Gransnet forums


Not good enough for my daughter?

(67 Posts)
Gardenrose Wed 08-Jul-20 16:26:19

I visited my daughter recently for the first time since lockdown. I’d missed her and my two little granddaughters so much.
She and her husband live 5.5hrs drive from me and I’m not keen on doing that alone, but I do. I knew after I left something was wrong, she was a bit standoff-ish in messages. When I asked she told me I hadn’t done enough to help her.
I feel very hurt. It seems her mother in law always helps more.
I’ve always been a bit insecure so this has cut quite deep.
I do try, but I just don’t seem to be upset to scratch’!
What do I do?

FarNorth Wed 08-Jul-20 16:29:29

Apologise for not realising, ask what she would like you to have done, and ask her to request help that she needs on future visits.

Hithere Wed 08-Jul-20 16:33:45

Why not ask her what she needs help with next visit?

Is this the first time she mentions this issue with you?

sodapop Wed 08-Jul-20 17:13:50

You cannot be serious FarNorth the OP lives five hours away and has driven to see her daughter and family, why should she apologise. If your daughter needs help Gardenrose surely she can tell you what is needed, you are not a mind reader.
Maybe things are tense because of the pandemic and your daughter is venting with you. I wouldn't take it all too seriously. Maybe have a chat before your next visit and see what help is needed.

Tangerine Wed 08-Jul-20 17:30:40

I think Sodapop has the right idea.

If you live 5.5 hours away from your mother, you can hardly expect her to regularly help.

A chat before your next visit (or maybe before - depends how you normally get on with her) should clear the air.

fevertree Wed 08-Jul-20 17:33:27

Gardenrose How old is your daughter? Is she perhaps a bit 'taken' with her MIL at present for whatever reason?

How were you meant to help more if you live 5.5 hours away? Does her MIL live closer to her?

Sorry for all the questions but perhaps your DIL is being a bit blinkered at the moment.

If she was my daughter, I'd be a bit cross with her too.


Madgran77 Wed 08-Jul-20 17:40:18

Was she referring to help whilst you were staying or helping generally?

I would have a chat and ask her to be specific about what help she is referring to; what help she needs etc. Then tell her that you would appreciate her asking you for what she needs you to do rather than not saying anything and feeling resentlful when you don't realise. Tell her that of course IF you are able you will help.

My point is, I am not sure why "help"! is apparently considered a right rather than a gift!

I do think that perhaps there needs to be consideration of you doing a long 5 hour drive to visit though. Not sure if MIL is closer but as we get older (no offence meant, don't know how old you are) driving that far is increasingly tiring and I think the younger generation does not always realise that. I have had to directly tell my ACs what I can manage and been very specific about no longer having as much energy to keep going etc!!

TrendyNannie6 Wed 08-Jul-20 17:43:31

If she was my daughter I would be cross with her, firstly I would remind her that since I live over 5 hours away and much as I love her, I can’t necessarily be there at the drop of a hat, ( as much as I’d love to) also I was wondering why she didn’t have a word with you about how she was feeling while you were with her away from the children obviously, not in text messages ,

eazybee Wed 08-Jul-20 17:52:14

Ask her specifically what she expected you to do.
Sounds rather rude to me.

quizqueen Wed 08-Jul-20 17:53:14

How can you be much help when you live so far away from each other (other than emotional support over the phone/skype etc. ) and what help does she provide for you exactly? It works both ways. You're not her servant!!!

Turn the tables around and ask what help she has provided for you over lockdown. Even from your short post, she does sound the sort who will see wrong in whatever you offered to do anyway.

FarNorth Wed 08-Jul-20 18:31:21

sodapop There's no harm in saying "I'm sorry,I didn't realise".

I took it the help was expected to happen during the visit, not ongoing.

WOODMOUSE49 Wed 08-Jul-20 18:45:12

Had you been in touch with each much throughout Lockdown? Calls, Skype or FaceTime etc?

Starblaze Wed 08-Jul-20 18:55:58

Sounds like your daughter needs her mum. It's neither of your fault that you live so far away from each other. She just needs her mum and when people are in that mind set, logic and reason go away...

An apology is not necessarily admittimg guilt. For example.

"I'm so sorry I can't be there for you more"

Let her process these feelings.

Dont worry about MIL.

Just ask her what she needs from you, it will probably help both of you reflect on what you can and can't manage between you.

Bibbity Wed 08-Jul-20 20:54:32

You have done your time.
You raised and she is now an adult with a family of her own. Which is her obligation.
You are far away and so your visits are as often as you can.
But you are your own person. With your own life.
She has no right to demand anything off of you.

Chewbacca Wed 08-Jul-20 22:21:25


You have done your time.
You raised and she is now an adult with a family of her own. Which is her obligation.
You are far away and so your visits are as often as you can.
But you are your own person. With your own life.
She has no right to demand anything off of you.

Exactly this. Help that is freely given is a gift to be grateful for, not demanded. If your daughter is old enough to be married, have a family of her own and run her own household, she's old enough to stand on her own two feet. Any help she gets is a blessing, not a right to be demanded.

Lizbethann55 Wed 08-Jul-20 23:17:26

I wonder if the lack of help was during your visit? How long did you stay for? Presumably it was for a couple of days at least. Did you help around the house while you were there or were you very much " a visitor". Your DD is probably enormously stressed particularly if she has been at home with your GC all the time with none of the usual facilities open. Maybe she had looked forward to someone else cooking, tidying, playing with the children etc and you didn't do any of those. Is her MiL closer so can see and help more often? Maybe you are not a very forceful person and are not good at taking the initiative in someone else's house. ( I know I am not. I am a terrible house guest as I never know what to do and so really hate visiting people). Perhaps her MiL is the sort of person who just walks in and does stuff. You really do need to ask her what you could have done. Write her a nice, loving letter. Apologize for having not helped enough and ask for help to know how to do better next time. Could you perhaps suggest you babysit while DD and SiL have a night out? Or take some ready prepared meals or home baked cakes. Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

Grammaretto Wed 08-Jul-20 23:44:14

Your letter resonates with me Gardenrose
Our DD takes out her frustrations on me, because she can and knows I will always forgive her and love her. She too has been stuck at home with 2 under 5s for months.
It's usually over the phone with me.
Her inlaws are younger than us and do help more but she gets annoyed with them too.
Were we like that with our DP? I don't think so. I do get upset and in your position I would too. 5.5 hours is a long journey.

ladymuck Thu 09-Jul-20 07:27:24

You just can't win in some situations! If you offer to help's seen as interfering....if you don't, it's seen as being neglectful.

Just ask what is expected of you and stick to that.

SylviaPlathssister Thu 09-Jul-20 08:56:49

We are all in this situation at some point. We love our children more than they love us so we have to take their unreasonable behaviour on the chin. They get at us because they can. I did it to my Parents,
My sister and brother quarrelled early on and it so distressed my Mother, but neither would budge. My children all get on but I have been told ‘ Mother’ when I say or do something they don’t like. It’s part of being a nice reasonable parent. I bet Attila the Hun didn’t have this problem but even Queen Elizabeth is in the same boat with her children. lol

Paperbackwriter Thu 09-Jul-20 08:59:40

Well that's a bit odd as it's only in the last couple of weeks we've even been allowed to go that far and stay over night anyway. Did she want you to break the quarantine rules?

25Avalon Thu 09-Jul-20 09:21:12

Don’t make a battle of it or things may only get worse and you end up not talking. You have nothing to feel guilty about or sorry for and your dd has not thought about how you have managed during lockdown. I think you need or rather she needs you to tell her you love her and how sorry you are that she is upset. Tell her how much you have missed her and the children. Then ask her what she would like you to do and if you can help you will but in any case you will always be on the end of a phone if she wants to talk. Do not feel to blame. You are not.

polnan Thu 09-Jul-20 09:22:41

I am in reverse, elderly mum/grandmum and some of my friends think my grown sons and dil should help me more, contact me more, but I can`t ask for help...
at least I know I can`t ask,, I am learning

we have to learn to ask, whoever, whatever relationship

Puzzler61 Thu 09-Jul-20 09:29:26

My thoughts are exactly as “Madgran* ‘s.

CrazyGrandma2 Thu 09-Jul-20 09:44:02

Did you do anything different to your pre lockdown visits? Just ask. We're living in strange times.

Rocknroll5me Thu 09-Jul-20 09:44:49

I think Lizbethann55 expresses well what I think. The ambivalence of whether to 'take over' or not. I am very reluctant to do so as I have a daughter who gets furious if I try to 'interfere'...just go and sit down. On the other hand my mother used to arrive with her rubber gloves and I was very grateful for her help and the way she seemed to make everything orderly and yet this same woman was accused by her daughter in law of just sitting there uselessly as a guest who seemed to think she needed waiting on. It has a lot to do with confidence of knowing what is mother felt confident with me, not with her DIL. I am not as confident with my daughter in her house as she has no children and has to do everything perfectly. As for my DIL ...that too is a long lonely difficult drive and I certainly am not allowed to do anything as she is very competitive with me.
It's a nightmare. We all wish we were Mary Poppins and that others wanted Mary Poppins to take over...perhaps.
I must say as well by the time I have safely got to son and DIL's house I feel I have done loads and I have to return the same day! depending on how long you were staying I think it is a bit much.
I also remember feeling cross with my mother for demanding too much - I remember feeling spread too thin what with my two children partner and my job all wanting great chunks of me - my mother wanting more seemed unreasonable. It didn't always go swimmingly with her I assure you - but she did well.
Jury's still out on DIL \i feel such a failure there. I know she is pleased that I don't visit. She leaves the room when I do it is very stressful. I see pictures and videos of my grandchildren playing with her parents, staying over with them etc and have to take the view that it is better than them not having them. And of course, they live nearby. I live in a different city.
Let's hope we can all get it right some of the time. It's the biggest grief of my life and one I didn't foresee. I don't know how to deal with it. It doesn't help when you are alone. \But things happen, patience is helpful. I help in whatever way I can mainly financial but I do feel it is not enough and that is my failure.
Your daughter is probably just being grumpy, remind her how harrowing the drive is which you happily do just to see them. Ask her for some guidance for 'can you bath the kids'...or 'clear up after dinner'...'sweep the floor' whatever. Doing those things can be offensive to some people I used to feel very generous that I let my mum 'take over'. It was my house and family after all - there are so many perspectives on this. Look after yourself flowers