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help me help MIL feel more connected to DD

(13 Posts)
naomilpeb Fri 23-Oct-09 14:09:55

To cut a long story short, MIL told DP that she doesn't feel as close to DD (10 months) as to his brothers DC, because DP and I aren't married (and have no immediate intention of getting married). DD and I 'could bugger off at any moment'. This wasn't said in an nasty way; DP was asking her about strange behaviour on her part, and she told him. She also knows it's unreasonable ('I know it's silly but I'm old fashioned and that's how I feel'). In a way I'm glad she was honest about it so we can now deal with it.

So, I want to think of ways to (subtly) help her feel more connected to DD. She lives in another part of England and we can't visit very often (we have no car and the trains are very expensive, even if booked in advance), though we do try and go at least three times a year. When she comes over to our town she always stays with DP's brother and his family, as they have a bigger house (we don't have a spare room and no room in the lounge for a sofa bed), and ends up helping them out with the school run, nursery run etc (they have three kids) and only pops in to see DD and I for the odd hour or so. So we don't see loads of her. But I do really want DD to have a good relationship with her, as she is generally a lovely person and also the only grandparent around (DP's dad - they're divorced - isn't that interested and my parents live overseas).

So, any ideas for things we can do to help her feel connected to DD (other than getting married!!)? Thanks in advance...

3littlefrogs Fri 23-Oct-09 14:19:30

I really don't want to seem rude or nosy, but why don't you want to get married? I only ask, because I can sort of see where she is coming from. To a person of her generation, your reluctance to get married probably means, to her, that you do not see your relationship with her son as being likely to be permanent.

She may well feel that if that is the case, you might indeed disappear from her life, taking your dd with you. She is probably trying to protect herself from the hurt and pain that would cause her if she got really close and involved with your dd.

So - sorry -I know you wanted only suggestions that didn't involve you getting married, but I just think she needs reassurance that you are not about to leave her son, taking dd with you. You may feel she is irrational, but to her it may be a reasonable fear.

naomilpeb Fri 23-Oct-09 14:26:02

Thanks for taking the time to respond 3littlefrogs and I do see your point. And I do see that, for her, it doesn't necessairly make sense either. We don't have any immediate intentions to get married, because we don't personally feel the need for that kind of legal/religious sanction on our relationship at the moment. That's not to say we might not feel we want to later.

We have been living together for 6 years, own a house together, and I have in every other way been completely accepted into his family (and he into mine, though we obviously see much less of them, since they're overseas). So I am a bit surpised that she sees me as potentially transient, when she knows me very well. Hence wondering what else I can do to help her bond with DD.

anonymous85 Fri 23-Oct-09 14:50:52

Maybe you could write to her and send her photos every now and then considering there is that great distance between you guys? It's a lot easier to fill someone in on what you and your family are up to in a letter too. Make a dvd of any videos of your DD?

anonymous85 Fri 23-Oct-09 14:52:04

Add photos with the three of you as a family, and a lot of your DP with your DD - so it becomes more of a reality?

diddl Fri 23-Oct-09 15:02:00

When she stays with your partners brother,can you also visit her there?

To show that you are part of the family and that the cousins ´get on?

Hoping that is the case,otherwise blush

But I agree with letters, photos,paintings that your daughter does.

Corny,but one of the most special things I have is my childrens handprints, dated as a momento from a toddler group when we moved.

naomilpeb Fri 23-Oct-09 17:29:23

Thanks everyone, we do all get on (cousins, BIL and SIL etc) so that is a good idea. We do visit a bit when she is there, and when she's not. I think she'd like proper letters with photos, as she doesn't do the internet or email.

Thanks again.

plantsitter Fri 23-Oct-09 17:38:50

When she stays there, could you ask her to look after DD for a day while you go shopping or something? It might be nice for them to have time together alone.

My MIL recently came over to look after DD (8 months) and they had a lovely time together, even though DD doesn't know MIL all that well (and certainly not as well as my family).

LilRedWG Fri 23-Oct-09 17:43:51

Is there anyway that you and DD could go and stay with her when she is at home? Just the two of you - no DP, so that she sees that you want to go out of your way to make sure she has special time with her DD - in a way that is independent of you and DP.

LilRedWG Fri 23-Oct-09 17:44:57

your DD.

LilRedWG Fri 23-Oct-09 17:46:02

Also second the letters/photos/pictures painted by DD for her.

LilRedWG Fri 23-Oct-09 17:47:11

By the was, I think it lovely that you want to help her with this, rather than moan about her attitude as a lot of people may do.

naomilpeb Fri 23-Oct-09 18:22:30

Thanks LilRedWG smile, and for your suggestions too.

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