My Mother Never Visits Her Grandchild

Updated on July 25, 2012
H.H. asks from Terryville, CT
17 answers

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?

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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!

More Answers



answers from Portland on

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.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

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.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

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.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Burlington on

You care, but your daughter is too young to understand. Let your mom stay home, especially is she is not a good influence, or hangs out with bad elements. If she decides to visit, welcome her, but it sounds like your daughter has some very nice female role models in her life already. Focus on them. I know you'd wish that your mom could be the grandmother that you would like, but in reality that role can even be played by a non-relative :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

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.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

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.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

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,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

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.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm late here, but would like to add my thoughts from a completely different perspective. Neither of my grandmothers were all that interested in being grandparent and both were fairly bitter people. One of them had eight children and most of them had at least four children. My brother and I were just part of the crowd. My grandmother had very little interest in us - or any of the others for that matter. My other grandmother had two children early in life (my dad and his sister) and two children later in life... they were only 4-5 yrs older than me. She was busy with her own children and not much interested in being a grandmother. I think my grandfathers were typical of that generation and not at all involved grandparents.

I never really felt a loss about the grandparent situation. I did hear stories about wonderful grandparents and thought how nice that was. But never really felt mine should be that way. When we were around my grandparents, it was a bit of a chore and we certainly never begged to go see grandma!

I agree with what others have said... if you don't make it a big deal, it won't be.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Just be thankful you have the other grandparents that do care.
My boys don't have any attention from any of their grandparents. It is very sad. The grandparents don't have any idea how they are missing out. And, my boys are fine. It bothers me more than them.
Keep on focusing on being a great mom and realize you are being taught the hard way how to be a grandparent in the future.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

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.

God bless.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

That's a hard call.........I've always gone w/the being the bigger person bit. If your mother's house isn't suitable to what you want your daughter exposed to then why not find a park or somewhere closer to her. If she objects, tell her exactly why you don't choose to go to her house. My mom and I were extremely close, but she unfortunately passed away 3 weeks before my first child. My mother-in-law never did much to childproof her house & thankfully has quit smoking b/c that was an issue i had. But you are ur daughter's advocate - if you don't want someone smoking around her, then you need to tell ur mom. It sounds like things that could be easily resolved have spun out of control, which is typical. I would feel bad for saying anything to my mother-in-law, but my girls belong to me - their safety is of the upmost concern which it sounds like with you. Maybe just take a deep breath & blurt it all out - see where things go from there. I honestly think it's their own ignorance and the whole "well we did it w/u kids attitude" and in this case ur mom is going to jeapordize a relationsip w/ur little girl. Good luck with things & know that u are doing what needs to be done to protect ur little girl.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Absolutely Not! You are by far a better mother than she is and you can't change her. It sounds as if you keep trying because you want her to give a darn and she doesn't. Her priorities are obvious by what you have said. Smoking, Wild dog jumping and negative influences are all GREAT reasons to stay away and control the environment that your daughter is exposed to. She has money for a smokes and no money for gas? Sounds pretty selfish to me and probably to you too! Love is free and you are surrounded by it so take a step back from your mom. She needs to know that she is not the center of attention in your life now. She needs to learn that grandchildren are a privilege which she needs to earn by placing you and your daughter before her own needs. Thank God for the two wonderful grandmothers and great grandmas she already has. Bless them with her presence instead. They will be a wonderful influence on your daughters growth whereas your mother is NOT!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm in a similar situation with my MIL and sisters. At first I was shocked and a little broken hearted but I've realized that we are actually much better off without all of the BS and stress. My son is amazing, funny, happy and the most loving child you could meet. So really in the end ... it's purely their loss and not his or ours. My husband and I both adore him so he's not missing out because he knows what true unconditional love is. Just surround yourself with good people and good friends - who cares if they are related or not.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Victoria on

I'm in the exact situation & this is what i do. I call about once a week or every other & fill her in on what we've been doing. I do not make special trips to go see her but when I do go to the town, I call & invite her to join us on our errands. Sometimes she does & sometimes she doesn't. If not, I will stop by & visit for about 30 min. To an hour. My mom wouldn't even come to my kid's baptisms. She does come to thier birthday parties but usually only if someone else like my sister or dad bring her. I can't figure out why she us this way nor can I control it. My kids are super close with their other grandma & see her several times a week. They are now understanding & comparing the differences & are starting to put my mom o. The hot seat with the why's & I say nothing. She has to live with her choices. Hope it helps that you are not alone In this situation.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm glad you feel better about it. Your'e not alone and although my Mom does stuff for my son from time to time, she NEVER comes to see him. We always have to go there too. Her loss my brother and his two little ones live around the corner. She could make the 40 min drive and see all of them but instead we always have to pack our kids up. We go months w/out visits sometimes. Annoying, but just the way it is.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from South Bend on

I thought I was the only one that was going through this problem. My mother is leaving the country and is always putting it off not to want to see her grandchildren let alone her son. She feels that I really don't need to have her visit. There are more people in the world that needs her to visit. Mind you; she will be leaving to Switzerland for the next two months, yet the last conversation we had she was suppose to come for her grandchildrens vacation and for my birthday. She has always been that way though for years. She always helped monetarily from afar but not so much in person. Can you expalin this's mind boggiling. Deep down inside i don'
t think some grandmothers really care about the other side of the family being there for her grandchildren they are jealous and they don'
t want to amit it.

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