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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.

FarNorth Tue 27-Jun-23 21:53:09

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.

Clearly Dil's Mum is involving herself by making such a comment about you JayDee.

I suggest that, when you speak to them, you explain about being busy and state clearly how available you will be from now on.
E.g. child-minding needs a day's notice, or you can do Tuesdays & Thursdays, or you are free for calls only in the evenings, or whatever you want to say.

JaydeeTas Tue 27-Jun-23 22:45:48

Lylelyle... with respect, you do not know why I'm involved in the first place... I had no intentions on being so involved in my sons life and did everything I could to avoid it.

There were 3 adults in that house and none of them were prepared for a baby. I don't care what anyone says, I will not stand by and watch someone unravel because they are struggling.

As for her mum. She homesless and has no money. She has no intentions of improving her life. There is still the complication of the DIL not wanting her to leave.

As for complaining on the internet.. I thought this was a support group but posts always ends up with people being judgemental and I feel I have to defend myself.

I do appreciate those who provided support and advice and will talk to them about how I'm feeling and put my phone on silent.

Hithere Tue 27-Jun-23 22:58:27

If you feel the baby is in danger with them, call the authorities

Otherwise, you cannot make anybody adult (verb) and get their sh!t together

If your son keeps giving them rides, what's their motivation to find other methods of transportation?

SuperTinny Tue 27-Jun-23 22:58:31

Why don't you set a day aside (or two half days) to have your grandson. Make them set days so it gets you all into a routine.

I'm certainly not in the same situation as you but I have looked after my grandson for one set day a week since he was 9 months old. It wasn't very long before he got into a routine and he knew when it was Nana and Grandad day.

Its clear you have a lot of insight to how this situation arose, Good luck!

Wyllow3 Tue 27-Jun-23 23:00:31

"As for her mum. She homesless and has no money. She has no intentions of improving her life".

So we cant shift mum, can we?

Thank you for that key bit of information. The family is pretty dysfunctional in terms of getting out of the situation and moving on and no wonder you got pulled in early on seeing the child born into it.

JaydeeTas you're bound to get very different POV or "takes" on a situation when you post. People post from how they would react or how they see it and it's bound to bring out differences.

Still leave you in the same place - ending to decide what your involvement would be. But it's not a situation you can "Rescue" in total because they are ALL needy but just do what you can for your grandchild - within what's possible for you as you deserve to have your own life and not get swamped.

Lizbethann55 Tue 27-Jun-23 23:48:18

Jaydee. There are a group of people who regularly post on here that are as unsympathetic as it is possible to be. They are constantly horribly unkind and lacking in any understanding or empathy. There are situations and problems in my life that I would like to ask advice about, but this small group always put me off. For your own peace of mind you should just scroll past their comments. Don't give them the satisfaction of replying and just concentrate on the good, caring replies you get. I wish you well and hope you find a way to resolving your dilemma.

nanna8 Wed 28-Jun-23 01:14:29

Yes ,good luck with dealing with it all,Jaycee. I think you do need to talk to your DIL because I suspect she knows you are a ‘coper’ and has no idea how she is depending on you so much. Maybe cut it down to certain days of the week only ? Just a thought.

lyleLyle Wed 28-Jun-23 10:56:41

JaydeeTas

Lylelyle... with respect, you do not know why I'm involved in the first place... I had no intentions on being so involved in my sons life and did everything I could to avoid it.

There were 3 adults in that house and none of them were prepared for a baby. I don't care what anyone says, I will not stand by and watch someone unravel because they are struggling.

As for her mum. She homesless and has no money. She has no intentions of improving her life. There is still the complication of the DIL not wanting her to leave.

As for complaining on the internet.. I thought this was a support group but posts always ends up with people being judgemental and I feel I have to defend myself.

I do appreciate those who provided support and advice and will talk to them about how I'm feeling and put my phone on silent.

I’m still failing to see how their marriage and their issues are yours to solve. If you didn’t want to be so involved, you wouldn’t be. Meddling in someone’s marriage is never a help, especially when you are related to one of the parties. There are marriage counselors and social services that exist in this world. I have never heard of a single situation where an over-involved mother in law saved anyone’s marriage. Quite the opposite, actually. This is about you and your inability to let go . You are fashioning yourself as the savior of that household because it’s what you want and need, not them.

Your DIL’s mother is not your problem either. Your son is an adult. He will not learn to handle his problems because mummy keeps trying to solve them. You are hindering him more than helping.

As far as a support group, this is the internet. Putting your son’s marital issues out on the net so that others can validate your over-involvement and judgement of your DIL isn’t going to yield only like-minded opinions. This isn’t an echo-chmaber. You solicited opinions. Your son and daughter in law did not. Surely you are aware that not everyone on the internet is going to agree that your enmeshment is helpful.

lyleLyle Wed 28-Jun-23 11:07:54

Oh, and as far as “unkind posters”. Just because people are honest doesn’t mean they are unkind. What is unkind is going to the internet putting your family’s personal business out there for the world to see. What is unkind is sharing details of someone else’s home life so that strangers can insult and criticize. What is unkind is the hypocrisy of complaining about someone else’s honesty when encouraging enmeshment of someone whose family doesn’t know you are telling the world their own one-sides interpretation of the intimate details of said family’s lives. That is called gossip. What is unkind is enmeshing yourself into someone else’s life, then complaining about your own choices by blaming the parties whose lives you insist on interfering in. What is unkind is taking said one-sided interpretation to post unkind things about a young woman who is not here to defend herself. The fact that some are okay with this puts me quite at ease with the false idea that my honesty is unkind. I’ll take my standards of kindness over any of the above, any day.

Hithere Wed 28-Jun-23 11:11:18

Thanks lyle

I do also question when posters enter too much information about others and if they have permission to do so

welbeck Wed 28-Jun-23 11:24:02

i think that's unfair.
look at all the sad cases where children have come to harm.
this OP is concerned about her GS and his chaotic surroundings.
in his case it is more likely to be a risk from ignorance, or lack of awareness, or being too caught up in their own dramas.
as she says, the adults with whom he lives, and is dependant upon, are immature and inadequate.
she cannot take the child and raise him herself.
nor does reporting to the authorities seem right.
she is trying to get them to be more aware of the child's needs, without totally taking over.
it is a tricky situation.

Hithere Wed 28-Jun-23 11:40:25

That is why I said call social services if the child is on danger

The son is choosing to be with dil, enabling them by giving them rides, for example

Yes, there is emotional blackmail which is obviously not good for the child at all

I wonder if the son got into the relationship knowing how dil and her family were
If he did or didn't, he has to do what is best for his son, not throw his hands in the air and claim he is stuck

Vito Wed 28-Jun-23 13:57:17

Completely agree Lizbett, there are some nasty posters on here. If I'm reading a thread and see their name I dont bother reading their opinions.

Delila Wed 28-Jun-23 14:09:24

I agree Lizbethann & Vito. They rarely contribute anything constructive, indeed are quite callous, seeming to relish upsetting posters who are already distressed.

Pythagorus Wed 28-Jun-23 14:34:45

In cases such as these there are a myriad of opinions. They are all irrelevant.
You do you! It’s up to you how you intersect with your son and his family. BUT it’s them you need to communicate with. Keep communicating until you have all come to a satisfactory conclusion.

lyleLyle Wed 28-Jun-23 15:01:38

Hithere,

I’ve a hard time believing in the genuine intentions of anyone who shares the details of someone else’s personal life on the internet and behind their back. Lots of posters share their negative opinions of people unable to defend themselves because of one-sided, second hand information. I cannot believe that’s not the actual intent.

lyleLyle Wed 28-Jun-23 15:07:26

welbeck

i think that's unfair.
look at all the sad cases where children have come to harm.
this OP is concerned about her GS and his chaotic surroundings.
in his case it is more likely to be a risk from ignorance, or lack of awareness, or being too caught up in their own dramas.
as she says, the adults with whom he lives, and is dependant upon, are immature and inadequate.
she cannot take the child and raise him herself.
nor does reporting to the authorities seem right.
she is trying to get them to be more aware of the child's needs, without totally taking over.
it is a tricky situation.

There are resources to deal with children who are genuinely in harm’s way. The OP is part of the chaos. As I said, I’ve yet to see the case of the over-involved mother in law saving a marriage. I’m sorry I’m not buying the idea that the OP is the one to save the day here. The son’s mum thinks her daughter in law and her mum are the main problems here. What a shocking and totally unpredictable view. Completely original. I am sure the daughter in law and her mum would write an OP that simply glows about this OP and her son. I am sure the other side of the story would paint them as perfect. hmm

Delila Wed 28-Jun-23 15:17:35

lyleLyle, quite often those resources turn out to be other family members, including grandparents. Sadly, it’s not unknown for vulnerable children to be failed by outside agencies whose role it is to protect them. In an ideal world both have a role to play.

lyleLyle Wed 28-Jun-23 16:30:05

We don’t know that this is the case here. I don’t think speculation is enough of a reason to avoid social services if there are genuine safe guarding issues. We don’t have anyone but the OP’s biases to prove that there are genuine safeguarding issues. We do know some things that the OP has admitted about herself though. The OP started off by admitting 1. She is not happy that her daughter in law does not take her advice. 2. She admits that her daughter in law is concerned enough about the child that she checks in when OP has the child. Daughter in law also asks questions about behavioral patterns of the child when OP has had the child, which OP is “stressed by”. Daughter in law is a married adult. None of the above suggests she is incapable of overcoming whatever parenting struggles she may have without the OP’s interference.

But let us not pretend that the OP isn’t also admittedly actively interfering in the marital issues of her son. It is not the place of ant mother in law to play marriage counselor. Surely anyone whose intent is to cause no harm would see the danger in vocalizing biased opinions about their daughter or son in law, or trying to tell an adult married couple how they should be interacting with one another. Only on gransnet is it considered unfair or unkind to suggest a mother in law stop meddling in the marriage of her adult offspring. In what world does anyone view a biased grandparent as a perfect person to save someone else’s relationship?

VioletSky Wed 28-Jun-23 17:00:26

Jaydee this all sounds very enmeshed

The live in mother who is incapable of standing on her own feet making passive aggressive comments in the background...

Your son being "immature" too and he and DIL being reliant on you to the point you feel you are instrumental in raising your grandchild

The amount you know about their relationship

It's all so so unhealthy.

You can't do anything about your son's MIL. What you can do is take a giant step back yourself and put an end to being available. You said yourself, your advice is not taken anyway.

Reduce your role to that of a aren't of an adult child and a grandparent. Create a schedule for visits and babysitting time, once you have decided a reasonable timetable, send it over. They can take it or leave it.

Become an active listener. Don't offer advice, don't try to counsel, simply listen to what you are told and and offer simple empathy "I'm sorry you are struggling" and stay out of the drama.

This young couple must learn to live life on their own terms and you must be able to live your separate life on yours. If you can't, you are too enmeshed here and if it isn't resolved the toll will be great for all of you because eventually it will blow up

Delila Wed 28-Jun-23 17:17:07

LyleLyle, although you appear to have taken a detailed interest in the OP’s situation, your response seems to be informed by your apparent personal bias against 1) mothers-in-law, and 2) grandparents, who you frequently describe as interfering, biased and meddling (among other insults).

I wouldn’t suggest avoiding Social Services, any more than I’d suggest a grandmother/mother-in-law has no part to play in the scenario described here.

Smileless2012 Wed 28-Jun-23 18:39:06

It often happens Delila. A post from a genuinely concerned and loving mother/m.i.l/GM brings out an apparent personal bias resulting in insults that they're interfering, biased and meddling.

It would be a very sad day wouldn't it if parents just stopped being bothered about their AC, their s.i.l. or d.i.l. and their GC because it's none of their business and if they do, they're judged as not having genuine intentions.

There's no need for you to defend yourself Jaydee and TBH it's a waste of time to do so. There have been some supportive responses and good suggestions so give some thought to those.

It seems to me that this current situation has gradually developed from your understandable desire to be there for your son and d.i.l. who became parents at a young age and who you were concerned about because didn't seem to have the maturity to cope with such a momentous and life changing event.

You now understandably believe that there's too much dependence on you and you need to step back, which IMO shows that you do want them to function as a family independent from you.

Daily newspapers and weekly magazines have their share of 'agony aunts' that people turn to for advice and just like it is here on GN, the one's seeking advice are discussing others 'behind their backs'.

Anyone who participates in a thread like this is doing the same thing aren't they.

lyleLyle Wed 28-Jun-23 19:30:53

Delila

LyleLyle, although you appear to have taken a detailed interest in the OP’s situation, your response seems to be informed by your apparent personal bias against 1) mothers-in-law, and 2) grandparents, who you frequently describe as interfering, biased and meddling (among other insults).

I wouldn’t suggest avoiding Social Services, any more than I’d suggest a grandmother/mother-in-law has no part to play in the scenario described here.

I am bised against mothers in laws? I am a mother in law four times over, 3 to daughters in law. Daughters in law whom I respect enough to not gossip about on the internet. Daughters in law that I do not become “stressed” because they don’t take my advice. I am not enmeshed with my adult offspring because I enjoy being a grandmother. My days of active mothering to minors are over and I am not struggling with that fact because letting go keeps us close together. I am absolutely biased against meddling in the marriages of adults. It’s called having respect. So no, you are off quite a bit. Why is it hard to imagine that enmeshment is not necessary in order to help family? Sounds quite narcissistic to think the only way adult offspring can navigate life is if you are in the center of that life, actively guiding. That sounds more like an internal problem than anything.

lyleLyle Wed 28-Jun-23 19:34:22

Message deleted by Gransnet. Here's a link to our Talk guidelines.

Delila Wed 28-Jun-23 20:26:34

I’m glad to hear everything in your life is plain sailing lyleLyle. It may therefore be difficult for you to empathise with the less than perfectly happy lives of others.

You seem quite comfortable sharing information about your own family relationships online, solely from your own point of view.