grandmother issues

Mandy - posted on 02/21/2011 ( 8 moms have responded )




My daughter who turned 2 in December of last year has always seemed to me like she favors her grandmother [my mother] over me. My mother has been around ever since my daughter was born and has always helped out a great deal with her which i've always appreciated, but sometimes I feel left out and feel like my own daughter doesn't even want me. I try so hard, spend as much time with her as I can, and am always doing everything I possibly can for her, but I just feel like it's never enough. Her grandmother and her uncle are ALWAYS taking her places and doing things with her which my husband and I do as often as we can too, but I still feel like my daughter would rather be with her grandmother than with me. I'm currently a stay-at-home mom but my husband works and I don't drive [so therefore can only really take her places when he can drive us], but my mother currently doesn't work and my brother only works a few hours a week so of course they have more time available to always be taking my daughter places. We all live together now because we recently moved from Pennsylvania to Florida and so far don't really have the money to move out on our own. My daughter is constantly asking for "gabba" [thats what she calls my mom]. Yes, she does also say "mama" and sometimes want me and come to me, but I just feel like its more often my mom that she wants. When my husband and I take her places and do things with her she never really asks for "gabba", but as soon as we come back home it's usually right back to the same. I've tried mentioning this to my mom before but she took it all entirely the wrong way and made it seem like I was telling her to stay away from my daughter [which of course i would NEVER do that] and of course I just let the issue go because I never wanted to bring it up again after that. at least 70% of the time when my daughter gets hurt or is upset or anything like that she will want her grandmother to hold her. I honestly don't feel that I've ever really done anything wrong as a mother and i've always done everything I could for my daughter. I don't know if this is something that will pass or if it's just going to get worse. Honestly a lot of the times when my mom and brother take my daughter places [when I am actually invited] I don't feel like going because I know I will just feel hurt because my daughter probably won't pay attention to me. I know kids do often want to spend time with their grandparents because they spoil them and won't discipline them for anything [of course they would want to spend more time around someone who won't ever yell at them no matter what they do].When my mother isn't around my daughter will want me [aside from maybe occasionally asking for her], but as soon as she walks in the door i just feel like i'm forgotten. Apparently when my daughter is with her grandmother and uncle she does mention me and ask about me, but I seriously doubt it's as often as she asks for her grandmother. I know the fact that we all live together doesnt exactly help, but right now there's not a whole lot I can do about that. I don't know if there is anyone else out there who has gone through something similar to this, I doubt it, but it would be nice if there was. I've always felt like I'm a great mother and I give my daughter everthing I possibly can, but I just feel like I cant ever mention this without it causing problems. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, I just want someone to understand how this feels for me. This is my mother's first grandchild and I understand that, but I also don't think I should feel like i'm always pushed out of the picture. If you're going to judge me and say that i'm awful and that I must not be a good mother or anything like that, please don't comment, I really don't need negativity. Thanks to those of you who can give me some advice.


Samantha - posted on 02/21/2011




I understand you!!

Due to school and money issues, my husband and I decided to move in with my parents for a while about 3 weeks before my son was due to be born. (It had to do with graduation timing and not being eligible to stay in student housing anymore, etc...) so I could be a stay-at-home mom for a while and not have to worry too much about money. On one hand, it was great having my parents around all the time. Our son is their first grandchild and they are in LOVE with him. They're always there to spoil him or watch him when needed or offer advice when I'm not sure what to do. On the other hand though, it drove me crazy living together. I often felt feelings similar to yours. I felt like my mom was always watching what I was doing and didn't always agree with "my way" of doing things, and I was sometimes afraid of my baby becoming too attached to her, like you described. Sometimes I felt like my mom was trying to "be the mom" instead of me. One time I even heard her accidentally refer to herself as "mommy" when she was talking to him. I'm sure it was an accident, and she corrected herself, but it still made me feel bad or annoyed in some way. It feels awful to actually write that because it seems very trivial when I'm telling other people, but as I read your post I didn't feel judgmental of you at all. I totally get it. And, also like you, when I did (rarely) talk to my mom about how I felt about some of those things, I just ended up coming away from it feeling guilty and not heard. I avoided having those conversations too so instead I just held it inside.

We finally moved out when our son was 18 months old because I got a job offer. It's in another state, so I still feel a little guilty for taking our son away from my parents, but otherwise it has been great for us. (That was just 2 months ago.) We are on a tight budget but we are happy. My mom has come to visit once already and it was nice for her to be able to visit and spend time with our son (in our place) and spoil him a little, and then go home.

Living with family isn't always a bad thing, but I believe that it is better to be on your own as soon as possible, even if it's tough financially at first. Two women living in the same household can sometimes clash, even if they are mother and daughter. (As a disclaimer: my mom is a wonderful mom. She always has been, and I love her a lot. These feelings just can happen to anyone because of the situation.) So I guess my advice for you is to set goals to get into your own place (even if a small one is all you can afford!) in some period of time. For the meantime, try to see things from your mom's point of view as much as possible and realize that she's not trying to make you feel that way on purpose, and when that's hard, try to just let things roll off your back. Holding in hard feelings never helped me. As for your daughter, don't worry too much. You won't be living with your mom forever, and your daughter will go through lots of phases in life. It's not a permanent thing. But it's good that she has a good relationship with her grandmother, and I'm glad that my son has a good relationship with my mother. I know it's hard but try as much as you can to find ways to enjoy things the way they are now before life moves on!

You're not alone! :)


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Celeste - posted on 02/23/2011




There are times where I have to take my son to my mom's house. This is because my son may be sick with the flu or cold and I just can not seem to make it better for him. Its hard especially when I am sick and stressed right along with him. I do not know what I would do with out my mom there. She has taken him for a few days so I can rest or do something fun like get my hair done. I would rather my son want my mom over anyone else. I have never put him in daycare and doubt i ever will. I know my son loves me especially when I come to pick him up from his time at grandma's house. He comes running up to me going mom, mom, mom and gives me a big hug and kiss.

Jeanette - posted on 02/22/2011




Mandy, I am a grandmother of 3 beautiful little girls, 2 of which are my daughters. They too spend a lot of time with me and my daughter gets upset. Please don't take it as your daughter wants your mother more than you. I know she cherishes every moment she spends with you. I know my granddaughters do with their mother. Try not to be so sensitive to the way your daughter and mother have connected. Grandchildren are the light in their grandparents eyes. Next time you are invited to go with your mother and brother and daughter, don't hesitate, go with them. Just be thankful that your mother is able to spend time with your daughter. Not all children have grandparents still living. My oldest granddaughter used to call me mama. But she calledmy daughter mommy. My daughter didn't understand that my granddaughter was trying to pronounce grandma and couldn't get the whole word out yet. She definitely knows the difference between her mother and grandmother. Enjoy your daughter, she loves you.

Bonnie - posted on 02/21/2011




Grandmothers always seem to have a special connection with their grandchildren, i've noticed that. Grandmothers have the time to just be silly with them and spoil them and then give them right back to you. It is not the same connection they have with mommy and daddy though. Try not to stress about it.

Medic - posted on 02/21/2011




Chill out!!! That is how it always is, especially when you live with grandma. We have lived with my parents twice in my sons life once for about 8 months then again for a year and change. He always chose to go to my parents but as he got older and I had to lay the law down with my parents about my rules are my rules he still chose to go to them but their answers were the same as mine. I know I am mommy and I know my son loves me but hey who the hell am I next to grandpa. It's exactly how I was as a kid and my dad tries to tell him to come to mommy or daddy some of the time but our now one year old daughter is following in big brothers foot steps. Oh well, we live farther away now but everytime my son calls his papaw his papaw comes and gets him. Grandparents are not around forever, don't you want her to have amazing memories and time that alot of kids don't get.

Katrina - posted on 02/21/2011




What you are feeling is prefectly normal! I have same sort of thing as you in a way but I guess I'm more relaxed about it as I know my baby girl loves me and needs me but gets different things from her nana and gran who she also both loves. I get nan nan nan a lot at home especially when she has just been with nan for a time. I think that if you can ( wont be easy) take a step back and realise how lucky you and your daughter are to have a great close family who she is forming so many close bonds with which will help her become and amazingly loving person who has lots of family who love her and she has strong relationships with. Try and get one on one time with just you and your daughter and keep reinforcing your love for her and her for you through the little things such as special mum and bub bed time story or little activities that only her and you do. You do need to talk to your family and let them know that you are feeling this way but let them know how much you value what they do to help you. I hope you get this resolved soon as it would be a shame for it to affect your relationships with your family because of negative feelings. Good luck and I am thinking of you!!!!!

Laura - posted on 02/21/2011




First of all, Mandy, relax! Your feelings have been shared by many mothers; these are not uncommon in close living situations. Besides, sharing your "feelings" actually has nothing to do with your parenting skills/abilities! You are completely, 100% entitled to "feel" whatever your emotions are about your living situation without worrying about being judged about your parenting skills--it's not related to what you posted. I'll repeat that: You are posting about your feelings, not your parenting skills. It sounds like you are doing a good job parenting, by the way, so try not to worry about that as well.

You recognize that your feelings/emotions are causing you some problems which means that you can also make changes regarding them. Only you can control lyour behavior and reactions which in turn can change how you feel about situations. Your best tool to use in dealing with your emotions and your mom is going to be communication! You really do need to talk to your mom about your emotions and how your living situation is making you feel. Express yourself using "I" statements such as "I feel (sad, lonely, upset, etc)..." Share with your mom and encourage your mom to share with you! Opening the dialogue with how you are feeling about your situation can lead to dialogue that can help solve some of your concerns. If you continue to bottle everything up resentment can build that will eventually come out in unpleasant ways. Communication can help eliminate that.

Finally, you express concern about your daughter forming a stronger attachment to your mom than you. Understand that children do not have long-term memories before the age of 3 (give or take)! All of the time spent with grandma and uncle will NOT be remembered at her current age. Even time spent with parents won't be remembered when kids are that little. Another observation is that small children do not have the ability to "remember" people that they cannot immediately see. This is a developmental stage all children pass through. When your daughter is with you, she doesn't really "know" that grandma is somewhere else--to her grandma no longer exists! Same goes for you, mom, when she is with grandma. To little kids, if they can't see it, it doesn't exist! This is why the reaction of excitement when little kids "see" someone they know; that person suddenly exists to them. So for the time being, try not to worry too much about time with grandma--your daughter isn't currently forming any long-term memories of her experiences.

I know this is a tough situation for your family, so I want to leave you with a different perspective on your situation: You have the proverbial "village" helping you raise your daughter in a loving, safe environment! She is being cared for, loved, and perhaps spoiled a bit, all in a secure home! That is something that many children don't have, unfortunately. So while the going may be tough, try to see the blessings that you have right now because they won't always be there. Hope this helps and best wishes to you!

Mandy - posted on 02/21/2011




Thank you! it really makes me feel better to know that someone else can understand this situation. I always feel so guilty for feeling this way and I feel like I'm being looked at as an awful mother for even saying any of this. I know it's a difficult situation for a lot of people to even try to understand, and I appreciate you not judging me for it and for giving me your advice. We definitely want to move out as soon as we possibly can, the cost of living down here is a bit expensive though so unfortunately I know it's going to take awhile before anything really changes. I really also dont think my mom understands why I want to be a stay-at-home mom right now but of course I can't tell her that if I actually went to work everyday that would be even less often I could be with my daughter and then she would always want her even more! or at least that's how I feel anyway.

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