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post #21 of 70
Originally Posted by KLM99 View Post

I don't think the poster is saying (and she can of course chime in if I'm wrong) that every grandparent who cheerfully takes the grandchildren for as long as she can get them while the parent goes out on a date is abnormal.  I think she is saying that a grandparent who demands time with the children only and seems to resent the parent hanging around even when the child is clearly not ready to be left alone is probably not behaving in a manner that is best for the child, but rather is more concerned about what they think is right and what they want.  And I agree. 


ITA.  My MIL was a little weird and overly focused on ds when he was a baby.  She'd do things like take him to visit neighbors if I left her holding him while I went to the bathroom at her house.  It was odd.  I'd come out of the bathroom to an empty house.  I know she was just excited and wanted to show off the baby but why do it while I was in the bathroom?  I wouldn't have minded her going although I would have tagged along because ds was a fussy baby.  Ds started crying at the sight of her by 4 months.  It's not normal to be angling to get the baby/toddler away from the mother.  But it's wonderful when the grandparents and grandchildren enjoy each other's company.  Invariably, those relationships are ones where the grandparents treat the children respectfully and have their best interests at heart.  

post #22 of 70
Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post

And maybe the other thing I need to think about is that I am very jealous of the time I do get with my son. I work full time so the weekends really are precious to me. I plan events and outings that are for the whole family, not for just Mama and Daddy. And I feel a bit resentful that I am being pressed to do things I don't want to do all so she can have alone time.




I have this same issue and I really struggle with it.  I work full-time (am out of the house from about 7:30am to 5:30pm Monday through Friday) and am sometimes fiercely protective of my weekends because they are the only days I get my kids through the whole day.  I have a bit of probably misplaced resentment toward my in-laws for wanting us to spend weekends with them so frequently.  This one I've had to let go of a bit even though it's hard to share my time :)

post #23 of 70


Originally Posted by fuzzycat View Post

"Last night we had my MIL babysit for two hours while my husband took me out to dinner. Apparently my son cried a lot and was generally unhappy. She said that we need to go out more so he gets more practice being with other people. Then she went on to say she wants more one on one time with him when we aren't there so he "gets used to being with her w/o us."


There is something about this paragraph that really bothers me.  It seems like she wants him for the wrong reasons like "hey it's ok if he is unhappy and cries, it'll be good for him?!?"  There is something not right with that. Why not "I'd like to help out more and give you a break" or "I adore him so much I can't get enough of him".  I think it is completely normal for grandparent's to want to spend alone time grandchildren, but the comfort levels of both parent and child need to be taken into conideration. 




I agree.  My Mom watched DS while visiting us for about 2 hours and DH texted to see how it was going because I was having a bad vibe.  She didn't tell us the truth and when home saw DS was upset.  When I asked her why she lied... "He has to get used to being without you, especially when you are done with that breastfeeding thing".  No freakin way!  Never again! 


My Mom had me at 18.  I was a formula fed baby from day one and left to CIO in a crib.  Totally different style from how we are going about things... my Mom just doesn't seem to understand. 



post #24 of 70

my mom asks for alone time with DD all the time, and usually gets it. my parents and sisters are the only babysitters DD has had. but my parents are still in their 40s and in really good health, and DD adores them, she gets really excited any time we say we're going to Grandma's house. but my family is totally AP, and very respectful of what DD needs. and if it's not a good time, they completely respect that. 

post #25 of 70

My guess is that many responses posters have shared might mirror their own relationships with their grandparents when they were children.  I did not have close relationships with any of mine...they lived four states away.  I likely would've loved 1-1 time with them as I was older (early teens), though.  In the case of your son, if he cried a lot and she reported that he was generally unhappy, that means it's not a good plan (at least for now).  Listen to what he can't say with words.  Also, if she admitted he cried a lot, it may've even been worse than she was willing to admit.  Perhaps when your son is older, 1-1 time would be more appropriate...if he is comfortable with it and you are okay with it, too.  She can have contact with him in your presence, which is more than some grandparents get.  Less than others, I know, but just because she has a demand doesn't mean you have to meet it.  One compromise might be her being with him at a toddler exercise class or park and rec kind of class--if, and only if, you feel he is truly safe in her presence.  "Babysitting with grandma" has been a hot issue with our 9 month old...I haven't allowed it and my husband (this is his mom) has fortunately backed me up.  Part of my hesitation has been my observation of her interactions with DH's nephews.  She has blatantly gone against SIL and BIL's guidelines, going so far as to give him foods to which he has an allergy/sensitivity because she felt that he "needed it" (and she specifically has asked me not to "tell on her).  She won't lock the doors to keep toddler nephew safely inside because she says he won't get out...though he has gotten out.  She won't put her two big dogs in their crates while the little ones are over because she says they are really good with kids...though one dog is very aggressive and she trips over them while carrying the toddler.  I had to tell her over thirty times that we were not going to have our baby stay there without us until he was much older.  She finally got the picture.  My parents are both deceased and I did let her know that our not leaving DS is (sort of) not personal--it's that we aren't leaving him with anybody yet.  In the end, this is your son and it is your decision.  You have been compassionate to make sure she sees him regularly, and it is a shame that she does not seem to appreciate it.  As they say, follow your instincts and let your son's behavior be his voice for the time being.

post #26 of 70

I'm with Lisa - not normal.  And not okay with me at all.


That being said, I've dealt with it with great-grandma.  I did leave him alone with her once, long enough to run to the store.  With a fresh diaper, and a bottle.  I called when I was in the check-out line, got no answer, so I rushed back to find him hysterical sitting in the middle of the living room floor, not in the diaper I left him in (actually in a cover with a doubler, no actual diaper).  That combined with her insistence on giving him food I've already said no to, and giving him drinks of water when I go to the bathroom (he doesn't know how to use a cup!!), I can no longer leave him alone with her for a moment. 


But none of the rest of the grandparents have even asked, because they all know better.  They've offered to watch him so we can go out, but that's different. 


The insistence that the baby needs to learn to be away from mom is ridiculous in my mind.  They'll learn that when they're ready, forcing it is just damaging to them. 


Now, if mom is on overload, and grandma is saying - give me the kid and go take a break, again, that's a different story. 

post #27 of 70

This is pretty common. My MIL is obsessed with "alone time" with LO. I really dreaded her purchase of a car seat for him at 2. It isn't enough to see him frequently, she needs to control the circumstances. And it is never enough. We get a constant stream of complaints about how she never gets to see them and she sees the kids 3-4 a week. She has been on a campagin to end his nap so that it doesn't effect her "time with him." She once made a map of all of the time of the week with various times blocked out (sleep, nap, preschool, etc.) to show DH how little time it was. Hum, I guess that the red (time with her) was less than the blue (time doing everything else) but um, it was a lot of theoretical time possible.


So, yes common, normal? I have no idea.

post #28 of 70

JudiAU--Holy hell.  You've got your hands full, my dear.  Hope your DH has your back on this one.  Your MIL makes mine look quite tame.  Guess it's all a matter of perspective.  My MIL has friends who are grandparents and have grandchildren many states away and in different countries, so I feel like our once a week routine is pretty generous.  Hope somebody else in your family has a baby soon so some of the pressure will be off of you.  Your MIL's demands and strategies are, in my opinion, entirely intrusive, out of line, and totally disrespectful.  My hat's off to you, mama.  Whew.

post #29 of 70

My MIL has been hounding us for alone time with DS since before he was born it seems. Much like OP, he's not allowed at their house. It smells like smoke and dog pee. No way, Jose. I have, just in the last year or so, let them babysit him for a couple of hours so DH and I could see a movie, but even those times I put him to bed before we leave. The way I see it, I'm a WOHM (and was previously a full time college student). I am forced to leave him until 4pm M-F. When I get home, the last thing I want to do is send him to be with someone else! Even if I did trust them (and I don't trust them with various things like driving and respecting bedtime) I still would rather just be with him when he's awake. Now, when he's sleeping anyway I'll happily leave him with someone to make sure the house doesn't burn down while we're gone.

post #30 of 70

My in-laws have always wanted alone time with the kids.  They have always been respectful of our choices as parents, though, and realized pretty early on that it just wasn't going to happen.  When we could go stay with them, though, we would be sure to have time that even if we were in the house the grandparents were the ones who were playing with them (us in another room/doing different stuff) and then the kids would come get us when needed.


When DD was 3.5 we (DP & I) had a college granduation to go to and she chose to spend the night with her grandparents and had a GREAT time.  DS wanted to spend a night with them starting around 2.5.  Each year since DS was almost 4 they have taken both kids to "grand camp"--- an overnight camp where they sleep in cabins and have all the camp fun but just grandparents and grandkids.  The kids *might* spend another night or two with them a year.  If it is convenient we have no issue with them babysitting, but of course our kids are much older! (9 & 11)


In summary, yes DP's parents were anxious to spend alone time with our children.  But, they waited until the kids were *ready* and happy to.  We wanted it to be a positive experience and just didn't see it as something we needed to push in any way.  Now DP's brother has a baby (11 months in just two days!) and they have had him for about two MONTHS of overnights already.  Starting from a couple weeks old they would have him 1-2, sometimes even 3 nights a week.  It was "hillarious" (rolleyes) when BIL & SIL asked us to babysit the baby this summer during grand camp so they could have a weekend away.  That was their THIRD weekend away since the baby was born (8 months earlier at that point) and it is always our *only* weekend without kids of the year.  Needless to say, we said no to that one, lol.  Anyway, DP's parents LOVE getting all that baby time and are much closer to BIL's children (they also have a 10 year old son who as adopted at 7) but it's just not our style (even if we lived close enough for it to be) to want our children away from us that often.

post #31 of 70

I think it's pretty normal for grandparents to want to spend time alone with grandchildren - at least in my experience. I know my grandma pushed my mom a bit to get to have me to herself (I was the first grandchild) & my mom has done the same with me. She realllllllly wanted to do an overnight. I knew it would be a disaster but then I had to drive dh a few hours away late one night so we did leave him there. I ended up getting him in the middle of the night after returning from my long drive. But she was SUPER about it & hasn't pushed the issue since.


As for other times I LOVE that my Mom & my MIL are so happy & willing to take ds for us. We leave him with them at least once a week now. Not only does it give us some time to get things done without ds' help (we are doing renovations) but it also has built a fabulous relationship between him & his grandmothers. Win, win, win in my mind.


I will admit I didn't leave ds with anyone for more than 15 minutes until he was about 8 months.

post #32 of 70

I don't think it's normal.  At least it's not in my family.   However, I did not grow up near any of my grandparents, so we only saw them a few times a year on family trips.   There were  a few times that my maternal grandmother watched us so my parents could do something, but it wasn't often or frequent and I know my grandmother never "pushed" to have alone time with us.  I don't my parents have ever left us with my paternal grandparents.


We used to live near my parents, so they did watch our kids for us a few times.  But, they never ever pushed for that, it was more that I asked them to when it was needed (or wanted for that rare date or something).  They woudl watch them as a favor to us, but they never pushed to have alone time with them.


I would find that very odd and disconcerting and would be much less inclined to let them watch my kids if they pushed for it.

post #33 of 70

I think it is great for kids to have that one-on-one time with grandparents --- depending on the grandparent in question.


I have wonderful memories of time at my grandmother's house without my mom.


Now my son spends a lot of time with my mom alone.  Mostly at our house but sometimes at hers as well.  He's over there right now.  They have a wonderful relationship and we trust her completely.


My inlaws?  Oh H-E-Double L no.  When he was an infant they started in on the "oh he'll have to come and spend time with us on summer vacations"  Riiiiight.  Not.  They are not even allowed to be in a room alone with him.  Heck, our policy is that I'm not allowed to be in a room alone with them!  If we can't trust them around me we're certainly not trusting them around our child.


I think the grandparent-grandchild relationship can be wonderful - but it all depends on the grandparents.  You just have to trust your gut and go with what is right for your family.  I don't think there is any one right or normal answer.

post #34 of 70

I actually am feeling more pressure about this now that my kids are older.  My parents (who live literally across the country from us) were not going to advocate "alone time" with infants/toddlers that would involve them flying that far.  Now that the kids are older (only 8,7, and 7, mind) they are chomping at the bit for "when are you going to put them on a plane to come visit?"  I couldn't believe that they were pushing that--while I did indeed hop planes by myself to spend a few weeks in the summer with my grandparents, it wasn't until I was 13!


I finally had to be pretty blunt, saying that I wouldn't even consider it until they were 12 AND ready, whichever came *later*.  I did offer, since DH has never spent a lot of time on the east coast and we are history buffs, to dump the kids off for a week or two while DH and I did our own tour/sightseeing (not even staying at my parents house).  That was rejected ("Oh, you wouldn't want to do that!") which instantly red flagged me.  It could have been because they were disappointed with my answer.


 I won't leave my kids alone overnight or longer with my parents until I know that at least one of the kids has the confidence and know how to pick up the phone and call me if there's a problem.  My mom has had some pretty bad mental health issues, they don't like young children (or at least, don't seem to "get" it--at all, and they didn't during my childhood either).  If my dad was around to help her manage her behavior, that would be one thing, but I know my dad and he'll just happily ignore things.  So far I have not really wanted to open up THAT kind of honest can of worms.  They do fine on visits/babysitting, esp. since early on we established boundaries and gave consistant and firm guidance.


I do expect this to blow up in my face when eventually they find out that MIL gets the kids overnight and may get them for a week this summer (MIL lives with SIL, so it'd be a cousin reunion too, and that house is set up for kids).  Not that we have hidden it (and we won't) but we haven't proactively mentioned it either.  But if it does, I think I will have the big honest sit down talk with them--and mom's likely nuclear crazy response to finding out will be a pretty big reason why I can't allow them to have the kids across the country from them.  We'll see.


I do think it's normal for grandparents to want that--and healthy grandparents, not just disturbed ones.  I think it can be good for the kids.  I know my mom and grandma did not get along because of all the vicious stories/gossip my mom told when my grandma started suffering dementia, and that my grandparents were pretty harsh with my dad growing up--but they were great grandparents to me, and that place was my refuge from my hellish home life, and I never EVER saw taht side of them!  So I get it.  Sometimes it makes me sad and angry that I have to be so paranoid.  But...oh well, that's part of what sucks about negotiating being both a parent (to your kid) simultaneously with being a kid (to your parents) and getting all mixed up in that protective/craving approval thing.

post #35 of 70

I think it is very normal.  We are a very close family and my parents have a strong relationship with my dd.  Both of my parents take my dd for alone time sometimes and do fun things with her and sometimes she sees both at the same time.  We also do adult only coffee dates sometimes while she is at school.  I think that since your mom smokes in her home she should do the alone time at your home or at a fun kid oriented place, but I see nothing odd about her wanting to spend time alone with her grandchild.  Some of my best memories of my childhood are doing things with my grandparents while my mom wasn't around.  We spent a lot of fun times with them when we were young and we started flying out to see them in the summertime when I was 10 and my brother was 8.  We were spoiled, had fun, and loved our time being the center of attention and doing things that my mom didn't let us do often at home.

post #36 of 70
Originally Posted by Marissamom View Post
but my parents are still in their 40s and in really good health

I just had to laugh at this one.  Dh and I are in our 40's and 50's and it's so funny to think that the young parents on here would think that people like us might *not* be in good health.  We're not over the hill, you know.  ROTFLMAO.gif

post #37 of 70

My mom pressured me... somewhat gently, but still... as soon as DS was born to spend some alone time with her, stay overnight, etc.  Even though I trust my mom to follow my instructions 90% of the way (and the remaining 10% is stuff I'd be willing to ignore) I just wasn't having it.  For a few hours here and there, sure.  But overnight??  No way.  And I felt really pressured until I lay down the law and she got the message that it wasn't happening.


But now that DS is almost 2 and a half, and we're no longer nursing, and he's been in daycare for over a year and LOVES it, and he's turned out to be a pretty easy-going guy, I've been much more open to it.  The first time was in October.... I was so stressed out and tired and burned out and just DONE.  So she took DS from Saturday morning to Sunday morning and it was wonderful.  To have 24 full hours where I only had to think about myself.  And DS had a great time too.


So now I want to do this once a month to hopefully prevent getting to the end of my rope again.  We'll see.


ETA:  Oh forgot about my ILs.  Yikes.  They live 6 hours away, so luckily it's not an issue at least yet.  But when they were visiting in September my MIL told this long sob story about she would never be allowed to watch her other grandchildren by herself due to family conflicts and how she was so upset by that, etc etc etc.  So I was like, "Oh you want some alone time with a grandchild?!?  Here's Colin- have fun.  DH and I will go out for a drink and to a movie and see you in a few hours."  (Please don't flame me- I was approaching my breaking point here and was really needing a break)


And she said, "Oh, but I want to see a movie with you, too!"  irked.gif  LADY YOU HAVE COMPLETELY MISSED THE POINT.

post #38 of 70

I think its fine for grandparents to want alone time with their grandkids - I don't think its about wanting to "parent" either.  My parents are always THRILLED to take care of ds whenever they get even the slightest of opportunities.  DS is the first grandchild, and will likely be the only for quite some time, and my parents want to be able to really enjoy being grandparents while they are still young and healthy (they are both 56, and my dad could carry ds up a mountain, literally, and probably will the next time we see them!) so I let them hang out with ds every chance I get!  Which, unfortunately, isn't very often since we live so far away from them.  It might be different if my ds had severe separation anxiety, but I doubt it, b/c I don't have the circumstances to be a SAHM, so he's in daycare 5days/week.  Luckily, he's a very social child and thats never been much of a problem.

post #39 of 70

As I reread this thread, it made me think of something else:


How *I* felt as a kid.  I totally wanted to spend time with *just* my grandparents (without my parents there). I loved spending the night with my Granny and it's not like she was letting me get away with stuff she wouldn't have let me do around my parents, but it was just fun for it to be just us, kwim.  I'd love for my kids to feel the way I felt about my Granny about their grandparents.

post #40 of 70

It creates a very special bond between the child and the grandparent/s. When I was first divorced, my daughter spent every morning with my Dad (I went to work, my son went to school). He'd pick her up from me before I left and take her home with him. They'd spend the morning playing games, doing puzzles, taking walks, watching Animal Planet together. Then he'd feed her lunch and take her to Kindergarten. They were literally best friends - and that hasn't changed much in the intervening years. It would have been different if I'd have been right there every time.


Unless you have real fears for the child's safety, give that space. The Grands may not do everything exactly as you do, but that's okay.

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