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Estranged Mother and DD(7 Posts)
This could end up being a very long post so I am not going to go into every detail but basically growing up I didn't spend much time with my mum, we were never close; it seems she didn't really want to be around her three children much for her own reasons and in the end my grandparents became more like parents to us. My father left after many years of what had been an unhappy marriage a few years ago. Then my mother disowned my elder brother - they had a massive row, didn't really get to the bottom of it. I had pnd with both dc's - my mother was nowhere to be seen did not offer to help - just suggest you need to get out more etc but no physical support even for an hour or two. In a nutshell it has always been about her and she has never really been there for me. Two years ago following a bereavement, we became estranged things just drifted; it was like a game who would make contact first, well she didn't and in the end I didn't -then I didn't seem to care anymore. I do care what happens to her but I actually don't miss her and that sounds really bad doesn't it. I think I ended up being more of a mother to her then she was to me. She made it quite clear that she did not want to babysit my dc's etc - she was too busy with her part-time job, looking after her dog etc and when she did see my eldest dd she would usually plonk her in front of the TV with very little interaction. On the rare occasion she would visit, sometimes she would leave just before dc came out of school and I would say aren't you going to wait and say hello to dc and she would reluctantly agree. I often felt like I was carrying my mum especially after my dad left. She would never keep confidences and random people seemed to know my business, like a hot potato she would just have to tell, despite me asking her not to, so no trust. Getting there with this. Anyway, my eldest dd keeps opening the wound. I want to see my nan, I am entitled to see my nan, I miss my nan. I think dd is missing the fact that she doesn't have a nan full stop rather than missing her nan if you see what I mean. She's missing a part of history. It's more complicated than that. I had a late mc around this time and my sister in law had a baby boy 6 months earlier. I can't face seeing that child. Sister in law was always quite nasty to other family members and would never visit us. They live close to my mother - one wound will open another and I honestly feel like I haven't lost anything and I am trying to get quietly on with life. But dd does upset me, I have tried explaining to her. I wish she was older then I could say go ahead and visit on your own. I just don't want to go there at the moment. I have had a lot of awfulness in my life over the past five years and feel like I'm just starting to come out of it again but dd brings it all up again and I know it's not her fault. Just wanted to get this out somewhere.
Hmm. The thing is, if you did try to facilitate a relationship between your Mum and your daughter, your daughter is going to be bitterly disappointed when her Nan lets her down, which inevitably she will. I think the hard bit here, is knowing what to say to your daughter? How old is she? Old enough that you can just explain that you were raised by your grandparents, as your Mum was pretty crappy at the job?
Don't set your DD up for the heartbreak & disappointment.
Been there and got the t shirt. People aren't magically transformed by grandparenthood, sadly. They repeat their set patterns. It's shit
Just tell your dd that her nan is busy. She'll stop asking eventually!
Thank you ladies. It's all sad and tough and not the way I would want things in an ideal world especially as I was so close to my own grandparents. DH's parents are dead and my father lives abroad so no grandparents for my dc's. My dd is 10 so was probably about 7/8 when she last saw her nan. My little dd wouldn't know her at all. I don't want to say anything more that is negative about my mother she obviously has her reasons for behaving the way she does, probably stemming from her own childhood but I think it speaks volumes when I say I don't really miss her, just miss what I should have had. I will always care for her, she is my mother it is hard not to and all I do now is try to concentrate on being a good mother to my dc's and of course nobody's perfect. Sometimes, I am even anxious that I behave as my mother behaved when I was a child and that scares me. Mainly my mother was emotionally and often physically unavailable to me, she also stood by and watched abuse take place. I could go on but I won't I think I'm probably trying to justify this estrangement and the guilt I feel over DD. It's hard when you hear DD just wanting to attach and be part of a wider family, I feel for her as I said I had lovely grandparents and there was a lot of mutual adoration. So sad.
I think at 10 you should be able to talk to her reasonably honestly about this. Try explaining that you understand she wants to have a relationship with her GM, that that is good and normal. But that you are not sure how best to help her as reopening a relationship between yourself and DM and potentially SIL would be very difficult and is something you feel nervous and sad about.
I'm pretty sure you're right that your DD is more attached to the idea of a grandmother than the reality. Plenty of children don't see much of their grandparents - in our case, my parents live 8 hours away, and DH's parents are no longer alive. You could point out to your DD that she isn't alone in not having grandparents?
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