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disappointed by parents - advice please?

(49 Posts)
PauloMartini Thu 06-Nov-14 19:25:37

Hi, I would really like some advice please on my relationship with my mum. Basically, I have 3 ch'n, oldest 9.5, middle 7, youngest 4. She lives 3 hours drive away and has never offered to babysit, even at her house for a couple of hours when we asked. (she doesn't have many commitments/hobbies and can get a saver bus which we could pay for and we pick her up from station) When I was pregnant she practically broke her neck to be at hospital first to see babies but when hard work kicks in, can't be seen for dust. MIL lives 1.5 hours away, is in a wheelchair and babysits as much as she can, approx. 10 days this year.

My mum 'forgot' to get the kids xmas presents a few years ago as they were going on a cruise and when she got back didn't have any money left to post them up. I've been ill with depression in March this year, had to see CPN a couple times a week for 3 months. My mum was first person I phoned, crying down phone not coping any more (she had depression too when we were young). She came to visit for daughters birthday but not been up at all since then. We've been totally skint and can't afford to visit her (ive defaulted on 1/2 of my bills), she has dogs and kids are allergic so we can't stay at hers. She doesn't work and doesn't travel about so could come up to visit. I know I shouldn't expect her to come up and help but I thought she would have wanted... I've a bit of a turbulent relationship with her as no affection for us as children/teenagers also. Basically her mum never cuddled/babysat and she's just repeating that.

ANYWAY (So sorry about the long thread), with my 3 kids I just know I could never do that to my kids. I've been feeling really hurt/disappointed lately. My husband is adopted and his parents make much more effort. She makes comments on facebook, love my grandkids to bits but doesn't want to spend time with them. Been feeling v angry and hurt lately so I unfriended her on FB as was feeling so hurt etc. I'm just looking for advice here... Have I expected too much? How do you deal with this without getting angry about it? I've spoken to her about it a month ago and its as if she's done nothing wrong but I get the impression she thinks shes a good parent/grandparent. I've tried to lower my expectations, tried to shut it out of my head but just need advice on how to move on as its cracking me up lol.

Hissy Thu 06-Nov-14 19:40:28

that's my mum too. wants to be the first to be there, but won't do anything she can't brag about, or get kudos for.

distance yourself, she's never going to change.

PauloMartini Thu 06-Nov-14 19:45:02

Thanks Hissy for your reply. That's what my husband said. Trying to figure out why I'm so angry about it lately (am nearly 40 lol), anniversary of my brothers death on Halloween which I think hit home the lack of family closeness. Distanced myself by unfriending her on fb but now I'm looking like the bad guy. Any advice on how to distance without coming across as a complete cow?

AnyFucker Thu 06-Nov-14 19:48:42

Watching carefully as this sounds just like my mother

PauloMartini Thu 06-Nov-14 19:50:36

AnyFucker, how to you deal with it?

AnyFucker Thu 06-Nov-14 19:53:51

By expecting nothing. Have not cut off all contact but it is minimal, even though my parents live only a couple of miles away. Not getting dragged into drama. Not facilitating contact with my DC...so she ends up seeing them very infrequently. She thinks I am a cold fish....it's a coping mechanism.

AnyFucker Thu 06-Nov-14 19:56:03

Oh, and I am positive I am the Bad Guy in some quarters. She now colludes with my abusive father. So that's nice.

Bellejessleo Thu 06-Nov-14 19:58:33

Unfortunately my mums exactly the same, to the outside world she likes to appear like the doting grandparent. But she doesn't help at all, and the little help she rarely does I get made to feel bad about, so I don't ask her anymore.
It makes me really sad, that she's the way she is, but I console myself by knowing that I will pick her future nursing home! grin
And also I think it won't always be like this, one day when my dc are grown up and she's not needed anymore, she will be the one more likely to need us. And I'll have my lovely children around me, who I will be sure not to completely abandon when they need me!
Sorry for the rant and the thread hijack, no real advice, just know you are not alone.

OneSkinnyChip Thu 06-Nov-14 20:05:17

Same here. You are not alone sad I have distanced myself from both my parents. Tired of their laziness about visiting and blatant favouring of nearest children and GC.

MehsMum Thu 06-Nov-14 20:05:22

Your mother sounds like my late father. Banged on about his lovely grandchildren, couldn't be bothered to visit them, forgot their birthdays, never sent them postcards when he went on holiday. Sometimes there was a nice present at Christmas (though nothing which showed he'd thought about that child in particular, iyswim). TBH, I think most of the presents that came their way were engineered by his partner (she was fine).

I'd reached the point where I never bothered to visit him, since he couldn't be bothered to visit me when he had 100x more free time than I did, and I'd only phone him a week or so after he'd phoned me. Then I'd wait (weeks? months?) can't remember, till he bothered to phone again.

It's quite hard to accept that a parent you loved as a child just doesn't really love you. It's hard to accept that you are such an unnatural creature that you don't love one of your parents - except, of course, that's it's not you is the unnatural one but the parent in question, who won't make any effort. It's really painful - I know how you must feel.

I coped by (eventually) accepting that he didn't give a monkeys, and limiting contact: he only got back what he gave out, phone call for phone call, letter for letter. flowers

PauloMartini Thu 06-Nov-14 20:05:44

must be a lot harder if they live closer. I don't want to get dragged into drama either. She got her daughter in law to message me to ask me why I unfriended her a few days ago so I told her but my mum hasn't made any effort since to show she cares/texts/phone. If it was my daughter I'd be texting saying 'i can see you're upset, can we please talk' nothing, fuck all.

I don't want to facilitate contact with my ch'n either as I get impression she thinks she can waltz in when they're older and easier.. my mums d-I-l said it's not all about babysitting and I should feel lucky I have a mum. I replied that it's not about babysitting, its about a parent being there for child when they're ill with depression.. thought that's what family was all about.. I also said to d-I-l grandparenting isn't just about commenting on fb you love them when you don't want to spend time with them (not proud of that comment..) I'm gonna have to become a cold fish too. I think im just angry as it's my last chance for her and accepting it. My husbands adopted and he is very good at expecting nothing and also cutting people out of his life.. so need to take some tips off him.

PauloMartini Thu 06-Nov-14 20:17:20

Thanks a lot for your replies. its comforting but sad to hear I'm not alone.

Belle, love the comment about the nursing home, lol Funnily enough, none of us went to my grans funeral (my mums mum) and sadly she is repeating the same behaviour as her.

Mehsmum, your 3rd paragraph hits the nail bang on the head. Just had a bellyful. You say you eventually coped (how long...?), I guess, acceptance and giving back what they give out, tried that but the feels of hurt have returned v strong (I guess as I'm getting better from depression), I think as she's making out shes doing nowt wrong (as if not babysitting your grandchildren not even 1 day, forgetting xmas presents is perfectly normal..) I'm so lucky as I've got great kids, an awesome husband and fantastic friends but just wish I could box these feelings lol.

Angelface5 Thu 06-Nov-14 20:20:45

Same here watching with interest.
My mother all over. And when I look at my beautiful children it makes me angry to think how can she be like this.

MehsMum Thu 06-Nov-14 20:26:31

OP, you sound a much nicer person than your mother. Don't let her make you unhappy. Enjoy your own family, the one you've made: that's what I did, and what I still do. Every time you feel that rejection, remind yourself that it's not you, it's her.

Since you ask, I think it probably took me about 8-10 years (from the time my DM died) to learn how to deal with my father. DH was a big help, very loving and supportive. Recently I came across something on MN about narcissistic personality disorder, and that sounded like my father to a T. I thought I was over my father, but clearly I wasn't entirely, as that thread was a huge relief to me: really, it hadn't been me: it had been HIM.

ChillySundays Thu 06-Nov-14 20:30:30

Sounds like my mum. When I was in labour the midwives had to tell her she would not be allowed in if she turned up. When she came to stay afterward both my C Sections she did nothing to help around the house just wanted to hold the baby

If we asked them to babysit she expected us to drive the DC almost two hours to their house. Cheaper to pay a babysitter!

Trouble is now the older I get the more angry I get about it. There are two things in particular she said in the past that were really upsetting. Can't say on here as I have told people in real life so it might out me.

PauloMartini Thu 06-Nov-14 20:31:56

mehsmum; interesting what your were saying about your dad and the personality disorder. Interesting stuff. Thanks a lot for the advice, its v comforting. My father never seen in kids in 2 years either (he lives 3 hours away) so got issues both sides lol. My friends suggest concentrating on own family etc. I think that's why I feel hurt, it's rejection I suppose x

PauloMartini Thu 06-Nov-14 20:35:08

Chillysundays that sounds exactly like my mum. Once she said she'd come up but we'd have to pay their diesel money for them to visit (they said £84 for 3 hours drive and her partner uses red diesel lol) but she could afford cruises etc. priorities?? I find I'm getting angrier too which I'm pissed off about, just wish these feelings would just go away.

AnyFucker Thu 06-Nov-14 20:38:34

I am sorry you have been depressed, OP

Try to comfort yourself with the thought that you are not passing down this toxic apathy through the generations

If you vow to do differently by your kids, you break the cycle

Sometimes I have pause for thought about how to react/respond to a certain situation. Then I think WWMPD (what would my parents do) and do the opposite. It's invariably the right thing.

PauloMartini Thu 06-Nov-14 20:43:04

AnyFucker, my father was abusive too. We have a lot going for us :D I know I am not passing this unattached parenting onto my kids and I have broken the cycle. You're right, the opposite in this case too. sad but true. I think sometimes as an almost 40 year old with 3 kids, your parents can make you feel like a child again and stir up feelings from childhood and rejection etc.

AnyFucker Thu 06-Nov-14 20:47:01

Indeed. I am nearer 50 than 40 but I still dread Xmas and the inevitable forced "family" stuff it dredges up. Trying to articulat this stuff to people who grew up in a functional family is like walking through sand. Thankfully, my H totally gets it and my inlaws have ended up being the parents I never had. I am thankful for that.

LegoCaltrops Thu 06-Nov-14 20:49:09

Same here. Fed up of feeling that my mother can't be bothered spending time with us, she is too busy providing free childcare for Dsis who is a SAHM, while she told me I'd have to put DD in daycare if I wanted to go back to work, as she was too busy to see her. It's often months between visits & I've stopped bothering. She's only a couple of miles away but she's invariably busy with the DNs & no room for us. My father is worse but at least he doesn't really play favourites, he's just not bothered.

PILs on the other hand, cannot leave us alone, they have no concept whatsoever of boundaries or our privacy or the fact that DH & I are actually adults, and they also live in the same town. DH & I have talked about the whole situation & cannot wait to move away.

PauloMartini Thu 06-Nov-14 20:51:09

I totally understand.., sorry to hear you're still going through this and closer to 50. I'm exactly the same with my in-laws.. anyway.. off to read my book mindfulness lol.

PauloMartini Thu 06-Nov-14 20:59:31

thanks so much for the advice guys. xx

patronisingbitchinthewardrobe Thu 06-Nov-14 21:22:18

I don't know if you're expecting too much, but you're expecting things your mother can't provide, and that's only going to upset you both.

Apart from sounding a bit 'entitled' about the babysitting (they're your children, its up to you to take care of them) you're only expecting from your mother what other people's mother's regard as 'normal'. but 'normal' doesn't really exist, or matter. What matters is what works in your family.

Being a hands-on grandma isn't going to work for your mother, is it? You can break the cycle by being really hands-on with your own grandchildren, if that's what their mother wants.

So, adapt your expectations to what's actually possible, and protect yourself from hurt.

ChillySundays Thu 06-Nov-14 21:27:54

My ILs are both dead but I never dreaded visiting them. They didn't babysit but then again they didn't drive and were a lot older than my parents.

Paulo - my parents are not short of money so it's not like they couldn't afford to come up just expect us to do all the running. Twice when the kids were younger they went to stay during the school holidays to save some childcare costs. Again can't go into details my the DC refused to do it again after the second time.

Since we normally visit on Sunday for lunch so it is ok to have alcohol I deal with it by getting pissed.

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