Attn: ellendi & all. My daughter/Grammy issue from Patty's thread

justgotabmeApril 18, 2014

ellendi, shortly after our daughter entered sixth grade, she started to hang out with a group of young ladies all the time. They were all good friends before, going to each others birthday parties, but now she was "one of them" even though she didn't live in their neighborhood. Though I'd known all of them from kindergarten, being a classroom "Mom", and knew many of their parents, who were perfectly charming, one couple of which I went to high school with, I have no clue if they were what influenced her or if it was just that our daughter yearned for more independence.
Her older (by2years 2.5months) brother, her Dad and I were always very close. We had family game nights at home, and went to dinner and movies often. Our pastor once told us he'd never seen a family of four share such a small space on a pew as the four of us did.
She often confides in me, even through her teens, when most young girls want nothing to do with their Mom's. Still, there was always that rebellious side to her that made her want to do what she wanted, when she wanted, without care to whether I worried about her or not. Her brother even sent her a letter while he was in basic training telling her how much easier her life would be, if she just took the time to let us know where she was.
Though we had rules and curfews, we also believed in giving our children freedom as long as they let us know if they were running late or wanted to stretch their curfew because of something special going on. Rarely did we say no. Instead of making a simple phone call, our daughter felt that once she was sixteen and had her own car she didn't have to let us know where she was or who she was with.
She took up smoking at the age of 14 because she knew how much I was against it after watching my Dad's brother wither away with lung cancer and die when I was only 14.
She joined the Air Force (telling us she wanted to get away from our rules) leaving for basic training December 2nd of the year she graduated high school, just three weeks before her brother came home on leave from "the sandbox". Because of her security clearance (she was training to be an Airborne Linguist) she was able to call often. She told us during those short calls how much she missed us and that she realized our rules were minimal compared to what she was now experiencing. She still loved the AF and was happy she joined.
After basic was over she often called to tell me how lucky she was to have grown up with us as she'd met so many that hadn't had the love she experienced. She even had me talk to some of those friends that she felt needed a good parent figure to talk to. Her words at the time...."one that didn't judge, but truly cared about others", to set them straight on their crazy troublesome lives. And I did. They all thanked me at the end of our conversations.
She wanted badly to go overseas, since she always missed deployments because of training. She applied and was accepted to go to S. Korea. She met her now husband there. He was there only a little over a month after they met, going back to his station in Hawaii. They kept in touch via Skype and that's how we met once she was back in the states stationed about four hours from us before we met him in person. Which I mentioned in Patty's thread.

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Thanks for the background info. What do you think is causing the current disconnect?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:17PM
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Just, how do you think DD would react if you told her that her behavior toward you is inexcusable and unacceptable, that you will not allow anyone to treat you in such a manner? Would she hold DGD "hostage" or realize she needs to appreciate and respect you and change her behavior?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:38PM
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You're welcome ellendi. My hubby woke up from his nap and called to me, so I didn't take time to finish telling everything. His flight gets in very late Thursdays from CA., where he works, and he got up early to golf with our son so he passed out on our recliner when he got home.
Anyway, recently when our daughter has commented about at least me coming for a visit, she reminded me that we do have more than one grandchild. This coming after I tell her I have to check with her brother and his son's schedules before I can plan a trip. I never said I wouldn't or couldn't come. I pick our grandson up from the bus stop to bring him home, watching him until his Dad gets home from work. Our son needs to check with his boss to see when his schedule can be changed so he can come home early to pick up his son. His boss is very good about it and she knows that he just has to arrange it. He's done this twice before, plus this last time.
I can tell she's very jealous. She even came right out and told me, even before the blow up, that she didn't feel part of our family anymore, adding that the four of us are living so happily in the same house. When I looked shocked, not knowing quite what to say, she added she knows it's part her fault for joining the Air Force and being stationed far away most of the time. We've visited her all but one place she's been stationed and she was there only two months, for advanced training or we'd have gone there too. I told her we'd do the same for her if she needed it. Our son is going to college to get his degree, which is something his X never gave him a chance to do as she was always taking classes and then near the end changing her mind and starting all over again. They'd agreed she would get her degree first since she "knew exactly what she wanted". Yeah, right.
We have four long haired cats, which her husband is very allergic to. One of those cats being hers that she gave up because she moved in with friends that didn't like cats, so they can't stay here. We've told them we'd put them up in hotel when they visit and she wanted to know if it could be one of the very expensive ones in downtown of the near by city. Ah, sorry, but no. You're Dad would use his points he earns while staying at the Marriott. If it's good enough for him, it should be good enough for them.
funnygirl, I was too angry to say anything while staying with them and quite frankly didn't want to even speak to either of them while I was so mad. When I texted what was going on to my hubby and son the next morning, while she was sleeping in, my hubby told me not to say anything to them, that he would handle it after he calmed down. Our son was fuming too and wanted to give her a piece of his mind, but didn't want to do so while I was still there. I've been home two weeks now and hubby hasn't talked to her. I asked him about it today, telling him I'm still so stressed about it that I'm surprised I haven't bitten through the mouth piece I wear at night (I have TMJ and also grind my teeth) I'm so stressed over this. I'm still not sleeping well, though I did sleep over 13 hours the first night I was home and lastn night I finally got another decent night in with 10.5 hours. Though I didn't say much to her I did remind her that I'm not as young as she is and taking care of a baby full time was very hard on me. She was nice for half the day until her hubby came home and they were upstairs for awhile more than likely him telling her that his Mom wasn't much younger than me and did fine.
So, at this point if hubby doesn't say something this weekend, I'm going to. I don't know how she'll react, but I'm sure her husband will not be happy. Hubby, son, grandson and myself were planning on going for a visit this October, hoping to get a cabin on the beach at Bellow's AFB on the island. I don't want to go. As much as I want to see our granddaughter again, I don't want to go. I told hubby if I do get over this and do go I will not go to their home, at all.
I do know that if her MIL knew what she said she'd be shocked and broken hearted too. My hubby thinks most of this is coming from him as his folks divorced when he and his siblings were quite young and the stories he told about playing his folks against one another to get what they want could very well be where this is coming from.
It does make sense in a sad sort of way.
This is also the other grandparents first grandchild so I'm sure the other Gramma went crazy taking care of her first grand. Not because it was any contest though. Strictly out of love.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 10:31PM
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Whenever I read one of these explanations of a conflict, I mentally ask myself 'what would the other person say?'

In this situation I can't help but think that your daughter is feeling that you, your husband, and her brother are arrayed on one side leaving her and her family on the other. When you write:

"When I texted what was going on to my hubby and son the next morning, while she was sleeping in, my hubby told me not to say anything to them, that he would handle it after he calmed down. Our son was fuming too and wanted to give her a piece of his mind, but didn't want to do so while I was still there."

Please think about what you are saying there--that the three of you are all taking sides about what a terrible thing she did.

Or when you write that she's upset about your scheduling and then explain that you are committed to care of another grandchild. Again, no blame but *from her perspective* how does it make her feel that you seemingly have prioritized care of her brother's child over visiting her and her daughter?

In my experience, feelings really don't always bow to cold logic; because your son needs your help now you are helping BUT that isn't what is really bothering your daughter. It sounds like the perception of favoritism and preference is. Doesn't mean you should stop doing what you committed to do. But perhaps you can try to put aside your defensiveness so you will understand why she is lashing out about it.

Then too, it seems there is an awful lot of assuming and judging and presuming going on...really, truly you do not, cannot and will never know exactly why anyone does what they do and feels how they feel. You have no idea what she and her husband discuss, nor exactly how they feel about you compared to his family etc.

All you can control are your own reactions and as I've gotten older I've learned to try, not always successfully, to let go of trying to control everything and everyone else.

And last but not least for the sake of your relationship with her it would probably be enormously helpful to keep it between you two, instead of hauling in the troops (dad/brother) to fight for your side. Standing in the truth means speaking up if you are hurt or upset, and then really listening without defensiveness to what she has to say.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 9:01AM
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Runninginplace I agree with you completely. While I could never condone justgottabeme's daughter's behavior, it is clear from the extended explanation that there are issues all around. Whenever someone claims their relationship with another is really very close except for this one thing or area I am skeptical, as a huge rift such as this is usually indicative of underlying problems.

This post was edited by kswl on Sat, Apr 19, 14 at 11:12

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 9:53AM
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Have to say that Runninginplace and kswl make very good points. I'd like to add that no matter how much you want your daughter to be someone different, she isn't. She is a blamer. She is a married adult with a child and she blames you for things that are not within your control. Since you are reaching back to 6th grade to see if you might be able to find blame with her choice of friends from 15 years ago, she might have had a good teacher. But, none of that is really important any longer.

I know you want to have a relationship with your daughter and your grandchildren, but how she treated you is irreprehensible. Her behavior is a reflection on her, her character and who she is. Also, her husband is an a$$hole. Really, he is. So, you have to embrace who they are and actively decide what role you want to play in their lives. Stop hoping they will change or trying to fix them. Only they can fix who they are. Personally, I would visit them and stay in a hotel from now on. You will not be allowed to be the kind of grandma you would choose to be, but since that isn't going to happen anyway, be the person you can be given the situation. I am absolutely sure there are two sides to this story, but the bottom line is that the current situation is not acceptable to you. Actively choose how you will handle the situation going forward. Having your son and husband explain to her why she is wrong is not going to help anyone. Your daughter will either grow up, or continue her defiant behavior. She has already married a jerk, so I don't think things will get better. I'd just be the loving grandmother you can be during quick trips to visit. Of course you should go visit with your husband and son. Of course you should go to her home and be part of the fun family times. Of course, you will babysit one time while your daughter and son in law go out on a date. Of course, you will not create hurt feelings and drama and not go to her house. Of course, you will act like the adult that you are.

When your granchild gets older, invite her to stay with you at your home for "grandma and grandpa camp" without your daughter. Those will be wonderful memories. Good luck. This is not really about you, this is about her.

This post was edited by geogirl1 on Sat, Apr 19, 14 at 12:30

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:01PM
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You cannot change others, you can only change yourself, this is a mantra I have adopted , no matter what underlying issues are lurking between you and your DD, you know you do not want to be treated that way.
I wish you luck in getting to a better place in your heart.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 1:35PM
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runninginplace and kswl, this is why I hate to bring up a personal/family issue on groups like this before. One can never remember to tell everything and even if they did, it's there side only. I will never understand exactly where our daughter is coming from no matter how much I try. Before she came up with the other gramma being better than me comment, we had a long talk, which I'm not sure I mentioned, but don't have time to re-read everything I wrote at this moment. Before she walked up the stairs, I thought we'd resolved things. We hugged, kissed and agreed that I'd continue to sleep on the couch, with the monitor by my side, other than that night, and that we'd do the things we planned to do during my visit. She'd also let me take her vehicle during the day to drive the beach on base so I could have a little quiet time, as I rarely get that at home being the Mom four cats too. LOL I love them, but sometimes I just want to be alone. Anyway, my daughter, whom I love dearly despite what she said, seemed to realize this was also a vacation for me, as we discussed via Skype, before hubby made the flight arrangements for me. The reason her comment and the rest hurt so much is because I do love her deeply.
So after our hugs and kisses she turned to walk up the open stairs, I stood there watching her, happy that we'd resolved things between us. Just before I turned to go back to the couch to sleep, she turned and said that about her MIL being a better gramma. It about floored me. Yes, I probably should have confronted her right there, but I was completely shocked. I also never should have told her brother what happened. My hubby, yes. He's her Dad and my other half and no one will ever convince me that this should not have been shared with him. To me, that's what marriage is about. It's a partnership.What bothers each of them concerns the other.
The fact that he told me he'd talk to our daughter was his way of protecting me, not because he wanted to interfere. He's never let the children talk down to me, as I would never let them say anything bad about him. As parents, we both believe strongly in supporting each other. If we feel the other overstepped we talk it out.

geogirl, the reason I looked back to sixth grade is because I was asked about our past relationship. Before that I never even thought beyond the fact that we've known for awhile that, though we love each other, there are times we seem to get on each others nerves. I think that's common with most mother/daughter relationships. I happened to have been blessed with a great relationship with my own Mom, but there were times when she bugged me and I bugged her, though they were rare. Maybe because of my relationship with my Mom, I expected too much with my own daughter. I don't know and probably never will.
Though at this moment I'm not too happy with our SIL, I would not go so far as say he's an a&&hole, but thank you for the chuckle. I really think mostly he just needs to grow up. He still thinks they need to go out drinking on a regular basis and has a few other spending habits that seem to be immature from my stand point. But that's pretty common among young adults, throughout many generations, that have been single long enough that they are used to getting what they want, when they want it.
My hubby thinks it might be because he was from a broken home. According to his stories about his youth and how he used to work his parents, that could very well be why he thinks it will work between his family and ours. Our daughter was brought up by her birth parents, going to church, youth group weekly and yearly trips along with other Christian activities. I know our SIL's Dad (who had custody until SIL was a teen and he and his slightly younger brother begged to live with their Mom) and step Mom are devout Christians. I'm not sure about his Mom's beliefs. I do know she's a wonderfully kind woman that I'm friends with on fb and comment on each others posts all the time. We stories of our shared granddaughter, as I also do with our SIL's Dad. I won't put the blame on anyone, though the different upbringing could be part of it.
Back to this situation. I didn't try and change the way they parent and followed everything they said they do for their daughter, constantly asking to make sure I was doing things the way they wanted them done. I feel the same way about their parenting as I did with our daughter's wedding.....It is up to each individual parent how they want things done with their children. I did not criticize or tell them they should do anything different than the way they were doing it. In fact, I think they are doing an amazing job being that neither of them had much experience with children before their little girl was born. When three days after the baby was born, she had to be hospitalized our daughter was sure she did something wrong. I consoled our daughter, telling her it was not her fault and that she did the right thing by taking her baby to the doctor. The baby was jaundice. She was also born three weeks early.
I'm sure that you are right in that I will go ahead and go with the planned family vacation this fall, and visit their home and babysit while there. Right now it's hard to immagine, but I know myself, and I will do all you mentioned.
And I will be the one to talk to our daughter about all that went on during this last trip. My son has always been protective of me, which I'm sure he got from his Dad. He was very much hurt in that she felt she wasn't a part of our family anymore. She has only come here once since she moved to Hawaii. Her Dad and I have been there three times. It's not inexpensive flying there from the Midwest, and also not easy at our age for the long flight from the coast to the island of Oahu, but we do it because we want to. The first time we stayed at a hotel, because we were informed that we had to. SILs Mom had already stayed at their home. I think she may have set the stage for their expecting the grandparents to do above and beyond a normal grandparent duty because it was after that they said we and his Dad and step Mom could stay if we all took baby night duty. Nothing has ever been said to use about providing full time baby care.

Thank you all for your comments, whether for me or against me, but I would like to close this thread. It's been two weeks since I've been home, and until I read Patty's thread I was slowing putting it all behind me. I will be talking to our daughter, maybe today, and will pray all goes well between us.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 2:03PM
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Thank you mitchdesj. So true! What I need to change about me is not letting what others say, hurt me.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 2:05PM
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Justgotta, if you perceive that any comments here have been "against" you that does illuminate the situation a bit. I would like to say that although there are of course two (or more!) sides to every situation, I do feel awful for you that your visit did not go as you envisioned, and hope your next family gathering will bring you the peace and joy we should all expect from being with our families. Happy Easter!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 2:26PM
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LOL kswl, I knew as soon as I posted that was a bad choice of words, but I was in the midst of helping my hubby with a job and he was done with his part and I had to run to finish the part of the job that was mine.
What I should have said was, that those that didn't agree with how I handled it, in that I shouldn't have told my hubby and son about it.
So, I'm sorry. I should have stopped to rephrase, or waited to post it until I had time to come back and do so. I'm constantly on the run with projects we have around the house, especially when my hubby is home, as he's only here two and a half days a week. So please accept my appologies.
Happy Easter to you too!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 3:06PM
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Justgota, this is a great place to come to get things off your chest. But, it would be almost impossible for us to truly understand the dynamics of your relationship with what we are reading in these posts.

Side story: I was having difficulties sorting out feeling with a close friend and a cousin. After having major surgery, I felt both were not there for me. When I posted how I felt, I was surprised in how opinions differed. After all, according to me, I was wronged! But, I took to heart all the responses and gave them all equal consideration. I was grateful for those who were able to get how I was feeling and offer possible solutions but also appreciated the opinions that were so different than what I expected.

We are here 24/7 for you:)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 4:01PM
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justgotabme, does your sil's family have different customs about the role of grandparents? Sounds like they didn't have any use for you other than for you to be full time child care so they could have a vacation.

I can NOT imagine having my mother sleep with the baby when she visited, or having to do night duty when the baby woke up. That was always my job since I was nursing, and if it wasn't nursing, then dh got up.

Of course you want to take care of your grandbaby, but full time when you visit is ridiculous. I am so sorry your dd and sil took advantage of you that way and hope you find a way to work out the next visit so you can be grandma but not nanny.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:17PM
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ellendi, that is just why I have never brought anything like this here before. Besides, what I wrote above, the written word, is often misunderstood. I will never bring anything like this again. It's just too personal.

Thank you marti8a, If we do still go visit in October, and we more than likely will, we are hoping to get a cabin on the beach at a nearby AFB that only those in the military can stay at. If not we'll stay in the military hotel on another busier beach. We really want the cabin. With my hubby's rank, we'll more than likely get the cabin.
I'm really not sure what goes on when our SIL's Mom is there.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 11:08PM
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Justgota, I know exactly how you feel. But, don't write us off completely. Because there are so many members I do find that if the majority think one way, it is worth considering.
This can be a good sounding board, you just can't take some of the remarks too personally.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 7:49AM
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I find it hard to imagine that people would tell their parents that they can stay at their home ONLY if they are put to work as nannies. That is outrageous, I think we all agree. Whenever I have had parents or inlaws visit, I would go out of the way to treat them like guests. Buy the foods they like, fresh flowers in the guest rooms, etc. I cannot understand not wanting to take care of and pamper family members, especially those who are older and who go to great trouble to visit. So to me the whole mindset is bizarre. Other than that I have no insights.

But, I do agree with Ellendi's point above, as a general matter.

In "real" life, rarely do our friends, even our closest friends, tell us we are wrong. Few people are willing to risk a friendship by judging or criticizing. Most friends listen and soothe and nod and agree (and there is a place for that!)

What is unusual about the web is people will not hesitate to criticize you or judge you, especially if you ask for opinions. That insight can be very valuable. True, in most cases people only have snippets and don't really have all of the information and context, but just the same, it is worth reading their advice and asking yourself if it resonates at all or could be true. Only because no one else if likely to be as honest.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 11:46AM
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mtnrdredux has a really good point. In real life our friends tend to be like us. We chose people who have the same thoughts and sensibilities as ourselves and they are often drawn from the same neighbourhood or work or school. So when they are having personal issues we do tend to agree with them - they are face to face, we will see them tomorrow or the next day and we don't want to offend them or hurt their feelings. And the conversation is immediate.

Here, we can take the time to express our thoughts, we can read the OP and the following posts and digest it and think about it. We can take the time to put it into context with respect to our own lives. The honesty isn't meant to be hurtful, ever, but I do think we can get a better understanding of different sides because some of us may have been on the other side or been in the same situation which may or may not have been resolved.

justgotabeme - all that to say that some of the comments may sound like they are against you but they're not meant to be. They are just offering a different perspective from the very different and varied lives of those here. As we all know the people here are good people.

I have a sister who decided three years ago at the age of 50 that she hated me and that I had destroyed her childhood. (Yea, yea whatever.) I would never post the issue and the problems BUT what I have learned from those who are brave enough to post their stories, is that there ARE two sides to every story, that I HAVE to let go of the hurt and that just because we are sisters and had the same parents and upbringing, our interpretation of that upbringing is different. It hasn't really helped me to understand my sister but it has helped me recognize that those are her issues and not mine.

My advice is to protect yourself, recognize that your daughter is an adult and you can't control her thoughts or actions at this stage of her life. I'm guessing that ship has sailed. But, try to keep her brother out of it. It isn't his place to get involved. He's her brother, not her parent.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 2:08PM
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ellendi, it's more that I've always been very private about family and personal matters, which makes it very difficult for me to discuss them openly here. Maybe I should think of it as group therapy? Yes, that's just what I'll do. Thank you urging me to continue this thread.
All the comments have really helped me. Those that didn't totally sympathize, made me think from another perspective. I was wrong to want to close the thread, but at the time I was upset with myself for saying anything about what happened at all. In that respect, I was really agreeing with those that said, I should nothave told my hubby and son about what happened. I didn't tell them to get them "on my side" as someone thought. I told them because I was in need of comfort from the mental pain I was suffering. Not knowing anyone I could talk to there, I reached out to them.

mtnrdredux, I'm the same way when we do have guests. I learned it from my Mom, and figured my daughter learned it from me. I mentioned earlier that I fear her in-laws will think that's the way I taught her. Then remembered they were here after the rehearsal dinner and know they were treated well.
You are correct in that most "real life" friends, tend to take your side no matter what. My bestest friend would probably fly down there to "kick some sense" in my daughter. Not literally of course, but she'd stand by me that way. I have not told her though as she has never met my daughter, we live in different states, and I didn't want her to think ill of my daughter. And I do believe much of this is coming from her husband as he allowed his Mom to stay shortly after the baby was born, but wouldn't allow us or his Dad and step Mom to stay the first time we each came. Though it hurt, her Dad and I didn't let it keep us from visiting.

blfenton, I agree, when you have time to think about what you've read before you answer, you often will see things differently than if you are face to face with a long time "real life" friend. Sometimes I'll reply to an original post before reading what others think to keep me from being influenced by what others say because of that. Once I reply, I'll read other comments and sometimes my opinion will change, but I'm glad I wrote my original feelings down first.
I also agree I was wrong to include her brother in the text. Like I said I was in allot of pain and needed comforting. Our son has always been very good at that, but it was still wrong.
I, to some extent, have always treated children as I do adults. Not like an adult, but in a way that shows I appreciate they too are human and should be treated with respect. I have always listened to my children when they didn't agree with me. I also know the situation enough after the other visits since they were married, that I needed to make a point to say if I came I wanted them to understand this was also a vacation for me and I wanted to do a few things one would do when they visited Hawaii. Had they not agreed, I would not have come at that time, waiting for a time when my hubby could come with me and we'd have rented a vehicle. Yes, I could have rented a vehicle for myself, but I'm not sure I'd want to drive in the kind of traffic they have there and I'd have gotten lost had I tried to take the back roads like I do here. And that is some I need to get over! Since I don't work outside the home, I can time any trips I have to drive myself to off hours where the traffic isn't so bad. I also know all the back ways to pretty much anywhere I'd want to go.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 5:27PM
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Just, I disagree about how you shouldn't have told your husband. Of course you'd tell him, who wouldn't in a situation like that? Keeping something so hurtful to yourself will only raise your blood pressure. Your son is also an adult and I think it's fine that he heard the story also.

If it was just a minor incident then I could see keeping it to yourself, but it wasn't. It was major. You weren't turning them against your DD, you were merely telling them what happened, which was pretty bad.

Did you ask your daughter outright why guests and family *have* to watch the child at night? If not, ask her. Or mayber have your son ask her, and if they get along well, have him tell her that it's just rude of her to use you like that.

I'm also wondering if your SIL's mother babysits voluntarily when she stays there? If she does then maybe your daughter thinks you should happily lose sleep too! lol

I've used my DH as a sounding board when I feel slighted. In no way am I turning him against the person I'm complaining about. In no way do I want to turn him against the person either.

Don't bottle up your hurt with your DH. :)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 8:54PM
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Than you Oakleyok! Before my hubby and I married, we made a promise to each other to always tell the other when something was bothering us. Something was bothering me and I told him. I am sorry I told our son, because he felt like his sister no longer thought of him as part of the family since part of what she said to me was that she no longer felt a part of our little family with the four of us living so cozy in our home. She did admit after saying it that she was the one that chose to leave. We'd even build a new home with four master suites so the kids could have some privacy while they went to college. That never happened as our son was deployed to the sandbox with his Army Reserves Unit and our daughter joined the Air Force.
Even if I wanted to, which I didn't, I could never turn my hubby or son away from my daughter. We're blood, thick or thin we love each other. My son called me Mama Bear from the time he was a little guy. Good reason too. Nobody messes with my babies. That's why this hurts so bad.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 9:30PM
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Just to add - I definitely agree you should tell your husband things like that. Especially if you are obviously upset and he starts to wonder what the heck did he do wrong now?! ;)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 11:07PM
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LOL Very true blfenton, very true.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 12:47AM
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"part of what she said to me was that she no longer felt a part of our little family with the four of us living so cozy in our home."

!!! As I was saying....

This is exactly what I was trying to convey in my first response. And something you hadn't shared in your previous information-she TOLD you she feels left out. Please try to step away from the hurt defensiveness and open your heart to what your daughter is feeling, not just how it makes YOU feel.

And FWIW, I speak from experience here. In our family it's the other way around; son has long felt and vocally expressed that his sister is the preferred one in the family. So what I'm saying here comes from someone who has walked in your path, truly. And it is hurtful and it is unfair. But it is their reality, not ours and that means one can choose to put up the walls, and pull in the defensive troops. Or choose to open up and listen to try to understand what's underneath the bad behavior or hurtful words.

Good luck and keep those eyes, ears and heart open to and for your daughter.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:51AM
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runninginplace, part of the reason our daughter feels left out, and she admitted this herself, is that she chose to be far away from us. Something I didn't mention is, they haven't been back here for a visit since they married two years ago. Hubby has been there two times, me three. The reason may very well be partly financial. They don't always spend money wisely (him: three pair of Jordan shoes @ over $250 dollars each last month, together: $300 to $500 dollars on their daughter's first birthday party) therefore they only travel to his family that live in Northern Cali where they can take what's called a Hop. A Hop is, a free flight on an Air Force Jet that's already going to an AFB that's near his family. Since her Dad started working in Northern Cali, I've said if she lets me know when they plan on traveling there, I'll fly out with her Dad so we at least spend a day together when her Dad's not working. That's not happened yet as she didn't want to travel without her husband and he has not wanted to take leave until this summer.
Unbeknownst to me, she did some looking on the Hop flight site the day after the night she told me her MIL was a better Gramma than me. She noticed a place in the next state over from us that has Hops from Oahu every once in awhile. She asked how far that was. I told her only 80 miles and that we could easily pick them up from and take them back for their flight. Which makes me realize I need to ask her about a car seat. I don't know if they need that for the baby on the flight, or if I should buy one to have ready when we pick them up. I think she said she's taking the summer off from school so hopefully she and the baby will be able to come stay with us.

I'm with you on the importance of family and not letting things like this get out of hand. I've already contacted our daughter. We didn't mention what was said, as we kept it short and sweet. Family is too important to me and life is too short to let things like this get in the way of the love you feel for each other. I know she loves me every bit as she always has, and I love her the same too. Which is why we are both hurting so much. The hurt we are feeling is getting in the way and I do need to find a way to bring it up so we can get it over with. I've always been taught the Thumper Rule... "If you can't somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all." Which really is a double negative, so some could say it means to say something. I was taught to be kind at all times. There are times when saying nothing is fine, but there are times when something needs to be said. Those times one needs their hurt (or anger if that's the case) to be under control so they can be kind. My hurting was as much about the Gramma comment, as it was about how I was treated as "help", so it was doubly painful. I plan on Skyping with her sometime this week, during a time when her husband isn't there, so it will be just her and me. Hopefully we can have a heart felt discussion and resolve the hurt between us.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 10:27AM
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Best of luck, JGTBM, with everything. Maybe your DD just needs a little bit of maturing to realize she can't treat people the way she treated you. There really is no excuse for it. (Our son lives several states away, DD lives in our area. He is aware we spend time together and admits to being a little envious but he is always a gracious host when we visit and never displays resentment toward us. Both our kids know we wouldn't be accepting of that; we don't deserve it and neither do you). Perhaps you two can agree to some "ground rules" for when you visit each other? (Is Offutt AFB still around? Are hops available to/from there?)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 11:48AM
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Thank you funnyfirl. Offutt AFB is still around, but she's never seen a Hop there. That would be great as we live only 45 minutes away.
Though I'm not sure, now that I think about it, I do believe the way we've been treated when we visit has to do with her husband. She's never treated either of us this way before when we visited her since she joined the AF.
In fact, it's been just the opposite. I came and helped her decorate her first apartment. We had a blast so when she came back from S. Korea, where she met her now husband, she asked me to come and help her decorate the little house she was renting near where she was stationed. She was about four hours away from us. We picked out the paint and painted her bathroom walls and vanity. I painted and drew art for her walls, which she has hung in her current home. We had plans to paint the kitchen to get it all prettied up before her, now, husband came home from overseas. She also made plans to decorate the bedroom in his favorite colors. He refused to be transferred to a state where it got cold so she had to leave active duty and join the reserves in order to be transferred to Hawaii, where he was.
He was there long enough that he could have asked to be relocated once they married, which they did the day after he got back from overseas. Since she'd just gotten to her new station, the only way she could move was to change her duty status. She was so happy to be close to us, but her love for her future husband won out. And I totally understand that. The fact he was in Hawaii, couldn't have been a turn off either. LOL Temps average in the mid 70's to low 80's year round, plus her husband grew up near an ocean and loves many water sports.
I just learned our grandson will be going to his mom's this afternoon, he has no school today, so maybe I'll get a chance to Skype with our daughter today. The sooner we get this resolved, the better.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 12:31PM
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Bingo! I think you hit the nail on the head re:SIL. I've always liked DD's husband and he have an actual MIL/SIL relationship, unlike the awkward one he has with his own Mom. I've sided with him in various instances, and DD never got upset since she knows I always give my honest opinion rather than just taking sides~just because it's an opinion of one of my kids doesn't mean there automatically right. In spite of all this, I have seen him 'egg her on' and getting her upset, in which case she'll become annoyed with the other person, one time toward her older sister. At that time, I told SIL he didn't need to inject HIS personal opinion and allow DD her own. I have a feeling he has also gotten her 'worked up' over me and something I might have done/said, which might have left him not getting his way. Let's face it, after marriage, the spouse becomes #1, with parents 2nd, and I get that. However, when a DH makes a derogatory comment against either of his spouse's parents, it's time for that child to correct spouse as an act of love for the parent, NOT side with spouse. I *have* confronted my DD and asked if those were DH words/opinion, and she has admitted that's been the case.

I have to add over the 9 years they've been married, these instances have gotten less and less, but the 'thing' with the grands could be his doing. He has heard from his own mother she didn't do much with him as a child and may now *he's* pushing her to take them/spend more time w/ them, and DD may even know that. Since I wasn't that sort of parent, i don't have the need to go back and try to relive what wasn't.

If you feel open enough with your DD, ask point blank if that's her DH opinion re:his mother being a better grandma, or ask to talk to both of them to get the scoop of who said what. If it were me, I wouldn't let it go unnoticed. DD needs to learn there is a time and a place where mom and dad may need defending. It's called love.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 6:09PM
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Yes, Patty_cakes, and might I add, tsk tsk for the spouse who creates the occasion for the other spouse to defend their own parents. A loving spouse makes allowances for their spouses' parents.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:16PM
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Yes, I do think I finally hit the nail on the head (one of my favorite sayings) that it's coming from him. Thanks for your point of view Patty. It's nice to know I'm not alone with this idea.
I know I'm not ready to talk to him, though I agree that wouldn't be a bad idea. From the beginning, though we both liked him, we felt he was a little too quick with the hugs and "I love you" comments to my hubby and I. He'd only just met us when he first said it to each of us. Our daughter later told me that was "Cali thing", and that she didn't quite get it either. She actually seemed a bit embarrassed that he said it so soon, knowing it didn't seem sincere. At the time I told her, maybe he said it because he loved her and we, with the help of God, created her.
I wound up taking our grandson, who didn't have school today, to the park for a picnic and play time. After only six hours of sleep last night, I've been needing at minimum nine hours since I came home from Hawaii, getting in some at 10.5, 11 and even 13 hours the day I came home, so I am going to take a nap. I will Skype her tomorrow unless I wake up early enough that I know she's home alone. It's five hours earlier, there so I might. I'm just too exhausted to think straight right now. Grandson and I stayed at the park much longer than planned, though we did have fun, waiting for his mom to text saying she was on her way. She never even texted to say she was running late. She was five hours later than I was told she'd be. I glad we went to the park though. There were other children for him to play with. He, and I, had allot of fun.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:18PM
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Amen mtnrdredux. I couldn't agree more. I know my MIL drove me crazy early on, but she was the mother of the love of my life and I respected her. I even cross stitched a poem to thank her for all that she taught her son and how he grew into the man I loved. We have grown very close over the years. Had I not given myself the chance to get to know her for who she was, we'd have never gotten so close. and I'd have missed out on a very special relationship.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:23PM
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Shortly after my old son married, my DIL complimented me on how well I had raised my son, in re:to his helpfulness, good manners, and respect. I felt that was the ultimate compliment I could ever be given! He and I also have a very strong bond, and at 50 years old, calls me every Sunday, many times during the week also, and visits twice a year to do anything that might need doing around the house/yard. A MIL doesn't necessarily deserve to get a 'bum rap'.

Gotabeme, I know you love your DD and sometimes our children children change when they marry and it may be to accommodate a spouse. If you don't nip this in the bud, your SIL may become a control freak and you may see less of your daughter as time goes by. Be strong, speak your mind,
*do* hold onto to your dignity, but also make the decision you won't be bullied by your DD with her DH being the 'mouthpiece'.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 1:22AM
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But....but....this is all complete conjecture, right?

"I have to add over the 9 years they've been married, these instances have gotten less and less, but the 'thing' with the grands COULD BE his doing. He has heard from his own mother she didn't do much with him as a child and MAYnow *he's* pushing her to take them/spend more time w/ them, and DD MAYeven know that. Since I wasn't that sort of parent, i don't have the need to go back and try to relive what wasn't."

This post was edited by kswl on Tue, Apr 22, 14 at 12:15

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 7:25AM
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Kswl articulated my thoughts as well. Now it seems the wisdom of the crowd has shifted so that it's all the son in law's fault.

"If you don't nip this in the bud, your SIL may become a control freak and you may see less of your daughter as time goes by"

So it's perfectly fine, indeed a good idea, for a parent, who is of course also an in-law, to expect and demand that s/he be placed as a priority over the spouse of one's adult child?! Sorry, I don't think so. And guess what, there are going to be times in life when spouse isn't happy about an in-law.

To expect that one's *adult* offspring will consistently reprimand their spouse for any negative opinions about a parent is not only unrealistic but not very conducive to the relationship that is also being touted as of primary importance: the I-will-always-share-everything-with-my-husband mantra.

Seems to me you can't have it both ways. If you think that the spousal bond is the most important relationship (with which I agree BTW) then you cannot also expect that adult children will then place your expectations as a parent above allowing their own spouses to express a negative opinion.

Personally, I try not to criticize my MIL constantly because of course it is upsetting to my husband. OTOH, when she says or does things I don't like or that are insulting better believe I'm going to speak up. I'm married to my husband, not his mother, and if she is causing a problem I owe him and our marriage the respect of dealing with it together.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 8:18AM
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I don't think it's where the disconnect is coming from so much as how to forge a better relationship with both the SIL and your DD.

My oldest sister has two granddaughters. Although they only live a town away, she only gets to see them once a month. If you talk to my sister, she feels she is not intrusive, she holds back and doesn't but in etc. So, why only once a month? I heard through the grapevine that the DIL finds my sister is over bearing and she takes over the conversation when she enters the room. (In my personal observation when she is visiting, she doesn't lift a finger to help. While at a party, it was obvious to me and another Aunt that this couple was over whelmed and needed help serving etc. yet my sister sat there.)

The point is, we often have an opinion about ourselves that is not the reality for the other person.
I would try to have a heart to heart talk with both SIL and DD. Unfortunately, there are people who rub you the wrong way and sometimes there is just nothing you can do to about how you feel about that person. It could be the person's name, and you knew someone who was cruel to you growing up so that name triggers negative feelings.
We can pick our friends, but not our relatives. You WANT a better relationship and need to figure out a way to do it.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 8:42AM
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I'm not saying it's all my SIL's doing. I'm wondering if that isn't the case because of his upbringing and the things he's said about working his parents. This was said during a private conversation with my SIL, that I can not discuss on an open board. Not at this time anyway. I'm sorry I cannot explain more.
I doubt I'll ever know for sure where the better gramma comment came from. It doesn't matter where it originated, it anyway, it still hurt like, pardon my french, H E double hockey sticks!
As for Patty's comments that were quoted, she said "could be" meaning she wasn't sure either. We're just discussing the possibilities here, trying to find answers, not accusing anyone.

Up until this point, I've had no real concern about our SIL. Even now I can't say that I don't like him. I'm not happy with his reaction to my needing sleep while on vacation, though if I were to write up a pros and cons, I'm sure the pros would outweigh the cons by a long shot.

Being married, with in laws, myself, I realize it's not always easy blending the ways of both families into one that works for all involved. My MIL was downright rude about the way I did things when I first married her oldest son. Being brought up on the Thumper Rule, I was shocked! It seemed to me that there wasn't a thing I did right and she pushed the issue with my hubby, which to me it seemed he sided with her. Looking back, I realize he was just being quiet, not wanting to take either side, where I was hoping for comfort. I'm sure he didn't understand why I was being so "sensitive" as his family does not hold anything back!
From the outside it might look like they don't love each other. From the inside, where I've been for over 34 years now, I've learned that it's their way of keeping each other accountable. Not a bad thing, but boy did it take a while to understand that. I'm very much a "Thumper Rule" sore of person still and find it very hard to "step on someone's toes" so to speak and tell them I don't like what they are doing unless they ask outright. I like harmony and was blessed to live a very harmonious life throughout my whole childhood. Up until the move to big bad Omaha, during the mid sixties, I thought everyone loved each other. Family or not. My family life was still "perfect". Maybe that's why I don't know how to deal with my current situation.
I don't believe a MIL should butt her nose into her children's marriages. It's a new and personal relationship that needs to grow on its own. There will be ups and downs, but it's not my place to push my way in and tell either of them how to live their married life. However, after being treated the way I was, I feel I do have the right to let my feelings be known so they know why we will not be staying at their home again and the reason's why. Personally, I'd like to tell the in laws or anyone else that happens to stay at their home, that our daughter did not learn that way of treating guests from me, but I will not do so unless they bring it up. LOL

ellendi you are so right. I want to have a good relationship with both my daughter and her husband. I pray they have as great a marriage as her Dad and I have had and his parents, have in their second marriages.

I do believe it's best to talk to our daughter alone the first time. After that, if we Skype while her husband is there and he brings it up, I'll discuss it. Otherwise, I don't feel I know him well enough yet to bring it up over Skype. Which is part of the problem. Neither of us know each other that well yet.
The first time we visited he was on duty during the day. When he arrived home, both hubby and I noticed a vibe from him that we felt, he needed family time, so we'd head back to our hotel shortly after he arrived home.
The second time when hubby and I stayed with them, our SIL was off duty for the week and we did lots of activities together. We spent Christmas day on the beach. I don't go into any water with fishes (don't ask LOL) so I sat on the beach, playing with the baby while they all boogie boarded. A couple days later, I volunteered to stay home so they could go snorkling without having to worry about the baby on the beach in the sun. The beach they were going to didn't have a good place for those that didn't come to snorkel. No shade. Hubby and I had baby duty, of course, and it became very tiring for us both. One would change her while the other ran down to the kitchen to make her bottle. Neither of us got much sleep that week and were exhausted when we got home agreeing next time we'd try and get a cottage on the beach or stay in a hotel suite. I don't know if this trip would have turned out better had my hubby been with me. His guess is they wouldn't have treated me the way they did. We'll never know.

Now I'm just waiting for the time to pass so I know our daughter is away. She and the baby sleeps until around 9:30 Hawaii time, which is five hours behind where I live. It's not even seven am there.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 12:49PM
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You commented way up-post...

"She has only come here once since she moved to Hawaii. Her Dad and I have been there three times. It's not inexpensive flying there from the Midwest, and also not easy at our age for the long flight from the coast to the island of Oahu, but we do it because we want to. "

I saw this on the day you wrote it and had to go back a few times to be sure I was clear. My question for you is- Just how much do you think it costs for round trip tickets from Hawaii to the Midwest? Who is the adult in this relationship? That one short concept suggests to me that you might be taking on the victim role here. If you are, and if your daughter feels it, she might be responding instead of initiating. Just my 2 cents worth.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 7:40PM
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jmc01, If you read the whole paragraph, and I assume you did, I would have thought you'd have understood that the comment you quoted was to show we've not left her out. It was not a comparison of how many times they visited us, as compared to how many we've visited them.
My hubby works as a consultant. Any time he takes off is unpaid. He earns no vacation pay what-so-ever, but we still want to be with our daughter and her family.
Something our daughter has reminded me of repeated is that her MIL comes every three months. The MIL has told me she has never paid much over three hundred dollars a round trip. From the Midwest it starts close to $800 each and goes up from there. At minimum, when we both go, we're spending more than five times what her MIL alone spends. Her husband does not come with her.
And yes, we completely understand that it's just as expensive for the kids to fly here, that's why we go there as often as we do. She still thinks it's not enough. There's nothing I can do to make her understand, because she thinks her Dad is made of money. Yes, he makes a good amount of money, but he's also close to retirement and he's taking advantage of the extra pay by putting as much as is allowed into our retirement funds so once he does retire we can travel more. Not to mention he can't just decide to take time off in the middle of a project.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 8:31PM
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Kswl, yes it is just conjecture, but I have seen my SIL 'in action' , bad mouthing his Mother to the point she has left a get together we were having. I don 't question what happened, but DD always gives me the 'lowdown' the next day. He obviously has issues with his Mom, my DD and I do not, and I sometimes have to wonder if he is the instigator because of a slight jealously, again, speculation. If that's the case or not, he and I have a mutual respect for each other, and get along quite well.

Running, I think you misinterpreted what I was saying. I feel the adult child will side with the spouse *except* if they personally believe he/she may be wrong, then will side with the parent. This HAS happened in my family thru the years as I have 3 married children. I've been sided with as well as sided against, and things are always worked out w/o hurt feelings, grudges, name calling, or ignoring. I've raised 5 kids, and have 1/DIL and 2/SIL's, as well as an ex SIL/2 DIL who I still maintain relationships with since grandchildren are involved, and it makes things easier. There has never been a time when any of my children have been upset with a sibling to the point of refusing to speak to them. nor has this happened to myself with any if the in-laws, and that includes parents who have always been included thru the years.

I believe in speaking my mind and prefer everyone else do the same since it usually clears the air avoiding any hostilities. If I've said something, and it hurt someone's feelings, how would I know unless I was told. I just don't believe in holding back if something is bothering me, and those who know me, seem to accept me the way I am.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 12:15AM
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Patty, I don't know anything about you other than that you are a truly nice poster who shares her love of home on these forums. So all I can do is read these comments and take them at face value--- and doing that they are sometimes contradictory. Family relationships are intricate and at times, difficult. Giving everyone the benefit of the doubt by assuming good intent usually seems to work out best.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 12:15PM
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Thank you kswl, and likewise, the same to you.

Yes, I agree giving the benefit of the doubt to all parties concerned~how else can you truly get to know someone. However, being a MIL myself, even our adult children try to manipulate/take advantage, if it's to their benefit Been there, done that. Talk, talk, talk, and keep talking by having an open relationship, including the spouse. If you need to set boundaries, make them
known up front, ie; 'I'll only babysit once when I come to visit'.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 2:50PM
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