I’m unsure how typical this is, but it needs a loud broadcast. A mother’s home can be plagued by her mother’s visits. Sounds impossible, so watch as I report and comment on one wife’s situation. Remember it when you become a grandmother.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I RESPOND IN CAPS TO Her Highness Anon’s comment in lower case WITH PARAGRAPHS BROKEN FOR EASE OF READING.
You cite the need of a woman to make herself feel “more important for those to whom she is vital.” I would love your opinion of the scenario I find myself in. I’m a stay-at-home mom to three (ages 4, 2, and newborn). [CONGRATULATIONS]
My mother (who lives close by) [YOU’RE FORTUNATE] visits our family a couple times per week [GREAT!], to spend an hour or so with the grandchildren (my kids). She always shows up with an expensive toy, sugary treat, etc. [FOR THAT AND OTHER REASONS ADDED BELOW, IT’S NOT GREAT BUT UNDESIRABLE. HER MANNER OF GIVING TAKES DIGNITY FROM YOU AS THE MOTHER. IT MAKES BOYS DEPENDENT RATHER THAN INDEPENDENT AND TEACHES DAUGHTERS SOME WRONG THINGS. IT ALSO PUTS YOU AND GRANDMOTHER INTO COMPETITIVE ROLES FOR KIDS’ AFFECTION AND THE KIDS LEARN TO PLAY YOU AGAINST GRANDMOTHER. CHILDREN ARE SELF-DEVELOPERS AND THEY LEARN QUICKLY HOW TO GET THE ‘MOSTEST’ FROM THE BEST HOSTESS AND EXPECT THE ‘LEASTEST’ FROM THE NEXT BEST HOSTESS, WHICH ADD IMPORTANCE TO ONE AND SUBTRACTS IMPORTANCE FROM THE OTHER.]
At first I enjoyed seeing my children enjoy her treats. Lately, however, she has begun undermining my authority [UNDERMINING AUTHORITY IS THE WORST THING AN ADULT CAN DO TO A PARENT, THE DAMAGE LASTS FOR LIFE.] and even saying I’m “too strict for the kids to need to obey me” [WHICH IS WORSE THAN INDIRECTLY UNDERMINING AUTHORITY. IT’S A CONDEMNATION OF YOU AS PARENT.] (she says this in front of the children and I know my four-year-old understands what she is saying). [MUCH DAMAGE HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE. HE’S BEEN PROGRAMMED TO BE A DISCIPLINE PROBLEM BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN DISCREDITED BY HIGHER AUTHORITY.]
Most recently I was concerned when she told me that “isn’t it funny how kids always hate their moms?! But grandparents! these are the ones that they are supposed to love!!” [IT SHOULD BUT THIS WON’T MAKE YOU FEEL ANY BETTER. SHE’S PROBABLY JEALOUS THAT YOU’RE A DIFFERENT KIND OF MOTHER. YOUR EXAMPLE BRINGS TO MIND HER REGRETS AND GUILT, AND SHE FEELS COMPELLED TO COMPENSATE BY OVERDOING IT WITH YOUR KIDS. IOW, SHE SACRIFICED HERSELF RAISING YOU EVEN THOUGH SHE NOW KNOWS SHE DIDN’T DESERVE YOUR LOVE COMPARED TO HOW YOU DO THE MOM THING.]
I told her I never felt this way about her, and I wondered why she made the remark. [IT’S EXPLAINED JUST ABOVE.] Since then, my kids have begun saying they wish they lived at Grandma’s house & that they love Grandma more than me, their mom. [THAT’S TYPICAL AND EXPECTED FROM GRANDMOTHER’S WELL-INTENTIONED BUT WRONGFUL PROGRAMMING.]
I was hurt by this and my husband told the children they were never to speak that way again. [WHAT A GREAT HUSBAND. YOU MAY HAVE MARRIED OVER YOUR HEAD.]
But I already feel cut down in size by my mom [AND WELL YOU SHOULD FEEL], who seems to want to create a sense of her own importance by making me less-important in my kids’ eyes. [JEALOUSY WORKS THAT WAY.]
Do you think I’m reading too much into my mom’s actions? [YOU’RE READING TOO LITTLE, TAKING TOO LITTLE OFFENSE, SHE’S CONTAMINATING YOUR NEST.
To put it in some perspective, my mom raised two kids, but my brother made a lot of bad choices [RESULT OF LESS THAN OPTIMAL PARENTING] (he’s since settled down) and I did not choose the career path they hoped [ROOM FOR ANGER BEFORE AND JEALOUSY NOW].
(I’m a stay-at-home-mom), so I suppose mom may not feel “fulfilled” by us. She once said she had “only regrets” [SHE CAN’T OR WON’T FORGIVE HERSELF, AND YOUR HOME KEEPS HER ON THAT KNIFE EDGE.] when she looked back on her years of raising kids, which shocks me because I thought I had a pretty good childhood!! [IT WAS GOOD ENOUGH. YOU FELT FREE ENOUGH THAT SELF-DEVELOPMENT LED YOU TO BE A SUCCESSFUL WIFE AND MOTHER. BUT YOU DID IT CONTRARY TO PARENTAL EXPECTATIONS THAT NOW GENERATE REMINDERS OF HER GUILT, REGRET, AND JEALOUSY. SHE LACKED CONTROL OVER YOUR LIFE THAT SHE EXPECTED TO HAVE. HER CAREER OUTSIDE THE HOME SHAPED HER THINKING THAT WAY.]
WITH NATURAL AND NORMAL OBLIGATIONS OF DAUGHTER TO MOTHER, YOUR HANDS ARE EFFECTIVELY TIED. YOUR HUSBAND MIGHT REACH HER. GRANDPA MIGHT TOO. BUT BOTH ARE UNLIKELY TO CONVERT HER LOYALTY TO HERSELF INTO TRUE GRANDMOTHERLY LOYALTY. THE KIND THAT MORPHS GOOD WOMEN INTO MATRIARCHS.
THE ROOT OF RECOVERY WILL START TO GROW WHEN YOUR MOTHER FORGIVES HERSELF FOR HER OWN PARENTING RECORD, FORGIVES HERSELF FOR TRESPASSING YOUR HOME’S SPIRIT, AND FORGIVES YOU FOR DOING DIFFERENTLY THAN SHE WISHED. UNLESS SHE CAN DO THAT, DISRUPTION, DEPRESSION, AND DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS WILL PLAGUE YOUR HOME AND WORSEN OVER TIME WITH HER PRESENCE.
Thoughts, Sir Guy?
IT’S YOUR NEST. KICK OBSTRUCTIONS OUT OF THE WAY. SHOW MOM THE DOOR EACH TIME SHE DISPLEASES YOU REGARDING THE KIDS. AS A DISRUPTER, SHE DOESN’T DESERVE YOUR COMPANY. KEEP YOUR MORALE UP AS BEING A GRATEFUL MOM. ADMIRE HUBBY AS GOOD LEADER, FATHER FIGURE, AND FOR HIS STRONG CHARACTER IN BACKING YOU.
YOUR MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER THIS. LET ME BE THE HEAVY. LET YOUR MOTHER READ IN PRIVATE WHAT YOU AND I HAVE WRITTEN ABOVE. SHE WILL TAKE OFFENSE AND TAKE IT BIG TIME DEPENDING ON WHETHER SHE ACCEPTS OR DENIES IT. SHE MAY DEPART YOUR LIFE FOR SOME UNDETERMINED TIME. BUT SOONER OR LATER SHE WILL PROBABLY ACKNOWLEDGE THAT SHE WAS WRONG AND RETURN TO YOUR EMBRACE. THE MAGIC WORD OF RECOVERY IS FORGIVENESS FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED AND EVERY THING DONE IN THE PAST.