PILs lack of effort with my DD(23 Posts)
PIL used to see us (DH, I and DD, 1) once a fortnight or so. At Christmas I stopped making the effort when I realised that DH and I were doing all the running around making sure DD had a relationship with her grandparents, but particularly MIL.
She never contacts us; no texts or calls between visits to ask after DD, no invites to do anything with them and no coming to our flat when they're nearby. We always have to go to them, they've never seen DD play with her own toys or sat and had a cup of tea with us.
I really tried to increase the effort; I asked them to let me know when they were free to see DD - they never got back to me, I would invite them to ours - they always declined and said they needed to be in for SIL (18), i don't know much about teenagers but I'm sure an 18 year old who's starting University in a few weeks time is capable of using a key to let themselves in and looking after themselves for a couple of hours.
So I gave up making the effort and told DH why. I would still send weekly photos and updates about her through email. I stopped this a few weeks ago when I wasn't getting a reply and told DH they'd have to speak to him about seeing her in future.
They never spoke to DH about DD once. Once the weekly updates stopped MIL would send me the occasional text asking when we were taking DD to see them. DH would then text her on his phone asking them to come see us - they regularly eat at a pub on the next road to our flat, they also walk their dogs along the canal tow path, a slight diversion of route by 2 minutes and they'd be on our road, I've offered to shut our cat away, meet them at the pub or go for a walk on the canal with them. They never reply to DH.
They haven't seen DD since April now, haven't been to our flat since DD was first born in June last year, despite being in the area at least twice a week at either the pub or on the canal with the dogs.
I finally got upset with MIL last night when she text me yet again asking when we were taking DD round. I admit I was a little harsh but said:
"When are you going to come and see (DD) at our flat? Or at (pub)? Why do we always have to come to you? I'm fed up of your lack of effort, the lack of invites to join you for meals out and the fact you never come to us. (DD) loves showing visitors her room and her toys, she will often get people to play with her and join in her games, but you've never done that. Why can't you leave (SIL) an 18 year old at home while you visit your granddaughter? Or you know, ask if she can come too, she is welcome to spend time with her niece too you know?"
I probably am being UR but I've had enough. DH won't stand up to his parents despite the lack of effort from them towards him too. I hate it. Both MIL and FIL are semi-retired (work 1-2 days a week each), and both drive as does SIL.
My mum works full time 5/6 days a week and still manages to send a text once a week minimum, rings me at least once in a week and arranges to see us 1-2 times a month. She also lives 50 miles away where PILs live just 2 miles away. I go to see my mum every other time, I email her photos and videos weekly as she makes the effort to be involved with our lives.
AIBU to think PILs just can't be bothered to be involved with our lives but want DD to know them still?
I don't think you're being unreasonable to feel the way you do, but I think you could have made life easier for yourself by sending a less confrontational text.
Well, YANBU to feel the way you do and possibly YWNBU even to send that text telling them how you feel.
Just don't be disappointed when they don't magic themselves into doting grandparents. They sound very happy with their self-centric lives, and you can't make people like that want to put more effort in. You just have to take what's on offer with some GPs.
I'd say it was their loss.... but if they're anything like my PILs then frankly it isn't. They simply don't want to be running around the park with the GC.
YANBU, however, you need to consider the long term consequences.
My mum took this tack with her dad and brother after her mum died, as they never got in touch without her chasing. I was 9 and my brother was 7ish, we never saw our grandad again, he died when we were in our 20s and we didn't even know for about a month.
My uncle recently got back in touch with my mum and their best mates now, though mostly this involves my parents running around after him. He came to my engagement party (on his doorstep, my dad drove him to and from) and cried and promised to make up for lost time, then failed to attend my wedding because he might have had to make independent plans (I swear the man never learned to adult).
Personally, I don't feel I've lost out, I don't have time for people like that, but I think my brother probably feels like he'd have liked some grandparents growing up (my paternal grandmother died when we were very young as well, and my dad didn't particularly get on with his dad either).
TLDR: YANBU, but if you want them in DCs life you'll have to make the effort yourself.
My Mum is the same with my second DS. She is very absorbed in her own life, priority and illness. She has just moved 50 miles away from us but calls once a week to moan about her doctors/her new house and only asks how the kids are right at the end, as I am talking she says "sorry, need to go because I have to answer the door/do a wee/shave the cat/anything else but show an interest in your DS's"
She buys them a lot of clothes, I suppose she see's that as giving them attention.
So, YANBU but like PP's have said, I wonder if you might get a better outcome if your text had been a bit less accusational (but at the same time, you were not wrong to feel it)
YANBU but your message sounds really aggressive. From your post we can understand that you're at the end of your tether, but your PIL might not know this and could be really shocked and hurt.
I'd probably follow up (if they haven't yet responded) with something like "I just re-read my message and realised it comes across harshly. I'm just incredibly frustrated at the moment that we're putting in all the effort so that the kids can have the close bond with their GPs we know they want. How about we meet you at the pub next week and chat about it?"
That way all the cards are on the table - if they engage and up their game, great! If they don't, they know exactly how you feel and that they're at fault.
Sonders thank you will reply with your message as they haven't responded yet.
My mil told my dh years ago she didn't want to be a grandma. And she has stuck to it. She has seen ds 3 times in 2 years for less than half an hour each time. Held him twice. We uninvited her to our wedding and sent a text to explain why. She isn't part of our lives /family. Maybe you just need to accept the same. . Your dd isn't going to miss out having such uninterested relatives.
I have been in a similar situation. My inlaws, again particularly my mother in law was the same. She used to work part time in a shop one road away from me and would never pop in and ask after dd1 even though i always made her welcome, made her lunch/dinner, gave her a lift home and she had even lived me with for 6 months without contributing a penny or offering to even watch dd1 for 10 mins so i could have a bath. Fast forward 7 years and nothing has changed. Except for the fact i no longer make any effort. I don't visit any more, or send pictures or updates, but she can see them on Facebook if she wants. We have had no confrontation or falling out and I'm always pleasant when i see her. When dd1 and dd2 have been in hospital she has never rung or visited, my dd1 is disabled she has never asked anything about it, asked if me or dh need any help and in fact at first her and my sister in law would smirk behind my back and i know call me a liar behind my back when i said i thought my dd1 may have some difficulties. They both tried to undermine me and say it me "babying" her that caused the issues, despite the fact she received the highest rate of DLA and attends a special needs school. They have ignored their birthdays, don't reply to party invites etc. Sometimes u have to accept that they are not going to change. it took me maybe 4 years to stop getting angry all the time, i sometimes still do but nowhere near as much as before. My two dd's don't know who she is, when we last saw mother in law, i said to dd2 say hello to nanny and she said "who's nanny" which is really sad but can't be helped. Me and DH work full time, care for DD1 and obviously have DD2. I knew if i had a go at her it wouldn't make any difference, you can't change indifference.
Good luck Peekaboo. I think some people genuinely can't see that they're the drain in a one-way relationship - it's not a guarantee that anything will improve but I think it will help to give you peace of mind.
My mum has never gone to my sister's house to see her kids (she's only been to her house 2 times in 10 years). Sis goes to mum instead & the kids have a great relationship with their nan. Far better in fact than the relationship my brother's kids have who she visits at their house every week.
OP I'd have done exactly the same thing in your situation - fair play for being upfront and cutting the bullshit - let us know the reply!
Well MIL replied:
"Peekaboo, your flat is small* and (FIL) and I like to be able to invite my mum and dad down who love seeing (DD) to. They also can't get up the stairs to your flat so can't come with us. We can't pay for yours and (DHs) meals so we never invite you out for that reason"
*It is a small 2 bed on the top floor with no lift, and our living room only has room for a small 2 seater sofa and an armchair, although I could make it work if it was just MIL and FIL/SIL, DH and I would happily sit on the floor.
I still feel like they're making excuses, I don't ask them to pay for meals, and we wouldn't always go due money but it would be nice to be thought of. They always take SIL and her boyfriend, not sure if they pay
probably as SIL doesn't have a job.
I'm not sure where to go from here really.
I would say thank you for letting us know your reasons. We would love to pay for our meals and have a meal at the pub next time you go.
Your mil does want to see your DD but at her house. I think it's up to you and dh if you are willing to make that compromise. How does dh feel about it?
OP I'm torn between admiring your balls for sending that text and feeling that for a first time broaching the subject, it was perhaps a wee bit confrontational. She hasn't bitten back though, so there's still room for discussion. Although I do think if they're over your way twice a week, then the explanation about the great grandparents doesn't really wash. It's not unreasonable to expect them to pop in on their own for an hour for a cup of tea.
Hmm. I can actually see their point in that size. If you have 3 chairs and 5 people it is awkward-even if you're saying you'll sit on the floor I can imagine them feeling uncomfortable with that-plus I'd guess there isn't a lot of space either.
And they may find the two floors without lift harder than they're admitting.
Does she invite her parents every single time you visited them? Or is that an excuse?
So are her parents there every time you take Dd over to their house? If not then it's just another excuse.
I'd reply, the pub is plenty big enough for everyone and a meal out always feels like something special. You can always come by the flat when your parents aren't available to visit at yours. I really feel like we do all the running around when you are so close to out house but don't call in, the dog is welcome the cat can be shut away for a little while.
I think the great grandparents are an excuse. You could say that they are welcome to come without bringing their parents and that if they came alone they could maybe play with their grandchildren more rather than chat to all the extra adults and that t not coming just because other people can't make the stairs makes no sense. It doesn't have to be everyone or no-one. Them coming doesn't affect how often the great grandparents see the kids, just how often they see them and that usually grandparents see more of the kids than great grandparents. I'd also tell them that if you met in a pub you'd expect everyone to pay for themselves.
If their youngest daughter hasn't left home yet it could mainly be that they are still in "parent" mode, not grandparent mode.
Personally while it's great DD knows her GGPs that's a secondary relationship to that with her GPs. Before we stopped going in April the GGPs wouldn't be at MILs house, but might turn up say every 2-3 times we were there after half an hour or so.
I'm happy to still take DD to MILs but I'd like a bit of effort, if they don't want to come to the flat because of the space issue then we can meet in the pub (either pay for our own or take it in turns to pay for everyone's meals), or there's a nice park a short walk along the canal from my flat that I'd happily meet at with DD - again MIL knows this.
I just feel MIL is making excuses, she wants to be the doting Grandma but doesn't want to put the effort in for that to happen. Seems a shame.
I have to say good for you op,
Maybe they wont magic themselves into doting gps, but at least you have been brave enough to tell them excalty what the problem is, and I wish more people would be so honest and open.
I they do care, they will take on board what you have said and they will tyr and visit you, I they dont but try and blame you in future you have your back covered because you told them the issues, and if they dont care, they dont care.
I wish more people could be honest like you!
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