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Do I need to just "woman up" or what about my MIL?


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My dh's family came to church yesterday to visit. He has three brothers with children. One of his brothers never comes to any events but my MIL insists on bringing his children to the events. He never has a good reason for not coming, just chooses not to participate. I wouldn't really care about that except they are 2 & 4, so they require her constant attention.

 

What bugs me is the fact that they rarely come see our children. When she does that, my dcs feel disappointed because she cannot spend ANY time with them for running after his two boys. It's as though she is trying to prove to someone what a great grandmother she is, but I just don't get it. They also go get his children all the time and keep them, so it isn't as though she doesn't ever see them.

 

It really gets under my skin for some reason. I told my dh we need to promise each other that when we become grandparents we will spend time with each set of grandkids separately and give them their own time. It just bugs me and I can't figure it out.

 

My mother does the same thing with my brother's child. He is a single parent and I feel like she insists he is around the entire time we visit, which is usually once a year, or she is comparing everything my kids do to what he does. It is just a super annoying trait to me. Am I just being a baby?

 

I remember the older people, like grandparents to me because I only had one surviving when I was born, who took time to just sit and talk with me. That was so special to me. I feel like my dcs don't get that because they has to be a crowd around.

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Well, when it comes to issues with the in-laws, I feel that I MUST have dh on board with me, and we have an understanding that it is our own responsibility to deal with our own parents. I do not take on issues with the inlaws, dh does that. I take on the issues with my own parents. It really works for us. So, I would suggest talking with your dh about it and coming up with a plan of action for his parents. Maybe just saying that it would be nice for your kids to have some one-on-one time with them without the little kids around is all that would need to be said.

 

For your parents, it's your call. You know them and can decide whether it's worth it to try to change things when you go there to visit.

 

Family dynamics are so tricky to navigate. I hope you can all come up with a solution that works for you! I totally understand why you feel irked. I like my kids to have the same advantages as my brother's kids with my parents. (our kids are the only grandkids on dh's side, thankfully) Everyone wants their kids to feel just as important to the grandparents as their cousins seem to be. Try to see things from your mil's position, too...maybe she really just wants the little ones to be included in the family when they obviously wouldn't otherwise be.

 

Good luck!

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Well, when it comes to issues with the in-laws, I feel that I MUST have dh on board with me, and we have an understanding that it is our own responsibility to deal with our own parents. I do not take on issues with the inlaws, dh does that. I take on the issues with my own parents. It really works for us. So, I would suggest talking with your dh about it and coming up with a plan of action for his parents. Maybe just saying that it would be nice for your kids to have some one-on-one time with them without the little kids around is all that would need to be said.

 

For your parents, it's your call. You know them and can decide whether it's worth it to try to change things when you go there to visit.

 

Family dynamics are so tricky to navigate. I hope you can all come up with a solution that works for you! I totally understand why you feel irked. I like my kids to have the same advantages as my brother's kids with my parents. (our kids are the only grandkids on dh's side, thankfully) Everyone wants their kids to feel just as important to the grandparents as their cousins seem to be. Try to see things from your mil's position, too...maybe she really just wants the little ones to be included in the family when they obviously wouldn't otherwise be.

 

Good luck!

 

Thanks. Oh, yes I totally agree that he takes up the issues with his parents, I with mine. He has spoken to her but she just doesn't get it. I just feel bad and don't know what to tell my dcs about the fact that she doesn't have any time with them because she is chasing down the little ones. Just frustrating. I have decided I can do nothing to change them, just don't follow the same path when it is my time to be a grandparent. What ever happened to the Grandparents that seemed to have all day to chat? Didn't need a crowd, just a bottled Coke and a porch. That's the way I remember things and find it sad my dcs seem to have to "compete" to have a conversation. I just feel sad that my dcs have resolved themselves to not even really talking with her because they say she doesn't listen to them. She is too distracted.

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It is similar here as well...on both my side and my husbands side.

 

I think there are two reasons that I can think of that applies to my family..it may be the same for yours:

 

#1

My husband and I were the only ones to marry and choose a different way of parenting. The others were single parents and struggling...one even has drug and abuse issues. I think part of it is that they don't have to "worry" about my kids. We are always doing something with them, they are always fed, happy, clean and well-loved and cared for. They don't "feel sorry" for my kids or obligated to help them have a better life. They also don't feel stress or resentment at having to "parent" my kids even though they are the grandparents.

 

#2

We parent differently. We don't feel the need to have our children sleeping over or spending great deals of time without us...especially when under the age of 5. I don't use babysitter's at all when they are nursing and under the age of one (not even my husband....they are to be with me at all times). After the age of one my husband cares for them for short periods of time. We both don't believe in babysitter's under an age that they cannot care for themselves. Because of that I think the grandparents become more attached to the ones they care for frequently as little ones. My kids also do not have a deep attachment to them. My kids don't depend on them to get out of the house or for food or attention.

 

I also had a grandparent say to me once that they could not "relate" to my children because they aren't in school. I don't get what that means....but, that is an issue one has.

 

((((HUGS)))) You sound just like my husband and I when we talk about how we want to grandparent differently. We broke the cycle of detached parenting and favouritism with our children and we'll break the cycle of detached GRAND-parenting and favourtism of our grand children.

Edited by Lolosoli
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My dh's family came to church yesterday to visit. He has three brothers with children. One of his brothers never comes to any events but my MIL insists on bringing his children to the events. He never has a good reason for not coming, just chooses not to participate. I wouldn't really care about that except they are 2 & 4, so they require her constant attention.

 

What bugs me is the fact that they rarely come see our children. When she does that, my dcs feel disappointed because she cannot spend ANY time with them for running after his two boys. It's as though she is trying to prove to someone what a great grandmother she is, but I just don't get it. They also go get his children all the time and keep them, so it isn't as though she doesn't ever see them.

 

It really gets under my skin for some reason. I told my dh we need to promise each other that when we become grandparents we will spend time with each set of grandkids separately and give them their own time. It just bugs me and I can't figure it out.

 

My mother does the same thing with my brother's child. He is a single parent and I feel like she insists he is around the entire time we visit, which is usually once a year, or she is comparing everything my kids do to what he does. It is just a super annoying trait to me. Am I just being a baby?

 

I remember the older people, like grandparents to me because I only had one surviving when I was born, who took time to just sit and talk with me. That was so special to me. I feel like my dcs don't get that because they has to be a crowd around.

 

:grouphug:

 

Honestly I have no advice I just wanted to say that I have a pretty rotten relationship with my grandparents because of issues like this. My dad and my uncle used to work for the same company and when that company was bought by another company both families moved to the new plant leaving my grandparents where we used to live. Whenever they came to visit they would ALWAYS stay with my uncle never with us. And when they did come to our house they would bring my cousins. It hurt. A lot. So I just wanted to :grouphug:

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We live on opposite coasts but my mother would love to have the cousins together. She loves to tell the cousins endlessly about each other. She is closer to the kids she spends more time with but that's to be expected. It can make us all a little crazy but we pretty much let it go. Moms like to keep being moms and when there is a void they fill in. When it comes to church I think I would cut more slack. At least they are in church. I know it's hard. I'm just so much happier not making a big deal of these family things that I cannot change.

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It is similar here as well...on both my side and my husbands side.

 

I think there are two reasons that I can think of that applies to my family..it may be the same for yours:

 

#1

My husband and I were the only ones to marry and choose a different way of parenting. The others were single parents and struggling...one even has drug and abuse issues. I think part of it is that they don't have to "worry" about my kids. We are always doing something with them, they are always fed, happy, clean and well-loved and cared for. They don't "feel sorry" for my kids or obligated to help them have a better life. They also don't feel stress or resentment at having to "parent" my kids even though they are the grandparents.

 

#2

We parent differently. We don't feel the need to have our children sleeping over or spending great deals of time without us...especially when under the age of 5. I don't use babysitter's at all when they are nursing and under the age of one (not even my husband....they are to be with me at all times). After the age of one my husband cares for them for short periods of time. We both don't believe in babysitter's under an age that they cannot care for themselves. Because of that I think the grandparents become more attached to the ones they care for frequently as little ones. My kids also do not have a deep attachment to them. My kids don't depend on them to get out of the house or for food or attention.

 

I also had a grandparent say to me once that they could not "relate" to my children because they aren't in school. I don't get what that means....but, that is an issue one has.

 

((((HUGS)))) You sound just like my husband and I when we talk about how we want to grandparent differently. We broke the cycle of detached parenting and favouritism with our children and we'll break the cycle of detached GRAND-parenting and favourtism of our grand children.

I relate to a lot of this. My husband is an only child and we are now caring for his aging parents a lot, so I don't have issues on that side.

 

But my mom is remarried to someone with 4 kids of his own and I feel a lot of tension with them having to try to make enough time for everyone. And there's the single parent and drug/alcohol abuse issues with my brother and his kids (and some of my step-relations), so they try so hard to make a "normal" loving family home when those grandkids are there. And the fact that we can't visit without my brothers kids there is largely because my mom wants so bad for us all to have a strong relationship. She doesn't feel like she needs to provide a loving and secure home for my kids, so she doesn't try to. But she does for my brother's kids and that leaves mine out sometimes. I'm just trying to be as understanding as I can be and let it go.

 

:grouphug:

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What ever happened to the Grandparents that seemed to have all day to chat? Didn't need a crowd, just a bottled Coke and a porch. That's the way I remember things QUOTE]

 

I agree with what you wrote and with the suggestion you were given to include DH --

 

My dh's parents are totally burned out from the never-ceasing attention and care they gave to bil's children (who are now 16 and 18 yrs old). And my ds, well, my mom is practically the primary care-giver to ds' 8 year old daughter as ds and her dh have demanding positions outside the home. The biggest thorn in my side about that is that dear niece has this attitude of 'ownership' towards my mom and displays it constantly to my dc. It really aggravates me -- my posture, unfortunately, is to stay away.

 

As for what I have highlighted in red -- I AM THAT grandmother -- my grand-daughters are 4 and 6.5 and when they are here to visit or we visit them, I am the person with the coke zero sitting on the porch or I am down on the lawn with them playing games and hooting and hollering. Of course, it probably does help that my dc are 11 and the twins are 9 so we are a ready-made good time.

 

 

Old_lady_drinking_coffee.jpg NOT

 

!kids_club1.jpg21363_1947-Coca-Cola-Co-Ad-Gorgeouse-Woman-Invites-For-Drink.jpg

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I don't know what it is, but I feel your pain! :grouphug:

 

My mother always has to make sure that we know that she has to give my sister's child more, that he deserves more, that we all need to think of him first in any situation, etc. all because my sister chose to be a single parent. It's mind boggling. :001_huh:

 

We all used to live in the same state and my sister still lives there while my family and my mom moved south. We have them down twice a summer (they chose the times) and my sister leaves my nephew here for THIRTY FIVE to FORTY days most summers.

 

We are not welcome in their home - she works, is too busy, etc. My sister TOLD my daughters this in front of me when dn asked why they never come up. I tried to spin it but it's not something they will ever forget. Grrr.

 

When I mentioned that we wanted to visit all of our old friends up there for a week, our first potential vacation in more than 6 years - my mother's first words were "Great, you can keep nephew while you are there! It'll be great for him!" And threw a fit when I said no, it's supposed to be my VACATION...

 

I hope to be a worthy grandmother,

Georgia

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and in her mind, she's probably trying hard to have the sets of cousins together a lot in hopes that this will foster a close relationship with your children and between you and your nephews.

 

I know in your mind, though, they have less of a relationship with her because of that.

 

Is she from a large family? Sometimes I think people from large families just think differently than people who are used to being in smaller groups. If you have seven children, you figure out how to give them each attention. If you were one of seven children, you might be used to that. I have three and if you told me that we were going to add a 2 and 4 year old to our family, I would panic at the thought that my older children would be robbed of time with me to just hang out - like you say - coke, porch, chat. But people who are accustomed to having those children probably feel like all the kids get time in the end and that no one is robbed - everyone is blessed by the additional family members. In her mind, she is probably blessing your family by making it possible to spend more time with these little guys and blessing them by letting them be around your family.

 

Maybe you should invite her over when you know the other family is busy or at night when the little ones might be in bed. You could invite her over for a nighttime movie that is more of a "big kid" movie or for dinner out somewhere that little kids won't really fit in.

 

Or maybe your DH could just ask her directly if she could spend some time one on one with each of your children.

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You're not being a baby. :grouphug: We all have feelings about our families and the relationships and they're not all fuzzy squishy feelings because neither our families nor our selves are perfect. You'd be a baby if you were trying to blame everyone around you or throwing a hissy fit, but you're not. I often feel the same ways about my family.

 

I don't know your brother-in-law, obviously, but it makes me wonder if there's something else going on that makes your mother-in-law feel that those children really need her. (Same with your mother, actually.) My mother once told me that she feels that she "neglects" me sometimes because I'm pretty happy most of the time, and I am the one who needs the least from her.

 

My guess is that MIL brings the children to family events so that they can experience family gatherings and develop relationships with extended family even though your BIL doesn't attend. Poor sweets, what if she didn't do that? If that's her goal, I think it's commendable and worthy of support. They won't be that young forever, so they'll get easier. Maybe if you can get your family on board with that kind of thinking, they'll be more likely to see themselves as having a common goal with Grandma, to extend love and family to these young ones, and feel more connected with her. :)

 

What would she say if you invited her over for dinner or a game night with your family? Maybe a later evening with "big kid" games, and let her know that the littles would probably be happier staying home so they're not bored and cranky.

 

My family isn't perfect, and I find myself getting stuck in issues like the one you're describing. Then I figure....I can either get stuck in it, or (as long as it's not toxic or damaging to me) I can appreciate what I do have, because bottom line is that I have a wonderful family. If I choose to let it go, enjoy the people around me for who they are, and have a positive attitude, I find that often the problems either resolve themselves or I don't care any more (lol). I can't choose my family or what they do. I can choose to frame the problems with as much grace and compassion and love as possible.

 

:grouphug:

 

Cat

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