Hurt by Grandparents

sbrobbJanuary 15, 2007

I have an issue with the Grandparents on both sides of family and need some advice as to how to handle it and not take it personally. Both set of Grandparents live in either another state or Country. My husbands family lives in England, and well send gifts etc. My daughter does not travel well, she can last about 15 minutes in the car, and after taking her on the plane twice, the last time to see the Grandma in Chicago I had canker sores from the stress of keeping her occupied, she is only 18 months old and was 15 months old when I traveled alone with her. I have sought out advice and done everything under the sun to see if she will travel better. Both sets keep telling me how they would like us to come for a visit (saying this in a guilt trip sort of way). My mom does not want to take anymore time off work even though she gets almost two months of vacation time, even if we come for a visit she is going to go to work. She only has seen her grandbaby twice, and I think it is ridiculous she can't take a day off work, I would understand if she had a limited amount of time, but she has a lot of vacation time. She mentioned to me on Sunday that she plans on taking the crib back if I don't come back out soon, but she has not been here since July. I don't think it is terrible to ask her to come atleast once a year, it is only $169 to fly out here. When she did come out she did not help me out at all and when I visited it was the same, no help. She would not even watch my daughter when I was in the shower, I took a shower every other day, and when I did, I had to keep the door open to watch my daughter. My mother in Law and Father in Law came out last year for the first time ever, there son has been here 8 years! When they came out, it was a nightmare gone bad, I explained I just had a baby, and needed some help. They acted like they were on a vacation, and did absolutely nothing and made my life ten times harder. ( I asked them to watch the baby while I cleaned up, the house was a disaster, my daughter ended up with a really bad diaper rash, they let her sit in poop for almost two hours while I was running around with my head cut off cleaning up after them! ) They just let her sit in her poop and did not even bother to tell me so I could change her, my mother in law goes to me when I was reaching to hold her, I think she did a poopy a while back.. what the heck?) She had blisters on her butt, it was insane. They only started to help after we had it out, and I paid for them to go to Estes Park for a couple of days. This past December I paid for the Grandma in England to come out, it was $1000 to fly her here. I figured it was fair since my daughter does not travel well and it would be too much for her to take a 24 hour trip to see them in England. She again acted like it was her big vacation, and I ended up running her around getting her botox, teeth whitened, etc. She never once offered to watch her Grandbaby so we could go to the movies or anything, instead she wanted my husband to take her skiing and it was all about her. I was really hurt by how selfish she was and I am getting tired of both sides acting selfish. I send them pictures, homemade DVD movies, everything a grandparent dreams of, and all I would like in return is a thank you email or a quick call to say I got the movie, only my mom does that part. I hear how great other grandparents are, I am a good daughter and daughter in law, both sides have tons of movies, pictures and phone calls but I feel like I the more I do, the more they expect and from my husbands side, I don't even get a thank you half the time or notice that they got the photos, movie, etc. Should I just stop? Please help with some suggestions as how to handle Grandparents whom are selfish,.. please help.

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Oh my, you poor dear! I can totally relate. My daughter is 21 years old and when she was born I got no help from either set of grandparents. That's okay though...I wasn't expecting or asking for help. The annoying thing has been constant, nagging requests for us to travel and to be more involved with our parents and helping our siblings...mostly on my side of the family. (Even though I am the youngest, they have always thought that my job is to rescue them all!) My mother is very manipulative and I had to put good boundaries in place many years ago in order to protect myself and my daughter. And that is what I would advise you to do. Decide on how often you and your husband and child can travel (once every 5 years overseas would be more than generous enough...perhaps once every two years for a trip to Chicago). Continue to be a loving, respectful daughter/daughter-in-law and send occasional photos of your little one to the Grandmas, but if you don't get a response, make that less frequent. (You can protect yourself from being hurt by recognizing that you are doing too much for folks that don't appreciate it...stop doing so much.) How silly for your mother to try to make you feel guilty because she bought a crib for a child that doesn't live with may have been a sweet gesture or wishful thinking on her part, but her threats to send it back are silly and manipulative...if I were you I might tell her that if it were possible to visit more frequently, you'd be coming to visit HER, not a crib! She should send it back, by all means. Decide what you would enjoy in your relationships with your daughter's grandparents and what you feel your obligations are and stick to that like glue! Don't be bullied, don't be manipulated...remember that you are setting an example for your can't lose by being calm and kind but also strong and decisive and able to make the choices that are best for you. Families can be complicated. You can make yours less complicated by simplifying your approach to them. Stop worrying about pleasing them and learn to please yourself. You'll be setting a great example for your daughter.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 8:38PM
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Good advice here from Appleandoaks. I just became a grandma last month. I raised 3 children and they had no grandparents, so I can't speak from your experience. But, you need to let go of your dream that the grandparents will be as loving and caring as you would like them to be, and as you will be when you are a grandparent. Back off--keep writing, calling and sending pictures, but cut back on the frequency and the number of things you mail them. Don't feel like you must visit. As you say, they are able to visit, so let them. And don't run a tourist service when they come. Make your child your first priority, and her mom your second priority. Don't feel guilty about doing so either. Your little family is your priority, nothing else.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 10:38PM
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Maybe look for foster grandparents. Only one of my grandparents was alive when I was born and she never liked me. My dad worked in a nursing home and we'd go to visit him after work. All of the patients there "adopted" us and loved when we'd visit them. I had lots of loving grandparents. Each of them would give us change for the pop machine, a piece of candy, old greeting cards, or pretty wrapping paper.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 11:32AM
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