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(49 Posts)
lluneau Tue 04-Jul-23 13:02:17

Hi, I am new here and am so relieved to find that I am not alone in this situation. My son’s partner has stopped talking to me and I am at a loss as to why. Like many families, we have divorce, remarriage, and dynamics that overshadow our lives. I have moved closer to one gd to help out as they had no family nearby. I was going to visit family in question 1 week a month to babysit and spend time with infant gd. All was good for 5 months. My gd was enrolled in daycare 3 days a week; my ex and his sister share babysitting duties on home days. At my gd’s first bd party, my ex’s family was invited, but mine was not. My ex’s sister appears to have replaced me. I am an extremely anxious person, this may be contributory. I so want to be in my gd’s life, but it doesn’t look good. I am not confrontational and have mentioned my discomfort with my son, but told him that his nuclear family was more important than any issues with me…he says he was unaware. Do I bow out gracefully with a broken heart or fight back??? I would appreciate advice.

March Tue 04-Jul-23 13:21:00

What actually happened?

You was you staying with them for a week each month?
Baby is in daycare for 3 days a week then has a day with her Grandad and Great Aunt?

March Tue 04-Jul-23 13:26:47

Just read it again, is it because your GD is now in daycare etc you won't be able to have a whole week with her?

1 week a month is a lot, did you stay with them? Do you live far?

Cold Tue 04-Jul-23 14:29:47

Have you talked to your son/DIL about wanting to spend more time with gd? Have you called them to suggest visits or outings?

You say that you are "an extremely anxious person" do you think that they are worried that babysitting is too much for you?

lluneau Tue 04-Jul-23 14:40:38

I went to their home for 1 week a month to babysit, from gd’s birth until she was 8 months when she started daycare for 3 days a week.

lluneau Tue 04-Jul-23 14:42:19

It is a 4 hour drive for me to get to my son’s home. I attempt to hide my anxiety from them.

March Tue 04-Jul-23 14:42:56

Was it OK? I imagine living with your MIL for a whole week each month must he a but much.

Could that be why?

Hithere Tue 04-Jul-23 14:43:55


lluneau Tue 04-Jul-23 14:45:15

Yes, daycare is a contributing factor for the arrangement we had with my staying in their home. Staying there without my Gd at home is not feasible.

lluneau Tue 04-Jul-23 14:49:14

I agree, a week in someone else’s home is an imposition. The partner worked 10 hours a day, however, and always took advantage of my being there to go out with a friend etc. I did housework, animal care, and yard work there…overstepping. I thought it was being helpful. My son is gone 4 days a week for work, so it is just our triangle, perhaps also a factor….just am making assumptions.

March Tue 04-Jul-23 15:58:55

Ahhh OK.

So it was just you, GD and your DIL. I imagine that was hard.

I'd draw a line, you thought it was helping and it turns out you was stepping on toes.

Apologies and try an arrangement that suits everyone. If you've got a tricky relationship with your DIL make sure you visit on a day your son is there too?

Nanfromafar Tue 04-Jul-23 22:14:28

So sorry to hear this. Marriage break ups.with kids can be tough, but have an adult son. To be excluded from your Gd Birthday party is morally inept when you have been close in the past. Also offering help around the home is very generous. If you have a good relationship with your.son, try and have another talk about how this is affecting you.Are you visit your.Gd at all?

With our.second baby coming, my ILs would visit from OS every two years, I offered them to come iver to retire and enjoy the sunshine, as back then I found them lovely people.

my inlaws on our property rent free and remained here.for 16 years until deteriorating health. My ILs were present outside the operating room when I had my second CS, they had new baby experience and they had our children visit whenever either wanted too.

Though when I returned to work it.was me that did all the housework.and cooked a meal night, in the morning before I went to work and school drop off.

I was envious of work mates whose MIL would help with household work so that they could rest and.relax, but it was what it was and I was grateful that our girls had at least one set of GP to learn other things from. My own Mum missed out in a lot, as did our girls, due to living so far apart and later dementia.

We lost our Mum this year and having my extended family around me, I realised just how much I missed it.

I hope you can have a happy outcome

lluneau Tue 04-Jul-23 22:24:23

You are inspirational…thank you

Nanfromafar Wed 05-Jul-23 01:02:21

We seem to be stuck in the old ways, where family was not just the nuclear, but where others within the family network were classed as an important in the social fabric.

I had also so many "Aunties and Uncles" that were cherished by our family. So much knowledge and cultural richness that were openly shared.

Children that are able to be cared for lovingly by GPs over a group childcare situation were the winners. They can still have play dates and attend Playgroup etc.

Our first was in QCWA, a family like setting, until we moved and the next one I would collect our daughter always in tears (one day I discovered why and she was removed), then GPs arrived, they both had their grandparents, where I could trust them to always care for our children. They learnt to knit, sew, swim etc under their guidance. Go for camps and sleep overs, so hubby and I could catch up with each other, have date nights etc. For 3 months of the year GPs went away on their own too, for their own R&R, it was a good, healthy arrangement.

These days, the extended family has been replaced by strangers, mentorship from Elders is being lost, kids often seem to be loosing the basic moral fabric we once all treasured and now some are turning to delinquency and who gets the blame? Usually kids that have lost their way due to the loss of the above.

Stay passive with your approach to your son and DIL, let them know you are there and hopefully all those months you kept their child safe and loved will be remembered and something positive come out of all of this for.

MercuryQueen Wed 05-Jul-23 04:15:04

I suspect that there’s a bit of lingering resentment clouding the situation, as you admit to overstepping.

It was probably a stressful situation from the DIL’s perspective. Having to leave a tiny baby (a newborn?! Did she not have any maternity leave?) is incredibly hard. Having someone in your house for a week, when your partner is away for four days at a time would be very difficult for many people, especially after working ten hour days. And then, on top of it, there’s probably guilt, because she knows she should be grateful for the childcare, and I’m betting she was, but she still struggled until she couldn’t do it anymore.

It sounds like a really difficult situation for everyone.

With the birthday party, would you have had to stay with them again? How do you get along with your ex’s family?

I suspect there’s some unresolved issues that are simply going to take some time to work through. I’m not sure that ‘fighting back’ is an appropriate stance to take. There’s nothing to fight, no battle to win. I think talking to your son about the situation, asking how you can help repair the relationship with you and your DIL would be the place to start. That, and booking a hotel room next time you visit.

lluneau Wed 05-Jul-23 12:54:40

My son’s partner was ‘in the room’ when I babysat as she works from home. I agree that a passive approach is best. The great aunt is estranged from her daughter and 5 grandchildren…I am not sure why…and the partner is estranged from her dad and has a tentative relationship with her mom. The great aunt and partner need each other, unfortunately, it seems to negate need for me in partner’s view. I love my gd and am despairing, although I know my son will always let me see her. I need to un retire to afford a 2nd home near them. I appreciate everyone’s advice….I echo so many when I never thought it could happen to me…I always put my children first…thank you

lluneau Wed 05-Jul-23 12:56:37

I did have an Airbnb last visit, prior to being asked to stay to babysit 2 days….just too expensive on my pension.

MercuryQueen Wed 05-Jul-23 22:02:03

Oh goodness. So it was the two of you, in the house, for a full week at a time, without your son?

Yeah, I can definitely see where problems set in.

I was asking about your relationship with your ex’s family, not hers.

lluneau Thu 06-Jul-23 02:18:52

My relationship with ex’s family is okay. I am uncomfortable when I am outnumbered by them at family events which is usually the case. They are 8 siblings and very close.

MercuryQueen Thu 06-Jul-23 06:41:29

I wonder if that’s part of the issue? They knew you’d be uncomfortable?

All you can really do is ask your son for guidance as to help mend the relationship. I suspect the living together for a week every month for eight months, with DIL working from home and whatever the overstepping was you mentioned have had some lasting effects. As you’ve already visited since, staying at an AirBnB, you do still have a relationship with them, so that’s a positive. The rest may just take some time and effort.

VioletSky Thu 06-Jul-23 07:35:41

Staying at someone's house for 1/4 of the time is a lot.

You need to work together to find a compromise, maybe a visit every 4 months and a shorter stay? Ensuring that your son is there for most of the stay so that it is felt you are visiting the family and not just the grandchild?

Don't waste your mental health on any kind of jealousy or resentment about who gets to visit more or who has a closer relationship.

Have a conversation with son, find out what any problems are, listen, address them, make a regular arrangement to visit that suits everyone and see how it goes from there

Long distance relationships work really well with good communication and facetime visits etc are another way to keep close

pascal30 Thu 06-Jul-23 10:24:24

You said you moved closer to them and yet you are a 4 hour drive away... and that you can't afford a second home closer.. why didn't you move closer, as you don't seem to be working? wouldn't that take the pressure off all of you and you could just visit then for short periods of time.. Ican understand your grief as youmust have built a close bond with your GC over the months.. I hope you find a way forward

Mamasperspective Thu 06-Jul-23 14:55:50

Firstly, do not fight back … you will be seen as confrontational and it will only result in a bad outcome for you. You are not really in their lives much at the moment so if you jump in with both feet then you are likely to get completely cut off which won’t have an impact on them (as it will on you) as they don’t see you much anyway.

Birthday parties are not about inviting equal family members on every side, they are about LO (and the nuclear family) celebrating with everyone who is important in their lives and with whom they have regular interaction. If they do not see your side of the family then, despite being related, they are basically strangers which may explain the lack of invite.

I would contact DIL and approach her with empathy. Say that you would love to have more of a role in their lives and to spend time with them and your granddaughter (don’t make it JUST about your granddaughter). Ask if there is anything that you can do for her and if more contact can be achieved in any way. I would say you have full respect for the fact she is an amazing mother and you want to be respectful of any parenting boundaries she has in place. I would also say that if ever you do overstep, you want her to feel she can approach you and talk to you about it without fear of deflection, excuses or a ‘stroppy’ attitude … you will accept any constructive criticism and be open to change when needed (and make sure you are!) Check if you have done anything previously which you need to take accountability for and apologise for. Lastly, keep your emotions in check during this conversation as the focus shouldn’t be on your hurt, it should be on what you can do to bond more closely with this nuclear family (many MILs will have a bit of a ‘victim mentality’ and that’s the LAST thing you want to be accused of.

Good luck!

60no Thu 06-Jul-23 15:04:27

DH told he has prostate cancer over the phone. Had the biopsy and next step telephone call but just shocked that people just deal with something so possibly life changing on the phone. Got two options radiotherapy or surgery? So after the shock I guess decisions to be made. I seem to be more upset the way he was told atm. I guess that will change as we digest the news. Any thoughts advice … thanks in advance

Hithere Thu 06-Jul-23 15:34:46

So sorry for the diagnosis

Please do open a new thread so it is more visible and you get more replies