Troubled by family relationships

lovingspring

A few days ago I was thinking about my son
and that he hadn’t called me lately, and lo and behold, I get a text asking if
I can pay his light bill. After talking with him, telling him that I could not,
I sent him an email telling him not to be asking me for money any more. For the
umpteenth time, I told him that his dad and I have to start taking care of
ourselves financially but I would love for him to be calling me to let me know
how the kids were doing. Weeks can go by that I don’t hear anything from him
but when I do, it’s to ask me if I will pay a bill or if he can borrow money. I
have been telling him for a long time that it has to stop. Having 4 kids he
does have it hard but I am no longer going to make his problems mine. Last
summer I realized that all his financial problems were having a negative impact
on my health. Since then, I have been going to see them less and less. I can’t
spend 5 minutes with them without being stressed out by their many needs, or
the lastest problem they are having. I just can’t take it.

I have been a little bit upset with my
daughter in law, which has no bearing on the email I sent. But, back around the
first of the year, I was looking up my oldest grandson’s facebook page and came
across hers instead. I was checking it out when I saw a post she made saying
how despicable that a grandmother has no interest in her grandchildren,
preferring her dogs to them. It bothered me a great deal for a few days but I
have kept it to myself. I have really
had no one to talk to about it because I don’t want the rest of the family to
think horribly of her. You see, over the past 11 years, I have spent thousands
of dollars helping them out. My daughter in law is a decent mother and provides
those kids with a lot of love. I have always respected that about her. What I
haven’t liked is that she does not work. Will not work. After their 3rd
child was old enough to go to school I suggested that maybe she could get a job
with the school system so the hours would be the same. Then she got pregnant
again. And I’m just tired of working only to give my money over to them and
paying their bills. My son has a great work ethic. He always has. Sometimes
working weekend jobs to earn extra money. But one person can’t earn enough to
take care of all of them. (more coming)

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lovingspring

But, back to my grandchildren. I have never
been very close to them as they spend a lot of time with the other grandmother.
In fact, my daughter in law has only been in my house twice. She has never come
for thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. I really don’t mind that since my son
would always bring the kids over later, after they had eaten elsewhere. He
always brought them on Christmas day because I gave them money to buy the stuff
from Santa. The last couple of years though, he has brought them less and
less. I would say in the last year, all
that I have seen the kids is maybe 6 or 8 times that I went over to their
house, (and it’s always to take them groceries or something the kids need for
school) and I don’t think the kids have been here at my house but once. They
didn’t come to my house on Christmas because this time I went and bought them
gifts and took them to them rather than giving the money to their parents to
buy them presents.

To be perfectly honest, yes, I do enjoy the
company of my dogs more than my grandchildren. The dogs put me through zero
stress, and are disciplined. All 4 of the kids are basically good, but they are
loud, rude and rowdy. Usually when they are here, something gets broken. It may
be a shrub, or doorknob PLATE through the drywall, or a shelf guard in the
refrigerator door. I don’t think they’ve been taught to be gracious or
appreciative. And I think they see me as the mean grandma because I expect
better than what they show me.

What bothers me the most, I think, is that
I thought my daughter in law accepted me for who I am just as I have accepted
that she is “shy” or not feeling good, and not a good disciplinarian. Yes, I do
love my grandchildren and love to see them. And I realize that most women have
a greater desire than I do to spend larger amounts of time with their
grandchildren. I just don’t know how unusual this makes me or if it’s something
I should be ashamed of. Why does she think that makes me despicable? I think I
am a good person that has done everything I can to help them out. I wouldn’t
necessarily say I am a good grandmother, but I do love them very much. I have a
desire to be a better grandmother, but I feel it’s all one-sided. It would just
be nice if I could quit having sleepless nights over it.

If I should have put this on the Grandparents Forum, I do apologize, but it did not look very active.

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PKponder TX Z7B

hugs to you for having the courage to discuss this on a forum. I too have a difficult time with bonding with my grandchildren, for different reasons.

You do have to look out for your own health and sanity. Our pets love us unconditionally and their demands are easily within reach and without drama. I too have been accused off loving my pets more than family members and it hurt to hear that.


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lovingspring

Thank you for sharing that with me,, PKponder. Yes, it hurts, I know.


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tibbrix

Hi Lovespring,

You shouldn't have to ever excuse how you feel about something, in this case preferring to spend more time with your dogs than with your grandchildren. We feel how we feel, and there are reasons for that.

It sounds like your son and DIL are under some enormous economic stress, and that can make people behave in ways they otherwise wouldn't. It often includes loss of sleep, or too much sleep, eating poorly…economic stress can cause a vicious circle of unhealthy habits and behavior which can then lead to causing strain on other relationships. Financial stress is all consuming. So I think you're right to try to separate your role you suggest they're trying to put you in here from their financial difficulties. As you say, one can help if one chooses, but you're not an integral part of the problem, so do try to keep those things separate. Very difficult to do, of course, because it can't be fun to see your son and his family struggling.

I am the daughter of an Episcopal minister whose career had him counseling people all the time on these very difficult and emotional family dynamics and struggles. Have you considered sitting down with your, or some, (sane) clergyman (stay away from the loons, of course). A well-trained one can offer very sage advice and comfort and help without fire and brimstone or the bill of a therapist.

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arkansas girl

Being a "good Grandmother" does NOT mean giving the parents money and buying them groceries and school supplies! Sheesh! They are grown parents that have chosen to have four children so it is THEIR responsibility to take care of their OWN children...it is NOT yours! You've already raised YOUR children! The nerve of them to text you to pay their bills! How dreadful and "despicable" of THEM!


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lisaw2015 (ME)

I am sorry for your pain. I myself have 3 grandchildren that I see every weekend and they are my whole world. I realize that not everyone feels this way about their grandchildren but I really have to wonder if the constant requests for money from your son & DIL have contributed to this. Have you considered spending time alone with them, maybe a day outing? Away from your home so you aren't stressed out over things getting broken? I wouldn't even go inside to pick them up or drop them off so the parents don't get the chance to ask you for money or share their woes.

It's really not ok for them to ask you for financial help when the DIL refuses to work and they obviously should not be growing their family if they can't afford to. I DO assist my DD with school shopping, school trips, etc because I WANT to, she doesn't ask or expect it and thats the way it should be.

I am glad to hear that you have stopped handing them money hand over fist, now let's hope that he stops asking.

Good Luck :)

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eld6161

Your feelings are your feelings. It is hard to see your son"s family struggling, yet as mentioned above, why have so many children?

What would you like to see happen? Do you want a better relationship with your grandchildren? If so, can you take them out individually? I don't think the grandchildren should be "punished" because of their parents behavior.

I'm unclear about the holiday visiting. It seems like you don't really want to host as they are too rowdy when you have all four children together. Have you ever had a say in the holidays, or it is just taken for granted that they go elsewhere because you don't invite them?

I agree with Tibbrix. counseling will help in clearing up your feelings and perhaps setting a plan in place. Your health is important, and your future financial situation is equally as important.

It's good that you came here as the other forums are very slow in responding.

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Alisande

I just want to add that you might consider getting to know your grandchildren better on a one-to-one basis. When you visit with four kids at once they're likely to interact with each other more than with you--no wonder it gets loud and rowdy--and little is accomplished in the way of bonding.

You could start with the oldest, taking each of them on an outing geared to their individual interests (as well as yours). Start your own tradition.

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Lucille

Set yourself up for success. If the grands are rowdy and stuff gets broken at your home, meet at the park, or perhaps an inexpensive outing for a treat at an ice cream parlor.

There is a lot of baggage here, but if you want to be a good grandmother to the kids, lay the baggage down and go without it.

Kids don't love you because of money, they love you for how you make them feel. Appreciate them, ask them about their lives, have a good time with them. YOU make those good memories for them, they don't just happen on their own, and the memories don't cost money, but are priceless.

I like the above one-on-one idea, too. It may be that these kids are not often given the opportunity to be seen as individuals, they may love that attention.

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emma

My husband and I were in the same situation but with 5 kids for years. My husband did tell his son no, but could not tell his girls no when they came to him all teary eyed because they couldn't pay their bills. It went on for years until the last two loans were not paid back. They were never in need, they couldn't pay their bills because they went shopping when they got their pay check and then did not have enough left to pay their bills. When one of the Grand kids asked for money I put my foot down and said no. It is a no win for parents either way.


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TulsaRose


This lovely prayer has helped me through a lot of similar challenges.

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prairie_rose

(((((lovingspring))))) I don't have any grandkids, so I can't relate totally to your situation. I do know if I was blessed with them, I would do whatever I reasonably could to spend time with them. I like the idea of taking them on some outings, either together or alone, to build a relationship with them. I know some of my son's fondest memories with his grandma was going to the lake with a bag of stale bread to feed the ducks.

As for the financial situation your son and DIL are in, I echo the others. That is their worry, not yours. They are their bills, not yours. You should not be expected to help, nor feel guilty for not helping them out financially. For them to ask you to cover their expenses repeatedly is very inconsiderate and selfish of them both. I would suspect, the reason your DIL has said the things she did on FB is because you will no longer help them out financially, and that, in her mind, means you do not care for your grandkids' welfare.

If you want to treat your grandkids with a new backpack or outfit for school, that should be your choice, not your DS and DIL expectation of what you should be doing to be a good grandmother.

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Elmer J Fudd

I'm often a contrarian in my views in this forum, I'd like to offer some observations to be helpful to you, with no intention to be insulting.

Relationships are mutual and take work. You're treating this like a challenge contest that you have to win on your terms, you've set yourself up for failure. You need to meet them halfway or more then halfway, but your comments show an unwillingness to do that. You need to define your objective - if it is to have a better relationship with all of them, you need to step off your throne and do WHATEVER IS NECESSARY to accomplish that goal. If you're unwilling to do that, then the relationship is what you've made of it.

You're not going to change how they are. You can change how they interact with you, but you need to change how you interact with them to do that.

"Weeks can go by that I don’t hear anything from him". He can say the same thing about you. If you want to talk with him, why don't YOU call him?

"Since then, I have been going to see them less and less." So what message does this give them?

"I have spent thousands
of dollars helping them out." This is what parents do with kids. My parents did this with me, I do this with my kids, there's nothing exceptional with this situation other than the fact that you seem to be resentful about it. Yes, some need more than others, and there can be baggage, hard feelings and resentment, but that's just something both sides need to deal with


"What I
haven’t liked is that she does not work". It's not up to you to make decisions about her life.


"Then she got pregnant
again". SHE got pregnant? All by herself? This comment shows a huge amount of resentment and lack of compassion to me.


" I have never
been very close to them as they spend a lot of time with the other grandmother". How do you expect to be close to grandkids you don't spend time with?


"my daughter in law has only been in my house twice" How could this be?


"I do enjoy the
company of my dogs more than my grandchildren." OK, so you've made a choice. You're living the consequences of your choice.


"I thought my daughter in law accepted me for who I am". Why would she have to do that? But if you think she has, why don't you do the same for her?


Relationships don't happen with the wave of a wand. I'm sorry to say that I see enough accumulated inflexibility, history and prejudice on your part that I'm not hopeful the relationship can change.


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Alisande

Hell must have frozen over, because I think Snidely makes a lot of good points. It's all the same point, really, with many useful examples. They are well worth thinking about.

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sylviatexas2
Please be sure you're protected;
I've sold real estate for many years & have seen & heard some jaw-droppingly avaricious, greedy, horrible things that go on in families when an elder has become vulnerable & "the kids" can get their hands on the assets.

Take care of yourself.

ps:
When someone mentions to me that I like the company of my dogs more than that of my family/friends, I smile & say, "yep! they're nicer to me!"
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emma

Tulsa Rose, I have one of those signs in my living room and another that says "Kindness Matters".


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chisue

I'll endorse the one-on-one interaction. Can you tell your DS and DIL that you'd like to take "Billy" to see a movie, or to buy him new shoes/some sports equipment/a book/whatever. Tell them you want to schedule this within the next week, and ask what's a good time. An hour or two visit is sufficient, but you must be consistent with the plan and take each child in turn, regularly, over the coming months. It's not about the money you spend on them. It's spending TIME with them; the 'shopping' is just an excuse to do that. Do the children participate in any sports or other activities? Do you attend their games, performances, recitals? You are a stranger to them. It will take time. You will like one better than the others, but don't let it show!

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socks

I'm sending you a super-good, super-big hug. What an emotional load you are carrying.

Your DIL's words were so mean, and it hurt, especially after your having helped them so much. Shame on her.

I think you have a mentally healthy attitude about all this, but it does make you sad.

I'm glad you could post here and wish you had a girlfriend or counselor to share with. I think you are on the right track with it all but it helps to talk. Do you have a sister?

Take care, and have fun with the pups!

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Suzieque

How old are the kids? Are they all still little? Teenagers? A mix?

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Chi

I do sympathize for your situation. It's not fun to think people only appreciate you as a financial source.

However, I did want to comment on something you said about your daughter in law. Being a stay at home mom IS work, and it's hard work. Even if the kids are in school, it's still a lot of work. Usually it's unseen and under-appreciated, as demonstrated by your comments.

There are meals to be planned, grocery shopping, errands, doctors appointments, cleaning the house, delivering forgotten homework or lunch, picking up and dropping off at school, after school activity shuttling, homework help and generally making the household run as smoothly as possible.

Of course it's possible for women to do all this while also working, and those women are amazing to me, but when both parents are working full time, there are a lot of logistical issues. Even something like deciding which parent can take yet another day off for a sick kid, or who can take a kid to their recital or soccer practice when one has meetings and the other is away on business.

That being said, I agree they shouldn't have more kids if they can't afford their bills, but like Snidely said, she didn't impregnate herself. It happens. And often childcare is often more expensive than what someone can make working, especially with limited experience. It's up to them to figure it out.

I agree with some other points. Maybe once a week, take each grandchild out on a "date" with just the two of you. You'll get to know them better without the overwhelming aspect of multiple young kids at once.

Good luck! I hope you can resolve these issues. It sounds like you have a lot of love to give.


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lovingspring

Thank you everyone for trying to help me
sort out my feelings. I will admit to shedding a few tears at some of the responses.
Last night I had somewhat of a realization, that really, I adore kids from a distance.
The little girl across the street from me is 6 or 7 now, and I laughed and smiled
so much watching her learn to ride her bike without training wheels. And I
remember a couple of years ago when I had pulled up to McD’s drive thru to get
something to eat, seeing my grandkids playing on the playground. I pulled over
and spoke to my daughter in law and her mother, then sat in the car and watched
the kids play for a little while while I ate. It was an enjoyable few minutes.
My question about myself is why don’t I enjoy interacting with them? I’m not
that much of a “people person” but I guess I didn’t realize how much that might
be affecting my family relationships. My husband and I don’t do any socializing
at all. The rest of the family have always thought of him as a loner, and truth
be told, it seems like I have become one myself. Until now, I have never really
thought of myself that way. I enjoy my job and the people I work with even if I
don’t want to socialize with any of them after hours.

Someone asked the age of my grandkids, and
they are ages 2 to 11. Two boys, 11 and 9 and two girls, 7 and 2. As far as HER
getting pregnant, I did not mean that my son holds no responsibility in that.
And I did not mean they don’t have the right to have as many kids as they want.
I never meant that being a SAHM isn’t hard work. But I would imagine it’s even
harder if you don’t have power and water. I found it to be easier to be a working
mother and be able to pay the bills than to stay at home and worry every month
if there was going to be enough money to pay the bills. To me it’s a choice….work
or struggle.

You all have given me a lot to think about.
In fact, these problems have been all that I’ve been thinking about today. I
really want to be able to take the time to respond to all of you and plan to
spend time tonight when I get home doing that. I’m on my lunch break but have
to go back now.


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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Loving, I soooo appreciate your inner turmoil. I especially relate to your comment about loving them from a distance. I'll bet that the thought of seeing them each once a week is overwhelming to you. It sure would be for me.

Have you explained to your son that you simply cannot afford to help them on a regular basis? I don't even think that you should if you could.

I'd avoid her facebook page. She clearly wrote that knowing that you would see it and that doesn't speak well of her. Unlike you, I would mention that I saw it and that it hurt my feelings deeply. Ask your son to email pictures and events.

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susie53_gw

Loving spring, I want to give you a big hug!! Being a parent and a grandparent is work. I am both. I am lucky to be close with all of them. It would be hard for me to see them struggle, too. But, we are not going to support them. They choose to live they way they do by choice. If they are both able to work they should be doing so. Now Is a great time for the children to help a little. Just keeping their own things picked up helps so much. It's called team work. Sounds like your DIL is angry you are not giving them money. This is really sad. I like the suggestion of having one child at a time. Like someone said buy them something they need. I am sure they would love it, too. So many parents get themselves in a financial mess trying to help their kids.. Our grown kids need to learn to do without things sometimes, too. I gave up many things over the years so our kids could have something or go somewhere special..

Perhaps you and your son could sit down and have a great chat.. Don't let him bully you into paying his bills. Tell him of your expenses, too. We all have them. I'm sure you don't always get everything you want either. I know I don't and our children have been on their own a long time. Take care of yourself. Try to mend fences with your children and grandchildren. My son has 4 little ones and it can get overwhelming sometimes for me.. I know where you are coming from. Keep us posted. We do care!!

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phoggie

I am glad these posts gave you some things for some real soul searching in regard to your family....especially those grandkids. Please, please, please spend time within them and get to know them before it is too late. YOU need to make an effort to get out of your own little world and spend time with them. Take them out to eat for their birthdays or special days....take the little one to a park or petting zoo....or just take them to get an ice cream cone...go to watch them, if they play ball or activities...take the older ones to a cartoon movie...plan a picnic with them....have a tea party with the two youngest girls...buy them some cute hair decorations...color or draw with them....have a sleep over for the boys ( rent a movie, make some popcorn, etc)...but for heavens sake, get to know them!! ... You will never regret it and they will never forget it.....and it won't break your bank either.

My grandkids are now 14, 16, 17, 19 and 24...and I have always made it a point to be part of their lives....on the other hand, their other grandmother is like you...and they do not even know her as a grandparent....and believe me, it is HER loss!

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seniorgal_gw

Perhaps it doesn't seem possible, but sitting down with your son when he asks for money and helping him plan a budget might help him (and her) to see how they can manage.

There is an old saying, "a wife can throw out more with a teaspoon than a husband can bring in with a shovel." This may not be the case with them, but planning and economizing could be helpful. Learning to be independent is a skill that can be developed and it will produce self confidence,

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joaniepoanie

Grown children working and living on their own should not be asking mom and dad to pay a light bill! I would have been ashamed and mortified to ask my parents to help me with monthly bills, but I knew I could count on them if something catastrophic were to happen like losing a job, huge hospital bills, etc.

Is it that your son doesn't make enough, or are they mismanaging their $? It's simply not right that you only hear from them when they need money. Yes, it was unwise of them to have a 4th child when they are struggling financially, but unless your DIL has an advanced degree, it probably wouldn't pay her to work as full time daycare for the two year old might be more than her pay check. But she should be planning now to return to work when the youngest is in school and they only have to spend for an after school program.

I don't have grandkids yet, but my relationship with my DIL is similar. She and DS live 15 min away, but we usually only see her on holidays, and usually for a limited amount of time before they are off to spend the rest of the time with her family. We have invited them for dinner other times and DS has shown up alone...she's not feeling well, she had to babysit her nephew, etc. I don't expect things will change when they have kids and I dont anticipate having a close relationship with their future kids. We'll probably only see them on holidays as well or when they can't find anyone else to babysit. It's all about her and her family. I am polite to her when I see her, try to make her feel welcome, get her nice gifts for her bday and Christmas, etc....but we will never be close and I have accepted it.

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sylviatexas2
I'd be careful about talking to son about finances;
it's his responsibility, & my fear would be that talking about it might be construed as agreeing that you bear or will accept some of the responsibility.

Take care of youself & make it clear to your son that you can't take care of his family.
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Lucille

Dealing with money can be difficult, and I think it is perfectly OK to discuss finances as long as you are clear that you are offering ideas not cash.

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marylmi

It sounds like your son and DIL need to learn how to live within their means and be grateful that you do help them when they do get in a pinch.

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marie_ndcal

Because my folks gave us money whenever we thought we needed it, and later found out this was not a growing up thing to do, we talked it over when our kids grew up and started asking us for money. We suggested very strong they would pay it back and they did. Some did better than others but they all did pay back. Much better relationships. There has been occasions we chose to buy either clothes for school, a field trip, vacations etc because we wanted to help out. My DH used to pay for meals when we went out, because HE wanted to! It was his way of thanking a relative for helping out because as we go older and DH got sicker, he (relative) had to do more. With DH gone I try to do more myself or get it done professionally, but I do talk it over with my relative to help me make the right decision.

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susanjf_gw

we have 9 grands and love them all very much...only three are far enough away we can't see them more than holidays....my dh was a very active father (coaching soccer and baseball) and we have enjoyed watching the kids/grands play sports over the years (our oldest will be 16, and the youngest is 3) it's sad your dh hadn't socialized at an earlier age with your children...perhaps if you attended some activities they're involved in at least they'll know you care...


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gwlake

My children do not have active grandparents in their lives. You know what, it hurts. I do not need a dime from my parents or my husband's parents.

My Inlaws are so set their ways. They can only manage a visit once a year . They have no social life. They could move to be closer. But the thought of moving sends my FIL into full panic mode.

My parents are selfish with their time. What time they have goes to my Dads daughter and my younger sister. I am one of five children. My mother recently scheduled a cruise during the same time as my son's first communion. I just stamp my feelings down. It hurts to know my children are not important to my mother.

I am a stay at home mom. I work my tail off to be there for my children. My children will ways know I am there for them. If I have schedule conflicts while my husband travels, I call a sitter we have moved 8 times and we do it together no help from anyone.

I have so much bitterness towards my parents becAuse they do not care. My mother's sisters are shocked at her lack of involvement. I have great and well behaved children. They have never been in trouble at school.

I guess what I am saying...get involved with your grandchildren. If your DIL is a good mother, it hurts her to know you don't want to spend time with her children.


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blfenton

Reading ourgeorgiahouse post and thinking of my own mother I offer another perspective as well for you to consider. It may not be pertinent or relevant. It sounds like you don't want to be involved because of past experiences but if you aren't at least a presence (I don't mean financially but just emotionally) what will happen when you and DH are older and need assistance of any sort. Will the help be there from your son?

My parents moved out of town 30 years ago when the grandchildren started to arrive and wanted little to do with them or us. My mom moved back into town last fall, she is now 86, because she needs help. We are all basically holding our noses and helping her out but it isn't out of love but rather duty. Don't get to that point.

I am a stay at home mom and always have been which is something that my mom has seen fit to be critical of in the past. It's a decision that my husband and I made together. Daycare is so expensive regardless of the number of kids and I make a better SAHM than I do a working mom - for me and my kids and for my family. It's a personal decision that they have to make. It doesn't make her less of a person or lazy.

You state that your daughter-in-law is a decent mom and your son has a great work ethic and always has had that so I think you have something to work with in creating a relationship. Emergencies happen with kids and I wonder how difficult it is for him to phone to ask for financial assistance.

I agree with trying to get rid of the financial entanglements but do consider an emotional connection with your grandchildren. It may not work but please try to consider it.


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joaniepoanie

I doubt the DIL is hurt that Loving is not involved with the grands. She has totally alienated Loving....she's only been to her house twice in 11 years and does not accompany her DH and kids for holiday dinners....yet she clearly has no qualms accepting $ and gifts from people she does not want to be around. Also, Loving stated that the grands see her mother frequently....if they can make time for one set of grandparents why not the other?

The son and DIL don't seem to respect Loving or appreciate what she has given them. She has just become an ATM doling out cash on demand. There comes a time when you have to say enough is enough when the only time you hear from your kids is when they want something.


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sheilajoyce_gw

My concern would be how much the son and DIL are wanting financial help when his mother and father should be putting money aside for their retirement. Out of necessity to build and have sufficient funds for the rest of their lives, Loving may have to say no to all future financial help. With a son who is willing to work two jobs, I would expect that they could make do financially. My concern is that the son and his wife probably have poor money management skills or lack of them and they will have a lifetime of trouble until they learn otherwise. Saying no helps to motivate them to develop some good budgeting.

I wish Dave Ramsey were still on the local radio. He was a very good financial adviser when people called in with problems. He has also written some self help books about how to dig out of debt and to budget for a secure life.

I have two little grandsons, and it does help that they are my daughter's children. I do feel that daughters understand the parenting that they had, and if it meets their standards as young parents, that they are comfortable using the grandparents to babysit. I have long felt that when the mother is a DIL, that feeling and closeness may not be there, which will affect any relationship that grandma can have with her children.

Good luck to you.


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arkansas girl

Another thing, it's also "despicable" to be talking trash about you on facebook! Did you tell your son that she said that? I bet he has no idea that his wife is talking trash about you! I know that if I were in your situation and every time I saw them they were hitting me up for money, I too would be keeping my distance because I wouldn't want to be put in that situation. I am someone that avoids conflict if at all possible.

Here's something else, I don't know if you said whether or not you have other children but giving money to one and not the other can be a real source of resentment among siblings. I know someone that is in this situation. She and her family have never asked her Mom for money because they make wise financial decisions in their life but there's another step daughter that doesn't make wise decisions so her Mom is always giving money to the step daughter. My friend feels like she's being punished for making the wise choices in her life while the screw up girl(she had FIVE children out of wedlock!) gets money handed to her all the time. Like she said to me "we need money too".


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tibbrix

I'd rather have an absent grandparent for my kids than a buttinsky grandparent.

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arkansas girl

Who's the "buttinsky"?

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tibbrix

No one in particular. I'm responding to the people who are saying they're hurt by absent grandparents. While of course the best scenario is to have grandparents involved, I'm just pointing out that IMO it could be worse, i.e.: an MIL or M constantly criticizing how you are raising your kids, telling you how to do so, commenting on every little thing….ie: buttinsky.

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arkansas girl

Yes that is worse!


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tibbrix

'Tis!

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Elmer J Fudd

It doesn't take brains or insight to become a parent - far too often it's the opposite, it can be the result of bad decision-making. That people unprepared and unequipped to have children finally find themselves cast in that role is common. Reality is reality, move on.

So what do you do? You should do your utmost to learn what's best for the kids and you devote yourself to doing so. The same is true of being a grandparent - like it or not, it's a responsibility if you care for them. If not, do what blfenton's parents did, leave town and ignore your family. To sit in a car to watch at a distance, and not join in, when encountering family members in a public place, takes my breath away. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?

Those of you with equally broken relationships shouldn't be offering advice or consoling others with the same problems. Yes, having a meddling relative at any level is unwelcome, but reread other comments - a relationship is mutual, it takes effort, and maintaining successful ones means doing what's necessary to accomplish that. Those who want to sit back and blame others when your own actions may be part of the problem just don't get it.

Whether the child is from a marriage involving your son, your daughter, your step-whatever, your neighbor, shouldn't be an issue. If you can develop a positive relationship with a stranger (and we all can), you can develop one with someone you have a tie to. Excuses are easy to come up with.

Focus on what's best for the kids and otherwise suck it up and keep your mouth shut about things you don't like. That works, believe me.

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rob333 (zone 7a)

Look what came out today! I haven't read it yet, but I hope it sheds some light.


when-your-kid-likes-one-set-of-grandparents-better from Yahoo

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lovingspring

Hello! Please don't think that I have disappeared into thin air. I know all of you have taken time to respond to me so I apologize for being MIA. Yesterday I came home from work not feeling well and today even worse. A cold with a sore throat. NOt too bad, just worn out.
Thanks for the link Rob333 and I will read it and be back when I'm feeling more up to par.
Well, just one thing first. I do not think my DIL meant for me to see the facebook posting. There has never been a cross word between us and it was not my intention to paint her as a mean person. She is not and I was surprised to have seen her post something like that. Oh well. I'll surely figure it out. I've got a few ideas about getting my grandkids to help me with some things around here. If that wouldn't be perceived as self-serving.


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wantoretire_did


"I'd be careful about talking to son about finances;
it's his responsibility, & my fear would be that talking about it might be construed as agreeing that you bear or will accept some of the responsibility."

I completely agree. If you have any extra money after paying YOUR expenses, he could well rationalize that it is available for THEIRS. You wouldn't be able justify your need for savings/retirement, etc. and no amount of "explaining" would matter. Your finances are none of their business at this point.

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Yayagal

Sometimes people forget that everyone want's to be loved. My Dad used to say "who you love you give your time to" It all comes down to the elders setting the example. Perhaps if you start being involved, they will follow suit. It may require a conversation to let them know that your feelings. Keeping up relationships takes work and effort but the rewards are a life with family who shows their love back and, hopefully, friends to share. I wish you the best in resolving this situation and may you have all good results .


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sylviatexas2
Son & daughter-in-law don't have a problem initiating contact when they want money;
repairing or building a relationship on other terms is appropriate, do-able, & safe only *after* they agree to stop hitting OP up for money.
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

I absolutely agree regarding not discussing finances in any way with your son. He will resent you trying to "butt" into his business by talking about setting up a budget, IMO. I do disagree with you when you say your daughter-in-law is not mean. By her not coming to your house, not bringing the kids to see you, causing her family to be unavailable to you, and writing on such a public media place as Facebook, again IMO, was absolutely intentional, and all of these actions are being mean. You certainly not have tried very much either, it seems. And where is your husband in all of this; does he visit the grandchildren and your son? Does he make any attempts to be available?

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Lucille

You don't have to discuss YOUR finances when you discuss finances with kids, but some open ended conversations opening the door might allow them to ask questions about the subject in general. Many kids don't have a clue about finances (many adults don't have a clue, either, perhaps their parents wouldn't talk to them about the subject).

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lovingspring

This has gone so much deeper than I had intended it to. Some of you asked what I was expecting to happen or wanted to happen. Right now the biggest thing for me is to have some peace of mind. The constant worry is literally making me ill. I'm always on the verge of tears or feeling depressed when I think of my son's family. It's such a sad situation in every respect. Their lives are so chaotic and I believe it is all fueled by financial woes. I have believed this for years, which is why I can't understand why my DIL does not get a job. I understand those of you that are, or were, SAHM's, are quick to defend. But usually when husbands and wives make that decision it is because they can afford to do that, even if they have to make sacrifices.
SNidelyWhiplash asked how it could be that my DIL had only been in my house twice in eleven years....when they first got married my mom and dad were still hosting holiday and birthday get-togethers. She probably attended a few of those in the beginning but soon just stopped coming. Either she was home cooking for their day, she didn't feel well, and sometimes my son said she was shy. I do think she was shy. It really didn't bother me since I accepted his word and respected her feelings. We were a big crew back then. And both times that she was here at my house were in the early years. Many many many times my son would stop by for something and she would sit in the car, the kids would get out and play, and I would always go out and talk to her and the kids. As the years rolled by, if the kids came in and it was hot outside, I wouldn't always go out. She was welcomed to come in. But all these years I have accepted her without hard feelings. If I have ever said anything in the past that could have hurt her feelings, to make her avoid our whole family, I would not know what it could be. I am not one to say anything to hurt anyone.


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lovingspring


Where is my husband in all this, some of you asked? He isn't fully aware of the toll this is taken on me. Either he is less understanding (or makes less excuses) for them than I do. It wasn't long ago that he was raising a fuss because he has a 2 y/o granddaughter that has never been to this house. Well, she has but he wasn't home at that time. He has been hurt by all this too. And he has given quite a bit of himself as well. A couple of years ago he built the oldest granddaughter a playhouse. Spent the whole weekend on it. Last year when they moved, he asked my son if he was going to be able to move it or if he would have to take it apart. My son told him he hoped he wouldn't have to take it apart. Well, not long after they moved, we stopped by.....to give them a toilet plunger they were needing....and no playhouse. My husband was very upset and let my son know it. My husband used to go once a week to take off their trash because my son left for work before the recycle centers were open. He did it for about a year but they kept putting trash outside and neighborhood dogs would tear it up and he would end up having to clean it up. We gave them a large can with a locking lid. They would fill it up, then sit whatever bags wouldn't fit outside and those would get torn up. He just quit doing it.
So you see that this is so much deeper than just relationship problems. I do believe that it is all stress related caused by financial problems. I just don't think they have the energy to the right things in life because they are so stressed out. And those are the reasons that I have continued to give the money and pay their bills, hoping that soon they would figure it out and get it under control.
I don't think it would be difficult connecting with my grandkids, but I think it would be unhealthy for me if my son and his wife can't get their lives under control. I feel like I keep trying and trying and trying to help them and it's getting me no where except in bad health.


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lovingspring

And, No, I did not tell my son about the facebook posting. They have enough troubles that telling him would serve no purpose. I do not want to be the cause of any arguments between them.


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Alisande

Lovingspring, I suspect the chaos is not caused by financial stress. It sounds to me as though the chaos and the financial problems have the same root cause. If both are symptoms of the same underlying problem, it will do no good to treat one of the symptoms. I think you have discovered that your continuing efforts to help them financially haven't had any permanent benefit.

Perhaps someone else can do a better job of naming and describing the root cause. All I can say is that I've known people with a total lack of money sense, who constantly surround themselves with chaos. They tend to blame others for the binds they get into, but their problems are of their own making.

It must be painful to watch your own child in that situation, and I wish I could offer you a solution. By all means stop funding (enabling) them, and try to provide a stable influence for your grandchildren. Living in chaos can't be easy for them. They love their parents, but kids need some sort of structure whether they're aware of it or not.


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susanjf_gw

maybe using facebook and leaving encouraging remarks might be a simple way of communicating without face to face contact? I usually hit "like" on most pictures or add an encouraging remark if about one of the grands...

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Chi

I would be curious to hear her side of the story. I keep feeling like there's a lot of miscommunication happening and it's causing some friction and resentment. It sounds like you really are trying, but maybe she thinks she really is trying too and you're just on different pages.

That being said, you can't change someone who doesn't want to change. I think cutting them off financially is best. It's a little bit of tough love, and they might lose electric for a day or two until they sort it out but hopefully it will wake them up a bit. I'm sorry the kids are in the middle. Are they using any of the programs set up to help situations like this? WIC for some food at least?


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sylviatexas2
Why wasn't your son's wife putting out the trash?

Here's a little mantra I learned somewhere:

Not my circus,
Not my monkeys.

Let it go & take care of yourself.
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aegis1000

loving ...

Seems that your DS and DIL have gotten themselves into a financial pickle which they expect you to help them solve.

Unfortunately, even with your help, they will, likely, not be able to improve their position for some time (until all of the kids are in school).

So you have a choice to make. Do you help them until that point ... or do you allow them to struggle, which they will.

The grand-kids will be fine ... kids are quite resilient. But your DS needs to get things under control as his oldest will be approaching college age in 7 years.

Ultimately, we can only do what we can do. I've counseled my DW to decide upfront WHAT she is comfortable doing for the grown kids and grandchildren and to stick to that. The struggling parents need to figure out the rest.

Your situation is difficult. It seems that you want/need to work out a relationship with your DS/DIL that doesn't hinge upon you supporting them financially. Unfortunately, such a thing will take quite a bit of time.

In the meantime, take advantage of opportunities to be involved in your grandchildren's lives. Send them cards at holidays and birthdays, friend them on Facebook, and show up their special functions. You decide what type of grandparent you wish to be, ... and then BE that grandparent.

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eld6161

Sylvia, how is it not her circus? It's her son.

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arkansas girl

I agree with Sylvia! And I'm going to second "why can't the wife take out the trash"? Is she too good to? Maybe too lazy to is more like it! It's funny, I'm a 52 year old woman and do ALL the house work and outdoor work here at MY HOUSE! I mow with a push mower, use a weed eater, plant shrubs, put down mulch, I take out the trash, take out the recycle, wash the cars, paint the house, and every other freakin' thing that needs to be done. So unless this woman has some health issues you didn't mention, she needs to get off her *** and do things for herself and quit expecting everyone else to do the things she needs to do.

I am still hung up on that facebook comment. I believe she said it knowing you would see it, why else say it? People that talk trash and start drama on facebook are very immature! Facebook is something that everyone can see that is on her friends list or if she doesn't have it set up as private the whole world sees it. So every single person on her friends list knows that she's bad mouthing her in-laws. Also her kids are seeing her saying that their grandparents are "despicable". Real nice lady....NOT!


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aegis1000

Too many children and too little income/good money management is her son's circus.

Her circus is an unloving son and daughter-in-law and distant grandchildren.

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tibbrix

Agree w/Arkansas girl, re: the Facebook comment. It's not like coming here and venting about a lousy MIL, where no one knows your or her real identity. But on Facebook, where her friends are browsing, even her kids, they know to whom she is referring! If she were to go on the 6:00 local news and say the same thing, her intent would be clear. I don't think Facebook is any different than doing it on the 6:00 local news. It was tacky and morally repugnant for her to make that comment on her Facebook page.

It sounds like there is a lot of info. missing, a lot of mixed messages here, and a lot of miscommunication, resentment, anger, combined with a lot of the stressors that come with severe financial difficulties. Sounds combustible to me.

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kittiemom

Everyone wants to help their kids, but your son is grown and you are right that you need to look out for yourself financially. If your DS has trouble paying his own bills, he certainly won't be able to help you if you run into financial difficulties. Sacrificing your own financial future doesn't help anyone. My parents made it very clear to my DS and me that they expected us to pay our own bills after we got a job. We knew that they would be willing to help in a catastrophic situation, but not on a regular basis just because we couldn't manage our budget. Being a SAHM is a great thing - if the family can afford it. Many families make sacrifices for a parent to be able to do this. To me that means cutting out extras in your budget. If a family can't afford their basic bills without help, then it's time to consider other choices. As some of the others have mentioned, taking the kids on an outing or going to their recitals/sports events if they have any would help you develop your relationship with them. If taking all of them is too much, take one or two of them at a time as a special time with their grandmother. Consider asking your DIL if you could join her when she takes them to the playground or other places. This would hopefully help your relationship with her and them.

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Chi

The Facebook thing is why I think there are some big miscommunication issues happening. Most reasonable people don't explode on Facebook for no reason, and Loving hasn't indicated that her DIL is prone to drama. If someone has reached that point, there's something else going on. We have all had a situation where we were fed up and vented where we maybe shouldn't have. From Loving's perspective, she hasn't done anything wrong to warrant it, but I wonder what the DIL thinks.

She may not even be aware that her husband is asking for money. And since that's causing friction in the relationship, all she sees is the end result of a grandmother avoiding her grandkids. Have you spoken to her honestly about why you don't see them as much? I bet asking to spend some one-on-one time with them regularly would help the situation a lot.


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littlebug zone 5 Missouri

I agree with Sylvia too. You are wrapping yourself up in your son's problems to the detriment of your own health. He's over 21. He made his own bed - let him lie in it. Let. It. Go. You will literally worry yourself to death.

I watched my mother do it - she worried and worried and worried. And then she died. She was 67.

So I have to FORCE myself not to do it. My son recently divorced and has a small child. So I worried and worried and worried. But I finally realized I was doing what my mother did, and I had to stop.

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moonie_57 (8 NC)

lovingspring - I have to agree with littlebug. You are worrying yourself to death over a situation you cannot control. I can understand why you continued to give them money, hoping it would help, but it isn't. If you take a big step back maybe you can soon recover your mental health and become a part of your g-kids lives.

To me it seems like the DIL's Facebook rant is less upsetting to you than the financial situation they are in. Step back, breathe, and then move forward.

I'm so sorry. It is very obvious you are torn up about it all. :(


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kathleen44

Sometimes you have to let it all out and other times just walk away. You told your son you won't help and its probably very hard on him not having a wife that will work and earn money for the household. So, many do need two but there are alot of moms/wives that stay home but they are earning money somehow and learn to budget big time to make ends meet.

She will always put you down so she twists it to make you the bad guy not herself, you know the truth and so let it drop.

I know I went through hell and back with my mother and sil and no matter what I did or didn't do it wasn't good enough and the horrible comments all the time.
This fall I literally couldn't stand nasty sil and the horrible terrible things she was doing, lost everything and her going at me like something else. I broke down and emailed to my brother everything going on and guess what he said if you going to talk nasty then won't reply. So, you know who they will always believe and go with their wives and you won't win so drop it and let it be and don't answer those calls from your son then, he can leave messages and you don't have to say no money, won't give you any, can't help you and not going too as we are getting older and need to care for ourselves in old age and the world isn't getting any cheaper, its getting more expensive.

kathy


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pkramer60

Lovespring, I mean no offense but your son needs to grow up and face reality. He is an adult, presumably in his 30's, with a SHM wife and 4 children. If his income cannot support them in a reasonable fashion, HE needs to switch careers, his wife needs to bring in some income or possibly look for state/federal aid. He needs to set a budget with his wife and stick to it. A financial consultant can help them with this. You and your DH cannot continue financing them. Your son needs to realize the stress this is also putting on YOU!

Talk to your DH, make him aware of all that is going on, and meet with your son and DIL. Lay the cards on the table. Your DS may not be happy about the conversation but you need to do it. Do not feel guilty about doing this, you are helping yourself and your adult child.

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sushipup1

(Watch out --- I've seen "Hedim" drop some bot-ish posts that also contained a spammy dating app.)

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dedtired

Thanks, Sushi. Weird post on a thread that’s over four years old.

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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

My first thought, dedtired.


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raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

Now I am wondering if the OP ever came to any resolution, or at least for herself came to terms with the situation.

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sushipup1

Sounds like a bot from someone who is not a native-english speaker.

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Kerem Labero

I think it is necessary to be adjusted on the correct positive thinking. Exemption from bad thought, how to stop worrying. You can even find special courses or books on psychology. For example, I like alexander j wilson reviews. It is positive thinking training, positive thinking tricks. It very much helped me.

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sushipup1

Note that the word "relationship" seems to be a search item for spam about dating sites from foreign sources. Another keeps popping up in another forum about organizing in a thread about "relationships" to your things. Poof, spam. "Kerem" may also be bot-ish.

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