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Feeling sidelined re grandchildren

(26 Posts)
jellybeanjean Fri 31-Jul-20 10:11:01

I remarried 3 years ago after a marriage, mainly unhappy, that lasted for 38 years. My current husband is disabled and needs 24 hour care. I have a son and daughter from my previous marriage; both now have their own children, DD lives in London and DS in Somerset (ex husband also lives in Somerset).
Because of lockdown/COVID, we haven't been able to see each other since the beginning of the year. When I have visited my DS, we stay in a nearby hotel as they can't accommodate us due to my husband's disability. I've stayed with my DD a few times (once to help out after she had her miracle IVF twins) but I have to leave my husband at home (with help) as they can't accommodate him. They've no room for us now as their house is tiny.
DD Whatsapps me almost every day so I can babble with the babies (they'll be one next month!) but I don't hear from my son unless I contact him! I rarely see my DIL as she's often working but we get on fine. Their girls are 7 and 4 and are a delight.
We managed to meet up with DS and daughters yesterday at an outdoor spot equidistant between the two households, which was lovely; perfect weather, we both took picnics and generally had a nice time, apart from the fact that DS was constantly checking his phone and hardly spoke a word. The girls were lovely. DS mentioned in passing that DD and family are visiting them in Somerset next weekend; ex husband is moving out of his house and staying with DS so that DD and family can have ex's house as a COVID free base. So they are all meeting up and spending the whole weekend together; DD hadn't mentioned this to me. DS also told us that he is spending two weeks in August camping with his wife's family in Shropshire.
Hopefully on Sunday we're meeting up with DD and family, again at an outdoor venue equidistant from both, just for a couple of hours but of course with no cuddles etc.
Is it me? I just feel a bit sidelined, lonely and rather jealous, to be honest. It's almost as if they don't really want to see me.

Hellomonty Fri 31-Jul-20 10:36:52

I completely understand your feelings and I think they’re natural. But, I think it is to do with circumstances rather than any deliberate efforts to exclude you.

You’re children, as much as they would like to, can’t accommodate you and your husband in their homes.

When marriages break up it becomes necessary to do things separately, and your ex-husband is able to engage in more physical activity and be flexible with his living arrangements to accommodate everyone with more convenience. That’s just how things are and since you are separated, you’re not taken into account of the planning of their time together anymore than your ex is when planning your time with the family.

I completely understand that when you compare your experiences with your children and grandchildren with your ex-husband’s you accurately see a difference but I don’t think that there is any evidence that this is being done to sideline you or because they don’t want to see you. If your circumstances were different they way you saw your family would be, but things are what they are.

In your situation I would feel left out too and a bit regretful that things aren’t as straightforward for arranging time together, but the danger here is that you unfairly begin to feel resentful towards your family and that this leads to bad feeling amongst you all, spoiling the time you do have.

BlueBelle Fri 31-Jul-20 11:08:16

I think you should count your blessings there are many people who don’t see their grandkids at all and you sound as if you do have a lot of involvement You talk to you daughters children nearly every day on WhatsApp and you ve just had a day with you son and girls and another one coming up with your daughter and babies surely you are well catered for and that’s over and above what many get Obviously because your husband isn’t well they can’t take you away for two weeks like they can the in laws
I think you’re expectations are too high if you are going to compare everything to your ex husband or the in Laws involvement you are going to make yourself very unhappy
My first two grandkids live in the next street to their other Nan and granddad I live 12,000 miles away no good getting jealous it is what it is It didnt come naturally to not feel miffed at first and to feel woe is me that’s not fair, but of course it is fair you just need to accept its different to what you would ideally like, but they sound as if they are juggling you into the family equation the best they can
Enjoy your coming visit with those lovely babies

Illte Fri 31-Jul-20 11:51:11

It's that left out feeling. 🙁
It's understandable but actually I think it is just a feeling. Not a reality. Sometimes I get it when my kids have had an outing without me. Even though it's something I'd never want to go to😬

You have plenty of contact of a kind that suits your circumstances at the moment. There's no indication from what you've said that they're deliberately excluding you. They've just arranged something for themselves.

It's heightened by not being able to do your usual stay overs in a hotel. Perhaps your ex felt left out when he knew you were visiting them😁

Honestly, I don't think they were excluding you. Just planning something that didn't include you, if you can see what I mean 🙂

sodapop Fri 31-Jul-20 12:05:53

I agree with BlueBelle your expectations are too much, it's difficult for all of you arranging time to meet up and being somewhere suitable for your husband. Your family is extended now and its good they are all getting along. Don't waste time on being jealous enjoy the time you have together and your Whatsapp. It's natural to feel a bit left out at times but don't let it take over. Enjoy your day on Sunday jellybeanjean

agnurse Fri 31-Jul-20 19:08:45

I think the key thing to remember here is that grandparenting is not a zero sum game. How much time they spend with the other grandparents is not something you need to know. It isn't a competition.

Hithere Fri 31-Jul-20 20:50:38

Bluebelle and illte, agree with you.

Sgilley Sun 02-Aug-20 09:26:40

Everyone has said what I would have said. But I know that doesn’t stop you feeling the way you do. Circumstances are as they are but do enjoy your contact with family and don’t allow your feelings to spoil it.

Dorsetcupcake61 Sun 02-Aug-20 09:37:52

I can sympathise with how you are feeling. My two grandchildren live with my daughter and son in law a two hour drive away. Son in laws parents live near to me. I don't drive. In laws are retired and have many more spur of the moment visits than I do. Whilst the children are so young their bungalow is much more child friendly and my daughter and family stay there. It's not a snub it's just more practical all round. On the birth of my first grandson I think I felt anxious that in laws saw more of him and I would play a more minor role. It was unfounded. My daughter wouldnt let that happen. I also carved out my own little role. I'm the nanny who can knit anything,well according to my grandson. I write little letters and cards just for them etc. I do a little photo book of their visits down here.
As a grandparent I'm also aware of how I acted as a parent when my girls were younger. Life was hectic, non stop. I probably didnt see them as much as they would have wanted etc. It wasnt out of malice.
You mentioned your husbands disability. I cared for my father who had dementia and died a month before my grandson was born. My mother also had mobility issues. Spur of the moment things were very tricky. I think this may contribute to how you feel. I dont imagine for one moment your childeren view this as an issue but being a carer can be isolating and however much we love the person frustrating at times. It's hard but try not to take it personally and find your own unique way to stay in touch.

Jeannie59 Sun 02-Aug-20 09:42:49

All my grandchildren live abroad, 2 emigrated to the US when they were 3 and 6, 21 years ago, we didnt have them around to watch them grow up
Then youngest dd emigrated 12 years ago to Australia and had my 2 DVD, again I cant be there and be a hands GP
We long DGP long to cuddle and kiss our families, but with all this covid stuff, we dont know when that will be.
Please just enjoy the time you have with your families, as some of us dont have that at all atm

Jeannie59 Sun 02-Aug-20 09:43:56

Sorry meant to say 2 DGD's in oz

Frankie51 Sun 02-Aug-20 10:01:42

I can understsnd your feelings. My DIL is from a wealthy family and they go on holiday twice a year with them. My ex husband is also well off and takes my sons family on holiday too. I can't afford this, I'm not that well off. I know my son and daughter in law care for me and my second husband as they ring us and we meet up in their garden once a month. I know I haven't got the money my ex and inlaws have. They have holiday homes etc, but that's just how it is. Its reality. Money isn't the important thing.

Anveran Sun 02-Aug-20 10:11:13

I feel the same jellybeanjean as my son in law's whole family live close to my grandchildren and I live hours away. They rarely visit me although I can drive to them when invited but the rest of the family are visiting each other all the time. Nothing to be done really, as Illte says, it's only a feeling and not a reality, nothing intentional going on, just circumstances. Jealousy is horrible...I know it is.

GoldenAge Sun 02-Aug-20 10:41:43

Jellybeanjean - you say you met your current husband three years ago and he needs 24 hour care - so actually are you his full-time carer? That’s a pretty tall order - I took on the care of my dear Mum when she was widowed and as her disabilities increased it became more and more difficult to take her anywhere - I had a simple choice which was to keep her with me and accept the limitations to my life that that decision would cause or look for a care home. I chose the former - I don’t know whether your husband was disabled when you met him or whether he’s had a tragic accident since then but either way you have to come to terms with the fact that his needs mean he can’t be accommodated in family gatherings at someone else’s house, and you simply have to accept that. Sure your ex-husband will want to spend time with your DD and DS without you being there and dare I say it, you might come to resent his ability to do that more easily than you so be prepared for those feelings. You don’t mention what your husband says about this situation - does he ever suggest you go without him for instance so you can join in or does he expect that you will be his carer and by his side the rest of his life? And what do your children think about it - do they feel resentful towards their stepfather for preventing you from more frequent visiting? These are really important things to consider if you are to go forward in a happy frame of mind because you will increasingly feel left out and you have to ask yourself if that feeling is one you want for the rest of your life - another piece of advice is to go for counselling with a CBT therapist who can work with you on your negative thoughts about a situation which may have no possibility of resolution.

Neva2bananna Sun 02-Aug-20 10:57:01

I could not have put it any better than Hellomonty!
Although I would feel jealous, monstrously peeved and totally sidelined - and it would take a good and close friend to put me on the right track because I would be far more hysterical than you! - although as soon as it was pointed out to me I would begin to see it more clearly and for what it is.
It’s enormously difficult to manoeuvre around divorced families and if it were you instead of your ex who was in the centre of these movements, then I doubt you’d see a problem - well I’m just going by my own feelings and I am a selfish mare - you sound more loving, giving and caring.
Swings and roundabouts petal! It’ll be your turn next!! xx

Kim19 Sun 02-Aug-20 11:44:39

I find it best not to know what's going on in precise detail elsewhere. Very glad for the visits I get. No plans to rock any boats. It's so easy to compare/feel neglected. They lead such busy lives these days. My mind boggles.

crazyH Sun 02-Aug-20 11:57:16

Divorce is the bane of modern society and family dynamics. TBH I feel sorry for my 3 children who have to manouvre family celebrations , so as not to hurt their father or me. Things are not so bad now, as I've accepted that my Ex has a new wife and she is part of the family. I have ertainly mellowed.

Jennyluck Sun 02-Aug-20 12:12:49

Oh I’d feel exactly the same. As mothers we are the centre of the family as they grow up. To feel sidelined when our children are adults is heartbreaking. Jealousy is a hard emotion to control, it can be all consuming.
My advise, say nothing, don’t let them know how upset you are. And enjoy your time with them.
I know it’s hard to do, been there, didn’t take my own advice. And now don’t see my son. 😢😢

sodapop Sun 02-Aug-20 12:30:33

Sorry to hear that Jennyluck hopefully the OP will take note.

Minerva Sun 02-Aug-20 12:32:55

I would feel miffed too. I’m silently irritated whenever I hear that my ex has seen the grandkids though I know he has every right and I invite him at regular intervals to visit the grandchild who lives in my house. He was a lousy father during the 40 years of our marriage with no time for the children, but has turned into grandfather of the century. Very frustrating.

I’m sure it’s not that they don’t want to see you jellybeanjean. They have just gone for the most convenient arrangement. Don’t let it spoil your upcoming meet up. Above all you don’t want it to spoil your relationships with your ACs.

Beauregard Sun 02-Aug-20 12:58:19

It's so complicated when there are more than two sets of parents. We have four sets, due to divorces on both sides. There are times when DD makes us feel included and many, many times when we feel left out. Our SIL's family get together more than we do and his mother often organises things. I suppose the answer is to push yourself forward more and organise the get togethers yourself so that you are involved and at the centre of things rather than letting others get in there first all the time. Definitely the case for me.

Brigidsdaughter Sun 02-Aug-20 18:07:26

Hi Jellybeanjean I can understand you feeling fed up as you are leading a more limited life than most people and that will impact on how much you see your AC and DGC. Covid etc added to this.
However, you really shouldn't feel sidelined by your children getting together. They will or may want time as siblings without you.
Your ex is just in the right place which is probably annoying. If he lived in Scotland the scenario involving him would not arise.
I suspect your daughter didn't say anything as she's thinking about your feelings.
Please dont day anything or they'll have to see each other in secret

diygran Sun 02-Aug-20 20:03:02

I'm in similar situation to you Beauregard. SILs family have taken over as they live closer than we do.
Lots of do's are organised but without us. Our DD just follows what he wants and I dread any GC they have
as his family will take over again.
We are the only ones left on our side of family so cannot compete.
They were quick enough to take a large deposit for their house. Sorry if I sound bitter, but we are. My husband feels we could do without the in-laws. I am distraught with all this and as OP says it's difficult not to be jealous.

Jennyluck Sun 02-Aug-20 20:46:34

Diygran, our situation was similar to yours. And we also feel bitter. We were always there for every crisis. But in the end the in-laws were a better bet. We just weren’t good enough.

happycatholicwife1 Sun 02-Aug-20 21:51:34

There's a lot of sadness here. Each story conveys it to one degree or another. Divorce is one of the most devastating things to have happen in a family. The problem, I think, lies in not really having the same goals or values when people marry. I think, too, that a lack of religious faith, attending church, etc. removes a valuable tool from any marriage. It is something that helps weave family life together (and helps repair it, too). The natural by-product of divorce is alienation, competition, exclusion for everyone. I've seen it in our family, and, rather than it "not affecting anyone else" as one selfish person in the family said, it had very sad results felt by adults and children around the world. Forty some years later it is still hurting people.