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Grandmother parenting

(6 Posts)
despondentmummy Mon 01-Sep-14 19:34:04

Just after opinion really as I've lost all perspective. Background is that my mother, who is on her own, lives near me and also takes care of her mother. She has tried to help me look after my 2 DC (both under 3) but finds it too much hard work to be with either of them on her own, so she just visits. My issue is two-fold: she uses my family to fill a gap in her life, she says very clearly that without us she'd have nothing to do (she doesn't work) which rather frightens me as it places a lot of emphasis on my kids filling a need in her. It also means she's at my house far too often. My second issue is that she is very dominating, and I have always struggled to assert myself against her, so when she is with me and my kids, she's definitely the parent. She talks me down in front of the eldest (you can't cope with everything you have going on in your life etc), and also talks down DH (who is a fantastic father and my kids adore), though I have warned her off doing this in front of DC. She has an opinion on everything I do (and I'm normally doing it wrong). I tried to get some distance between us by suggesting she only come to entertain one of the kids to give me quality time with the other, but what tends to happen when she comes over is my kids just want to spend their time with her, not me (I think because she just sits on the floor with them and plays for hours and hours whereas with me they have to wait for attention while I'm cooking dinner etc.). I'm starting to feel really suffocated and like my chance to parent is being over-shadowed, like she's trying to do it all again through me, but I'm hyper-sensitive about what she does as I feel that she's always dominated me, so I'm not sure if I've lost all sense of perspective. Surely a GM's job is to buzz in, be fun and leave? Should I just put up and shut up?

MandScookiesrule Mon 01-Sep-14 20:16:54

That sounds awful! I think you have 3 options.....
1. Put up and shut up
2. Cut down the amount of time you see her, so that her behaviour doesn't affect your life too much
3. Talk to her (in a child free environment, explain what you don't like about her behaviour and ask her to change)
Personally I think if you keep letting her talk to you and your DH in front of your children like that, they're not learning a good lesson, and you will get more and more unhappy. So I would try to talk to her, but if she didn't listen, I'd end up cutting down how much I would see her. Sorry no more helpful advice!

LiveAndLetDie Mon 01-Sep-14 20:38:26

You HAVE to do something. You can't let it continue, it will get worse and worse and you will get more and more unhappy.

She sounds exactly like my mother, right down to telling me that without me and the kids her life wouldn't be worth living. hmm She completely took over from the minute my dds were born. I wish I had stood up to her when they were small. Now because of they way she took over and several other reasons (she's a Narcissist), I'm completely no contact with her. I wish I'd had the strength and courage to stand up to her when my dds were small as we may have managed to salvage our relationship.

Your DC are still only little if you can make a stand against her now, and stand firm you may be able to save yourself years of heartache, depression and unhappiness. It will also eventually affect your relationship if you let her continue. She almost destroyed my marriage, and almost ruined my experience and confidence as a mother, don't let your mother do it to you.

I know that sounds terribly dramatic, but it's so hard to see the damage this type of behaviour can have over a long period of time. It's also so much easier to sweep things under the carpet for an easy life. But it really isn't worth it in the end. Better a small amount of upset now than ending up completely resenting and hating her in years to come.

despondentmummy Mon 01-Sep-14 21:23:01

It's so difficult, reading back what I've written I can see the obvious answer is I need to take action. But I worry about reducing contact as a. she is dependent on me for company and friendship, and I'd feel incredibly guilty as she's lonely enough as it is and b. I don't want to deprive my kids of the GM, they obviously love her and have a good relationship with her and get a lot out of time with her that I can't provide (constant play, basically). But truth be told the main reason I hesitate is guilt about her bring alone sad

LiveAndLetDie Mon 01-Sep-14 21:56:55

OP have you ever heard of FOG? Fear, Obligation and Guilt. There are a lot interesting articles about the type of dependant relationship your mother has on you. She's controlling you and manipulating you.

All I can say is, I spent 35 years of my life being controlled and manipulated by my mother. This past year without her in my life has opened my eyes, to a world where I can actually make decisions about my own life that not only don't involve her, but I don't feel guilty about! I felt like she was slowly killing me, killing my spirit and any sense of self I had left. I wish I'd done something before I let it get that far, I really do. You NEED to put yourself first, it's not only you if effects, it's also your DC and your DH.

There are a couple more articles on FOG, this one is very informative. And also this one.

despondentmummy Mon 01-Sep-14 22:07:14

No I've never heard of this but skimming these it all sounds very familiar, and certainly describes DM's own relationship with her mother. I'm reading up on this now, thank you so much for posting these links smile

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