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Anyone want to trade mom's? dilemma, need advice

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by 6littlechickies, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. 6littlechickies

    6littlechickies Songster

    May 12, 2009
    Burton, OH
    I've always had a difficult relationship with my mother...I was hopeful that once I had my children things would improve, not so much. She constantly talks about how much she loves the kids and how much she misses them but does nothing to try to keep in touch with them or make any kind of effort to be involved in their lives. She makes promises to them she does not keep and has disappointed them (and me) on more than one occasion.

    I live in NE Ohio, she has lived in NC since she remarried 12 years ago. In years past her and my stepdad made some effort to see the kids and be involved (a visit every 3-4 months). Well, back in March my mother and I had quite the blow out over, among other things, her taking it upon herself to give my youngest DS his first haircut--without my consent! I won't get into the gory details of that but let's just say it has forced a rift that may not heal.

    Additionally, she has commented that she cannot control my middle DS (who I admit is a handful but not out of control). There are also some legal/financial things going on with her and my father (who still lives only an hour away from me here in NE OH) which has really soured my feelings towards her. Although we do not get along, I have not in ANY way done anything to sour her relationship with the children or withhold them from her.

    We had a crazy HUGE knock down drag out fight back in July and her and I have not spoken since, nor do I have ANY interest in speaking with her. She came to see the kids for about an hour in mid July and has not been up since. We called them so the kids could say Hi in mid August and she did call once in September to talk to them.

    This past month (October) is a big month for our little family, both DS and DH have birthdays. Older DS is on the 10th (turned 4), younger is the 19th (turned 2) and DH is the 27th. She never bothered to call EITHER DS on their birthdays, my poor 4YO DS has been asking every couple days WHY she didn't call on his bday! Poor thing, he is actually old enough to recognize she didn't call but his other grandparents did. There was no acknowledgment at all for either of their birthdays, no call, no card, no email, NOTHING.

    We decided to have their bday party on the 24th and I sent an online e-vite to the party at the beginning of Oct. I finally heard from my mom the Tuesday before the party saying that although she got the invite she would not be up for the party b/c she had to work but would be up the following weekend (Oct 31) and would like to see the kids and celebrate birthdays then. I replied back on the 25th to let her know that we had trick or treat The evening of the 31st but were free beyond that and asked when they would be in town and when they wanted to see the kids.

    My mother never responded to my note and it is now Monday morning which is her court date with my father so I expect they will be heading back to NC later today. Oh, the note I sent her went to her work email..the SAME email she sent a note to me on the party decline, so I know it's valid and was received.

    My dilemma is what do I do now? I've been sick about this all weekend. I just really want to be done with her already. I am SOO glad I didn't mention to the kids that they would be up or I would have really been in trouble this weekend!

    I feel bad for the kids but I'm done making excuses and lies for her. I'm so thankful and blessed that my MIL and my father are a HUGE part of their lives and never pass up an opportunity to be with them. I guess I'm just looking for anyone that's been in a similar situation or anyone that has any advice on what I 'should' do...I know what I want to do [​IMG]. What would you do if you were in MY shoes?

  2. babylady4

    babylady4 Mother Goose

    Mar 30, 2009
    Central WI
    My dad did this all the time to us; and I have to say I NEVER heard from his parents.

    It is going to be tough, but the person she is hurting the most is herself; she alone is damaging her relationship with your kids. It is going to be hard on you and them for a while but eventually your kids will adjust and move on. They have other grandparents who want to be involved with them. I suppose the best answer you can give them right now for why she did not contact them would be 'I don't know', because, well you really do not know what her problem is.....

    [​IMG] hang in there, it will be OK in the long run; give those kids extra hugs!
  3. Laney

    Laney Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    Spring Hope, NC
    Well, I'm in your shoes in that I don't have a good relationship with my mother. However, I'm not so lucky that she doesn't contact us. She can however, make my daughter cry in 20 seconds flat. So I know where your coming from having to explain an adults bad behavior to a child.

    It's hard to have to disillusion them at 4yrs old. However, what you have to say is that sometimes people don't live up to their obligations and that grandma is one of those people. Tell him that it doesn't mean that grandma doesn't love him, just that she can't be counted on and that he should just enjoy her when she is there.

    It's the truth of the situation, short and sweet. That's what he needs to hear. You can't protect his relationship with her at the cost of his self esteem. I learned that when her behavior directly affects my daughter I have to tell her the truth about what is going on. When Nana says mean things I have to just say "sometimes Nana says things she doesn't really mean, and I don't really know why. She really does love you, but sometimes she behaves badly." Now she knows, it's not her that's "Bad" or "wrong"... that Nana has flaws and it's not her fault.

    You need to let him know that his Grandma has faults, that she isn't dependable. That has nothing to do with him, or her love for him. That sometimes she'll show up, and sometimes she won't and that's the way this Grandma is, and that it's not the right way to be, but not all people are perfect. (Try not to show your gritting teeth as you do this.)

    Once you've thrown yourself on the sword and done this, you deserve lots of chocolate. You and I both know your Mom deserves to be cursed out for this, but your Son doesn't need to know that. He just needs to know he isn't the problem Grandma is in the kindest possible way. Any cursing can be saved for a phone call between you and your Mom when DS isn't in hearing distance.

    Good luck! It isn't easy having a difficult mother.

  4. Chickenmaven

    Chickenmaven Songster

    Feb 6, 2009
    I cannot agree w/Laney that you "have to dissillusion" a four year old. My father was very undependable. To her credit, my dear mother rarely said an unkind word. If my own child asked about an undependable family member's actions or motivations, I would reply: "Let's ask her the next time we see her." No biggie.

    Children get the notion that something is a BIG DEAL, when their parents treat it that way. Is it possible that your child is ruminating on this because YOU are? Is he overhearing you ranting on the phone with friends? Have you cried many tears over this? If so, please stop it. It is better for your children to have a distant relationship with someone, than a relationship that is defined in terms of rejection. My kids absolutely adore my mom, whom they only see once a year. They only see her once a year due to distance & because she "won't" travel. I do not belabor this. I just go see her when I can. Please understand this: If I had gotten a big bug up my a** because my mom is a little quirky, my kids (now teens) would not adore their granny, they would think of her as that lady who doesn't like us enough to accept a free plane ticket. [​IMG]

    You have the power to define this situation in a way that does not cast your children as rejects. Think: You do not know why granny does what she does. However, you could state that ("I dunno.") and add "but I do know she loves you very much."
  5. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

    Quote:Wonderful post.
  6. I'm so sorry you are having problems with your mom and Laney to. My mother died when I was 8 years old and my dad married the most wonderful step mother in the world or at least to me she was, she had 3 girls of her own, 1 just a year older than I was but she never made any difference between her girls and me.As I look back over the years now I think of things I could have done for my children, but they never had a problem with them thinking I did not love them. their GF(DH's dad) was another thing, my children hated him, and today if you asked my dau she would probably tell yes she hated him and did until the day he died. I think I would just tell them that nana loves them very much but she forgets things and that the two of you will ask her next time you see her how she is doing.Laney, I'm so sorry your having the same problem, but if my mom had made my dau cry or any of my children, I would have called her for lunch and have a real good talk to her, My house, and don't you dare make a child of mine cry again.even today DD is 55 and a new family came to church, and one was really trying to be friends to my dau, so mama takes her off to one side and I told her DON'T YOU DARE HURT MY CHILD,I would love for you to be her friend but don't you dare hurt her.They are still friends but not near as close, for which I think God every day since the other family is having problems DD does NOT need to be involved in.Never let your children doubt that you love them, but some people just don't know how to show love and don't make a big deal of it, if you hide your feelings, the children won't realize what a problem it is. We love you [​IMG] [​IMG] CHICKENMAVINS advise is a goldmine
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
  7. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Crowing

    Jun 17, 2009
    My Coop
    I may come off as a little rough around the edges, but this is what I done. My father promised me stuff all of my life and never once done any of it. I was always a heart broken child. So, when I had my first child I gave him an option. If he told my son that he was going to do something he had better dang well do it. The first time he broke my child's heart, he was done. He would never see him again. I refused to let him treat my child the way he treated me. It has been 14 years and he has never once let any of my children down.

    I'm sorry I do not sugar coat anyone's behavior. They should be responsible for their behavior. We currently are not talking to my aunt, whom I have been very close to all of my life. Her 36 year old son shoved my child down a hallway, and she thinks that I should just over look it, because he is bi-polar. It's not happening. He is a grown man and needs to be held accountable for his actions. Had I been there, I would have ripped his head off, and probably will if I ever see him again.

    Everyone has a choice to act the way they choose. You can act right and be a good person or you can choose to act wrongly. Everyone knows right from wrong. I think that it is sad that your mother is willing to lose the love of a child, because you can have no greater than that.

    I do hope that you can find a solution that will work for you and your family. But, you need to do what is best for your children. [​IMG]

  8. turney31

    turney31 Songster

    Sep 14, 2008
    palestine texas
    Bravo, chickenmaven! Parents don't always let their grown children know their reasons for doing or not doing things. It may be embarrasing to tell that child I'm financially strapped, I'm ill or some other problem. It does not mean you don't love them or wish with all your being that you could do more. Then you have other GPs without those problems or obligations, to be compared to. No matter how well you think you know another persons situation,the truth is you probably don't. Please try to be understanding, when its not possible use tact. Remember the excuse she uses may not reflect her real reason. I agree she should be stopped dead in her tracks if she says hurtful things to your children.

  9. Laney

    Laney Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    Spring Hope, NC
    I understand that the best solution is to try to just let it slide and try to placate the child, but when you yourself have a history with the parent you find yourself needing to protect your child from the same things you went through. It toughens you as both a person and as a parent.

    The thing is, in my opinion, it is easier to expose the child to the fact that his grandmother has flaws as a person and allow that with those flaws she still loves him than to just allow him to come to his own conclusions. I have seen this on my own with my daughter. She decided that SHE was a bad child, that SHE had done things wrong. I waited too long to intervene and tell her that no, she was a wonderful well mannered child and that her grandmother had issues that were not her own. As a mother she needs to let her son know that the reasons that grandma didn't call and didn't show up were her OWN fault, and not his. It doesn't matter what reason she gives. I have found being as truthful as possible is the best way, however, while being truthful, unnecessary information should be avoided (for example Grandma is having a tough time right now, but not why, etc). And as I stated above, you should always let him know that Grandma really does love him, she just has problems right now.

    I'm just speaking from experience here, as the child who lived through it, and the mom on the other side. Your child can think THEY drove their grandmother away (or in my case to say awful hurtful things to them). You need to make sure he isn't thinking that, and if he is, brutal honesty may be the only way. (And I mean brutal in the way a 4yo can handle, I never meant sharing adult details.)

  10. 6littlechickies

    6littlechickies Songster

    May 12, 2009
    Burton, OH
    Thanks everyone for all the advice and encouragement. I got a voicemail at 2pm from her saying that she will be coming over at 4pm to drop off the boys' birthday gifts and 'visit with the kids.' Unfortunately for her, only my DD will be here as the boys are in daycare and will not be back until around 5:30. I have no clue how long she plans to stay.

    I'll update after she leaves. wish me luck!

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