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Thread: Help needed (FAST!) for a Grandma

  1. #1
    cjneil Guest

    Default Help needed (FAST!) for a Grandma

    Funny, I stumbled on this website when I Googled "jealous daughter-in-law" and I really need help from your perspective. I am a 50 year old mother of 2 boys (28 and 22) and step mom to 2 (29 and 23) girls. We have worked really hard over the past 10 years to create a strong loving blended family. It worked. We have the same issues as any family, but many of my friends envy our blended family success. Obviously, at times there were challenges, such as dealing with the girls Mom. But after lots of hard work (mostly internally) as adults we realize we want the best for our children and we put petty personal issues aside so that our children can have loving relationships with all of us and not have to shield any part of their lives.

    My oldest son is engaged to be married. He has a 3 year old girl from a prior relationship. We have worked REALLY hard to have as much contact with our granddaughter as possible (she lives 800 miles away) and have also tried over those years to have her mother be comfortable with us. We are not "friends" per se, but the mother has a strong relationship with her own grandparents and so has been accommodating to us, thankfully. Unfortunately, she and my future daughter-in-law hate each other. My son, I am sure, gets an earful from his fianc? whenever the issue of the "ex" comes up. He is a good father and they have his daughter every weekend. They are currently finalizing all of the legal documents regarding support and visitation.

    Several times in the past months, I have had conversations with my son that were normal, happy, etc. Within minutes, he will call me back yelling and screaming. Most of the time it is after I have mentioned that maybe I should call the mother and see if I can arrange to see her or have some time with her. Because of the timing I am quite sure this is coming from his fianc? and my take is that she is insecure and jealous and thinks we are buddies, which is not the case. I am sure he is in the middle and I really wish they would get some counseling before the wedding, but I doubt that will happen. What I told my son on those prior conversations is that I am not friends with the mother, but if I need to contact her at some point to see my granddaughter, then that is something I will do. This is about the child and no one else. When we last spoke, my husband and I were going to go down in January and babysit while he and his fianc? went out of town for a weekend. He ended the conversation with "January;'s off!". To me, that is sacred ground and bothers me greatly that he would use the child as a pawn. This was 4 days ago. We normally talk once a week and I get to talk to my granddaughter then too. Christmas is next week and I just don't know what to do. I am contemplating writing a nice loving letter to the fianc?, letting he know that I am happy to have her as a daughter-in-law and look forward to getting to know her better. I want to gently remind her that my son comes with a past and that past includes a child and her mother. As a step-parent myself, I understand her difficulties, especially when she has not had children herself. It's a lot for a newlywed to take on. I want to assure her that I understand her position and appreciate her role in my granddaughter's life, while assuring her that I would phone Attila the Hun if I needed to to see a grandchild.

    I really need the perspective of young women out there and help as soon as possible. Thank you,
    A loving grandma


  2. #2

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    Hello cjneil! Welcome to Belly Belly!
    I can't offer you any wonderful suggestions, I'm afraid, but I totally understand your position. It is important to stay in touch with your granddaughter! Is there any way that you can avoid mentioning your son's ex when you visit/contact his daughter? Is there any chance you can write a note or speak privately to his fiancee about your feelings and concerns? If she is feeling threatened, or rejected, then perhaps over time, you can show her that that is not the case, and things will improve.
    All the best!

  3. #3
    cjneil Guest

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    Thank you so much for responding! I actually have never mentioned the ex to her but in private conversations with my son, who is apparently telling her. I have already decided I need to stop doing that. As I said in my post, I was thinking of writing the fiance a letter and mailing, letting her know I understand and appreciate her position. It is so hard when we are long distance and I really don't know her very well, so it will take time. As you re-read my post, do you think you would be accepting of a letter from your future mother-in-law of this kind? I definitely don't want to rock the boat, yet I still want her to understand this is completely about the grandchild and will not affrect our relationship at all.

    If anyone else has an opinion, I'd love to hear it.

    Congratulations on your new baby! What an exciting time for you!

  4. #4

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    I would sit down with your future DIL and have a chat. My MIL and I have found that really opening up to one another has helped us heaps. I had a XMIL who I had a lot of issues with and I brought those into the relationship with my new MIL so it was great to b able to discuss them with her and work through it. MY mIL had a really really awful MIL so that has made her determined not to be like her LOL
    If you feel uncomfortable talking to her I think writing is a great way of addressing the issue. Its a very sensitive topic and I know I was very worried when DH and i were first together that his mum would still favour his X (they had no kids at least) The best thing for me to get over it has been time but I know I was very paranoid and jealous to start with. You need to make your new DIL aware that you are NOT friends with the X and tolerate her for the sake of the child.
    Good luck! You sound like a lovely MIL!!

  5. #5
    cjneil Guest

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    Oh my gosh, you made me cry! This situation is just breaking my heart. After trying to talk to my son, and that not working, I do believe I need to address it with his fiance. I don't want this to affect Christmas or any other day for that matter. As a side note, I did welcome her to the family by presenting her the string of pearls that my mother-in-law gave me before I married my boys father. I guess I am just at a loss as to what else to do to make her feel secure, but as you said, time will help.

    Thank you again for your time and insight!

  6. #6

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    Hi cjneil and welcome. I'm so sorry to hear you are having these troubles, especially at this time of year.

    I'm going to speak as a slightly nose-out-of-place DiL here - things a MiL say seem to undermine you a lot more than things a random stranger does! I'm still smarting that MiL told me she didn't consider me family 2 years ago and I normally get on well with her (that and last year's little gem too). It's also easy to think that someone else - particularly another DiL - is more favoured and that really gets my back up when I see how much my MiL does for her other DiL.

    I would second the idea that you have to talk to your future DiL. Going via your son would (and does) annoy me. Ask her for a girly coffee and talk about how hard it was for you becoming a stepfamily and how it must be harder as she has not yet had children. Tell her you love your granddaughter but think DiL's far better for your son than his ex was (even if you exaggerate a bit!) and you're looking forward to the wedding and her officially joining the family.

    Just remember, if there's a problem you want fixed it's no-one's "place" but yours to start fixing it - some people would say go via your son, a common denominator here, but that would upset me, like at school when if you weren't talking it would be "tell XYZ that I don't like her" and rubbish like that. Or at least that's how I feel!

    The gift af the necklace is a beautiful one, I hope she realises how much that means. I hope it's just insecurity and it will pass - just thought, do you have pictures of xDiL up, even just for your granddaughter? Take them down, or replace them with granddaughter alone, or even your son, his fianc?e and your granddaughter. That would help a lot!

    Best of luck to you.

  7. #7

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    Hi cjneil

    Just another DIL perspective......
    I often get my back up when i hear things that concern me through my
    husband from his mum. I would much prefer she discuss things directly with me, rather than make comments to my hubby.
    My husband and i discuss everything, including things said to him or i that our parents perhaps thought were not for the others ears, so don't be surprised if your son is telling his fiance everything you say to him. Unfortunately for us mums i think this is a natural progression in relationships.

    Just my opinion because you were after some different perspectives,
    Quote Originally Posted by cjneil View Post
    I want to gently remind her that my son comes with a past and that past includes a child and her mother.
    i am not sure i would take this very well. I would feel that my MIL was interferring a little. I am also pretty sure i would be offended if my MIL implied or said that it was more difficult for me to cope with the situation because i had not had children of my own. I am not meaning to offend you at all but just saying how that would make me feel.

    On the other hand a letter saying that you understand how hard it is to be a step parent and that you are there for help and support anytime she needs it, would be welcomed by me!

    Hope i am making sense, my daughter is crying out for me and i find it hard to concentrate!

    Good luck, hope you get to chat about it over a cuppa sometime soon.

  8. #8

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    Hi,
    I'm 23 and have a 3 y/o son... Being in a position where my partner has an ex (they were together 4 years before we were together, although they had no children) i understand your DIL jealousy but realised that to be part of a family and have a happy life there are things you have to just let go of.

    My MIL was close to the ex and when we first started dating she tryed to use MIL against me... I found being open and honest with my now MIL was the best thing ever... Although its a different situation you still need to hear the othere point of view and issues you both have... If she loves your son she has to not only accept that he has a child but that that child has a mother... I'm not saying its easy cos its not but she at least needs to shut up and put up with it at least disuss it with your son.... Your son shouldnt be put in the middle and no one should be punnished for the situation... as my MIL and FIL are seperated we know how difficult it is getting to see people and making both parties happy... In the end its about the children.. My sons birthday MIL & FIL were arguing over who would see him when and where etc... In the end i said we'll be here for his party this is the time so they both had to shut up and attend or miss out.. They then fought over him for attention, "come to nanna, come to grandad etc" i just had to be honest and say grow up and respect him its his day not yours"

    You have every right as does your son to spend time with her and instead of being jealous and down right B*tchy DIL needs to take a role in her step daughters life get over her own insecurities and just deal with the situation like an adult.... I would have to agree with ange and say that i wouldnt reccomend
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cjneil
    I want to gently remind her that my son comes with a past and that past includes a child and her mother.

    i am not sure i would take this very well. I would feel that my MIL was interferring a little. I am also pretty sure i would be offended if my MIL implied or said that it was more difficult for me to cope with the situation because i had not had children of my own. I am not meaning to offend you at all but just saying how that would make me feel.
    She may have insecurities but she does need to know that being a child involved her insecurities could turn into the childs... Maybe if she got to know the child and saw how your son was with his daught she might learn to accept his responsibilities and be more willing to participate with hers... Being a parent is hard but being a step parent must be harder, let her know she has support

    Wish you well and good luck with your letter or chat... I'd be happy to have a word in her ear for you...
    Last edited by Je$$_84; December 20th, 2007 at 07:43 PM.

  9. #9
    cjneil Guest

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    Hello all,

    Thank you, thank you, for all of your comments and suggestions. I don't take offense to any of them and appreciate all of your advice. Last night was horrible. I spent most of it crying. My son has had more rage and said more threatening things to me in the past six months (since the engagement) than ever in his life. So he called to tell me that he had mailed the packages for the Christmas exchange and they would arrive on Christmas Eve. I said great and then asked how he was doing. He had a hard and angry tone and throughout the remainder of our conversation, he escalated into yelling. I kept talking quietly and calmly, trying to get him to come down. He kept ramping and went into this diatribe about the ex, how she ruined his life, threatened to take his daughter out of state which caused the current court case (establishing his parenthood and visitation and keeping her from moving out of state, since they weren't married) yada yada yada. I asked him why he was even talking about her if it made him so upset and he said that if I ever spoke to her again, for any reason, even to arrange pick up of his daughter, our relationship was over. Wow, I felt socked in the gut. I reminded him of the many conversations we had before when I told him I have no relationship with her, she isn't my buddy and that I was the one who said he needed to get a lawyer and fast to keep his daughter from leaving the state. That suggestion came with a $1500 check (gift from my husband and I) to help with the attorney fees. He then said...rather screamed (another gut punch) that the $1500 was gone in the blink of an eye. I told him that sounded really ungrateful and possibly like he expected something from me.

    When he split from his ex, my husband and I helped him get into an apartment by paying the deposit and first months rent, bought a crib and car seat and$500 of household supplies at Wal Mart. We have done a ton and it is obviously not appreciated. My husband and I work very hard and are not rich by any stretch. After his prior requests for money, I finally told him he needs to stop asking people for money and be a man who takes care of his own life. That was several months ago. I have not been tempted to offer money again.

    So the phone call ended with me saying that I couldn't calm him down and I was getting very hurt and I needed to hang up for me. I told him I loved him and I told him goodbye, Then I cried for half an hour. After much reflection and realization that this is indeed his fiances insecurity I did write her a letter via email. Remember, they live in New Mexico and we live in Seattle. I have only spent time with her twice because of the distance. If the letter doesn't help and the situation continues, I think I will just let them live their live without our family in it. I can't go on getting abused and they need to figure out this mess they are in. If the letter helps, great. Life goes on. But I will do whatever I need to do to see my granddaughter, so if I am not in my son's life I will contact the ex and arrange time with her daughter. The hardest part about being a parent of grown children is watching them destroy their lives. Love and cherish those babies of yours. I adored mine and still do. Below is the letter I wrote. Have a wonderful day!

    Dear F,

    I so wish we lived closer and we could go have lunch and a nice conversation. For now, this will have to do.

    We are all looking forward to having you as part of our family! We so appreciate the role you play in J and H's life and know that it has been difficult at times. As a step-mother myself, I can relate to many of the things you are experiencing and will experience in your future. As you are very aware by now, J comes encumbered. Encumbered with a past, with a child, his money problems, with his family, and with Haedin's Mom. None of that will ever change. You are signing up for a lot! J needs and appreciates your support with all of these. Your role in Haedin's life is more important than you know. I love talking to her and having her telling me about "Shesha". It is so cute coming from a little girl's lips.

    Some of the most difficult times in my life have been being a step-mom and all that it entails, but also the most rewarding, other than being a mother to my boys. Having only had boys, the whole girl thing was a bit beyond me. But we persevered and now many people have no idea that the girls are not mine. That is a wonderful feeling and one you will enjoy as well. It is often difficult, especially in the early years, when feelings are raw and memories are full. If everyone puts the needs of the children first and endures sometimes uncomfortable situations, then life goes on and children grow up and love you, respect you and consider you an important part of their lives. I think you shared with me that you were grown when your Dad remarried and since he doesn't live near you, you may not have the relationship with your own step-mom that I know you will have with H. Always put her needs first, never allow her to be used as reward or punishment, and you will be the best a parent can be. Just know you are very important to her, to J and to us. You have accomplished a lot in your life. You should be very proud of yourself for all the difficult obstacles you have overcome. You are about to embark on the most difficult and rewarding journey of all. We look forward to getting to know you better as the years go on and to welcoming you into this crazy, wonderful, loving, funny, family we call our own.

    Much love,
    Cheri
    Last edited by cjneil; December 21st, 2007 at 01:15 AM.

  10. #10

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    That's a beautiful e-mail, Cheri. I hope that this smooths things over within the family.

  11. #11

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    Thats a really nice email Cheri, I hope she appreciates it! (I hope our Australian and English perspective have helped too!) I did think (rather unkindly I admit) while i was reading about what your son said that maybe the DIL is just a witch who is turning your son against you but maybe I am just paranoid!

  12. #12
    cjneil Guest

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    Hi Mrs Mac,

    Believe me, I have thought the same things over the past 6 months. The next days will tell me where I stand. If her insecurities advance to the point of controlling (and thus eliminating) my relationship with my son, then there is nothing I can do but let go. I am preparing myself for that.

  13. #13

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    I think you may have to for a time until either things settle down or he realises for himself unfortunately. Don't lose your relationship with your granddaughter for this woman.

  14. #14
    cjneil Guest

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    Oh don't worry, I will do anything to have a relationship with my granddaughter. Have you heard the phrase "What you fear, you create"? She is so afraid that I will have a relationship with his ex, but she is forcing me to have one. It is so crazy. But imagine how open the ex will be if she realizes that the DIL is jealous. DIL is creating her own reality. I wil know that I have tried my best. At the end of the day, that's all I can do.

  15. #15

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    When my brother 1st left his wife he did want any of us talking to his EX but she was the mother to his 2 girls and I wasn't going to let them slip away. my brother and I used to be very close, now not so much. but it is getting better even though he know that when I am in his state that if she wants to see me then I will go and see her... He no longer asks and I dont tell... other than trying to see your GD when he has her which would be eatting into his time what else are you ment to do, but contact the EX... I think the letter was lovely I wish I had a MIL who would put in the effort to communicate with me, But she has no intrest in me or my girls only likes my son and has no photos of the girls at all even the ones I have given her are in the back room out of sight... sorry bit of a boohoo but she just makes me so mad!!!!

    Anyway I hope all will improve for you otherwise you may have to step back a bit and let him come to you....

  16. #16

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    I think your letter is lovely, personally i would not use the word "encumbered" as it does have some negative connotations. I think you should stress that you all love your granddaughter, and you only want what is best for her - and to see her sometimes!!!! Contacting the x has nothing ot do with the x, just a grandmorther wanting to see her grandchild for goodness sakes!
    I am lucky that my partner is and always has been so understanding on what comes along with a little one - he knows that there is absolutely nothing between my x and i and we only contact each other when it comes to arranging visits, never for a chat! But, i am still in contact with his parents so that they do not mis out on seeing my little girl grow up. Your new DIL should understand that too!

  17. #17
    cjneil Guest

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    Oh my goodness, the more I read the more complicated I know all of these situations are. I have never had a daughter-in-law before and so it's all new to me. It is harder because they live out of state, so I can't just spend time with her. She has ad a difficult life and overcome many obstacles and is obviously very bright, she is an attorney. Her own mother has a mental illness and as a teenager, DIl had to take over her affairs. So she has had no easy road and no good examples. But I am willing to work hard to have this be good. However, I am NOT willing to be continually abused. So we will see what happens. I would love to be MIL to any of you sweet women. :-)

  18. #18

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    Hi

    i just wanted to say how amazed I am at how your are trying to embrace your future DIL!! Not many MIL's would do all this, its wonderful.

    She is blind if she doesn't embrace you back and will be losing a lot of wonderful moments for the future.

    Definitely stay in contact with your granddaughter as she will appreciated and have a lot of respect and love for you as you 'bothered' to stay in contact even with all the BS. She will one day find out all these things as her curiosity will not let it go.

    To me your son seems to think that his daughter only deserves half a family and that isnt fair, it is going to be on him if she asks him later on life why his family never wanted contact with her.

    My fathers family never sought me out when my parents divorced (I was 3) and it always plays on my mind of what did I do wrong etc. They never even tried

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