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Grandparenting

Maintaining Boundaries

(97 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.

JaydeeTas Tue 27-Jun-23 12:40:04

Thank you for all your comments.. I appreciate that my son is a key playee but, he has expressed to me he feels he has no say.

He has consistently said he wants less people in the home all the time. My DIL insists she has her mother stay for company.. and her brother and his family visit every 2nd day. If he pushes the topic, my DIL turns nasty and threatens to leave.

Both of them have flaws no doubt.. neither want to get out each others way.. the can't compromise or communicate like adults. I am so involved because they weren't ready to be parents imo. They even use messenger to talk while all in the same house.

I managed to convince my DIL to have a couple of nights a week to themselves. I even said to my son to use this time to spend quality time. I sweetened the deal by having my GS overnight. So far that has worked..

JaydeeTas Tue 27-Jun-23 12:50:17

Thank you Gillycats.. I do see how lucky I am to such Freedom to have imput as I know a lot of DILs wouldn't appreciate it..
I am also glad my DIL wants to have a relationship and I hope that doesn't change.
I would just really like to feel that I don't have to save the day and I can just go and see my GS because I want some cuddles..

Hithere Tue 27-Jun-23 12:58:36

Your son does have a say but he needs to reach a point where he says enough and puts his foot down

How old are they?

He needs to be the one dealing with this, not you negotiating the terms of his nuclear family

JaydeeTas Tue 27-Jun-23 13:09:42

He’s afraid to lose his family. I have witnessed my DIL saying she will take their son and leave. He has nowhere to go.. if he says go, he will be at fault. If he tries to express how he feels, he is not listened to, if he stays quiet he’s unhappy…

They are in their mis 20s but, they have the maturity of 17 year olds.

Smileless2012 Tue 27-Jun-23 13:13:12

Emotional blackmail is never good Jaydee especially when it involves children. Your son is clearly in a difficult position and doing his best. He can do no more.

Wiser Tue 27-Jun-23 13:16:46

Dil sounds manipulative. They also sound as though they need couples counselling to help their relationship. You having grandson overnight us a great idea so they can be free for a night.

rafichagran Tue 27-Jun-23 13:38:54

Sorry, but your dil and her Mum are a pair of lazy manipulative b......,
Please stop being so available. I feel sorry for your son too.
Yore dil needs to grow up, and your son needs to have his say and be listened too. The MIL needs to leave, and if not paying rent so does the room mate.
Get on with your life OP and ignore those calls during the working day. I detest lazy people and your case this includes your dil's Mum.

Hithere Tue 27-Jun-23 13:46:17

Your son has rights, he should go to a lawyer

Kamiso Tue 27-Jun-23 14:39:13

“Lose” your phone for a few days or book yourself a mini break just to give yourself time to think more clearly.

You are entitled to a life of your own even if you can only manage a few days a month. Don’t succumb to emotional blackmail. It doesn’t sound like a relationship that will run the course so step back and let it pan out. They may suddenly realize that they are adults!

Wyllow3 Tue 27-Jun-23 14:57:25

Has DiL’s mum kept her house or flat? Has she a home now to return to?

M0nica Tue 27-Jun-23 15:04:39

Your son needs to assert himself, whether she threatens to leave or not. He should call he bluff.

As things are at the moment, I cannot see that this relationship is going to last long term. It might last longer if he refused to be cowed by her emotional blackmail and she might grow up a bit if someone stood up to her.

Gundy Tue 27-Jun-23 16:11:40

She’s definitely struggling. A combination of young motherhood, first child, mother living with them(!), husband could be also reeling from having mum-in-law there.

There are some fraught mother/daughter relationships… wonder if this is a case of mother always telling dau what to do, criticizing. Daughter-in-law is reaching out to you for respite. Maybe MIL is pushing dau to have you take the child because SHE needs relief. Who knows?

It could be any or all of those scenarios. I think it’s time for mum to go home!
Then everyone would calm down.
USA Gundy

nandad Tue 27-Jun-23 16:39:26

Agree with MOnica.

Bijou Tue 27-Jun-23 16:54:34

I am glad that I lived in the days when mothers looked after their children. My daughter in law looked after her three until they were all at school and then worked as school secretary.

lyleLyle Tue 27-Jun-23 18:16:44

You need to step back. You say you only offer because you think she wants you to. Unless you both share her brain, you can’t know what another person is thinking. You offer and that is your choice. Stop offering. You see yourself as helping raise your grandchild. That’s part of the problem. He’s not yours to raise. You are ingraining yourself in their lives and are unhappy with the results. Make different choices.

As far as your son’s marriage, leave him to it. None of it is any of your business. Keep your advice to yourself if you must listen.

I think it would be best for you to find other activities to focus on besides being in the muddle of your sons’ family. It’s not healthy to be so heavily involved in the personal business of other adults.

lyleLyle Tue 27-Jun-23 18:24:14

I am very curious as to why there has been this trend of complaining, over-involved mother in laws on here lately. There is more purpose to a woman’s life outside of a desire to mother people. Too many grans wanting to parent and raise others’ children. Too many grans wanting to continue to mother their darling adult offspring well into adulthood by embedding themselves into their daily lives. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both grandmothers in this case are constantly over at the young couple’s place or asking to “take care” if the baby. When did this type of smothering become acceptable?

Hetty58 Tue 27-Jun-23 18:43:00

JaydeeTas:

'I constantly receive messages, face times, offers have having the little man etc.' (sic)

Constantly? - that would drive me bonkers. But then, you must be responding to these communications quite promptly/fast - and that's completely your choice, your decision.

My kids, grandkids, friends and relatives all know that I'll check my email and mobile in the morning, late afternoon and late evening - and that is all!

I rarely answer the house phone either, though they can leave a message as, these days, I'm no longer 'on duty', refuse to be an emergency contact - I've truly retired, my choice!

Wyllow3 Tue 27-Jun-23 18:56:01

But lyleLyle some families do work being in and out of each others lives a lot - and traditionally not at all unusual for 3 generations to live together (not necessarily by choice. )

Some women do live through and identify with their families: in our current times its usually as they all live close by not actually living with, but if DiL is from that sort of family it will change matters as to expectations as would the key question - has live in gran got somewhere of her own to live..

It would never work for me but it takes all sorts.

I also feel there is love and concern in the mix very substantially but the O/P focussed on boundaries.

lyleLyle Tue 27-Jun-23 19:51:07

Wyllow3

But lyleLyle some families do work being in and out of each others lives a lot - and traditionally not at all unusual for 3 generations to live together (not necessarily by choice. )

Some women do live through and identify with their families: in our current times its usually as they all live close by not actually living with, but if DiL is from that sort of family it will change matters as to expectations as would the key question - has live in gran got somewhere of her own to live..

It would never work for me but it takes all sorts.

I also feel there is love and concern in the mix very substantially but the O/P focussed on boundaries.

Is it really “functioning” if one or more parties is unhappy enough to go on the internet and complain about it? Is it functioning if one or more parties is complaining on the internet about another couple’s marriage? I have to strongly disagree. The issue of boundaries appears to be a two way street. The OP is stressed because her DIL is not taking her advice. Why does she have the idea that DIL should? OP is stressed because she is involved in son’s marriage. Why should she be? Op is stressed because she volunteers to take on child care and the DIL has the utter gall to ask after her child. Then why do all of this? To need to be needed? Surely there are other ways to find joy and fulfillment in life. Too many women have this martyr complex. It’s okay not being the “center” of the family anymore. I can see the grans being responsible for tearing this couple apart. Too busy in the middle of everything to let them figure life out. Always wanting to give opinions. Not giving the couple space to raise their family. All is well and good if all parties agree with it. But this does not resemble such a case.

lyleLyle Tue 27-Jun-23 19:53:49

Also, love and concern are no reason to meddle. We are parents. Love and concern will exist in the best or worst of situations. We must learn to cope with our love and concern in a manner that is not ultimately disadvantageous to our adult offspring and their young families.

Hetty58 Tue 27-Jun-23 19:57:40

lyleLyle, exactly - and why complain about a situation you have created yourself? I only hear about 'boundaries' on GN and it reminds me of garden fences every time!

11unicorn Tue 27-Jun-23 19:59:15

JayDee

I fully understand your situation. I too have a daughter that lacks maturity - she has lots of mental health issues too, so it is never straight forward.

I am thinking that DIL Mum might have problems of her own and therefore isn't really a help to her daughter - just as you said, she is simply "company".
I assume your DIL is simply scared that she does things wrong even though she can't express it.
You stated you give her advise - I think she may need that in a more hands on learning way. When you are there helping with GS, could you then say out loud pretty much all the time: "And now it's time to do this....", "oh the little man is crying, so let's try to read a book, give a cuddle, have a bath, rub his belly...." . This way she can see and understand what your doing and when she phones later you can tell her "have you tried reading a book with him as I did the other day"
She may find learning visually by example easier.

Her Mum being there might make it more difficult for her bonding with GS as well.
Maybe you need to suggest that her Mum actually finds some groups to attend so your DIL can be on her own with GS.

I know this is a big one, but maybe you can go along with her to a toddler group and facilitate for her making friends with other Mums in a hope that after 3 or 4 visits another Mum can pick her up and walk with her there together. I think she may well be intimidated by meeting other Mums.
Also go with her together with GS to parks and again try to help DIL to speak to other Mum's there in a hope to turn into play times together.

I know, in the short term these are not helping you getting more time for yourself but I think you need to invest a bit more to help your DIL make other Mum's friends and then things will hopefully fall into place.

lyleLyle Tue 27-Jun-23 20:07:22

Hetty58

lyleLyle, exactly - and why complain about a situation you have created yourself? I only hear about 'boundaries' on GN and it reminds me of garden fences every time!

I wonder the same! I think we all can understand wanting to help our families. But the things I read on here are very head scratching. Also very avoidable!

HeavenLeigh Tue 27-Jun-23 20:17:24

Agree with Rafichagrans post

JPB123 Tue 27-Jun-23 21:37:12

Does the child have regular check ups and vaccinations? Is there
anyone at the GP surgery who could offer advice? Is the child down for nursery place? Health visitor? See what is available in
your area.. Mothers’ groups etc.