Friday, January 28, 2011

Family stuff - is this weird?

As you know our goal is two dates a month.

We have V coming in on one Saturday afternoon and D’s mom coming in on one Sunday afternoon a month.

Aside from that, she also “visits the twins” (as she calls it) on one Thursday a month.

Yesterday was that Thursday.

When I got home yesterday, I asked V what time she arrived – 1.30.

What time did she leave? 2.15

Yes, you read right – a whole 45 minutes.

She drives 45 minutes to get to our house, and another 45 minutes back. All to spend 45 minutes there.

Last time she spent an hour there.

I know they’re my kids so it’s normal for me to think they’re the cutest things ever but surely it’s weird for a grandmother to only want to see her grandkids for 2 hours and 45 minutes a month.

We bump into one another maybe 1 in every 3 weeks at church, literally for a minute, as we’re always late and she goes to the early service. There is time for a quick kiss and a hello.

I actually initiated this Thursday visit as I thought the children don’t know their grandmother that well and I feel they should, especially since one of them actually lives in the same city.

D thought it was a good idea and mentioned to his mom.

But what if we didn’t suggest it?

(D asked her this morning if she felt she had a nice time yesterday and she says, “yes, lovely, they’re growing so quickly”. Well, yes, when you only see them every 2 weeks, they do look gigantic the next time

Tell me, please, are my expectations unrealistic? Or is there perhaps something else I’m not thinking of?

P.S. Pics still from the beach shoot :) I love that 2nd one of D & Connor.


  1. This post really hits home for me. I grew up with two grandmothers that lived close by and that we saw often enough but we (my siblings and I) do not have close relationships with either of them. We asked our mother about it once when we were older and she said that both of them just aren't super-maternal - they loved us, they just weren't the type to spend all their time playing Grandma. Fine. Whatever.

    Now that I have kids, I want them to have close relationships with their grandparents. My mother is of grandmother that, if she could, she would raise my kids for me. And she used to be over all the time helping me with the babies.

    Unfortunately, my father is a jealous, controlling narcissist and decided somewhere along the way that she was spending too much time here and now they come over once a week (they live 25 min away) for about 2 hours - ALWAYS together. This irritates me because I hate my dad and he has to control/ruin every conversation and brings junk toys for the kids so my house fills up with crap.

    So, that's on grandmother down.

    My MIL lives very far away so obviously she can't be here on a regular basis. However, I get angry because she visits her stepdaughter and family three times a year but isn't even coming to visit us at all. Granted, its easier to fly and visit her step daughter (one flight vs. two) but still! She is retired and money is not an issue. AND we spend so much money and hassle making sure we visit them once a year - do you know how hard it is getting two adults and three babies to another country through three airports??

    Sorry this is so long - I just wanted to say that I feel your pain. Perhaps my standards are too high. But they're my kids and they deserve it, IMO.

  2. Some grandparents just don't get it. I know my grandparents were not around much. They loved us, but we could easily go months without seeing them once we were in school. When we were little my mom would make the hour drive back and forth to take us to see them, but it was always a one way deal. They were okay that we were there, but they weren't by any means dying to see us.

    My mom always said it would be so different with her own grandchildren and she is so right. She keeps Henry (and little Darcy too!) two days a week. If she doesn't see them any of the other five days, she really had a hard time and misses them so. She usually makes the drive in to see them (it's about an hour) one other time in the week just to kiss their sweet faces. Nick's mom is the same way. She keep H one day a week, and always wants to take him home for the weekend with her. Today she is taking him home for a two night stay, which is rare but only because we don't let her do it often. She would happily take him every weekend!

  3. This is so sad for me to hear, and to read the couple of comments before me, too. I grew up with two wonderful grandmothers...very different from each other (one would make mudpies with me, the other was very prim and proper), but they were a big part of my life.

    Unfortunately my dad is the only grandparent our girls have, and I have been really disappointed in him so far. He came to visit when the girls were born, and then when they were five months old, but other than that, he depended on us to make the drive down to see him. In total he only saw the girls five times the first year of their life...and he only lives 4 HOURS away!!!

    When the girls are older I will assume more responsibility in making sure they see him, even if I have to make the drive down once a month. I want them to know their extended family as best they can. But if someone had ever told me it would be this way, I never would have believed it, thinking my dad would have been up here once a month. :(

    It sounds like your MIL is more of a detached person. Maybe she'll warm up when the babies get a little older? I hope so, for their sake, if nothing else.

  4. The pictures are usual.

    I wonder what would happen if you didn't mention it. Would she still come?

  5. Ok, this is weird! My mom is complaining bitterly that now that the boys are in school she does not see them enough. So she picked them up on Wednesday and spent the whole afternoon with the two of them. When they were still at home she used to spend two afternoons a week with them and possibly on the weekend too.

    My poor MIL phones almost daily as she misses them being so far.

  6. All of my grandparents were gone before I was born, except one grandfather. I was close to him (he lived next door!), but he passed away when I was seven. J grew up very close to his grandparents and still talks to or sees them weekly.

    Obviously, my mom is very close to the girls since she (willingly) keeps them all the time. For her, she is okay not seeing them on the weekend and such because she works so hard with them during the week. But if it's more than two days, it becomes obvious she is ready to see them again!

    J's mom has kept the girls on Wednesdays since they were tiny, but of course, now that they are in school, that isn't a full day anymore. She still comes over to spend the afternoon with them though (about an hour drive for her). She loves for them to come to her house and always wants them to spend the night, but she doesn't really make trips to our house except on Wednesdays (which bothers me a little, but is probably sort of our fault too, as we have made it clear that we enjoy our weekend family time).

    Even though they only see her once a week on average, A & M LOVE J's mom and talk about her all the time. When I'm frustrated with her or something, it helps to remember that they are building a close relationship, which is a GOOD thing.

  7. That does seem weird to me! I would think she'd spend more time with them- and you guys as well- living so close!

  8. I'm really sorry about that and not sure what I can suggest. My mom sees my girls almost every day and has just had them for 10 days while we went skiing. My dad still works but tonight he has the girls on his own as my mom is in Cape Town staying with my brother whose wife had their second child on Monday. We are running a marathon tomorrow morning which starts at 5am so the girls are sleeping at my parents' house and he'll get them up, give them breakfast and entertain them till we get back at about 10am!! (plus he's got the 3 dogs). Chris's folks are in Cape Town and although I have issues with his mom, the kids (especially Zoe as Ava is still too little) absolutely adores them and is forever asking when they are coming to us or we are going to them. His mother likes to break all my rules which irritates me but she did raise 4 kids and as I said Zoe is crazy about her so I'm learning to just turn a blind eye. In September Zoe flew down on her own with my folks to CT for 4 nights but stayed with Chris's parents and she still talks about the trip all the time. We'll be spending 2 weeks in CT around Easter time and she cannot wait. I never had much of a relationship with any of my grandparents as one lot were in Durban and the other in CT so we saw them once or twice a year only. My mom was a junior school teacher and is a very mothering type of mom and she really spends quality time with the kids, always doing interesting stuff with them and they just absolutely adore her. I hope that as your 2 get older things may improve. I got my mom to take Zoe to swimming, clamber club and Kindermusik when Ava was a tiny baby or whenever I couldn't go. Perhaps when yours start stuff like that then she can take one and you or V the other one? I would definitely keep trying to encourage her to be more involved with them, it is a huge bonus for when you want to get away without the kids.

  9. I think some people are just like that, but it makes me sad. I'm extremely close to my mom. She's my best friend. And she sees us up to 4 times a week, and misses Josiah when it's been more than a couple of days since she saw him. He knows who Nana is and loves her. My dad, on the other hand, has never met Josiah. He lives out of state and had a lot of excuses to not come up for Josiah's birth. He also didn't come for his first birthday. So I don't know when he'll ever meet Josiah... and he doesn't seem to act like he cares.

    Jesse's dad loves Josiah, but their family just isn't very big on family stuff. So we see his dad for about 5 mins at church every Sunday and that's about it. Jesse isn't close to his stepmom at all. And she didn't even meet Josiah until he was about 3 months old, even though they both live about 5-10 mins from our house.

    I think it's sad. I wish that family was more important to some people, but that may be because it is so important to me. Other people just don't see it that way...

  10. Anonymous1:26 am

    I could cry you a river about our situation but I will spare you. We have had to come to accept that today's grandparents are different from the grandparents we had. My own grandmas were thrilled to be second mothers to their grandchildren and showered them with love and attention and begged to babysit, have sleepovers, etc. My children's grandmothers don't want to be second mothers. They want to be women first and grandmothers second. We asked my mother-in-law during our last visit if she would like some one-on-one time with her grandchildren (whom she sees only once a year!) just for a few hours while we went on a date. She responded that she would prefer we take HER out to do something fun and let someone else mind the children. Shocked me! It isn't wrong, just different. We're still adjusting.

  11. This has really struck a cord!
    I was raised by my grandmother as my mother isn't very maternal. My mother loves to have pictures of the girls, and she buys them things. She watches them for 1-2 hours on Wednesday while she's usually cleaning house and doing chores. It's hard for me to leave them there. My mother really enjoys having them for that little bit of time but she doesn't engage them very much and she is rather clueless sometimes about what to do with them. She doesn't understand how I can enjoy staying home with them and thinks I should work more.

    My MIL on the other hand would desperately love to spend time with my children and cries EVERY TIME she sees them. Due to her advanced age and health issues, she doesn't get to see them very often which is hard on everyone. Further more when they do get to see her they aren't very affectionate. Luckily they'll get some grandma time tomorrow. I just wish she were more mobile and the girls were more comfortable around her.

    I think the schedule is a good idea. We try to keep up on Saturday brunches with MIL. I also don't think you should force the issue. If in ten years the kids want nothing to do with her she'll have no one to blame but herself. Forcing her to be involve will only push her further away.

  12. My MIL comes to visit my kids about once every 2/3 months, and only when we INVITE her! She won't just phone us up to come & visit because she expects to be invited. It drives me mad, so I don't even invite her anymore, I make A invite her, she's his mother after all. She is not maternal at all and doesn't really know what do with them, especially if they cry.
    On the other hand, my mother sees them everyday. She is their second mother. My father also sees them everyday and is so good with them.
    Strange how different two sets of grandparents can be!


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