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Disappointed with son

(119 Posts)
pepper12 Sat 14-Nov-20 22:51:42

My birthday yesterday and I know I should not be disappointed but my eldest son only wished me happy birthday via a speaker phone conversation to his wife while she was picking up our granddaughter. My daughter in law is so thoughtful and did a present from my granddaughter of my favourite chocolate and cards plus Connie the caterpillar small cakes with candles on and it was lovely, Not a present from my son at all present in all worth £3 at the most from whole family, This is the child my husband looks after full time at the moment except for two mornings a week at a detriment to him starting to go back to work after a long term illness( offered work and turned it down to look after grandchild) They also did not buy my husband a birthday present despite looking after granddaughter two to three days a week and when she is ill and the other child minder options are close to them, for over two years without charging them. Who would charge to looking after the grandchild after all Feeling so upset but is this what as grandparents we need to accept. My son and daughter in law are not on the poverty line and earn more than me who supports my household on one income and I do appreciate their mortgage cost are high but I had the same problems when my children were young and still thought about the people providing support. I do not want extravagant gestures but a three pound bunch of flowers from my son would have been nice. So upset
Am I being unreasonable

Bibbity Sat 14-Nov-20 22:56:05

I wouldn’t say you’re being unreasonable at all. Personally in light of their deflation of how they feel about you I would be evaluating how much you give to them and cut back accordingly/ completely.

FarNorth Sat 14-Nov-20 22:58:22

Some people set great store by birthdays, others aren't fussed.
Does your son know that you feel this is important?

geekesse Sat 14-Nov-20 23:03:38

No, grandparents don’t need to accept being exploited. Tell them to figure out their own childcare.

You seem to be confusing two issues. They didn’t make a fuss of you on your birthday. That’s sad. They use you. That’s unacceptable. You seem to be assuming that doing childcare entitles you to birthday greetings. That’s not really logical.

BlueBelle Sat 14-Nov-20 23:08:56

That is disappointing pepper is he normally thoughtful I think I d have felt a bit pipped off too

pepper12 Sat 14-Nov-20 23:11:49

Thank you for your kind reply. I feel so really upset and I know my husband does. He gives so much in the terms of childcare and loves the time he spends with her but both of us feel used. We do not expect much just a little recognition as the other couple who are friends who provide some childcare they pay for a caravan at an english resort for five days and go away with them. Not us just a chocolate bar and some cards. My husband has decided to go back to work fulltime in January when my second grandchild arrives and I have told him(my husband) we will not provide childcare when the my daughter in law goes back to work in a year. I want to ease down in my own job and cant do this if my husband is not is some kind of part time employment.For us this is a devastating decision to make as I know how hard it is to work full time and pay for childcare for two children where as with a little more give and take my husband would have stayed at home and looked after both even though one is in preschool. We always vowed to help our children through this phase as we know how hard it was for us. I just wondered if we were being unreasonable

crazyH Sat 14-Nov-20 23:14:15

Pepper, please don't upset yourself. Sons always rely on their wives to remind them of birthdays etc. If it wasn't for my daughters-in-law, I doubt I'd get a Card. But ofcourse, I would be upset.
I really wouldn't withdraw the help you and your husband give them. Looking after grandchildren should be a privilege and a pleasure, if you have the health to do so.
Children do take us for granted.
Btw, you say you have a thoughtful daughter-in-law. Try to be happy that you don't have a daughterinlaw from hell, as some of the members here, have .....

Sparkling Sat 14-Nov-20 23:14:56

Late birthday wishes Pepper. I do not think you are being unreasonable, not to have bought you a gift for your birthday, however small was mean. they are taking you for granted. I know your grandchildren are a joy but don't you think it's time your husband went back to work,,that,you stopped putting your life on hold, what happens when they start school and he is redundant. They have a childminder whom they will have to pay and I think they need to realise a few things. I would be straight and say you loved having them but can't afford to run the house on just your salary, you need your husband working when he still has a job to go to. Itblooks like they don't want to do gifts anymore and I would decide if you just want to buy for grandchildren in future. I do know grandparents who charge for childcare, I never wanted a penny but was appreciatedmat the time. . Now they are older I'm pleased if I get a text.

FarNorth Sat 14-Nov-20 23:16:37

You are not unreasonable to stop doing childcare as you get older and your lives change.
Make sure to let your son and daughter in law know, tho, in plenty of time.

pepper12 Sat 14-Nov-20 23:20:47

@geekesse
Regarding birthdays he does know that I do not want a great fuss about birthdays a recognition and a thoughtful inexpensive gift is appreciated but make a fuss if I do not give the gift of money they both expect on their birthdays @farnort
Yes he does know I think birthdays are important to acknowledge even with a phone call , text or card and a small inexpensive gift. I can not fault my daughter in law as what she did with my grandchild was lovely but from her and my grandchild and appropriate for my grand daughter . My fault lies with my son

NotSpaghetti Sat 14-Nov-20 23:42:10

Is this a sudden change?
Is it very different to previous years?

Hithere Sun 15-Nov-20 01:24:10

Was your son always this laid back about your birthday? Does he give importance to birthday - despite him knowing your expectations?

Is your dh his father?

If he has always been this way- I doubt it is going to change

If something has changed in recent years, what happened?

Your dh should look after himself first and do not offer anything that is prejudicial for him - re: daycare.

welbeck Sun 15-Nov-20 03:30:31

no wonder you feel sad.
you feel used because you are used.
people do not value what they get on the cheap.
it's good you are beginning to live your own lives again.
why do you give son and DIL gifts of money. i bet they live a more comfortable life than you ever did.
cut back on all that.
just give some little crafty thing for GC.
value yourselves. people take you at your own estimation. if you put up with anything, it will just carry on. why behave as if you are the inferior parties.

vegansrock Sun 15-Nov-20 06:05:42

When it’s son’s next birthday or Christmas give him a card with no money in it.

Grannynannywanny Sun 15-Nov-20 08:32:34

I was wondering is it not possible the cake and chocolate were intended as a joint gift from the 3 of them? It wouldn’t have occurred to me that it was only from your Dil and granddaughter because they delivered it. You’ve said your Dil is kind and thoughtful and that makes me think she’s taken responsibility for choosing your favourite chocolate etc as a nice little family gift from them.

Willow73 Sun 15-Nov-20 08:47:01

I think we are all sensitive at the moment so maybe you wouldn't normally be so upset about it. You have to keep dropping hints all through the year with sons and hope that the penny will drop! I find it hard when they bend over backwards for their wives family and don't do much to show appreciation for their own. I have three sons all so different. One is very much lead by his wife and we are second to her family, the other is so thoughtful and he hugs me so much its gorgeous and I would rather that than presents. The last one has no partner and still needs reminding of family events from me so I suppose I am like a wife in that respect. But he always goes and finds something at the shops for me. Accept them as they are and enjoy, they will always be there for you when you need them.

FindingNemo15 Sun 15-Nov-20 09:06:10

In over 40 years of marriage my DH has never written a birthday/Christmas card or bought presents for anyone. My SILs are exactly the same.

We no longer buy presents for anyone in the family and they no longer buy for us. I find it less stressful, financially and trying to think of suitable gifts. I am not ungrateful, but a lot of the gifts we received were completely unsuitable and a waste of money.

Shropshirelass Sun 15-Nov-20 09:18:03

We don’t really buy presents. Maybe the odd one, but I don’t expect to receive any either. My SIL used to love buying presents but they could be rather bizarre! My DH had a beautifully wrapped present from her one Christmas, it contained sparkly rubber gloves, a scourer and posh washing up brush - all because he once said he enjoyed washing up. Didn’t go down too well, he still grumbles about it. Me, I had a lovely knitting bag with needles, wool etc. I liked mine!

I buy my old Mom a token present as there is nothing she wants or needs and I ask my children what they would like, at least that way they have something they want.

The best present would be for us all to get together with no restrictions, one day hopefully.

pepper12 Sun 15-Nov-20 09:19:11

Thank you for your kind replies. Having spoke to my husband we have decided to enjoy the time we spend with our grandchild and value the special bond that we have with her. In the cold light of day it is more important than presents. However we are going to be cutting down the gifts of money for their birthdays and the presents at Christmas and we will think about how much time my husband gives up for childcare as he wants to return to work in the new year and my daughter in law will be on maternity leave and our grandchild starts preschool every morning. In reply my son can be thoughtless and I know that it will not change so it will be up to us to make the small changes that will improve our lives and not let resentment build and cloud our love for them

Lexisgranny Sun 15-Nov-20 09:39:34

Personally, like Grannynannywanny I would have assumed that the cake and chocolate were gifts from them all, you did say that you didn’t want a fuss made about birthdays, although I wholeheartedly agree that the expectation of a quick phone call from your son was not unreasonable. Regarding the caravan break, it is never a good idea to compare your family arrangements with that of another’s.

As to the childcare, I think that it is something that you will have to resolve with them both, giving them plenty of time to make alternative arrangements, but perhaps wait awhile until your present hurt feelings have subsided a little. You are obviously very fond of your grandchildren, maybe you could consider what is the minimal level of care that you would feel comfortable with, rather than come to an abrupt halt.

It is not unusual for problems to arise with long term arrangements and for one party to feel that they are being taken for granted as time drifts on. Many problems, not just family ones, can be resolved by just talking openly about how you feel, trying not to be too emotional, or apportioning blame. As a result of this wretched pandemic feelings have often become heightened - I do hope this all works out for you

V3ra Sun 15-Nov-20 09:50:55

pepper12 it sounds like you've had the chance to sleep on it and make some rational decisions together.
Your daughter-in-law being off work soon is a good opportunity to change your arrangements without falling out. The presents are not really important but good family relationships are.

B9exchange Sun 15-Nov-20 09:54:36

Regarding birthdays he does know that I do not want a great fuss about birthdays a recognition and a thoughtful inexpensive gift is appreciated

I am puzzled, you have told him you didn't want a fuss, you didn't want anything other than an inexpensive gift, and that is what you received, chocolate, cakes with a candle and cards, I would have been thrilled that they had gone to so much trouble. I have one son who takes no part in buying me anything, entirely left to DiL to choose something and wrap it, and another one that ignores my birthday completely. Your DS did wish you happy birthday over speakerphone, I think he would be very surprised to think you thought he had neglected you. Sons generally leave the present organising to wives!

If you would like a more expensive present next time have a quiet word with your lovely, thoughtful daughter in law, making a joke of it, but you had told them not to! Or if you would like flowers, then again suggest they would be better for your waistline, and I am sure you would get a bunch.

You do a huge amount for them, and I am sure they really appreciate it. If you do feel a bit taken for granted (do they not say thanks when picking your GD?) then again a quiet word with DiL about what it is you would like them to do?

I am sorry if I have read this wrong?

Luckygirl Sun 15-Nov-20 10:04:52

The cakes sound lovely - I always assume that presents from my AC are from them all as a family, rather than splitting it up as presents from each individual member. I presume you do not give separate presents from you and your OH when giving birthday gifts. I honestly think that the cake, the cards and the chocolate are a lovely gift from them ALL and to be treasured. Please don't be offended or upset. Better to have something that your DGD has put some trouble into than all the expensive gifts money can buy.

And do not change your childcare arrangements over this - sure, change them if there are other good reasons, but not out of a sense of pique over this present.

I honestly feel that present-giving can become a minefield where it need not be. I cringe at some of the posts on Mumsnet where people are questioning whether they have bought or spent enough, particularly for their children, for Christmas. When you get to our age you have everything you need, and a present that costs little but has had some thought put into it is by far the most valuable - like your cards and cake.

Your wonderful closeness with your DHD is to be prized above anything else. So please do not rock the boat unnecessarily. Your son and his family brought round a lovely gift and you are blessed.

razzmatazz Sun 15-Nov-20 10:20:32

My eldest son doesn't buy me a present either. He is on his own . Just a card and birthday wishes. I don't mind in the least . He remembers and I don't want presents. There is nothing I need . Strange but I honestly don't lose any sleep over it . I supported him, not financially, when he was out of work for months but I never expect payback. He's a good son.

Luckygirl Sun 15-Nov-20 10:22:22

That should have read - DGD