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Need advice about DP's mum

(13 Posts)
BlueBananas Tue 29-Dec-15 10:42:44

This will be long so apologies in advance

I need some unbiased advice about what to do about DPs mother

She has never taken an interest in our children, ever. We have DS1(6), DD(4) and DS2(8 weeks). She has met DS1 maybe 5 or 6 times, DD 3 times and never met the baby or even seen a picture of him as far as I'm aware.
Nobody has ever stopped her (until me maybe a year and a half ago) she just never bothered. She never rang or text asking to see them or asking about them, DP would take them to his mums and she would go out. She just didn't care, so has never been part of their life.

So every now and again DP gets what I can only imagine is some kind of prang of conscience and says he wants her to have a relationship with them, a few times I've said ok do whatever you need to do but she always let's them down. He invited her to come to our house to spend an hour with the kids on a Sunday each week, she came once then disappeared again. So he tried again a few months later, she came twice then never again. Then he asked me to try again and I said no. So he said to her that she had to build bridges with me now, so she text me asking how everyone was what the kids were up to etc, I replied and she didn't, never heard from her again. This was last year.

So now we've had DS2 she's asked whether "she's allowed to see this one" hmm you were always allowed to see the fucking other two!

DP now won't let it drop and wants to try again. I've said no and I'm not willing to back down again. Why the fuck should I?!
DS has been quite a poorly child and was in and out of hospital with respiratory problems when he was a baby, she never even called to ask how he was. DD had meningitis at 3 months old. She never asked how she was. Fucking meningitis! Even the window cleaner asked for updates! But her grandmother? Nope!
She clearly doesn't give a shiny shit about them, so I don't get what DP thinks anyone will gain from forcing it.
I don't want her in and out confusing the kids and upsetting DP. And he does get really upset, which is hard for me to see, but she just isn't a good person and I can't change that, and nothing he does will change that. She doesn't bother with DP either, no phonecalls on his birthday or Christmas, nothing. I am very very close to my mum and can't even imagine how much that must hurt, So I just don't want to let her hurt anymore people that I care about. Again!

DP is adamant he wants his mum in his life. But I can't make him see that she doesn't want to be there!
What can I do/say? Just how do I handle this? We've reached a bit of a stalemate

Backingvocals Tue 29-Dec-15 10:48:41

God how awful. I guess your job is just to stand back and let him try to make it work and fail again? I wouldn't be telling him she can't come. Let him do the work. Otherwise it somehow becomes you that is the awkward difficult one.

mintoil Tue 29-Dec-15 10:48:48

Tell him that you have reservations based on previous experience. You know he will agree with you that the DC should not have a negative experience of his mother.

Therefore, he should start off by establishing (again) a relationship with his mother on his own and once she has proven herself as if that she is reliable and consistent, you will reconsider contact with the DC.

From what you have said, she won't make it past date three so you don't have much to worry about.

Finola1step Tue 29-Dec-15 10:53:28

"The Emotionally Absent Mother" by Jasmin Lee Cori would be a good book for both you and DP to read. It sounds like she hasn't just suddenly started this sort if behaviour since becoming a GM. If she was like it when your DP was a child, then this is the starting point.

Your DP may desperately want her to make an effort. Perhaps in her mind, she has. You will never know.

I suspect your MIL will never have the relationship with DP and her gc that he wants. So your efforts need to go towards accepting this and protecting your dc from it.

BlueBananas Tue 29-Dec-15 10:58:19

BackingVocals that has kind of already happened. Other members of his family say things to me like "it would be nice if you could just make an effort" completely missing the point that it's her that should've been making the effort

My mum suggested just letting him try again as it inevitably won't go anywhere too but at what point do I stop it then? I just keep letting her in and out playing happy families getting my kids to call her Nanna, taking pictures of them so she can how people and make out she's the perfect grandma then disappearing and them asking me where she is and where their uncle is? When does it stop? Why should I let my children be damaged by her like she's damaged her son?

mintoil I think DP fixing his relationship with her first is actually a very good idea

Joysmum Tue 29-Dec-15 10:59:14

I think you should tell DH you understand he wants to keep trying and that you support him in his choice as an adult, even though it beaks your heart every time she breaks his.

However, ask him to think about how hurt he's been by her and make it plain that as your children get older they will be hurt even more by the continual pick up and dropping than he's experienced because they don't have his adult reasoning on it.

Therefore tell him she needs to earn his trust and then yours with him before you'll even co spider exposing your kids to that risk of hurt.

My guess is she'll fuck up before it even gets to that stage.

BlueBananas Tue 29-Dec-15 11:00:03

Thanks Finola I will google that book
That's all I'm trying to do now, protect the DC from it, but it seems DP isn't ready to accept it yet.

BlueBananas Tue 29-Dec-15 11:02:46

Yes Joysmum that's what I'm trying to get through to him, but haven't managed to word it quite as well as you have
There's always someone on MN that can tell me what I'm thinking better than I can tell them smile

pocketsaviour Tue 29-Dec-15 11:15:06

Sorry you are both experiencing this issue OP, it must be very hurtful for you to see both your DP and your DCs neglected in this way.

Can I suggest you have a read of Toxic In-Laws which may give you some insight into why your DP keeps going back for more punishment.

BlueBananas Tue 29-Dec-15 12:19:54

Thankyou pocket I think that would be very helpful as I really just don't get it tbh

tribpot Tue 29-Dec-15 12:25:40

The kids must be completely indifferent to her, like some random distant relative they see once in a blue moon.

Can your DP not take them to see her? I certainly don't think you should be making any effort, and getting her to come to you seems to have backfired, so if he's so adamant that he wants her involved, let him do all the running.

At this level of involvement I don't think the kids will be very hurt by her disinterest, I'd refer all questions to DP and say grandma is very busy or something.

Don't put yourself out to accommodate her, leave DP to sort it out. And put your foot down if you think it really is upsetting the dc.

Jibberjabberjooo Tue 29-Dec-15 12:50:41

My god I hope you're telling those family members the truth. Do you think she does the woe is me act to them?

TheHoneyBadger Tue 29-Dec-15 13:11:34

i think you don't have to 'stop it' (you asked when do you stop it)

the kids will just accept her as what she is - a sort of 'distant' relative they see sometimes but aren't that close to and don't expect much of. i don't think they need protecting from anything here as they're never getting heavily invested in her in the first place - to them it's not loaded and won't be.

not all grandmothers fit the 'granny' mould. they have your mum for that which is great and his mum will just be who she is. it's up to your dp what he does and doesn't do in terms of his relationship with her and i doubt it's good for a relationship if one feels they have to ask the other about giving chances to their parents etc.

you've accepted she's a shit grandma by your (and most) standards and your kids will draw their own conclusions. being absent, uncommitted or less than ideal as an extended family member doesn't damage your children or you (unless you over invest in controlling it/wanting a 'conclusion')

i'd say just let it be.

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