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To stop making effort with DM or am I unfairly punishing her?

(15 Posts)
rabbit12345 Fri 21-Oct-16 20:46:03

My DM is the type to gush over Facebook about her GC and to outsiders you would think she was the most doting GM going. In reality she is not. She offers no physical help and whenever we invite her to events involving DG she usually turns them down. Family events that she attends (the ones all
Over FB) are always organised by my DH and I and the only other time we see her is when we visit or if she pops in for an hour or so (once a month) or very rarely (once a year) babysitting.

So we was having an honest conversation and she stated that she just wanted interested in coming to DG plays/events. That she had come to a time in her life when she was only doing things which suited her and if the event held no interest for her then she would say no. She said it is still nice to be asked though and she still feels there are plenty of events that she does attend because they hold interest for her. The trouble is these are all events that DH and I organise.

I appreciate her honesty and wish she had done this ages ago. It would have saved years of buying tickets for xmas plays that she pulled out of at the last minute.

But then I got to thinking! To me it isn't about if DM is interested. Sometimes it is just nice to do it because the event is important to DG. I am not being precious in anyway about my children and we have never asked for anything from my parents in the way of my DC but it is more her attitude behind it of "I won't do it if it doesn't suit but you should still ask"

Part of me wants to stop organising family get togethers but would this be unfair considering she was only being honest?

Ineededtonamechange Fri 21-Oct-16 21:03:56

I wouldn't be asking. If she wants to get involved she can make the effort.

She might be at a time in her life where she can do what she wants, but so are you, and organising events just to suit DM/doing all the asking and getting rejected doesn't have to be part of the plan. As DC get older they will realise and dislike the dynamic.

I guess if she has no relationship with her DGC then that is her look out.

rabbit12345 Fri 21-Oct-16 21:14:06

That was my initial response. I just needed someone to clarify it as I will always be unreasonable and emotional in their eyes.

crispandcheesesanwichplease Fri 21-Oct-16 22:02:20

Hi Rabbit

It's quite complicated. On the one hand it's a fact that a lot of women spend years of their lives looking after and providing for others, kids/partners/family/friends and often put themselves bottom of the list when it comes to spending their time doing what they themselves actually want to do. As such they welcome the time when they can, for once in their life, please themselves. I do get this.

On the other hand to use your Dc to brag and gloat to others on FB when she doesn't show much real interest in them would wind me up.

My mum is a lot like this (not on FB though but more as an act of competition with her sisters!).

One of the ways I manage this is to have her over for tea once a week so that she does actually spend time with my DD so has some level of relationship with her. It kind of forces some kind of relationship to grow, albeit not particularly close. I do this for my DD's sake as she only has one GP and gives her, my DD, the impression of being important to her nan . A relationship by osmosis really!

How old is your mum btw? Mine is in her 80's and though living independently can't really cope very well with the school concert type stuff. Can't hear or see very well in that environment. Doesn't have the patience or stamina anymore.

Butlerbabyno2 Sat 22-Oct-16 01:28:28

It depends if your prepared to lose your relationship with your DM or not as to whether you should stop asking.
My EXPs (DS dad) parents never made the effort unless I arranged it and did all the running around for them to see their grandchild. It's now been over 2 years since we've seen them (June 14) no skin off my nose they weren't brilliant and my son never asks about them, he doesn't even remember them.
Would your children miss seeing the GM?
Are you prepared for the backlash from family?
Whatever you decide to do I hope it works out xx

bakewelltarty Sat 22-Oct-16 02:15:26

I can understand how hurtful it was to hear those words from your DM.

We are all conditioned to believe that grandparents should want to be there for every school play, dance recital, football match etc but in reality not everyone enjoys these things. It doesn't mean that she doesn't love her GC. She was just being (brutally) honest about what aspects she does and doesn't enjoy.

If I was you I would go on my merry way and not invite her to any of these types of events in future. However, any events that you organise yourself I would invite her to. If you don't, it is sending out a clear message that you are not happy with her response. That's fine, if you want to distance you and your children from her and potentially lose the relationship all together but I don't think that is what you really want in the long run.

graphista Sat 22-Oct-16 02:23:46

You sound like me 10 years ago! My mum is particular about which events she attends, but insofar as she attends my sisters children's events but not mine or brothers. You get to a point where you stop bothering asking. Unfortunately the grandkids involved stop bothering with the grandparent too which my mother is starting to notice. What goes around...

saintagur Sat 22-Oct-16 06:19:50

My MIL was a bit like this and I was hurt that she wasn't always excited at the opportunity to admire her GC in plays, Xmas concert etc.

However, now that my DC are almost grown up and I have been to so many of these occasions for my own DC, I can completely see where she is coming from. I think it is good that she is being honest, so you don't feel disappointed every time, and it definitely doesn't mean that she loves you or them any less.

I would just go on as you are. If an event is particularly important to your GC, then tell her, and I expect she will make the effort, but just don't rely on her to want to come to everything.

blueturtle6 Sat 22-Oct-16 06:21:42

Nobody wants to go to kids plays, we go because kids feel excitement and love etc to know you are in the audience!

Bubblegum18 Sat 22-Oct-16 06:25:54

My mil is like this will share how she loves beinging a nana but she rarely has them or comes round. We recently stopped going round and she came with SIL and her new baby afew times but never on her own off her own back she is constantly with SILs baby. Worse bit is you wouldn't think she has a grandson who is also a baby she never shares any pics just talks about her two GDs one of which is my little girl it's clear to everyone she has a preference to girls . I've had to unfollow her because it was beginning to get to me that she totally excluded DS. I'm keeping my distance now and focusing on the family who do bother with all DC.

charlestonchaplin Sat 22-Oct-16 07:22:04

Your mother clearly does care about your children though she doesn't follow your model of grandparenting. She talks on FB about seeing your children at family events she has attended - she isn't making things up, is she?

I think the recent trend of grandparents being co-opted into childcare has massively changed expectations of grandparents. Even when no childcare is requested, they are expected to be very attentive to their grandchildren, and some don't have the physical or mental resources to be involved at that level. Some of these grandparents may have struggled with bringing up children themselves, having just had them because it was expected of them.

Take them as they are. Encourage them to step out of their comfort zone now and again but you will get very bitter if you keep expecting your mother to fulfill a role she is unable or unwilling to fill. Your children will not benefit from greater involvement with a reluctant grandparent. Even if she makes herself visit more often, I don't think she will have the natural interest and enthusiasm you want.

topcat2014 Sat 22-Oct-16 07:27:10

DW gets upset that her DM is not gushing at the thought of this 'grandmotherly' stuff either. DD sees her often enough to say hello (lives a few doors away), and she will babysit for a couple of hours.

We do days out, which go OK.

From my view, things are ok, just not the full 'John Lewis Christmas'.

Paddingtonthebear Sat 22-Oct-16 07:44:41

I would just invite her to family stuff and not waste your time on the rest.

You just can't force interest and enthusiasm,sadly. I'm going through this at the moment, my parents show no interest in our DC, and my inlaws who have been involved in DC life quite alot have now announced they are moving to the other end of the country. The only thing you can do is smile and nod and bite your tongue really. hmm

user1470771898 Sat 22-Oct-16 08:03:36


I think crispandcheesesandwich is right:

At some point we want to stop being the 'go to' for everything - the new loo roll (why is mum the only one who can change it?), where are the towels (airing cupboard - where they've always lived), why's there no food (because you have to open the fridge door to see it) etc. etc. 50,000 times a day. We're tired.

We'd like to wake up in the morning and decide what we're going to do that day - no commitments. If we want to go and have a cup of tea and read the paper in a tea shop, that's what we can do.

But it gets boring after a time.

Maybe your mum is still adjusting to having her own time.

And I like crisp's suggestion of having your mum over once a week for tea - maybe she's just too tired of organising things - I'm guessing she's spent over 40 years organising 'things' for the whole family and now just wants a break.

Maybe she'd be happy to have her grandchild for an hour a week (and you can sleep) - not a whole day - it's tiring as you well know.

I can certainly understand your frustration, but as a mother who had no help whatsoever from grandparents, you sort of just get used to it (and make the most of sports' centre creches).

Remote99 Sat 22-Oct-16 08:46:45

I can see why your DM feels this way. She has done her share of raising her family. It's good she feels like now she can do what she wants, of her own choosing. It must be wonderful to get to that stage after years of being selfless and putting yourself second, third and even fourth on the list.

Women seemed to get such a difficult time no matter what they do. Not everybody is desperately interested in their grandchildrens every activity. Young children can be annoying, boring and tiresome.

My mum is not interested in my DC, rarely does any babysitting, never remembers birthdays. It's fine, she is enjoying her retirement and why not?

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