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So Proud To Be A Granny, But Life Is Now A Nightmare!

Updated on February 2, 2011

A Miracle Has Happened, Or Has It?

7th December 2010, 2.42am, he is here. At last this long awaited event has arrived, I am a grandmother. Craig, my son is just off the phone, "HI Ma, your a granny, it's a boy, 5lb 11oz and both Callum and Rebecca are fine" Not able to sleep for the anticipation of it all, I decide to make another cup of tea. At least the tenth one this evening since I learnt Rebecca had gone into labour.

My longing is to be with my son, to share his joy and excitement. To savour the moment he first catches a glimpse of his son, but it is not to be. I am the paternal grandmother and therefore must await my turn like the rest of the family, but it hurts, I want to be involved. I want to belong, and I want to meet my grandson.

Let me explain. My mother committed suicide when I was 14 years old, as my paternal father still does not know of my existence, the word family conjures up all types of emotion in me. Up until the 7th December 2010 my family consisted of my son. No mother, father, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunties or uncles, just my son and I.

No one understands how I feel, lonely?, yes sometimes, unwanted?, always. Failure is my middle name, with two divorces behind me the only great success I have had in my life is my son. I don't want to make mistakes where he is concerned. But this terrible feeling of bewilderment and sorrow is overwhelming. I love my son and I treat my daughter-in-law as if she was my own. I have looked forward so much to being a granny that now everything feels so final. Craig is a daddy, more responsibility, more commitment and less time to listen to his mum.

No I am not jealous, envious of his relationship maybe, but most of all terrified I will lose him. I want to shout from the rooftops that I now have a family, I have responsibility too. The responsibility of not interfering, not being clingy, not being judgemental but most of all not to make enemies. I have to keep my daughter-in-law happy and prove that I don't have mother and son syndrome.

This is going to be the biggest challenge of my life. In the past few weeks I have wept tears of happiness and sorrow. I have felt elated and disappointed to the extent of depression. I want to shout at Craig "I am still here". but when I do, I always put my foot in it so to speak. My son does not know if he is on his head or his elbow. Instead he is caught in a crossfire of loyalty and nothing makes sense to him. He wants his mum involved with his son, he wants me to spend time bonding as a family, but instead he is caught in the midst of a battlefield of emotions.

Rebecca wants her mummy, she wants her family understandably, but I am being pushed into the background and don't want my grandson to meet me in the street hiding behind his mums legs, shy and not knowing who I am. What can I do? I find myself in such a position, I wont desert my son, but I don't want him to be torn between his family and me. I don't want to be the cause of bad feeling and arguments. So I guess I have to be patient. It is hard to be a first time mother and I hope that one day my daughter-in-law will realise that I am not the enemy, but just another person to help her, friends just like we used to be.

Can This Get Any Worse.

Here is a little update. I wish I could say that all my fears are behind me now and that I see Callum regulary, but they aren't and I don't.  Poor Craig has past the limit of being tolerant and has now decided to choose his family.  Am I being selfish in wanting to call each day to give my grandson a kiss? I have been allowed to have Callum overnight twice since he was born. Just long enough for me to dream that things will be on the up.  But, for days afterwards I am not allowed to call, or touch my grandson.  I offer my help, not just to baby sit but with decorating and they are moving house, but every time I offer I am told "No thanks it's ok." I am trying so hard not to feel all these emotions, but I miss my son and so much want to be involved in Callum's life.

Rebecca's family see him every day, and as often as Craig and Rebecca want time alone, Callum is sent to his other granny. I am at my whits end. Nothing I do, or clothes and gifts I buy, including Callums first cot seems to be rite. 

I am afraid to say that for my own sanity, I am just going to walk away. Desperate times need desperate measures, and I am afraid will never be understood.


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    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 3 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi LilysMum,

      Thank you for sharing this information with me. I will make a point of checking it out. I am happy to say that my relationship with my family continues to grow strongly, and I have learned that my grandchildren are a precious part of my life for such a short time. I want to be the person that they can trust and also allow them to grow and find their own feet in life without offending my daughter in law, whom I love like my own. I have recently returned to work, got a vehicle on the road, and am enjoying my life to the fullest.

      Sending you much love for sharing your thoughts,


    • profile image

      LilysMum 3 years ago

      Hi BlueStar,

      I'm so glad to hear that things have improved. I have been following your thread with great interest,as I am a DIL myself and find hearing what the other side has to say very educational.

      There's is a wonderful site that I wanted to recommend to you: AskGreatGranny. She's a very intelligent woman who has helped solve plenty of problems for MILs in your (previous) position. Her main advice,or so I've noticed,is for the MIL to get some sort of life that is ONLY for herself. Away from family,friends,work etc. She usually recommends a hobby circle,or a book club,or an evening class. Find your passion in life (knitting, drawing, fishing, party planning, learning another language, volunteer work, carpentry, pets, etc) and use it to make you happy. Hell it could be pole dancing for all anyone cares! As long as it gives your life purpose & structure. Once they see that you're not just waiting around,silently begging to babysit and be involved in THEIR lives,because you have an extremely fun and satisfying life of your own,they will come to you. I promise you.

      I wish you health & happiness! :)

    • profile image

      To Bluestar 4 years ago

      That's wonderful to hear. Thank you for taking my comment with such grace (not everyone listens contemplatively to the other side). And congratulations to your son and DIL on #2!!! :)

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 4 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Thank you so much for your comment, I truly appreciate your point of view. I am extremely happy with my life at the moment, and my daughter in law gave birth to my second grandson in April 2013. Since then, I have enjoyed the time that I am able to spend with my son and his family and so see my grandchildren on a fairly regular basis. We are a very close family unit now, but it has taken patience and love on all our parts to make this so.

    • profile image

      To BlueStar 4 years ago

      That test comment was from me...I just wanted to make sure I could comment without a Hubpages account.

      I just wanted to say that I'm glad things are better for you. But I also think that sometimes we forget that people can be very different from us and very different ideas about family, bonding, closeness, and independence. The fact that you don't want to be needy or clingy shows you are a good mother who doesn't want to overstep. Keep in mind that "overstepping" and "close" and "involved" mean different things to different people. I love my family VERY much...and just as important, I LIKE almost all of them VERY much. But I would never be happy if they wanted to see me every day. I think we are very close, but I enjoy my time as a nuclear family. I love my husband and my children more than anyone...even my own parents (as it should be) and my priority is time together just us.

      I would be very unhappy if I had to take time away from "just us" even monthly to spend with my extended family (and yes, anyone who is not living in that house is considered "extended"). It doesn't mean I don't love them or enjoy them. It simply means that I have a different definition of "close" and place a different emphasis on "family."

      Ultimately, we all get ONE life and we have to make the best of it for OURSELVES. We are all responsible for our OWN happiness. We are not responsible for ANYONE ELSE's happiness. That is a terrible burden to make someone bear and I would never forgive myself if I thought that one day my children thought I wanted or needed them to set aside their own happiness or ideas about family and independence to satisfy my emotional needs.

      Sorry for the long post---I just want other grandmothers out their to know that maybe it's nothing personal, just different ideas about parenting and grandparenting. And ultimately, it's the parents' call to make; they get to decide how to define family and the role extended family will play in their and their childrens' lives. Again, I love my family very much, but I am VERY happy with the situation as it stands now (call every couple of weeks, see each other a few times per year). It has nothing to do with them and everything to do with the fact that my husband, my children, and I are all happier spending time at home alone together than we would be traveling or having family visit us. Some people are just more independent and private than others...we all have to learn to respect other people's boundaries, even when we wish they were different.

    • profile image

      To BlueStar 4 years ago

      Test comment.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Louisa, thank you for taking the time to comment on my story. Things have got much better over time and my grandson is almost 2 1/2 now. My daughter in law and I get on so much better and I truly do love her for the person that she is. I appreciate every moment I am spending with my grandson and a second grandchild is almost here, which I am looking forward to. I do spoil my daughter in law as best I can and she knows that I am always here for her. I will NEVER turn my back on her, not matter what life throws at us. Times do change and really I should write a follow up to this hub just to let other grandmothers in my position that it can work out.

    • profile image

      Louisa 5 years ago

      It sounds like your daughter in law isn't comfortable with your type of help. She either thinks you are trying to take over her role or that your help is more about your then it is her and the baby. Do you do nice things just for your daughter in law? Daughter in laws are the gatrekeeper to the children, treating her very very well will go a long way. The old saying "kill'em with kindess" will really help here. After havihn a baby (you remember, dont you?) it is exhausting and some women do not want others to see them at their weakest, esp their mother in laws, it is ok, your time will come, but your time to bond and get to know your grandson is not now. Right now, it is their time and your best support is just being patient and respecting their rules, even if you think they are unfair. Your daughter in law is now the primary women in her primary family, much like you are in your family. Let her learn her new role and just be nice until it is your time.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Wow, your venom is astonishing. "Someone else's child" happens to be my blood, and "fix yourself" well what do you suggest? Thank you for an interesting insight into human nature. Oh what a bitter tone, I think I know who you are well enough. No more to be said.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Thank you so much for your candid comment. It is very difficult trying to please everyone at the same time. I love my daughter in law and I fully understand where she is coming from. The only thing I ask is what I am entitled too, the ability to be in my grandchild's life. Hang in there as I am doing and hopefully things may change for you. Good luck.

    • profile image

      Cynthia 5 years ago

      You are empty inside and draining the love out of someone else's child. Fix yourself and you may find that you get everything you need and want. You are forcing this. Act like a normal person and your daughter-in-law will treat you like one.

    • profile image

      Diana 5 years ago

      I have 3 Sons and 3 Grandsons. My Sons and I have always been close, or so I thought...............My DIL `s always choose to do things with their families and never think about inviting us.They post pictures on social networking sites of their babies with their families all the time. We find out what is happening in their lives through these pages. They go shopping with their Mums and do everything with their sisters /mums.

      Our Sons all live within walking distance from us but we never ever call in to see them as we don't want to be seen as interfering.Their own mums are there all the time.We have never interfered and have never ever been to their homes for tea or any meals. They invite their friends and families all the time. Whenever they need anything financial whose door is it they come knocking on? Yes ours!!!! It hurts desperately.We would love to spend time with our Grandsons and have tried to talk to our Sons but they always say they cannot do anything about it and we have to just put up with it all.......................we are heartbroken that we are treated so badly.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 6 years ago from California

      thebluestar, As mother to three sons and mother-in-law to an almost perfect daughter-in-law I still get left out. My daughter-in-law would be devastated to think I feel this way, but it happens. When you become a grandma so many emotions happen. Our little guy is 5 months old. I am having emotions that I haven't dealt with in years. I always feel like I am doing or saying the wrong thing. I am frequently asking my daughter-in-law to forgive me for overstepping. That seems to help.

      If I feel this way with a wonderful daughter-in-law I can't imagine how awful you feel.

      My son emails me pictures of my grandson when he sends them to his in-laws.

      I live about 6 miles from them and give them lots of space. But they know I am available. Study your daughter-in-law. What makes her feel loved. There is a book called the "Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. It has made a world of difference to how I treat people.

    • profile image

      lillian 6 years ago

      Wow! I too am having issues with being given the opportunity to bond with my first grandchild. I have wept, gotten mad, and angry. My daughter-in-law is a spoiled whose mother is also a spoiled brat. Much of the problem is with her very jealous mother who doesn't want me to be part of my granddaughter's life. As hard as it is, hang in there. Send cards and save money in a separate account for your grandchild. (I gave money to cover hospital expenses but my daughter-in-law and her mother spent half of it on themselves.) My son is a good father, husband, and son. I'm worried he'll turn out like his father-in-law, afraid to speak and estranged from his own mother and family. You are not alone!

    • DuchessDuCaffeine profile image

      DuchessDuCaffeine 7 years ago from United States of America

      This is only temporary. I promise you. Your son, your daughter-in-law and you have entered The Land of Transition. After a child is born, and especially when it's the first for all concerned, life is tipped upside down. You have already learned 'baby management' and you learned it the way all new Moms learn -- through trial, error and experience. For the new Mom and Dad, daily life is definitely different from their pre-baby days and, I'll be willing to bet money, not everything they'd imagined it would be post-baby.

      As new parents, they grapple with this new upside down way of life; a life that changes daily. While the new Mom is in the process of learning how all this works, she must also recover physically from childbirth on a sleep-deprived schedule. So, there's two more things to add to the plate.

      Their place in the world has changed and the world's expectations of them have changed, also. Before, they were two adults making their way through life. Now they are two adults responsible for the life of a child and responsible for raising that child to adulthood...and the world is watching.

      While the new parents are only beginning their parental education, they both had parents who loved them enough to show them the ways of the world. When they found out they would be parents, themselves, they had their parents, family members and friends to advise them of what lay ahead. Even so, until you've walked across a bed of hot coals with a crying baby in your arms, no one can effectively describe it or fully prepare you.

      But what of you, yourself? Who prepared you for all the emotions and changes to come? Who counseled you on what to expect and how to manage? It is usually our parents and various family members who teach us these things. They teach us gradually, in bits and pieces, when we are young and continue until we have our own families. Then, when it is time to be a Grandmother, there is information gleaned from the past on that subject, too.

      You had no such tutelage regarding your entrance to motherhood and now you are walking unfamiliar territory once again, with no family to show you the way. You do have, however, something that others in your position might not. You have a very generous and loving heart. Whereas your son and daughter-in-law may not be able to communicate effectively since the world around them changed, you are very able.

      You are doing the right thing. Stay busy, stay open, communicate in little dots and dashes. What is the first thing we do when our horses won't come? There we are, standing in the field with an empty head collar and lead rope; they have 4 legs, we only have two.

      Back up. Walk away. (or grab a handful of grass, turn your back and pretend you're eating chocolate and fat chance they'll get any!)Pretty soon, what do you hear? Four hooves sneaking up to see what you've got :)

      You are a wise and wonderful Mom and you are in their corner for them. They will come to know it and love you even more for it, as soon as they come back to Earth and realize that the world may have changed but the planet is still the same. By the way, I love your Appy. You guys look beautiful together!

    • profile image

      anon 7 years ago

      This writing has helped me enormously, I have empathy with you bluestar and it is heartbreaking to feel on the outside. My situation is a tad more difficult as the couple are living in my house. I love my grandson and try to keep in the background but it is so very hard.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Dear Jenny, I am so sorry to read about your mother-in-law, who sounds like such a selfish lady. If I lived closer to you I would adopt your son as my grandson. I love my daughter in law to pieces and there is nothing I would not do for her. Like my son, who I am not the typical mum and always taking his side, I love my family dearly. My little grandson Callum has changed my life and enriched it so much that I can't ever think of living without him. I hope you mum in law comes to her senses soon and realises what she has got. Big hug and kisses your way. x

    • profile image

      Jenny 7 years ago

      I wish i had a mother in law like you. I have a 4 year old son and no matter how much i try to bond him with his paternal grandmother she still doesn't feel like bonding to him. I work full time and my mother took responsibility of keeping the child with her. I had requested my mother in law to come and stay with us and take care of the child, but all in vain. It pains to see that she is just not interested in my son even though she has got a very good bonding with her own son (my husband). I wished God had given me a mother-in-law like you. My son would have been so happy.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi Mrs JB thank you once again for your kind comments. It is lovely to have an HP friend who talks sense. Much love.

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 7 years ago from Southern California

      Oh my goodness. What a painful time for you. Your daughter in law is being selfish and acting like a spoiled brat. Lord only knows what she has said to Craig to make him choose. Do not walk away though. Hang in there and keep your distance from Rebecca. Call Craig on a regular basis to ask how he is and how the baby is. Say nothing negative and let the waters calm down. Your son will start coming around and with Callum. Your grandson is a little person not a pawn. Your daughter in law has much growing up to do. For right now just stand in the wings and watch.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Thank you so much for your comment Pamela. I am afraid I have tried everything possible with no luck. Even cooked Rebecca's favourite Sunday lunch, they didn't even turn up.

      Love is so challenging at times.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 7 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      Very heart-tugging story you have shared. I don't have a daughter-in-law yet, but I do have many friends who have trod the path you are trodding. I think it's important to remember that the young wife feels emotional about protecting her rights and her turf. This is held up as her right in the Bible. (...and the twain shall be one...and other scriptures.) I can understand your feelings. Perhaps you could go to your son and daughter-in-law with a bouquet of simple flowers and ask, "Can we start over?" You can't win this kind of battle. It's true -- the old saying -- "If you can't beat them, join them."

      I look forward to reading your other hubs.

    • kcnp55 profile image

      kcnp55 7 years ago

      your writing has a lot of emotion. I love reading them! :)

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi guys, thank you so much for your encouragement. It is nice to be finally speaking with people on hub pages, I was beginning to wonder what on earth was wrong with me that I couldn't attract readers to my hubs. Fingers crossed now and I will certainly be following your hubs.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 7 years ago

      It is always different for a "mother-in-law"...I too have two sons...and as close as we were, once they do need to be in the background...there is a lot of hurt and mixed emotions...I also went through divorce...I now have two granddaughters and I could relate to your feelings. You are a good writer, and I will be following your work. Hope you will join me as well. LOL.

    • Rusty C. Adore profile image

      C Levrow 7 years ago from Michigan

      I am so sorry that your daughter-in-law is keeping you away. It really shouldn't be like that and I wish that I could offer some grand advice that would make it all better, but I wouldn't even know where to begin. I am sorry that you are experiencing this. I hope it gets better soon.


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