Reply to End of My Rope

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Reply to End of My Rope
Fri, 10-26-2012 - 1:53pm

I can't reply or read any threads, but I can post!  Trying to keep our boards alive!

To the poster:

Boy, can I relate!  I had two children when I married my second (now x) DH.   Me and DH had my DD, after being together about 7 years.  We met young, so we were still only 29 and 31 at the time.  And you guessed it, our DD is still the only grandchild on his side of the family.  

I don't know.  We have been divorced now for 6 years, but I totally experienced the same thing as you, even after me DH were D.  MIL was still buying me Christmas presents and inviting me and DD over!  I mean hello...I still have two other children.  Yes, there were a lot older, but still.  I don't think so.  

I also had a large gap in my kids.  My older kids were 11 and 14 when my youngest was born.  Oh, they knew exactly where they stood with MIL.  Before AND after my DD was born.  They never felt at home there, never treated like grandkids, etc. etc.  

I gotta run, but wanted you to know you are not alone.  Pretty much my kids just accepted they were not equal.  They didn't really like her and still don't.  They are cordial when necessary and that is about it.  

I never ever talked to her about it.  If my then DH did, I don't recall.  Good luck and you may want to check out Making a Second Marriage Work.  Similar issues over there, too.

Serenity - CL - MSMW

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-26-2012
Fri, 10-26-2012 - 2:09pm

Thanks for the reply.

I just don't get how people are so oblivious and not thoughtful at all. I realize it is new territory for all of us but how hard can it be to put a little effort in making my son still feel like he matters? I hear so many stories of grandparents treating step children and children all the same and treating them all with love. This sadly, is not our case. :(

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2012
Fri, 10-26-2012 - 2:33pm

Hurts my heart to hear this type of thing.

We have a boy, we call our son, who we pretty much co parented with his mother from the time he was 12 yrs old. He is now 30, father of our lovely grandson, and his wife (another child of ours, another story lol) is expecting their second child, a grand daughter for us.

We have always introduced him as our son and his son as our grandson. Eli (grandson) came out this summer and spent time with us and his other grandmother. I was disheartened when she came to pick him up one day when we were at the lake and said "One day I will tell Eli the truth about "us" not being his grandparents" ...I was flabbergasted! We ARE his grandparents and our children are his aunts and uncles. I have not said anything to his parents, but am thinking about saying something when I go to Kentucky for the birth of MY granddaughter. Their children are OUR grandchildren and always will be. We may not have been our son's parents by birth, but we are by love and he feels the same about us, even having my husband, his dad, as his best man at his wedding.

Sometimes I just don't get peoples thought processes...sometimes I think it must be a territorial thing. I feel if you have the love to share than share it with all kids, not just the ones we give birth to.

Edit: btw, the "birth mother" won't be going to Kentucky for the new grandbabys birth as it will be winter and cold and snowy...umm seriously????!!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-26-2012
Fri, 10-26-2012 - 3:12pm

When I hear stories like your CMTHIA - it makes me happy, yet sad because I don't understand why my MIL doesn't have the same open and loving heart.

She has tried to justify it at times saying that my son has two sets of grandparents already... but what is wrong with more family, more love and acceptance beyond what some people think has to be a family that is only defined by blood.

I would love to hear my MIL's response if someone asked her how many grandchildren she has. My MIL is not my favorite person but I have always tried to be fair and give them lots of opportunity and haven't denied letting them see my daughter (or my son but they never really made much effort to spend time with him).

I was really hoping that she was going to ask for my son's address to send him a card because I wanted to make it a point to say thank you for doing that.... but at this point, I won't be holding my breath and I'm guessing it is going to come down to something that I really didn't want to get in to.

Thanks for your words.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 10-26-2012 - 8:04pm

I went back to explorer and I can read the thread now!

Orange, I have found that what Thia is describing seems to be the exception.  After several years on MSMW can tell you that most agree that it simply isn't the same.  Now, that does not mean what your MIL is doing is right, being so blantant about the difference.  But the fact remains that it in most cases, the new MIL struggles to treat the step kids the same. 

Heck, a lot step-parents struggle, let alone the grandparents!

My xMIL I was telling you about now has two new step-grandchildren with my xH's new wife.  Not sure how that is going.  :) 

The thing is Orange, and I don't mean to sound cold or harsh, your DS does have grandparents, and your DD has grandparents.  And they are not all the same.  You DS has another set of grandparents on his fathers side (okay, making an assumption here as I realize they may be deceased or not around, but using it for an example here). 

Point being, it just can't always be fair.  Life just isn't fair. 

Have you ever watched WE TV's downsized?  A blended family, Other grandparents involved. 

One set of maternal grandparents handed down their used, but nice, car to their bio granddaughter.  They can do that!  The maternal grandparents on the other side did not help their grandkids get cars.  Fair, nope.  But that girl did nothing wrong by accepting that car from her grandparents. 

Trust me, I know how you feel.  Like I said earlier, my older kids developed a resentment over the years and yes, it is unfortunate when it is blatant.  Or it feels fake, as it felt with my kids.  She was nice enough, but my kids instincts couldn't be ignored. 

All you can do is be honest with yourself, so you can be honest with her when it comes to your DS.  She invites you and not your DS?  Be clear that it is an event, or holiday, or what have you that you will be spending with your DS.  Your DS either goes with you, or none of you go.  (Just an example.  I had this happen with an out of state funeral.  xMIL had room for me, but not my two older kids. I didn't go)

Time to head out.  Take care and again, I hope you come visit MSMW! 


Avatar for 3togetready
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-19-1999
Sat, 10-27-2012 - 3:22am

I have 3 children 15, 16, and 25. They are all pretty much ignored by their only living grandmother (mil). She never gave much to my kids but stopped giving to the oldest first and none of them are step grandchildren. I think at age 18 he received his last $20 for birthdays. The other two have a few more years. If for some strange reason she sent a  card to one and not the others the boys wouldn't care at all.  Now they would probably all care if there was money involved. lol I would just forget about the cards. I would think that a 19 year old would not care anymore where a 5 year old gets excited if they get a sticker.  You really can't make them treat them both the same, and now that he is an adult who knows what they will do. They may be like a lot of families that stop buying gifts after age 18.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Tue, 10-30-2012 - 12:14pm

I guess I have to say that I don't understand why it can't be fair.  Life is fair, people are not.  We always hear this scenario that life is not fair but truthfully, life is what you make of it.  My sister has foster kids - I treat them like they are her first kids.  My niece married young and is only 11 years younger than I am and her kids are treated just like my niece and nephew.  When my son brings kids to our house (some less fortunate) they are treated like part of our family. 

Sadly, I have dogs that are treated better than my mil/fil treated my kids (that was their choice - not life's choice).  In reality, a grandparent to a child that is not related to their child (someone's child from a first marriage - let's say) probably isn't going to buy that child a car and yes, they may be able to buy a car for the child that comes along as the result of the second marriage.  I don't think that is favortism - it is reality of the situation and  good parenting will help a child to understand it.


But, playing fair with children isn't hard - it just takes a conscious decision.  For all my mom's faults and dad's and mine and DH's we treat/treated all of our kids the same.  One may get a bigger gift one year and the other the next (that is circumstances) but all know that each is loved the same. 


My mom wouldn't buy for one grandchild that she wouldn't or couldn't buy for another.  My words to her would be (should that be an issue) to spend less on all and make sure the amounts are equal (within reason) so as not to create this feeling of "unlove". 


If a grandparent really understands/wants to understand - then they will realize it is because all the children are loved equally by their parents.  What does it hurt the grandparent to show the step child love?  If they normally spend $100 on two "blood grandchildren" and a third "step child" comes along - then why not spend $67 on all three?  Not $100, $100 and $10 - sorry that's just mean.

Anyways, that's just my two cents. 


Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 11-01-2012 - 1:30pm

Hi Summer,

Not saying any of this right or wrong, just saying it is reality. 

My mom is also one of those that goes out of her way to treat children fairly.  She used to always ask if my SO's kids were coming over on Christmas so she could make sure she at least had a small gift for them.  Equal gifts?  Not in our case.  She rarely sees my SO's kids and doesn't really know them. 

You can't make a grandparent love their child's step-children any more than you can make a step-child love their step-parent, or step-grandparent, for that matter. 

With all of that said, I do think that there should be some level of respect and fairness that you would expect from an adult. 

If your family is able to show love for everyone the same, that is wonderful.  I have found it is rare for there not to be some level of difference in the relationships.  Especially with the age difference in children mentioned in the original post. 

Again, not trying to say one way is right or wrong, just that when kids start to have step-families added to their biological familes, and the inequalities that inherently exist, fair becomes a relative thing.