When Grandmas Don't Care - A Tale of Absent Grandparents

11:42 PM

I am ultra frustrated today and that is why I have sadly been in a lull and have not gotten much done. Have you ever seen, heard of or even dealt with grandparents that just didn't care? My mother and father (when he was alive) were always active in all my children's lives. We go to my moms' house at least a few Sundays a month and the kids stay with her on occassion too. In fact, when I was saving up to buy my house, we lived with my poor mom for six months lol. Obviously, this post is not about her.

The grandma of my oldest three has not been entitrely absent in their lives, she was really drawn to my oldest, but I can't stand when favorites are played, because I love all my children equally. Sometimes she would ask only to see him. There have been years that have gone by without a phone call, letter or visit though. I mean a stamp only costs $.44 and they were even cheaper in past years! Every few years she will call up and out of the blue come and see them, but I have to wonder what does this do to them? All of this is semi acceptable because she has at least been kind to me and them and lives far away.

On the other hand, you have my youngest son's "nanna" (if she can even be called that.) She lives literally 20 minutes away and used to work less than 5 minutes down the street from us and not once has she come by to see him. I can count on one hand the number of times she has seen or held him and he will be five in October. All of those times are when I have taken him to her or when his dad did. Even this would be acceptable, except that she is not this way with her other grandchildren. She tolerates my other children and that is a heck of a lot more than she does for me.

I understand that I am a shy person and not outgoing about getting to know someone, but as a timid person, the first time I met this woman she flipped me off! So, it could be my fault alone that we are not close, but that should in no way affect her relationship with her grandson. To me, it is just unacceptable not to embrace your grandchildren, ALL of your grandchildren. She is now entertaining another grandchild at her house, who she has not had access to for many years and who is now 16. She and the rest of the aunts and uncles in the family are taking him places and have designated days to spend with him. How many of those same family members have ever bothered to spend time with my son?

Sorry for the vent, but I see no value in what they are doing. My mom is older (71) and I hate to think that when she is gone, my children will essentially have no grandparents. Not once have I ever told either of these women that they could not see my son or even made it difficult for them. In fact, I work from home and have for four years, the local one could have dropped by at any time from work and we would have been home.

Thanks for listening and feel free to share your grandparent frustrations in the comment section!

You Might Also Like


  1. Grandparents. Some are great. Others not so much. Some send a birthday card and others make a weekly visit to see the kids. You never can tell who's cut out for it. Honestly it's about the expectations. You should probably just communicate that your little one will only be little for a short time and she shouldn't miss out. Invite her to the kindergarten parties and graduation, etc. you will see that they may show and have a blast with your little one. Best of luck and hope you feel better.

  2. Wow...our situations are SO similar! Neither my parents or my husbands parents pay any attention to our girls and my girls are freakin' fabulous! There are other grandchildren that they do alot for and my kids...yea not so much! This also means that we have ZERO babysitting, which really sucks, because grandparents are supposed to give you a break every once in awhile ;) however I have found that because of that we have bonded more as a family. What I have found is that it hurts me far more than it hurts my children, so bear that in mind, as it may make you feel better.

    They do not call these people "grandparents" so there's no real attachment there and I think without attachment, the chance of them getting hurt are unlikely.

    It will overall make you a stronger and better person and when you become a grandparent yourself, just think how fabulous you'll be!

  3. Thank-you both. M.Z., I will take your advice and specifically invite her to some things (my youngest starts preschool this year), but I have a feeling the excuses will flow free. We shall see though.

    Candace, sorry to hear you are in the same situation, I am just glad my mom is so awesome with them. I will be a rockin grandma. :)

  4. I can really understand how you feel. I lived in the same apartment building as my mother until my son was 9 years old. The only time she saw him, is when she wanted me to take her places. She refused to babysit. I had to remind her of his birthdays. Then, we moved across town,(it is really small) and she saw him even less. The years went by. She called him to help her move twice. Then my younger sister had a son. She lives all the way across the state, and my mother doesn't have a car. She saw her other grandchild more times in his first two years of life, than in my son's entire life. Last year, she finally moved to be near my sister. What is she doing? Babysitting every single day for her. It gets worse. Last year for Christmas, she forgot his birthday,but she sent him 5 dollars. She called him to ask if he got it, then proceded to tell him, she took my sister,her husband and their son, to disney for their Christmas gift. I stopped taking phone calls this year from her. On the day of his last surgery,she called. I thought to wish him well, instead it was to ask what I was doing that day, because she was going shopping. She is a very sick woman, who he doesn't consider his grandmother. It is such a shame, he is a great young man.

  5. Oh Debbie, I am so sorry that the situation is like that with your mom. Hopefully your son understands that it is her problem and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with him! I would have stopped talking to her after the Disney fiasco as well.

  6. Oh how similar these grandparents stories are...my husbands parents, its like pulling teeth to get them over here to see our boys, but the two other grandchildren...they see probably three to four times a week. The girls are always spending the night, my boys have NEVER even been asked to go over there without my husband and I. My mother is INCREDIBLE with our boys, sees them all of the time, as much as she can, she has them over without us so we can have some Mommy and Daddy time, but we don't even get phone calls from his parents and when we do, they have their other grandchildren with them...I just think that's SO rude. I could never play favorites either...SO RUDE and hurtful. My kids dont really see it yet because they are too small, but when they understand whats going on, they'll be hurt just as my husband and I are. Good luck to you and your children, hope that relationship improves?!

  7. I think it's really unfortunate when grandparents choose not to be in a child's life ... unfortunate for the grandparents. The thing is, the kids will grow up with love and affection from you and your husband and the family members who are caring ... the children won't miss out on a thing. But the grandparents ... well, they truly miss out!

    As for the favoritism part ... I personally would talk to the grandparent about it, saying that it's unacceptable and then, if they didn't correct their behavior, I don't think I'd encourage any visits. It's really hard on a kid to be second best ... and it's equally hard on the favored child. One would think that an adult would know better!!

    Your kids are lucky to have you!

  8. Aw i'm sorry you have to go through this. Its difficult when they play favorites. Its good to vent! My in laws can be troublesome due to differences in parenting. They LOVE to tell me what to do! Especially my MIL. Sometimes its better that there not so involved.

  9. Uggghhh!!! I'm so sorry for you...and for your kids! Been there, done that =( Really it's their loss, but I know it still hurts!

  10. Thank-you again everyone. Your words and experiences have helped a lot. For the moment, it is not something that is affecting the boys too strongly, just me mostly, but in the near future I see it really upsetting them.



Stats and Resources