Strapped Down

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Strapped Down

Post by bsfighter1 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:20 am

I get that my mother is retired and has a lot to deal with with my father and his disabilities (even though the man is not bed ridden and still making all the money for their household well into retirement with his small business), but as she gets older she makes it painfully clear how non-committal she is to anything. Although she helps out picking up my kids from school sometimes and watching them for an hour, she makes it PAINFULLY clear, right in front of them too, what a sacrifice she's making and that she doesn't want to be strapped down. I thought up until this point that she would be willing to pick my kids up from school part time so I could continue to keep a foot in the work world until they get older and can take care of themselves. I understood that if I wished to work full time I would place my kids in childcare, but working part time does not justify paying for childcare for 2 kids. She knows this but doesn't seem to care. The reason I choose to work part time is so that I can still be accessible for my children. I guess at the end of the day it's my choice, but yesterday I had yet another wake up call with my mother...

up until this point the part time job I've been working at has been great in terms of me being able to choose my own hours so I can pick up my kids from school most days. 2 days ago though my boss decided to change that arrangement (5 months remaining of my contract when I've been working there 4 years!) and give me the ultimatum of working the days and times she wants, or basically resigning right now. Another story, but nothing I can really do as the arrangement she was okay with before was never written into my contract.

So now I can't pick my kids up from school 3 days a week starting January. I asked my mother for help. She begrudgingly agreed to pick her grandchildren up from school for the 5 months remaining while sending the message what a sacrifice this is because what if she wants to pick up and leave for Florida to wine and dine with her wealthy sister, and so forth. Now she's strapped down. Giving me attitude about this in front of the kids too! She claims to love these children like her own.. only when it's convenient for her I guess. She also made it clear to me in front of them that while she had 'no choice' but to help pick the kids up now, that it would only be for the 5 months and then that's it... it felt like she was hanging me out to dry. All this time I have been looking for other part time work with the idea that she would support me with the children as long as she didn't have to pick them up 5 days a week (their school is 10 minutes down the road from where she lives). But now I know that I'm on my own, that it's either I don't work at all or go back full force because I no reliable support in her. It hurts. Maybe I'm being unreasonable, like she basically said, it's me and my husband's problem, but something about her attitude rubs me the wrong way. It's bad enough being thrown under the bus by your boss and expected to sink or swim, but when it's from your mother too it really shakes me up. And o keep thinking how selfish she is to be speaking in front of the children like that to me, line they're a chore.

Ya know, my mother once told me that when my grandmother was sick and in assisted living what a burden it was on my mothers freedom, even though she still was the main caregiver. When grandmother died my mother felt free I guess and just wants to do what she wants when she wants now even if it means throwing me and the kids under the bus. That's her choice and maybe she's entitled to her freedom now. But there will come a time when she might depend on me as she gets even older, and these sorts of things now that she's doing makes me pause. I wonder how she'll like it one day when I 'help her out' begrudgingly complaining about what a sacrifice I'm making having to take care of her, that I'm only willing to assist her for 5 more months then it's her problem, after all my kids are grown up now ma, I deserve a little freedom too and don't want to be strapped down. Wonder how she'd feel?

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Re: Strapped Down

Post by moved2maryland » Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:56 am

Your mother is giving you a message, however passive-aggressively she's telling you. She DOESN'T want to pick up your kids and doesn't have the guts to say it to you without looking like the Ugly Grandmother.

Admittedly she doesn't owe you any favors, but she's being a real douchecanoe by saying it in front of your kids that it's a MAJOR inconvenience. To me that makes your mother a really Ugly Grandmother.

Frankly, you and DH need to find another alternative because your mother will probably bail on you in a couple of weeks when it becomes "inconvenient". Start planning now.
Just remember,to argue with an a@@ will make you one.

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Re: Strapped Down

Post by bsfighter1 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:30 am

Hey movedtomaryland. Yeah, I guess it would look bad on her image if she just said to me and my husband flat out that she doesn't want to help us period because her grandkids are more of a chore to get than a joy, even though she loves them and all but mainly when it suits her. I do think she loves them but I do see how it's an image thing too with her (ie she instructs me what clothes to make them wear whenever taking them to her church, or if she's presenting them around that wealthy sister, and aunt that I love but is all about appearances also).

You're right that admittedlyy mother doesn't owe me anything, but it still hurts getting the cold shoulder from her and attitude, particularly when she knows me and H have been having more marital issues than usual lately and were even discussing temporary separation only last week. I always thought my mom was my rock. The only person who I could trust to have my back when things go wrong or when I need a helping hand. She keeps telling me she loves me 'unconditionally' but as time goes on the more disillusioned I become based on her actions. And I just feel so heartbroken for my kids. They have a mommy and daddy who are struggling to keep the marriage together and they are often in the middle, and now they have a grandma who makes it clear that they are a burden on her time. I'm going through an emotional crisis right now to be honest with everything being thrown at me lately, but the kids are the only thing that keep me grounded. I'm not a perfect mom by any means, but I just held my children today and reminded them again how much they mean to me and how special they are.

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Re: Strapped Down

Post by Hiddenjem » Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:03 pm

Have you considered bartering with another parent friend who you trust?

Perhaps if they picked up your children in exchange you could provide "date night" / kids sleepover for the parents sanity once a week? Maybe you could do her grocery shopping as you do your own?

It is concerning reading that your mom feels stuck picking and care of your children.

My experience with the childcare issue on the other end. My former best friend and I have daughters close in age. We were pregnant the same time. My birth family (mom as well) sucks and her parents did too. We were like family.

I felt stuck by the arrangement because her husband wouldn't pick up his daughter when he was supposed and when she was sick. I hinted to get out of the arrangment. She picked up on my hint and found other arrangements. Then, she wasn't happy with the other option. They strongly enforced pick up times and sick policies. She asked me to watch her again. I made a excuse about traveling more with dh's job (former) and enjoying the opportunity to join him. I nicely said the childcare commitment tied us down. The friendship ended.

I confess what I didn't say to her that I resented how selfish her husband was not following the pick schedule. We missed birthday parties, appointments, etc.

By the time, I was upset enough to hint to get out of it, I dreaded watching her daughter. I started even resenting even having her husband came into our home to drop off his daughter.

I worry your moms attitude' effect on your children since she is expressing feeling stuck. I was there and remember I had started to dread dealing with her, her husband and the daughters time in our home.

My vote to get your mom away from being childcare provider for the sake of a better long term relationship with your children. It could make a big difference!

I wish you all the best. I know you make it work out whatever you decide to do
Last edited by Hiddenjem on Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

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Re: Strapped Down

Post by Melody » Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:30 pm

I agree with M2M and Hiddengem and would start looking for alternate arrangements NOW. It is POSSIBLE your mom will be "no no no! I didn't mean it, why did you take my grandchildren away from me?" but I'm sensing that is not the case. You know your mom.

I don't know the ages of your children or the hours you need so arrangements can mean different things. Either a friend/neighbor gets them off the bus (and maybe more than one on different days) or they carpool to an activity and you do the carpool pickup. Does your school have aftercare or clubs? Maybe your kids can do that for a day or two a week. If you know high school kids that get home earlier than yours, that is a possibility (my daughter watched two girls for months as their "tutor", her friend jobshared so they weren't doing it everyday.)

Regarding a work situation (and I have no family close by and you've heard more than enough about stepmonster), I don't know your skill set, but think outside the box. If your DH works days, consider being a night auditor at a hotel, or troubleshooting at the post office. During the day, be part time office help, do a food or beverage route, stocking, inventory, or do bookkeeping for a small business. If you have expertise be a tutor or expert subject matter writer.

I did a number of these before I ran into an acquaintence in the supermarket. She told me her friend was looking for someone to help with her business and thought I'd get along with her. So now I've been working from home making decent money (and still shuttling the kids around) for over two years.

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Re: Strapped Down

Post by WatchingMyBack » Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:49 pm

bsfighter1, it sounds like your mother feels the need to put herself first, and she will continue to "punish" you, and by extension your children, because she isn't getting anything out of helping you for herself.

Most grandmothers would be thrilled to get extra bonus time with their grandchildren. Personally, I can't get enough of my new GS and jump at every opportunity to help out DIL and ODS.

Yet, as with your mother, my DM has always been that way. She always puts herself first. The first time I took ODS to the Washington DC area to visit my DSis and DM, my DM was "too busy" to come see him. Her first grandson that she had never laid eyes on, and she was "too busy". DSis had wanted her DH, my DH and me to all go to dinner and have DM come over to meet the ODS and also watch DNiece (who was 6 months older than ODS). DM declined to come; there was a social dance she wanted to go to instead (a weekly thing; missing one wouldn't have mattered). My DH was naturally appalled and it set the tone for his never warming up to my DM (among other things).

When GS was born this past summer, I flew down to be with ODS and DIL. I stayed nearly two weeks to help out (took care of the dogs, did laundry, cooked meals, walked GS so DIL could take a nap or a shower). DIL was very appreciative and told me how jealous her friends are that she has a nice MIL :lol: Her friend that had a baby the same week said her MIL came and expected to be entertained the entire time and acted very put out if she was asked to do anything at all for the new baby (rather like my MIL would have been, now that I think of it).

I definitely agree that you need to make alternate arrangements as if you didn't have your DMt here at all. Her negativity is affecting your DC, whether it is being noticed or not. And with the tensions between you and your DH, and talk of separation, the stress on your DC is skyrocketing. You have the emotional fortitude to weather the storm, but your DC do not, so why subject them to any more of a craptacular than they already have no choice in?

Most schools or day care centers have after school care (in our area, several of the day care centers have buses that pick the kids up after school). If that doesn't make sense financially, then the other suggestion of finding alternate employment may be your best option if your manager is dead set on not letting you finish out your contract with the schedule that allowed you to provide for your children best. Is there someone above the manager that you can go to? If you're only there another 5 months, it doesn't really matter if you ruffle her feathers by going over her head, does it?

I'm not as keen on enlisting the help of other parents. My own experience tells me the bloom falls off that rose pretty quickly and it becomes an exceedingly tenuous arrangement. I'll never forget when my kids had religious school twice a week after school and there were 4 parents (including myself) in the carpool. Typically I and another mother would alternate picking the kids up at school and dropping them at the religious school. The other two parents (who both worked) would pick the kids up after religious school and drop them at home. Then one of the after religious school mom's had her work schedule change and she couldn't do either a pick-up or drop-off. She was newly divorced and barely getting by. The other mother that did the after-school pick-up like I did balked at allowing the 4th little girl to remain in the carpool. She said to me "What's in it for me?" I was just stunned that someone could be so cold-hearted that she didn't want to give this child a ride to religious school simply because there wasn't any pay-back for herself. The next year I skipped the car-pool, but still gave the other girl a ride. But, as with every good deed, even that didn't go unpunished. The woman never showed an ounce of appreciation and once when the little girl introduced me to her grandmother at the religious school, the grandmother told her she was mistaken, that I wasn't the person giving her the ride but it was some other lady (umm, no, it was me). But I liked the little girl and she was a friend to my daughter, so whatever.
“Make no judgments where you have no compassion.”

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Re: Strapped Down

Post by bsfighter1 » Sat Dec 17, 2016 9:10 am

Thank you everyone for your input. Watchingmyback, when I read your story about your DM I was upset about her selfishness also, especially never having seen her GS. Thankfully my own DM hasn't been that obvious and seem to generally love her grandchildren and take interest in them BUT only when it's convenient for her, but I sometimes I think her attitude is more to do with her feelings and relationship toward me more than the inconvenience of the kids. It's hard to explain, but throughout the years DM can flip from being my biggest supporter to this completely unsupportive person.

She's done this with the ILs too when I went through hell with them before CO, acting like best friends at times with some of the worst ones right in front of me without any care about what type of impact that might have on me and making excuses for these complete strangers and how they were treating her daughter instead of just standing by my side. While she's gotten better with this because even she can't deny now how wretched these people actually are, she still makes the dumbest excuses for some of them even today (ie. when ESIL1 was ganging up on you with the rest and going out of her way to make your life hell it was because she was just younger... like being younger automatically correlates with being a Narc or a big, selfish b**** at best.

Wth? I know plenty of young people, including even my 8 year old son, who have a much more empathetic and honest heart than this chick did in her twenties and even today, and I'd be offended if I was younger and people just automatically assumed my nature was to be an a-hole. Also DM's 'young' theory doesn't hold up when you consider people like EFIL and stepmonster IL being well into their 60s and being even worse than the younger people. It seems that age only made them worse and worse). This is just to provide you with more background on DM and how she can just leave me up the river sometimes. While she is certainly not the worst GM in the world she has lost some points in my books for being the best. I only wish she was as much of a genuinely enthusiastic GM as you, but who knows, maybe she's not as much of a 'kid' person as she pretends to be. I will have to pretend like she's not around moving forward when making decisions, but it does change the nature of the grandmother relationship automatically, and hope she doesn't complain like she does when she doesn't seem them much. This has happened before and it's always 'poor her, she misses her grandchildren, and will just pop in at my place at a moments notice whenever she feels like it. She needs to truly understand that just because she wants to be a free spirit doesn't mean mine and my children's lives can be put in hold just because she fancies something on a whim. It works both ways.

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Re: Strapped Down

Post by mamarama » Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:19 pm

I agree with HJ that you should look into other options. A neighbor maybe? Or a carpool where you take the kids to school and the other parent picks them up? Depending on what time they get out, maybe a trustworthy teen you know that can watch them for an hour afterwards and you pay them $10 or something?

Has your mother always been like this about everything, or just about picking up the kids? I have a feeling she's behaved like this about other things too. I also have a feeling that if you did find alternative arrangements, she would complain that she didn't feel needed and didn't get to spend any time with the GCs. This is more about having something to whine about than it is a true inconvenience for her. The whining is a way for her to get you to notice how wonderful she is that she would sacrifice time out of her busy day to put you and your kids before herself. ugh. :roll: And if spending time with the kids and helping her daughter out really is an inconvenience, she should be relieved at once. I wouldn't want my kids hanging around someone who blatantly to their faces says that she doesn't enjoy spending time with them and that they're a burden. She's mean and they deserve better.

When you find someone else to help out, I'm willing to bet that she'll be complaining within a week, two weeks tops.

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Re: Strapped Down

Post by jigglypuff » Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:42 pm

You just described who my own mother is. Do you think your mother might be a BPD like mine?
They have a mommy and daddy who are struggling to keep the marriage together and they are often in the middle, and now they have a grandma who makes it clear that they are a burden on her time.
You also just described my childhood. I feel for you and your kids.

My mother claimed that she wanted to be a GM but I don't get why because she's emotionally disengaged with everyone. She pretends to be a "kid person" too but when it comes down to it, she couldn't really care less. I told her that even if I wanted kids, raising them I would have zero help from family. She said she would help me but I know what a big fat liar she is. I know her and know over time, she'd begin to act as though my children were a bother, just like my DB and I were to her growing up. And like your mother, she would only give them some attention when it's convenient to her. I know deep inside her soul she regrets having us because we got in her way of living her life like a teenager. Mentally, she's still 15 years old and has never matured. The only thing she would do for my kids is buy them stuff. That's how she loves others, superficially. The woman has never loved anyone her entire life.

My mother always put my feelings on the backburner. It was all about her and what she wanted. And I know she'd do the same to any GC she might have.

Sadly, you can't rely on your mother and I think slowly, as you grow older and these different situations arise, you will begin to see your mother differently. You will begin to see who she really is. Your mother's love is conditional and limited. That isn't real love.

I hope you can manage without her help and find something that works out for all of you. Sorry your mom isn't supportive and loving as she should be. At least you are a better mom than she is and your kids won't have to deal with what you've dealt with.
'As the days go by, I think of how lucky I am... That you're not here to ruin it for me'

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