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DIL advice

(46 Posts)
Tipee22 Sun 27-May-18 23:03:36

I am a mum of 2 sons and a grandma of 2 granddaughters (from ds2)

Just before ds2 and his wife announces they were pregnant with dgd1 we moved an hour away for our retirement. We felt this would be a great move for us and isn’t so far that it would effect seeing our family.how wrong I was!

Both of my sons rarely visit. This is particularly hurtful from ds2 as I would love to see my granddaughters more frequently. There is always an excuse as to why the can’t come.

We are also never invited over to either of their houses. If we call and ask what they are up to, we get told how they have a super busy weekend and have so much to do. If we do stop by at either of their homes, both DILS act like we have massively overstepped and make it really awkward for us.

We just want to see more of our sons and grandkids. How do I approach this without rocking the boat any further with DILS?

Xiolablueviolet Sun 27-May-18 23:08:18

Have you tried being honest?
Saying you'd like to be more involved?

From experience, there is usually an underlying issue with these sorts of things. Maybe you want it on your terms rather than offering help that would be appreciated? Perhaps it's viewed as encroaching on their family time at weekends if they both work.

From a mother of a son, the wife has to have priority now. That can be hard to swallow.

Just my thoughts.

JanetJacket77 Sun 27-May-18 23:10:20

Dont drop by unannounced or last minute or suggest coming over, you are not that close to do that. Instead you could invite them or suggest doing something like watching or walking or something that involves an activity that doesbt require staring at eachother. You dont even mention wanting to see DILs they might feel and realise theyre not welcome?

AvoidingDM Sun 27-May-18 23:16:13

Do you invite them / feed them?
If they are super busy this weekend what about next weekend?

How about meet half-way?

An hours drive isn't much when your retired. But really your talking 2 hours in the car, plus a minimum visit of 4 hours to make it worthwhile. Thats a full day taken up.
I don't know how old GC are but if they have clubs then that also eats into time. If they are both working FT weekends will be manic trying to fit in all the general stuff that needs done.

How's this for a bonkers idea, you visit them and take dinner with you?

robotcartrainhat Sun 27-May-18 23:17:53

It is overstepping the mark to turn up at someones house unannounced. My own mum would never do that to me let alone my MIL!
Why are you focusing on the DIL and not your son? Surely you should be addressing your sons about the issue?

Personally id suggest meeting up somewhere outside their home but nearby to them. Often what puts me off visiting my ILs is that their house is so small and my child gets bored and is difficult to look after there... and what might put me off them visiting me is the hosting work on top of looking after toddler and a baby... So ask to maybe meet up at a park or in a family pub for a meal etc
Or you could offer to babysit if you feel up to that?
I think these are things that would be partially helpful and would get more of a positive reaction.

Mymouthgetsmeintrouble Sun 27-May-18 23:18:03

Is there more to the story than is being let on , weekends are busy for most families , my late fil used to want to visit on a sunday evening just as we were bathing and putting the children to bed , each time we would say its not a good time as it will excite the children and hes not the one picking up the pieces when they wont go to sleep , our timetables were incompatable and he would often send unpleasent emails saying we are stopping him seeing the children and we are sending them to bed far too early (bath 6pm , bed 7pm to read and lights off at 7.30 children aged under 7) i would be up at 5am with them so didnt want visitors rocking up at 7pm when i want to wind down for the evening , fil used to get up at 11am , we would suggest him coming for lunch but our lunch is 12-1 which is far too early as he had only just got up , he would slag me off to all and sundry saying i didnt let him see the children but he just would not comprimise on timing at all , however he was the childrens grandparent and i would try and be kind and more flexible than i should have and its very sad as he passed away young and it was very upsetting for the children , could you maybe suggest an activity away from both homes maybe a farm visit or softplay so you get to see the children on neutral territory

SMarie123 Sun 27-May-18 23:20:53

What was your relationship with ds’s like before dil’s were on the scene?

Are your ds’s close to each other or are they generally distant? Is it possible they have been hurt by something you or your dh did?

Dobbythesockelf Sun 27-May-18 23:23:11

Why are you focusing on the dil's surely it is your sons that you should be focusing on. Having young kids does make life busy so it really depends on what you are suggesting and how far in advance you are suggesting it. Meeting somewhere for the kids such as a farm etc is a good idea. If you drop by unannounced or with only a small warning you are definitely unreasonable.

Tipee22 Sun 27-May-18 23:27:52

It really hurts me to admit this but if I am being completely honest I don’t think we are that close to either ds. We all say the right things and have never fallen out, but I don’t feel as though they are very genuine with me. If that makes sense.

I am only being so open as it is an anonymous forum, but this really does make me sad. When we were raising them (both in 30s now) I don’t think we were very warm parents. They were always well cared for, but my husband and I were never really ones for open affection.

When I see dil2 around her mother, and the close warm bond they share, I wish o had that with my boys.

Storm4star Sun 27-May-18 23:34:55

Tipee, your last post has really struck a chord with me. My mum always provided food, clean clothing etc but was never really “loving” and it hurt. I would suggest actually having a heart to heart with your sons. Being totally honest and saying that you would love to be able to be there for your grandkids. My mum didn’t make an effort with her grandkids unfortunately, but had she sat down with me and said she wanted to (and of course backed it up with actions) I would have been overjoyed. Try talking to them and be really open.

Mymouthgetsmeintrouble Sun 27-May-18 23:36:03

Theres always time to change that, lifes too short tell them you love them, tell them you miss them , hug them , kiss them , and double for the grandchildren , offer to babysit and if they are struggling with money give your sons the money to take their wives out , its the little things , give the grandchildren lots of time when you do see them do the crafts , puzzles , watch the films ,as the bond increases they will all want to see you more

Xiolablueviolet Sun 27-May-18 23:37:39

Agree with the advice about being open and honest with them. I would say what you have said in your post no matter how hard that may be.

It will take work and commitment given they are in their 30s. You may also have to accept it's too late to have a better relationship at this stage.

Not easy. I hope it works out for you.

pallisers Sun 27-May-18 23:41:32

Tipee, your last post has really struck a chord with me. My mum always provided food, clean clothing etc but was never really “loving” and it hurt. I would suggest actually having a heart to heart with your sons. Being totally honest and saying that you would love to be able to be there for your grandkids. My mum didn’t make an effort with her grandkids unfortunately, but had she sat down with me and said she wanted to (and of course backed it up with actions) I would have been overjoyed. Try talking to them and be really open.

I agree completely with this. You may be right and your parenting has made the relationship cold but it may not be too late. I would say outright that you look at DIL2 with her mother and wish you had been able to be like that (Do NOT say you wish your son was like that with you - that puts it on him, not you) but you really love him and his brother and your grandkids and hope they know it. Don't link this for now with increased contact.

Then maybe send stuff to the grandkids, stay in touch, ask for photos, praise everything If my mother heard one of ours lost a tooth a special envelope arrived from the tooth fairy from her town with a dollar in it and a note from the "fairy". She would randomly send my kids a note saying "I tossed a coin with you for 5 dollars and you won again - and include the 5 dollars" Or send a clipping from a newspaper or magazine that a child might like. All of these notes are deeply treasured now mine are older and granny/grandad are gone.

You may need to be open and up your game OP. Being close takes work - but it is work well worth doing.

AnneLovesGilbert Sun 27-May-18 23:51:44

If you want closer relationships with your grandchildren then I’d try hard to improve your relationships with their whole families including your DILs. There’s nothing in your posts that suggest the lack of contact is anything to do with the women your sons have married. Interesting you’re focusing on them and not your own children.

You say you’ve never been that close to your sons and your DILs will be taking the lead from their husbands who’ve known you all their lives.

Its your sons who should be arranging visits. Ask them what you can do to make visiting each other as easy and pleasant as possible. You moved, not them, so offer to book things in advance if they’re busy, host well, be considerate guests. Also make an effort with your DILs. Your grandchildren are the product of both of their parents, be nice to their mother and make an effort with your other DIL. She’s married to your son, he loves her, he chose her, I’m sure she’s lovely.

In short, expect the planning to be done by your sons but try to get on well with your DILs as well.

Tipee22 Sun 27-May-18 23:55:16

Just writing it out has made me feel more positive.

The problem is it would almost be easier if we had had a big falling out. This is so much harder. My personality is not overtly affectionate and neither is dh. We don’t really discuss emotions and feelings at all in our family.

What makes it harder again is no one really acknowledges that anything is wrong. Both ds and DILS are polite and nice to us when we see them. But it’s more like sitting with vague acquaintances realer than a close family. I’m so sad about it and just don’t know where to start.

pallisers Mon 28-May-18 00:02:55

Tipee, I really think you could make a change if you just started being more interested in your grandchildren from afar. Send them messages or little gifts. I had a difficult relationship with my sister but it eased enormously when she had a child whom I loved and she saw that.

Maybe start small with texts to them, overt praise, support, saying something nice about their wives. Being close does take effort (often unacknowledged by people who don't make an effort) but it is worth it.

AnneLovesGilbert Mon 28-May-18 00:08:13

Good advice from pallisers

thornyhousewife Mon 28-May-18 06:34:09

OP, you say that when you visit your DILs "act like we have massively overstepped and make it really awkward for us "

But you also say "DILS are polite and nice to us when we see them".

Is there a chance that you're over thinking this and getting the wrong end of the stick?

Think about how you can support your sons and the rest will follow.

Blondebakingmumma Mon 28-May-18 06:50:53

Oh god I hate it when ppl drop in uninvited! I’m so stressed about the state of the house, I cannot relax.
Maybe tell ds how much you would love to see them and are prepared to drive if your house is too far away. Ask which weekend would be convenient.
Or suggested a family picnic (weather permitting)
Offer to babysit so son and dil can go out for a long relaxing meal, could be a lunch if night time is too hectic with LOs
Keep trying to build the relationship, it’s worth it

8FencingWire Mon 28-May-18 07:17:24

Maybe it’s late to improve the relationship with your sons, but not too late to build one with your grandchildren.
It’s a fine balancing act, but it can be done. My exMIL was like you, I was the one that wanted my child to have a nana, she was as cold as ice.
Yesterday, my kid said here nana is her best friend.
Stuff like birthdays/assemblies are helpful: do go. They are boring as hell, but they help bonding.
Invite them for a meal/morning coffee.
Say you want to help. If the children are small, ask if you could help paying towards a cleaner/babysit sometimes (on their terms).
Invite them over for your birthdays, make a bit of a fuss even if you’re not that bothered about it.
Little thoughtful things like remembering events they care about.
You have to rebuild the relationship from scratch.

SpectacularAardvark Mon 28-May-18 07:36:44

Some great advice here. My MIL is angry with me and thinks I'm "keeping her from her Grandchild" (we do see her but not as much as she'd like --every fucking day--) The truth is, DH loves her but he doesn't like her and hates being around her. If it weren't for me, he wouldn't bother with her at all but I can't tell her that.

AvoidingDM Mon 28-May-18 08:35:56

I've just re-read the bit about you stopping by. Truthfully my ILs used to drive us insane by phoning at 10.30 on a Saturday asking "are you in we're just passing". They'd turn up at 11am sit for 3 hours leave at 2.00 and we felt any plans we had for the day were scubbered.

We couldn't say no to them but started getting up and out earlier. They then took to turning up at 4.00 no thought when we might want to have dinner.

Ask when is a good time to visit.
Maybe a Friday evening would be good for them esp if they finish work early.

Tipee22 Mon 28-May-18 09:02:21

Thanks for all of the advice. I think maybe I have been projecting onto dils to avoid the issues with my sons.

Dh doesn’t see my problem, and says things like ‘ well at least they never ask us to babysit’ and we raised them to be independent, what do you expect’ and the best one ‘at least they never ask us for money’ they did have some financial difficulties a few years ago, when dil was on maternity leave. We only found out months later when dils mum mentioned it in front of us that they had bailed them out.

We have never been asked to watch the girls (6&4) dils Mum and dad are always 1st choice and see them pretty much daily. It breaks my heart.

Tipee22 Mon 28-May-18 09:10:09

Think I will start with small things for the dgcs. Sending them things is a lovely idea.

I really wish we had never moved. Things would be so much easier if we were nearer to them.

Xiolablueviolet Mon 28-May-18 09:10:49

I'd ignore whatever dh says. Men don't understand emotional nuance in the same way. You will have to be the one to repair it and keep dh out of that given he doesn't get the problem. Maybe dh is some of the problem and if it were just you it would be a different response to your requests?

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