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Are we being unreasonable?

(46 Posts)
Thestens Fri 02-Aug-19 12:44:24

My son and daughter in law had their first baby at the start of June. We only have the one child so this is our first grand child. We’ve never seen that much of them, they live just over an hour away and work hard. We’re retired. We’ve always got on ok with our daughter in law,although she hasn’t always visited with our son and in the 10 years they’ve been together she’s only slept at our house once and then they went home early because she said she couldn’t sleep on the mattress !
Since the baby’s arrived we’ve had problems. My husbands father has been very ill and we spent quite a lot of time looking after him for a couple of months, also frequent hospital visits which entailed 150 mile trips each way. So we weren’t always around. We’ve also had 2 weeks away on working holidays. Daughter in law is on maternity leave until next year but doesn’t seem to want us to visit. We’ve offered to take the baby out for a bit so she can do her own thing, she hasn’t even replied to my messages. My son says she’s busy. We’ve seen the baby 3 times, once we went for lunch, which I took, other times have bee half hours on our way to the hospital or back. I’ve been told not to take any more clothes as she has plenty. She’s rebuffed my offers of the crib my husband had as a baby ( pretty wicker one).
We have been very generous with money over the years, deposit for home, paid off her student loan, set up a trust fund, etc. Obviously we would never mention that but we do feel rebuffed and hurt that they haven’t been more willing to let us see the baby. My son does send lots of photos and he rings us weekly but we feel we’re missing out. Her mother has been up for several days to help when my son has had to work on Saturday and this weekend she’s going to stay at her mums. Her mum has also had the baby overnight while they’ve had a night away.
We have friends with grandchildren who have been shocked at how things are going for us. I don’t think we’re nasty people, we try to be accommodating but we don’t know what to do, if anything. It’s making my husband feel ill, he’s getting depressed and feels things won’t improve. Any suggestions?

dragonfly46 Fri 02-Aug-19 12:51:30

We hear this story so often. I am a paternal grandparent and I have accepted that of course my DiL will turn to her mother for help. I would say I have a pretty good relationship with her but her mother is alone and has plenty of free time. We are older and have health problems. However, I value that my DS rings me all the time. They both send pictures of the DGC although sometimes I have to ask. I keep in contact by Whatsapp and quite honestly feel quite happy with how things are. I realise I would not be able to look after the children on my own at the moment.

Try to keep up the contact with your DiL. Ask for pictures, show interest in how they are but do not put pressure on them to see them. Take no notice of the grans who are shocked - this is in fact quite normal.

You have been busy and you have seen the baby three times since June - two months. We don't see ours as often as that.
Btw is it possible to change the mattress on the spare bed - you could let them know you have done it..

Nonnie Fri 02-Aug-19 13:22:55

Perhaps she doesn't like your choice of clothes? Sometimes it is difficult for us to see things from their perspective. I would find it hard to not overdo it if I lived near my GC so wonder if she feels you have done so?

Our neighbour was round yesterday and talked about going on holiday with her parents, sisters and their families. I asked if her husband had family and she said they did, father and brother but luckily they didn't see much of them. She is lovely and obviously didn't see how this came across to me.

FlexibleFriend Fri 02-Aug-19 14:38:01

It sounds normal to me tbh, women tend to be close to their mums it's natural she uses her mum, she knows her well and trusts her completely. You may have known her for years but you're clearly not close. Your son is including you with lots of photo's so if you talk to anyone it should be him but don't expect to ever be treated as an equal to her mum it just won't happen.
My son, his gf and son live in my house but their child is very much their business, his gf loves me tells me she wishes I was her mum but honestly at just 6 months old I have nothing to do with the child. Apart from talking to him and making him laugh that's as far as it goes and we all live together. One of them always has him in their arms or he's asleep or playing not sure just what it is you want. Please be realistic this is her first child, she's no doubt overly protective but that will improve with time. Just don't alienate them by being demanding or pushy.

wildswan16 Fri 02-Aug-19 15:16:03

It's very early days yet - only eight weeks or so since baby arrived. It's natural for your DIL to want her own mum around, that's just the way it is. I expect they have been given lots of things for the new baby and don't want you to spend on any more clothes just now.

Your son sounds like he is trying to keep you posted with news about the baby. Don't start feeling pushed out or make a big issue at this stage. Respond to your son's pics with a text to them both etc and don't come across as feeling annoyed.

Hithere Fri 02-Aug-19 15:21:15

Yes, you are being unreasonable.

You do say you barely saw them before baby. After having a baby, they are busier than before, so why would you expect to see them more?

I would recommend you to lower your expectations, which clearly do not match your son and dil's. Have you discussed with your son how they see the grandparent role?

For a mother, getting clothes for her baby is fun. She has been looking forward to it for a long time.
Do you give her clothes and then ask for pictures with those clothes or ask if they are being used?

Why would you expect your dil to visit without your son? She is not your daughter.

Why would you expect her to spend the night at your place?

They know where you are if they need babysitting.
Offering to take the baby out to give her time on her own is not seen as a favour by your dil.
If they need you to babysit, they know where to find you

Remember, the more you push, the more they will back away.
He/she is their baby first and your grandchild second.

Hithere Fri 02-Aug-19 15:23:37

I forgot!

Your relationship pre baby defines the relationship post baby.

If the ACs visit once a year, for example, hoping you will see them weekly is unrealistic

Hithere Fri 02-Aug-19 16:25:32

Apologies, typo.
Why would your dil join your son every time he visited you? She is not your daughter.

Edit feature, you are missed.

Minniemoo Fri 02-Aug-19 16:33:45

The baby's only a couple of months old. Their first baby. Maybe they just want to settle in and find their feet as a family of three and aren't wanting to socialise much.

At least your son is keeping the contact up. I'd just sit it out and wait and see what happens in the next few months.

agnurse Fri 02-Aug-19 17:25:58

1. Was the financial assistance a gift, or did it come with strings? They don't "owe" you time with their baby because you supported them.

2. She was actually probably quite correct to decline the crib. Many older cribs aren't safe as the safety standards weren't the same back then.

3. How much time they spend with someone else is none of your business.

I think you need to manage your expectations. You've seen the baby three times in two months. That's about every 2 weeks. They need some time to bond as a family.

Thestens Fri 02-Aug-19 17:28:29

Thank you for your comments. I think you’re right,Minniemoo, sitting it out is probably the sensible thing to do. However I feel Hithere, that’s it’s not unreasonable to expect my daughter in law to visit with my son. I always visited my in laws with my husband, it’s part of being a team and a family. I liked my in laws and I hoped my daughter in law would like me and my husband and want to come! I didn’t say we barely saw them, maybe once every couple of months. I wouldn’t expect her to visit us alone, but I would expect her to stay if my son was staying over. I still think that’s reasonable, it’s what we did with our parents.
The mattress on the spare bed was renewed straight away!

Bibbity Fri 02-Aug-19 17:38:12

But it is unreasonable. Maybe she was looking forward to having the house to herself. Maybe she used the time he was away to do her own socialising. What you did really doesn’t matter.
They are a team. A married couple. But that doesn’t mean that they have to be joined at the hip!

Hithere Fri 02-Aug-19 17:57:51

Yes, you are unreasonable.

The team is dh-wife-baby, not dh-wife-baby-ils.

It is a deadly mistake to assume that your dil will do and behave as you did when you were a dil

Your dil is an adult and she can pick where she stays the night. Maybe she likes her privacy, a hotel with a pool, time on her own with her baby instead of being a guest, etc. It does not matter

Times change. It is not the same society you grew up in.
Now both parents may need to work to make ends meet, for example.
Job security is a joke. Before, a person could stay in his position foe 50 years and retire. Now, changing jobs every 5 years or so is the way to advance

Bottom line, do not expect your son and wife to be the son and wife you were to your ils.

As for the crib, good call on refusing it. That crib is for sure non complaint safety wise.

Maternity leave is now used to recover and raise a baby.
It is not a vacation, or time to host relatives who want to see the baby.

Your dil just went through a major medical event and I hope she is recovering well.

As for her liking you, it is all about personalities.
You both could be great people and not mix well.
For a relationship to flourish, it has to happen organically. If you force it, you may jinx it.

You are doing great. You see them every couple of months. Continue as is and let's see what the future brings.

Hithere Fri 02-Aug-19 18:22:54

It is very painful to realize that the future you envisioned is not going to happen.

BlueBelle Fri 02-Aug-19 19:03:48

I think sometimes expectations are way too high I have one son and two daughters the daughters have always asked me to babysit, have them whenever, school runs when nearby etc etc, son lives far from me but close to the mother in law so obviously the in laws have done all the babysitting etc etc
It is how it is and as grans we all have to accept this, girls will go to their mums it’s just natural I loved my mum in law but I had a mum I didn’t need another mother I visited and stayed with her for a short period of a few months when my ex worked near them but I would always go to my own mum in preference
Just because you visited you’re in laws as a couple, doesn’t mean we have to expect the same a generation later I m afraid times change
I m afraid I wouldn’t have wanted the crib either

You ve seen the baby three times since June that’s not bad is it? Just accept what you have and be happy with what you get
Don’t get into in law wars not even ‘brain’ wars

notanan2 Fri 02-Aug-19 19:12:17

Yes you are a bit BU but without ill intentions.

Offering to take a newish baby AWAY from a new mother will get heckles up.

An old crib will be against SIDS guidelines.

You get updates about the baby, but are you enquiring after the new mother much? They are a unit.

notanan2 Fri 02-Aug-19 19:14:50

You didnt see that much of them pre baby so you wont suddenly be in their inner circle post baby.

There are a lot of showey offey GPs (especially in social media) who see LOTS of their GC but they lived in their ACs pockets PRE GC! They didnt suddenly become tight knit when the GC came along!

Daisymae Fri 02-Aug-19 19:18:02

The obvious response to your post is that this is not going to work out as you hoped, even if that is what you did with your parents'in-laws etc. Every family is different and they are finding their own paths. So step back and try not to take things personally. It is quite normal that your DiL will spend more time with her mother, its the way of the world, although it is hurtful. Your need to keep busy with your life and accept the new normal.

notanan2 Fri 02-Aug-19 19:23:58

Dont take the clothes comment to heart. 50 pretty dresses (other people will be gifting too) during a hot summer where most babies are just in nappies and vests is a waste. Go with the flow.

Doodle Fri 02-Aug-19 19:25:09

DILs do not always visit with my sons. They have other stuff to do. Do not look to others as is what is the norm. That way leads to disaster. All families interact differently, even children from the same family act differently. Contact your son, he is the one with responsibility to keep in touch with you not your DIL. Tell him you would like to see the baby and what would be the best way for them, a meal out together, tea at your place or theirs. Just a visit. Ask your son what would work best for them and not push. It all gets a bit frantic when there’s a new baby but things usually settle down after a while. Don’t make a big deal out of it but just show you are interested.

March Sat 03-Aug-19 08:52:08

If the baby is only 8 weeks and you only seem them once every couple of months then YABU to expect she is going to hand her baby over. Overnight stays when they baby is 8 weeks old and an hour away isn't going to happen.

You didn't see much of them before the baby is born so it just carries on like before. Instead of asking to take the baby (never a good move!) Ask your son if you fancy a meet up/coffee/meal etc.

You need to include them as a unit. See them as a unit not make a B line for the baby.

PECS Sat 03-Aug-19 09:32:29

My DD does not always visit her MiL when her DH & kids go to visit. It give exclusive time for DH & DGC with granny! Not done maliciously! DSiL does not always come here! But we have a good & loving relationship! Also gives time for parent to have time to do stuff without kids in the house! It is,still early days. I do think you have done some kind things.. student loan etc. and whilst that does not 'buy' time with dgc your dil needs to appreciate that you love your dgc just as much as her mum does & learn to be a bit more flexible.

MovingOn2018 Sat 03-Aug-19 20:30:32

Are we being unreasonable?

Yes you and your husband are being very unreasonable.hmm

Sara65 Sat 03-Aug-19 20:42:55

I don’t really think you’re being unreasonable, maybe you had visions of you all bonding over a new baby, and of course it’s fun buying baby clothes, but a baby only needs so much

I think if your daughter in law is on maternity leave, this time is very precious to her, and she will want to make the most of it.

You have obviously been more than generous financially, and I do think perhaps a little more gratitude might be expected, so I can see it’s hurtful

As others have said, sit back and wait, things may change.

Hetty58 Sat 03-Aug-19 22:49:04

I've got the opposite problem. I see too much of my kids and grandkids and I'd honestly like more time to myself. I feel that I've brought them up and done my job.

Now I'm in a new phase of my life with other interests, and, although I enjoy the visits, I'd rather they were shorter and less frequent. (Perhaps we should swap?)