Dear Annie: My son and daughter-in-law have been married for about three years. She used to be a very nice girl when dating my son. When they told me they were getting married, it was just so that she could be put on my son’s health insurance because she couldn’t work anymore. I was still happy. She sold her house and moved into his house.
I live five hours away, so when I visit, I usually stay four days and play with my granddaughter, who is 9 years old. I was kidding around one day when my son was leaving for work and I said, “Aren’t you going to kiss your wife goodbye?” She yelled, “We don’t have that kind of relationship!” I quickly shut my mouth.
When I used to go down, I would ask if I could take my granddaughter for a walk, but now she always says no. She says she doesn’t trust me. She accuses me of all kinds of things that are not true. When I tell my son what she says to me, he always answers that’s just how she is. Once my son and his wife went to a ballgame, her mother was babysitting at her house because I can’t be trusted. I had nothing to do, so I vacuumed the house. When they came home, she had a fit. She considers that I’m saying she’s dirty.
When she got pregnant again, I was not allowed to know until my son called months later and told me they were having twins. That’s why they were telling me — because he said it wasn’t a good time to come down, instead of just telling me she is pregnant (everyone else knew). He said there would never have been all that arguing. My daughter-in-law and I have not spoken since she became pregnant nine months ago. She started messaging me nasty things, saying it wasn’t any of my business why I couldn’t come down. She states, “STAY UP WHERE YOU ARE NOBODY LIKES YOU DOWN HERE ANYWAY.” So we started arguing back and forth on Messenger.
I was talking with my doctor about this, and he says to stay away from her. What do I do if I’m invited to birthdays or the twins’ christening? She took away my bonding time with my granddaughter. I don’t want to be around her, but I want to see my grandchildren. — Shut-Out Grandma
Dear Shut-Out Grandma: Your daughter-in-law does sound unstable, or certainly like she believes you cannot be trusted. That must be so hurtful for you as a grandmother, and I’m sorry you are going through this. Grandparents are a gift to children, so let’s try and find a way for you to be back in their lives. You should attend events if you are invited. Birthdays and christenings are memorable days that you don’t want to miss. When you’re there, focus on the love you have for your grandchildren and your son. If you can take it a step further, send your daughter-in-law some love. Clearly, she is hurting deeply. Have an open and honest conversation with your son about your feelings. Tell him you are willing to go to family counseling or do whatever it takes to have a relationship with him and your grandchildren. Don’t give up on them.
How someone treats you is a statement about who they are as a human being, not a statement about you. How you respond is a statement about you. When you are with them, it’s probably best to avoid making any comments whatsoever about their marriage. Of course, you were right in your comment about a kiss goodbye, but that makes her even angrier.
If she says hurtful things again, don’t engage in an argument on Messenger. Remember she is hurting and that is why she is acting out. Act with compassion, and keep being there for your son and grandchildren. (c) Annie Lane @ Creators.com
Some of this advice are good, but most of it is deplorable. Are you kidding me? Here’s what Annie Lane says:
Of course, you were right in your comment about a kiss goodbye, but that makes her even angrier.
And this is the incident [emphasis added]:
I was kidding around one day when my son was leaving for work and I said, “Aren’t you going to kiss your wife goodbye?” She yelled, “We don’t have that kind of relationship!” I quickly shut my mouth.
Um. That’s not “kidding around”. That’s a snark attack. I can spot a snark attack from a mile away, and that was as snarky as snark can get. And Annie Lane supported that snarkiness?! Hello? Knock-knock. Anyone home?
It’s no one’s business when or for what reason you kiss your spouse. Maybe you don’t need a kiss because he’ll be back soon. Maybe you’re private and don’t want to kiss in front of your overbearing, intrusive mother-in-law. (Hello.) Whatever the case may be, we don’t need to jump into some sort of exaggerated thinking where it means, “Oh no, the marriage is in trouble! I’d better swoop in and save it with my meddling ways, now that I’ve already put my daughter-in-law on edge!”
Because the kissing question isn’t a joke–it’s a challenge. Mother-in-law bats her eyelashes and says, all innocence, “Aren’t you going to kiss your husband goodbye?” I sort of want to deck her.
So then, from the sounds of it, the wife got pregnant with twins and the mother-in-law demanded that she come and stay and be supportive during the birth and infancy. Um. If I were the mother of twins and had Mommie Dearest as a mother-in-law, I’d go insane. Yeah. Just no.
And the meddling vacuuming? [Shakes head.] That was some sort of reaction to being deemed unfit for babysitting duties (which she sure the heck is), and it was meant to upset the daughter-in-law. The letter writer got what she wanted–a reaction–and now she’s playing the victim. Nice. Way to double your winnings.
She started messaging me nasty things, saying it wasn’t any of my business why I couldn’t come down.
Well, it’s our business now, and the reasons are obvious: this overbearing woman can’t be tolerated while her daughter-in-law is trying to nurture two newborn twins. Hello. Asked and answered, letter writer. You don’t get to visit the newborns until their mommy is no longer stressed from tending to them. You’ve brought it upon yourself.
Remember she is hurting and that is why she is acting out.
Okay, Annie Lane, let’s use our brains here. She’s hurting and acting out? Really? She’s nine months pregnant with twins, and her mother-in-law keeps demanding that she be allowed to move in with them for an extended visit during this most stressful time. There’s no evidence WHATSOEVER that the daughter-in-law is having issues (other than the ones being created by the letter writer).
This just made me facepalm so bad. I liked Annie Lane’s general suggestions, but her gross lack of insight into the situation was… ugh.