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Daughter-in-law issues

(48 Posts)
GrammaBip Sun 20-Oct-19 11:46:53

I am new to posting, so please bear with me. I joined GN because we are long distance grandparents. I was looking for any tips on being a big part of their lives. We have a grandson 5, and a granddaughter 2 1/2. We do not have a very good relationship with our daughter-law. No matter what we do she is very cold toward us.
In my research for tips, I came across this one about giving them a picture of us for their bedroom. I realized that there was not a picture of us anywhere in their house, although there are some of her family. We prepared one for each of their bedrooms, photo shopped and framed. On our next visit we took it to them and told them it was for their bedroom and when they looked at it to remember how much we loved them. On this visit (this weekend) the pictures were nowhere to be found, I was so hurt and angry but mostly hurt. Any ideas on how we deal with this? It is really hard being long distance grandparents with a DiL who is like this with us. There are other issues with her also, but this hurts the most right now. I would really like some feedback, please

MissAdventure Sun 20-Oct-19 11:53:56

I'm sure my grandchildren wouldn't want a picture of me in their rooms, so I wouldn't be too disheartened.

What does your son think of the situation?

midgey Sun 20-Oct-19 12:03:11

Can’t say I would have wanted such a picture in my house however much time and trouble was taken to print it!

Hetty58 Sun 20-Oct-19 12:05:32

You have no right to dictate what pictures they have in their house - what a cheek!

Oopsminty Sun 20-Oct-19 12:09:45

Hi GrammaBip. Bit tricky this!

Have you had a word with your son that you'd like a bit more contact? Maybe you could get facetiming or whatever.

I wasn't hugely keen on my MiL .. not for any drastic reasons but we didn't gel ... happens a lot I think.

I'm not sure what I'd think if presented with a photo of them!

So maybe just send letters, little postcards to the children and let them know you're there

dragonfly46 Sun 20-Oct-19 12:10:48

My DS and DD would not want pictures of us in their house - nor would I want them to. I do know, however, that my DS shows pictures of us on his phone to our GC and talks a lot about us.

Eglantine21 Sun 20-Oct-19 12:11:10

I think it’s lovely to give them a picture of you, but I think you stepped over the mark when you said it was to go in their bedrooms. It’s not your house to say how it should be decorated to please you.

You’re hurt because it was a picture of you and obviously meant more to you than a vase say, or an ornament but it’s the same principle. People giving you stuff for your home that you didn’t ask for.

A little album or, in this day and age, a picture on your grandsons iPad would have been less intrusive.

FlexibleFriend Sun 20-Oct-19 12:21:54

To be fair I think you are seeing problems that are not actually there. It's a bit weird for young kids to have a photo of their grand parents in their bedroom. Wouldn't it be better to take them out for a day, with their parents and take lots of photo's which you can put in an album for the kids to look at and further photo's can be added on birthdays christmas and other days out. They'll then be able to look through it with mum or dad or you when you visit and talk about all the things they've done. Don't take offence just try a different route to greater presence in their lives.

LullyDully Sun 20-Oct-19 12:30:50

In my opinion it is important that my children are well loved by their partners. That is my greatest desire.

I can't see why a photo of me would help. Certainly didn't want one of my mother in law.

We have to let them get on with their lives while being loving, friendly and supportive. Not an easy job.

notanan2 Sun 20-Oct-19 12:38:02

You can give pictures as gifts, but you are in the wrong to dictate that they get displayed or hanged!

Was there glass in the frames? Perhaps they worried about them breaking during play and hurting such young childrem if standing on furniture. And the room my children had in their first wall had such dodgy flaking walls that they would hold nothing but VERY light canvases, no nails worked (and walls to thin for masonry walls) so we ended up not hanging anything and getting their walls muralled instead.

They had "prescious boxes" for things like that. But Im afraid I would have discarded the frames if putting pics in there as they werent always supervised when playing in their room and picture glass shatters into shards.

MawB Sun 20-Oct-19 12:40:47

My feelings about the photo as well.
However, I was touched to see that all 3 daughters have a picture of Paw on their bookshelves and the grandchildren know that is “Grandpa” even if he is no longer with us.
That came from them, not me and I would never presume to impose my taste on them.
Your problem is a deeper one. You don’t say how far away you mean by “long distance” but creating happy memories on visits will mean much more to your grandchildren - a day out, trip to the zoo, a treat outing of some sort.

NotAGran55 Sun 20-Oct-19 12:41:44

GrammaBip . Why did you assume it was your DIL who is responsible for the missing photo ?
Does your son not live with the family ?

notanan2 Sun 20-Oct-19 12:42:52

Also If you ARE going to hang pics of one pair of GPs, you have to go amd get pics of the other side for diplomacy. And I dont think kids rooms are meant to be family tree shrines would look weird.

I think there was also a sting in the tail with your accompanying message that the pic was so that they remembered you loved them. Sounds like a dig at the parents. Not a gift for the child IYKWIM.

Sara65 Sun 20-Oct-19 12:46:44

I’m afraid I agree, I’m sure my grandchildren love me, I’m equally sure they wouldn’t want a photo of me in their bedrooms.

I’m also pretty sure, that if I was your daughter in law, as soon as you’d gone, they would have been straight in the bin!

Sorry, but it’s pushy.

notanan2 Sun 20-Oct-19 12:52:55

Home decor is as personal as jewellery or perfume.
Unless you are very sure you are on the same page taste wise, AVOID buying decor for other peoples homes!

Does your DS and DIL have many photo walls? Are they photo hanging people?

Im not I prefer plain walls or a statement piece of art I love.

Kids have pics on their walls (now we live somewhere you can hang em) but its almost all mates, some of each other or cousins. NONE of adults!

Are they renting? New build?

SpanielNanny Sun 20-Oct-19 12:56:49

Where is your son is all of this? Does he know that you would like to be more involved, and what does he do to facilitate that relationship?
Times have changed (for the better in my opinion) tasks that were traditionally considered ‘women’s work’, such as maintaining relationships with extended family are (rightly) shared. Both parents more often than not are working now, it makes sense that each takes responsibility for their own side of the family. We would never expect a man to arrange contact with his mother-in-law, so why do we expect it of women? It’s just another stick that we use to beat women with, whilst allowing me to get away with doing less.

With regards to the photograph, I think you’re being overly sensitive. Whilst your intentions were good, I’m sure I would not have wanted a picture of my grandparents in my bedroom when I was a small child. Try not to take it personally.

notanan2 Sun 20-Oct-19 13:00:43

Agree with SpanielNanny too

I am very close to me MIL but it is DH's "job" to arrange stuff with his side. Thats the norm these days. If you dont hear from them ad much as you like, its on your son not your DIL

As much as I love my MIL I refuse to nag DH about phoning/cards etc. I may prompt once but I will not micro manage his relationship with them!

Luckygirl Sun 20-Oct-19 14:12:50

Gosh - I really do think that giving them photos of you to put in their rooms is a bit OTT - wading in with 10 league boots and a rather blatant critical message!

I think you need to play it cool a bit. I know you want to be a "big part of their lives" but they need to want that too to make it work. If they see you as having a more peripheral role, this does not mean they do not care about you, but simply that their idea of a Grandparents' role is different from yours.

Your "gift" did indeed have a sting in the tail, much as I am sure you meant it well. It was a gift designed to fit with a desired outcome of yours rather than to bring joy to the recipient.

Also I get the message that this failure to put these photos up in their rooms is being blamed on your DIL, when there are in fact 2 parents here.

I know that my words sound harsh, and I do feel for your disappointment that the relationship is not as close as you had hoped it might be - that must be very hard for you both. But it is what it is and I really think you must try and enjoy the good bits and not press for more - who knows, more might develop if you tread gently.

Maggiemaybe Sun 20-Oct-19 14:21:44

Each of our AC has at least one photo of us on display, but that’s their choice and I’d never have instigated it. I doubt very much though that the DGS would want us looking down from their bedroom walls!

Calendargirl Sun 20-Oct-19 14:27:19

I don’t think the OP should have said the pictures were for the childrens bedrooms, but she did say there were no pictures of them up in the house, but there were ones of DIL’s family. So it sounds like she puts the photos up, not DS. Often the case that one side of the family is treated differently to the other.

Feelingmyage55 Sun 20-Oct-19 14:28:07

There will be many and varied answers to your question and in a way there is no straight answer. It is about developing a line of communication among you all. To put the photo issue in perspective, I am aware that many people do not like portrait type photos and the feeling that they are being “watched” by the photo/person so try not to take offence and concentrate on other possibilities eg maybe sending an age appropriate magazine/comic every month (agree with DIL, she may not like certain ‘character’ comics). Go for something fun and educational. There are lots of wipe clean puzzle books around. Ask your DIL if there is something you could provide eg dancing classes, an annual pass to a play area, send a video of you reading a story? Keep away from anything that is about YOU, (sorry can’t do italics) and make it child centred, what the child will look forward to. Involve your DIL to build a relationship with her and ensure the gifts are within her approval - that is the starting point. Build a good foundation and see where it takes you. Good luck.

grannyactivist Sun 20-Oct-19 14:36:50

GrammaBip you are disappointed about the photo's not being on display and I understand that, but the real issue is that you want to maintain a 'presence' in the lives of your grandchildren and one of the best ways of going about that is to be the best and most supportive family member you can be. For all the family.

I too am a 'long distance' mum/granny and I try to make my presence felt in small ways by doing what I can to demonstrate care and concern for the children and their parents. I make good use of FaceTime, buy small, inexpensive gifts; the Book Depository do a free delivery service with no minimum spend and 'Cook' do vouchers for a good quality meal delivery. I have a granddaughter in NZ who has only seen me in the flesh three times in her four and a half years, but she knows she has a significant place in my heart - and I know it's reciprocated.

Long distance relationships can be done. smile

glammanana Sun 20-Oct-19 14:54:51

I would keep any photographs in albums for the children to look through when they visit or you visit them reminding them of good times you have all had.
Can you set up facetime with them and speak to them every week maybe they will soon remember you after a week or so.
Do you stay at your sons house when you go to visit if you do this will give you quality time with your DGCs and certainly make up for the long distance you are separated by.
I spent over 9yrs living abroad and away from my DGCs and every week wrote to them and posted little cards for them they just loved the Postman calling to the house with a message from nana & grandpa.

notanan2 Sun 20-Oct-19 15:16:42

I don’t think the OP should have said the pictures were for the childrens bedrooms, but she did say there were no pictures of them up in the house, but there were ones of DIL’s family. So it sounds like she puts the photos up, not DS. Often the case that one side of the family is treated differently to the other.

Maybe they are pictures of shared memories/time spent together, rather than portraits like the OP sent. So they actually mean something IYKWIM.

rockgran Sun 20-Oct-19 15:39:25

I write to the grandchildren every few weeks and put a recent photo of us at the top of the letter so that they can see which grandparents are addressing them. With a simple gift or a little cash it is a personal way of staying in touch and reminding them of how we look - just in case our ageing faces alarm them when we next meet!shock