Sad Grandmother

Nana3540July 11, 2014

I am brand new to this site and posting to this forum. I am glad I found it though because I have something that has been troubling me and would like other's opinions.

We are the very happy grandparents of twin 3 year old granddaughters. When they were first born we were so excited since they were our first. (the other grandparents already had 2 older grandchildren) But we soon realized that our DIL's parents were to be the first and foremost in their lives. I must admit that I sort of suspected this from the beginning. They were always called to babysit, the Grandmom was always at the house, etc. When we were around, and I asked to help with them, I was usually told by my DIL "No, that's okay, I can do it" or My Mom is here to help". That statement still continues today and I used to wonder if it was something I had done although we do take the girls on outings now more than before.

I started to hear from Grandmom things like, "I want to be the fun grand mom", "When they are at my house I let them do whatever they want", etc. If it is any meal time, she immediately says: "Let Grandmom help you" and she sits down and feeds them to the point that when she is not around, they ask for someone to "help them" eat. My DIL can't hand them an item without saying: Grandmom bought this for you. If you compliment the girls on an outfit, they tell you that Grandmom bought it which seems to be a lot of their clothing and accessories. (my son & DIL certainly can afford their clothes so that is not the issue). We stopped buying clothes for them early on because we had purchased outfits for a holiday of which they were going to be with us but were asked to return them because Grandmom had already bought them. If the girls are spending time with us, Grandmom calls me on the phone and wants to talk to them or me about what they are doing. When she talks to them, the conversation usually goes: Grandmom misses you soooo much. We recently had them on vacation for a few days and of course we received the phone call and she wanted FaceTime with them. We both live close by so that is not the issue either. She calls and talks to them everyday. Most holidays, birthdays, etc. are spent with my DIL's side of the family and it almost seems like a treat for us to spend time with them.

Well, I don't want to rant but I just feel like the Grandmom constantly is a presence as if she is afraid the girls will get close to us. We don't do that to her and wouldn't. One of the girls is now into throwing tantrums - today she hit me and wouldn't come near me. (her parents did correct her)

I keep my mouth closed, and pray every day that this will all change. Thanks for any thoughts you have.

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gmatx zone 6

Nana3540, I'm so sorry you are experiencing this attitude by your DIL and her mother. Wish I could tell you how to change it, but I can't. All I can say is just thoroughly enjoy their presence when they are with you and let them know you love them. As they get older always let them know you are there for them and that they can call or talk to you at any time about any thing.

It's sad when a grandmother wants to be, or thinks they have to be, only a "fun grandma" as if a child will not love them unless they are. It is also very selfish and rude of her to intrude on your time with them, IMO



    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 4:47PM
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Thanks, Mary, that is exactly what I try to do but sometimes it gets frustrating and hurtful.

Hugs back!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 4:57PM
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Stop focusing on the other grandparents and focus on the grandchildren.

No matter what or who the other grandmother is, you have to develop your own relationship with the girls. They will love you for you if you are loveable and fun no matter how much they love the other grandmother.

It's not a competition and it's useless to compare. You are making yourself miserable. The other grandmother is not getting in the way of your relationship with your grandchildren.

If she gets 10 hours a week and you get 2 every other week, make those 2 pleasant so everyone has a great time and great memories. Even if the girls enjoy being with the other grandmother, that doesn't mean they can't enjoy the time with you. People, children included, are drawn to what makes them happy and avoid what makes them unhappy. It really REALLY has NOTHING to do with her.

Relationships have nothing to do with who buys children clothing, or spoons cereal in their mouths or what inane things are said on the phone. You are wasting your time criticizing this woman for what she gushes to toddlers on the phone or how she indulges them. Let their parents deal with grandmom, if she needs dealing with, and do your own thing. Eventually she'll stop doing that, and if she doesn't, the girls will eventually find her annoying and tedious. Overbearing, needy people (if indeed she is really as you describe her) always wear out their welcome.

You certainly do not need to talk to grandmom on the phone if you don't enjoy it. I can see it would be annoying that she calls while the girls are with you, but it is only for a bit. There's only so much you can say on a phone to a 3 year old.

Who cares if she is worried the girls will get 'too close' to you. That's her problem not yours. The girls will be close to you, and that's that. Just make sure you aren't doing the same.

Think of her as McDonalds and yourselves as a 5 star restaurant. Maybe you don't go as often, but the experience is better.

It's tempting to think you are entitled to your version of 'fair', as in more or less equal time, or equal babysitting, or equal clothes buying, or whatever. But that's not how life works. And grandmom doesn't love the girls less because she has other grandchildren, and you don't love them more because they are your only grandchildren.

As for the hitting: toddler do that sometimes, if their parents are conscientious, they will teach the children how to do better. It's not the other grandmother's fault, it's just how kids are sometimes. Don't take it personally.

Focus on your own relationship with them and less on grandmom. You'll be happier and there will be less resentment and stress on the relationship with your son, DIL and her family.

The girls won't always be little; as they grown they will develop affection based on personality and experience.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:45PM
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'The other grandmother is not getting in the way of your relationship with your grandchildren.

If she gets 10 hours a week and you get 2 every other week,'


10 hours a week vs 1 hour a week (or 20 every 2 weeks vs 2 every 2 weeks, you really should compare like to like) doesn't mean that one grandmother has an advantage in the grandchild sweepstakes?

& you claim OP is making *herself* miserable?

As I asked on another thread in which you blasted the OP, what on earth is your agenda against grandparents?

Nana, please don't take BananaBread's comments to heart.

She's posted on several threads, & while she's been supportive & even sensitive to children & grandchildren, every one of her posts responding to grandparents has been scathingly critical.

& this one doesn't even make sense.

I wish I had something helpful to suggest, but "never let the ...buzzards?... see you cry" is the best I can think of right now.

Keep a smile on your face, & *never* challenge your DIL on anything.

unless you see her set the house on fire or hand the baby a bottle of beer!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 4:31PM
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Thanks, Sylvia! I just chuckled when I read the other post because it seemed to me that I was being attacked by someone who doesn't have a clue who I am rather than being offered supportive suggestions. I don't get into chat rooms but this site came up when I was searching for garden tips for my dad and since I don't share any of this problem with those around me I thought I would seek some suggestions from strangers who may have experienced the same situation.

I wasn't criticizing Gmom, just stating facts. As a matter of fact, as adults we are very friendly - even going out to dinner together with our husbands. She is a pleasant woman but when it comes to the grandkids, she is way over the top. My DIL has said that to me without any prompting from me!! I also never said I was "miserable"

I will probably end this post because I spoke to my son today who told me that at the request of HER daughters, Gmom (age 60+) visited a doctor a few months ago and was diagnosed with ADHD and is going to therapy. I feel bad for her but now can understand some of her behavior. I will pray for her and just keep on keeping on.

Thanks for your friendly advice!!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 6:57PM
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Not every family is the same, I have 3 sisters and we all went to Mom's. Our husbands loved to be with my dad. They played horseshoes, went hunting and fishing together. The guys wanted to be with our family for holidays. We were at Mom's for Sunday dinner every Sunday. My mother worked and we never left the kids with her except in an emergency and I only remember one time that was done. She never asked the kids over, she enjoyed them when we came to dinner and for water melon feeds and bar b cues. She raised us and I am sure she enjoyed her freedom just as I did when mine left home. And no one could love babies and small children more than I do, but that doesn't mean I have don't have a life of my own. The in laws never asked the kids over and we weren't offended. They asked us over as a family because it was about the whole family.

This post was edited by EmmaR on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 23:20

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 7:29PM
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No one can understand your situation until they walk in your shoes. Yes, I have the exact same experience as you, oldest grandchild is 17.

It does not change, so dig your heels in for the long haul and enjoy your grandchildren even though you know their other grandma is their favorite one.

There will be a day come the grandchildren will realize you are the stable grandparent they can depend on, you are the rock and the fun grandmother will not be mature enough to be the stable rock.

I feel for you, I know firsthand how this makes you feel.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 5:38PM
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