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Winning my Daughter-in-law Over

(102 Posts)
cafegal Tue 21-Jul-20 21:58:03

My son married a beautiful young woman in 2016. For the start, I thought we would have a good relationship. The first baby came in 2017 and she absolutely welcomed me over. Then 2019 the second child was born and even at the start of her pregnancy she was pushing me away.

I always try to be accommodating, maybe too much. And even before Covid-19 she would always have an excuse why the time I wanted to swing by to see the kids just didn't work. My son says "come by any time mom", yet when I have tried I hear ... "we just put the kids down".

I haven't seen my grandson (3) and granddaughter (1) since December 2019. My son is too busy to even call me on Mother's Day. Sure I got a text message but nothing else.

This just breaks my heart. I sent her a card today to tell her that I miss her and that when COVID ends I hope we can get to see one another.

What do you recommend I do to win her over?

Chewbacca Tue 21-Jul-20 22:23:54

Have you tried inviting them all over to you? Maybe for a meal for the whole family?

Doodledog Tue 21-Jul-20 22:27:10

That sounds very difficult, and I'm sorry you are going through it.

Can you explain what you meant by 'maybe (accommodating) too much'? There might be a clue in there.

The other thing that occurs to me is that from your post it wounds as though you are not giving a lot of notice for your visits. Some people are happy with this (eg my sister is happy for visitors to drop in any time), whilst others find it intrusive and stressful - eg me! I like to have a bit of time to tidy up, to finish anything I am doing and to prepare myself for visitors, however much I look forward to seeing them.

As your DIL now has two children, she is likely to be busy and probably won't have the house as organised as usual, so she might prefer to know in advance if you (or anyone else) is planning to drop in. If you are close enough, could you talk to her about this? Maybe say that you were reading something about different approaches to visitors, so it isn't personal.

I hope you can sort it out between you, as I know that in my own case I am genuinely happy to have people over, but that I hate it if anyone drops in uninvited. It's not about closeness at all. I make no exceptions here - in fact the closer I am to someone the less I like the idea that they might catch me in my dressing gown in front of the TV grin.

Gwenisgreat1 Tue 21-Jul-20 22:31:08

As well as Chewbacca's idea, maybe you should directly ask your son if he knows why his wife is treating you this way. Tell him you find it hurtful.

Good Luck

Ironflower Tue 21-Jul-20 22:33:24

It all just sounds like a communication mix up. Don't go for last minute visits. Plan things at least a day ahead (if not more) and ask them whats a good time to visit that doesn't conflict with naps and meals. Your son may say come by anytime, but its clear that isn't suiting your DIL. I love my in-laws, I still do not like them showing up or giving me little notice for a visit. I have plans too. I would try to communicate more your DIL and not son about plans and visits, too often. Sons are notorious for not telling wives or 'forgetting.' I really appreciate it is my MIL contacts me to ask if grandkids can sleepover instead of going around me.

welbeck Tue 21-Jul-20 22:39:03

maybe as she has young children at home, she is slobbing about in her underwear all day at home; many people do.
therefore she needs notice of any visits.
definitely do not complain about her to your son or tell him that you find it hurtful, unless you don't want to see them ever.

Bibbity Tue 21-Jul-20 23:18:08

I would focus on the lack of relationship between you and your son.
There has to be some damage for the relationship to be so distant and so lacking.

Smileless2012 Tue 21-Jul-20 23:35:49

Chewbacca's suggestion is a good idea cafegal and sending a card was a good idea too.

If you don't get a response I'd leave things for a while and then maybe 'phone to see how they're all doing.

I think your son saying "come by anytime mom" is a good sign that there isn't any damage to his relationship with you and could also be a sign that he and your d.i.l. aren't perhaps communicating when it comes to you popping round.

I can understand why you're upset but think you should appear to be laid back about the situation, even if you're not, and see how things go.

We're all finding the uncertainty with the pandemic unsettling and stressful so it may well be that your son and d.i.l. are finding things difficult too.

Try not to worryflowers.

Lolo81 Tue 21-Jul-20 23:38:42

Maybe reach out and ask if you can video chat to catch up at a suitable time for them (and you). That way it opens the lines of communication a bit wider.
Also try texting your DIL every so often just to check in and see how she’s doing (not just the kids). That way she knows you’re interested in her as a person and not just a gatekeeper to her children.
By doing things like this it’s easier to be kept in the loop about their lives and set up visits that will suit you all, as hopefully you’ll have a better idea of what their day to day actually looks like.

NotSpaghetti Tue 21-Jul-20 23:44:11

I would suggest only dealing with your daughter-in-law regarding visits and don't try to do anything last minute.
Please don't invite them over for a meal. They will surely say no. I would certainly not want to go anywhere for dinner these days and nor would my adult children and families.
I have seen grandchildren at a distance only, you are not alone in not seeing them.

I'm sure things will level out in due course. I home so.

MamaBear20 Wed 22-Jul-20 00:42:52

It sounds like you recognize there’s been a change in DILs attitude toward you and want to fix it, and that’s great. Have you tried talking to her about it and asking her outright, without laying a guilt trip by declaring your hurt feelings? I would talk to her directly, not your son...that would seem like you’re tattling on her.

You said she was welcoming toward you with her first, but not with her second. Did something happen with her first? Did you push for too much time with the new family? Give too much unsolicited advice that DIL May have seen as criticism? Did you focus too much on the baby and ignore DIL as a person, making her feel like just an incubator? These are complaints I’ve heard a lot in these forums from DILs. You don’t need to answer these questions here but maybe really self reflect and see if you may have caused her to back away.

Possibly the change is simply the global pandemic and the family has backed away from seeing anyone. I kept my own kids home and away from others for 3 months, and then only started seeing others who have also self isolated. Have you been out and about a lot during the pandemic, or working? Are they working and concerned that they could get you sick? There’s so many possibilities.

Hithere Wed 22-Jul-20 03:43:32

It is worrisome you prefer relationship with your gc first over one with your son

You need to repair and talk to your son - he is the key to the relationship with your gc

Your dil doesnt have excuses why your request to visit are denied: they are real reasons why it is not convenient for her.
Coordinate a visit with your son, so he is the host, not your dil.

What happened between the first child and the second? That's key.

Dont try to force a relationship with your dil. It will backfire big time.
Contrary to what society expects, mil and dil dont have to be friends. She married your son, that's all.

anonymous44 Wed 22-Jul-20 06:11:26

Hello,
I am sorry to hear that your son did not call or visit on Mothers Day, that has got to be painful :-(...The card you sent to your DIL sounds lovely. I think that's a great start to mending your relationship (IE letting her know you value your relationship with her and not just the kids).

A few suggestions:
1. Given the circumstances, I would probably stop inviting yourself to their home until the relationship is back on better footing. Instead, invite them to your house or someplace public.

2. It sounds like they might not accept your invitations at first. If/when they do, don't let your excitement over the grandchildren get in the way of rebuilding your relationship with your son and DIL. Be genuinely interested in visiting with the adults too as opposed to running off with the babies.

3. Piggy backing off number 2: Try to see your main role as a grandparent as supporting the parents. Your relationship with the grandchildren will flow naturally from this. It is much easier for parents to trust someone with their children (and thus encourage that relationship) if they themselves have a good relationship with the person.

4. Here is a practical example. You mentioned that you try to swing by to see the kids. Find it in your heart to want to see DIL as well during those times. Otherwise, you run the risk of making DIL into a third wheel. This is especially true as the kids get older. The kids run to granny, granny revels in the attention, and mum gets ignored by both . It's ironic, because if you build a strong relationship with your DIL, then she will likely welcome you taking the kids so she can get a break. Maybe she would even drop them at your house. But if she does not trust you then she won't appreciate this dynamic.

Best of luck. I think you are off on the right foot expressing that you value your relationship with your DIL.

Newatthis Wed 22-Jul-20 17:12:29

Speak with your son, after all the house and children belong to both of them. Ask if you have upset anyone in any way. Could be that you have said something innocently and without knowing, to either one of them, which might have caused offence. Good idea to invite them round and if the relationship was good before it might just be that she is not coping too well and let's face it, who wants to tell their MiL that, even with the best of relationships. Speak with your son.

Illte Wed 22-Jul-20 18:17:09

Don't. Don't Don't.

Youll make him piggy in the middle.

If he then "has a word" with her she will dislike you forever.

It really is a very bad idea.

anonymous44 Thu 23-Jul-20 05:25:45

I agree with Illte--it is a bad idea to speak with your son about this behind her back. It will seem like you are trying to sneak around her.

Ohmother Thu 23-Jul-20 07:30:02

As a DIL yourself how would you have liked to have been told that MIL was upset/confused about something? Then do that. 💐

Beauregard Thu 23-Jul-20 10:12:50

Start by inviting them round for a meal at a date and time to suit them. Try and analyse what you might be doing that has pushed her away. Learn from your mistakes (so many people don't). If you have a good relationship with your son his wife ought to make more effort with you for his sake as well as the childrens. Always arrange a day and time to visit them that suits her well in advance.

It's sad that this is not more of a natural easy going family set up but you're going to have to build on what you've got and try and find a workable solution.

I would speak to your son, just to ask if he knows what you might have done wrong and any advice on to how to fix it. Or arrange to speak to her directly to sort it out.

Good luck.

Grandma24 Fri 24-Jul-20 09:47:57

Can I ask why you can’t just visit them? You are allowed to, or are they too far away?

TerryM Fri 24-Jul-20 09:55:10

My son says the same "come over any time " we used to see more of them pre covid but now on a pretty strict we see them every three weeks at their place for a couple of hours.
It is their family . Husband and I have one child and we will happily take the visits we get. Would love more but accept not to be. Our daughter in law is lovely just we don't visit
We have WhatsApp chats which we occasionally gets photos through. We just accept what we are given

Illte Fri 24-Jul-20 10:00:22

I just wonder, when the son says "Swing by any time" how often he is actually there to have what he is doing disrupted. Or whether its the DIL that has to stop her day to accommodate.

Maybe the Op was swinging by too much😬

EmilyHarburn Fri 24-Jul-20 10:14:23

Two children are much more difficult to handle than one. I found grocery shopping etc. much more difficult with two and keeping house. If your DIL is house proud she may well have a very strict routine to get everything she thinks is important done. I think you need to reflect on what you think she sees as necessary and then find a satisfactory way in.

jaylucy Fri 24-Jul-20 10:28:26

Maybe she feels that you are not interested in her, just the children?
Like others have said - just how "accommodating" were you or what does that exactly mean ?
If she asked you for help or to do something for her, instead of just replying straight away, without thought(or very little) say "yes of course" or did you make a big thing about checking your diary first or make it sound as if she was at the end of a long queue? Maybe your son feels the same?
When you turned up - obviously just to see the grandchildren, what was your reaction when told they were in bed ? Did you huff and puff and leave or say "that's fine, just thought I would pop in for a coffee with you both" Every mum has a routine , so did you always turn up on the doorstep at nap or sleep time? Did you think of asking when the best time to visit would be, to fit in with the family?
I think that the best thing you can do is send a card to them both and apologise if in the past you made it difficult for them and say that you miss them all (not just the GC) and take it from there - it might take a while though, don't expect an overnight change.

magshard20 Fri 24-Jul-20 11:36:52

My D-I-L of over 10 years, is the same with us, she is 6years older than our son, they have a daughter of 9. Son phones us daily usually if going to the shop, if we go to their house (arranged beforehand) and she is in the house, she stays upstairs, perhaps coming down just as we are ready for leaving !! We have got used to the situation now, but still feel left out.
It was her birthday a few weeks ago, I sent her a card, signed it, and put in brackets under our names "the outlaws", I asked son what she thought of it and he said she laughed, the sarcasm I intended probably didn't get through to her though, but I felt better for putting it in writing.

Harris27 Fri 24-Jul-20 11:41:08

I have three sons two who have children and are married. I kept my distance after being treated a bit like this now I text if they want us to visit and ask what’s best. When your the mother of sons you will always come second.