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I honestly don't know whether IABU or not, please advise me

(41 Posts)
myrosynose Tue 09-Aug-11 11:58:44

OK so I have two dc aged 7 and 9

we are permanently estranged from my mother and my dc are aware of it - the older one has a few memories of her and they occasionally mention that "we don't see grandma"

we still see a lot of my dad and the kids ADORE him

he has a partner now, I have known her for years as his friend and they have got closer and closer

which is lovely, I am delighted for him and he is so much happier

BUT I am feeling uneasy and I need advice

she is an ex-teacher and has gradually got more and more "assertive" with my kids - I don't mind other adults reminding them about manners etc but it is going a little further than I am happy with - she is being a bit too strict, in front of me as well

she and my dad are taking the kids out for the day today so I can get a bit of cleaning done - I am very grateful for this, I really am and it will be great for the kids

but she was laying down really stringent ground rules - they are only allowed an ice cream, no need for any other threats - they will stop for chips but when my dad suggested they might like a fishcake she squawked at him that they didn't NEED it

petty I know but...

and this morning when she was warning dc about behaving well she said "because then next time Grandma and Grandad come down...."

she has never referred to herself as Grandma before and I have not suggested it.. I am not happy with it tbh

probably because I was made to call my stepfather dad and I was fineigled into my kids calling him grandpa (before the estrangement) and I just feel really strongly that it is easier and more painless for children if everybody just sticks to the truth about who they are

AIBU? Probably sad but I feel really upset and out of control about it, dh is away for two weeks for work and the house is a tip because we had a holiday, then we all had food poisoning, then we went to a festival - "grandma" is expecting to come back to a clean tidy house this evening because I have the child-free time today

I can't explain what is bugging me, perhaps MNers will be able to get to the heart of it? I am ready to be lambasted as well grin

RitaMorgan Tue 09-Aug-11 12:04:53

I don't know if YABU or not, but it would wind me up too!

myrosynose Tue 09-Aug-11 12:07:48

ok so at least if IABU I would not be the only one! grin

squeakytoy Tue 09-Aug-11 12:10:54

Be led by the children. If they feel happy to call her Grandma XXX, then let them.

YANBU, but I would say let it go for the moment, and see how happy the children are spending time with her. They are old enough to tell you about it if they arent.

AnyFucker Tue 09-Aug-11 12:12:03

I don't think YABU

this woman sounds very controlling and judgemental

yes, they are doing you a favour today, but the cost seems rather high to me

(this reason is why I no longer ask my own family for "favours" btw)

myrosynose Tue 09-Aug-11 12:20:24

I feel really angry that she slipped in the "grandma" thing this morning without consulting me first

really pissed off actually sad

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Tue 09-Aug-11 12:22:21

I agree with squeaky - you're going to get the full sp from your dc later and maybe you could lead the way in calling the old bat her 'grandma (insert her name)'.

And now: heigh ho, heigh ho, it's back to cleaning you go....grin

ProcrastinatorGeneral Tue 09-Aug-11 12:23:21

She's not their grandmother. Also, anyone who thinks that fried carbs alone is a decent meal needs a slapsad

ProcrastinatorGeneral Tue 09-Aug-11 12:24:39

Slap with a wet kipper even.

Distraction central here today!

GooseyLoosey Tue 09-Aug-11 12:26:27

I don't think YABU and it would annoy me too. I think I would raise it with her. Say your mother is "grandma" so you want to discuss what the dcs should call her.

I'm afraid if you don’t like her approach with he children, there is little you can do other than limit the amount of time she spends with them or perhaps have a discreet word with your dad?

ceebie Tue 09-Aug-11 12:27:41

When I was 6 we had neighbours who we called Granny and Grandad Surname. I knew that they were not related and just elderly neighbours, because my parents said so: they told us it was a polite way for us to address them. I even felt slightly differently towards them than I did towards my real grandparents, whom I realised were my blood relatives.

The issue is what your children are comfortable with. Just tell them that they don't have to call her grandma if they'd prefer not to - let them decide. It sounds as if this choice wasn't given to you with respect to your stepdad.

As for the strict rules - I rather think that while you're present, it's your rules and she should be politely reminded that you must be able to make your own parenting decisions whether she agrees or otherwise. However, while she and your grandad are in charge, I kinda think it's up to them so long as you trust them to be responsible. However you could butt in with a cheeky "Oh I'm sure fishcakes won't do them any harm, now will it?" etc

Ragwort Tue 09-Aug-11 12:28:21

Well, I think you sound a litte U - if you trust your DF and his DP enough to take the children out for a day then you have to accept their 'rules' - which sound perfectly OK - I know some kids who get three ice creams on a day out - totally OTT in my opinion.

If you are not happy with her being called 'grandma' it would be best to have a quiet word with your DF and explain you would prefer her to be called fistname/Mrs X/Aunty or whatever you feel appropriate. Don't leave it unsaid, it is very confusing in these cases to know exactly how someone should be addressed. You can remind your Dad how you felt about having to call your stepfather 'Dad'. Good luck smile.

Birdsgottafly Tue 09-Aug-11 12:29:41

Two issues going on.

Don't give in to her controlling ways. If they decide to take your DC's out, it is up to you how you spend your time. Tbh you can get the DC's to help with the cleaning, if you need to. If you want a day to rest first, take it, you are an adult, do what suits you and yours.

The DC's- you decide how much they need to eat, if you have something with the chips, just have less chips, also the level of behaviour expected. You need to take her aside and remind her that she isn't trying to run a classroom, she is supposed to be building a relationship with them. There is behaviour for; inside school, with strangers and family, she doesn't seem to have sorted that out in her mind, put her straight.

borderslass Tue 09-Aug-11 12:31:39

DH's dad remarried his second wife 9 years ago eldest calls her by first name but 2 youngest decided to call her grandma a couple of years ago but at first she still insisted on grandma first name but it was their choice.

I would not have been amused if they had insisted on it themselves.

DoMeDon Tue 09-Aug-11 12:32:08

I see nowt wrong with her being strict - DC will learn that everyone has different rules - rich tapestry of life and all that. It is her controlling-ness (I know, I know) which would be my issue. It is worrying that she 'expects' a clean house and wants to be 'grandma' - it is controlling in the extreme.

I think you need to learn to assert yourself. It sounds like you have real trouble with that. Just tell her straight she is not grandma (unless it is DC choice- then I would let it go) and your house is untidy due to circumstance not a character flaw hmm

Assert, assert, assert is my only advice!

ceebie Tue 09-Aug-11 12:32:24

PS It is at least nice that she would like them to think of her as their grandma? At least she seems interested in your children even if her style of childminding is very much at odds with yours. Not everyone would be - she could be completely disinterested and refuse to have anything to do with them!

Birdsgottafly Tue 09-Aug-11 12:32:53

To add to ceebie's post- i am in my fourties, we called every close friend of the family Auntie/Uncle it was thought wrong to call an adult anything else. That may be generational, if she is taking your DC's out, you can speak to her direct, you don't have to speak through your DF, that way things cannot be misinterpreted.

myrosynose Tue 09-Aug-11 12:34:11

the thing is I KNOW I am tetchy about the "grandma" thing because of being made to call my stepdad "Dad" - we were made to call him "Home-dad" and my dad "Abroad-dad", she changed my surname to my stepdad's which caused me no end of trouble (medical records in one name, school records in another etc)

and my mother was phenomenally controlling, passive-aggressive, manipulative - so when the "grandma" thing slipped out this morning, and all the point-scoring about the chips and the spare clothes and "one spade each" and "no they won't NEED a fishcake" etc, I just went cold

I am really upset about it blush

NoMoreWasabi Tue 09-Aug-11 12:36:08

Can you talk to your Dad about this?

WhereDidAllThePuffinsGo Tue 09-Aug-11 12:36:09

Ask your kids if they would like to call her Grandma, or continue using her name. Point out that if they do decide not to use "Grandma" now they can change their minds later. Try not to let them see that you mind either way! Once they've decided, you can let her know. Does she have children or other gcs? She probably got overexcited ...

Can you talk to your Dad privately and ask him to be assertive with her? Remind him that he is a good grandad and the children love being with him, and that he can trust his instincts as to how to deal with behaviour/treats etc. Say you are worried that if he follows his DP's stricter ideals then the children may not enjoy visiting him so much. Could you have that kind of conversation with him?

Obviously if she tries to be too strict with them when you are there, you can say "actually I'm happy for them to do/have/be xyz".

Do you think you might be feeling that she is trying to fill your mum's place? Or was your mum overcontrolling and this is turfing up old emotions? Or something like that? It may well be simply that this woman is a bossy cow, but it may also be that you're reacting to other stuff from the past and not really to her. Emotions are funny things!

Oh, and put your feet up. It isn't up to her to decide how you spend your time. If she comments, give her a big smile and say it seemed a waste of a child-free day to spend it cleaning.

JanMorrow Tue 09-Aug-11 12:36:33

I'd very pointedly say when they all come back "did you have a nice day with Grandad and Gladys*? Did you have lots of nice treats?"

*insert her acutal name here.

WhereDidAllThePuffinsGo Tue 09-Aug-11 12:36:34

ah, x-posted

squeakytoy Tue 09-Aug-11 12:37:07

I was going to to say the same as Birds. Growing up, close family friends or neighbours we knew well were called Auntie xxx etc.. I am 42 and still call my mums best friend Auntie Joyce.. it would just seem wrong to call her Joyce. She still sends me birthday cards signed Auntie Joyce too.. smile

My friend will pass her small son to me and say go to "Auntie Squeaky".. I am not his aunt, but its just the way a lot of us still refer to adults in front of young children. Its harmless.

myrosynose Tue 09-Aug-11 12:37:30

and I know she would like to be a grandma, her only dd can't have children

I don't want to be mean or ungrateful, honestly, and I can't even explain what is bothering me sad

Birdsgottafly Tue 09-Aug-11 12:39:23

Have you been put back into the child role being dictated to be an unreasonable school teacher, perhaps?

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