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sexist mum can't be bothered with baby ds and is only interested in much older dd... what would you do? complicated.

(12 Posts)
Fairylea Fri 02-Nov-12 18:02:28

I need your views. I'm not sure if I'm being unfair or even irrational. I don't know anymore.

Long story... mum and I jointly owned a house which my husband and I brought her out of after a series of arguments. Mum and I had always lived together (I am early 30s). She is quite aggressive at times although this is completely hidden from dc (she is a special needs teacher!!) and drinks too much and has 3 unruly dogs that aren't aggressive but are completely untrained and jump all over everyone. We have (mum and I) always had a close relationship. We have supported each other through divorce (mine and hers) and also my grans terminal cancer who died at home with us about ten years ago.

When I met my dh things between mum and I had become strained. I think I was just growing more independent and also I went from working full time to part time and we were around each other more and it wasn't working. Gradually my dh moved in with us all but mum didn't like dh for no good reason really (she just seemed to think I should beon my own forever and loves to get involved in my love life). They kept clashing and so we all decided mum should buy a smaller house and we effectively brought her house for her by remotagaing this one for the market value of her new home.

Since then it's all gone very strained. I realise now that mums motivation for living with me was because she wants me to care for her when she is old like she did with my gran. I do not want to do this. It nearly killed me emotionally with gran and whilst I am prepared to become a carer or deeply involved in her care I do not want her at home withme or putting the dc through that. If that makes me selfish so be it. She has told me I am selfish.

My mum has blamed everything on dh more or less because he is a man. She has had some disastrous relationships so therefore all men are bastards. In her eyes. I have told her it is not downto dh that we are not living together and she says she understands but it is very clear that she hates dh. She will hardly look or talk to him if she comes round.

And then.... I go and have a son. Who is wonderful. And a joy in that both dh and I have fertility problems but conceived naturally. But of course he is a boy and I have picked up that although my mum goo goos over him sometimes she doesn't seem that keen to spend any real time with him at all. Dd age 9 is a different story. Of course mum brought dd up with me and I understand that but I'm beginning to wonder how to deal with it. I'm worried that as ds grows up he will feel inferior and left out.

For example this week my dd has spent the week with her dad on a special trip. I have not seen my mum once despite me suggesting maybe her coming here or me visiting there. She says ok and then cancels at the last min saying she's got housework to do or needs to sleep. When dd is here she will come round almost every day. Or take dd for coffee or whatever else. I suggest a day out or cafe trip with me and ds and mum isn't interested.

We live walking distance from each other away by the way.

Dd is back this weekend and mum is already asking when she's back etc but she's already cancelled seeing me and ds today when I purposefully went shopping earlier in the day to work around visiting.

It's becoming clear she can't be bothered if it's me and ds so what do i do? Dd is very close to her so I can't upset her by making contact less can I? But I don't think the favouritism is fair. If I say anything she will say I'm being daft or say it's because I don't want ds near the dogs (which is an issue but she is always welcome here or I will bring him to hers if she locks the dogs in the kitchen for a short time... I'd only be there about an hour at most, she isn't happy to do this and thinks I am being silly).

Sorry. So bloody long.

Tell me what you think. It's a mess isn't it..

Fairylea Fri 02-Nov-12 18:06:05

Don't want to drip feed..

She doesn't drink masses.. she is an evening drinker and likes her whisky. But dh and I are teetotal so to us it seems strange to always drink in the evening but in her circles it's considered normal.

I'm an only child and she is not married or with a oh. None for last ten years or so.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 02-Nov-12 18:14:53

Yes it is a mess and a dysfunctional mess at that.

Again you need to completely reassess your boundaries with regards to your mother with regards to what is and is not acceptable to you. I would start the process of upping your own boundaries with immediate effect.

Would you describe her as an alcoholic?.

Her man hating is an issue but you and DH did not cause that to arise. That all happened in her own past (did her own Dad walk out on her mother when she was very young?).

What do you know about her childhood, pound to a penny there was abuse in it. She has had various problems in her life but has chosen for whatever reasons to never properly address her issues.

Her favouritism towards your eldest child because she is female must not be tolerated by you. Such favourtism will caused immense damage to your sister and her younger brother and could even wreck their relationship they share between each other because he will notice it as her becomes older. You all come as part of a package; she either fully accepts that or does not.

I would not also think that her aggressiveness is fully hidden from the DC; they can pick up vibes even if they are not completely obvious.

If you cannot bear to cut her out of your life completely, start to limit contact with her on a gradual basis and ensure that all contact with yourself and your children is fully on your terms. You are really under no obligation at all with regards to your mother although you likely think you are (FOG - fear, obligation, guilt).

I would also consider moving house.

Fairylea Fri 02-Nov-12 18:20:32

Thank you. I am going to cut down contacting her ... it's difficult from the point of view of dd as obviously my mum has always been a main carer for her and I don't want dd to feel I'm separating her from my mum if that makes sense but I think I am going to have to.

My mums mum (my gran) was in a domestically violent relationship with mums dad. She fled with my mum when mum was 7 and brought mum up alone. My gran brought me up almost more than my mum when I was little as mum had severe depression. She divorced my dad when I was 12 after a series of his affairs and her next husband left her for a Russian mail order bride. So that's where a lot of the man hating comes from.

Strangely enough she always seems to side with my ex if I moan about him though... dds dad. Even though he was abusive to me emotionally.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Fri 02-Nov-12 19:23:46

I've got a sometimes toxic mum I've got a difficult relationship with and sympathise totally with you.

However, your feelings seem very ambivalent. You are considering cutting out your mother but at the same time you want her to spend time with you and your son. She does sound like she needs careful handling, but I don't get the impression you really want her out of your life, you would just like her to be more like the kind of mum you wish you had.

Of course she won't be, she is the only mum you've got and you have to accept her as she is.

I disagree with the poster who says you 'must not tolerate' her favouritism regarding your daughter. It's not a question of tolerating, this is how she feels.

But I would say try not to attribute it so much to the fact that he is a boy. You don't say exactly how old he is except that he's a baby. It's not that surprising that she finds it more rewarding to spend time with a 9 year old that she has an established relationship with rather than your baby. Babies are lovely, but they are more lovely to people other than their parents when they get older, very often.

If you cut off your mother and cut off contact you will definitely reduce the chances of her developing a good relationship with your son in the longer term. You will deny HIM this possibility. I'm not saying you owe it to him, but consider this. Also it seems that you don't really want to reduce your dd's time with her grandmother and feel upset at this prospect.

Maintaining contact with your mum and giving her the opportunity to see your ds grow up into a little boy makes it much more likely in the longer term that your mother will form a bond with him, which is what you want.

Try not to take it personally on your son's behalf that your mum is less interested in him at the moment. My mum 'prefers' boys - she was adoring of my brothers, much tougher on my sister and me. My dd are lovely (12 and 10) and my mum loves them. They are easy, bright and good company. My brother also has a dd and so does my sister. My mum loves all of them. But the apple of her eye is my brother's ds, who is a sweet and very bright little boy but also unbelievably mischievous, strong willed and challenging.

I feel it's somehow 'unfair' that this little boy is so adorable to my mother, when my girls who are, as I see it, more 'deserving' (they were also her first gc) but I have reconciled myself to it, because it's just the way she is. Whether it is 'right' or not doesn't matter or make any difference.

Sorry for how you feel, but try and think about the outcome you really want and don't act in anger or hurt in ways that will get in the way of this.


amillionyears Fri 02-Nov-12 19:52:09

Agree with tiredofwaitingforitalltochange.

It doesnt sound like your mum is going to change her behaviour anytime soon.
So you have to work with what you have got.
She is behaving nicely to your DD so that is good.
Currently she is not behaving nicely to your DS.That may come in time,or it may not.
When your children are older,they are going to beaware of what their Grandma is up to, and hopefully realise that she is not behaving fairly. This sort of thing can only be hidden from children for so long.

monsterchild Fri 02-Nov-12 19:57:35

It could also be that she's not that interested in babies. My DM is not very interested in babies. She much prefers when kids can talk to her and she to them.

I agree with other posters, too, but wanted to share that little nugget about my own DM who is quite odd.

lindsell Fri 02-Nov-12 20:32:03

My dm is also sexist and often comments of her disappointment that I have 2 ds (her only dgc currently) and don't have a dd and anything that ds1 (3.5) does that she doesn't approve of (ie normal toddler behaviour) is blamed on the fact that he's a boy and 'a little girl wouldn't do that'. She often comes out with the gem 'I feel sorry for you having two boys, it's so hard and would be much easier if you had girls'. I love my gorgeous boys and am very happy and grateful to have two lovely healthy children.

Her attitude does get to me and upset me sometimes but otherwise we have a good relationship so I just accept that is how she is but always respond to the comments eg saying that's not fair that is just usual 3 yo behaviour.

Obviously your situation is a lot more complicated - does she actually come out with comments about your ds or is it more a perceived difference in treatment?

FairPhyllis Fri 02-Nov-12 21:53:39

This is like a textbook case of people reenacting abusive or dysfunctional relationship models through the generations: your gran, your mum, you with your ex. Your gran brought you up, your mum brought your daughter up ...

I'm assuming your current relationship with DH is healthy - if that's the case, then your mum is possibly struggling with anger/grief for her own relationships and the fact she didn't have what you have. But that doesn't mean she gets to act it out on your family.

I think siding with your ex when you have disputes is a bad sign - it's sort of like she'll support the abusive dynamic you were in, but not the healthy one you are now in. Did she want you to leave the ex?

I actually think the person most at risk here is DD - you will always be DD's primary relationship model, but your DD will pick up on the fact your mum hates your DH, supports your abusive ex, tries to undermine your relationship with DH, hates men, is aggressive and drinks. And that despite this, you are close to her. There is a good chance that she will learn from this that your mum's behaviour to you is an acceptable relationship model.

I'd say for DD's sake you absolutely must not have her come and live with you, and you should think about drastically reducing contact with her, possibly even having no contact.

The thing that strikes me is that she wants to go on reenacting with your family the situation there was when you, her and your gran lived together, and that there's no room in her world view for a healthy relationship with a man to be part of this. It's like she can't see beyond this close-knit generational unit of women who only teach each other dysfunctional ways of relating.

What does your DH think about the situation?

FairPhyllis Fri 02-Nov-12 22:07:56

Just to add: it's not going to do either of your children any good to see your M undermining your relationship with DH.

This is hard for you because you have been so close for so many years. But you have to make sure that the pattern of reenacting unhealthy relationships gets broken for your children's sake. I think it would spell it out to her very clearly that if she is to have contact with your family it is under certain conditions: e.g. she doesn't treat the children differently and she doesn't act in a hostile way to your DH.

rainbow2000 Fri 02-Nov-12 23:45:01

I knew you were an only child like me to put it bluntly she is jealous of you and yourr family.My mum slapped me in teh face when i was 19/20 cause i was out with my boyfriend so i lost it and told her i would leave if she didnt stop.
So now its time for tough love your dcs and dh are your family,they take first priority and then your Mum she has to understand might take a few tantrums but you will get there.

Monstroneous Sat 03-Nov-12 10:02:56

So, am I right is assuming that your son is fathered by your current partner, but your daughter is not?

I'd suggest then, that its not necessarily sexism at play in your mother's favouritism, but hatred of your husband: she's not interested in DS because he belongs to your hubby. Your daughter has a different dad, and while he may have been a waste of space for various reasons, in your mothers' mind, your husband is responsible for you no longer living together - so he (and indirectly your DS) get the blame.

I simply wouldn't tolerate it if a relative couldn't be civil to my partner. Luckily, your DD is almost old enough to visit her gran on her own if they have a good relationship, but I'd be very wary of any potential divisions between brother and sister that your mother might be planting in her mind.....

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