Mothering Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Well, the title says it all. My kids have an invisible Grandma. They have other grandparents, and even two surviving great grandparents. But MIL is currently invisible, and decided almost two years ago to basically disappear from our lives. No explanation, just came to visit one time a few years ago when our daughter was a few months old and never made plans to come back. Over the past six months, she stopped calling like she used to or sending emails. She used to send packages to the kids, used to say how much she wished she could see them and how much she wanted them to "know her", but the packages stopped too. DH finally opened up about the situation when he talked to her a few weeks ago to ask if she was ever coming to see her grandchildren again. He told her when his vacation time was this summer and that that would be a good time to come and visit. She has the summers off, but had already planned a vacation out of the country with one of her friends. DH doesn't like to complain or even discuss this much, but a pattern keeps displaying itself. I'm really hurt because I hardly know the woman-she's never given me the chance! And regardless of what she thinks about me or our family I would hope she would want to know her grandchildren. DH is furious because he says given the chance, MIL will always prefer to spend time with her rich friends and go shopping and basically indulge in "frivolous" things. He says she's always been like this and she'll never change. I don't know, I guess it is hard to see because I was always close to my grandparents and I regret that my children are not going to have the same experience. I've already accepted that MIL and I will never have any kind of relationship whatsoever-and I am okay with that. But I'm just not okay with her acting like she has no family, acting like we are some kind of drag on her exciting life. It's really insulting, actually.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
471 Posts
My husband's mother is very similar - doesn't know how to spell our DD's name correctly, didn't acknowledge her birthday in any way, isn't interested in videoconferencing, etc, etc.<br><br>
It really hurts my feelings because I think our DD is AWESOME, so I can't imagine why the whole world isn't fascinated with her, (<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">) but there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Furthermore, I need to make sure DD isn't impacted by it when she's old enough to notice.<br><br>
Sorry I don't have any advice, but I do understand how it can hurt a mama's feelings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,891 Posts
It can definitely hurt, but the reality is there is nothing we can do about people like that. It must be particularly hard since you have no experience with that kind of relationship, but if it is going to get better it will only happen if she wants it to and you still welcome her into your lives if and when that time comes. My dad only saw my ds1 twice, and then my dad passed away when ds1 was 2 and before the other two were born. He acted like he cared about seeing him, but twice in two and a half years when he and his wife travelled frequently told another story. It's hard especially since he died, but I think part of me had just come to a place of acceptance and appreciation of the relationships I do have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ps4624</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15415485"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My husband's mother is very similar - doesn't know how to spell our DD's name correctly, didn't acknowledge her birthday in any way, isn't interested in videoconferencing, etc, etc.<br><br>
It really hurts my feelings because I think our DD is AWESOME, so I can't imagine why the whole world isn't fascinated with her, (<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">) but there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Furthermore, I need to make sure DD isn't impacted by it when she's old enough to notice.<br><br>
Sorry I don't have any advice, but I do understand how it can hurt a mama's feelings.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
We tried doing the Skype thing. I think we used it twice with her, and both times she had company and couldn't talk long. DH asked her when would be a better time to call, and her answer was something like "Well, depending on my commute I get home around 6. Then I eat dinner, then I watch tv and go to bed by 9. I usually don't take phone calls after 6. I'm sorry but...get over yourself, lady. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"> She told DH "I'll see how I feel when I get home from my trip". As if two weeks in Europe won't be relaxing, besides she does this every year. How many times do you need to go? DH and I haven't been anywhere in 7 years-not even for an overnight to a bed and breakfast or anything like that. It bothers DH a lot, and naturally that bothers me. Oh well. I pity her in a way, because I believe that she will regret her actions when she becomes too old or too ill to travel and will leave this life knowing that she had an opportunity and threw it away. At least we don't have to live with that regret.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,116 Posts
QUOTE=Lady Mayapple;15416975]Oh well. I pity her in a way, because I believe that she will regret her actions when she becomes too old or too ill to travel and will leave this life knowing that she had an opportunity and threw it away. At least we don't have to live with that regret.[/QUOTE]<br><br>
I just wanted to point out: don't be too sure that she will ever change, come around or feel regret in any way. Case in point: my MIL is dying of cancer--I mean DYING--and she has yet to even contact us regarding the kids. She has no interest--never has, never will...and would much rather be surrounded by her friends than the grandkids. They have lots and lots and lots of money--have traveled the world and have seen it all--when she found out she had limited time left on the planet, she made travel arrangements to foreign countries and spent her money on other things--we were never a thought in her mind. Some people just do not have an interest. She never has--she never will. The kids will survive and frankly, it's better that they never really knew her because I would hate for them to think that there is a relative out there who neglected them or just simply didn't care. It's sad, but it's true.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>GranoLLLy-girl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15417047"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">QUOTE=Lady Mayapple;15416975]Oh well. I pity her in a way, because I believe that she will regret her actions when she becomes too old or too ill to travel and will leave this life knowing that she had an opportunity and threw it away. At least we don't have to live with that regret.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
I just wanted to point out: don't be too sure that she will ever change, come around or feel regret in any way. Case in point: my MIL is dying of cancer--I mean DYING--and she has yet to even contact us regarding the kids. She has no interest--never has, never will...and would much rather be surrounded by her friends than the grandkids. They have lots and lots and lots of money--have traveled the world and have seen it all--when she found out she had limited time left on the planet, she made travel arrangements to foreign countries and spent her money on other things--we were never a thought in her mind. Some people just do not have an interest. She never has--she never will. The kids will survive and frankly, it's better that they never really knew her because I would hate for them to think that there is a relative out there who neglected them or just simply didn't care. It's sad, but it's true.[/QUOTE]<br><br>
You sound just like my DH. And honestly, it's probably true. My MIL is a breast cancer survivor and recently had a scare with a questionable mammogram. It turned out to be nothing, thankfully. But even DH has mentioned that even through that whole ordeal, and other things that have happened to her, it doesn't seem to change her ways. I think this is hitting DH hard because she was like this even when he and SIL were growing up. Lately he's been recalling stories about how they would throw lavish parties and travel while him and SIL would spend the week at a friend's or their grandparents' homes but never bought him a bicycle or swingset or did anything that was "kid friendly". It is so, so hard for me to understand any of this because my family just doesn't work that way. My own grandparents were and still are such a huge part of my identity and people that I can trust and confide in. To me, I learned so much more about who I am from my grandparents than I did from my parents, and I lament that my children won't have the same experience. My own parents are divorced, have been since I was a baby. My mom works long hours sometimes, but thankfully she lives not even ten minutes away and tries to see us as much as she can. My dad and stepmom live about 45 minutes away. My dad is working two jobs right now and my stepmom works six days a week, and we're lucky to get together once a month. My maternal grandmother and my paternal grandfather are still alive, and we try to see them often, too. DH blames MIL's behavior on the way her parents raised her. Her mom got unexpectedly pregnant with her when she was in her late 30's and had never planned on ever having children. The birth ended in an emergency C-section (and this was in the 50's!). MIL's mom was always distant and cold towards her growing up. Her dad was a jazz drummer who gigged every night and was basically never around, so no influence there either. MIL figured from an early age that she couldn't rely or trust her own family, and she's never stopped thinking that way. Sigh. Thank you all so much for your support. It hurts a lot to talk about this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,457 Posts
We are in the same boat with my MIL. My kids are older (16,13 and 11) so we have been at this a long time. I have seen her 6 times in 19 years <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">. She met dd when she was 9 months old for the first time, then dd and ds when they were 3 and 6 mos and then we didn't see her again until they were 7,5 and ds#2 was almost 3! She has the summers off too. Luckily my dh's step really likes them so they go up individually every couple years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,109 Posts
Most of my friends of my generation have selfish grandmothers. It makes me sad because my mother is an awesome involved Grandma. My friends want her to adopt all of them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,017 Posts
First, I'm sorry that your mil is being selfish when it comes to your kids. It's very sad that she is choosing to miss out on their lives. I'm approaching this from a bit of a different slant. My maternal grandfather died before my parents even met. So, that left just my paternal grandfather (and one great grandpa). What it did for me was create a certain appreciation for the grandfathers that I did have. I know it's not really the same because this is a choice mil is making - but I think that it might just result in time w/ the other grandmas in the family being that much more special to your children. Her loss.<br><br>
I agree w/ the pp. My sister has three amazing boys and their paternal grandmother doesn't really have much to do with them - except when it's convenient (she wants to come visit California for free - but she doesn't spend much time w/ them). In fact her family doesn't even call dn1 by his actual name (in their family the firstborn son is named after the dad and brother or something and my sister balked that - they were not pleased). So for my dn's my mom is the be-all-end-all grandma. Whenever they hear that Grandma is on the phone - they immediately want to talk to her . . . . unless she's the other one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
My sister's mother in law is a little like that, and it drives her crazy, because both our parents died a long time ago and we know they would have LOVED to spend time with grandkids if they'd ever had an opportunity. Some people just don't know what's important in life. You can't change her, and I would encourage DH not to carry around a lot of anger over this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,117 Posts
Hey, it can and does happen this way. For me, I take it as a lesson and am thankful for the poignant teaching of <i>what I don't want to do</i>. And I want to give my children a different experience than I have had because of what I have learned in this regard.<br><br>
People will do what they do. That is their business and their right. I can only work with my thoughts and feelings about what they do and I love that my power lies in the ways of my own beliefs and actions.<br><br>
Frankly, I am grateful for the buffer between my children and their grandparent who behaves this way. The buffer is the natural result of their distant existence (basically nonexistence) in my children's lives. I am thankful that my children are spared from these concepts that are not mine, to say the least. It is grace in action.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>May May</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15435490"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Hey, it can and does happen this way. For me, I take it as a lesson and am thankful for the poignant teaching of <i>what I don't want to do</i>. And I want to give my children a different experience than I have had because of what I have learned in this regard.<br><br>
People will do what they do. That is their business and their right. I can only work with my thoughts and feelings about what they do and I love that my power lies in the ways of my own beliefs and actions.<br><br>
Frankly, I am grateful for the buffer between my children and their grandparent who behaves this way. The buffer is the natural result of their distant existence (basically nonexistence) in my children's lives. <b>I am thankful that my children are spared from these concepts that are not mine, to say the least. It is grace in action.</b></div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/clap.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="clap"> This is such a profoundly true statement. Thank you!!<br><br>
But, my pessimistic tendencies force me to ask this question-What happens when my children are old enough to ask about this grandma and ask why she doesn't want to see them? How do you approach that situation without hurting them?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,170 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Lady Mayapple</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15437077"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/clap.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="clap"> This is such a profoundly true statement. Thank you!!<br><br>
But, my pessimistic tendencies force me to ask this question-What happens when my children are old enough to ask about this grandma and ask why she doesn't want to see them? How do you approach that situation without hurting them?</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
My kids have several invisible grandparents, we have heard horrible excuses as to why they can't or won't spend time with the kids through the years-too busy, 'not cut out to be grandparents',...etc. there's been favoritism towards other grandkids, too.<br>
The way I have handled it is to tell my kids 'This isn't about you-this is her own pain acting out in hurtful ways. It is NO reflection on you" and remind them how loveable and loved they are by friends and other family. I've learned to expect nothing from that part of the family.<br>
My dad had been diagnosed with lung cancer for about a year and in that time never made stride one to in any way get closer to my kids even though he spoke a lot about spending time with them. And my parents didn't tell us he was dying and he denied all treatment...he just dropped into a coma one day and we was dead 3 days later. I don't understand that, not wanting to spend your last days with your family.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
My dh's parents put very very little effort into knowing and visiting our ds. Unless we pay the money to fly out and see them, I don't know if ds will ever see his grandparents. They have only seen him once since he was born and he is now 2. In fact, the last convo my dh had with his mom, he said to her "Ya know, it goes both ways. You can come out here for ds' 2nd birthday this summer." And all she did was laugh. wtf? We are fortunate that my parents are very involved in my son's life. It is frustrating but what can we do?<br><br>
Another side I would like to add is when I was growing up my father's mother was rarely in my life due to various reasons. I saw her twice in my whole childhood. We would talk on the phone very occasionally (SOME holidays) but that was the only contact over the years. The interesting thing is that I am actually very very connected to her and now being an adult and dealing with some issues with my father, we have become very close and talk on the phone all the time. In fact, out of all of my grandparents (i have 3 sets of them and all are alive except for one grandfather) she is the grandparent that I am closest to. So it is interesting how that all works out. You never know who your child will end up connecting with and being close to as the years go by.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,117 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Lady Mayapple</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15437077"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">But, my pessimistic tendencies force me to ask this question-What happens when my children are old enough to ask about this grandma and ask why she doesn't want to see them? How do you approach that situation without hurting them?</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
<br>
In my experience, the children were far less-affected than I was with my story of them as victims and their grandparent as the inflictor. I also noticed that my painful story of their (perceived) suffering really affected my ability to be present and lively as a mother and that, when I got clear on the true reality of things, they were much happier.<br><br>
When my children ask questions about their grandparent's absence from their life, I affirm my beliefs that there are all different kinds of people in the world and that other people's choices are their business and have nothing to do with how lovable my children are. I also learn from the experience what I do and don't want to be and do as a parent and future grandparent.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
944 Posts
In an effort to deny (to herself) her true and deep desire to be an invisible grandmother, my mil gets overinvolved, then disappears, repeat. It's bad in a different way because we keep getting our hopes up that she wants to be a part of our lives in a meaningful way, we invest in that hope, and then --- poof. All gone. I'm done investing, working on my anger, and my son is fine having just realized that she is unpredictable. Most significantly, my husband is still sad and trying for something better.<br><br>
Just to say - yup, sucks, and our challenge is to live well in spite of their behavior.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,056 Posts
My children don't have any involved grandparents. We live far from all of them. They've seen their dad's parents far more than mine, but since we divorced it's been reduced to Xmas and birthday cards. Oh, well...that's more than they get from their dad. :<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug">::<br><br>
It does hurt, but I'm aware that selfish, can't-be-bothered grandparents were most likely also selfish parents. At least I know what sort of grandparent my ex will be.<br><br>
I have no blood relatives for hundreds and hundreds of miles. Our family is the one we choose....our dear friends.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>2xy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15447367"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My children don't have any involved grandparents. We live far from all of them. They've seen their dad's parents far more than mine, but since we divorced it's been reduced to Xmas and birthday cards. Oh, well...that's more than they get from their dad. :<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug">::<br><br>
It does hurt, but I'm aware that selfish, can't-be-bothered grandparents were most likely also selfish parents. At least I know what sort of grandparent my ex will be.<br><br><b>I have no blood relatives for hundreds and hundreds of miles. Our family is the one we choose....our dear friends</b>.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
MIL said this exact thing to me one day and I remember it very clearly. Obviously I'm not saying you are like this or do the same thing, but she used this as her "excuse". Both of her parents are gone, she has no siblings, not even sure there are ANY blood relatives of MIL left besides DH and SIL. So you'd THINK that she would want to be involved with her own kids and grandkids, but she did tell me flat-out one day that her friends were her family. Okay that's fine, I understand that. But that isnt a reason to act and live like you have no blood family at all. Are her "friends" going to manage her finances when she is elderly and ill? Are they going to arrange her funeral when she dies? Of course not-and then it will fall on DH and SIL's shoulders to do all of this when she kicks the bucket. Hardly seems fair considering she never gave us any consideration but that's what will happen.<br>
On another note, she sent DD a birthday present. It's a beautiful doll bed, but more appropriate for a much older child. I had to disassmble it and put it away because DD got hurt playing with it.<br>
DH says he thinks MIL might be more involved "when the kids get older and she can do more with them". I told him by that point it will be too late. She only wants to do the easy stuff and have "fun". That's not being a grandparent, not in my book.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
944 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Lady Mayapple</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15447475"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Are her "friends" going to manage her finances when she is elderly and ill? Are they going to arrange her funeral when she dies?</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
Actually, for us, our extended family of non-blood friends really will be there for these things. We know we are so lucky.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Lady Mayapple</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15447475"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">DH says he thinks MIL might be more involved "when the kids get older and she can do more with them". I told him by that point it will be too late. She only wants to do the easy stuff and have "fun".</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
This is word for word what my husband predicted, and in a sense, it has come true. MIL almost never kept her dates with my infant, but has been mostly showing up (late) for her dates with my toddler who talks to her. She still only wants to play with him on her terms, but she is showing up, at least in body, if not in heart. (And never without a jibe at me for not bringing him to her house since it's so conveniently located. Hmmmpf.) Anyway, it did come true, as best it can with her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,883 Posts
My mom isn't involved with my daughter or my life. She definitely chose this. I have tried over and over again to get her involved and it just doesn't work. She is disinterested and it's very hurtful.<br><br>
I can't just sever ties with her because I feel like that would be me doing the offense and it would put her on the defense, when that's the opposite of how I feel. I don't want to be the one to do the cutting off, so I just don't talk to her. She doesn't call, email, comment on pics on facebook, nothing. Whatever. That's her choice.<br><br>
I feel terrible that she doesn't want anything to do with my daughter. But it's no different than her not wanting anything to do with me. I didn't do anything to deserve being ignored, and neither did my DD. I worry that in the future, DD will wonder why her grandma isn't around or doesn't care about her, but I don't think she'll feel the pain that I feel. I think she'll be more indifferent about it. I just hope by then I get over my pain and anger so I don't influence her feelings in any way. That it can just be how it is.<br><br>
Her other set of grandparents, my husbands family, are our real family. We are incredibly close and they love us very much. Having this family in our life, especially in DD's life, is really special. I try very hard to focus on what we do have instead of what we don't have, because in reality this is much more important.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top