, and not enough time with each other.).

I would suggest you spend less time with both sets now, and invite them all together for meals at your house.

Do you really need to spend a whole day a week with your parents, every week?

Daddima Thu 10-May-18 13:27:57

I agree with MOnica. You and your husband have your own family now, and your parents will have to deal with it.
We never arranged any specific times to see our parents, though the Bodach’s mother took a long time to realise we wouldn’t be at theirs for dinner every Sunday!

Nannarose Thu 10-May-18 14:31:11

Keep your priorities.
Keep breast feeding your baby; nurture your relationship with your husband,and keep talking so you can work out what is best together.
I may be in an unforgiving mood today, but I think that people in general (and specifically in this case grandparents) who make too many demands will just end up with what they deserve.
And I write as the mother of sons. I expect my DiLs to turn to their own mothers more than to me, and I regard my job being to offer support as much as I can.
I think Eglantine's idea a good one.

agnurse Thu 10-May-18 15:42:06

I suggest starting by shutting down her guilt trips.

"MIL, how much time I spend with my parents is not your business."

"MIL, this is how often we're going to be seeing you. If you persist, we will be ending this visit/conversation."

Then follow through. If she whines, she gets one warning. If she keeps it up, the conversation is over or she leaves.

Eglantine21 Thu 10-May-18 16:04:05

Oh sure, go ahead, do what agnurse says. There’s so much conflict and misery in the world I don’t suppose a bit more will make any difference.........

agnurse Thu 10-May-18 16:16:46


The grandmother is acting as if she's a spoiled child. OP's baby is not a toy that needs to be "shared". How many times did your children say, "But so-and-so gets X! How come I don't?" What was your response?

OP isn't obligated to listen to MIL whinging that she doesn't get enough time. My concern is that if she gives in to MIL's demands, MIL will learn that this type of manipulative behaviour gets her what she wants. OP has the right to determine how often MIL sees the baby and it sounds as if MIL already sees them fairly frequently.

My parents live 4 hours' drive from us. My ILs live across the ocean. Consequently, "fairsies" simply doesn't happen. My ILs have never expected that things would be "fair", nor would it be reasonable for them to do so.

Luckygirl Thu 10-May-18 16:51:53

It is very important that new grandparents do not get themselves tied up in what I call "granny wars." I think the "other" grandmother of two of my DGC probably does see them more than I do - but she is younger and fitter, and I go with the flow - just enjoy the time I do have with them.

I think you should not get in a twist about all this - it is truly not your problem; and as others have said this is a precious time with your baby for you and your OH to enjoy, so please try not to let this dominate your life.

It is sometimes very hard to predict when someone might take offence when none is intended - usually the person has a bit of a black hole somewhere in their life that you are not responsible for in any way; and cannot take as on as your problem to solve.

Perhaps send the same email to both sets of GPs and say how busy your life is at present and that you need to concentrate on your baby when you have the time from your work; and that you appreciate their role in the child's life and are looking forward to that developing over time.

Your MIL is a bit out of order to take the hump over this, but it is often a case of a mismatch of expectations.

Hope you can find a way through this and enjoy the lovely new person in your life.

Izabella Thu 10-May-18 17:53:47

A step gran and 'third' gran here so perhaps a bit more objective. In this family I see a maternal gran who monopolises all events and a paternal gran who misses out on virtually everything. Not easy for the latter. Me? Have seen the grandchildren about 3 times in 4 and a half years, never get invited to gatherings or asked to babysit - so I don't enter into the equation but that's life. I hasten to add that the maternal gran has absolutely no realisation of how blessed she is. I often feel like dropping a hint, but am wise enough now not to venture on such a path .............

Madgran77 Thu 10-May-18 18:35:51

*agnurse I suggest starting by shutting down her guilt trips.

"MIL, how much time I spend with my parents is not your business."

"MIL, this is how often we're going to be seeing you. If you persist, we will be ending this visit/conversation."

Then follow through. If she whines, she gets one warning. If she keeps it up, the conversation is over or she leaves.*

MumofOne88 Well I agree that you need to talk openly with your MIL but I don't think there is any need to do it in the style above!!

Maybe instead:

" I can see that you are upset with me. Lets talk about it...why are you upset?" Listen!

Depending on reply ...explain your perspective including re time etc; include how much you enjoy the times you do all spend together; tell her you want her to have a lovely relationship with her grandchild; talk through some suggestions that work for both of you (maybe lunch at intervals; a coffee at intervals; etc) Say that with your schedule including lunch a day a week with your Mum which you have always done, and wish to continue, you can't manage a whole day every week with her; but you would like to see her regularly ...etc etc!!

In other words be kind but gently firm about what you choose to compromise on and what you don't. She is a hurt human being (acting childishly but hey, we all do sometimes!!) which may not be justified but is human!! If you want to stop it all escalating ridiculously think of her as human not "dreaded MIL" and build a relationship around that, within the new context of a grandchild in the relationship.

None of this is "giving in", its just "building relationships." I hope that she engages with you as , as I know from experience, if one person refuses flatly to engage, one can do nothing! flowers

Mumofone88 Thu 10-May-18 19:04:47

Thank you for all your comments, I love the one's about me and my husband, I forget sometimes he's our baby and we should have us time because he's so new we are constantly spending our free time showing him around and have hardly any time for ourselves as a family! I think if I am ever in town doing errands or going food shop I will text and ask if she wants to meet for a drink, isn't all day and is only an extra half hour or so on top of what I am already doing but will hopefully help, I love seeing my parents, my mum has always been my best friend so I don't want to stop their visits! She helps me clean and we catch up on our shows together it's a nice break! Also when my mum is over she lets me hold my baby whereas as soon as I enter parents in law house it's 'their time'. My husband admitted that his mum might not be upset if she saw me with my parents for the day and realised she holds the baby for longer than them! I agree with all the comments about how hard the grandparent tallys are! I wasn't aware of it til I had a baby and how common it can be!

Baby1 Thu 10-May-18 22:25:22

Try to treat the grandparents on both sides as grandparents. Don’t allow one side to be grandparents and the other side just visitors. It will cause resentment. If you have a son, remember you too will be the paternal grandmother some day. Too many paternal grandmothers being pushed aside on this forum, and yes I’m one of them. It’s not a competion, and you can say don’t be jealous, but in the end until your the one in the situation you have no idea how it feels. You become a grandparent and so does the other grandparent. Why should one get twice as much time when you both care the same amount and have the same amount of love to give? It will cause problems because it’s hurtful, so if you continue on the way it’s been, you will most likely have a negative relationship with mil, or she’ll just back off completely as to not be hurt and let down further. Good luck to you, and enjoy your new baby!

agnurse Thu 10-May-18 23:13:31


How much time each grandparent gets is not the business of the other grandparent. To be honest, this sounds similar to young children saying "How come he gets it and I don't? It's not faaaair!" MIL is already seeing the baby weekly.

My parent see our daughter more than Hubby's parents because we are in Canada and Hubby's parents are in the UK. We have visited tbe UK twice since our marriage and we see my parents every few months. Growing up, we saw Mom's parents every couple of months (2 hour drive) and Dad's parents two or three times a year (6 hour drive) and we didn't do Christmas with Dad's parents when we were little because the roads and weather were often poor. This didn't affect our relationship with our grandparents at all from what I could tell. If Hubby and I are able to have more children, I will likely allow his parents to visit when baby is 2 to 3 months old and has had first shots. This is because MIL and SFIL would be coming from another country, 9 hours on a germy airplane from London, to see the baby. It's not about keeping them away; it's about protecting my newborn from germs.

I suggest focusing on what you do get as opposed to what you're not getting. Unfortunately I think the advent of social media has made the "granny wars" worse because people share photos and you can see the good times they are having with the other grandparents. This MIL's going on about what she's not getting isn't making her a pleasant companion and likely isn't going to encourage OP nd her husband to spend more time in her company.

Jallenrix Thu 10-May-18 23:14:36

If I understand the OP correctly, her family’s extra time is temporary. Once she returns to work, her DH will see his parents “most days”. If I have that right, does MIL umderstand that the balance will shift and it’s not a long-term arrangement that excludes her?

Baby1 Thu 10-May-18 23:29:49

Agnurse Like I said, if you aren’t on the receiving end, you wouldn’t get it. You compare it to kids fighting, they have no emotion in their sqabbles, it’s in the moment. When a grandparent is left out there are a lot of feelings involved. Just because Mother’s have sons instead of daughters doesn’t mean they should accept getting way less time ad a grandparent. A lot of dil’s really do try to keel it somewhat balanced so no one is made to feel lesser of a grandparent. I am talking about if both grandparents live in similar proxemitg to the family.