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Grandparenting

That's it then. Finito.

(105 Posts)
Lavazza1st Tue 26-Mar-19 22:34:35

It's over. Feel a bit of an anticlimax and really sad, but still in shock. We really looked forwards to our Grandson coming from China and prepared for it a long time. Now, nothing.

Some of you might remember on a previous post about my Grandson's diet, my Chinese daughter in law, son and Grandson came to stay. They were here two months during which she expected me to do all the cleaning and all the childcare, while she stayed in her room and did nothing. Because I work from home and couldn't take full time care of my Grandson, my son ended up doing all the childcare and I did all the housework and worked full time while she did nothing. After work I played with him and in my breaks.
Suddenly my son got a job, (he started yesterday) and since he wouldn't be doing the childcare anymore she grew more resentful of my job and started lying about me. She also stopped eating with us, which made things very awkward. She started dissappearing at meals or just beforehand. Then she walked out (it's not the first time) and today she left with my Grandson. My son has gone wherever she is after work and we have not heard from them.

There's more to it, but I just feel a bit flat.

B9exchange Tue 26-Mar-19 22:49:18

I really do send you my heartfelt sympathies, it must feel similar to a bereavement.

Families cause an immense amount of stress. You don't give too much background, but is there a culture clash here, is your DiL Chinese? The other worry that occurred to me was whether she was suffering from anorexia or bulimia, if she wouldn't eat with you? Could she be seriously depressed?

Did you not discuss the child care arrangements as soon as she started staying in her room, it seems very strange behaviour, I would have wanted to know the reason, you would think her child would seek her out? What did your son think about this, he seems to have gone along with it, which leads me to think that she must be ill in some way.

As you say, there must be more to it, but I think I would just text your son saying you are worried about all three of them, and you are here for them if they need any help in any way.

Relationships with DiLs will always have an element of treading on eggshells, some much more than others, all you can do is bite back any criticism and keep communication open.

And please look after yourself too! flowers

Lavazza1st Tue 26-Mar-19 23:04:07

Thanks so much. Yes she's Chinese and I didn't realise that she didn't expect to do any care for her own child before she came otherwise I would not have made them so welcome. They expected me to do all the childcare even though I work full time from home, but they didn't say this til they arrived. I assumed they were going to be sharing it as I work full time. She seemed to have a lot of resentment and also entitlement, but I tried to overlook it. My son seemed to pander to her and be a slave. I asked him a few times why they didn't share the childcare and he looked blank like he wasn't free to talk about it. I think she was punishing him because I was working. When he got a job I think thats why she decided to go back to China...

Im not sure about an eating disorder. It seemed rude because she'd be late to the table so either everyone's food would get cold or we'd lately started eating because fed up of cold food. She was eating elsewhere a lot of the time as I found Mcdonalds wrappers etc.

It has been lovely to see my Grandson, but sad they went. Id never met her or my Grandson before so I had no way of knowing what she was like. It's disappointing and sad, thanks!

paddyann Wed 27-Mar-19 00:45:41

must have been very overwhelming for her to suddenly be in yur home with a different way of doing thingss and a different attitude .She may well have felt that you didn't want HER just the child and thats why she kept out of the way .Perhaps your son knoows more than he 's saying especially baout the food issues.if she was unsure about food on your table that may well be why she didn't attempt to eat it.
I would try to see it from her point of view,young..ish? with a small child ,transplanted to a different world full of strangers ,poor girl would have had nowhere to turn for support .IF you manage to get in touch with them please dont play the blame game ..no one wins and you will certainly lose out on your GS.Make sure she knows you thought you were doing what was best and that you wish she could have told you how she felt instead of retreating from you.I hope you get it srted and that you manage to salvage your relationship with her and your son .

stella1949 Wed 27-Mar-19 02:54:56

Unfortunately the clash of cultures has been painful for you. Chinese girls don't expect to look after their children - that's what grandparents are for in their culture. So she expected you to toe the line,and when you didn't, Pffft ! She is gone.

I do hope that she and your son can work things out - she can't expect to go and live in a different country but for things to be just like home.

Best wishes to you - you've certainly had an experience ! I hope it all works out and that you can see your family when the dust settles.

BlueBelle Wed 27-Mar-19 04:20:46

Stella what is your reasoning behind your sweeping statement ‘Chinese girls expect grandparents to look after their children’ have you lived in the Chinese culture ?
Families are extended much less fragmented than U.K. families,n so grandparents are always around to look after small children they do not use care homes the family cares for the old folk. The Chinese culture encourages hard work

Having followed your last long thread lavaz about this ‘dreadful’ daughter in law I would have thought that this situation is the best outcome for you all You were massively uncomfortable with the whole situation and made it obvious you did not want them in your house I would imagine the girl was feeling extremely unwelcome and has made the decision to go
It is sad your grandson has gone but you said in your last thread you had little connection with him anyway and in time hopefully it will increase
This outcome seems best all round and I hope the young family manage to make a good life after such a rocky start and perhaps in time you will be able to start a relationship with your son, daughter in law and his family

I felt incredibly sorry for your daughter in law in your last thread and I think she has acted very wisely to remove herself and child from where she very clearly wasn’t truely wanted she must have been very unhappy and confused being taken from her family, her support, her culture, her country and arrive with a family who you said yourself didn’t really want them in your home
I hope things settle down for all of you now

rosecarmel Wed 27-Mar-19 05:00:29

The door was open to this young family when they arrived and remained open when they left - Lavazza upheld her healthy boundary, openly admitted that childcare wasn't established in advance - Highly doubt young mom suffered from an eating disorder - Possibly culture shock - Homesickness - Perhaps Me Donalds was the only thing that reminded her of home, that she was familiar with - Some grandparents jump at every chance to be with their grandchildren, some don't -- in which case a grandparent isn't to blame for caring only for the child - But in this case the entire family was welcomed- One can open their home to visitors only to find the visitors don't find it to their liking- And that's alright- Life goes on for both -

Farmor15 Wed 27-Mar-19 05:49:46

Thanks for update Lavazza. I wondered how things were going but from what you had posted previously it was unlikely the situation was going to improve. Hope they will get back in touch - it seems like you did a lot to help but didn’t get much appreciation.

Urmstongran Wed 27-Mar-19 07:20:55

Understand you’ll be sad Lavazza but the upside is your son has managed to secure a job and is with his wife and child in their own home at last. Time and space now for everyone may well build bridges.

sodapop Wed 27-Mar-19 08:34:28

I'm sorry things have turned out this way Lavazza it's always difficult when there are cultural differences. It doesn't seem like your son did much in the way of helping you and your daughter in law to manage your very different expectations.
I hope a bit of space will enable you all to rethink things. BlueBelle I understand the daughter in law was not happy but she doesn't seem to have tried to be accommodating unless I am missing something.

Lily65 Wed 27-Mar-19 08:39:46

Sorry, have they gone back to China?

EllanVannin Wed 27-Mar-19 08:55:28

My guess is that she was terribly homesick and that is the worst feeling especially having been so far from her home. Yes, it's a sad situation but not entirely her fault. Maybe sometime in the future you'll see them all if they decide to spend a holiday with you------her knowing that it will only be a holiday which she'll feel more comfortable with.

It must have been a huge culture shock for her too, so there's a lot to take into consideration. This " blip " won't last forever, just give it time.

luluaugust Wed 27-Mar-19 09:21:33

The culture shock must have been enormous and expectations so different, hopefully your son will be in touch soon, he has a job so I guess he won't be anxious to go back to China. I hope things gradually settle down for you all.

cornergran Wed 27-Mar-19 09:27:05

I’m not sure if the young family are still in the U.K., if they are don’t give up hope. Your daughter in law will be very alone now and may come to see that although cultures and expectations are different you are indeed her family. I wonder how they will cope alone now? Of course if they have returned to China the situation is very different. No matter where they are a loving, non pressurising, message to them both is all you can do now. Wishing you all well.

Gonegirl Wed 27-Mar-19 09:46:25

Was this ever intended to be a permanent arrangement?

Have you got the means to communicate with them? If so, send them a friendly message along the lines of "Hope you are happy in your new home. If I can do anything to help, let me know. See you again when you can manage it. Love to you all. -"

Then you have to leave it up to them. I doubt f your son will cut you off permanently.

Craftycat Wed 27-Mar-19 10:00:42

I'm sure you know this but in China the grandmothers look after the child so Mum can go back to work. When I had my first son I had a very good Chinese friend who was incandescent that her MiL would not come over from China to have baby so she could go straight back to work - this was in early 1970's. Her own mother was over here but running their family restaurant so too busy working herself.
She had never considered bringing up baby herself & it was a blow to her! They finally moved to Norfolk near his aunt & uncle so aunt could have the baby.
I hope it all works out for you- I'm sure it will.
Good luck.

jaylucy Wed 27-Mar-19 10:12:11

Having been in a similar situation, when I moved across the world and lived with my mother in law, I can fully understand that it must have been hard for your DiL, living in a different culture, but she did herself no favours!
As Stella1949 rightly said, in some parts of China, the grandparents (and even great grandparents if still around) are expected to take the bulk of the childcare. It was a shame that your DiL expected it to be the same in the UK ! It was wrong of your son not to explain how things were, especially as he would have been aware of the fact that you worked (whether from home or outside home doesn't matter) I think your DiL was being a bit childish in the way she behaved towards you and her husband and child and again, like a child, once your son had a chance to be settled in the UK, to pack her bags and go home!
Not a lot that you can do IMO, if your son wants to stay married to her, he had to follow and if they did split up, it would be highly likely that he'd lose all contact with his child.
You can only keep in contact with your son and let him know that you are disappointed that it didn't work out, that you love and care for all three of them, and begin to plan for you to visit China to see your grandson.

Riggie Wed 27-Mar-19 10:15:43

I'm confused too. Have they gone back to China or are they here. Also was it just a visit or something more permanent? Because if it was just a visit then maybe they expected you to be not working while they were here?

I have no idea about China's culture or whether the grandparents are expected to do everything but a lot of people don't really understand "working from home" so perhaps she thought you were being stand offish as you were busy and not entertaining them as guests.

Pythagorus Wed 27-Mar-19 10:19:22

Nothing you can do. Let them get on with it. Be relieved they have gone. Your son will be back when he needs you ..... and it sounds like he will!

crazyH Wed 27-Mar-19 10:23:37

I come from another country, another culture, where we have a lot of paid and unpaid help. I think I mentioned this on another thread just this morning, so when we arrive it's a huge culture shock. I found it difficult at first, but I had no mother or mother-in- law to help, so I got on with it. Your Chinese daughter in law will learn. Give her some time.

jennymolly Wed 27-Mar-19 10:47:22

So sorry that you and DiL are not getting on probably due to cultural differences. I have worked in a big English University which has a large Chinese student population. Most of them are delightful but there is a minority which are very entitled and arrogant. These ones tend to come from quite wealthy families and they behave as if the can do and say what they want.

Blinko Wed 27-Mar-19 10:57:57

Unfortunately the clash of cultures has been painful for you. Chinese girls don't expect to look after their children - that's what grandparents are for in their culture. So she expected you to toe the line,and when you didn't, Pffft ! She is gone.

What a pity your son didn't think to communicate this before they arrived. It might have saved a misunderstanding and subsequent heartache.

I have sons - I know!

Brigidsdaughter Wed 27-Mar-19 11:04:28

I don't recall the earlier thread so only have this post to go by. DIL sounds really rude.
Does she not talk to her husband who would explain his mother's work, etc??
I remember meeting my DIL and was so eager to please. I have a Chinese sister-in-law who is really lovely and has an amazing work ethic. If she is depressed, her DH should know. She sounds ungrateful and lazy. Why would she not spend more time with her child?

Lavazza1st Wed 27-Mar-19 11:14:58

Thankyou all for your messages.
They did not tell me til they arrived that they expected me to leave my job and do everything for them, but they did try to shame me into it in a really horrid way. I did stick to my guns because I can't afford to give up work and I don't think she should have come if she wasn't willing to "do as the romans"

My son kept telling me how much she "wanted to be a full time mum" but I think he kept saying what he thought I wanted to hear and was doing the same to her. Silly boy.

I am dismayed that my son would tell her one thing and tell us something different. No wonder she was unhappy and no wonder we couldn't make things right, no matter how hard we tried.

Last I heard they were staying in a hotel and she's flying back to China with GS on saturday. She wasn't going to allow me the chance to say goodbye and was going to sneak out but I WAS there and gave GS a cuddle and helped put her bags in the car. I am proud to say that I remained polite and calm throughout- though probably due to shock!

Lavazza1st Wed 27-Mar-19 11:27:16

PS it's NOT cultural difference as my other son's Chinese GF lived with us for a year and we got on REALLY well. She had even TOLD DIL what a great family we are!

It seemed like DIL constantly tried (and failed) to push our buttons ( one example is leaving pubic hairs on my LUSH soap and allowing GS to break our lampshades by lifting hm up to snap bits off) We always spoke really calmly and never got cross, so there was no drama. But eventually she resorted to lying about us- claiming that we didn't let her in the house. (blatant lies, we would never do that) I'm not sure son believed her, but he was stuck in the middle.

Looking back, it was obvious she didn't want to be here from the start because she isolated herself and although I gave her info on the local Chinese community events she made no effort. I introduced her to friends and family and she also avoided them.

It seemed like she went on a hunger strike eventually. Well, she might have been eating secretly? But she started refusing to eat with us on thursday last week. I think what tipped the balance was that my son got a job and started monday...I just sent DS a message wishing him well with his life and letting go.