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Maintaining Boundaries

(96 Posts)
JaydeeTas Mon 26-Jun-23 01:09:33

As most of you know, I have been heavily involved in the raising of my 15 months old GS.

I have been run down and tired lately and I have realised that the main stressor is my DIL. I constantly receive messages, face times, offers have having the little man etc..

If my GS doesn't sleep well, or eat, or is being naughty or sick, she is messaging me.. he could watching tv and she will just face time me, sometimes 2-3 times a day.

I want to help if I can but, it's like she's not asking... she will wait until I offer.. but, I am only offering because I know she wants me to.. Often, she doesn't listen to the advice given so I just listen to her concerns... That for me is very hard.

I thought my DIL feels like she just needs to update me and doesn't want advice but, if I don't offer, I'll continue to get messages until I do. I feel like I am going round in circles.

I have tried putting in boundaries but, it seems to only last a couple of days. I do want to hear from them and see my GS but, just need my DIL to see how tiring it is without offending her.

I wonder if I am reading this all wrong. Maybe she just wants reassurance.

VioletSky Mon 26-Jun-23 01:31:03

She sounds incredibly lonely. How much support does she have? Is she seeing friends and other relatives?

Could you find a toddler group in your area and suggest going together so she can meet other mums?

Boundaries must be enforced to work, so simply be less available and encourage regular time spent instead. Find yourself a hobby or interest that keeps you busy

nanna8 Mon 26-Jun-23 02:01:30

Is she very young , your DIL ? It seems unusual and she sounds as if she is lacking confidence or maybe even a bit depressed. Does she have a Mum? I’d just tell her straight out that you are not as young as she is and it is tiring for you even though you love your GS.

JaydeeTas Mon 26-Jun-23 03:05:54

My DIL is in her early 20's. Her mum lives with them and has done since my GS was born.

My DIL has spoken about a mothers group but, never goes. I am not sure why she is so hesitant.

I offered to pay for swimming lessons so my DIL can take my GS but, she's not keen for that either.

My DIL doesn't have a license so cannot get out of the house and she is not keen on walking too far but, she does get out to see her Nan and brother regularly throughout the week.

I manage a business and it is a busy time for me. I have messaged and said this week is going to be hectic. I haven't received a response so, I don't think she has taken it too well. Normally I would have received a smiley face or a "that's ok hope all is well".

BlueBelle Mon 26-Jun-23 03:22:35

Surprise she’s so needy if she has her mum living with her I m surprised you get a look in !
As her mum has lived with her since the baby was born the girl must be very needy Is there a babies dad there too or is she on her own
My DIL doesn't have a license so cannot get out of the house what a strange thing to say I’ve never driven a car but have never been tied to a house
Does she have mental health issues? if I was you I d not answer the texts and demands too quickly, and perhaps suggest something you can do together next time she wants you to have the baby
She sounds like she needs professional help

JaydeeTas Mon 26-Jun-23 04:14:12

Thank you for your response BlueBelle. Yes, my son and DIL are still together. They also have a room mate living there as well.

Regarding not having a license, I guess I was trying to say she isn't independent. She relies on my son to pick her up and drop her off. I don't know if that is an issue for her.

I didn't answer her Face times yesterday (I already responded to the first one)... I received a video of my GS and someone saying in the back ground.. "What's the matter little man.. is Joma too busy to talk to you.. Doesn't she want to talk to you today..." sad

Smileless2012 Mon 26-Jun-23 12:13:27

All you can do is keep reinforcing your boundaries Jaydee. When you're face timing let her know in a light hearted/chatty way what you've got to do for the rest of the week so she knows you're busy.

I agree with BlueBelle that her neediness is odd considering she has her mum there 24/7. Do you have a good enough relationship with her mum that would enable you to have a chat and see what she thinks about this? Could you find a way of mentioning this to your son by asking how things are going generally without mentioning your d.i.l. specifically?

M0nica Mon 26-Jun-23 13:00:44

The first thing to do is make it clear to your DiL that you cannot answer calls while you are at work, even if you work from home the second thing you do is not pick up any calls she makes to you while you are working.

AS for the emotional blackmail What's the matter little man.. is Joma too busy to talk to you.. Doesn't she want to talk to you today..." sad I would speak to her directly about that. Tell her it is emotional blackmail and she knows it isn't true.

This young woman sounds me me as if she has mental health problems and should be seen a doctor or health visitor.

Where is her husband in all this?You say they are living together. A problem like this is a couple problem and needs the cooperation of them both together to resolve it.

LRavenscroft Mon 26-Jun-23 13:42:12

Reading your post sounds as if it is a case of modern smart 'phone use. I only check my phone three times a day when I am having a break. Otherwise, I just don't bother. I think a lot of young mums at home are constantly on their 'phones wherever they are. She sounds as if she has plenty of family around and isn't weighed down by a demanding job. She is probably just communicating because that is what she does. You can politely just not bother to answer your phone and say you were out/in the garden/at the supermarket. I simply refuse to allow my 'phone to dictate my life. People have to wait for me to be ready to answer them.

JaydeeTas Mon 26-Jun-23 13:53:47

Sadly, it was my DIL's mum who made those comments about me being too busy.

Her Mum and I get on well but, she insists she doesn't want to get involved in this.

As for my son.. sigh he doesn't help the situation. He brings the money in but emotionally is not available. He has his moments but they are rare.

I think he gets the run-around like I do but, I don't know for sure. They both are immature. That is why I am so involved in raising my GS.

I agree that my DIL should see someone. Unfortunately, she won't see anyone.

Wyllow3 Mon 26-Jun-23 14:08:24

I imagine your son feels swamped by the living situation! Trying with best will in the world to cope with living with his clearly poorly partner, her mum, the child....

If she refuses to get help you need to take the good advice here about setting boundaries and sticking to them. Listen, be clear what you can and can't offer, stay kind but firm. there is open manipulation gong on - so hard for you.

I might be wrong about this but I think the making suggestions bit has more or less run its course.
They know what they are.

It is possible if you manage to step back (tho not out) of their lives she will be driven to admit she needs help. As long as she can game play and put stuff on you she maybe is less likely to do this? (Not sure, but all the best).

biglouis Mon 26-Jun-23 14:10:10

People who are addicted to their smart phones assume everyone else is. They cannot conceive of the fact that someone may have left their phone in another room or not taken it with them. Various people have had to learn that while I check email several times a day (because I run a business) I can go several days without bothering to "check" my phone. Most of my customers are outside UK and I dont accept international calls unless prior arrangements are made.

The posters who have suggested you make yourself less available and do not answer calls while you are working have given some good advice. If they try to guilt you have it out with them because thats a dirty tactic.

Gradually people have learned that the phone is for MY convenience and not theirs.

JaydeeTas Mon 26-Jun-23 14:18:59

I appreciate your response Wyllow. Yes, my son is constantly dealing with my DIL and her mum. I won't say he is innocent in all this though because I know he knows how to press your buttons to.

Reflecting on the last 15 months, I can see how I created this situation. I was always available day and night as they struggled with my GS (even her mum).

They didn't need to ask for help because I was always offering.
Now that I have stopped offering, this behaviour has started.

I will definitely go over to see all of them and say how busy it is for me and talk about how we can move forward so my DIL feels supported and my GS is well looked after.

Smileless2012 Mon 26-Jun-23 14:33:35

That's a great idea Jaydee and I hope it goes well. Good luck.

welbeck Mon 26-Jun-23 15:14:00

sounds like they are trying to palm off on to you the responsibility for raising this child.
that is not your responsibility.
do not take it on.
why do they have a lodger, as well as her mother living there.
are they hard up for cash.
may be a bit chaotic household.
resist the urge to rescue.

Hithere Mon 26-Jun-23 15:25:27

Your son needs to step up and get on the same page with his wife

JaydeeTas Tue 27-Jun-23 01:30:38

That's exactly right Welbeck. It is chaotic. My son works full time but, my DIL and the mother aren't. The mother is living there rent free at the moment so they are supporting her as well.

Hithere. I know my son isn't perfect but, he is working full time, Taxis my DIL and her family members because none of them have a license, getting up during the night to help get their son back to sleep, cooks during the weekends and puts up with having constant people in his house pretty much 24/7 because my DIL insists on having her family there. I would say he is doing all he can.

Now that I read that last paragraph, no wonder he is checking out when my DIL complains.

Hithere Tue 27-Jun-23 01:43:45

This current arrangement is not working - does your son recognize that

Doing all he can - it is clearly not addressing the problem

Changes are needed - work smarter, not harder

JaydeeTas Tue 27-Jun-23 01:47:40

This thread is about my DIL needing to be in regular contact with me.. I don't know why you are so focused on what my son needs to do.

MercuryQueen Tue 27-Jun-23 07:28:02


This thread is about my DIL needing to be in regular contact with me.. I don't know why you are so focused on what my son needs to do.

Probably because the root of the issue is in their home, between your DIL and son. Her mom needs to move out and support herself. That alone would help their marriage considerably, if your son wasn’t supporting extra adults financially, and dealing with the loss of privacy.

If they had their home to themselves, found their footing as parents and a married couple, I don’t doubt your DIL wouldn’t be turning to you so much, because they’d have each other.

M0nica Tue 27-Jun-23 07:33:59

The reason we bring your son into the discussion, JaydeeTas, is because the problem you have rises from a family situation with 4 players, You, your son, your DiL and her mother.

In a situation like this a resolution of the problem affects all of you. Your DiL is married to your son and in a marriage, when there is a child you expect husband.

In fact you are the third person in this problem. This young woman has a husband and mother, who are with her and share a home and should be theones who can help and support her. the fact that she is reaching out to you - and you have taken on the load, shows that the two people close to her are failing her, snf if you need to shed some of the load being placed on you, and I am on your side her, then the other adults in this young girls life need to take up their responsibilities so that she can look for supportnwhere one would expect her to - to her husband then mother.

So that is why your son forms an important part in resolving your justified need for a solution to this problem of setting boundaries.

M0nica Tue 27-Jun-23 07:36:26

A bit of text got cut off second para

when there is a child you expect (the) husband to be the first person to become involved with helping his wife if she is having problems coping.

midgey Tue 27-Jun-23 09:30:59

Sounds to me as if your daughter in law and her mum haven’t got enough to do! When you are at home all day with just household chores and a small baby it is easy to forget that other people live busy lives! They both need to get out more.

Wyllow3 Tue 27-Jun-23 09:54:20

I salute your courage in going to see them, it will be difficult.

As others have said, we have brought in your son into the discussion because he is "one of the players".

I too feel that their marriage might be better, closer, him more emotionally involved if DiL's mum sent there but - not something you can intervene on. I cant imagine myself with a new baby not just wanting it to be me and husband and baby and finding a mum living with me anything less than really inhibiting to intimacy.

I'm glad you see clearly how as it were you had a part in creating the situation unwittingly. That clear thinking will help you find a way forward.

Can I tactfully put another point? It would be difficult for me, and many other grans, to have DiL's mum there with your grandchild all the time...

....and maybe think "well how can I get a look in" and therefore do more than you might otherwise have to get time with grandchild.

Gillycats Tue 27-Jun-23 12:30:36

To be honest I envy you JaydeeTas. I wish I was involved with my little DG’s. They live a long way from me and it’s rare that I ever get asked for help, or anything else. Maybe your DIL is just trying to keep you involved and wants to have a close relationship with her. I know it seems a bit much but try to keep her on board with you, you never know what’s around the corner.