36 answers

Rich Grandparents, Poor Dad

My husband was a very young dad, married really young and divorced soon after. He never had a chance to go to college and actually was a stay-at-home dad for a while living with his folks.

He never had much money, but his folks are pretty well-to-do. Therefore they are able to afford to do things with their granddaughter that my husband was never able to afford.

They took her to Disney World for the first time. My husband was partially crushed because almost every dad wants to take his kid to Disney World! But he wanted her to be able to go so he let his parents take her. He still kicks himself now that he was not the one to take her to Disney her first time and see her face and experience with her all the joys that are Disney.

They take her everywhere on expensive vacations. My husband has only experienced ONE nice vacation with her, and that was because his parents paid for him to come. They also take her to local things, her first stage show, etc.

My husband is happy that she gets to experience these things but also upset because he is never there with her. All the wonderful firsts that a parent would enjoy were not his.

Now that we are married and he has a wonderful job he is getting on his feet and wants to take his daughter to experience things. Still, we are far from rich, as his parents are. We are planning for the future on going to Japan. This probably won't happen for maybe 3 years, but we want to go! Now his parents want to take her to Japan next year. There is no way we could afford to go by next year! My husband is torn between letting his daughter enjoy the experience (because what if we can never afford to go?) or making her wait until we can afford to go? My husband has been talking about going to Japan since I've known him. Because he's been wanting to go, his daughter has been talking about it and his parents heard and want to take her. The point is WE wanted to go to Japan!

In 3 years she will be 12. I think that's a great age to go overseas. At age 9, I don't even see how she would get the most out of the trip.

I'm leaning toward encouraging him to tell his parents no, she will not go to Japan with them that is OUR trip. They can take her somewhere else. Does that sound selfish?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the different points of view! We actually asked my stepdaughter which she'd prefer in a "if this happens" kind of scenerio and she said she wanted to wait when we could all go as a family, and maybe grandma and grandpa could come then too. So sweet! She said the last vacation she went on without us was fun, but she wished we could all be there.

Grandma thinks of her as HER child sometimes, which poses a big problem. Grandpa (who is really step-Grandpa) has two kids and one is only two years older than her so it was easy to lump her in as a "child" not 'grandchild" when she was growing up. I think now that we live in our own house and have our own life things are a little bit different. I'm glad she has a special relationship with grandma, that is priceless. But she has a mother, a father and a stepmom so grandma should be grandma--she has enough parental figures!

Thanks again mamas!

Featured Answers

It is not selfish to tell them no. He needs his thing, and this should be his. He can just tell them no, simply no. That is his vacation for her, not their's.

3 moms found this helpful

How about talking to his parents and explaining his dream of going to Japan and then inviting them to join you guys on the trip 3 years down the road? That would teach his daughter what considerate people you are, the value of doing things as a family, and also, how to work hard to reach a goal.

And maybe, just maybe, the grandparents will get a hint ;-)

Best of luck! I LOVED Japan!!

2 moms found this helpful

I'd make them wait. Also, please remind him that she will love him and remember the simple things they do together - not the big fancy trips. She loves her Dad because he's her had - he listens to her - plays with her and just loves her. Remind him that is what matters : )

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I would not allow my child to travel to another country without me at that age. Your husband should talk to his parents and explain that this is an experience HE wants to give his daughter when she is 12-13. Tell them that if they would like to help make that happen, great.

5 moms found this helpful

It is not selfish to tell them no. He needs his thing, and this should be his. He can just tell them no, simply no. That is his vacation for her, not their's.

3 moms found this helpful

I guess I am in the definite minority ( as usual).

I think being a parent is about doing what is best for your child, and giving them whatever you can. You make sacrifices...his has been not going on a few trips (big deal...many people can't do those things EVER, and we all manage to survive). Honestly, there are millions of children who would never even have these opportunities, so I think that taking advantage of them is important.

I completely understand that he feels like he missed out...but honestly it is about his child, not about him. I think he should be happy that she gets to experience these wonderful things at all...with or without him. She is safe, with people who love her and want what it best for her...so let her go. If she remembers stuff, great...if not, oh well.

You have no idea what could happen in three years...lose job and no trip, go on an even more amazing trip, not travel again due to other reasons...who knows.

Send her with your blessing, and thank your lucky stars that she is getting to experience all these wonderful events...with or without you. It's a country for pete sakes...and they are her grandparents. It isn't a competition, and he needs to stop percieving it that way, and realize how lucky his daughter is to have someone in her life to do these things with her.

Also, I don't think his parents owe him to take him with...their money, their choice.

2 moms found this helpful

How about talking to his parents and explaining his dream of going to Japan and then inviting them to join you guys on the trip 3 years down the road? That would teach his daughter what considerate people you are, the value of doing things as a family, and also, how to work hard to reach a goal.

And maybe, just maybe, the grandparents will get a hint ;-)

Best of luck! I LOVED Japan!!

2 moms found this helpful

It's hard to tell if they are just very generous with their grandchild and truly like to indulge her and spend time with her in the lifestyle they are accustomed to, or if they are kind of passive aggressive in being able to show up your DH that they are ones who get and do everything for his daughter/their granddaughter. Are they genuinely nice people? Do you see them as sincerely caring or kind of irritated that your DH is not more well off at this point in his life, and like to make their point by doing so much for their granddaughter? I think I would say what Krista said "thank you so much for your generous offer, but we are saving for that exact trip in 2014" It will be good for your daughter to learn patience and see you saving up for a larger goal. If his parents press, I would just suggest they take her on a smaller (not international) vacation, that Japan is your special family goal, and you feel it is better for her to experience international travel when she is a little older. I also think that DisneyWorld would be totally worthwhile, it is magical and special no matter how many times you visit, for all ages. Just because she has been once before doesn't mean DH and you can't share in that fun and wonder with her.

2 moms found this helpful

Yes, that's selfish, because this is HER experience. The more times she gets to go to Japan, the better. It doesn't matter if it's the FIRST time she's seen it or not. She can go to Japan twice. The second time will probably be even better.

You and he should be happy that she has rich grandparents who are able to give her these experiences. She will become a more worldly and well-rounded person because of it.

And since he is now getting on his feet, by the time your husband is a grandpa, he will be able to take his grandchildren to all kinds of wonderful places.

EDIT: Skimming other responses -- I'm kind of shocked that most of you think she should miss out on this experience. As one other mom pointed out, this isn't a competition, and this is about doing what is best for the CHILD. Japan is a country that can be visited MANY TIMES. Firsts are often overrated. How was your first sexual experience, for example?

2 moms found this helpful

Let me go at this in another way.
My parent's and my oldest son are very close. I lived with them until I married my current husband. THey helped raise my son until he was 4. THey took him on trips, took him during our cross country moves, twice, took him for months in the summer, until at 18 he left for bootcamp.
When he comes home on leave from the Navy he goes to see Grandpa in Chicago first, then us, we live in VA.
THey have spent countless hours with my son letting him enjoy a life my husband and I really weren't able to give him. How many kids nowadays get to say they spent half their childhoods with loving, wonderful, involved Grandparents? I truly think it is a blessing and wish they spent more time with their other 7 grandkids.
YOur stepdaughter has a bond with them that will help her throughout her life. She's 9 now but soon she willll be 13.
Let her have this time with Grandma and Grandpa. How much longer are they going to be here? Let them help you raise her into a well rounded individual who has been to foreign countries, theme parks, operas, et al. She is so lucky.
YOur hubby needs to stop feeling sorry for himself and start being happy that he has such wonderful parents.

2 moms found this helpful

If a trip to Japan is something that you want to enjoy as a family, then he simply says "Thank you for the generous offer, but we are saving for that exact trip in 2014".

He is caving to both his daughter and his parents. He's dad. If he's says "no", then it's "no". They can take her on another trip, but this one is not an option.

Be prepared for him to say "yes" though b/c he always has allowed them to do as they please with their granddaughter. I'm actually a little surprised that dad hasn't been invited on some of these trips (especially Disney). Have an honest conversation with your husband about the situation and let him know what you think. If he caves, don't let him whine about it later.

Life is about choices...if he lets her go, then he doesn't get to comment on it later!

2 moms found this helpful

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