March 16, 2009,
W.K. asks from Carlisle, PA on July 17, 2008
Mother-in Law Never Visits
My mother in-law never visits us. She has other grandchildren, that when they were little, she would visit all the time and one in particular, she still does (he is now 17). I have tried to visit her once a week, but am feeling hurt that we must always be the ones to contact her. My husband did talk to her earlier this year about this and we established that she would visit once a week. Then in April, she started canceling on us (eight times), so I finally told her that if it was inconvenient for her, she didn't have to come. And she has not. She said that she would call when she would like to see us. I am sure that she will never call. My sister inlaw ,with children, lived 7 miles from us, and my mother in-law, for 10 years went right past our house and never stopped once to visit us (we had no children at that time). I am not sure how to feel or what to do. Should I try to visit or wait and see if she contacts me first.
9 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
I just wanted to thank everyone for sharing with me. There really isn't a resolution to the situation, but I don't feel so alone now. A big hug to you all!
L.H. answers from Philadelphia on July 18, 2008
Well it seems like we are all in the same boat. My in-laws where very limit in between visits. Then my in-laws split and then i see more of my fil then mil. Which is fine with me. Then i also have it where my own dad doesn't do to much with my own children. But is there to step in for the other grandkids. (my parents are divocred and dad is remarried). But i look at it, that it is their own fault. They are the ones missing out and my childeren know how much they are loved.
T.M. answers from Philadelphia on July 17, 2008
Please don't let it bother you. Mine does the same thing, it is like they have favorites. My children are never invited over there....yet the other grandchildren all sleep over etc. My grandmother on my dad's side used to do it to us kids ALL the time. I just vent to my mom occasionally and we laugh about it. I think it is more common than we think...and my older kids already notice the difference...
I know it feels terrible but know that there are others out there in the same spot. (it took me until my oldest was 12 to be able to blow it off with a laugh!!)
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L.B. answers from St. Joseph on March 11, 2009
I have to agree with Michelle's post...yeah it hurts but eventually you have to just move to a self preservation mode. We have gone through the same thing in our family. My husband and I have been married for 9 years and I can count on ONE HAND the number of times my in-laws have come to any of the 3 houses we've lived in. In 2 cases we lived within 15 minutes of their house for nearly 4 years.
My husband and I were both raised that "family would always be there for you" and have come to the realization that they apparently didn't mean us. My parents are dead and gone and I am an only child so the rest of my extended family just didn't know how to conduct themselves around me w/o my parents....as for his family...well we've never quite figured them out. (I should mention my husband has 4 older sisters with 14 children among them). When we go to their town I make sure that the kids have time with their grandparents (although I don't always make myself available). The kids enjoy their time there and the in-laws claim to enjoy their time with my kids but they don't go out of their way to ever come to see us (despite my MILs mother living less than 1 hour away from us). And so I've raised my kids (now 4 & nearly 6) with only kind words about their grandparents and reinforce to them the importance of each of them being there for their sibbling NO MATTER WHAT... if we can't have a large tight knit family then at least we have ourselves.
I won't kid you that the hurt has gone away. My DH was deployed for 30/36 months and in that time I had to commit my father to a nursing home, deal with his estate and his illnesses as well as bury him. I also suffered from severe depression and my son underwent adnoid, tonsilectomy and tube surgery...and at NO POINT did they ever come up to help or even offer to help. It's a bitter pill to swallow but you can either suck it up and let it roll off your back and concentrate on what you do have or just let it fester and consume you...frankly, I'm not giving them any more than I have to and I celebrate in my children's lives everyday...their loss is certainly my gain. I am a firm believer in what goes around comes around. You are doing all that you can and as long as you are comfortable continuing it then do what you feel you must. The bottom line is we are accountable for ourselves, not the actions of others against us...so do what you know and feel to be right. And bless you for taking the higher ground!
5 moms found this helpful
M.H. answers from Indianapolis on March 11, 2009
I agree with the advice to not allow this to really get under your skin. Adults will behave the way they choose and guilting them into behavior that is not of their choice makes a hollow gesture. In our family, we have one Grandma who shows huge favortism toward certain grandchildren (despite a long drive to get to them) and the other Grandma (my Mother) who has the attitude that "I've raised my children" and she views visits to us as a request to change her plans for something she'd rather not do - spend time around children. For several years, I was hurt and angry that these women had no desire to be more connected to my children. But after losing a child and getting therapy for the grief, I realized that I can only control my own behavior and my reaction to others. I let things roll off my back and never fester over it anymore. So, I choose to accept people and their actions and do my very best for providing love and attention to my own children. They will learn by example, when its my turn to nurture their children, my future Grandchildren (if I'm lucky enough to have them) and see that not all Grandmother's are flakey or selfish. My oldest child is already starting to see the truth and question the disparity between Grandchildren getting time, but I just tell him that we'll see Grandma when she's ready to make time for us. No judgement, just an open door. The nugget of truth is that I expect nothing, and when things work out better than nothing, I'm grateful.
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R.T. answers from Decatur on March 11, 2009
I would let it rest. Yes, it hurts to see her not want to be in your sons life. There is no doubt about it. I am constantly calling my mom and asking her what is going on with her that she hasn't called, or came by to see my daughter. (My mom goes through spurts of wanting to be in our daughter's life on a constant basis and having nothing to do with any of us. As well as deciding what grandchild or which one of her own 4 children she is going to have anything to do with at any given time.) After a call or two, I realize she is just in her "I don't want to be around anyone" phase. We then might not talk from anywhere to several days to weeks (it has been up to 5 years when I was still single). My husband and I have chopped it up as it being her problem - not ours or our daughters. She is the one who is ultimately missing out on a precious grandchild and all the fun times she could be having with her. Right now, our daughter who is almost 10 months old, really doesn't understand why she doesn't come by and see her, or get her. She just knows that when she does get to see her MiMi she feels loved. What we as parents have to do in our situation, is teach our daughter even at an early age that there are some people that are there for you 24/7 like your mommy and daddy. There are other people who will always come and go into and out of your life on a regular basis, but when the really important things come up like an emergency they are there (like her MiMi). Then there are the people who come into your life for a time, and then you might not see them or hear from them for a while. Either way it goes, you just accept that individual person for who they are. (It is a lesson that takes time to learn, and of course we know that a baby or a child can not grasp all of this life lesson over night, and sometimes not even as adults.) But in order for us as well as our daughter not to feel rejected by the consant canceling and no calls or visits, we just continue to tell her that her MiMi loves her and that her MiMi is just being her MiMi. We still call my mom and leave messages saying MiMi I love you. Mom I love you. See, just because my mom gets self-centered when it comes to spending time with her grandkids and kids, I can't teach my child to do the same towards my mother. So we have chosen to teach her to always keep our arms open to her even when it hurts. And yes sometimes we just have to love from a distance.
3 moms found this helpful
S.R. answers from Pittsburgh on July 17, 2008
Your situation is just like mine. My Mother-in-law of 8 years, never visits us either.
She has a grandson who lives in florida and she visits him all the time.
We live about 12 miles apart and she has never come to see my girls. Infact my girls are 6 and 4 yrs. and I can count on one hand how many times she has been to visit.
We used to go visit her, but not at her house, we had to go to my husband's grandmother's home. I have no idea why!
I tried to be nice for the girls sake, but I don't worry about it any more. I figure I have tried to make every attempt to please this woman. I have taken the girls to see her all the time, even if she does not visit us.
One day I had enough and said to myself...."it is her loss. If she does not want to visit my girls, then it is her missing out on them. I am not going to accomidate her anymore."
I don't go see her anymore and the sad part is that she does not care. She still will not come visit them at our house.
I would wait and see if your MIL trys to visit you. I would not contact her, let her contact you. If she does not want to visit your son then it is her loss.
2 moms found this helpful
A.C. answers from Colorado Springs on March 11, 2009
I didn't read many of the responses, but I'm in your situation (sort of). My MIL has NEVER visited us, we packed up our 4 kids-picked 2 of them up in a northern state from their mom-& drove from the midwest to the in-laws in Arizona. That's probably the only time we'll ever see them. They had seen our bigger boys a few times, but had lived in the same town for a few years w/o visiting before they moved a few states away. I send pictures, I email the kids' milestones, but aside from that, there's really no contact. As much as it hurts you (I was married to my husband for 7 years before I talked to either of his parents & it was because one of our boys accidentally called Grandpa-he had no idea who I was when he called back), it's their loss. If you've made the effort, you've done what you can. Hopefully your parents are more involved (my parents are also states away but make a point to come at least every 2 years to see us). It's on MIL to make the effort if you've tried & she's not responding. It's sad that your son might never know his grandma, but the best you can really do is hang a picture of her on the wall & talk about her now & then so he knows at least a bit about her. Aside from that, you can't make her show up & if she's close & choses not to come over, it's her loss-she's missing out on knowing one of her grandchildren. Keep sending milestone pictures, keep emailing "progress reports", but if she's in town, she can come visit you now.
2 moms found this helpful
M.B. answers from Rochester on March 12, 2009
Your son is your son, and he is like my son - #25 of 26 grand-and great-grands. I am pretty sure my DMIL is not allergic to dogs - she's allergic to the clutter that abounds in our house (and I am certainly not the author of all of it, to be sure!) That being said, she also boycotted our wedding bc this is DH's 2nd (he's being 'adulterous' by getting married again bc he was married before in the... etc. etc).
I do not let it get to me - in fact, knowing that the entire visit would be comprised of complaining about SOMEthing, I am rather grateful she chooses to keep her distance.
I know this may not be the same for you - but I would simply explain that his grandmother loves him (when he is old enough to understand who his grandmother is) but she simply does not visit him (and I wouldn't elaborate that she visits other cousins; it simply would not make sense).
Keeping your son focused on the positive part of his relationship with his grandmother - and focusing on that positive part of it with her - will keep them both from being unhappy while they are together. Or at least, in theory, that's what I think will happen.
People are quirky. They are themselves. Your son will be himself, and you will educate him how to be with other people. I'm sure he will learn what is right and wrong along the way, and he will handle it in whatever way he learns from you.
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P.C. answers from New York on March 11, 2009
I wish I read this at an earlier date. I understand how you feel. My in laws live in the south and never visit. I have a 5 year old and a 21 month old. My husband is not understanding when I tell him how I feel, he is always defending them and to make matters worst he wants to go once or twice a year. When we go the play with the kids for a little bit. One night I tried to convince him to ask them to keep the kids that we can have a date for maybe 2 hrs, he made excuses. I don't want him to take them without me but once they are older and able to care for themselves better i won't be going anymore. My mother has dementia so she cannot really care for my kids but even with the dementia she asked to come and see them once or twice a week. W. all I can say we have to make a conscious effort way way way into the future is not to be that type of grandma. It makes me love my kids even more, if thats possible. Keep ur head up and kiss that baby boy.
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T.G. answers from Phoenix on March 11, 2009
I know you must feel very hurt. I'm a grandmother of four, great-grandmother of one. It's her loss. Grandchildren no matter how many are always a joy to be around. Enjoy your children,don't let them hear anything negative about grandma not visiting them. They will take it personally, not good for there self esteem.
2 moms found this helpful