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To think that ils and parents aren't always equal.

(32 Posts)
Koothrapanties Thu 27-Feb-14 20:43:18

By that I mean when it comes to access to grandchildren.

Dh and I have a crappy relationship with his parents. Too much to go into, but they make very little effort with either of us, cause a lot of stress and are generally pretty rubbish parents to dh.

My parents are the polar opposite. They love both dh and I to pieces. They are always there for both of us and make a huge effort to be a constant part of our lives (which is reciprocated by us too).

Before we had dd, this was never an issue. Pils didn't want much to do with us and we weren't that bothered. Any time we did see them it would be a carcrash to be honest. I have written about them in detail before on here and have been told they are toxic and to go nc. Dh has tried a million times to have a better relationship with them, but has been let down again and again.

Then dd came along.

Suddenly they were getting in touch all the time. Fil started phoning all the time to hear how she was and to make sure we were looking after her properly hmm. Mil was suddenly sweet as pie and inviting us round all the time. However, they never ask about dh or I, and when we are round there pretty much ignore us and solely focus on dd. It's really quite awkward, it's like we aren't even there.

Since dd was born my mum has been a constant support, both practically and emotionally. She has helped out with washing and cleaning when I have been overwhelmed, has supported dh through horrible medical tests, invited us for meals and cooked food dh can eat on his special diet. Mil knew all about the diet, but made a dinner she knew he couldn't eat. sad
They have offered no help or support when dh has been really ill and they have known we are struggling.

Their only interest is dd. They often complain that they don't get to see her enough and I know that mil resents the fact that my mum gets to see her more. Dd has a completely different relationship with them because of this. She is always so happy to see my mum, but gets really upset at pils because both dh and I are stressed out and the atmosphere is so tense and unnatural.

Aibu to think that if one set of parents make no effort with you as a couple, but are solely interested in their gc that they are bound to see their gc less? Or if they are very interested in having a relationship with their gc should you put everything else aside?

Is there anyone else in a similar situation? What do you do?

ShadowFall Fri 28-Feb-14 15:47:35

I think it depends a good deal on the individual grandparents involved.

If both sets of grandparents show similar levels of interest, and offer similar levels of support, to their children and grandchildren, then yes, they should be offered equal access to the grandchildren as far as is practical.

But in a scenario like the OP's where one set of grandparents is distant and unsupportive and has appeared disinterested in their children's lives before the grandkids have appeared, then - regardless of whether they're the paternal or maternal grandparents - it's not really reasonable for them to expect the same level of access to the grandkids as the more supportive and interested set of grandparents has.

MrsHeavyweight Fri 28-Feb-14 14:49:18

I have heard a good rule that states that you should see them as frequently as you saw them before the baby/pregnancy. If you only saw them two to three times a year before, that should not skyrocket because of the baby. Maybe an extra visit or two. They visit for baby's birthday and an extra visit.

Drop the rope. I'm worried that your husband might see this as his chance to have his parents love him now that he has something to offer them and that is wrong. You should not feel guilted or manipulated into having someone around your child. However, if you are the one pushing, just stop. Maybe go very low contact if you're not ready for NC.

Koothrapanties Fri 28-Feb-14 07:46:40

Thanks very much for the replies.

Stupidly I have been the one to say to dh that we should make an effort to let them see dd.. I won't be doing that anymore!!

Fil is the king of emotional blackmail, saying that dd is the only thing getting him through a tough time and makes sad comments about how long it has been since he has seen her. I will have to ignore it all and completely leave it up to dh.

I don't think dd will miss out much at this age, but if they make more effort in the future so will we I guess.

bodybooboo Fri 28-Feb-14 07:45:16

kooth yes it's just luck. amazing how some really lovely adults have seriously wierd parents.

I mean how does that happen.

HicDraconis Fri 28-Feb-14 04:20:13

Parents and in-laws aren't always equal the way people aren't all the same. In an ideal world both parents and in-laws would be capable of adult relationships with their children / children's partners / grandchildren. You wouldn't have problems with jealousy, narcissism, favouritism ...

But people are different and flawed and in some cases frankly dangerous.

I agree they should start on an equal footing. But where some people help, support and enrich our lives, others are a constant drain and do whatever the opposite of enriching is. Hardly surprising then that after setting a pattern, you prefer to spend time and energy on those that add to your lives rather than draining you.

goldenlula Thu 27-Feb-14 23:32:51

My parents are definitely more involved with my children than either set of my in laws. My parents rarely go a week without seeing the children, in laws can go months, particularly mil, fil is more likely to phone after a couple of weeks to say they haven't seen the children. Dh will automatically ask if my parents can babysit/have the children if we are planning a night out, his mum is used as a back up and seems to think she is doing us a massive favour if she does have them, where as my parents are doing their grandparent duties (in a nice way). They are not bad grandparents, just their priorities lie else where (mainly with the grandchildren from their children from their second marriages). Mil is normally happy to have the children if asked.

bedraggledmumoftwo Thu 27-Feb-14 23:15:10

Sorry, that was a bit long winded, i obviously have issues! But i agree, they cant treat their children badly and have no interest in them and expect to suddenly made welcome when it suits them because there is a cute little baby to cuddle. In order to spend time with said baby you need to treat its parents with respect and at least pretend you want to see them too. I always felt like emails saying " when can we come and see dd" were about as offensive as if they said "when can i come and see your new kitten/try out your swimming pool" or something equally insensitive. (we don't have a swimming pool btw, i was just trying to think of something else they might use us for!)

bedraggledmumoftwo Thu 27-Feb-14 23:01:58

I could have written this thread! We used to see my ils maybe twice a year when we were childless. When dd1 was born we ended up falling out with them as all of a sudden they wanted to visit for extended periods and much more frequently. They essentially demanded to see their grandchild regardless of whether it was convenient to us, and were completely thoughtless, hanging around getting in the way in the week after the birth when i was in pain, bleeding, struggling to breastfeed and on crutches. My parents stayed longer than intended as i begged them to as they helped, my mum even took screaming baby in the middle of the night, but dh had to ask them to leave earlier than they wanted as they were only there for their own benefit. Which sparked massive rows over the next few months and definitely contributed to me getting pnd.

we eventually agreed to see them every three months, but it was very much an issue that my parents would come more like once a month, and they didn't recognise that it was different as ive always been close to my parents and always seen them that much. Both sets lived a long way away so it was always a couple of days visit, and really giving the ILs one in twelve weekends was the most we could stretch to, given my dh would have to work every other weekend, and we would also want to see my parents, his grandparents, his sister, our friends, and god forbid have some quiet family time on our own as dh works so many hours we wouldn't see him in the week. They constantly tried to orchestrate more frequent or longer visits but after the big row, when they really showed how toxic they are, we very deliberately stuck to it, to keep their expectations low, and the relationship remained strained.

their solution was to announce at my daughters christening, when i was pregnant with dd2, that they had just been to see some nice houses for sale in our town! Dh had a very difficult word with them and said we weren't entirely comfortable with them moving right on our doorstep and that we still wouldn't have time to see them very often. They were clearly offended, but it seemed kinder than letting them make such a massive and expensive change only to be disappointed that we didn't suddenly invite them over once a week just because they were local. Geographical distance had never been the issue! However, despite dh thinking they might never speak to him again, they just ignored what he said and within three weeks they had sold their house and offered on one within two miles of us.

I was on crutches with spd for months before and after dd1 was born, but i realised by the time dd2 arrived that i had received biweekly emails from mil going on about the difficulties of their house move and asking after dd1, but not once did she ask how i was, i actually had to question if she even knew i was pregnant!

of course she did know, as they moved in the week dd2 was born and immediately set to engineering visits to see the gcs even before we had left the hospital, they needed to borrow a hoover to clean their new house before furniture arrived, they needed help setting up computer, they had tonnes of dhs useless junk from their loft to give us.

and every time my parents come to stay i am just waiting for them to spot the car on the drive, and start complaining about favouritism, even though they have engineered seeing the gcs much more than my parents and far more than they deserve.

BrunoBrookesDinedAlone Thu 27-Feb-14 22:42:52

But they're not being sidelined because you have decided to favour one side over the other.

They have become sidelined because they neither know you nor care about you, as a family should.

Now your DD is here they're simply reaping what they've sowed.

Turn the question around. Is it fair that people get to treat you badly then rock up wanting their pound of flesh when you've got something they want-simply because they're 'faaaamily'?

Is it good for your DD to see that dynamic?

It wasn't good for me. I was astonished actually at how quickly I cut contact with several family members once I had my children. Seems that while I was fairly sanguine about playing happy families when it was just adults to worry about, when it came to the kind of childhoods my children were to have, and how they would see me as a person and how I dealt with my relationships...all bets were off.

somedizzywhore1804 Thu 27-Feb-14 22:00:02

This sounds very familiar OP.

I know DH wouldn't go no contact as he couldn't deal with the guilt but they're bad people and dysfunctional as fuck.

Am pregnant with first DC but whatever else happens PILs won't be looking after baby alone and won't be seeing DC as much as my parents. They just don't care about us, aren't supportive and don't respect our choices so why would I facilitate a proper relationship between them and our child? Of course they will see the baby and I understand that their DHs parents but you reap what you sow and they're shit parents so, it is what it is unfortunately hmm

CatsRule Thu 27-Feb-14 21:59:37

Dh chose to go nc, they have been vile to him. Favouring his sister and mil saying.things like he ruined her life, he.wasn't planned etc. Despite all that, nc.had to be his.choice, not mine, I would have supported him either way...despite how pil have and made their dislike obvious. Your dh will only take so much hurt...the important thing is that he decides and you don't influence it.

Finola1step Thu 27-Feb-14 21:53:55

I think you have to take your dh's lead on this. Leave it to him to make arrangements with his parents etc. Don't go out if your way to make contact, screen phone calls and minimise contact.

In an ideal world, all gps would be equally involved in their own dc's and dgc's lives. I would hazard a guess that a family in which both sets of parents treat all their adult children and grandchildren the same in terms of interest, affection and even love is rather a rare thing. Sad, but from my own experience, from talking to friends and from what I read on mnet, I don't think I know one family where there isn't a little niggle or two. Whether it be favouritism between adult siblings, more time spent with one set of gc or gps.

So Kooth, YANBU but in many situations its the ILs that are more supportive and involved. No easy answers.

MymbleBaratheonBendsTheKnee Thu 27-Feb-14 21:53:22

As pp have said I think they should start off equal. I like my PIL but we don't really see them very often. They got the right hump when I had DC2 as DH told them we weren't having any visitors in the first couple of days, and they felt they should be able to come round immediately even though we hadn't heard from or seen them for weeks hmm Up until that point I had made every effort to include them so I was actually quite disappointed it ended up that way.

Koothrapanties Thu 27-Feb-14 21:42:45

Bodybooboo - I agree. It could just as well have been my parents that were the issue, it just happens that it's my ils in this situation. I know there are some lovely pils out there smile

Koothrapanties Thu 27-Feb-14 21:41:30

Skivvy - ugh vile woman!

Thanks mrsg, I think so.

bodybooboo Thu 27-Feb-14 21:37:33

I would just be led by your dh here. it's his call.

you arnt leaving dd with them so that's not an issue.

my mil and fil were fantastic to add so it's the luck of the draw.

MrsGarlic Thu 27-Feb-14 21:34:58

I think that as a starting point they should be equal. But if one set, whether that be father's parents or mother's parents, makes more effort... then yeah, it seems kind of inevitable that the set making more effort will see the grandchildren more.

Skivvywoman Thu 27-Feb-14 21:32:43

Kooth that's the thing my mil left DH when he was 4 so I shouldn't really expect anything for my kids

Skivvywoman Thu 27-Feb-14 21:31:28

I don't speak to my mil anymore she's the most evil woman I've ever ever met and she used to wonder why I never gave my dd her name as her middle name!

Koothrapanties Thu 27-Feb-14 21:28:00

I just feel that if you haven't made an effort to have a good relationship with your child, then you cant expect to suddenly have loads of contact with a gc!

Koothrapanties Thu 27-Feb-14 21:25:59

Skivvy - that's awful sad I have to say that my pils obviously love dd. It's just the rest of the crap that's the problem.

Skivvywoman Thu 27-Feb-14 21:23:28

I would love for my pil to show one ounce of affection for my kids!
She's never ever bothered with my kids but DH brothers kids are another story!

Koothrapanties Thu 27-Feb-14 21:17:20

Cats that is exactly it. They don't even try to hide it! It is clear as day that they are only interested in dd.

Ilike - yes... Because yelling at him will work! hmm

ilikemysleep Thu 27-Feb-14 21:15:17

...*yelled at him*...

Koothrapanties Thu 27-Feb-14 21:15:04

Laurie - that has to be dh's decision, I can't force him. The only choice I have is to how much of an effort I make with them re dd.

I just wanted to know if I should be putting it all aside for her sake? I think they should make an effort with us too, otherwise we shouldnt really bother, but wasn't sure if iabu.

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