Author Topic: "But that is the only time I have!"  (Read 12054 times)

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Marbles

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Re: "But that is the only time I have!"
« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2014, 03:36:49 AM »
Yep. Don't let her blame you for her being busy the rest of the summer.
come ou
I'd sympathize, and leave an open statement about her changing her plans.
"Yes, MIL, it's a shame you're so busy. If you could have out [Week, week, or week] we'd have loved to see you."

aussie_chick

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Re: "But that is the only time I have!"
« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2014, 04:05:24 AM »
Write down exactly the times that she can come to visit. Tell her when those are. When she says that doesn't work for her say "That's a shame. It would have been nice to see you this summer. Have you planted your vegetable garden yet?" Just change the subject, because you're done talking about a visit. She can't come when you're available, so she can't come.

I like this.  Give her the weeks the kids will be available and let her go from there.  I would also let her know that you've had summer planned since March (or whenever dates were worked out) and that next year you would be happy to add her to the calendar as long as she lets you know by February.

My mom would tell you that she has a right to ask and you have a right to say no.  Give her the free times and see what she does.  Unless she has booked non-refundable trips she may be able to rearrange.

Regarding the bolded, I would not do that. You already have a scheduling nightmare going on with the exes and I would not want to add to that.

Instead, though, what you could do is say that next year, as soon as the summer schedule is set, meaning after all the calendar wrangling with the exes is done, you can give her a list of available dates. That way she will have the opportunity to plan her own schedule around the grandkids instead of expecting the opposite.

I would certainly not let her know all the weeks or weekends you are free next summer. She may try and book in all of them! And i'd be concerned it might cause more drama when you try and explain to her after letting her know the free time, that you then take some options back.

I agree with others - make sympathetic noises this time - "yes it's a shame." "yes we are very busy" "yes we would have loved to spend time with you" "no there is no way we can reschedule with anyone else. we will see you another time".

But do not JADE under any circumstances. This is not a problem that you need to fix.

Redsoil

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Re: "But that is the only time I have!"
« Reply #32 on: May 16, 2014, 10:29:09 AM »
Sounds like she views the kids as her possessions, rather than people in their own right.
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Arila

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Re: !
« Reply #33 on: May 16, 2014, 12:45:08 PM »
Quote
She has actually tried to call dh's ex before to try to get her to give up some of her own time with the kids or to ask her to change her mind about certain vacation schedules so she could see the kids. MIL actually said to me that it "wasn't fair to her" that she could only see her grandkids when we have them.  I get that that must be a little frustrating, but I'm not the right person to complain to about that, since I only get to see my own children half the time!  I get that divorces affect more people than just the immediate family, I get it.  But those are still the facts and we all have to make our peace with it.

Dh very firmly asked MIL to never do that again.  It caused problems in an otherwise very amicable co-parenting situation that he and his ex have.  She understandably did not want phone calls from her ex MIL to discuss a custody situation that was already agreed on by the two parties who actually get a say in it.  This was years ago though, so at least it hasn't happened again that we know of.



Let's give your MIL the tiniest bit of credit for coming to you instead of expecting you all to pack up and travel to her.


Well....we still get pressure to send the kids up there for "a couple of weeks" every summer.  The amount of pressure has decreased over the years, but it started out as an absolute expectation.  1.  We don't have a couple of weeks to spare them.  2. Gee thanks for wanting to see us, not just the kids.  3.  It's a 2 day drive or at least 6 plane tickets to get them there (no way am I putting FIVE unaccompanied minors on a plane alone).  4.  We did all go to see them one summer, including the 4 day round trip of traveling by car.  It was rough.  Very rough.  And it wasn't enough.  She cried when we left and made the kids feel bad.  We had been there over a week. She told them she wished they could just move up and live with her.  Ugh.  It will be a long time before we do that again.  She didn't seem to appreciate that we spent our only family vacation that year driving to her.  There are so many stories I could tell from that trip but I digress.....And as my SIL reminded me: "that wasn't a vacation".  Yep.

Also, they come done here for several months in the winter so I really feel like she gets a lot of time with them then.

I was thinking along these lines, and after reading the above post, I have modified my suggestion a little:

Don't send all the kids. Maybe send only the oldest kid or two who can fly alone. her not-free weeks might be because some mid-week event that would otherwise make a visit to her feasible. Bill it as a time for them to get quality time with grandma. Maybe make it a "The summer when you're 13, you get to spend a week with grandma all to yourself!" Perhaps that satisfies grandma, and eases the monetary concern (actually, if grandma isn't coming to you, maybe she can be the one to pay for them to come to her?) and is do-able for you. My sister and I did this in our pre-teens with my aunt, and we didn't go at the same time, either. It was a big adventure. I guess a disappointing thing about doing that is it means giving up your already limited time with the kids. Maybe that makes it not so good.

Oh, also, I am assuming it's the older of your DH's kids who have the scheduling conflict, but the younger ones are both of yours, so home all the time? Maybe instead of seeing all the kids at the same time, she can spread out. Visit you guys with the little ones during her free weeks, then take the older ones on their own trips to see her on the alternate weeks?


Regarding MIL trying to make big summer scheduling plans in May when she knows you have a scheduling nightmare, I would turn this back on her and make it about *her* priorities. If seeing the kids was a priority for her, she would have asked for your availability FIRST and organized around that instead of the other way around. I would sadly say, "Don't leave us for last next time"

TootsNYC

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Re: "But that is the only time I have!"
« Reply #34 on: May 16, 2014, 01:15:41 PM »
If seeing the kids was a priority for her, she would have asked for your availability FIRST and organized around that instead of the other way around. I would sadly say, "Don't leave us for last next time"

Love this!

But that does mean you need to respond when she asks, etc.

Or say, "I wish you could plan your kid time first; they have so many demands on their time, they just can't be flexible."

(which points out another thing--the pronoun matters, and this last wording emphasizes that it's not -you and DH- that are determining things; it's the kids' schedule, and she can't really be mad at you)

camlan

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Re: !
« Reply #35 on: May 16, 2014, 01:25:25 PM »


Why do some grandparents seem to forget what kids' schedules are like? Even without the blended family situation, kids have sports and lessons and friends that they want to see. Not to mention projects that they need to complete for school.


Addressing just the issue of grandparents not remembering what kids' schedules are like--things have changed.

I'm approaching grandparent age myself. Back when I was a kid, I had one or possibly two after-school activities--Girl Scouts and piano lessons. That was the norm--there were more stay-at-home parents, so most kids went home after school and stayed there, or went next door and played with the neighbor kids. We didn't have to arrange play dates because there was always someone around to play with, usually lots of kids. And, quite frankly, there were almost no organized sports for girls.

Summers, again, more stay-at-home parents, so most kids stayed home and didn't have the variety of camps that many kids now attend routinely.

The children of my generation had more activities than we did, and the current generation has even more.

So many grandparents of today are thinking back to their own childhoods, and that of their children, and not realizing what's the new norm for today.

Add in custody issues and who has which child when, which was around but very rare back then, and the grandparent of today has no real clue.

None of this excuses the MIL in the OP. What's the saying around here? "When you make plans without us, you've made plans without us." If she really wants to see her grandkids, she first must make them the priority.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


TootsNYC

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Re: "But that is the only time I have!"
« Reply #36 on: May 16, 2014, 01:31:46 PM »
They also have spent the first years of a child's life with the kid not having much going on. Children's lives change, and grownups can be late to adapt.
   I had to make that speech to my MIL to point out that as the kids moved into middle school and especially high school, they were not going to have as much free time for anybody.

artk2002

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Re: "But that is the only time I have!"
« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2014, 02:13:35 PM »
Sounds like she views the kids as her possessions, rather than people in their own right.

Yes. She sounds very, very entitled. She needs to learn that her wants don't come ahead of the rest of the family. I'm in the "these are some free days -- take it or leave it" camp. Yes, she'll throw a fit. Entitled people who are denied their entitlement always do. But that is entirely her problem. She's the one with unreasonable expectations. If those expectations aren't met, she's the one who has to learn to deal with it.

My impression is that she'll take as much as she can get and then whine about not getting more. No matter how much she actually gets. She could visit with the kids for 3 months at summer and, dollars-to-donuts, she'd whine about one or more holidays.

If seeing the kids was a priority for her, she would have asked for your availability FIRST and organized around that instead of the other way around. I would sadly say, "Don't leave us for last next time"

Love this!

But that does mean you need to respond when she asks, etc.

Or say, "I wish you could plan your kid time first; they have so many demands on their time, they just can't be flexible."

(which points out another thing--the pronoun matters, and this last wording emphasizes that it's not -you and DH- that are determining things; it's the kids' schedule, and she can't really be mad at you)

I like it, too. The fact is, she's got a double-dose of entitlement. Not only does she feel she's entitled to see the grandkids but she also feels she's entitled to see them on her terms. Neither of these is true.

I will say, though, that I think the "... they just can't be flexible" will go unheard. I doubt that other people's schedules and restrictions and needs feature in her calculus at all. I'll take a bet that the response would be some variation of "... so? They'll just have to be flexible."
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

QueenfaninCA

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Re: !
« Reply #38 on: May 16, 2014, 03:05:45 PM »
Why do some grandparents seem to forget what kids' schedules are like? Even without the blended family situation, kids have sports and lessons and friends that they want to see. Not to mention projects that they need to complete for school.

I think it's more that some grandparents think that they are the most important person in their grandchild's life. Totally ignoring the fact that said grandchild typically has around two parents and three other grandparents.

miranova

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Re: "But that is the only time I have!"
« Reply #39 on: May 16, 2014, 03:24:45 PM »
Sounds like she views the kids as her possessions, rather than people in their own right.

Yes. She sounds very, very entitled. She needs to learn that her wants don't come ahead of the rest of the family. I'm in the "these are some free days -- take it or leave it" camp. Yes, she'll throw a fit. Entitled people who are denied their entitlement always do. But that is entirely her problem. She's the one with unreasonable expectations. If those expectations aren't met, she's the one who has to learn to deal with it.

My impression is that she'll take as much as she can get and then whine about not getting more. No matter how much she actually gets. She could visit with the kids for 3 months at summer and, dollars-to-donuts, she'd whine about one or more holidays.

If seeing the kids was a priority for her, she would have asked for your availability FIRST and organized around that instead of the other way around. I would sadly say, "Don't leave us for last next time"

Love this!

But that does mean you need to respond when she asks, etc.

Or say, "I wish you could plan your kid time first; they have so many demands on their time, they just can't be flexible."

(which points out another thing--the pronoun matters, and this last wording emphasizes that it's not -you and DH- that are determining things; it's the kids' schedule, and she can't really be mad at you)

I like it, too. The fact is, she's got a double-dose of entitlement. Not only does she feel she's entitled to see the grandkids but she also feels she's entitled to see them on her terms. Neither of these is true.

I will say, though, that I think the "... they just can't be flexible" will go unheard. I doubt that other people's schedules and restrictions and needs feature in her calculus at all. I'll take a bet that the response would be some variation of "... so? They'll just have to be flexible."

The bolded is exactly true.  Whatever we give her, it's not enough.  She wants us to go out so she can have an evening with the kids.  We very rarely go out when the kids are with us, because we get a ton of free time when they are not with us.  So we deliberately schedule it just for her, then it turns into "ok you can pick them up at noon!"(this is during the 3 months she lives here so she has a house here).  And we are like...um, no.  We were not planning on dropping them off to you and not seeing them again until noon the next day.  We were going to go to dinner. That's it.  And then she pouts and says something like "I thought you would at LEAST let me have them until noon?!" as if that's what a night out actually means.  She always sets us up to be the bad guy.  We try to do something nice, then end up always having to tell her no about something, because she tries to take it farther. 

When my stepsons mom was unavailable to take her sons to mother son night at school, I planned to take them so they wouldn't miss it.  She was mad because she thought SHE should be the one to take them.  To "Mother-Son" night.  So I guess their stepmother isn't a logical choice?   I take care of them half the time, I think if anyone deserves that honor (since their mom couldn't go) it's me.  It wasn't grandparent night!

TootsNYC

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Re: !
« Reply #40 on: May 16, 2014, 03:28:28 PM »
Why do some grandparents seem to forget what kids' schedules are like? Even without the blended family situation, kids have sports and lessons and friends that they want to see. Not to mention projects that they need to complete for school.

I think it's more that some grandparents think that they are the most important person in their grandchild's life. Totally ignoring the fact that said grandchild typically has around two parents and three other grandparents.

Well, I think it's that they are focused on the child's role in *their life*, not their role in the child's life. Their life is all they see.

miranova

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Re: !
« Reply #41 on: May 16, 2014, 03:36:32 PM »
Why do some grandparents seem to forget what kids' schedules are like? Even without the blended family situation, kids have sports and lessons and friends that they want to see. Not to mention projects that they need to complete for school.

I think it's more that some grandparents think that they are the most important person in their grandchild's life. Totally ignoring the fact that said grandchild typically has around two parents and three other grandparents.

Well, I think it's that they are focused on the child's role in *their life*, not their role in the child's life. Their life is all they see.

That is very insightful.

Millionaire Maria

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Re: "But that is the only time I have!"
« Reply #42 on: May 16, 2014, 04:17:50 PM »
Sounds like she views the kids as her possessions, rather than people in their own right.

Yes. She sounds very, very entitled. She needs to learn that her wants don't come ahead of the rest of the family. I'm in the "these are some free days -- take it or leave it" camp. Yes, she'll throw a fit. Entitled people who are denied their entitlement always do. But that is entirely her problem. She's the one with unreasonable expectations. If those expectations aren't met, she's the one who has to learn to deal with it.

My impression is that she'll take as much as she can get and then whine about not getting more. No matter how much she actually gets. She could visit with the kids for 3 months at summer and, dollars-to-donuts, she'd whine about one or more holidays.

If seeing the kids was a priority for her, she would have asked for your availability FIRST and organized around that instead of the other way around. I would sadly say, "Don't leave us for last next time"

Love this!

But that does mean you need to respond when she asks, etc.

Or say, "I wish you could plan your kid time first; they have so many demands on their time, they just can't be flexible."

(which points out another thing--the pronoun matters, and this last wording emphasizes that it's not -you and DH- that are determining things; it's the kids' schedule, and she can't really be mad at you)

I like it, too. The fact is, she's got a double-dose of entitlement. Not only does she feel she's entitled to see the grandkids but she also feels she's entitled to see them on her terms. Neither of these is true.

I will say, though, that I think the "... they just can't be flexible" will go unheard. I doubt that other people's schedules and restrictions and needs feature in her calculus at all. I'll take a bet that the response would be some variation of "... so? They'll just have to be flexible."

The bolded is exactly true.  Whatever we give her, it's not enough.  She wants us to go out so she can have an evening with the kids.  We very rarely go out when the kids are with us, because we get a ton of free time when they are not with us.  So we deliberately schedule it just for her, then it turns into "ok you can pick them up at noon!"(this is during the 3 months she lives here so she has a house here).  And we are like...um, no.  We were not planning on dropping them off to you and not seeing them again until noon the next day.  We were going to go to dinner. That's it.  And then she pouts and says something like "I thought you would at LEAST let me have them until noon?!" as if that's what a night out actually means.  She always sets us up to be the bad guy.  We try to do something nice, then end up always having to tell her no about something, because she tries to take it farther. 

When my stepsons mom was unavailable to take her sons to mother son night at school, I planned to take them so they wouldn't miss it.  She was mad because she thought SHE should be the one to take them.  To "Mother-Son" night.  So I guess their stepmother isn't a logical choice?   I take care of them half the time, I think if anyone deserves that honor (since their mom couldn't go) it's me.  It wasn't grandparent night!

I have always been highly suspicious of this kind of behavior in people. It's not good enough for them to spend time with the kids, they also have to be the ones to cook their meals, give them a bath, do the bedtime routine. I think it's a control issue and I don't like it. By all means, enjoy time with my children, buy don't start playing some silly game where you get to pretend to be the parent.
People everywhere enjoy believing in things they know are not true. It spares them the ordeal of thinking for themselves and taking responsibility for what they know. –Brooks Atkinson

bopper

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Re: "But that is the only time I have!"
« Reply #43 on: May 16, 2014, 06:18:13 PM »
"We have to schedule in conjunction with Ex.  We have no flexibility there.  Perhaps you could change one of your other obligations?  Next year you can ask us for the summer schedule in April when we make it up."

One has to choose one's priorities.  Yours is co-parenting/complying with parenting agreements.  If it is that important for her to spend time with kids (as it should), she needs to ask earlier.

nolechica

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Re: "But that is the only time I have!"
« Reply #44 on: May 18, 2014, 04:17:10 PM »
Honestly, if she has a house near you that she spends 3 months at, I have no sympathy.  My parents are still married, but my grandparents all live out of town.  One grandmother has never kept me and my sister a week, ever.  One grandmother didn't get to keep us for a week until I was 10.  Your schedules come first and she can see them when she's in town.