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Uninterested Grandmother

  • 28-09-2022 3:40pm
    Registered Users Posts: 29 MilkMusic

    I'll try to keep this short as I can! Male mid 30s married with 20 month old. My mother is mid 60s retired reasonably good health some back problems lives 30 mins away. Grandfathers are both dead. MIL is very unwell (has carer and is frequently in and out of hospital) My mother's lack of interest/care/concern in her grandchild has really annoyed me. I just wanted to hear what other people think of how she has acted and am I being unreasonable or 'entitled'.

    When my wife got pregnant and she told my mam she was going to be a 'granny' she visibly cringed at the word. Ok fine maybe that word makes you feel old I thought. 6 months later my wife has the baby. That morning in the hospital I ring my mam to tell her the news and ask her to ring my siblings to let them know as I've to rush back. She says she would prefer to not tell my brother as his wife and he are having fertility issues and she fears the birth will upset him. I was too elated to even think about how bizarre that was. A few days later she told me not to send any photos of my daughter to the family whatsapp for fear it would 'upset' my brother.

    A few weeks later (after a couple of extremely short visits from my mam) I ask if she would mind watching my daughter for an hour so my wife can attend an appointment. She VERY reluctantly does.

    3 months later, my wife has foot surgery (can't walk for weeks). My mother reluctantly drives her home from hospital while I stay with our daughter. I ask my mam if she could give us a small bit of help the next few days. Bear in mind my mother is retired and has a brand new car to drive out here. My mam says no she has to get her garden done in her other house down the country. I swear (to myself) I will never ask for her help again and I don't.

    Over the next year my mam visits about 3 times very briefly only on request. In the meantime I see all my friends and neighbours with doting grandparents visiting frequently and helping in any way they can. I figure maybe we need to make more of an effort and we start visiting my mam. I send her photos videos of her grandaughter every other day. I invite her out numerous times. Her visits don't increase.

    My daughter gets Covid. I told my Mam. My mother didn't ask how she was for 2 weeks after.

    She then forgot my daughter's birthday. When I reminded her 2 weeks later she said "sure that was ages ago".

    I got annoyed and basically asked her why she was so uninterested and told her I thought the way she was acting was not normal. I told her about my friend's parents and how doting and helpful they were. She told me she 'didn't give a **** what other grandparents too'. She said she was too tired to drive out to us and we'd have to come to her. (She drives to Galway from Dublin to visit her siblings no problem). Drives to meet up with her friends for lunches etc.

    A period of 6 months went by where she didn't come to see her grandaughter. The other week she didn't come to my daughter's Christening as she said she was too 'immobile'. She had her appendix taken out a few weeks before. I was the only sibling who helped her in a practical way when she got out (shopping, cleaning her house, collecting prescriptions). My MIL can't walk without a walker, is in constant pain, is 10 years older than my mam, still travelled 4 hours to the Christening. When I pointed this out to my mam she said it was very 'hurtful' for me to say that.

    At this point, I am almost thinking of not inviting my mam to anything again. Everything seems to be hassle to her and she seems to just want to be left alone. She had a very unhappy marriage with my father. She recently said my daughter looks like my dad's sister (who my mam strongly dislikes).

    I knew my mother was never going to be a 'hands on' granny but I thought she could do a little better than this. Btw my brother has never visited his niece and text me to say it would be too hard to be around her.




  • Registered Users Posts: 5,519 ✭✭✭Jequ0n

    “I knew my mother was never going to be a 'hands on' granny but I thought she could do a little better than this.”

    I really don’t get why you thought she was going to change dramatically once she became a grandmother.

    Sounds like you have tried to push her into the grandparent role against her wishes even though she has made it abundantly clear from the start that she did not want to fulfil that role.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,224 ✭✭✭Princess Calla

    Have you posted about this before?

    It sounds very familiar.

    As hard as it might be leave her be. You can't force someone to take an interest.

    There's alot of grandparents who take the view I've reared my children and I'm done.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,218 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    Hmmm. Honestly, this sounds a bit like a you problem.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 29 MilkMusic

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,034 ✭✭✭✭Sleepy

    How does your mother get on with your wife? Is it possible she doesn't like her and is transferring those feelings onto your daughter?

  • Registered Users Posts: 29 MilkMusic

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,588 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    What is your relationship like with your mother? What was it like before your daughter arrived?

    If you do stop trying she isn't the type to then turn it on you and accuse you of never involving her with her grandchild is she?

    It must be a very difficult situation and I can see why it would be upsetting. Hard as it may be to accept, your daughter is nearly 2 now, so it's been 2 years of her disinterest. I wouldn't be trying anymore if I was you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,080 ✭✭✭Furze99

    I'd agree with you - what the OP describes is not at all normal and must be very hurtful. Still it is what it is so my advice would be not to cut off communications but just don't expect any help or appreciation. Once OP and his wife accept that, be easier to get on at a distance. As others point out, things may well change in time as child or children get older. But wouldn't make any special effort to go to mother or brother. Let them realise in their own good time that they've misjudged.

  • Registered Users Posts: 29 MilkMusic

    Relationship was fine. Mainly me making the effort. I used to ring everyday and call in every few days.

  • Registered Users Posts: 112 ✭✭topdecko

    Alot going on there. Behavior from your mother the opposite of expected. Your brother needs to grow up and develop a thicker skin - ignoring his nieces existence because of his infertility woes is a bit of a stretch. Having to avoid sharing pictures at such a joyful moment is not normal.

    Sounds like you have tried multiple times to build bridges, facilitate some semblance of a grandmotherly presence in your daughters life but looks like you are not going to achieve much in that regard. Shouldn't be this much work. I would get on with raising your family and devote your energies there. Let them come to you rather than putting in all this effort for nowt.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 29 MilkMusic

    That's fair enough. I understand what you're saying.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Your brother sounds like an absolute dose. He should be happy for you and wanting to meet his niece. It’s not like you’re going to hold her up and say haha I can have babies and you can’t. Maybe it’s for the best he can’t if he’s such a child himself. Jealous and spiteful.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 23,858 Mod ✭✭✭✭CramCycle

    Leave her to herself and don't waste the energy. This is a non discussion. She doesn't care don't waste your time being upset.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,988 ✭✭✭ratracer

    I don’t normally respond or any PI threads, but this one kinda resonated with me for some reason.

    OP, do you know if your mum is on any meds, particularly anti-depressants?? ( Don’t answer that here, just consider it).

    I’ve seen my MIL completely change her ways and be distant and uninterested in anything, after being put on anti-depressants. We, and other family members, spotted it and got her to seek a second opinion from a different GP, who advised coming off the prescribed meds. The difference in a short while was unbelievable. Sometimes too many or just the wrong type of meds are prescribed. This may or may not be useful to you, and is not medical advice, just something to consider.

    As for your brother and his wife, I get they may feel hard done by, and life can deal difficult hands at times, but they need to grow up and get on with it. I know plenty of people whom have had successful and unsuccessful IVF efforts, but none of them are resentful of others children.

    Good luck with it, enjoy every moment with your own family, hopefully you and your mum sort out any issues while she has time to enjoy her grand daughter.

  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭treascon

    It’s clearly your family that have an issue, not you op. I can relate to this as have a father who has no interest in mine or my kids lives. It hurts but you eventually learn to accept it & move on otherwise it will continue to eat away at you. It’s her loss at the end of the day. Enjoy the family you have now & good luck

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,857 ✭✭✭Pissy Missy

    Maybe the mother has more insight into your brothers and wife's fertility problems than you realise, the fact he messaged you about it aswell makes it sound more serious, obviously I think people especially family should be happy for one another but maybe they've literally gone through like 5 failed attempts and it's hit them extremely hard 🤷‍♀️

    I think the fact your mum visited at all shows interest and effort, even if it wasn't for the longest length of time

    I know it's disappointing on your end but some people are burnt out after going through their own process of raising kids and just are done with it, but she still helped ye out.

    The garden thing, well tbf she could have done that another time to help ye out. Perhaps she's being boundaried and doesn't want to get into a situation where she'll be expected to babysit in future. Regardless of your mum being retired and having a new car, she is allowed to use that time as she wants to.

    It's obviously hard to see your neighbours and friends grandparents doting and helping out where they can but it's not always like that. Like other posters have said, maybe there is no point pushing your grandchild and your expectations on her, and better to lower your expectations.

    Your mum could definitely go out of her way to be more caring with your daughter regarding covid and her birthday, can't imagine that didn't hurt

    Idk, with the christening, she's in her 60s and had her appendix out, I might let that slide whilst appreciating the amazing effort of the MIL. You were very good to help your mum out like that.

    I think it's sad your mum isn't more involved in your child's life, even if they remind her of your aunt, though gives room for possibly understanding why she partially might be acting the way she is, still disappointing all the same. I don't think you're being entitled, though I think you need to adjust your expectation of your mum. Before not inviting her to future events, I think you need to think about it a little deeper. Was your mum always like this? Perhaps not one for offering to be overly helpful or not super mad about kids? Maybe you could invite her to things whilst not expecting her to show up or not expecting too much? Definitely up to you but if it's bringing you a lot of hurt and distress, understandably so, then there might be no harm in keeping your distance a bit more

    Also to bear in mind, elderly people are at an increased risk of cognitive decline, dementia and depression so don't know if any of those might be a factor.

    Best of luck OP

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