What would you to a MIL who says she can not visit very often because you work? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 186 Old 07-25-2010, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, it is shallow if she visits the other family for the pool. Has she ever given you any reason to believe that she is not shallow?


Yes. She's given me reason to believe she's not shallow. But she is aloof. My SIL says that too.

Not shallow...well, she has begun to volunteer later in life. That's good. She follows the news and politics somewhat. She isn't really into material things like clothing or anything like that.

She's sort of standoffish in some ways. She's not very social and I don't think she's had many friends in her life. She tends to use a lot of overused catch phrases, and sometimes uses them wrong. She's more sociall awkward than shallow.

I can't figure out if she said she can't visit us as often because I work and my SIL is a stay-at-home mom to sting me or if she meant something else, perhaps, and that's how it came out? I don't know.

She keeps professing, year after year, that just because she spends weeks on end flying out to see the other grandchildren, including Christmases, and including telling us she's going out there to "bond" that it is no different than spending a few hours with my son. She may very well believe that.

When it's pointed out that she does spend way, way more time visiting the other grandchildren at their house she has said "let's not make this a time thing."

When it's pointed out that she does spend way more money on things for the other grandchildren she has said "let's not make this a money thing."

I don't know...she's hard to read. I'm not sure she connects with anyone all that well. She's friendly enough on the surface, but she's sort of aloof.
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#62 of 186 Old 07-25-2010, 10:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What is this 'fair' of which you speak? I've never noticed much of anything 'fair' in my life. Things are what they are. The woman sounds like she's not particularly pleasant so you'd probably be better off just being glad that you don't have to put up with her more. Why do you think your son's life would be improved by hanging out with someone who doesn't like anything about his upbringing? It's not like she's going to be nice.
Right. I hear ya. I don't believe life is fair either. That would be super naiive.

But I see it this way. My inlaws have three sons. They have 5 grandchildren. They should be fair about how much time and money they spend on the three sons and the 5 grandchildren. It should be roughly equivalent unless some tragedy strikes (knock on wood) and someone loses a job, a house, a life, their health. Then I could see spending more time or money on those in need.

Outside of that, I really think they shouldn't be unfair in how much time and money they spend on their 3 sons and 5 grandchildren. But it's way, way skewed. Unfortunately, it's not even my husband and son at the bottom. They're sort of in the middle. They've done way, way less for two of the other grandchildren (older).

It's sort of a weird dynamic, at least to me.

But, yeah, I don't expect life to be fair.

I do expect grandparents with the time (retirement) and the means (financial stability) and the interest (directed more intensely towards 2 of 5 grandchildren) to be fair, in general.

If they were absentee or disinterested grandparents to all 5, that would be another story, right? Debatable whether it would be right or wrong, but at least it would be fair among the 5 grandchildren.
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#63 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 12:49 AM
 
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I just didn't like being told the reason is that I'm not a stay-at-home mom. I think she's either trying to hurt me or she's just trying to come up with excuses that don't really apply to make herself not look so bad.
sorry mama, but you brought it up and wanted to know why.

and that is the least painful way she know to tell you.

her actions are saying she doesnt really care for your family and much prefers your bil's family.

so yeah an excuse.

-----------------------------

oops i just read your last post.

and seriously i am falling off the chair

we have that exact same situation in our family.

one brother and family is treated like the king and the other the pariah.

that's just the way they are. we just *shrug* and move on.

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#64 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 01:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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that's just the way they are. we just *shrug* and move on.
Yeah, just gotta do that.

Shrug it off.

It does sort of help to shrug it off when she makes ridiculous excuses and comments.

Oh, my MIL...what a lady. In many ways I am thankful she comes so little. It certainly works out better for me that way. Just makes me mad as hell that my son is treated like chopped liver.

It's the chopped liver factor I can't get past. I hate that they treat my little boy with less regard and less investment of their time and money. 'cause he's worth every bit as much, IMO.
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#65 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 01:27 AM
 
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It's the chopped liver factor I can't get past.
yup yup age is a factor here.

the first few years were unbearable, but after 5 the only way to survive is to laugh at it... esp. when they mention in passing over the phone what they did with the other brother and family just recently.

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#66 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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yup yup age is a factor here.

the first few years were unbearable, but after 5 the only way to survive is to laugh at it... esp. when they mention in passing over the phone what they did with the other brother and family just recently.
Yeah, I hear you again. It was harder earlier on. Are the grandkids all the same age range in your family, too?

It's not like my inlaws prefer older or younger children to my child. My child is the same age as the kids they do a lot for and visit often.

It was harder in the early, early days. My MIL booked a flight to visit the other one year old grandchild for more than a week within two weeks of my due date when my son was born. Consequently, she was able to come to our house to "help" for only two days following a c-section and stay in the NICU. Then she jetted off to visit the other grandchild. It was surreal. What? Really? This is how it's going to be? I was stunned.

We had asked months ahead of time if she could stay in the area around the time of the due date. No was the answer.

This was after she visited the other grandchild for a total of four weeks already that year.

Now she says things like, well, who knew you'd have a c-section? Like there was nothing different she could have planned for.

I truly believes she feels no remorse whatsoever.

As it turned out, this was the pattern for the years ahead. Probably a permanent pattern.

The month my son was born, she spent more time with the other grandchild who was nearly a year old and whose parents did not need newborn assistance at that time.

That was the lowest point, and it's just basically been status quo ever since.

What they do for them: Longer visits, more frequent visits, more holidays and birthdays, better toys, more toys, on and on. What they do for us: a fraction of that. Yes, it does make me feel like my son is chopped liver. Some day he will start to notice, I'm sure, and that kills me.

That's why I've begun to tell them they are more than welcome to visit and be a part of our lives - more than welcome - but only if they are fair to a greater degree than they are. I feel strongly about that.
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#67 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 09:37 AM
 
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It's hard to say this gently but--you really have to let this go. You said you don't expect life to be fair but you do expect her to treat all her kids/grandkids equally--that IS life. It's PEOPLE that aren't fair in life usually. Your expectations of her are not reality. It sounds like she has some discomfort with your housing situation and of course that would make her less likely to visit--I honestly can't imagine my MIL coming over and staying for more than two days on an air mattress either.

It sounds like you care about fostering a strong relationship between her and your son--that's great! But maybe it's time to accept that you will have to priorititize visiting them. Like you said, they are only three hours away and have invited you--so go! It would be ideal if it was all 50%, but I think it's clear you have to be the initiator and so you have to decide how much to prioritize this relationship within your life. Good luck!

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#68 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's hard to say this gently but--you really have to let this go. You said you don't expect life to be fair but you do expect her to treat all her kids/grandkids equally--that IS life. It's PEOPLE that aren't fair in life usually. Your expectations of her are not reality. It sounds like she has some discomfort with your housing situation and of course that would make her less likely to visit--I honestly can't imagine my MIL coming over and staying for more than two days on an air mattress either.

It sounds like you care about fostering a strong relationship between her and your son--that's great! But maybe it's time to accept that you will have to priorititize visiting them. Like you said, they are only three hours away and have invited you--so go! It would be ideal if it was all 50%, but I think it's clear you have to be the initiator and so you have to decide how much to prioritize this relationship within your life. Good luck!
I meant life is unfair like some people lose their job due to downsizing, or a tornado takes down their house, or they lose a leg in a car accident. The unfairness of life, uncontrollable.

My MIL controls her actions. She should be fair to all her grandchildren and treat them all fairly.

The ironic part is that my MIL and FIL do not have a guest room at their house. Whenever I've visited their home over the years, we've slept on the couch or a recliner! That worked until we had a baby. Only recently did they purchase an air mattress, which is where we slept the last time.

Also, ironically, MIL and FIL have stayed in hotels and resorts, from time to time (not all the time) when they visit the other grandchildren.

There are hotels where I live, too. And they do have the money. I mean, they are spending airfare for two people every time they visit the other grandkids. I guarantee that is way more than what a hotel would cost in my city so that they do not have to sleep on an air mattress.

I'm fine letting it go, but they do not get to continue to treat my son unfairly and like he's less. They're either all in or out. Their choice. My invitation to visit and to be fair stands. I'm sure some of you might disagree with that, but I stand by this. I'm not going to accommodate them treating my kid unfairly and like he's less. He's not.
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#69 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 10:28 AM
 
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While that could be a legitimate reason coming from someone else, it appears to be a flimsy excuse in this case to excuse her clearly preferential treatment of the other grandchildren.

And while I agree that no one can be perfectly fair, this kind of obviously unfair treatment is something I would be concerned about too if it was happening to my child. Not sure how I would handle it myself as I have never been in that situation or really thought about it, but to the OP!

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#70 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 12:17 PM
 
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So what you're really asking is, are you justified in cutting her off because she treats your son as less than equal? Sure, probably. By my calculations you are planning to leave your husband in about a year or so, right? It especially shouldn't be hard to avoid her altogether after that. I was confused because it sounded as if you were asking what you could do to make her treat your son better, and the answer to that is, of course, nothing.
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#71 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 01:33 PM
 
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that is nice: could it be that maybe your MIL thinks that because you work outside the home that maybe you have your stuff together better then your SIL? like maybe she needs more help because she is at home, but that you are so together that you can work, so you don't need her?

i don't like the not treating the grandkids the same/fairly. that bugs me. my own mom is like that at times. and i have 5 of her 6 grandkids. lol even with in my home she treats my kids differently, and her and my dad dote on my niece. weird.

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#72 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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But I see it this way. My inlaws have three sons. They have 5 grandchildren. They should be fair about how much time and money they spend on the three sons and the 5 grandchildren. It should be roughly equivalent unless some tragedy strikes (knock on wood) and someone loses a job, a house, a life, their health. Then I could see spending more time or money on those in need.
My MIL has three sons and 5 grandchildren. Where are we? Smack dab at the bottom, and I'm damned proud of it. It took a LOT of soul-searching to come to terms with the fact this this is NOT fair and will NEVER be fair. But once I was at peace with it, I can now enjoy the relationship that we have with MIL.

My MIL has raised one of my nephews from one on her sons, and is the regular caregiver for her other son's three children becuase he's an idiot and can't handle his life on hos own. She spends time with her grandkids depending how how much they need her and how much she can help.

Well, we don't want help. I feel very differently about the roles of grandparents: they already raised their kids and don't need to raise my kids too. Raising my kids is my responsibility. Sure, Nana will step in once in awhile and watch DS so DH and I can go to a movie. I always have to ask and she never just offers. But I would never expect her help, nor would I ask her to come over and then make her watch my son. She raised three boys and deserves a break. Unfortunately, her other kids expect her to help and walk all over her, and she refuses to tell them that what she really wants is to just lead her life.

I am very firm in my belief that, except in extreme situations, grandparents are not free babysitters and should not be expected to be "extra help". They should be valued as people who are plain fun to be around, will help out if they are so inclined, and have earned the chance to live their own lives. Does my mom and MIL help out? Sure, if they WANT to. But I would never expect it, and I have long given up comparing how much they "help" me with how much they help other family members. It's just a bad place to be.

So while we maybe see Nana about 1/4 as often as the other grandkids, and while she spends almost zero money on DS, it's becuase we don't need her to to help out like my brothers-in-law do. And we certainly don't judge her based on her behavior. Life is sort and she won't be here forever, so we make the best with what we have. When we do happen to see Nana, we take it for what it is and make the best of it. There is no pretense of "fairness" around here. It's not "fair" and it's not supposed to be. My son is not loved any less than the other kids, and that's what it comes down to.

Once I accepted this, my relationship with my MIL improved dramatically and *magically* she started coming around more often.

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#73 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 04:21 PM
 
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I guess I am sort of confused why you want her to spend equal money and time on your kid as she does the others if the way she spends her money and time is totally in opposition to how you want to raise your kid.

Do you think she should just write you a check for his college fund to the exact amount she spends on those kids? And if you have another kid, should that child get back payments? I'm being silly obviously, but I do think your expectations of HER to be fair is not being fair to HER.

She doesn't want to spend money and time with your family, because she doesn't like spending time there. It is a chore. Taking care of kids in a TV household is easier than taking care of kids who like museums and long walks. Shopping for kids in a TV house is easier, because you just have to take a stab at what the newest popular toy or show is based on the commercials. She doesn't know how to function as a grandma in your household.

I grew up with a grandma like that. It's really not that traumatic. I knew she was just not into our life-style. Once I realized who she was, I got over the petty hurt feelings of comparing my stationary set to my cousin's brand new stereo system. People don't really need good grandparents if their parents are awesome, and you sound like pretty awesome parents.

Furthermore, my cousins, with whom I am fairly close today, both knew full well they were pawns in the game of judgement that was happening with our fathers. Their father was the good son and my father was the good for nothing hippie. Guess what? Not a day went by they didn't wish they could come live with us. Their parents were distant, materilistic, authoritarian bullies. My dad was pretty strict but at least he talked to us and treated us like people and showed us the value of our brains and how not to squander that gift. My uncle taught his kids how to numb their feelings and doubts with consumerism, drugs and alcohol. I'm just saying.

Your MIL may be unfair and disinterested in seeing your POV, but it sounds to me like she is doing you a favor by keeping her distance. ETA: an equal share of vapid is still just vapid.

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#74 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 05:47 PM
 
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Finished reading the thread. It sounds like with how mil feels about your side of the family, it wouldn't be good for you to have her there more often.

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#75 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Taking care of kids in a TV household is easier than taking care of kids who like museums and long walks. Shopping for kids in a TV house is easier, because you just have to take a stab at what the newest popular toy or show is based on the commercials.
Oh my God, this is laugh out loud hysterical.

Thank you so much for a good laugh today.

(And I'm even more proud that I choos the "difficult" path!)

You are correct, by the way! Although SIL and I are pretty close philosophically, I might be a little stricter about only open-ended toys, emphasis on books, museums, not watching tv.

And that's what I've always said to MIL...it's so easy to buy gifts! Books, books, and more books! And when in doubt, gift cards, or cash. But we've also taken her to the toy stores and shown her catalogues to make the process easier. She doesn't seem to want to get it.

She has said from now on she'll just give us cash, which is fine with me. That hasn't happened as yet, but it's progress.
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#76 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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an equal share of vapid is still just vapid.
Good point.

I'm hoping for less vapid...I'm probably doing too much wishful thinking.
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#77 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So while we maybe see Nana about 1/4 as often as the other grandkids, and while she spends almost zero money on DS, it's becuase we don't need her to to help out like my brothers-in-law do.


Well, that sounds understandable, and I'm glad you've come to peace about it.

Like I posted earlier, I can see justified unfairness in time and money if there are tragedies like illness, death, loss of a job, or if the parents are absent, for instance.

Then I can see a grandparent justiably doing more for the needy grandchildren. This scenario would not bother me.

My BIL is not an idiot though. He's quite successful. More successful than my DH by a long shot. They have a nice home, are able to provide better for their children, and MIL / FIL still visit them more and do more for them financially and with gifts.

And I'm not saying this to be crass, but we could in fact use the help. We're self-sufficient and we've done well before we had a baby, but things have really changed since then. We're strapped for time since we both work, and DH's schedule and lack of vacation is intense. We're also barely making it paycheck to paycheck now with the cost of daycare and some unexpected changes in life like major increases in our health insurance costs.

So, it would be nice and very much appreciated if MIL and FIL could do the same for us that they do for the other family.

Like I said, I was totally alone following my c-section with a just out of the NICU infant. I really needed help. DH took no paternity leave and my own mother is not able to help at all. DH's mother said she would but she stayed for only two days then flew out to see the other grandchildren for a week. Crazy times.
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#78 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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While that could be a legitimate reason coming from someone else, it appears to be a flimsy excuse in this case to excuse her clearly preferential treatment of the other grandchildren.

And while I agree that no one can be perfectly fair, this kind of obviously unfair treatment is something I would be concerned about too if it was happening to my child. Not sure how I would handle it myself as I have never been in that situation or really thought about it, but to the OP!
Thank you very much.

Yes, the unfairness and preferential treatment has risen to the level of obvious. It's not subtle at all.
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#79 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 07:10 PM
 
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I take comfort in the fact that your MIL is not singling out your child for unfair treatment... there are the two older grandkids too who are getting even less, right? So she (for whatever reason) prefers the grandkids and the whole family who lives 3000 miles away. That's extremely not fair, but as others have said, there's not really anything you can do about that. 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. I tend to be overly blunt and maybe you don't even have to give that much info out. But I personally wouldn't worry about preserving grandma's reputation in DS's eyes...

The only other thing I wanted to comment on is the getting help from family part. I agree with whoever said we can't really have expectations on what grandparents do. Different grandparents have different ideas of what they want to or are willing to do. Even my in-laws (who are really angels) couldn't or didn't want to hack the childcare. They came for 3 weeks when my twins were 5 months old and on this visit DH had warned them that we needed a lot of help and they were coming to work. They helped me so much and did it cheerfully, but I was a SAHM at that time so let's face it, I did most of the childcare and they helped with making dinner or folding laundry and held a baby here and there. They came again a year later when I was working out of the home. I thought they would want to do the same thing again and help out a lot, so I had arranged to not have the nanny work while they were here. Well, it was too much work for my in-laws watching the kids the whole day. They were here to visit and have a vacation in sunnier weather, not work like slaves taking care of two toddlers. I realized that after 3-4 days and called our nanny in for the rest of their stay. It worked out a lot better--I no longer came home to glum faces. Now I look back and think, I was the one who had crazy expectations, although at the time it made perfect sense to me that my in-laws were coming to help me. But they weren't. They are retired and they've already done their share of childrearing, they've been through the tough stuff. They don't really want to do it again, they just want to kiss a clean baby and do the fun parts and then hand them back over to you for the diaper change.

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?

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#80 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 08:57 PM
 
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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. But the brothers were still very close. Well when the older son got married it got a lot worse. My aunt hated her new DIL and thought she was a "gold digger". Apparently she is somewhat justified in thinking this--at some point her son actually asked for his inheritance early (which she puts squarely at DIL's feet). And my aunt was like, I haven't died yet, so NO.

It's been miserable and ugly for all of them. I feel really bad for the granddaughter who is now 12 years old and the grandparents have never met her. But I don't know how much granddaughter misses the presence of strangers she's never met, even if they are her father's parents. The older son has been sort of disowned and the younger son is probably going to inherit the bulk of the estate. (But they haven't died yet so who knows.) Anyway... it's ugly and although some efforts have been made on both sides it is a delicate situation and hasn't gone far. I guess I tell the story just to say there are miserable people on this earth and my aunt and your MIL are two of them. There is nothing that will change them. As much as I love my aunt and as much as I think she was somewhat justified (although I've never heard the other side of the story)... I still think to let it come to this was awful. 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.

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#81 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#82 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#83 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#84 of 186 Old 07-26-2010, 11:33 PM
 
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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

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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.

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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.

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#85 of 186 Old 07-27-2010, 12:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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...
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#86 of 186 Old 07-27-2010, 12:20 AM
 
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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

mama to 6 amazing children joy.gif married to my main man for 21 years love.gif and finally home FULL time dishes.gifhang.gifknit.gif

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#87 of 186 Old 07-27-2010, 12:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#88 of 186 Old 07-27-2010, 09:35 AM
 
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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.
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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.

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#89 of 186 Old 07-27-2010, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#90 of 186 Old 07-27-2010, 11:27 PM
 
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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?

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