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Grandparenting

Dilemma

(130 Posts)
Nonna1day Mon 05-Apr-21 13:59:51

Just found out I’m going to be a granny yesterday. I cried and cried...more so because I’d like to be involved as a grandparent but feeling so sorry because my DIL is all about her large family and I’m always brushed to the side and left alone. I was a divorced mom who always put my son first. I never had a relationship because my son was my priority. I have no siblings nor aunts or uncles. It was just us. We were so close....always together...until he met this lady. The first time I met her, she told me that she has never met her grandparents and uncles on her dads side, who live in town, because her dad stopped talking to them on the day her parents were married because they were jealous of her mother! Wow! Then I told my son I was worried that this will happen to us if he gets involved with that family. That’s what they are used to! The mother runs the how and they are very overpowering! He assured me it wouldn’t happen with him. Well she slowly alienated him from his 2 lifelong best friends and me. Its all about her large family now. They live 5 minutes away from me and I hardly see them. Maybe a handful of times a year. However they are always socializing with her family every weekend. My son never comes to see me alone...he says she’ll get upset...for the last 2 years I’ve given and given. Kept my mouth shut because I know he tells her everything. The last couple of months have been heartbreaking...I’ve had health issues and I’ve gotten one short text from my son weekly or a 5 minute phone call weekly, asking how I’m doing! He can’t get off the phone fast enough. Never anything from her. I have always prepared the big holiday meals but this week haven’t been well and was feeling down and told them so...so she said she’d do something. It ended up being a brief backyard visit...after lunch yesterday with a bottle of water. Outdoor because of Covid according to her. No food should exchange hands....On Friday however they went to her mothers place and spent the entire day there with the 10 people of her family. A few who are hospital workers. She said they were outside but it was a terribly cold day and I doubt that totally...7 hours outside! Anyway yesterday, outside with masks, after they opened the gifts and groceries for a festive meal, I brought them, I was told that I’m going to be a grandma. I started crying uncontrollably...they thought these were tears of happiness..but more so they were tears of sorrow because I know I will never be let to have a loving, close relationship with this child. My son asked her if he could hug me...she didn’t reply...he asked again...she didn’t reply again! (Imagine! he feels that he has to ask for her permission to hug his mother!) He then got up and hugged me. I hadn’t been hugged since last Feb when Covid started! After an hour or so, she hinted that they had to start cooking their Easter dinner...the food I brought them...I understood it was time for me to leave. A couple of hours later I realized I forgot my sunglasses there. Turning the corner I saw her parents car in the driveway...I went to the back yard and picked up my glasses. They were inside the house...eating. Even though they had her family meal in Friday. There they were together again! Nobody saw me. Imagine how hurt I am feeling. They know I’m alone...not once did they ever invite me to any of their many functions with her family. My son saw how I treated my parents...always cooked and cleaned for them...looked after them both at home when they were dying. Anyway now...I don’t know what to do. Am I suppose to call her directly weekly and ask her how she’s feeling during this pregnancy or just do what she does for me...do nothing?...either way she will find fault with it. How do I treat this pregnancy situation? How do I handle this relationship that is tearing me apart!

ElaineI Mon 05-Apr-21 14:10:33

Wait, so you brought them the food for the meal, then there was the hint for you to go so they could cook the meal, then when you collected your sunglasses DiL family were inside eating the food you had brought? That is horrible and so rude! I am fuming for you! Maybe time to call them out on that as it is very unfair. I don't mean fly of the handle but mention how hurt you feel and that it is an unreasonable way to treat you. Please don't be sad about your expected grandchild as it is very special being a grandparent even if you don't see much of them.

suziewoozie Mon 05-Apr-21 14:27:45

This is so sad. You’ve done too much giving and not enough asserting over many years in your life it seems. Making your son your priority just seems to have produced a selfish git. This dgc is just going to make things worse for you as there will be so much more for you to be excluded from and therefore upset about. You can either decide to carry on being a doormat for everyone to wipe their feet on or have it out with your son. The problem is you’ve just allowed this situation and his selfishness to flourish so I doubt he’d come to see you on his own so you can discuss matters. If you daren’t call his bluff and say unless he comes to see you on his own to discuss something you’re very upset about, then you’ll just have to put up with being unhappy for the rest of your life. I don’t honestly see what you’ve got to lose by confronting the situation. This post sounds harsh I know but you are a participant in creating this current situation - you can’t blame others although your son sounds an ungrateful wretch.

Nonna1day Mon 05-Apr-21 14:33:55

Susie...I know I’m a participant. But I’m worried that if I don’t shut up and bere the situation my DIL will see to it that I don’t have any relationship with my son and future grandchildren...as her mother did with her husbands family!

suziewoozie Mon 05-Apr-21 14:46:07

But you haven’t got a relationship now have you with your selfish uncaring son and as sure as eggs are eggs you won’t have one with the dgc. Your only hope is to make your son realise how desperately unhappy you are. Do nothing and you’ll be even more unhappy after the baby is born. Do you really want that?

BlueBelle Mon 05-Apr-21 14:48:26

You are not going to like my reply but what man asks his wife permission to hug his upset mum ? Obviously your son is at fault because he needs to make sure you are included as much as her family is He is so much under her thumb that he is allowing her to get away with all the arrangements and cutting you out of everything
You don’t sound a very assertive person and I m guessing he takes after you and gone from being looked after solely by a mum to a wife I would imagine he perhaps enjoys the idea of being part of a big inclusive family
I would ask to see him on your own and tell him how disappointed and upset you are and that he needs to start including you and if that can’t happen then he needs to start visiting you alone on a regular arrangement You need to be a bit more demanding

Why not get some counselling to build up your self confidence and help you learn how to be more assertive or else nothing will change and you will spend the rest of your life feeling alone and in tears

This is not meant to be a critics of you but you just sound to kind and accepting and sometimes we have to be a bit more demanding or else we get trod on

Judy54 Mon 05-Apr-21 14:55:41

Hello Nonna1day this all sounds very painful for you but it does not have to be. As you say you have put your Son first and were so close until he met this Lady. Maybe it would have been the same with any Lady he met because you found it difficult to let him go. Hard though it may be to hear He now has to put his Partner and Child first. There is no reason to pre-empt what might happen in the future, just enjoy your role as a Grandmother. Be there for them and be happy for them. Don't put all your eggs in one basket and only have a relationship with your immediate family, get out there and try new things, meet new people to make your life more fulfilling. You will feel better for it.

Loislovesstewie Mon 05-Apr-21 15:03:04

I wonder how independent your son is? He seems to have gone from being a Mama's boy to having a relationship where he depends on his wife for everything. I wonder if he has just swapped one for the other.

SueBdoo70 Mon 05-Apr-21 15:08:39

My heart goes out to you, I know relationships with d.i.l.’s can be difficult, I have 2! I think you have to have a serious discussion with your son, he will give in to his wife for a quiet life! But really you are not such a threat to her as there is only you on his side of the family, it might be different if your son came from a large extended family. Your son may sit up and take notice of a more assertive you? I would also make efforts to take up new activities, now the country is starting to open up again, there will be lots of new opportunities. As difficult as it may be, I would keep in touch and show interest in the pregnancy, otherwise she will say you don’t care. I’m not too sure about taking the food over though! That is really taking you for granted and absolutely dreadful that you aren’t even allowed to stay and enjoy it. Just a few thoughts. I really do hope this situation can be resolved.

J52 Mon 05-Apr-21 15:15:56

Are you in the UK? If you’re on your own you could be in there family bubble and thus be inside.
I would suggest this to your son.
Situations like this are heartbreaking, but sadly no so rare.

Nonna1day Mon 05-Apr-21 15:26:24

J52...their bubble is her family. I’m not included!

LovelyCuppa Mon 05-Apr-21 15:32:42

I would stop focusing on what she is doing and focus on your relationship with your son. He needs to take responsibility for how he is treating you.

DiscoDancer1975 Mon 05-Apr-21 15:39:30

I’m inclined to think that this relationship may not last, and it may be best for you to keep in the background for now. I’m assuming your DIL’s parents are still together, despite her mother cutting off her dad’s family, but he may not have had the closeness growing up with his parents as you and your son had. I feel I want to say to you the same as my granny used to say, ‘ if in doubt...do nowt’. I appreciate how hard that would be, but it’s tearing you apart now, and it would be good if you were in a better place when your grandchild is born. Could you go on line and search for people in similar positions? I know it’s so hard at the moment with covid, but really feel you would benefit from time away, just for a while. Your son sounds like he’s struggling too to be honest, and it maybe he could think more clearly about everything if you just weren’t there for a while. It’s a horrible situation for you, and I wish you all the best💐

Chestnut Mon 05-Apr-21 15:41:02

To me it came across that your son lacks any backbone or is under her control. He has to ask to hug you? Can't speak on the phone to you? Lost his best friends? This sounds like coercive control which is illegal!

You need to decide whether this woman is controlling him in a serious way, in case he needs help. I would insist he comes round to see you alone and have a proper discussion with him. Do not argue, keep calm. Ask him whether he wants you to be part of his life and the baby’s life and get a straight answer. If he wants this then ask him why it isn't happening. Get him to open up on why you are being rejected, then he will be forced to admit his wife is controlling this and not him. People sometimes don't see what is happening within their family unit.

Don't criticise his wife but focus on your relationship with him and his baby, how much it means to you and how sad it makes you to be rejected from his family unit. Remind him you are alone, he is your only family, and you need his support as you have no-one else. Not nagging, but gently reminding him.

If you can't get through to your son by talking then you will need to stand up for yourself, especially when the baby arrives and restrictions are lifted. Be more assertive in requesting a visit, ‘Would you mind if I join you?’ for instance. Always try and be pleasant to have around then they can't complain you are a moaner. If they really won’t include you in their family unit then invite your son and the baby over (not when small) because that is the very least you should expect.

I am utterly shocked beyond words that they took delivery of your food and then fed it to her family. No way on earth should you be providing them with food ever again unless you have been invited to the meal. Even then, I don't understand why you are providing them with food. From what you say you have always been a kind and caring person who gives much more than she takes. People will take advantage if you are like that, and it seems they are doing just that. Don’t be a doormat! Instead of giving all the time try and get something back, you deserve it and should not be pandering to people who just take all the time.

Loislovesstewie Mon 05-Apr-21 15:46:55

A question; how old is your son? and your DIL?

suziewoozie Mon 05-Apr-21 15:49:51

I think OP sounds American?

sodapop Mon 05-Apr-21 16:07:28

I'm sorry for the situation you find yourself in Nonna1day you do need to talk to your son and tell him how you feel without recrimination. I am shocked too about that they used your food for her family that must have been very hurtful.
In the meantime take a step back and look at making a different life for yourself which is not so dependent on your family.

Susan56 Mon 05-Apr-21 16:11:33

I am appalled at how you have been treated by your son and his wife.I think if you ever have time alone with your son maybe ask him if he thinks how they treat you is acceptable.I also think that you need to take a step back from them, stop giving so much and make a life for yourself that isn’t so focused on your son.

MerylStreep Mon 05-Apr-21 16:25:29

Nannalday
The way I see it you’ve got nothing to loose by the way it’s going.
So, when your son comes round, put your big girl knickers on, take a deep breath and tell him exactly how you feel. You might prefer to write it down and give it to him to read as understandable you will be very emotional.
Just go for it 😉

Lolo81 Tue 06-Apr-21 23:50:24

Have you ever tried to get to know your DIL?
The phrase “we were so close until he met this lady” is a bit odd to me I’m afraid. She’s not “this lady”, she’s his wife and based on your long post I’m going to assume she’s been in your life for a good few years.

The fact that you chose not to re-marry isn’t really relevant here I’m afraid, you chose that lifestyle.

To start texting or emailing now out of the blue would ring as fake to me - I’d feel the only reason you’re interested is because of incubating your grandchild.

“I know he tells her everything”

Well I’d hope so, she’s his wife!

You seem to be very hung up on the fact that there has been estrangement in your DIL’s family, whilst family patterns can occur - by the same token you divorced, your son hasn’t so just because it’s happened before doesn’t mean it’s inevitable.

“She alienated him from friends”
friendships don’t always last - how on earth do you know this is down to DIL and not just life taking it’s natural course?

Do you have friends? Interests or hobbies?

Re: the hugging thing. In any other time or place I’d agree with others who are saying it’s weird. But we’re living in a pandemic - so checking with the person you live with and share a bed with etc etc (especially when one of you is pregnant) if they are comfortable with physical contact doesn’t seem excessive to me at all.

DIL obviously has a close extended family and a level of comfort around their vigilance (c19). You really can’t do anything about that.

I get it must have stung to see her parents eating your gift, but you cancelled the meal you normally have and you chose to give them groceries as a gift.

You can choose to live a fuller life and enjoy the time you get, or you can feel sorry for yourself and drive yourself mad with jealousy.

DillytheGardener Wed 07-Apr-21 00:18:15

I’d recommend from personal experience with issues in my relationship with my dil to speak to a therapist if you can afford or if you can’t Relate.
The advice my friends gave was the opposite to what I received on here which was an eye opener in an enlightening way ( some good, some very direct confused) . I’m glad I spoke to therapist on one posters advice because it’s changed the way I interact with my dil (much of it I felt counter intuitive) but our relationship is now a very positive one. It can be turned around but sometime some professional outside advice and strategies are better than blundering in when hurt and angry and perhaps making it worse and permanently worse.

welbeck Wed 07-Apr-21 01:02:54

OP, i tend to agree with what Lolo above wrote.
it's easy to get stuck in a rut of self-defeating behaviour, taking on the martyr mantle.
if an occasion arises again, when you can't cook, why not ask them, if i buy the food, could you cook it for me, so we can share a bite together.
take your place as an equal. be straightforward. ask for what you would like.
i know it's easier said than done.

Dilly, that sounds intriguing; may i ask what piece of advice that you acted on. and it might help OP.
maybe see things from a different angle.
glad thing are better any way.

Hithere Wed 07-Apr-21 02:11:03

Another vote for lolo.

Loislovesstewie Wed 07-Apr-21 05:30:10

And another vote for Lolo

CafeAuLait Wed 07-Apr-21 07:34:52

I'm with Lolo too with the caveat that if the whole permission to hug you thing played out as you have related here, that seems very odd.