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AIBU in thinking my parents should see my children more than twice a year.

(56 Posts)
violett Sun 10-Jul-11 02:46:02

Sorry, I know it's yet another thread about grandparents, but I feel quite upset. My parents live 3 miles away, fit and healthy and in early retirement although they don't go away , they have a strict routine such as food shopping on a thursday which they don't like to deviate from. They have seen my 3 children twice this year, Christmas and Easter and this was at a family get together at someone elses house.If I suggest meeting up say in October, My mum will say oh don't worry because we will see you at Christmas and if I suggest meeting up in January it will be , oh don't worry , I'm sure will see you at Easter.
I think it's a bit wierd really, and feel sorry for my children as they keep asking why don't they see their grandparents.My PIl are normal and they do see them every weekend.I just feel sad and I know it's their loss, but I can't help it.I know we all think are children are great but I have my neighbours offering to babysit or pick them up from school because they say they are such lovely children and I just think how much they are missing.They have never babysat, spent one to one just chatting, gone to school plays, sports days ..they don't even act interested when I bring photos.when my DH bumped into my Mum at the shops with DD after her ballet exam she said she hated her hair ( it was in a ballet bun ) and after 30 seconds looking at photos on DH phone announced I can't look anymore and made her excuses.When our family meets up with my sisters children ( who she does have staying overnight occasionally, which upsets me ) she will make comments such as whos currently the best behaved or will make little comments if she feels one of mine has said something he shouldn't.She will also only chat to mine for 20 seconds and then come over to me and say Oh, I found out lots of secrets about you.I just feel upset, but do you think I should just move on and ignore them ?

BoysisBackinTown Sun 10-Jul-11 04:15:05

That is really sad and you are right, it is them who are missing out. I have no advice really, my Mum is simailar in that she doesn't really like to spend time with my DSs (although she does visit more often than your does but this is more to belittle me rather than spend time with her grandchildren, whom she just ignores 99% of the time).

Have you spoken to your parents at all? Can you think of any reason that they may have difficulty maintaining a relationship with you or your DH which is why they keep their distance? I'm not trying to imply you are the problem, just pondering reasons for their behaviour. My mother is just toxic, end of. Some people are like that, unfortunately.

Luckily, your DCs have one wonderful set of GPs and a Mum and Dad who love them so I'm sure they won't miss out as such.

I think maybe you should try and talk to them about it but don't get "you spend more time with sister and her family than me and mine" kind of way as that will just get their defences up. Maybe start with a "I thought it would be nice to spend some time together over the summer, we could go out for lunch and spend some time together and maybe make it a monthly thing?" If they say no you can ask why and go from there. But if they give an excuse you can't come back from (IYSWIM) then you may just have to accept that they aren't interested in a close relationship with your family.

Sorry for the long winded post, very, very sleepy here. Good luck Violett.

hairfullofsnakes Sun 10-Jul-11 04:16:26

Why haven't you just asked them outright why they are like this?! Have they always been like that with you?

They sound very odd and tbh you and your children sound better off without them from the negative and stupid comments they make! Why subject your children to grandparents who make such twatty comments anyway?'

I think we need more info on your relationship with them but it does sound like you and the kids are better off without them!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 10-Jul-11 08:41:37

Were your parents like this before the children arrived? My friend's mother doesn't really 'do' visitors and doesn't like having children in her flat so all visits are very formal, arranged well in advance and usually at somone else's house. But she's always been like that.

emsies Sun 10-Jul-11 08:52:00

I think its really sad and my parents where similar when we lived (admittedly 2 hours) away. We were struggling in a yucky flat (hadn't realised how expensive london was) with a new baby and they just weren't interested. I am unbelievably envious of people whose grandparents take their children to the park etc or have them for a few hours now and then. My parents in law are in Australia!

MistressFrankly Sun 10-Jul-11 09:09:12

It must be upsetting for you but they have made their choice. You cannot expect someone to be the loving grandparent if they simply have no interest. I grew up knowing only one GM who had no interest in us what so ever. We stopped seeing her when it was plain she wasnt arsed about us. It was more hurtful as a child to feel uncomfortable and unwanted around her than have no contact at all.

TBH sounds like there are issues coming from your mum and i would personally leave her to get on with them. Life is too short to be made to feel crappy. Especially by your family Spend your time with people whose company you enjoy and who value you DC. Leave the rest to their petty behaviour.

TryLikingClarity Sun 10-Jul-11 09:18:38

Sorry you're going through this OP.

I agree with MistressFrankly who says that it hurts more to feel uncomfortable around an uncaring grandparent than to simply not have any contact.

Yes, we all think grandparents are meant to be sunshine and love, but sadly, that isn't always true.

My grandparents weren't worth the word coming out on this screen, and since I'm an adult now with my own DC I don't have anything to do with them.

If she's going to be cheeky to her own granddaughter cuz she has her hair in a bun then she sounds like a toxic cow!

Give your DC lots of love, surround them with loving caring people and let your parents go to buggery.

I know that doesn't stop you from feeling sad though sad I understand that.

hocuspontas Sun 10-Jul-11 09:23:00

So what happens if you just pop in on the off-chance? Do they not answer the door?

violett Sun 10-Jul-11 16:59:41

Thanks've all just confirmed my feeling really, but with family it's hard to distance yourself ! Some of my mothers behaviour I think to myself how it would sound coming from me and it is just rude and unacceptable.If I ring then if it coincides with a soap for example, she will be really off and when I say that I will ring another time, she replies oh don't worry, you're only going to be 5 minutes , aren't you ? what do you say to that ?!! She's very conformist and we haven't had a particularly close relationship, but it was ok..I just couldn't wait to leave home !when I had my first child she saw me for 5 minutes in the hospital and then not again until he was 3 weeks old because she wanted to give us space, even though I'm the sort of person who doesn't mind people dropping by unannounced ( she would go mad if I did that ) and then made a funny comment about his outfit and then when he started doing those very loud newborn trumps she said oh I don't think I want to hold him if he's going to do my DH took him off her and then afterwards she complained about that to me. My DS did go to her for 2 hours once a week when he was about 3 which was really nice and everything was ok for a while..but when I had my next son who was quite a handful ( in a normal boy way ) she refused to have him come over and when I was 8 months pregnant with my DD we ended up having a big shouting match because DS2 cried when I was leaving and she said not to bother coming in, just leave DS1 ..DS2 was only 2 at the time and when I said she never sees then she said Well, lucky me having to see your wonderful children as if she was some random stranger and not their grandmother.When I was in labour and she said she would have the boys , it went on for quite a long time and she rang me up to say if I didn't have DD soon then I would have to come and get the boys...that was slightly stressful ! When she was born she didn't even want to hold her.She's never had any of them at her house having a chat or going out anywhere on their own, it's just at special occasions. However now I think back, I only saw my cousins ( her sisters children ) at Christmas.It's a bit dysfunctional, thnk goodness I turned out ok ! When you have children though, it's quite powerful, because you start having flashbacks and questioning your childhood.My children are lovely and will talk away to any grown up who will comment on what happy, friendly children they are and it's such a shame that she doesn't know them.

chunkyjojo Sun 10-Jul-11 19:10:18

violett that sounds so sad, its horrible to think your own parents have so little interest in you or your family. Its only natural you'd feel hurt but just tell yourself its their loss.

They may regret their treatment of you when they get older and less independent, I imagine you won't be running to help them out! Concentrate on your own family and leave them to it smile

oohjarWhatsit Sun 10-Jul-11 19:22:18

do you think some of the things she says are meant as jokes but you take them the wrong way

some of what you said she says sounds like stuff people would say in jest

DogsBestFriend Sun 10-Jul-11 19:29:12

TBH if and when my DDs have children I will be much the same. I'll have done my share of children, of admiring a scribble, of wiping noses and listening to tantrums, of teenaged angst. I don't want to do it again, I don't want to babysit someone else's children, regardless of their relationship to me or how nice their parents consider them to be. I'm just not interested in other people's children and my own DDs children will be just that - their offspring, not mine.

It's not a personal snub, it's a personal opinion, just the way I am. There's no rule book which says that you are obliged to like/want to see/want to visit/want to babysit other people's DC, even if they're your grandchildren, is there?

DogsBestFriend Sun 10-Jul-11 19:37:03

I forgot that YABU to think that your parents "should" see your children more than twice a year. Although you are not being unreasonable to be saddened by it your parents have no obligation to see your DC at all.

garlicoliveoil Sun 10-Jul-11 19:37:13

you sound lovely DBF hmm

allegrageller Sun 10-Jul-11 19:41:36

dbf, I think your dds might just take that as a 'personal snub'

DogsBestFriend Sun 10-Jul-11 19:51:04

allegrageller, I doubt it very much. They've had, and will have had, enough time to get used to my opinion on the matter, it's not as if it would come as a shock to them. Frankly if it did, it did, that's life.

DaisySteiner Sun 10-Jul-11 19:52:12

God, how sad.

DogsBestFriend Sun 10-Jul-11 19:53:20

garlic, sorry I don't meet with your approval but I was unaware that I had to fit some sort of criterion.

allegrageller Sun 10-Jul-11 19:56:17

well, just because something is not a shock doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

Anyway, your dds will no doubt withdraw from you in your old age once you have withdrawn from their adult lives post-children, should they have any. I expect you're ok with that by the sound of you....

DogsBestFriend Sun 10-Jul-11 20:01:36

I've heard it all before, allegra, and yes, I am perfectly okay with that. I have a life which etends beyond my immediate family.

I think it's possible that the OP's mother might hold a similar view. All I was doing was explaining that possibility in the face of people who might just find the concept of someone not being fond of others' children and not wanting them around when their own have grown up to be beyond their comprehension.

garlicoliveoil Sun 10-Jul-11 20:03:35

Violett- so sorry about you parents, i know how you feel my mum is exactly the same, she doesnt even see my children on their birthdays or christmas sad, its just a quick phonecall and the card in the post- she lives a ten minute journey away but seems to make time to see a long lost aunt

DBF, i just think its sad that you would want your children to feel like this, that you dont care and you dont support them, you sound awful, what mother actively wishes and seems to brag about wanting nothing to do with her future grandchildren

PercyPigPie Sun 10-Jul-11 20:11:33

Violett, I really feel for you (and for your children DBF) because rejection by your mother, whatever age, is really hurtful and unsettling.

DogsBestFriend Sun 10-Jul-11 20:12:03


One who has spent the past 16 years bringing up her own children totally singlehandedly and who doesn't want to return to a life of listening to Baa Baa Black Sheep and wiping crayon off the walls, garlic. More specifically, one who has suffered life threatening illness along the way, who is probably quite a bit older than you/most MNers and who, having raised her own children, wants to live at last before it's too late, not wipe the asses of other people's children!

You think I'm awful because of your own circumstances and you are projecting. I've no problem with what you think of me, we're hardly likely to meet, are we, but I do think that you're only taking a snapshot and allowing the issue to be clouded by your own experiences.

The OP is understandably saddened but what I objected to was the use of "should" in the opening title.

DogsBestFriend Sun 10-Jul-11 20:13:36

"I really feel for you (and for your children DBF)"


Oh fu... take a hike Mud, my children don't need your pity.

Allinabinbag Sun 10-Jul-11 20:32:01

DogsBestFriend, of coure there's no rule book saying you have to see your children's grandchildren, but most do want a close relationship, so you would be unusual in not wanting to see much of your own offspring (yes, they will be your offspring if one generation removed). And it is a personal snub of the nastiest kind, as this very sad thread shows. Best warn them in advance, then they can decide what to do, I doubt many people would continue to feel close and adore the people that reject their own children, if anything you feel protective over your own children and feel the rejection more than if you were rejected yourself. It is a real deal-breaker for most people.

OP, I feel for you, but as others have said, they don't sound like they want to change. If three times a year is enough, it's enough, they are the ones missing out, but it is their very strange choice. And it must feel terribly personal to you, as they only get to see you three times a year presumably as well. Thank goodness for your inlaws in this situation.

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