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Grandparent envy - small problem now, MASSIVE one hoving into view

(31 Posts)
NigellaTufnel Thu 23-Jul-09 15:42:23

My mother, who is a widow, lives over 500 miles away - a flight, or a two day car journey.

Inlaws, live just over 2 hours drive.

My mother, I strongly suspect is envious of ILs. And is prone to think the worst; i.e. that we have a much better relationship with them than we do, she thinks they are wealthy, and makes little passive aggressive remarks about them, which I hate, as they are my DH's parents and we should treat them kindly.

She had a total meltdown when we told her that although both she and ILs had offered to look after ds when we moved, we asked the ILs, as it was far more convienient. (She said she would do anything to help, and we asked her to come down a few weeks after the move to help out.) She told me that I was very selfish and thoughtless. Lots of tears, and huffs

Anyway, ILs are coming to look after ds for a night next month, and I think that my mum is hurt that we didn't ask her. Quiet on the phone, sighing etc. I understand this, and know that there is nothing to be done, and feel sad that I've hurt her. She is lonely, although she has a lot of friends, and misses my Dad terribly.

But I do get annoyed that we can't ask ILs to help without being afraid of hurting Mum's feelings. They are grandparents too.

The problem that we will have is that we were thinking of asking ILs to look after ds when I am having the next baby. It just makes more practical sense; they can be here in 2 hours, rather than 2 days. But my mother is going to hit the roof. There will be tears, and tantrums.

Anyone have a clue how I can help the sitation. I know that I can't solve it, but I want to get through it.

DH says - the most important person is not my mum, but is the unborn baby, then me, then ds, then DH, then anyone else.

Anyone else dealt with the great grandparent stand off?

cafelattefan Thu 23-Jul-09 16:05:50

i would split the looking after when next baby arrives between the two sets of grandparents. that will be the fairest way and both should understand your reasoning for doing that.

BintOfBohemia Thu 23-Jul-09 16:10:49

I'd be inclined to say that as long as you are being fair and reasonable you can do no more, and people can choose to react to that how they wish. Don't get involved or drawn into anything you don't want to.

Sounds harsh, but this is where I've come to after years of silly aggro with various relatives. It's really hard though.

PandaG Thu 23-Jul-09 16:13:35

can you ask the ILs to do the immediate help when the baby is born, and your mum come and stay for a bit once DH's paternity leave finishes?

NigellaTufnel Thu 23-Jul-09 16:16:44

That would be the best solution I think, and I would go for that if we can.

The problem is that we only want to plan for the first couple of days. And we don't want anyone staying in our house with the new baby really.

I had terrible trouble establishing bfeeding last time. And my mum does wind me up a bit. So in a best case scenario we could get the ILs for the emergency help, then get Mum to come down and stay with my sister after three or four days.

However, when ds was born, she didn't pay any attention to us, booked a flight and was down the next day, even though I was still recovering in hospital, and we tried to stall everyone.

So she will still be upset if we ask her to hold off for even a day. So we realise that not's really an option, even if it's what we want.

mosschops30 Thu 23-Jul-09 16:17:17

How old is your ds?
Is your dh having any paternity leave?
Im not understanding why you need any help with new baby? Other than someone popping round with a casserole or something.

I cant imagine anything worse than having my IK's or EVEN WORSE my mother staying after Ive given birth to No.3. I'd kill myself first

Scootergrrrl Thu 23-Jul-09 16:17:43

Oh this sounds so very familiar. I don't know if it's better or worse, but our two sets of grandparents live very near to each other and we live a long way away, so we actually have to equally divide our time - almost down to the hour - between them or we get the same huffing and puffing. They always say that of course we should stay with whoever we like, where the DCs would be most comfortable etc, but the subtext is firmly that OF COURSE THAT WOULD BE WITH US! I don't envy you at all.

NigellaTufnel Thu 23-Jul-09 16:19:36

I'm glad it's not just me!

Scootergrrrl Thu 23-Jul-09 16:20:46

Oh no, I feel your pain, and with another DC on the way, I'm already wondering how to deal with them. Bang their heads together maybe? grin

NigellaTufnel Thu 23-Jul-09 16:23:40

We don't need help. At least if all is well we won't need help.

It's just to look after ds (2) when I go into hospital.

Indeed in a perfect world, ds would go to friends, I would sneeze in a swine flu free hospital, shoot baby out, and be back just the four of us asap.

But we are quite far away from friends now as we have recently moved.

The thing is the IL could come, stay maximum one night, then bugger off again. My Mum would need ferrying about in a car.

NigellaTufnel Thu 23-Jul-09 16:25:24

I hate the huffing and puffing too!

mazzystartled Thu 23-Jul-09 16:26:35

I'm sure someone will come on here and say your mum is doing emotional blackmail and being controlling but IMO she just sounds sad that she is so far away from you all, that she would love to help but can't.

Can you have a sensible - preferably face-to-face - conversation with her about it? Before it comes to the who looks after ds crunch?

It's entirely sensible for your ILs to look after him, but I think it would be mean to ask her to stay away even for a day or two. Imagine yourself in the same scenario 30 years hence....

Scootergrrrl Thu 23-Jul-09 16:27:24

Could you give your mum a fake due date a couple of weeks after the real one, then have to ring your inlaws to rush down when the baby is "early" grin? Desperate times, desperate measures.

mosschops30 Thu 23-Jul-09 16:28:07

I can sympathise, my mother does all the huffing and puffing stuff, and expects to be cooked for, and taken here there etc.
I have decided now I cant have her here again, its too stressful, we will visit her in future, then I can leave when I want

mazzystartled Thu 23-Jul-09 16:28:31

does your sister live very nearby? can you enlist her in a mum-management strategy?

NigellaTufnel Thu 23-Jul-09 16:30:20

Too late for fake dating I'm afraid, but I think this one will be early hmm

Mum had a strop last time when I was pregnant as I refused to promise to call her as soon as I went into labour. I said, I might but could not promise. She again, hit the roof.

mosschops30 Thu 23-Jul-09 16:31:24

Nigella, were we separated at birth? grin
My mother is just as manipulative. I guess the one thing we can hope for is that we dont end up like that with our children

mazzystartled Thu 23-Jul-09 16:32:57

What's your reationship like with her generally?

NigellaTufnel Thu 23-Jul-09 16:35:40

I think my sister may play a crucial role in this. Indeed we may ask her to be the first port of call if it is not during work hours/ middle of the night, so Mum will at least feel that our family will be involved.
But sis can't really care for ds for a prolonged period due to other committments.

And sis has offered to let Mum stay with her - she's about 40 mins away.

However, even with this Mum with go nuts that we are favouring ILs.

I did say after the moving debacle - if we lived two hours away from you and 12 hours away from ILs we would ask you.

That cut no ice whatsoever. I just got: 'Where did I go wrong raising you?'

NigellaTufnel Thu 23-Jul-09 16:40:36

Mosschops - I feel sorry for both of us

MazzyS - I loved that song they did with Jesus and Mary Chain!

RElationship is quite strained at times. She is a very proud and good gm, and loves ds very much.
She is v. moody though, and manipulative. She has tantrums and goes in the huff. The last time she was here she had two major strops culminating in her not talking to us, going to bed at nine pm.

But then she pretends that nothing happens. I think that it has never crossed her mind that anything that she says or does has an effect on anyone else.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 23-Jul-09 16:59:28


I think your Mum has got the emotional blackmail down to a fine art and is using this against you to its full effect.

Re this comment:-
"I think that it has never crossed her mind that anything that she says or does has an effect on anyone else".

Exactly. And it never will either.

This is her problem though, not yours to try and address because you won't make any reasonable headway with her. These people are not amenable to reason and do not play by the "normal" rules of families. I read that she is now a widow but I reckon she pulled all this stuff when your Dad was alive as well. This is all manipulative, she wants her own way and will go all out to get it. The sighing, huffung and puffing are all part of the behaviours. Also these people want to "help" but will only do so on their own terms, not yours. You will likely never get any sort of apology from her; this sort of difficult person never apologies nor takes any responsibility for their actions.

How does your sister get along with your Mum?.

Think your DH is right actually.

pranma Thu 23-Jul-09 18:04:23

As far as possible dont tell your mum when your ils are doing child care.Your mum cant help it she doesnt need to apologise,dont keep pushing your ils in her face and accept her offers when you can.She's not stupid,she knows she is too far away for day to day childcare but you are her dd.We always hope for a special relationship with dd's children she is hurt not bad.

2rebecca Thu 23-Jul-09 18:10:50

I think your husband is right. I can't imagine my mum when she was alive having tears and tantrums just because she didn't get her own way. Why is looking after your daughter whilst you are in hospital such a big deal any way? What's the difference between looking after her then and looking after her any other time? Just make the arrangements that suit your nuclear family and invite your mum down to stay with relative or in V&B etc after baby born. I'd either ignore the huffing and pufing and chat breezily or challenge it "mum you're huffing and puffing like a steam engine, if you aren't happy about something say so, I'm not a mind reader". As you know what she is unhappy about and don't intend to do anything about it though may be best not to bother on this occasion, just reassure her she's loved.

2rebecca Thu 23-Jul-09 18:12:47

Agree re just not mentioning if you're visiting inlaws then she won't feel left out.

NigellaTufnel Thu 23-Jul-09 18:17:21

Attila - that is very comforting. I think that I always blame myself.

It is horrible to listen to the 'all my friends daughters do such as such, but you don't.' (Totall bollocks most of the time) and 'You are suiting yourself as usual.'

I think that when you are arranging a birth you have to suit yourself.
The baby could be three weeks early, or two weeks late. What are we supposed to do?!

She has a prickly relationship with my sister as well, but tells me how great it is.

I think DH is right as well. And I know that I just have to be strong, and not let it affect me, but it will.

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