Edited by LHcj2008 - 8/6/12 at 7:35pm
Hi OP: I think it's tough when you see other families that are so tight-knit and ready to help each other out, but feel a sort of a "rejection" from your own family. I live in an area where family and extended family is a huge thing. I think in a lot of respects it is a cultural thing - the idea of being there for family through thick and thin is both cherished and expected.
My own parents are completely hands-off about things. I used to feel a little miffed about it because I know that if they were in a bind, I would certainly help them out, even if it were inconvenient for me. My neighbors have completely different relationships with their folks, and I often pine for a family relationship where everyone was willing to be there for the other. People do it all over the world.
As the PP mentioned, would she be willing to do it if you did the travel time, or does she just not want to commit? If she just isn't interested, it is best to move on even if you feel anger now because these things can eat you alive.
It's still commuting, whether she does it the night before or the morning of. It worked out great in the past, occasionally, but perhaps it worked out better for you than for her. It's not an innate responsibility of a grandparent to fulfill childcare needs; it's going above and beyond. If your mom doesn't have it to give right now, she doesn't. Pushing for more could spoil true grandparent/grandchild time that she CAN give.
My mom lives several states away. I chose to live where I am, and while we'd definitely like to see her MUCH more, and she'd like that too, we have to settle for every few months. I have to accept that I made this choice and the families around me whose grandparents happily provide childcare made their choices and sacrifices, too. Maybe they don't work the hours they want or have to put up with the grandparents being pushy about childrearing methods, who knows. Can't have your cake and eat it, too.
You are "livid" at your mother for not committing to commuting that would require two days time and doing free childcare? I am astounded at how very entitled you sound. Your mother is her own person, who has the right to decide what she does with her time. She isn't saying she won't visit, she isn't abandoning you or her grandkid. Sure it's great to have a MIL who could drop everything to help out, but that doesn't mean if you mom won't that your mother is neglecting her duties. It's completely reasonable that she'd like to have her life free to plan when she does or doesn't feel up to visiting.
You say she's the one who needs to be unreasonably accommodated but from your post it seems you have the same unreasonable expectations of accommodation you claim she does.
Of course you shouldn't *expect* your mom to inconvenience herself and go out of her way, etc. etc. That would be rather entitled. But I think it's ok to be upset that a.) you don't have a mom like that, and b.) that she is so inconsistent. It does seem maddening that she tells everyone that she quit her job to be able to spend tons of time with your son, and then not want to commit to one day a week. I know what that feels like - it's like she puts on one face to the world, but then doesn't back it up.
However, maybe that was never her intent - maybe she merely meant that she wanted to be free to see him whenever she liked, on a whim. You mention that she is focused on herself, and perhaps has a history of taking rather than giving. It seems she may have had her own selfish reasons for wanting to quit her job, but found it much "nicer" to say to others, "Oh, it's so I can spend so much time with my grandson" (the way she is trying to come up with excuses for not committing to one day a week).
I understand you wishing that she would think that the combination of guaranteed grandson time and helping her daughter out financially would appeal to her - it would to many mothers - but as others mentioned, she has already raised her children, and is back into a more self-oriented phase of her life where she values her freedom above all else (and, as you asserted, maybe she has always been this way!).
I think you are justified in venting - everyone needs to sometimes. It just sounds like this has more to do with your dissatisfaction over a long-term pattern in your relationship with your mom, and less on this specific instance.
Pickle18, I think you really described exactly how I feel. Not "expecting" to be accommodated, not feeling entitled or wanting my cake and eating it too, as others have put it, but feeling that this situation is a culmination of many, many years of similar frustrations; being the one to always accommodate her, but not getting the willingness from her to do so in return, and getting excuses. It's not really the specific childcare issue, as you said. Thank you for helping me to see that.
I realize that when I put myself out there on a public forum in an emotional moment, I make myself vulnerable and there is the possibility of being attacked. I think maybe my situation would be better described in real life vs. in a few paragraphs in text.
We're pretty much in a bind, as my mother-in-law was going to come back, but suddenly fell ill and can't, so now I am scrambling to find last-minute care for my son starting two weeks from now. I'm stressed about this, and I am also newly pregnant, so it is a financially scary time as well. Although I had asked my mom last year for potential help, I thought maybe circumstances would be different now given all of this, hence my disappointment when I got the same response. But, I would not want to force her to be in a situation that she does not want to be in. It's not fair to her, nor my son.
I appreciate all of the feedback. However, I think from now on I'll be avoiding MDC in times of frustration!