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Not living near daughter

(175 Posts)
silvercatuk Tue 05-Feb-19 20:42:16

My daughter is pregnant with her first baby. She lives very close to the in laws on the Isle of Man whilst I live in UK. I am already sensing that the mother in law wants my daughter to do things her way. I am very concerned I will not have a relationship with the baby when it arrives as I will hardly see it. I can’t afford to keep going across there. I feel it’s like her grandchild only and not mine. I have been in tears many times over this. How do others cope in this situation?

EllanVannin Tue 05-Feb-19 21:50:25

My daughter was in Australia when she had her 3 children. Ma-in-law also lived there but I made do with photographs until each of them were toddlers and that's when I flew out there to see them knowing that they'd recognise me for again. After visiting over the years the three of them knew me so there was no problem. They're 30 odd and 20 odd year old adults now.

The idea being to wait until the child is old enough to recognise/know who you are and take it from there. I'm sure your daughter will send photo's periodically if you ask.

As for the mother-in-law being/living there you can't do anything about that but I'm sure she won't think that she's the only grandparent. Yes,it's upsetting at first but it's something you have to learn to get used to and you will in time. The IOM isn't a million miles away anyway.

Book a holiday there nearer the time.

silvercatuk Tue 05-Feb-19 22:13:25

So are you suggesting I don’t see my grandchild until it’s a toddler? As for the mother in law not thinking she’s the only grandparent...all I can say is you haven’t met her!
I have been to the island several times but unfortunately I can not afford the £250 car ferry cost to keep visiting.
I am on the verge of walking away from all this before I get too involved and just get disappointed and upset.

kezia Tue 05-Feb-19 22:19:34

My dgc have lived both in and out of the UK in their short lives. The closest has been a three hour drive and the furthest a medium haul flight. But we use the wonders of the internet. Even when they were very small I talked to them several times a week, often joining them at teatime- the iPad was propped up on the table! As they got a but older we would have duplicate copies of some books and I would read to.them. then when I visited they knew my voice and my face. I'm not saying it's easy, it's hard saying goodbye, but it can be doable.
Good luck

MissAdventure Tue 05-Feb-19 22:20:57

Can you make arrangements to Skype regularly?
There is really nothing else you can do but try and make the best of it, because walking away will benefit nobody, particularly your grandchild.

aggie Tue 05-Feb-19 22:25:52

I went over to be with my Daughters when they had their babies , after that I went back for the Christening some months later . Visits were spaced rather far apart , and , as others have said , we used Skype , now they are older they certainly Know me and are very affectionate when we do get to visit . I and my eldest daughter are going to child mind for half term for one lot , we expect the rest to come to us there , really looking forward to it all

silvercatuk Tue 05-Feb-19 22:30:55

I suppose we could Skype but it’s not going to solve the problem of the child knowing the mother in law more than it knows me. I think this is what’s bothering me the most. I feel shut out. I want to be involved and distance prevents this. I feel the mother in law is taking my place. She’s very pushy and managed to upset me over wedding arrangements a couple of years ago.

MissAdventure Tue 05-Feb-19 22:37:27

If she is very pushy, I'm sure your daughter is well aware of it, so all the better for you to be supportive, kind and always around for a chat or advice (if you're asked)
Having the baby may well mean that the other Nan will be put in her place, I would think.
I wouldn't rock the boat, in case you're put in your place too!
The wedding is over and done with, and you have a new little life to look forward to.
Things aren't as you'd ideally like them to be, but then whose life is?

PECS Tue 05-Feb-19 22:46:15

I lived in the same London house as my paternal grandma from 3 until I was 6 and very near to her before that and then for the rest of her life. Trips to, or from, my Nana in NE England 3x year were very special. I possibly remember more about her now because they were special times . Children respond to warm and loving people. Every time I look at a box of buttons or play cards Nana comes to mind. Your grandchild will be able to have a good relationship with you if you do not turn it into a competition.

Tartlet Tue 05-Feb-19 22:50:08

I think you will have to resign yourself to the fact that, unless you move to the IOM, you won’t be spending as much time with your grandchild as the other grandmother. Unless you can curb feelings of jealousy you run the risk of causing unnecessary friction in the family which presumably you’d like to avoid.

I think the point EllenVannin was making is that babies and toddlers to some extent tend not to form lasting relationships with adults they don’t see regularly. We spent quite long periods away from home when two of our grandchildren were tiny and though they knew us when we were there, by the time we came back 3 months or so later, they’d forgotten us and had to learn to ‘know’ us again. This was pre Skype of course.

It’s easy for me to say I know, but it’s best not to fret over something you have no control over. And taking umbrage and walking away would benefit no one (other than the other grandmother possibly) and seems rather petty and juvenile. Think about how your poor daughter would feel if you did that.

Jalima1108 Tue 05-Feb-19 23:18:14

I suppose we could Skype but it’s not going to solve the problem of the child knowing the mother in law more than it knows me.
If you make it into a problem then it will be so try to overcome your feelings of jealousy and competition.

One of my DGC lives thousands of miles away but near to his other DGP. I acknowledge that he will probably be closer to them but we always have a lovely time when we see him, he's always remembered us and we seem to pick up from where we left off.

the mother in law
Don't you like her very much?
You are a mother-in-law too, would you like to think she is referring to you like that?

The last thing you should do is upset your DD when she is pregnant. Be positive and make plans.

FlexibleFriend Tue 05-Feb-19 23:36:10

The baby hasn't even arrived yet and you're thinking of walking away before you get hurt, get a grip and get some perspective woman. I live in the same house as my first grandchild who was born 6 days ago and so far I've seen him maybe 4 times for less than 5 minutes a time. I haven't held him at all. He isn't my child he's theirs and I'm giving them the space and time to enjoy him without worrying about how upset or hurt I may be, I'm not any of that. I have loads of time to get to know him, I have no need to crowd them or upset them in any way. I'm sure the other granny feels I must be taking over and having untold influence on the baby but she doesn't know me or she'd no that's not who I am or will ever be. Talk to your daughter openly and without criticism or recriminations tell her your concerns and say you're sure your being daft but you're feeling a bit left out and I'm sure your daughter will understand if you phrase it properly and don't try to make her feel bad. She might feel she can confide her own worries in you, she might not but if you don't try to be reasonable you'll never know.

Ginny42 Tue 05-Feb-19 23:38:07

You seem to want to blame the other MiL for living where she lives. What's the point of that? It's not her fault is it? I'm one of the GNetters who can only see my DGC from time to time and I've had to get used to it. The fact of the matter is that we do unless we move to live closer.. That's the only option. With technology for staying in touch we have today, you're only a click away from them.

So please concentrate on being the positive mother and grandmother your family needs. Please DO NOT walk away. I guarantee you will regret it and it may take years to mend relationships. Why would you not wish to know your DGC even from afar?

Put on a brave face. Don't sound down when chatting with your DD. She needs her Mum to be there for her, please don't upset her during her pregnancy.

silvercatuk Tue 05-Feb-19 23:47:02

I do plan on telling my daughter how I feel but knowing my daughter she will want to brush it all under the carpet.
Jalima....I refer to her as the mother in law as I don’t know how else to address her on here. If I used her name you wouldn’t know who I was talking about.
I am finding it difficult to explain how I really feel. Jealous...yes...I feel I am losing my daughter and grandchild to somebody else. Upset yes...I want to be involved but it’s impossible. How do you think I felt when my daughter took me to a baby shop when I visited at Christmas and we saw a lovely pushchair but on telling her husband later the first words out of his mouth’s not going to be too heavy for my mum is it?

MissAdventure Wed 06-Feb-19 00:01:23

Well, you live too far away to be pushing the pushchair.
That is a fact; its nobody's fault, it is the truth.

silvercatuk Wed 06-Feb-19 00:09:53

I am so glad you can empathise MissAdventure

MissAdventure Wed 06-Feb-19 00:13:07

Well, I can, to a point, but I think you are causing yourself upset about something you can't change.
Advice for good mental health is that the only thing you can change is your reaction to things or people which are out of your control.
I'm really not meaning to be mean, honestly.

paddyann Wed 06-Feb-19 00:22:06

And people wonder why daughters go no contact .This is overdramatising something thats just a fact of life.My GD's other granny and grandpa live 500 miles away .They visit twice sometimes three times a year.They send letters and postcards to her ,they phone her .She tells me I'm NOT her favourite granny and do you know what? Thats fine .She's allowed to have a favourite and I'm sure her other granny feels the same .We are adults and causing problems about who sees them most is silly .My GD does see me more but I'm the granny who tells them to clean their room or not to cheek their mother who has chronic health problems.Swings and roundabouts it doesn't mean I love her less or her other granny loves her more and if we did would it matter?

silvercatuk Wed 06-Feb-19 00:33:42

So I just put it all out of my mind and it will all go away? It doesn’t work like that. I am also the sort of person who needs a solution. I can’t find one. Nothing stated so far has led me to a conclusion which is different than what I already knew. Basically you are all saying suck it up. That’s fine but it loses me my daughter and grandchild. I thought I was close to my daughter but maybe I am wrong. This is hurting me so much.

paddyann Wed 06-Feb-19 00:42:04

The solution IS to put it out of your mind.You cant change how things are unless you relocate .Would that solve the problem...only its not really a problem its just that you think you're "losing " your D and GC and thats not the case .Things rarely work out how we think they will but we get on with it .Believe me its not the big deal you're determined to make it into.If you do you will risk losing your daughter ,because your trying to change how she lives her life is that what you want

MawBroon Wed 06-Feb-19 00:45:41

I think you are letting your imagination run away with you.
Do you have any evidence that your daughter is unduly influenced by her MIL? Is she very young, for instance?
Have you spoken about your fears to her? You are imagining
the absence of a relationship with your grandchild before (s)he is even born . Don’t “imagine” this relationship or how things will be. You will not be the first and you will not be the last to envy your co granny’s geographical proximity, but fretting about it now, that way madness lies.
What do want to happen?
Can you change anything?
Maybe not.

Can you change how you look at the situation though?
“Suck it up” is a dreadful phrase, but apart from the fact that I think your fears have grown out of all proportion, it is up to you to find a way to make this situation more bearable.
Your relationship with your daughter will underpin your relationship with your daughter, don’t let envy spoil that.

phoenix Wed 06-Feb-19 01:17:39

confused Sorry,*silvercatuk*, my magic wand doesn't seem to be working.

silvercatuk Wed 06-Feb-19 01:32:06

Thanks for all your input. I don’t think a single one of you understands how I really feel. I will talk to my daughter about how I feel but it won’t make scrap of difference and as far as I can see the only way forward is for me to keep away from the situation. If I don’t I will only get more upset every time I see the mother in law doing things I can’t. I discovered tonight she even has a little group chat with them as she mistakenly sent me things meant for them. Obviously not meant for me to see. Time I backed away. Going to kill me but the situation is killing me anyway. My daughter doesn’t need me when she has a substitute mother anyway. I can’t do his anymore. Thanks and bye

27mommy Wed 06-Feb-19 03:43:11

You are being completely unreasonable. My mother lives over 4 hours away from me. My mother in law lives 10 minutes away. Yes we see my in-laws very frequently and my parents not so frequently. We usually see them every 3-4 months for a day or two. But you know what my kids love when they come. They get so excited and it's all they can talk about for days. They don't get anywhere near that excited for my in-laws because they see them so frequently. It's true that while super young the baby might be closer to the ones they see more frequently, but once the child is 3+ they will know/remember you and if you nurture the relationship will likely be so excited when they do see you.

absent Wed 06-Feb-19 04:20:59

Having a relationship with your grandchild or grandchildren is wonderful and very special, so don't walk away from it to cut off your nose to spite your face. All my grandchildren were born in New Zealand and I still lived in the UK until the last one was born nearly four years ago. I used to send little parcels of inexpensive toys, puzzles, books – whatever – depending on their age, and, of course, I sent what was a very expensive parcel of presents to New Zealand at Christmas and birthdays. Absentdaughter made sure the children said thank you on the phone and rang me on my birthday; in the course of that I was told about what they were doing at school and one of the girls sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in Maori.

I understand the restrictions of cost for travel – dear God, why wouldn't I? However, I was fortunate enough to be able to do it a few times. Of course, their New Zealand grandmother formed a closer relationship. She adores all her grandchildren and has many of them. I certainly wouldn't – and don't – begrudge her the loving relationship she has with my grandchildren. These days, because I now live in New Zealand and close to absentdaughter's family, my grandchildren spend quite a lot of time with me. Does their other grandmother feel jealous or cut off? I don't think so. She lives quite a bit further away from the family than I do, so there is no way that she could do after school care or daily holiday care. She invites them to stay and they have a wonderful time – and so, I am sure does she and their grandfather – but she is reassured and content that I am immediately available in their lives when they feel ill at school, are taking part in sporting events, being awarded a certificate in assembly and just for some other stuff. We don't see each other very often, but there is always a great deal of warmth, understanding and affection between us when we do meet up.