to be upset when my son goes to my mother to be comforted

(34 Posts)
keely79 Tue 22-Jan-13 13:53:01

My mother is a lifesaver and looks after DD (3) when she's not in nursery and DS (1) full time. We do pay her, but it is a much more flexible arrangement than a nanny would be. I work full time, as does DH. This is partly financial and partly by choice - I love my career and it is not something I can do part time. My mother is enabling me to progress in my career while secure in the knowledge that my children are being looked after by someone who loves them. So far, so good - right? We are also all living together at the moment while various house sales and purchases progress - that's also going fine for the most part.

However, my son currently has chickenpox. He is therefore miserable and it breaks my heart because he is too young to understand what is going on and why we can't make it better. Last night he woke up around 9pm. He was making complaining sounds but we have been leaving him for a few minutes when he does this as he often self settles. However, yesterday my mother swooped upstairs and brought him downstairs. I was home from work by this time and offered to take him but (a) he didn't want to come to me (which was really upsetting); and (b) my mother said "he only wants me and he's upset because he was left to cry".

This really got to me - but was it unreasonable to be hurt about this?...

theweekendisnear Tue 22-Jan-13 21:50:41

keely79 - not that it is really important, but is your mum living at your place while she buys/sells her house, or are you living at hers, while you buy/sell your house?

I think you were all tired that evening...

MrsHuxtable Tue 22-Jan-13 22:06:29

YANBU to feel hurt
BUT and this is the big but, it sounds liek your mother is DS's primary care giver so his atatchment to her will be stronger than to you. Sorry, to say it like that.

I was the same with my granny. She looked after me when my mum was at work and I still feel more connected and loyal towards my granny now than I do towards my mother.
I've been told my mum was hurt as well when I wanted my granny over her but it's just natural. It's the price you pay for working full-time.

mynewpassion Tue 22-Jan-13 22:09:15

YABU. Maybe as his main carer, he wanted her only for the moment. That doesn't mean that he doesn't know that you are his mother or love you less. He just wants someone to baby him and he knows he will get it from your mother.

I think Joining has it spot on.

Your Mum has been with him all day today - maybe today, due to his illness, leaving him a couple of minutes resulted in a mass escalation of the hiccuping sobs variety. I totally appreciate that you know your son - but he is ill and today your Mum has been looking after him, so today, in this situation she may well know him better than you.

DD is currently ill - when she is well we leave her to self settle, and it works just fine. It doesn't work when she is ill - if I leave her to whimper as normal when unwell she doesn't settle, she starts sobbing and is inconsolable. Imagine being ill and trying to get attention and noone comes - it is far more distressing than when you are well because you feel so crap to start with.

So when she is ill I do "swoop" if she whimpers - because I know that that is what she needs and that I can calm her down relatively easily but if I leave her it can be incredibly difficult.

Point proved here last night when DH left her for a couple of minutes as usual after she whimpered and the result was she was sobbing for half an hour and clinging to me for two hours. Not his fault, I had popped to the shop and he'd been at work all day and he just didn't think about it.

I can totally understand why you feel hurt - but atm your Mum is your sons primary caregiver, so it is normal for him to seek comfort from her, just as my DD seeks me for comfort because I am her primary.

glamourousgranny42 Tue 22-Jan-13 22:20:39

Lopopo you are so right. My daughter and baby grandaughter live with me and my mothers instinct totally kicked in again.

I react to my grandaughter in the same way I did with my chilfren. It breaks my heart if she cries and I have had to sit on my hands on a number of occasions because I was ready to take over.

This is not a childminder but a grandma and the relationship is totally different. She has looked after him all day when he has been ill and probably has more understanding of him and his needs at the moment.
However I would make sure that you have agreed how you will jointly parent and look after your children so that there is no inconsistency

LuluMai Tue 22-Jan-13 22:50:55

This is why, when I went full time when ds was two, I switched from childminder to nursery. I never wanted any one person to spend more one on one time my son than I ever did. Maybe you need to rethink your child care if you're struggling with this set up.

differentnameforthis Tue 22-Jan-13 23:25:26

I had CP when I was 10 & I was covered in them. I was pretty miserable & begged my mum to stay home with me instead of going to work & she refused. Even when I called her sobbing that the itching was unbearable & I was in pain.

It felt pretty horrible, to be fair. This is for a 10yr old who understood why her mother wouldn't be there (work) so I have a little idea how your poor 1yr old felt at being left to cry. Normally I am not the type of parent who answers every little whimper, but when my kids are ill I do very much so because it is so bloody miserable for them.

I can't understand why you would let a tiny, poorly baby cry!

It is not unreasonable to be upset by her comments. But it is unreasonable to expect him to self sooth while so poorly & expect no one to say anything about it.

Mimishimi Wed 23-Jan-13 00:36:05

I've seen this happen with SIL and her kids. My MIL, along with a nanny, has had primary care of the elder two for most of their lives. They still ask for 'Patti' when they want to be comforted. It is only natural but you should be glad that your DS has such a strong bond with her , it would be worse if it was a stranger. Your DS is also sick with quite an irritating illness, that is not the time to be practising 'self-settling' techniques.

apostropheuse Wed 23-Jan-13 01:03:10

Your mum probably shouldn't have said "he only wants me" out loud for you to hear. She could think it, because it was probably true. She is his main carer and he's obviously very attached to her. It's only natural that he looks to her for comfort. I'm sure he does love you very much too though.

Regarding leaving a sick child to whimper/cry. Well tbh I think you should never ever do that. I have a vivid memory of being in a big black metal cot and crying, wanting my mother to come to me. I can remember wondering why she was ignoring me, and crying louder and louder and her not coming.

I remember having a discussion about this with my mother when I became a mother myself. She was totally shocked, because the only time I was ever in a black metal cot like that was when I was in hospital for six weeks due to being burned. I was 11/12 months old when that happened. I'm 51 now and back then parents were only allowed to visit according to strict visiting times.

I think that's why I hate babies being left to cry at all. That's for a different thread though.

Sorry for going off on a tangent there.

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