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to expect the grandparents to WANT to spend time with their grandchildren

(38 Posts)
peekmum Thu 01-Sep-11 21:47:05

Okay, so here's the deal. My mother-in-law moved to Spain with her new husband two years ago (whilrwind romance after 6 month - another story blah de blah de blah). To date none of her three other children have visited as none hold passports (I know!!!!) . This is our fourth visit. We stayed for two weeks in a separate apartment in the same development as them. We invited my dad (the other grandad) to come out for five of those days. The 'Spanish' grandparents then decide to go away for those five days as they felt put out that it wasn't an exclusive arrangement and we didn't 'ask' them for permission for him to come.

Angry, upset, disappointed for hubby, my dad, kids. 'Spanish' grandmother has had to make a bit of a Sophie's choice as it was an ultimatum laid down by her new man but to reach no compromise has astounded me. As an adult, my lovely hubby has done nothing but support his mum for years since the death of her first husband and his dad nearly 30 years ago and to snub him, my children and my dad like this has left me livid!

The last two days it was the elephant in the room when they returned.

MadamDeathstare Thu 01-Sep-11 21:51:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JjandtheBeanlovesUnicorns Thu 01-Sep-11 21:53:35

YANBU, its even sadder when its up the road and they always 'pop' somewhere when you visit sad

fivegomadindorset Thu 01-Sep-11 21:53:46

Not your MIL fault, she was put in a hideous position, your DH's step fathe sounds awful.

peekmum Thu 01-Sep-11 21:56:21

Mmmm - Sophie's choice I know.

goingmadinthecountry Thu 01-Sep-11 22:06:01

Not on at all - poor mil. Does she seem happy with her new h apart from this?

My inlaws haven't seen our children since last Christmas (or spoken to dh) because I had a minor disagreement with sil at dinner - nothing major I promise. They live about a mile away. In fact bil even got married a couple of weeks ago and didn't let us know - it's only that dd1 saw the pictures when nosing on Facebook. There was a reg office wedding and a big full white wedding party as well apparently. Dcs feel pretty hard done by and dh is hurt, saddened and embarrassed by the behaviour. I've always felt our lot have been very much seen as second class grandchildren compared to sil's golden children.

peekmum Thu 01-Sep-11 22:15:40

goingmadinthecountry - families!!! it's never easy is it. Just shows you only need to be round the corner. I think she is happy with her OH and said it was a decision for the sake fo the marriage and she doesn't want a war. that said, I think he's doing a v good job of isolating her and she can't see it. they haven't really learnt any Spanish, don't really socialise and he says things like 'you're enough I don't need any more than you - why do you need more'. (v. clingy and insecure in my opinion) He is a traditionalist. Lovely with the boys, playing and having fun but I think he'd be quite happy if we never went there again really so he could have MIL to himself

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Thu 01-Sep-11 22:17:06

It's not 'Sophie's Choice' at all, that was something very different, OP.

I don't think it was right of your dad to bounce out to Spain when you were 'booked in' with your MIL. Did you even let her know that you'd made that arrangement?

Read your OP back to yourself, including the title, where you expect your MIL to want to be with your children... she did. You moved the goalposts but inviting your dad without as much as by your leave. How would you feel in your MIL's position?

I think you commited a faux pas actually and I think you and your DH should apologise and not let this fester.

mynewpassion Thu 01-Sep-11 22:31:48

I think you are not seeing it from their point of view. They live in another country so its not like she's can pop over anytime so they want exclusive rights to the grandkids. She did spend 9 days (assuming 2 full weeks) with them. She has likely seen the kids four times in two years. You should have been a bit sensitive about that.

Its understandable for your dh and dc to be hurt but now you know. Next time, don't invite your dad along or if you, don't get mad.

exoticfruits Thu 01-Sep-11 22:35:07

Why shouldn't she have invited her father? confused They were in their own apartment. The more the merrier-why does MIL need it to be just her and her partner? Her husband seems very childish if he sees the other grandfather as competition-he is an adult!
It is sad but she seems to be putting new DH first-not much you can do-but it isn't your fault and it is their loss.

exoticfruits Thu 01-Sep-11 22:37:01

I think that my policy of mixing the familes and having them both from the start was wise.I really don't get this 'he can't come because he is your father and you can't mix with DHs parents-how weird!

exoticfruits Thu 01-Sep-11 22:45:24

My parents and ILs see each other when I am not there. I think they were being incredibly rude to your father.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 02-Sep-11 00:51:42

exoticfruits... It might be 'the more the merrier' to you, but it isn't to the OP's MIL. I think you're transposing your situation and your family members and obviously that's difference because everybody's circumstances are different.

OP's actions in inviting her father have caused friction with her MIL. I can see why that is so. A bit of consideration towards the MIL could have gone a long way and might have prevented the bad feeling.

Himalaya Fri 02-Sep-11 01:09:53

Hmmmm ... But they did spend time with your kids (presumably...9 days?). they didn't spend time with your dad, which is fair enough (if a little rude) since they didn't invite him. But then it sounds like they thought it was a bit rude to invite him without checking with them first.

Personally I think it's unwise to expect grandparents to meet certain expectations about wanting to spend time with grandkids. Some do, some don't.

MadamDeathstare Fri 02-Sep-11 01:45:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

corriefan Fri 02-Sep-11 08:12:13

You didn't do anything out if malice but I too can see how yr PILs got upset. You go to spain to see them and then another possibly more familiar gp comes along, who you can see anytime in your own country as far as theyre concerned. They probably didn't want to fight for the attention of dc and it would have invited a whole different dimension. For the sake of your dc relationship with their gps, I'd apologise for inviting your dad over, say you hadn't realised how upset they'd be and you hadnt thought it through properly.

exoticfruits Fri 02-Sep-11 08:27:18

I hate this thought that grandchild or children are possessions to be 'fought' over! There is only something to apologise for if they invied him to MIL house (which would be very rude). They went on holiday to see MIL and paid for their own accommodation. They had room for father and invited him.
Everyone must be very insecure indeed if there is such jealousy that you must have your grandchildren to yourself.

corriefan Fri 02-Sep-11 08:34:02

I see what you mean exotic, but in terms Of smoothing out relationship, what would you do? Just expect them to see the error of their ways? I can imagine that they are possessive of their v little time with dgc.

2rebecca Fri 02-Sep-11 08:40:05

I could understand your inlaws reaction if you had invited your MIL's exhusband out to stay in Spain and expected them to visit but them avoiding your father sounds petty.
I would have expected you to tell them in advance though that your father was coming for part of the time and you were having a general holiday and not going just to see them.
They maybe then felt that if you regarded the trip as being a general holiday then they could regard it as a general holiday and do their own thing for a few days.
It sounds as though they had regarded your holiday as the equivalent of you living with them for 2 weeks and if you had been staying in their house for 2 weeks you wouldn't have invited someone else along.
2 weeks is a long time to be in your inlaws company for all concerned I would have thought though so maybe only seeing them for 9 days wasn't so bad. They saw you all for most of the time.

exoticfruits Fri 02-Sep-11 08:45:54

They chose to live in Spain where they would automatically see less of the GC. They haven't come to visit, the other 3 DCs haven't been out once. OP has made a huge effort and expense to tie up their holidays and visited 4 times! They took their own apartment for 14 days-out of those 14days they invited her father for 5 days leaving 9 days where they had grandchild to themselves.
OP is then getting it in the neck and supposed to smooth it out! confused
I expect grandchild is very young-(people get at their most possessive and silly before they can speak for themselves) but if I was a DC it would put me right off grandparents-I preferred the laid back approach.
MIL should be apologising to you for childish behaviour!

MugglesandLuna Fri 02-Sep-11 08:53:17

Thats nothing like Sophie's Choice. Have you actually read the book/seen the film OP??


MugglesandLuna Fri 02-Sep-11 08:53:48

Of course I meant confused
Not had tea yet.

iscream Fri 02-Sep-11 08:56:19

How very rude of them. I would not go there again, but would send your mom a ticket to visit you instead.

iscream Fri 02-Sep-11 09:03:38

Maybe the insecure husband too, just to prevent trouble about it.

Sextilis Fri 02-Sep-11 09:21:14

Hi, I am just wondering if your MIL's Dh is a little bit controlling in general. I find it strange that after a whirlwind romance they effectively isolate themselves from her family by moving to Spain. I know you said the other kids haven't visited them, but whats stopping them coming back for a visit, Surely she misses her kids.
You have always made the trip to see them, have you always felt welcome or have you ever felt an 'imposition'.
I don't know why I got this impression from your post but it seems that its the Dh's nose was out of joint, maybe he fely undermined by your Dad, is he a more 'natural' Grandad, or maybe her Dh doesn't want to see the kids interacting with the Gf they see all the time as MIL might then feel she is missing out?

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