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post #41 of 67
I've been following this thread with mixed feelings ... I only have qualms about one of Cub's grandparents (out of six, which isn't a bad percentage!) and it's not an issue of competance at all. (please, Articula, goddess of the bbs, let this come out right)

Cub is doted on by all six grandparents, and I'll NEVER need to pay a babysitter or a daycare! They're all (to different degrees) pretty respectful of my methods and perfectly able to chase down a toddler. (he's 14 mo right now)

However, one of his grandparents makes me really uncomfortable because of her ... well, overwhelming need for him. I'm not kidding, she'd take him for weeks at a time if I'd let her. We've had issues ever since he was born about the fact that when I am there and he cries, GIVE HIM TO ME. Do not turn and walk away, insisting that you can comfort him when he's reaching for me!! Mamabear totally comes out when that happens. She'd be over every night, take him every weekend, etc. if I let her.

This might be fine for some people, but I was raised with a certain level of privacy and I get oversocialized fairly easily. And I get really territorial when I feel (as I do with this one grandparent out of six) that someone is trying to rip my son from my arms. It makes me stubborn, and less willing to let her take him than one of the other, less intrusive grands.

I really hope I remember this when I have grandchildren. I'd hate to make someone else feel the way I do. Thing is, she's a wonderful woman and I love her very much, I just feel that I need to remind her EVERY FUCKING DAY that he is MY son, and HER grandson, and it's not the same thing!

Oh, jeez. This sounds so petty. But it doesn't FEEL petty, kwim?


post #42 of 67
Okay, I want to start by saying that I don't think any parent should leave a child unsupervised with an abusive grandparent, or a severely-disabled-and-in-denial grandparent, or a genuinely irresponsible grandparent. But I agree with whoever said that there's a strong anti-grandparent bias on this site as a whole, and that this is too bad.

On one hand, OF COURSE you need to protect your child, and in some cases that means protecting them from your own parents (or your in-laws). On the other hand, I think that when the grandparents are loving and reasonably sane and responsible, it is important to foster and encourage a relationship between them and your children. And part of that means not micromanaging their relationship. I've seen people on this site absolutely frothing at the mouth because the grandparents let the kid have Twinkies -- okay, if your child is allergic to Yellow Number Five, or if we're taking about a six-month-old, fair enough, but if we're talking about a normal six-YEAR-old, a Twinkie ain't gonna cause all that much damage.

And like Serena, I absolutely understand why grandparents want some alone time with the grandkids. When she was younger, my dd would show a marked preference for me when I was available, to the point of ignoring her father, grandparents, etc. When I was gone, she would actually play with her father, grandmother, aunt, etc. OF COURSE my mother relished her opportunities to be the person dd reached for and clung to! This isn't because my mother wants to pretend that she is dd's mother, or because she has some sort of sinister plans for my absence. But she cherishes one-on-one time with her granddaughter.

My dd is 18 months old, and she ADORES my mother (and my father and sister). And this makes me very happy. It means that if dh and I do want to go out, we can do it without a lot of stress. It means that in an emergency (up to and including our sudden death -- we're naming my parents as guardians in our will), dd will be with people she loves and who love her. And it means that there are more people in dd's life who love her.

I understand that some of the hostility towards grandparents comes from people who were abused as children. Of course, of course, if your parents were abusive to you, then you should not EVER leave your children alone with them! But in most cases, we're talking about different parenting styles, different choices. I'm fortunate in that my parents DO respect my choices (even cosleeping ) and aside from the cosleeping, my choices don't differ that much from theirs (my mother nursed me until I was 2 1/2). And, my parents are NOT nagging me for an overnight with still-nursing dd (though there are nights, like tonight, when I'd be happy to drive her over there myself....)

Anyway. I'm really tired and I'm going to stop here.
post #43 of 67

Kezia, you are absolutely right!!!

I don't think it is selfish or anything like that.

Serena, not all grandmothers are lovely matrons baking warm cookies. How about my sister's MIL. My sister finally gave in to her MIL's insistence that she babysit alone with her just turned five months old daughter. My sister had told her MIL about her plans to gradually introduce on solid food at a time when her bf baby turned six months old. Sister had read an entire book on the subject (Super Baby Food) and consulted with Sears Baby Book on it. She planned to videotape it, bought special bowl and cup, planned the exact meal, planned to pump her breastmilk to mix with the cereal, etc.

Sister came home after less than 45 minutes and found that her MIL had given dd her first solid food... a piece of raw apple for dd to chew with her two tiny partially revealed teeth. (choking hazard) MIL followed that up with a quarter cup of iron fortified infant cereal mixed with formula. Sister's baby vomited in a coughing, pained way all night long. Well, sister told MIL about it at breakfast next morning, but did so very sweetly. Did that stop sister's MIL? No, right then, in front of sister, MIL gave sister's baby chocolate ice cream! Sister missed the first spoonful, but she stopped her at the second spoonful!

Sister's MIL then said that Sister was just holding her grandbaby back, and then smugly read from her son's baby book which said "At four months [sister's dh] was enjoying coffee from the cup and wine from the glass."

I wish I were making this up.

It's not selfish to love and protect your baby.
post #44 of 67
Originally posted by Pallas
However, one of his grandparents makes me really uncomfortable because of her ... well, overwhelming need for him. ....Thing is, she's a wonderful woman and I love her very much, I just feel that I need to remind her EVERY FUCKING DAY that he is MY son, and HER grandson, and it's not the same thing!
Is my mother secretly your child's grandma? This is my mother exactly. My mom even makes doc appts. for ds without telling me. I have to tell her every time he visits: DO NOT CUT HIS HAIR. She even slips up and calls him "my son" instead of "my grandson" sometimes.

I limit her too. As much as possible these days without interrupting the relationship's healthy part.
post #45 of 67
Originally posted by Pallas

I really hope I remember this when I have grandchildren. I'd hate to make someone else feel the way I do. Thing is, she's a wonderful woman and I love her very much, I just feel that I need to remind her EVERY FUCKING DAY that he is MY son, and HER grandson, and it's not the same thing!

Oh, jeez. This sounds so petty. But it doesn't FEEL petty, kwim?
Pallas, it does NOT sound petty. I completely, completely understand what you're saying. Kezia, I also know what YOU'RE saying--it IS hard to see past our own emotion-filled situations. Absolutely. What I'm saying about grandparents is very general. I also have totally different feelings about the specific grandparents in my child's life. Pallas, I've had the same exact experience with my MIL--but thank god she doesn't live close so it's not an option for her to pressure me that often. But she's exactly like this--will want to keep holding dd even if she's crying and wants me. It drives me crazy and drove me to tears when dd was a newborn and I still felt, literally, physically attached to her.

I also had a slight feeling of "ugh! get away!" at the sheer emotionalism of all the grandparents involved, although I know some grandparents are indifferent and I should feel grateful. I'm glad they love her but they were all so... so BLUBBERY about it. FIL, my own mom... they can barely keep the tears out of their eyes around her. Get a life!
post #46 of 67
You keep throwing out words like "selfish" ans "controlling" in reference to those of us who don't want Grandma to babysit. If you think those words apply to YOUR past reasons, that's great that you now recognize the error of your ways, but please don't generalize about the rest of us.
kezia, I have reviewed my past posts and have yet to find the word "controlling" in any of my posts on this thread, and the only time I found I used the word selfish was in the following statement: "What I am saying is that I hope people re-evaluate their reasons for not wanting their children to spend time alone with their grandparents, and make sure that the reasons are not selfish or self centered." I don't consider that "throwing out words." If I am wrong, please feel free to call me on it.

By the way, I am not "generalizing about the rest of us"/you I am simply trying to help you to open your eyes. It is you that seems to feel so strongly that grandparents should have no special place in their grandchildren's life. Heck, by reading your posts, it seems that any loving neighbor or friend could take the place of a grandparent. IMHO this is sad. As I have said before and will say again because you seem to be skipping over this part of my posts, I am in no way advocating that anyone leave their child with a person (grandparent or otherwise) who is not capable to care for them. I also don't think that young children or babies should be left overnight at the houses of others without a parent there.

What I am advocating is giving both our children and their grandparents the chance to develop a wonderful and loving relationship. If this means that the grandparent would like an hour or two alone with their grandchild (and they are a capable caregiver) what are we afraid of? I'm sad that many here don't seem to see that when we restrict visits with grandparents, we could also be doing our children a disservice. My mom drives me nuts, my son loves her to death -- which is more important? I would hate to see my annoyance with my mother get in the way of my son's relationship with her.

I can tell by the posts that many of us posting have younger children and babies. I can tell because up to about a year and a half ago I could have written any and all of the posts by those who are hesitant about letting the grandparents have alone time with the grandchildren. Now my kids are nearly four and 17 months and I see the wonderful relationship developing between my kids, especially the oldest, and their grandparents -- all five of them. Kezia, I felt just like you a few years ago. I too felt that there were many other people in my son's life who were as important, if not more, than the grandparents. I was overprotective, and yes, I was selfish. My son now takes the lead and wants to spend time with his grandparents. He enjoys his time alone with them, as does my 17 month old. They spoil them much more than dh and I do. Once we set down the rules off what was acceptable spoiling, and what was unacceptable to us all was fine.

My mom and stepdad have now realized that if they want to spend time alone with my children there are rules to be followed and limits to be set. They accept it now. The rules and limits they have with my niece are much laxer (actually, I don't think there are rules and limits with her) and it was hard for them to understand where we were coming from at first, but they have finally come to see us as adults and parents who are working to raise our children in the way we think is right.

My mother fed my son pecan pie (minus the pecans) when he was six months old. I was not happy about it at the time, but I let her do it for a few bites. I could have demanded that she stop and made us both upset (and likely my son too.) but I stepped back and realized that it was not going to kill him, and I would only have been making my life more miserable. I feel bad for the mom who was all set to capture those first bites of food on video, but I can assure her, she will get over it. There are so many more milestones that mean so much more. She can choose to dwell on it and make herself and grandma miserable, or she can move on, set limits with the grandparent for future visits and forget about it. She can't change it now. I do think that the grandmother was in the wrong, and she should not have done what she did, but no good can come from dwelling on it.

I decided long ago that I needed to pick my battles, not only with the grandparents but with my children and friends also. Set limits for the grandparents to follow, and if they can't abide by the rules set, then tell them there will be no visits alone. As with any caregiver, if they don't follow my rules, I don't use them. They will get the idea soon enough.
post #47 of 67
Originally posted by jbcjmom
It is you that seems to feel so strongly that grandparents should have no special place in their grandchildren's life. Heck, by reading your posts, it seems that any loving neighbor or friend could take the place of a grandparent.
When did I say this? When have I said anything about neighbors or friends? When did I say grandparents weren't important or special? I'm really confused.
post #48 of 67
Continuous quoting of one another in order to respond to sections of a posters statement leads us nowhere. It has now become a frustrating disection of posts resulting in a metadiscussion rather than a fruitful discussion that will lead anywhere. I've done enough of this on the now defunct TCS thread and it was an exercise in frustration. We will never come to a meeting of the minds, although that was not necessarily what my intent was. I was hoping to open people's eyes to the benefits of having grandparents being an integral part of our children's lives. I have stated my opinion as eloquently as I could. To those who supported me, thanks. To those who disagree, I hope that you will at least take my words to heart and consider them as your children get older.

To the original poster, I apologize for the direction this thread has taken. I hope you were able to gleen some wisdom from the thread you started, even though it took a turn I'm sure you weren't expecting. My apologies again.

Signing off...
post #49 of 67

My MIL did that refuse to hand crying baby over trick

And I was heartbroken and furious... DH, mama's boy, said nothing. Gee, why don't I enjoy spending time with her?
post #50 of 67
Beth--I'm sorry you no longer want to participate. I am equally frustrated, because I feel that YOU aren't really reading/understanding MY posts, either. I feel that you are projecting your own emotions onto me, and I think my situation is different from yours.

For the record, my eyes are wide open. I think that grandparents are GREAT, and that letting them babysit is a wonderful thing IF the GP is competent to care for the child AND the child and parent are both ready for the seperation. All I've been trying to say this whole thread is that parents shouldn't feel like they should have to "get over it" and let the grandparents babysit even when their own judgment and instincts are telling them it's not safe.

I AM NOT anti-grandparent, and I AM NOT anti-"alone-time" with GPS. What irritates me is GPs (like my MIL) who start asking to babysit the moment the child is born, and who think they have a "right" to do so. I just think the when, where, and for how long of babysitting should be at the discretion of the parents, and the GP should respect that. My own mother is a model GP, and I am totally comfortable leaving ds with her. There are also other family members on both sides that would be great babysitters. My MIL is not on that list, and nothing anyone can say to me about how wonderful and special GPs are will make me decide otherwise.
post #51 of 67
Thread Starter 
Oh my!!!!
Not exactly the way I had envisioned my question being answered!! But interesting none-the-less.
I am still here, but haven't cheked in for a couple of days...boy did I miss alot..
My mom ended up ignoring me for the remainder of that week, not calling etc and left the weekend without a call too. She is usually in the area at her friends house and calls to see if/when she can come over.
She has of course persisted with the subject as the next time we spoke, she asked if she could take my ds with her friends and twin boys to an Easter Egg hunt, wagon ride, pancake thing. Long story short, I said yes and let her know that I would also go with.
I simply do not feel comfortable with her being solely in charge of my ds. I do not think she would ever intentionally harm him, but could quite easily unintentionaly harm him. Not something I am willing to risk.
Thanks for your input...it was quite interesting to see that there are definitley some strong feelings about this entire issue and the possibilities it brings up for everyone.
The reason I posted on this forum was to get a variety of opinions and some reassurance for my own feelings...both of which I feel I've gotten...so Thanks again.
post #52 of 67
Good for you! I often "find myself" on these threads amidst all the discussion.
post #53 of 67
Wow. I read the WHOLE thing!

What an educational exercise. Here's what I learned that was useful to me:

1). Ask yourself: Would leave your child in this person's care if they were NOT a relative?

2). "My child doesn't exist to fulfill someone elses emotional needs (including my own.)" (in other words, think of what's best for the child).
post #54 of 67
just happened on this thread, and in response to Kezia's questions about alone time: it could be that some of these grandparents who want ALONE time want to prove that even as grandparents they haven't lost the "parenting touch" ... you know, if the child/baby cries for whatever reason, they can still "make it better". I think that's the case with my mom, and frankly, I'm glad to let her have a go at it. but she lives far away and we wish she or MIL were closer to take a bit of the pressure off sometimes.
post #55 of 67
small vent re: my MIL here..... i thought it fit in with the theme of the thread

we're going to a la leche conference and asked MIL to come up to be with my daughter. we find that when its just two of us, we are always having to loook for the other parent and miss all of the session.

she said she'd do it IF she wasnt in too much pain as she has problems with her spine.

talked to her and she cant do it. she's in too much pain to make the two hour car trip -- i respect this completely!!!

apparently she then says that she's getting an epidural for the pian and in two weeks will be going to ENGLAND with her significant other.

last i knew england required a really really long airplane ride which apparently she'll be able to do, but wont be able to do the trip to see us... oooohhh kay that just makes no sense to me

she'd better not start Be.........itching about not seeing the only granddaughter
post #56 of 67
My mom watchs my son alot and has done a few overnights. But she completely respects how I parent. She says things to my son like "If mommy ever mistreats you, you can just come live with me" or "I know you mommy was raised better than to abuse you by feeding you carrots" but then she sits him at the table and feeds him the carrots, the minute he even starts to act like he might eat. I know she says this kind of stuff jokingly and would never undermine my parenting choices. She sleeps in a bed with him, so he won't get all freaked out and she does things pretty much exactly like I would (way better than my hubby. I'm way more likely to leave ds with my mom that I am with my husband)

My mil is a totally different story and she doesn't see my son nearly as much as my mom does. She informed me when my son was 10 days 10 days!!! old that if a baby of hers cried like that, she would just leave him to cry. Well that ended any thought of an overnight at her house until he is much much older and maybe never. She goes against everything I do as a parent. She was trying to get him to eat solids at two months! I walked into my kitchen and caught her mixing cearal. When I asked her what she was doing she told me I was starving that baby and if i didn't start feeding him, he would die. Talk about a guilt trip. I told her I wasn't interested in having a fat child and one side effect of starting cereal too early was being overweight and that since he came from a highly overweight family, I wanted to give him every chance I could to beat genetics. Basically a thinly veiled attack on her parenting. She has made every attempt to undermine my breastfeeding, including asking me to "not do that at her house. So I don't go to her house anymore. If she would like to see my son, she is welcome to come to my house and spend time with him. Now that he is a little bigger, he can spend a couple of hours with her at a time but the longest I have left him is about 3 hours, while I packed for our trip to New Orleans. And my stepdaughter was there, ready to tattle on her (much disliked) grandmother in a heartbeat. If she weren't a relative, she would never see my child, let alone be alone with him.
post #57 of 67

Wow - what a fascinating thread!

I'll throw my own experiences into the mix. I lived with my parents when my ds was born, so they were a part of his every day life from day one. I felt completely comfortable leaving him with them because I knew that even though they didn't agree with me, and would give me a hard time about some of my parenting strategies, they respected my wishes. My mother feels especially close to my ds - she held him before I did when he was born (I hemorrhaged and went into shock).

My MIL at the time lived across the country, and the first time she saw ds he was 18 months old. The minute she saw ds, she grabbed him from me (yes, grabbed is the right word), and hugged him. DS got very upset (he'd never seen this woman before, and he was tired from a long plane ride), and this WOMAN said, "Well, I can see I'll have to unspoil him while he's here." ARGH!!! The entire two weeks we were there were like that - and it was enough to drive me insane.

DS is old enough now that he can handle time with her (he only sees her once every few years, as his father and I divorced when he was very young - visitation with Daddy is court mandated, and MIL is always there), but I still cannot stand the woman. There are other reasons, but that's an issue for another thread.

post #58 of 67
I have been following this and understand some of the apprehension as far as my dMIL goes. She has maje jokes about running off for cookies and ice cream, which does not engender the trust of this organic mother.

But my mother is another story. We've always been very close and she is wonderful with children. and Dd is no exception. We did need to have some talks about AP vs. the way she did things, but she's fully open to this more enlightened approach. She is my sold babysitter wehn I go to work 2 half days a week.

She broke her arm and has not been able to babysit much for the past 3 weeks. It will be a long 5-7 weeks to ge before her cast comes off and her arm is in good enough shape to lift Dd again. We are lucky to have her.
post #59 of 67
I hope you actually get some good tips out of these lengthy and complex posts.
Suffice it to say, this has bene an issue for us:
I have set aside one day a week where Grandma meets as at a park, we play, then have lunch, then she watches while DS does music class.
I try to sit quietly out of sight and pretend I'm doing busy work.
This is "her day."
Also, I have an "appointment" for an hour, and go nearby, killing time, while they watch an appropriate video and read books and give him lunch.
These two ideas have worked well and maintain safe and comfortable boundaries, while GMA gets her needs met to feel needed and important.:
post #60 of 67
had "day" with GMA so had more thoughts...
we worked slowly into the above recommendation and started with GMA visits/sitting while I was in other room making phone calls, online, or resting...still close enough to hear but out of sight.
Pallas: I relate to the almost hysetrical love of Grandma...unusually desparate and all-encompassing.
Finally, I view the comment that the relative "didn't harm her son" theory as helpful as "you were raised on formula."
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