Family Matters
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MIL intermittent....

My husband is a bit of a momma's boy and no one can say anything negative about the woman.  My MIL has been less than friendly towards me for the whole of my 9 year marriage.  We have two children (7 & 6) whom she has barely had contact with but my husband expects my children to treat her with great affection.  We paid for her to come from Jamaica and she has been staying with my SIL, but except for Christmas eve, she hasnt had any contact with my kids.  She had never seen my daughter until that day and she had only seen my son once when he was about two months old.  She neglects calling them on birthdays, holidays or anything but my husband does not seem to understand why I should feel resentful of this, because she doesn't live in this country.  I don't really feel that this is an excuse.  My own mother passed away earlier this year and my children were very close to my mom.  I told my husband's parents that they needed to step up their attitudes towards our children because they were missing my mom.  BUT the only thing that this trip has showed me is that unless my children are with my husband, she's not interested in them.  At what point do I tell her to stuff it and cut my kids off from my husbands family?

Re: MIL intermittent....

  • Um, you don't.  YOU chose to have children. THEY didn't choose to become grandparents.  Their relationship w/ your kids will be what it is.  Is it NOT their responsibility to take the place of your mom.  I'm sorry you lost your  mom and that your kids miss her, but your IL's are not your mom.  It's not fair to put this on them.

    You need to come to acceptance of who she is and stop expecting her to be someone she isn't.

    Your kids won't know any different if YOU don't make issue of it. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • If she clearly has no interest in them now, then what makes you think that an ultimatum will make a difference? She will either continue to show no interest ... or she'll FAKE an interest with them. Do you really want to expose your kids to a relationship like that?

    Like EastCoast said, she doesn't owe your kids a relationship just because she's a grandparent. Yeah, it stinks that she isn't more interested in them, but that's life. You can't force a loving relationship.

    And sorry for the loss of your mother. But again dittoing ECB, it's unfair of you to suddenly expect your MIL to step up her Grandma Game just because your own loving, involved mother is not here anymore. 

    If she's around your kids and she's being mean or cruel, by all means speak up. But it sounds like she's just not interested in being a part of their lives, so stop forcing it. And you can't really call her out on not being loving enough. It stinks that she's NOT more loving, but if she's not being mean to the kids in the process then that's not really a crime.

    Your husband also sounds like he needs to come to terms with this, instead of pretending that you're all one big happy family.  I would suggest talking to him and calmly explaining that his mother is obviously not interesting in being a doting grandmother, so the two of you should stop going out of your way to try and make her into one (i.e., paying for her trip from Jamaica if the sole purpose is to get her to bond with the kids). If HE wants to pursue a relationship with her, fine, I would let him do so. But if it subjects your kids to disappointment in the process, and/or if it costs you guys money, vacation time, etc., that you could otherwise be using for your children, then I think you need to tell him that that won't work.

  • I'm sorry you lost your mom.  And that your children lost their grandmother.

    What's wrong with letting your children 'horray' for a out-of-country grandma that they otherwise don't know? I think you're getting tripped-up on what she "should" be doing instead of just letting her do what she does.  I agree that I don't see the damage as indulging such low expectations.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • I am so sorry for the loss of you mother.  Losing a parent is a difficult and painful thing to go through.  But with that being said it is not your in-laws job to take her place.  They already have a role in this family.  In fact they may have found your statements to be offensive. Like you considered them to be of secondary importance to your own mother in the lives of the kids.

    Based on your post they have done nothing to warrant cutting them out of your children's lives.  You cut off contact because they are abusive or some other way detrimental to your children.  Not because they aren't around that much.  As for the phone calls, the phone works both ways.  Why don't you call them on birthdays, holidays, etc.?

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  • Some people are just not "kid people" and don't like being around children very much. My own mom has had a very sporadic relationship with my son. I am an only child and he's my only child but in his 14 years, she has really had very few times she has reached out to him for visits or whatever. So I understand your frustration as his other grandma is AWESOME. So to really re-state what everyone else seems to be telling you, you can't make someone want to have a close relationship with their grandkids. So take her as she is and don't sweat it.
    My Blog - Life, Love and Laughter No government can dictate who we love. Life is do what feels right!
  • I get what you are all saying, but I do make the phone calls to Jamaica for the kids to talk to them.  She always tells them that she can't wait to see them and that she is sorry she is so far away.  My thing is why say that when its obviously not meant?  This trip was her idea. I suggested that Christmas is too costly to my husband but he felt that it would be a great time because she wanted to spend time with all her grandkids.  She has two more from my SIL.  She dotes on those two, calls them regularly and brought them something from Jamiaca.  She sends my husband with a bag of things back to the house, only to discover that everything in it was for him.  I didn't expect anything for myself, but I was a little shocked that she hadn't bothered to bring anything for my kids and she had for my SIL's.   But I guess that's because its her daughters kids?  I dont know.  I'm not trying to force a relationship, that never works.  But I was estranged from my mother's family until I was in my early teens.  I've never made any sort of bonds with them throughout the years and I have told my MIL and husband that I don't want to see this happen with my kids.  But on the other hand, I don't want to shell out 700 bucks because I am told that she wants to get to know my children while what she really wanted to do was hang out with my husband and SIL. I turned down invitations for the kids that I had planned for their vacation just to let them have open time with their grandmother.  Had I know that they would be sitting at home with a sitter while I was working, I would never have done that.  My husband will not hear anything against her, so I feel like I have to just suck up any slights she sends my way and pretend that I'm not the reason she treats my kids so poorly.  BUT deep down that's exactly how I feel.

    As for her replacing my mother, there is no replacement.  My mother is irreplaceable.  I just want her to actually be the grandparent to my children that she is to my SIL.  I think that's only right.  If she was like my FIL who is completely aloof of all his grandchildren I could take that in stride.  Because I do.  I feel no ill will toward the man.  That's the way he is with his kids, grandkids and well, everyone. 

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