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My mom is neglectful with my kids... what to do?

696 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Messac888
Sorry if this is long and rambling, but I need advice/input on this, as it has been really bothering me for months now.

My mom lives 5+ hours away, so we only see her every other month or so. It's sort of a special thing when we do; we make a big deal about it with our 3 year old twin girls. (backgrd: My mom & stepdad live in a fancy gated community. They do not attend church regularly - just major holidays.)

Anyway we went down to their house for Easter. She offered to take the girls to see the Easter bunny at her church, so that DH & I could sleep in. (Stepdad was working.) All seemed to go well, they got home, we had dinner and left later that night.

On the drive home in the car, my girls relayed two separate incidents to us that got me absolutely freaked out and furious.

First - "When mom-mom took us to see the Easter bunny, we lost mom-mom! We couldn't find her anywhere! We looked & looked, and we couldn't find her!" Of course my heart practically stopped at hearing this. I said, "What happened? What did you do?" They told me that another grandma helped them find her, that she was in another room talking to some friends. (!)

Next - We stopped for gas on the way home. As I was buckling them into their carseats, one said to me, "Mom-mom didn't buckle us in our seats, mom. She said we didn't have to since we were so close to home." Of course I blab something about how mom-mom doesn't know the rules since she's not around us much, she probably just forgot, etc.

WTF?! I am absolutely furious. I can't get over the fact that she put my children in danger not once but TWICE in 2 hours!!!

She has always been completely casual about things - even flaky. I grew up basically unsupervised. I know that in her mind the kids were safe - since they were in a church in a gated community. But so what! You can't be too vigilant with kids, esp. 3 year olds. They could easily have wandered off - or been led away. They were in a strange place, how scary that must have been for them!

And the carseat thing is just inexcusable.

DH & I have agreed that my mother can in no way be entrusted with our girls again; that she will never watch them unsupervised or drive them anywhere.

So I know how to handle future visits with her. What I can't figure out is what to do with all this rage I'm feeling toward her. I can't seem to let it go. (It's obviously triggering issues from own childhood... the same feelings I had when I felt her neglect so acutely.)

What do I do? I have only had 5 minute chats with her on the telephone since then - I have not said anything because I don't know WHAT to say. I'm afraid I'll completely lose it.

Do I confront her? Let it go? Don't say anything now, but don't ever let her alone with them again?

It's just so sad to me that my own mother can't be trusted with her only grandchildren.
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Originally Posted by babylovex2
Let it go? Don't say anything now, but don't ever let her alone with them again?
Do a version of this. Maybe limited babysitting in your home, etc. You don't have to make big deal, just make sure it happens, at least until they are like 10

My mom has become a bit forgetful as she has aged, when we first moved to our current house, she still lived here with us for about a year and a half (it's her house). She would make very serious mistakes with dd, like leaving her alone in the den with the gate unlocked while she went upstairs, we have major stairs in this house. There were several other incidents, so I just quickly realized that I couldn't let her go on outings alone with Nana and only limited babysitting. My mom also has arthritis and my dd was quite the rambunctious toddler, so it was just as well. It was difficult because my mom was the major child care provider for both my sister's children, but I had to keep my dd safe.

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Oh mama, I am so sorry that this is such a rough time. It is so hard to go through things with parents. It brings up so much stuff from your own childhood. I'm not sure though, if you've already decided how to handle certain situations in the future if confronting her would be worth it.

OTOH, if it might make you feel better in the long run to have it out with her, I would try to keep stuff from your childhood out of it, and make it simply about what you have decided is appropriate for your children and what you expect her to do when with them. Or simply confront her about what issues you have with her from your childhood. I wouldn't try to mix them, because then your girls end up in the middle of issues between you and your mom from before they were even born, and you don't want that to affect your dd's relationship with their mom mom.

I would be mad too. I'm of two minds on this- 1. you could mention to her that the girls told you about what happened and voice your concerns on ditching them at church and your anger/worry/not-okayness at the carseat issue.

2. It seems this is pretty usual for your mom. Maybe you should chalk it up to just how she is and take this information as a lesson (NEVER leave the kids alone with her until they can fend for themselves)

sorry short and disjointed- NAK

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thx for your support, mamas. I agree about not mixing the past with the present. so easy to do; once you have kids you can see so often how one affects the other.

I guess I'll just wait & see re: confronting her or not. she wants to come up for a visit later this month

Can't say I'm looking forward to seeing her, but the girls are... and that takes precedence for now.
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Since she lives so far away, it will be a cinch to limit her time with them. And maybe no unsupervised time for quite a while, hmmm?
I would say you need to talk to her. Not confront but ask her about what happened, tell her what your girls said and then lay down the law. Does your mom know your rules about carseats and keeping an eye on the girls? I know that sounds stupid because it's just so obvious to us, but does she? I think when dealing with our parents, we really have to remember that things were so different when we were kids.

We never let ds drive with anyone until just recently. He is old enough to buckle is own carseat and will raise a huge stink if someone tries to move the car without him being buckled. It's probably a good time to teach your girls to speak up about carseats too. After you talk to her would be a better time to make a decision on what to do next. Is she remorseful? Does she blow you off as an overprotective mom? That is when you have to decide how to handle it.
Oh, big hugs for you! I'm going through the same thing with my mom, except that she lives nearby. the last time she watched my ds was about 4 months ago- she put him to bed and invited friends over. When I called to check on him I could hear him crying in the background. (She is deaf and claims she didn't know he was crying, though her friends said they told her.) I spoke to him on the phone and was practically in tears myself- and I sent my dh over there to talk to him and see if he wanted to come home. He chose to stay- he was almost asleep by time dh got there- and dh let him stay, though dh really wanted to take him home. I was stunned that my mom would do this- and it's not like he didn't know how to get out of bed, just being the good boy that he (used to be) he stayed put since my mom told him to stay in bed. Made me want to puke.

I suggest not letting your mom have alone time with the girls. My mom is no longer allowed unsupervised time with our ds for over one hour. She is not allowed to drive anywhere with him unless we are in the car also. We want to confront her but my mom is, well, a drama-seeking personality and I don't really feel like being the newest story for her to tell her friends. At least you live far away, it's not like she can drop in unexpectedly. I wish you luck, I know it's really tough.
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