Sorry - this is going to be long. Some background, I'm one of 5 siblings and we lost our mother to cancer when we were children. Being the eldest girl, I was expected to shoulder a lot of the responsibilities for the house and care of younger siblings, but as I was still a child myself I was never able to do this well. So I grew up, not having my own needs met, not being able to meet the family's needs and feeling like a let-down to my father. I've always felt like a let-down to my father but things changed when I gave him his first grandchild. DS made my father and his wife so happy, they all bonded so well and we spent as much time together as we could. They couldn't lavish enough time and attention on him. When my brother had a child a year later, the second grandchild just enhanced the happy family illusion. I also had a second child and all 3 grandchildren were equally loved and made to feel like part of the family. Everything changed when my sister got pregnant and decided to have the baby even though the child's father would not be involved. As a single mom receiving no financial help from the child's father, she was reliant on part-time childcare from my father and his wife.
My nephew quickly became like the much longed-for son they'd never had and before long my kids were pushed aside. When we visit them we stay at their house as we live so far away. I feel forced to visit them as no-one visits me. But ever since my nephew was born my children's needs are disregarded - even though my second child is only 6 months younger than him. I could list example after example of things that have happened but needless to say nephew's every need is met immediately by any of the 3 adults responsible for him, whereas my kids are scowled at for crying, shouting, walking heavily, laughing too loudly etc. I usually visit them without DP as he can't stand the stress of the visits - so I have to deal with my two young children alone. For example when the kids were still waking at night - the 3 of them would take it in turns to get up for nephew -whereas I'd be up several times a night to attend to both my kids.
Now the younger kids are 4 and my son is 7. On our most recent trip, the 3 kids argued and fought constantly because my nephew is spoilt and has had very little interaction with other kids. He doesn't want the others to play with his things, snatches, pushes and had huge tantrums. If he does manage to start playing with one child - he won't let the other child play. I have been exhausted, stressed and unhappy, constantly breaking up fights and pacifiying one child or the other, all the while trying to deal with my own resentful feelings at the unfair treatment of my kids and the clear favoritism. To make things even more complicated, I know my sister really wants to spend time with us, she feels her child really develops a lot when he's with mine and being on her own and working from home she needs the adult company from me too. One more detail, my brother's child (the second grandchild) gets on really well with my 2. The 3 of them have a ball together - the parents can kickback and let them play for hours on end.....Throw nephew into the equation and all hell breaks lose again.
So to sum up, I strongly resent my father's unfair treatment of the grandkids. Visits are exhausting and no fun for me. I resent that no-one visits me. My kids' behavior regresses when we're there. I resent my 4 year old nephew. I feel guilty about that. I feel guilty that my kids play well with my niece when he's not there. I feel guilty about my sister as she wants her son to have some happy family time with his cousins and for her to enjoy her time with me. I'm angry that my kids have not been able to have the relaxed, happy holiday that I'd hoped for. This most recent visit I almost cut short. I don't want to stop visiting altogether as I feel everyone would lose out. Any comments or advice welcome.