Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Disturbed by mother's comment about tween daughter

(19 Posts)
TouchingToes Mon 15-Jun-15 22:48:52

My 12yo dances. She is preparing for a competition and the girls had a full dress rehearsal during the weekend. The dance teacher sent through some photographs of them looking very happy and excited, and I forwarded them to my mother.

My mother lives in another city so rarely sees her grandchildren. She is elderly and unwell.

Her response? Those are chunky thighs for 12 year olds!

Today when we spoke on the phone, she brought it up right away. "Those are VERY large thighs don't you think?!"

I actually felt quite sick.

I don't even want to dignify her cruelty by telling you about the girls' figures but can I just be clear that they are normal sized children.

My mother is unwell, probably a few weeks from death, and has a long history of being socially unacceptable. But this comment has actually made me feel physically sick.

Does anyone agree or am I overreacting?

lastuseraccount123 Mon 15-Jun-15 22:53:16

she could be losing her marbles a bit if she's close to death? Also, be kind to yourself because being in the process of losing a parent is a big fucking deal. cake

TouchingToes Mon 15-Jun-15 23:00:23

Thanks lastuser that actually made me laugh

Feel better already!

dickiedavisthunderthighs Mon 15-Jun-15 23:01:31

Gosh. There's a huge backstory here isn't there?

momtothree Mon 15-Jun-15 23:05:27

I think being elderly gives you a right to be forth right and rude .... something i am looking forward too. (Seriously no one challenges the elderly ... so they just do!)

lastuseraccount123 Mon 15-Jun-15 23:08:24

you're welcome.

and here's some wine , aka therapy in a bottle

Justmuddlingalong Mon 15-Jun-15 23:12:21

With a history of being socially unacceptable and being so ill, she's not going to change now. Ignore her cruel comments and enjoy sharing your DD's happiness and excitement.

Hidingmyidentity Tue 16-Jun-15 10:17:30

When I was young we took a friend of mine on our family holiday. I was showing holiday photos to friends mum & her comment about me was "you have got legs like tree trunks", I was about 10 at the time. My parents had taken her daughter on a free holiday & that was what she felt was appropriate to say. Some people are complete arses whether they are young or old, male or female, related to you or not.

That comment to me was made over 40 years ago & I have never forgotten the rudeness of that woman.

Enb76 Tue 16-Jun-15 10:23:01

My mother called me 'thunder thighs' from about age 10, I was told they should never be seen in public - I was and still am slim and she still feels the need to comment on my weight. Ignore, ignore, ignore - don't let it take up any headspace at all. It's really not worth it especially as she has a history of being socially unacceptable. My mother is not generally particularly rude about anything except my weight.

You have far more influence on your daughter than your mother does.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 16-Jun-15 10:26:48

It's sad, isn't it, when people don't see the joy and laughter in a picture (or life) and instead look for something to be horrible about.

That said, I do think feeling physically sick is maybe over-reacting a little bit. But I think the rest of your post explains it. She is going, that's hard, and I think on some level you are desperately hoping for some sort of change from her as she approaches the end of her life.

Sadly, deathbed conversions only happen in books.

flowers for you and DD. Be kind to yourself and enjoy the competition.

cuckoosyndrome Tue 16-Jun-15 10:31:03

I suspect that the timing here is crucial to your feelings. Yes, what she said is unacceptable. No question about that. But your reaction is quite extreme based on that alone.

It is not, however, an extreme reaction to a parent nearing death. That is a moment when all kinds of regret can come to the fore - and alongside regret for things done and undone there can be regrets about the very nature of the relationship: regret that someone was always so awful, regret that they never learned how to behave properly, regret that she was never the mum you really wanted. And those are all extremely difficult thoughts and feelings, and they can make you feel confused, angry, upset, sick and sad all at once.

CherriesAndSlippers Tue 16-Jun-15 10:34:07

Old people are crazy. I'm nearly 30 and my granny repeatedly told me over dinner on Sunday that I should moderate my salt, sugar, fat, alcohol and cigarettes because that's what she did and she got married with a 26" waist and look at my size ten sister. Then at desert when I went to have cake she went on about it again. Ok I'm a size 14 which isn't great for my height (5'3") but I'm working on it. I left the table in tears, stupidly, because I should have told her that she was being rude.
She has form and I'm not going to change her now at 80 something.
At least she hasn't said it to your daughters face, just ignore. Especially if she's not too well at the moment. I know it's easier said than done though

Thenapoleonofcrime Tue 16-Jun-15 10:36:37

Of course it was an inappropriate thing to say, it sounds like she has spent a lifetime saying inappropriate things and standing back and watching the reactions. You don't need to share what was said though, so no actual harm done to the girls. It all sounds very upsetting though, I wish you well at what must be a very difficult time.

mix56 Tue 16-Jun-15 10:38:16

I understand only too well. My mother usually manages to say something hurtful, she has made the "tree trunk", "thunder thigh" comments about me from a young age, & I wasn't fat. I have forever had low self esteem & it all derives from that sort of comment.
I think it fair to say, that there is no point letting it hurt you, she is on her last legs & won't be hurting anyone much longer.
Enjoy your daughter, enjoy their joy, keep loving the good things

Lancelottie Tue 16-Jun-15 10:40:22

Sounds like my granny (except she meant well) 'By, lass, that's a grand pair of legs! Proper hockey legs them! Grand, they are -- you'll never starve in the desert.'

Yes, gran, thank you...

differentnameforthis Tue 16-Jun-15 10:40:49

I think being elderly gives you a right to be forth right and rude No it doesn't!

My aunt told my dd (then 9) that she had a fat tummy (was on the edge of puberty & no where near fat), which made her cry! So I told her in no uncertain terms to lay off the insults of a child who isn't able to defend herself! It's outright rude to comment on someone's appearance.

Hadron21 Tue 16-Jun-15 10:42:06

I think if you had time you would be able to have a chat with your mum and steer her in the right direction to have a good relationship with your daughter. You don't have time - you want your daughter to only have good memories of her grandma. It's a far more complex world now than when your mum was 12.
Shield your daughter from the comments, but encourage them to have a good relationship. Ask your mum directly not to say such things to your daughter saying it would upset her.
Take care of yourself too. It sounds like you're grieving already.
Make the most of this time.

Optimist1 Tue 16-Jun-15 11:04:17

A slightly different perspective on this ... I found myself watching my Pilates teacher's demonstration at the beginning of class recently and thinking "her leg muscles are really huge". As soon as I'd thought it, I looked at her again and realised that I'd been comparing the body of a well-toned, well-proportioned, normal woman with the images that bombard us on a daily basis. Models, pop stars, wannabes all with skinny little legs lacking almost any muscle. My teacher and your daughter should be the people we're striving to emulate! Perhaps your mother hasn't seen athletic limbs for a while and I'm guessing that hers are possibly thinner than they once were?

jesy Tue 16-Jun-15 11:10:33

It's not acceptable, comments like that can easily lead to eating issues if it had been said to the child which I know it hadn't but please keep that in your mind.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now