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Grandparenting at a distance

(36 Posts)
SueJW2106 Mon 05-Apr-21 11:17:52

My daughter-in-law is pregnant and we couldn't be happier for her and our son. However, her mother lives about 30 mins drive away from them and we are 2 hours away, so D-I-L's mum is going to be sharing the childcare two days a week once the baby's born and DIL has gone back to work part-time.
This means that we'll be the Distant Grandparents who won't get to see their grandson very often (i'm still working full-time so can't go over during the week). How can we make sure we form a close bond with him?

dragonfly46 Mon 05-Apr-21 11:22:40

It is all about quality not quantity.
When you do see you DGC make it special. Show them you love them and care for them.
Children can never have too many people loving them.
We are in the same position and I feel our GC care just as much for us as they do the other GP.

timetogo2016 Mon 05-Apr-21 16:38:55

Spot on dragonfly46.
Great advice for sure.

MollyR Mon 05-Apr-21 18:51:49

Some advice please. My eldest son daughter in law and 3 grandchildren live over 3 hours drive away. Very near dilaw’s parents. I always had a good relationship with my son and I thought my dinlaw. Sine the grandchildren were born I am never invited to visit - I have to ask when it’s convenient snd normally it’s every six weeks and only overnight. I never intrude, interfere only offer help. I have never had my grandchildren to stay - they are now 11, 8 and 7. They are the only family I hsve. I lost my husband, I hsve a daughter with mental health problems in prison who is very violent - she had 4 children who were taken away and adopted outside the family, so I lost 4 grandchildren. So my son and family are so important to me. I have said I’d like to move nearer to them snd thus seems to fill them with horror! I am very sociable and independent and would have to make new friends. I sm so unhappy. I hsve tried discussing it but he says he worried I will be lonely and think I would see a lot more if them but they are so budy snd like their own space / yet spends such a lot of time, holidays etc with the in-laws. What should I do?

Hithere Mon 05-Apr-21 19:28:25


It would be best if you open your own thread.

Please do not make it a grandparent competition, even unconsciously with your actions.

It will all work out

M0nica Mon 05-Apr-21 20:29:52

SueJW2106 Relax, and do not 'try' to be anything. We live 200 miles from DS and family. DDiL's mother lives a 10 minute drive away.

We have just been ourselves, accepted the distance, enjoyed our grandchildren when we see them and are close to both.

For us, the benefits have been that because of the distance when we meet up it is usually for several days, Over Christmas and Easter, it can be a week. We also love our DDil dearly. DS was lucky to attract the love of such a lovely person and that of course makes a big difference

TerryM Tue 06-Apr-21 10:51:58

We see our grandson every three weeks , yep a schedule. We see him and his.parents (our son and daughter in law) for approximately two hours every three weeks
The other grandparents see so much more of him as they live basically around the corner . With covid I don't even have my fortnightly lunch with my son. Havnt had that since beginning of September
However last Saturday was our jaunt ...and grandson was chatting away.
"Where does daddy sit" big giggles from grandson "on the ground "
Where does poppy sit Note poppy was sitting in the designated chair
Where does nanny sit . Note Nanny wasn't sitting in her usual chair
For my husband and I , our grandson pointed and said where we sit. Funnily enough I wasn't sitting where I normally sit as grandson had been driving his pedal car around the dining room

So I suppose what I am trying to say is....they do know us and do remember us even with a two year old and infrequent visits

sazz1 Tue 06-Apr-21 10:55:28

We have the same as DILs mum lives 2 streets away. DGS has a good bond with us but DGD who is younger is much closer to her other granny.

tobyandsocks Tue 06-Apr-21 10:57:44

We have 4 Grandchildren all living local to us. We also have 3 Sons and 3 daughter in laws......they all choose their parents and Sisters over us for any childcare. All the D.I.L's work. We have never had a problem with our DIL's and always get on well......unfortunately I dont think distance is an issue with childcare......DIL's will always 99% of the time choose their own Familys......its really sad..😕

M0nica Tue 06-Apr-21 11:03:11

My DDil is in the 1%. The two families have melded into one and each describes the other as part of the family.

jaylucy Tue 06-Apr-21 11:09:52

First of all, grandparenting is not a competition !
From my own experience, when I was growing up, we lived next door to one grandmother until I was 10 and then we moved to elsewhere, same village, about 10 minutes walk away, so I still saw Nan most days.
My other grandparents lived in a town 16 miles away (which back then might as well have been 50!) so I only saw them once a month or so, until my uncle passed his driving test and he could drive them over.
I didn't love them any less than my "next door" nan. Whenever we did go to see them (one time on a steam train just before Beeching's cuts!) it was always special. My grandmother used to bake her amazing flapjacks and we always had a special tea. As I got older, I used to go and stay with my grandmother for a week during the summer holidays. Special memories .
It was definitely the quality, not the quantity and what I learnt from both sides, that are still with me today.

DiscoDancer1975 Tue 06-Apr-21 11:11:08

We were the opposite way round. Although it was, like you, my DIL and son, we live in the same town, and her parents three hours away, so we did all the childcare.
It was lovely, and I enjoyed it, but sometimes I felt like the ‘nanny’, while her parents saw them for whole holidays etc. There was no other way of doing it.
It’s made absolutely no difference at all, to how we all relate to the grandchildren. Her mum ( lightheartedly), used to say she missed the day to day contact...but I felt every holiday my son had was spent with them. Swings and roundabouts! We all made the best of what we had, and are all fine with grandchildren.
My point is, don’t worry or pre empt anything, just go with flow and take each day at a time.
Congratulations by the way, and enjoy🥳

Newatthis Tue 06-Apr-21 11:17:19

My grandchildren are more than 5000 miles away, I haven't seen them for 16 months because of COVID, but I have managed to keep in touch, maintain and develop the relationship vis What's App, Facetime etc as I have no other alternative until we can fly again. 2 hours away - you could pop there and back in a weekend day. How I would love to be able to do this.

springishere Tue 06-Apr-21 11:35:57

Me too! Mine live in Dubai and I hadn't seem them for a year. I was lucky to see them at Christmas, but now they are on the red list.

grandtanteJE65 Tue 06-Apr-21 11:45:14

MollyR I tried to pm you, but couldn't, so here goes:

I am so sorry to hear of your situation.

I am in the same situation with my sister's children - they have never wanted to see DH and me, either before or after they had children.

For years I tried inviting them and they always thanked me nicely, but when it came to fixing something up the excuses were many and varied.

Eventually, I realised that we would only be included at weddings, christenings and confirmations - in other words the occasions where expensive presents are given and received.

So - I gave up and have started making "thin" and blatantly transparent excuses if they do suddenly invite us.

DH and I have found young families who don't have grandparents and are glad of our input as " extra" grandparents. I suggest you do the same.

I know it hurts; it hurt me, even although we are talking of my nieces and nephew and it must be worse when it is your own son and his children.

However, it is unlikely to change now and you are hurting yourself by worrying about it. If you like, continue to send a small greeting at Christmas and on the children's birthdays, if that is what you have been doing.

Some day, the grandchildren - either your son's children or those of your daughter may get in touch. Adopted children have far better chances of tracing their birth mother and her family once they are 18 now, than they did formerly. I hope this happens for you, but please, don't bank on it.

KnittingAnnie Tue 06-Apr-21 11:50:40

When I was a child I had one grandmother close to home and one grandmother a 12 hour journey away (before motorways).
I saw my local grandmother twice weekly and spent time with my other grandmother in the school holidays.
I loved them both equally and enjoyed my time with them. I have so many wonderful memories of them both.
Your grandchildren will enjoy time with you no matter how near or far you are.

Chardy Tue 06-Apr-21 11:53:41

Imo the important thing is that grandparents have complementary 'skills', so that time with one pair is not the same as time with the others.
Eg one gran takes them places, the other sits and reads and plays. Or one is always popping in, but when the other comes, it's a special occasion.

Kerenhappuch Tue 06-Apr-21 11:58:58

We’ve been in this position since my son and DiL bought a house just round the corner from my DiL’s parents. We’re a plane journey away! When the children were babies, it did bother me that I wasn’t having a close relationship with them, but now they’re older they’re always excited to talk to us on FaceTime, and are desperate to see us as lockdown has prevented our usual visits. Our son has been very proactive about making sure they know who we are! We usually join them on holiday for a week in the summer, and during the homeschooling phase I sent them a few art/craft presents which they were really happy to receive! My son’s in-laws are lovely people, and treat my son as if he’s their son, so I’m really glad they have that support around the corner.

Jeannie59 Tue 06-Apr-21 12:13:42

I am in the same position
My grown up Grandchildren live in San Diego and the 2 younger ones, 11 and 7 live in Oz and they live just down the road from s in laws parents
I have been a global Gparent for 21 years and it doesn't get easier, but you have no choice
It isn't just a car/train ride
yes not

Elvis58 Tue 06-Apr-21 12:14:36

I live 200 miles from my grandchildren.l used to see them every 8 weeks precovid.We spend quality time with them, we moved to live by the sea when the yougest was 2, so holiday times are great.We facetime in covid times as they got older and maintain a loving relationship.Dont think it is a competition as this will cause no end of problems.See him when u can and savour every moment he will love you regardless.

Edith81 Tue 06-Apr-21 12:24:59

There always seems to be a bit of jealousy concerning grandparents of the two families. Distance should be no problem as we have WhatsApp, FaceTime and Facebook. Keeping regular contact with the grandchildren is the most important thing. Show your love and interest in them and you will be rewarded.

2mason16 Tue 06-Apr-21 12:48:48

Try not to make an issue of this as things will gradually right themslves, and settle. Both sets of grandparent's live 2- 3 hrs away from son/daughter-in-law so once in a while we stay for weekends etc. As the children have got older we give their parents a break and stay with the children. So accept the changes, keep calm, and enjoy your time with them when asked.

SueJW2106 Tue 06-Apr-21 13:05:38

Thanks to all those who have wished me well. I'm sorry to hear some of you are in the same (or much much worse) boat. As yo say - it will all work out in the end. smile

Buffy Tue 06-Apr-21 13:54:43

We live near our son and family and see them frequently but briefly. The other set of grandparents live 3 hours away, don’t see the family as often but stay several days and have quality time with them. I often envy them and they say they envy us. I don’t know which I’d really prefer but have no choice in the matter anyway.

Sheilasue Tue 06-Apr-21 14:03:38

I had this situation with my sister in the last year she’s had two new great grandchildren. Obviously she couldn’t see either of them. Which upset her she was only seeing one daughter who lived locally her eldest daughter lives further away, her son lives in Ireland she was very down and I said to her you will see them soon. She has since seen one, of them so they cheered her up. My dd lives around the corner but my gd has flown the coop but comes to see me so I am quite happy with that. My son I will never see again he died in 2007, needless to say I mentioned this to my sister. She is lucky to see all of them eventually.