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What would you to a MIL who says she can not visit very often because you work? - Page 5

post #81 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by poppan View Post
I just thought of one more thing... and maybe why your thread called to me in the first place. We have a weird situation in my extended family. Basically my aunt has always given more to her younger son than her older son. I think the only thing you can do is get on with your life and stop letting this be a source of hurt. Your MIL can't hurt you if you don't care anymore.
Thanks.

Yes, it's been like this for some time, the genesis was not with the grandchildren. It was skewed before then, but never bothered me before because I don't care about it for my sake or DH's sake.

What made it matter was when they did it to my child...a child...their grandchild. That bothered me. Then I finally said something after a couple of years.

I really thought they would be fair.

P.S. for what it's worth, I'm not a gold digger. I've been married to DH for a looooong time. His parents haven't done much for us at all, really. They helped us move a couple of times by loaning us a truck, they bought us a couch about 10 years ago, they bought us some appliances a number of years ago, and that's about it other than Christmas presents, anniversary presents. They aren't wealthy, but they are financially sound. I definitely don't want to take advantage of them. I only expect them to do for this grandchild what they do for the others. If they were totally absentee, I wouldn't expect anything.
post #82 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by poppan View Post
I guess I would just prepare for the day when DS asks me why grandma does XYZ for cousin X, but not for me... and explain that grandma shouldn't play favorites but she does, but it's not about you honey, it's just because she doesn't love mommy and daddy as much as she loves auntie and uncle? I mean, that's the truest form I can think of that wouldn't make your DS think it's his fault in any way... although it sounds pretty awful so hopefully you can think of something better than me.
Yeah...I DREAD that day. The thought of it is what makes me mad as hell.
post #83 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by poppan View Post

Anyway, I totally *get* wanting and needing help and wishing it could come free from family. I don't have family here (both sets of grandparents live on other continents) so I guess it's easier for me to come to terms with it, as we've just had to make other arrangements or do without. Can you meet your needs some other way--maybe exchange babysitting with friends? Hire a college student for a few hours a week?


Thanks.

Yes, after two or three years of pretty much doing everything myself and trying to be as frugal as possible (my nature) and stretch dollars as far as they would go, I realized I was breaking myself so I started buying the additional daycare I needed. It's cost a small fortune, but it's the only way I could solve major issues with time.

DH complains about it, but I guess if he can't get us help, and won't take off time himself, then there isn't much he can say about it.

He recently made me prove to him that our daycare was in the same price range as others in town. He thought maybe there was another place we could use that would save us $200 or $300 a month. Ha ha ha. So naiive. I didn't want to have to do it, but I showed him again how much other daycares charge and he realized again - just as when we did our initial research - that they're all within $50 to $100 of each other.

It's not really the babysitting that I need, though, you know? I can buy that. It's expensive, yes, but it's a commodity I can buy.

I can't really buy support and love for my son. That's what I was hoping to find in a grandparent. Someone who cared about him on a level close to what I care for him.
post #84 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
P.S. for what it's worth, I'm not a gold digger.
I totally know that, and I hope you know that I knew that

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
Yeah...I DREAD that day. The thought of it is what makes me mad as hell.
You're being a good mama bear. Your son might surprise you... he might not care at all. I mean, who cares if someone who's pretty much a stranger buys someone else more presents than she buys you. I know you don't see it that way, but he might. And unless it happens right in front of him, it might just never come up. I'm not saying you should hide anything from him, but I also don't think you need to point it out to him, and in the end analysis I guess I would just let the chips fall where they may and deal with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
I can't really buy support and love for my son. That's what I was hoping to find in a grandparent. Someone who cared about him on a level close to what I care for him.
Yeah, I really, really hear you on this too. In my life I've eventually come to accept that we don't choose our family. We get who we get. Sometimes they aren't what we would have liked, or don't do all the things we would have liked. I'm sorry if this sounds simplistic. It was a painful truth for me to come to terms with... after years of therapy!

P.S. My college Psych 101 professor said if there's one thing he wanted us to get out of his class, it was that most problems stem from the difference between expectation and reality. I think that is pretty true. Once you let go of the expectations you free yourself to make the best of reality... only then can you move forward and forge the life you want.
post #85 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by poppan View Post
Yeah, I really, really hear you on this too. In my life I've eventually come to accept that we don't choose our family. We get who we get. Sometimes they aren't what we would have liked, or don't do all the things we would have liked. I'm sorry if this sounds simplistic. It was a painful truth for me to come to terms with... after years of therapy!
No, not simplistic at all. Very, very true. I remind myself of that all the time.

My challenge has been if you are born into a family where the love or solid relationship isn't really there, and never really could be, then do you just live with that void? Because that really, well, for lack of a better way to say it, it just sucks, you know?

It's a loss I feel.

I think I feel it more acutely since having a child. I used to be able to function as an island when it came to family (mine is ridiculously dysfunctional...users, criminal behavior, alcohol and drug dependency...the more I cared for them, the more I got taken advantage of).

Now, with a child, I realize more and more that I'm not an island. I ache that we aren't special to anyone in particular to the point of caring for us, you know? I am really afraid of where my son would end up, knock on wood, if I were to pass away before he's 18. It's one reason of a couple that I have only one child.

I have really, really good friends. I'm blessed to have some really great women in my life, people I've been friends with going on 5, 10, and 20 years. But they have their own families - their own spouses, their own children, their own parents, and their own inlaws - with whom they have a much more bonded, shared-history, deeper connection. They're who they spend the holidays with and who they know they can rely on.

That's a tough one for me. No matter how close I get to these people - even one family who is like family to us - we're not as close as their most special relationships - those with their parents - nor should they be, perhaps, and so friendships, even good ones, don't seem to connect in the same way.

But you are so right. We don't choose our families. It's really luck of the draw. Some of us wind up with people who love us, and some of us are better off breaking apart on our own, however lonely and isolating it may be.

I wouldn't choose this, given a better choice...
post #86 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
No, not simplistic at all. Very, very true. I remind myself of that all the time.

My challenge has been if you are born into a family where the love or solid relationship isn't really there, and never really could be, then do you just live with that void? Because that really, well, for lack of a better way to say it, it just sucks, you know?

It's a loss I feel.

I think I feel it more acutely since having a child. I used to be able to function as an island when it came to family (mine is ridiculously dysfunctional...users, criminal behavior, alcohol and drug dependency...the more I cared for them, the more I got taken advantage of).

Now, with a child, I realize more and more that I'm not an island. I ache that we aren't special to anyone in particular to the point of caring for us, you know? I am really afraid of where my son would end up, knock on wood, if I were to pass away before he's 18. It's one reason of a couple that I have only one child.

I have really, really good friends. I'm blessed to have some really great women in my life, people I've been friends with going on 5, 10, and 20 years. But they have their own families - their own spouses, their own children, their own parents, and their own inlaws - with whom they have a much more bonded, shared-history, deeper connection. They're who they spend the holidays with and who they know they can rely on.

That's a tough one for me. No matter how close I get to these people - even one family who is like family to us - we're not as close as their most special relationships - those with their parents - nor should they be, perhaps, and so friendships, even good ones, don't seem to connect in the same way.

But you are so right. We don't choose our families. It's really luck of the draw. Some of us wind up with people who love us, and some of us are better off breaking apart on our own, however lonely and isolating it may be.

I wouldn't choose this, given the choice...
((hug)) it is so hard not to have a family that seems to care. i feel the loss for a mother i never had. i know my mom is doing her best, but she can't be to me what i feel i need. i tried to have my MIL fill that gap and would get really angry when she couldn't fill the hole either (she did a much much better then my own mom). i think i was more angry at my MIL because i had picked her. ((hug))

h
post #87 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by poppan View Post
You're being a good mama bear. Your son might surprise you...
That's exactly what it is. My instinct tells me to not accept my MIL's actions and to stick up for my cub.

Like I said, MIL and FIL have been a combination of distant and/or unfair about so many things since day one of my marriage into their family (well, even before).

It's been ongoing for years.

I used to be able to just roll my eyes, or maybe get slightly miffed. It didn't really matter. Not really. Sure, it was irritating and sort of insulting, but inconsequential in the larger picture.

I could brush it off more easily.

Then when my child was treated the same way, it seem(ed)(s) a 1000 times worse. A million times worse. It seems overwhelmingly wrong and offensive to my very nature. I mean, how dare she / they, right? Their own grandchild? Come on, really? (Yes, I'm very indignant! He's a child! Innocent. Sweet. Deserving. Cough up some fairness! What the hell?)

I need to get back to the prior state of mind. I mean, it's not surprising they're acting this way, I just thought with a child to whom they are related they might act differently.

post #88 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
My challenge has been if you are born into a family where the love or solid relationship isn't really there, and never really could be, then do you just live with that void? Because that really, well, for lack of a better way to say it, it just sucks, you know?
[...]
Now, with a child, I realize more and more that I'm not an island. I ache that we aren't special to anyone in particular to the point of caring for us, you know?
mama. I know. It does suck. But I want to say this (in the gentlest way possible):
This is your life's drama. It is not your son's. If you love him and give him that family stability, that place to come back to, he will not have that void in his heart, grandma in the picture or grandma out of the picture.
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
I am really afraid of where my son would end up, knock on wood, if I were to pass away before he's 18. It's one reason of a couple that I have only one child.
Two things come to mind here...
1) Funny, or maybe not funny: I reached the exact opposite conclusion from you. I know there are other reasons for not having more children, but I think one good reason for having another is to give your son family to call his own, a sibling that will always be his sibling, family that will still be there after you are gone. I mean, I don't think you can set out to do that when other conditions aren't right, and it's not something you can count on (siblings have been known to grow up and hate each other right) but I dunno, it seems like a good idea. My sister and I aren't close but she's still my sister, I would take her kids in if the unthinkable happened, etc. Heck I'm even close to some of my cousins, which leads me to point #2:
2) Can you cultivate the more extended family relationships, are there any, are they open to it? We're a little marooned out here on our own too, but I have one aunt and two cousins in the area that we see for Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, birthday parties. And we do cards and small presents with the farther away family. Maybe the connections just aren't there, and in that case I think you do grief it and move on, and try to remind yourself that it does not mean big void for your son too. again I know this is really hard.
post #89 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by poppan View Post
1) Funny, or maybe not funny: I reached the exact opposite conclusion from you. I know there are other reasons for not having more children, but I think one good reason for having another is to give your son family to call his own, a sibling that will always be his sibling, family that will still be there after you are gone.
You raise a good point, one worthy of it's own thread, I'm sure.

I grapple with this. I've talked to my friends about it, most of whom also have only one child in the 5 year old range. We're all sort of a group of career-minded women who love being mothers, but started having children a little later in life due to college, grad school, a couple of years establishing a career.

So, we're all at like the 35-40 age range now where it's sort of now or never. My friends have talked about it at length. One friend, 40, knows she has to decide this year, maybe next year, but then biology will decide for her.

DH and I aren't anywhere near a place of having a second child (uh, no way). Our relationship was tolerable and he never was verbally abusive until I got pregnant and then even more so when we had the baby. It is because of all the demands and stress placed on him. I don't think he ever expected that and I never anticipated he would be so ill-equipped and unprepared to change.

So, no second child for us for many, many reasons.

But then...

Well, MIL is an only child. So, there's really no extended family on that side. DH grew up in a very small family with no cousins, really, that he knew. Sometimes I wonder if this impacted their connection with people, you know?

DH is against having only one child (IRONIC, huh??) because he thinks they grow up quirky and weird. I'm not saying they do, but I think it's sort of interesting that his mom is an only child and he says this.

I do worry about my child being an only and the loneliness, particularly later in life, that might bring. Or selfishness, if I'm not careful.

Then again, I look at the positives. I can give my child more over time - both attention and life experiences. Also, I can keep my career going and keep working. If I were paying two sets of daycare costs, well, we'd be really in debt and the financial gain from working would be null.

I come from a family that had no trouble breeding. Everyone - aunts, uncles, cousins, you name it - had kids early and often. Not too many are college educated and not too many were that well taken care of. That definitely impacted my outlook too. There is a point where there are too many children to have the capacity to care for them adequately.

With the state of our marriage, with the economy, and with a total lack of a support system, I think our capacity might be one. And sometimes I think - sadly - one is pushing it even.
post #90 of 186
Didn't read the whole thread. My MIL only wants to help us when my parents also help us. Could that play a role, that your family is out of the picture?

Carma
post #91 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carma View Post
Didn't read the whole thread. My MIL only wants to help us when my parents also help us. Could that play a role, that your family is out of the picture?

Carma
Ohhhhhh, I hadn't ever thought of that. Thank you for bringing this particular theory to my attention.

If this is the case, then I think hating my MIL and FIL might be justified. One of my parents is homeless with chronic issues. And was never a part of my life, really. The other parent teeters on homelessness and was continually investigated for neglect my whole life, and I was removed from custody. So, if MIL and FIL are holding back because my parents can't contribute, and in the mean time giving more to their son who earns more than my DH, well, that is just flat out wrong. Penalizing a grandchild for that?

I am sure if this is the case, MIL and FIL would never admit it, but shame on them if they are this classist.

Now, perhaps they hold back because the relationship between my husband and I is precariously balanced at the moment and they don't want to invest time or money, but certainly that then contributes to our imbalance because like I've said so many times DH behaved much differently when we had a child because of the stress and demands placed on him which he could not meet. Perhaps if his parents eased some of that burden with fairness and genuine help/support, things would be different. It's not their responsibility, but what they do for one should be what they do for the other grandchild.

I'm curious - why do your inlaws hold back if your parents don't get involved? Are they this way with BILs and SILs too, if there are any? What justification could they possibly have that would sound reasonable? I'm sorry your inlaws are like that.
post #92 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
Are the grandkids all the same age range in your family, too?
some same age some different age.

but its something she makes so obvious that everybody else in the family notices it.

also the way she talks about both sons and their family shows that too.
post #93 of 186
Quote:
I'm curious - why do your inlaws hold back if your parents don't get involved? Are they this way with BILs and SILs too, if there are any? What justification could they possibly have that would sound reasonable? I'm sorry your inlaws are like that.
MIL wants everything 'equal'. They support SIL and BIL much more (for example providing daycare 1 day a week), but parents of BIL do the same (they were really happy to have grandchildren from BIL, he got married quite late in life). I have 2 sisters with kids and my Mom is chronically ill, so my parents cannot provide same level of daycare for us, so MIL will also not, that's her logic.

Carma
post #94 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carma View Post
MIL wants everything 'equal'. They support SIL and BIL much more (for example providing daycare 1 day a week), but parents of BIL do the same (they were really happy to have grandchildren from BIL, he got married quite late in life). I have 2 sisters with kids and my Mom is chronically ill, so my parents cannot provide same level of daycare for us, so MIL will also not, that's her logic.

Carma
I"m sorry. That's a little loony.
post #95 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by texmati View Post
I"m sorry. That's a little loony.
Yeah, more than a little loony, in my opinion.

I think it's one thing to expect the same person, or people, to treat their grandchildren equally but quite another thing to expect two sets of grandparents, or four different people in potentially very different situations and with very different personalities, to treat grandchildren equally. Do you see what I mean?

How often is it that a woman's parents are going to treat grandchildren the exact same way as a man's parents? It's probably not the norm. Why they would expect that is beyond me.

But one set of grandparents treating their own grandchildren differently? That just seems like they need to do a better job in making sure they are fair and decent to their grandkids.
post #96 of 186
Maybe it is still a stupid excuse from MIL, I don't know. It is very frustrating and hard to not care when your kids are not treated equally

Carma
post #97 of 186
grandkids come with different rules from kids. My kids will NEVER get equal treatment as their cousins, on either side, because the lifestyle we choose is not in keeping with the social norms of our siblings. We are far far away, and more than that, we just don't value things like ipods and Clothes and stuff.

That is very hard for our parents to "get" So yes, The nieces and nephews get more stuff and more time, but at the end of the day, I believe the universe has made things equal because our kids have...okay I am about to sound extremely arrogant and smug but here goes...our kids are growing up in a more inventive, fun, interesting, culturally diverse and engaing environment than their cousins.

There I said it.

At the end of the day we are even-steven, because our kids get us.

I know how that sounds, but that's my POV and I'm sticking to it.
post #98 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carma View Post
Maybe it is still a stupid excuse from MIL, I don't know. It is very frustrating and hard to not care when your kids are not treated equally

Carma


Exactly Carma. I hear you like you had a 1000 microphones on that.

It is hard to not care when your kids are not treated equally. Particularly when it is by someone who should be in the business of loving and caring for them like Apple Pie grandma. Grandmas are supposed to be, well, grandmotherly, not pick and choosing, with some kids losing.
post #99 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post
At the end of the day we are even-steven, because our kids get us.

I know how that sounds, but that's my POV and I'm sticking to it.
That is the best! Smile. What a refreshing, positive point of view.
post #100 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post
grandkids come with different rules from kids. My kids will NEVER get equal treatment as their cousins, on either side, because the lifestyle we choose is not in keeping with the social norms of our siblings. We are far far away, and more than that, we just don't value things like ipods and Clothes and stuff.

That is very hard for our parents to "get" So yes, The nieces and nephews get more stuff and more time, but at the end of the day, I believe the universe has made things equal because our kids have...okay I am about to sound extremely arrogant and smug but here goes...our kids are growing up in a more inventive, fun, interesting, culturally diverse and engaing environment than their cousins.

There I said it.

At the end of the day we are even-steven, because our kids get us.

I know how that sounds, but that's my POV and I'm sticking to it.
I like your comment. Thanks!

A few months ago I posted on here about whether I was wrong / out of line (because I do want to know if I am) to send back some Christmas toys with my inlaws that I felt were not appropriate and did not respect our values or boundaries.

Some people said yes, some no. Such is MDC, eh?

Some people struck a chord with me, though. They talked about how hard hit economically they were and coudn't buy any presents for their children or how they had no grandparents and would give anything to get even crappy, cheap, or inappropriate toys from anyone for their children so that their children would know they were loved.

It was heart wrenching. It made my heart ache for people I don't even know. It makes me wish there were a real Santa so that all children could get something every Christmas morning and no child would be left out.

But, I also have a different perspective on that, personally, and your post made me think of it.

When I was a kid, we were very poor. Most Christmases there was nothing. No presents, no heat, no food. It was pretty bleak. My parents were pretty absentee.

Anyway, there was one Christmas where an aunt who didn't have much money herself went out of her way to wrap up some of her kids' old toys and give them to me. Her kids were younger. Much younger. And I played with her kids often so I knew their toys pretty well.

I felt like I was nothing when I opened up those used, much too young for me toys and recognized them as my cousins' toys while my cousins were opening up their presents and squealing in delight at their brand new, clean, age appropriate toys.

I remember thinking I would rather have had the dignity of getting nothing and understanding my economic situation than the feeling that I wasn't deserving or special enough to warrant a new toy like my cousins.

I'm certain my aunt's heart was in the right place, but she made me, as a 6 year old, just feel worse.

Now, these aren't my own childhood issues coloring how I look at my son's grandparents/DH's parents.

They aren't treating my son equally and that is wrong. Nothing to do with what happened 30 something years ago with me.

So, I did send some cheaply made, crappy toys back with the grandparents this past Christmas, and they were mightily offended.

But this was several years into trying to make them understand big, loud, noisy, battery-required, close-ended, cheaply made, soon to be on the recalled list, gender specific toys are not what we allow in our home.

DH and I aren't made of money nor are we snobby nor do we feel we are better than others. I just don't think you have to be well off to value good things or have high standards especially when it comes to your kids.

I would rather have one quality made open-ended toy than a toy box full of junk.

And that's how I buy toys when I buy them myself.

I'd tried explaining this to my inlaws once. twice. three. four. fives times and more. DH even tried. It didn't take.

So when they shoed up with a bunch of stuff that wasn't right for us, I sent it back home with them. I figured they could donate it, give it to someone else, or keep it at their house.

You know what MIL did? She brought some of the stuff with her the next time she visited, almost to say to my 4 year old son - look, look at this eye candy toy here that your mom won't let you have.

Back to your post, we're also not into iPods, clothes, and stuff. Well, DH loves his iPod like a second wife or second child, but that's another story.

I don't own an iPod. My cell phone is basic and old-school ancient. I like that it's cheap and gets good reception. Our tv is a small 19 inch, actually I think it's 13 inch, and it gets hidden in a little cabinet. No iPhone, iPad, lap top here. I don't even have a remote for my tv! It's not that I'm technologically impaired. In fact, I work in a pretty advanced technological field. I just don't get into all the newest and bestest things.

I like well made clothes that will last that aren't gender-directive. But we don't own a lot of clothes. Period.

We don't own a lot of stuff and we don't want to.

But what I do own and buy I am very selective about. I'd rather have quality over quantity.

I do get upset that the grandparents could be buying better things - I mean, $100 on toys at Walmart could be $100 in toys at our local Waldorf store - what's it to them? They're spending $100, why do they care where? But they do!

They think my lifestyle and choices are strange and foreign. Waldorf? Montessori? Open-ended? Educational? Country of origin? Recall lists? Huh?

I've tried to make it easy on them by saying "just buy books then." But you can buy really bad children's books pretty easily apparently. I gave her a list of about 20 authors and all the Caldecott winners. That sort of worked. Not really.

I would like it if the grandparents gifted equally as far as money so that perhaps we could put the money towards lessons, classes, a family museum membership, a zoo membership, books, quality toys, etc.

There are so many great things out there that I'd like to do for my son, and obviously I can't afford those things on my own, so I would like my inlaws to do things for my son, too, since they're doing so much for the other cousins, but it has to be something in line with our core values.

So, in the end, I do believe it was the right thing to do for my son to return the toys with the grandparents. After years of disregarding what we told them, that one action sent a pretty clear message and they've not purchased any crappy toys since then.

It's offensive to me when they cheap out on my son, and buy nice things for the cousins. Nice for all, or cheap for all. We can choose to politely decline, but the offers should be equal.



My kid is better off for the return of those Christmas gifts, I think, however ghastly rude my inlaws thought I was being, and they did.

But, after what year is it ghastly rude to continue to buy cheaper and less items for one grandchild than another and not listening to what the parents have to say about values and the environment in which they are trying to raise their child?
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