H.H. asks from Terryville, CT on March 20, 2010
My Mother Never Visits Her Grandchild
trying to make a long story short as there is always a lot of history behind things with moms and daughters but I am just wondering if any one has any idea what I should do, or if I should care at all. My mother has not seen my daughter in three mo, and that was bc I went to her house I call her weekly to invite her over and she just says: why dont you come over here. there are many many reasons why I actually dont want to go there, (not very child safe, smoking, wild dog jumping on my daughter, lives with people I dont want around my daughter as they are a negative influence and my daughter) since my mother does not see these things as a problem she does not care that I do. so basically if I dont go there she does not see her grandchild. One time when my car was broken I thought I could use that as an angle to get her to come here bc of course I cant drive to her house w/o a car and she actually told me that she cant visit me bc she does not have the gass money to come here (I only live 30 minutes away! and I responded that I would give her $5 when she got here for gas) I have asked her why she wont come over and she never has a real answer she will say: it is too early today, or it is too late now she also never even calls me so if I dont call her they dont even talk. Honestly I dont really care bc my mom is not the best person to have around my child, sad to say, but I worry my daughter will care. she does have two other wonderful grandmothers that she sees all the time and even three great grandmas (they are of course very old but still see and love her for now). should I care? should I be the one to always call and go there?
So What Happened?™
wow! I am overwhelmed at all the wonderful and thoughtful answers that I have gotten. I thank each and every one of you and think you are all so kind! Most of you were also really insightful, even though I was somewhat breif you picked up on a lof of issues: I have always thought my mom was somewhat bi-polar and she is deff. depressed (mind you that mostly bc of the poor choices that she makes she does really make her life more difficult that it has to be) she also is jealous of me bc I dont need her (like my sis does) she resents the fact that not only do I not need her but that I dont offer her any sympthy for the bad decisions that she makes. She resents that we parent differently and that I watch my own child (unlike my sisters child that is watched by her while she works) It is just sad that she does so much for my sister and her child and nothing for mine. but like you said, do I really want her to? Honestly I dont, I just dont want my daughter to feel badly. But you are right, if I dont make it an issue than she more than likely never will. It is much better for her to be in the situation that she is in so I need to let it go. You have really made me feel better, my husband has told me these kinds of things so many times but sometimes you just need to be sure...hear it from others too. I did think she would be fine, I thought she would just think that maybe she is a distant realitive living far away or something (of course soon enough she will realize that she lives closer than her other grandparents that see her more). It was just starting to bother me bc lately she has been pretending to talk to meme on the phone and I thought it was really sad since she has not seen her in so long. Thank you again, each and every one of you and I do wish you happiness and all things wonderful with your families!
P.M. answers from Portland on March 20, 2010
As sad as it seems, some grandparents never do really connect with their grandkids. I know women in my age group (60-ish) who couldn't be kept away by herds of wild horses. And others who would need a few wild horses to drag them over to their grandchildren's houses.
If she's not physically or emotionally well, visits or even driving may seem like too much effort, and if the child is too young, rambuctious or otherwise challenging, she may not find visits rewarding enough. That's just the way some people are put together.
Your daughter is likely to "care" to the same extent you do. Unless you fuss about your mother's attitudes, your little girl will probably simply think of your mother as a more distant relative. It happens, and unless there's a lot of family tension, it probably won't be a big deal to her. Let her focus on and enjoy the more available grandparents.
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P.G. answers from Dallas on March 21, 2010
The question you have to ask is do you REALLY want her in your daughter's life? If she were not your mother, your child's granddaughter, would you want to spend time with her? I realize that we go the extra mile to have relationships with family, because they are family, but when it comes to the safety and health of our children, and our own families, sometimes distance is a good thing. If there is a place like a mall or favorite restaurant or something that's convenient for both of you, suggest that - neutral territory. Otherwise, don't push it.
I speak from experience, though I don't have to deal with this directly as my mother lives in another state; I have a polite relationship with her, but I would never leave my son alone with her, and I prefer not to spend time with her. She is an extremely selfish person, and will not change - though she will insist to you that she's "not the same person she was, blahblahblah." It took 10 years, but I've gotten to a place where I'm comfortable without her in my life. You may need to get to this place for the sake of your own heart. You have to chose what's right for you and your family. You can't direct her - don't try.
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R.M. answers from Topeka on March 21, 2010
H., we can't live other peoples lives for them. It sounds to me like you don't have a very good relationship with your Mom, and it sounds like you are making a wise decision not to have your daughter in her home very often. I would focus on the positives in your daughters life, the other grandparents and great grandparents who are there for her and are a positive influence on her. Don't waste your time fretting over what "should be happening". My own MIL couldnt be bothered with my children when they were younger, but suddenly wanted this wonderful relationship with them when they got old enough that they didn't require "supervision" or when they started having accomplishments that she wanted to be able to brag about. Much to her surprise, the grand daughters weren't too terribly interested. My Mother, on the other and, loved and cared for each of our girls from the moment they were born and they returned the love and caring until the moment that she passed away.
Don't spend so much time worrying about the things that aren't going according to your plan that you don't have time to enjoy the things that are wonderful in your life!!! Your job is to raise a happy, well balanced, little girl that is enough to keep you more than busy....don't worry about her relationship with one person.
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J.L. answers from Minneapolis on March 21, 2010
Depending on the age of your daughter, she won't care. The only way she may care is if you send out negative messages about your mom.
From what you describe, it sounds like your mom has a lot going on...and is maybe suffering from depression or an undiagnosed mental illness? With this possibility, I'd just not worry about her not being available in ways you see fit, and let her live her life her way, and you continue yours, your way.
She clearly isn't going to change her ways, for you or anyone. And if it's because of what I suspect, change is probably not possible for her without some sort of outside psychiatric help.
I'm not saying cut ties, but perhaps start to manage *your* expectations, and just don't look to her for the kind of relationship you feel a grandmother should have with her grandchildren. She just may not be capable of this. She's probably doing all that she is capable of doing right now. It doesn't sound personal. It sounds like it's just her.
If it is important to you, for her to be present in your life, and you don't mind being the one to initiate visits, just accept the fact that you'll only see her once in a while, and when it works for you to get to her house or where you both feel comfortable. There is no harm in accommodating her to keep her involved in your life. It just doesn't sound like her behavior is a power-play, so I think this would be fine if visits with her are important to you.
As for the other grandmas, your daughter is blessed! She will have good relationships with them and that's okay. No need to compare your mother to them, or compare what she has or hasn't done with them. Just appreciate what she can and has done, and leave it at that. No need to harbor bad feelings or pass those on to your daughter.
When she's older, she'll understand that people have different needs, different personalities, different circumstances. The important thing is, I do believe her grandma loves her, and she'll know it.
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K.G. answers from San Francisco on March 20, 2010
Maybe you could call her and pick her up once a month and go to a park and have lunch. This way neither of you would have to go to eachothers houses and it's a kid friendly environment.
She will probably never be the one to call and make plans. This will always have to be your job. That's just how it is. Some moms are like this.
It's wonderful your daughter will get to experience a more grandma type from her other grandmothers.
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S.H. answers from Honolulu on March 20, 2010
Don't force it. As you said, your Mom is a bad influence and the environment as well, that she lives in.
Your Mom not seeing your daughter... is perhaps a sign to you, and an indication, to just let it rest. As your daughter becomes older, she will either think its a big deal based on your reactions/actions/emotions to it... or not based on your attitudes about it. IF you raise your daughter to be a self-reliant and self-assured girl... and that she is loved... then she won't feel that your Mom/this Grandma... is ignoring her NOR to take it personally.
The thing for a child... is that they do not take it personally nor feel that it is a personal affront to them, nor a personal lack on their part.
So, raise your girl, to be emotionally mature AND secure AND cognizant that there are ALL kinds of people in this world... and not all of them are able to "behave" normally nor thoughtfully.
And for me personally, I would NOT want my kids to be close... to a relative like that, as you describe your Mom. You must protect your child... no matter what. Not embroil her into your Mom's mental or emotional dysfunctions. It would be worse... if your daughter WAS attached to your Mom... then she would be getting all kinds of bad influences put onto her... harmful and not wise for her being a child.
Protect the values of what your child is exposed to...
All the best,
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K.S. answers from Kansas City on March 20, 2010
Maybe she feels just as uncomfortable at your house as you do at hers and doesn't have the nerve to tell you. Or, maybe the few times she does see her, are enough for her. I don't understand it, but some grandparents don't need to see their GC a whole lot. Try talking to her about how you feel.
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M.. answers from Orlando on March 21, 2010
I have been in this place before.
I think your mother is Jealous of you.
Let her be, she will come to you when she needs something. That's the way they work.
My mother is very jealous of me and I think it is stupid. Oh and I am not just saying this, she really told me.
Just relax and enjoy the other grandmas, leave your mom alone.
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