New here and at a loss.....

Avatar for mzgail31
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
New here and at a loss.....
16
Fri, 08-22-2003 - 7:25pm
I've lurked here and read posts and realized that this family insanity is EVERYWHERE! Ok, that is my one and only joke for this post!

I really am at a loss and I could use some advice on this....I am the youngest of four kids, two sisters and a brother. We all have kids and my mom tends to play favorites with two of her 10 grandchildren, I had seen this years ago but just let it go, never said anything but when my son was 5 and he asked me why Granny doesn't take him places or let him stay over her house...well this hurt me because I knew it hurt him so I asked my Mom why she would always do things with those two and not the others (trying not to point out that she doesn't do things with my kids or my brothers kids just my two sisters kids) and she starts crying and saying things like "why would you say things that would hurt my feelings" so I just gave up, I didn't think she would ever see things any other way. Now granted she did baby sit these two kids when they were young but it has become so obvious that she prevers them over the others. My mother only watched my kids when they were older (9 & 11) and I seriously think it was because I was seperated at the time and I think she felt that she had to. When the kids were younger and I would ask her to watch them if DH and I were going out she always made it seem like it was such a chore and if I could get someone else to watch them she would appreciate it....of course I would always find someone else to watch them. Anyway, now that the kids are older (11&13) she is always telling me how to handle things or situations with them, I told her once that she never tried to get to know them when they were younger so don't pretend like you know them now, that I didn't need her advice and I didn't want it.....well again she turns on the tears and I hurt her so much and when I try to tell her how she has hurt, not only me, but my children she again turns it around to her and I hurt her! Well, I have tried to let this all go, just ignore things because it's easier than confronting her with it all.....BUT (you were waiting for that BUT weren't you?lol) I'm having a real hard time ignoring it all, I really feel that she doesn't like my kids, mostly my son, and it is showing, ALOT! We went on a long weekend trip with my mom and I felt that all she did was pick on my son....the poor kid couldn't sneeze without her saying "You need to wipe your nose now" We went out to dinner and we all ordered and she ordered the same thing my son and my daughter ordered and she whispers to me "does he always order the most expensive thing?" and I said to her "Do you?" Later that night the kids were bored and they were watching a movie and my son asked to make a bag of pop corn and Mom says "Didn't you eat enough at dinner?" I wanted to scream "What the f do you care?" but I controlled myself and told him yes and told my mom to ease up, then she turns and goes to her room like she is upset with me. I love my mom, I know she means well but I can't stand it anymore, I know I need to tell her about how I feel, but I just can't bring myself to because I know that she will turn it all around and tell me how hard her life is and how depressed she has been and her heart isn't good, how she takes care of her mother all the time and it's getting to her.......I know I have to say something but what? and how? and should I say things that I know will hurt her and will probably change our relationship? Geez, I hope I don't come off that I'm having a pity party for myself!

I do appreciate any advice on this or any thoughts!

Thanks,

Gail

Photobucket
Photobucket

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Fri, 08-22-2003 - 11:12pm
Well with TEN grandkids, it must be difficult for her to be "equally fair" 100% of the time, with each and every grandchild. I'd give her a break, if I were you.

Also, this woman is not a free babysitting service - she is a person with her own wants and needs.

Her telling your son to wipe is nose is hardly child abuse of any sort.

I don't mean to be so critical, really, but I just cannot side with you here.

I only saw my own grandparents about twice a year when I was growing up. And it didn't scar me for life or anything. They loved me, but they had seven grandchildren and couldn't babysit for all of us, or buy all of us expensive gifts at Christmas and for birthdays - they weren't obligated to do these things. They were GRANDparents, not parents.

Avatar for mzgail31
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Sat, 08-23-2003 - 10:46am
I don't think I was very clear in my first post. I never said that I wanted her to be a babysitting service, I only asked her to watch my kids about 4 times total in 13 years, after being told no you stop asking. The two grand children that she watched she watched while their mothers went to work, I found day care or we worked our schedules so one of us could be home with the kids. Also, I never said I wanted her to buy them expensive gifts....I just wanted her to spend time with them and get to know them instead of picking apart everything that they do and comparing them to her two favorites! I know "wipe your nose" is not abuse but when he can't do anything with out her making a comment, usualy a negative one, well that is what gets to me. I know not seeing her isn't going to scar them for life, but these comments will. Their other grandmother lives far away and they don't see her often and they are fine with that. They see my mother more often and I see that all they do is look for her approval...they usually don't like to go see her...so the problem I'm asking for advice on is how do I do this....I don't want to not talk to my mother again, but I don't want her talking to my kids the way she does. My kids are my first priority but my relationship with my mother is important to me too.

I'm sure it is hard to be equally fair with that many grandkids but I know it can be done, my MIL has 15 and she treats them all the same, I'm sure she has a few that she would like to spend time with more than others but you would never know it.


Gail

Photobucket
Photobucket
Avatar for cl_2and1more
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Sat, 08-23-2003 - 12:26pm
Hi Gail,

Welcome to the board. I know that from reading the posts here you will see that we are a wide variety of people. Of course, each one of us gives advice or comments based on our own experiences. I hope that different views will help you to maybe see a different spin on things.

My sister believes that my children are the favorites. I have three and she has one. My mother spent a lot of time with my niece when she was little. So she feels differently towards her. She corrects her more, and in general seems "meaner" to her. On the other hand, my kids have not spent a lot of time with my mother without me there. I never allowed an opportunity for my mother to correct my children. So she didn't really bond with them when they were small. Now we live just a couple minutes from my parents. So my kids spend more time with her and recently spending time without me being there. My sister says that my kids are her favorite because she doesn't "hound" them like she does her daughter. But my mother says that she doesn't have to correct my children because I always did it and they have learned to be obediant children.

Now I know that my situation doesn't mirror your situation at all, but it got me thinking. Because your mother spends so much time with the grandchildren she babysits for, she has taught them to follow her rules. She knows them better and they confornm to her world. But your children have not been around her as much. You taught them how to behave and what to do. I wonder if it isn't that she doesn't like your children as well but maybe that she doesn't like your parenting style. That may be just something to think about. Not that you should change but it helps to be aware of how others feel. If you expect their actions than you can be in control over your responses.

As far as how to handle the situation that you have, Be there with your children. If your mother says something to your children that you disagree with "parent over her". This is a term I use. My DH grandparents live with us. When grandmother says "You have to eat all your vegetables, we didn't allow our children to get away with that" I say "we don't make our children finish their plates. They need to try anything we place before them but they do not have to force themselves to like it" When my mother says "go have a candybar before you leave" I say "we are getting ready for supper they may not eat a candy bar right now but if you want they can take it and eat it after supper"

My kids know that they listen to me. If my mother says "oh they don't have to clean up the basement" and I say "I told them to clean the basement before we leave" My kids are off to clean the basement. They don't wait around to see who wins. I'm the mother and I win.

also, let your kids develop their own relationship with their grandmother. Each relationship is different. Each child will have their own way of dealing with it. Be there to talk about it with them. They may feel differently about the situation.

I hope I have helped a bit, although I feel that I rambled. Best of luck to you and let us kno how it is going.

Melissa

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Sat, 08-23-2003 - 1:25pm
Gail: telling a child to wipe his nose, and asking them "didn't you eat enough at dinner?" are NOT comments that will scar children for life. Our generation may believe that - but the grandmother's generation felt it was perfectly fine to admonish children in small ways i.e. "clean up after yourself, cover your mouth when you sneeze, don't scream/yell in public", etc. However, these days people seem to feel its wrong to tell chilren ANYTHING. I disagree. Would you rather their grandmother tell them, or would you rather them have to find out the hard way when they get older and people embarass them by pointing out bad etiquette? Its just something to think about. I don't know what your children are like at all, by the way. They could be very well mannered for all I know. But no, I don't think the comments you have stated she has made, will scar them.

I think its fine if she only babysat four times. You know, my grandparents never babysat for me at all because they lived far away. I have a close friend recently who had a baby a few years ago, and she has been extremely bitter toward me because I have never offered to babysit for her. Well, that's just tough. Just because I happen to be female, does not mean I will go around doing free childcare for everyone. I resent that women are always expected to do this for everyone. My feeling is - its nice if someone does this for you, but they are not obligated to babysit.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2003
Sat, 08-23-2003 - 5:50pm


Lendamiller, I read your response to the woman who feels her mother is too critical and naggy to her children. I think you're missing the point. No, those comments the grandmother makes don't qualify as child abuse, but constant harping and nagging becomes a burden for anyone to be around. It doesn't really solve anything either. For instance, I have put on 15-20 pounds in the past few years, and I have relatives who, whenever they see me, say :"Honey, when are you going to take that weight off? It must be hard carrying that around all the time...aren't you uncomfortable?" Admittadly, I could use to lose some weight, but it's not in my budget to join Weight Watchers or a health club right now. I just hate hearing nothing but criticism. If someone is hanging over you watching every little habit you have and commenting on it is a drag. I think that is all the poster weas trying to say.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Sat, 08-23-2003 - 7:40pm
Hi mzgail31

Welcome.

I have similar issues with my family as well. I can certainly empathize with you that you are feeling like the less favorite along with your kids. My mother has made it quite clear to me that she will not babysit for me, but she watches my sister's son quite often. Fine, I won't bother her then. Why would I want my children to be with someone, relative or not, who isn't interested in watching them? As for the comments she may make, I see one of two things. #1 Since you are feeling inferior, every little thing will get to you, it does me. #2 That is somewhat our parents and grandparents generation, that children were raised differently then and she doesn't mean any malice.

Can you sit down with your mother and talk about your concerns? But I've also learned in the past that confrontation doesn't usually go over well, so you'll need to be prepared! And people usually aren't too happy with the finger pointed at them. Or maybe there's another option for you instead of just wallowing in your misery? I always like the idea of giving people the chance to redeem theirselves, also so you don't have to suffer in silence long.

But I tell you, I know that my sister's child would be favored over mine, so it's very simple, I won't take my children around her when my nephew is around. Then nobody notices any favoritism. It's really too bad, isn't it? But we can't control others actions and the world is full of dysfunctional people.

Now where is mom2danjam? I can't wait for her post!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2003
Sat, 08-23-2003 - 9:55pm
Well here is my two cents worth. My kids are grown up now but when they were younger and my Mom would come to visit - she lives in England - she would be particularly hard on my younger son. That was because the older son didn't give a darn and was laid back, but the younger son did and they just pushed one another's buttons. She would nag him and he would in turn be difficult.

Every time she came for a vist I would talk to my other sister, who lives at the coast and we would discuss how stressful it was because Nana found fault ALL the time. Then after a long time, lord knows why I didn't figure it out sooner, I realized that one person cannot have an argument. I also realized that when she criticized my kids and I stood up for them, we would have a 2 hour pointless argument at the end of which I didn't agree with her and she didn't agree with me and I had a headache!!

So I decided that was it. The next time my Mom came for a visit, if she said "Julian is a lazy idle goodfornothing." I said "hmm, why don't I make an apple pie for supper."

Once she realized I wasn't going to rise to her bait, she quit doing it and now we get on very well.

I also realized that as she lived 5 minutes from my nephews in England, it wasn't surprising that they did everything right, becuase she was there all the time, like one of the other posters said, she was used to my sister's style of discipline becuase she saw it all the time and so it seemed normal to her.

The funny thing is that now my kids are grown up, my sister in England tells me that when my Mom went home, she talked about them like they never did anything wrong, whereas when she was here, it was like they never did anything right!!

I think its very difficult for someone with 10 grandchildren to treat them all exactly the same. If your kids have their other grandmother that does then they are really lucky and I guess that they and you will just have to accept that the other grandma doesnt.

Avatar for mzgail31
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Sun, 08-24-2003 - 10:41am
Hi Melissa,

Thank you for the warm welcome and for the advice. You didn't ramble, you really made me think. Your right in that I have control over my responses and that the other kids conform to her because they know her AND that she probably doesn't like my parenting style....but I will not change that to benefit her. You gave me alot to think about and since I know that this will happen again, I am better prepared to handle it and hopefully it will be without a scene.

Thanks again!

Gail

Photobucket
Photobucket
Avatar for mzgail31
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Sun, 08-24-2003 - 10:53am
Hi Cathy,

You hit the nail right on the head! That is exactly the point I was trying to make, guess I didn't do such a great job at it. Now that I read my posts again I think that I was typing when emotions were high and feelings were really hurt. But anyway....that is how I feel, she nags him and it gets to be too much for him and me! He doesn't like to go over there too much and when he does go he is outside, he's made a few friends over there, of course children that my mother says are bad kids.....they are kids, not bad, just kids.

Thanks again Cathy, this really gives me something to think about too!

Gail

Photobucket
Photobucket
Avatar for mzgail31
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Sun, 08-24-2003 - 11:12am
Hi Cagirl,

Thank you for your thoughs and advice....now I know I came to the right place! I stopped asking Mom to watch them years ago, why bother if I know what the answer is? But it does hurt when you see that she will watch the others but now yours, well it hurt then, now I just see it as she really missed out on getting to know two great people! I know she doesnt' mean harm by what she says, but I have told her twice that this is not the way she should talk to anyone that it's hurtful...I seriously don't think that she even hears me.

I do plan to sit down and talk to her but I do have to give it a day or so more because I know that the words won't come out of my mouth right. The last time I talked to her about this she had hurt me and my so ALOT and I talked before I thought things out...what happened was I told her that my son had won "Christian of The Month" award at school and he was on honor roll....her response was "I wish Josh (one of her favs) would do things like that." and my response to that was that Josh never will, he has been in and out of schools for boys with problems, was even court ordered to go to a ranch in Colorado and she thinks he should get awards and "job well done"??? Now I know that was NOT the way to respond, I love my nephew dearly and feel for him with all the problems that he has and I have tried to help him myself, but why did Mom have to totally ignore all the good that the other kids do??? The fact that she didn't even acknowledge what I said put me over the edge.

I take it that mom2danjam is full of good advice? Can't wait to see if she responds!

Thanks again,

Gail

Photobucket
Photobucket

Pages