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DIL calls the shots


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#1 DianaVA

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:31 PM

I am new to this. Question... I have watched my granddaughter who is now 9 since she was 18 months. This year my dil decides she is going to change her work hours (she works for her dad) and doesn't need me anymore! Talk about a shock. She doesn't understand that I am really having a hard time with this. NOW when she and my son go out of town she takes both kids to her parents and I am not to feel offended. My grandson is 5. I have MS so it's hard and tiring for me to watch both esp when he is non stop. Am I right to be angry and feel slighted? We only see the granddaughter when we call them and sometimes it's 2 weeks. It's not like we live far away... we can walk to each others houses if we choose. I have gone to having a buddy for all these years to nothing and of course going to hit 60 can't find a job that's for sure.

Any advice would be great. My friend who is a nurse says I need to seek counseling. ???

#2 Eowyn

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:38 PM

HI Diana, and welcome. There are both Mothers-in-Law and Daughters-in-Law here, so you will get responses from both. I'm a daughter-in-law.

I will start by saying that I was extremely close to my paternal grandmother growing up, she lived with us for several years. In spite of this closeness, there is not a single picture of her holding me while standing. All of my siblings baptism pictures? There she is holding them at the church standing at the alter. ALL of the pictures of her and I are of her holding me sitting down. Only much, MUCH later, well after her death, did I realize that this was because she was in late stages of MS and did not feel like it was safe to hold an infant while standing, just in case. My parents clearly went to great lengths to pose seated pictures that looked very natural. Is it possible that your son and daughter in law have made the decision to seek other childcare (her parents) and rearrange her work schedule so they can be considerate of your health? You say its so hard and tiring for you to watch them, so maybe this is the right time to "retire" from being a nanny-granny and focus on just being a loving grandmother?

Your friend may be right. Counseling can help us adapt to changes in our lives and this is a big change as you say.
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#3 DianaVA

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:43 PM

Thank you for your answer. My MS is not an issue only when there are more than 2 of the 4 grands involved. Not by me but my husband. I am not even a loving grandmother to my son and his wife anymore. I am asked to watch both whenever they want to go out to eat, a movie or even out of town but when the DIL wants her parents to keep them we are kept out of the dark and don't even realize they are out of town in this case it will be out of state. I only found out by mistake. It's just been hard to go from all the time to nothing.

#4 NewMama

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 08:07 PM

Diana, I'm answering this question as a DIL and as a granddaughter who's maternal GPs were our primary caregivers while our mother worked full time.

It's a huge adjustment to go from seeing your grand kids as much as you were to every couple weeks. Some grief and sadness over that is only natural. The key is not getting stuck in that, and I'd really, really caution against score keeping - how much time you vs the other GPs get to babysit. If I'm reading correctly, you still get to see your grand kids and you do get to babysit once in a while, just not as much as before. And I don't mean this to sound harsh, but if they want to ask DIL's parents to babysit, they don't need to run it by you first. Also, is it possible your DIL's new work hours are better for her and their family? Does it allow her more time with her own kids?

As mentioned above, maybe they have some concerns about your health and feel cutting back on babysitting might be good. As I'm sure you know, MS is a disease that can suddenly get worse and it's possible they're preparing ahead of time in case that happens and you suddenly cannot babysit at all, and they could be left scrambling to find someone while DIL works.

Our GPs babysat us for years, and it was a transition for all of us when we got to an age where we no longer needed babysitting. We all missed the time we had been spending together, but my brother and I maintained a very close relationship with them, even though we saw them less. We had a great foundation to go on, and it sounds like you have that as well. Keep building on that.
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#5 newmommietobe

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 08:13 PM

Unless your son is being held against his will, this is just as much his as your DIL.

A few things to think about that have stood out to me (now this is just an outside perspective based on reading your posts)

- the family you complain about has 2 kids, you mention the GS almost in passing but are most concerned with your GD. This looks like favoritism. Perhaps your GS is old enough to ask questions and notice the difference. Parents usually don't look kindly in favoritism, especially where grandparents are concerned.
- as kids get older, more kids are born, school starts, lots of activities.. You were bound to become less involved over time. Had you never thought about that?
- you seem to view yourself as a co-parent, maybe your DIL AND son are seeing that and are not ok with it.
- why do you need to know your AC's every move and decision regarding his kids?
- it is unhealthy to be dependent as you seem to be with your GD's company.
- did anything happen/was there an incident that caused them to rethink your arrangements? You say the main issue with watching them is your DH, did he perhaps say anything?
- you say you had the GKs "all the time", how did that make the other GPs feel? Are they not allowed a relationship with their GKs? They are every bit the same amount of relation to you as them.
- you also say you went from all to "nothing"... Yet you DO babysit when they go to dinner, movie or out of town... and you DO see them every couple weeks... That is hardly "nothing". I do get you were used to tons more, but you don't have "nothing".

I agree with your friend, unless you can come to terms with how things are and be at peace with them (even if you don't like it) you may need to seek help. 60 still means you have a lot of years left,'too many not to be happy!
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#6 MrsKitty

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 08:23 PM

I suppose I am a bit confused. You say that your MS makes it hard for you to watch both kids but you are also upset that they are not letting you watch both kids when they go out of town? Do I have that correct? Do you see why they are in a no win situation either way? If you have both kids you are tired and worn out. If you don't have both kids you are offended/hurt.

Feelings aren't wrong--but they also aren't your son's or DIL's responsibility to fix. Your feelings are yours to deal with and I would encourage you to seek out a close friend or a therapist to talk about your feelings (please do not gossip to family members or seek them out to come to your "defense" and call out your son/DIL).

Your son and DIL are doing what they feel is best for their kids/family. Your feelings are hurt. Both sides are understandable. However, your feelings should not trump their family decisions--take care of yourself and look inward for answers. They cannot give you answers or solutions to your feelings--only you can do that.

Also wanted to add that your title struck me as odd. My first thought was--Of course your DIL (and son) calls the shots for her family and her kids! Who else would be calling the shots?I am always a bit surprised when a GP comes here feeling surprised that their AC are the ones calling the shots for their families. Didn't you call the shots for your family when you were raising your kids? I know my mom sure did.
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#7 mrsslant

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 08:33 PM

I can understand how this would be a very tough transition to go from seeing her all the time to much less. There are a few things that stood out to me, though. First you mentioned your DIL doesn't understand that this is hard for you. Here's the thing: She doesn't need to. She isn't responsible for fixing your feelings, you are. You mentioned now sometimes you go two weeks without seeing them. I understand that this is a huge adjustment, but stick around this board for a while, you will see that there are a lot of grandparents on here that would give anything for a visit every two weeks, or even every month. Like a PP mentioned, they really aren't required to share their travel plans with you. On that front, I'm not sure which would be better. Would you like them to let you know every time they leave town and that the other GPs are watching the kids, or would you rather be kept in the dark. I almost think it is better they don't tell you as you seem to be hurt that they are leaving the kids with someone else. Perhaps they are trying to spare your feelings?
How long has it been since they have changed arrangements? If it has been more than a month or two and you are still this sad over it, counseling may be a good option. Remember that going to counseling is not a negative thing, it is being proactive about your own feelings. Also remember that your therapist may not agree with you and that is okay and even good at times. It is hard to grow if someone is patting you on the back and telling you you're right all the time.
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#8 MrsKitty

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 08:46 PM

I have gone to having a buddy for all these years to nothing and of course going to hit 60 can't find a job that's for sure.

Any advice would be great. My friend who is a nurse says I need to seek counseling. ???


Sorry, Diana--I had another thought and wanted to just flag it for you. I think it is also important to look at things from your GD's perspective. She is only 9--she should not have the responsibility of keeping her grandma happy by being her buddy. Grandma should have peers who she can look to for companionship. Your GD is getting older and she's going to have more and more buddies that are her own age--this is good for her development and good for her happiness. I know you want her to be happy and I know that you would not want her to feel the pressure of being your reason for living/reason for being happy. That is way too much pressure/stress for a child (for anyone, really).

So, I would encourage you to take your friend's advice and seek counseling. Your friend may be seeing some signs of depression in you--I am sensing that as well.
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#9 Guest_GoogleEarth_*

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:13 PM

Diana,

Did you quit your job to watch your GD? I ask this because in your original post you mentioned that you're 60 and can't even find a job...even if you don't think you have "marketable" skills to land a paying job, there are plenty of places within your community you could volunteer. Librarian's assistant? Soup kitchens? Helping the homeless?

#10 britomart

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:26 PM

Diana -

I'm sorry that you're having a hard time dealing with this change but I have to agree with the other posters that it is not your DIL's or your GD's responsibility to make sure you are happy. You are not being excluded from their lives. You are still seeing your grandchildren every 2 weeks. That is actually quite a lot! As others said, many grandparents would love to see their grandchildren that frequently. Also, it is not your son's or your DIL's responsibility to run their family plans by you. Are you required to run all of your plans by your son and DIL? I highly doubt it. You should not expect them to keep you posted on every little detail of their lives. Also, why would you feel offended if they go out of town and take their children with them or leave their children with DIL's parents?? I don't understand that.

I'm also concerned about how dependent you are on your grandchildren for your happiness. It is troubling that you put all of your happiness on your grandchildren, on your GD in particular. That is an awful lot of responsibility to put on a 9 year old child's shoulders. Please do not do that to her. Do not make her responsible for your happiness. It's incredibly unfair to place that burden on her. Please consider finding some other activities and friends to keep you busy and happy. You cannot make your grandchildren your reason for happiness. It's really unfair to them. You need to learn to find happiness within yourself. It might be a good idea to take your friend's suggestion and seek counseling.
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#11 WhichWayU

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:48 PM

Call them to arrange visits with your grands about every two weeks. It's so encouraging that they respond when you call and arrange a visit. I was wondering maybe her parents felt snubbed all the years you provided child care. Like if you had social time in addition to childcare time. Its hard to say. But I really don't think you are ebign snubbed, I think hours changed, jobs changed and this is is just a child care change to them. They don't mean anything against you I really don't think. If it is personal Diana, perhaps they are thinking of your health and may not want to come out and say it. They don't want to put the burden on you, but may have expected you will protest or be hurt if it is personal in that sense, so with the true hours change there was no reason to also address anything else. But on your end, I realize you went from seeing your grands almost every day to seeing them twice a month. So for whether the reason is personal or not, it is stilla big change for you. While twice a month visits still seems like a lot to me, but that is a big change for you. So now there must feel like there is a big void - and that's the biggest adjustment. I think it's true just a little short term counseling could help you to see the new situation differently.

The truth is, lots of people everywhere every day don't get to watch their grandchildren daily. Most people, probably. But they still live fun, truly fulfilling lives. And you can too. Other things in LIFE that make your heart sing besides those little faces at that frequent interval. That's what you will learn to remember how to do. Where and how to find your joy. New daily joys. You spent so many years doing xyz every day. You've got to find your abc or def. Since you don't think finding a regular job seems likely, then why not a volunteer job? And there's all different kinds with all different people so keep trying for the right fit. You are still alive and have big heart full of lots to give. And despite the diagnosis, generallys peaking you do still have good enough health to do a lot. You've got a lot going for you. It becomes' your mindset to change. You'll visit your grands - always remember they're not out of your life. Not at all. Keep in regular touch, don't be a pest of course but don't be afraid to make the first move for social visits. Don't sit and wait for the phone to ring. Oh and keep visits pleasant enough with the parents so they keep happening. Don't resent their childcare choices to the point it shows. You don't want to appear sullen and resentful like you're waiting for your son to ask 'whats wrong" when you do visit, or human nature being what it can be, they may well pull back from what may become unpleasant social visits.

There's only so much we can do with each situation. Some things we have no control over. And yep, the parents call the shots for how they work out their work hours child care thing. What are you gonna do. Well - you can still make your house a great place to have meaningful visits with your grandchildren. And you will.

#12 skipped

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:03 PM

I am a MIL but at one time I was your DIL. When my two kids were preschoolers, I worked evening shift ,and MIL would drive 1 1/2 hours to our house 1-2 days a week (I also worked weekends) and bring dinner. She'd watch them from 2-5P, have dinner with my husband and kids, then drive home. MIL loved it ,so it was a win win for us (FIL probably not as much but he came too). When they got to be school age, I thought it would be a good idea for me to switch to night shift because with working evenings I would never see my kids My MIL then could come when she wanted , not when she had to. I never meant for her not to see the kids. I did tell her she could visit whenever she wanted and I meant it. BUt it hurt her feelings.
Hind site is 20-20. I hated night shift. I was a crab. You never know how bad night shift is until you get off of it. Maybe I should have stayed on evening shift and let MIL still babysit. Sometimes I feel regretful, but I had reasons. I don't think I was being a control freak. I just wanted to see my kids. And I never intended to cut MIL out of their lives.
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#13 DianaVA

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:16 PM

Okay maybe I didn't give all the facts really... hindsight... the other grandma took care of the grandson and I got the granddaughter. She and I did everything together and it's too much to type what all I have done for my kids and their kids. I guess I will find a counselor, forget my dil even started all this in August and continues. I could go on and on but all the posts are going to be the same... I am the one who needs a reality check. My granddaughter has asked to come here as she does not like going to the other gp's not my problem ... the gs doesn't like coming here.. so what to do? Let sleeping dogs lie....

#14 DILAnon

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:22 PM

I don't think the counseling idea was a reality check suggestion, but rather a suggestion to help you work through your feelings on this matter so that you would feel better.

Also, it doesn't sound like the DIL changed her hours as a punishment to you or a way to be mean to you. In fact, it sounds like she did it out of consideration to you (best case scenario) or she did it out of consideration of the needs of her family/children/husband without considering your wants (worst case scenario). (Unless she specifically told you that she did it to keep the grandkids from you?) So to me, it sounds like the worst thing your son and DIL did was put the wants/needs of their little family above your wants/needs? Not sure, because there may be more to the story than we are hearing here, but that is the impression I am getting.

#15 Guest_GoogleEarth_*

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:25 PM

Diana,

I don't think this is a "let sleeping dogs lie...." situation.

I think that based what you've posted, you have a great relationship with your GD, based on your years of watching her while her parents work. That time, that alone time, that chummy chummy time just the two of you has ended and you are SAD. Understandably so, no one has minimized that pain for you.

Definitely follow your friend's advice to speak with a counselor.

I have a final question for you, if you plan to come back. You said your GD has asked to see you--is that through a phone call, facebook, at the end of your every two week visit anyway? I'm just trying to determine how you realistically think that will work?

#16 DianaVA

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:26 PM

she has told me I have to keep both or none at all...

#17 DianaVA

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:33 PM

my granddaughter never calls me.. it's only when she is here that she asks to come back OR I have to call them to see is she is free for ie: baking, shopping, sewing, etc.... or she goes through my other gs who is her age and sees her once a week at church. I live maybe 3 houses through a wooded area from her and my gs and of course it is too dangerous for them to walk here.

I don't have a close relationship with my 5 year old gs but he makes it known just like my gd will that he would rather be with the other set of grandparents. The other gm and I have talked about this numerous times at how the kids are split between us but nothing we can do. I use to watch my gs when he was an infant until I broke my wrist when he was 6 months. He then started going to daycare and Montesorri school.

My gd just ?'s why did her mom always have her at a sitter when she was young and now that her brother is in school she jumps through hurdles to be at home with him. I don't discuss this with my gd but have told my son how she feels. It's just a shrug of the shoulders and it is hurtful because I did not raise him like that. I did everything to be for him and his brother until they got to an older age that they didn't want me home.

#18 oscarsmaman

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:35 PM

she has told me I have to keep both or none at all...


Since you earlier posted:

Okay maybe I didn't give all the facts really... hindsight... the other grandma took care of the grandson and I got the granddaughter. She and I did everything together


...I'm wondering whether perhaps your DS and DIL were tired of dividing their children all the time. Or, whether they perceived you favored your GD over your GS (it sort of seems like that, to me) and they're hoping you'll bond with your GS...? I kind of wonder, too, if it all seems a little rougher because you perceive they don't "need you anymore." That would be hard to take! But I'm sure it's not true-- they just don't need you in THIS way anymore. Your DIL wants to see her DD, too!

I think your friend and everyone else who's posting is right-- counseling can help you work through the feelings, clear the air, get fresh insights, etc. If you have something wrong with you physically, you get help. If you have something that's making you sick emotionally, that's what counselor's are good at helping you fix....

#19 SueSTx

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:49 PM

Who told you...your DIL or your granddaughter.

I am a MIL and the grandparent to a nine year old. We used to pick her up after school ever other Friday and meet her parents in town for dinner. Then I retired, my mom got sick and I was there a lot, our eye sight got worse and we no longer like to drive at night...etc etc. Times change and we need to change with them.

If the DIL said you needed to keep them both, favoritism seems to be a real possibility. My own MIL had only 3 Gc. The oldest was her favorite and she didn't see him as often. Then my son, she already had a grandson and really didn't need another. Then my daughter...she'd never had a daughter so she was useful. When my kids discovered the difference they were treated than their cousin, it really hurt. My guess is that maybe your grandson is seeing some of this also.

If that is what is happening, I understand the both or none statement.
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#20 Tinka

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:49 PM

If the subject has come up that both gc seem to have problems with dividing time & no one knows what to do about it, I'm assuming the keep both or none at all is the solution the parents see. It doesn't seem personal, rather a balancing act the parents are trying to achieve.

Talking to your gd about her mother isn't the necessarily best option and its really not a good idea to bring it up to your son, I'm not sure what you were expecting him to do. I think not engaging you is the best thing he could have done for everyone involved. And then hopefully he went home and had some serious conversations with his daughter.