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Would you consider this Grandmother to be controlling? Or generous?
Family & Relationships / 11:56 AM - Friday February 05, 2010

Would you consider this Grandmother to be controlling? Or generous?

Divorced retired 56 yr old woman's first grandchild is born to her son. Son is married and has a good job, takes good care of family, etc. Wife is stay-at-home mom.

Grandmother signs 1-yr-old child up for various activities, which she pays for and wants to take child to herself. Examples: weekly music class, weekly gymboree class.

Child's mother is upset that Grandmother didn't "ask for permission" before signing up the child. Mother is also upset because Grandmother wants alone time with child (Mother not necessarily invited along on scheduled activities).

Who is right?

Update: February 05, 2010.
Whoa people I'm an impartial 3rd party (aunt to child). I'm not the mother as some are assuming, and I'm not taking sides. I see both sides. My mother is lonely and bored and excited to be a grandmother. My sister-in-law is nervous and protective and wants to do all the "firsts". I get it. Thanks for those who replied.

- Asked by Female, 36-45

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You are all blessed. How fortunate for the mother to be able stay at home full time with her child, to have a loving and supportive husband, and a mother-in-law who desires an active part in caring for her child.

Being a grandmother is so awesome! At 56 years old, she realizes that she may not have many healthy years left to spend with her grandson. She probably wants to take advantage of her time, resources, and health while available.

Grandmother and Mom can both win, but clear boundaries must be set. Grandmother should NOT be able to sign grandchild up for activities without consulting parents. Period. Grandmother should however, have time alone with her grandchild if/when mom agrees.

It is best for husband to consult with his mother regarding these issues. She needs to understand that her good intentions are coming accross in a negative manner because when she doesn't ask permission, then she is crossing boundaries.

Be firm in this now, so that you can enjoy this wonderful time in your lives. Believe me, in two seconds you will be sending this child off to kindergarten then two more seconds he will be driving and dating.

- Response by WAPenPal, A Budget-minded, Female, 46-55, Self-Employed

Rating Received:

The Mother.

Grandmom has good intentions, but she has NO right to plan things without consenting the parents. Perhaps YOU wanted to take him. Maybe you don't WANT him involved in those activities.

The husband needs to put his foot down.

- Response by myndseye711, A New Mom, Female, 29-35, Managerial

Rating Received:

Community Rating: Community Star

Oh...I forgot to add...

As a mother I did and do want to be there for my child's "firsts". First gym class, first music class, first ball game, first time swimming in the pool, etc. It's OK for her to have alone time, but not to exclude you for the child's "firsts".

- Response by myndseye711, A New Mom, Female, 29-35, Managerial

Rating Received:

Does it matter what is "right"? What matters is that people have spines and, hence, the ability to set boundaries for themselves, and for those that abuse them.

Surely, the grandmother can't just arrive and walk off with the child without the parents' full cooperation?

- Response by trawna, Female, 46-55, Toronto, Consulting

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None of you are. You're all acting like children with a fricken ball you don't want to share. Good Lord woman, this is YOUR CHILD and HER FIRST GRANDCHILD.

Why don't you 2 grown up adults sit down and TALK TO EACH OTHER about this thing instead of you bitching about it behind her back?



So be generous.

- Response by hnygrl, Female, 46-55, Managerial

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I dont know about controlling, but should have asked permission!

- Response by seasons4, An Retiree, Female, 46-55, Financial / Banking

Rating Received:

while grandma should have discussed this with mom... there's nothing wrong with grandma wanting alone time with child.

- Response by js800, Female, 29-35, Chicago, Student

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The mother is the Boss of what happens with her child.

The grandmother may partially just mean well, and maybe she's trying to make up for time she lost with her own children.

The other part is controlling; she wants to see how far she can go without you putting your foot down. The grandmother is being unrealistic and selfish to think she can just take the child to all these Firsts without the mother even being invited.

It would be nice if peace can be made and all this worked out. I hate to say it, but I doubt it will be worked out peacefully since MIL's are notorious for being controlling and trying to usurp their childs new spouse and family. Sometimes they can be the Biggest Babies of all in these scenarios.

- Response by justchuck998, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 29-35, Atlanta

Rating Received:

there is no right or wrong here. Usually the mother of the son is not looked at as the grandparent of interest, it's just how it is. Society has always viewed mothers as the main caregivers, therefore the father's side of the family is usually left to the side at times, and yes I know first hand. With that said, why can't you just let her be a grandma? Maybe she wants to do these things, because she was unable to do so for her own kids. Maybe she just wants to build memories with her grandchild. I don't see anything wrong with perhaps her discussing the activiites first with both you and your husband, not just you, but I think you are wanting to control every aspect of this situation, and eventually it will cause you and your husband to fight unneccesarily. You are a stay at home mom, this would be a good time (while your child is gone) to enjoy some "me time". Maybe instead of reprimanding her, you should thank her. It is not like she is putting your kid in harm's way, she is just being a grandma. She is probably lonely and wants to connect with her first grandchild and instead of letting her do so, you wanna cause a rift that is uncalled for. At the end of the day, it's you and your husbands decisions on how this child will be raised, so yes I believe you have a say, but in this particular case I think you are over thinking things and need to picture your child building memories with their grandma. Good luck

- Response by lk2mvit, Female, 36-45, Other Profession

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She is already an overbearing grandmother. She seems to be trying to overcome things she didn't do with her children. These activities are not for a one year old child. Tell her that you will decide what activies your son will or will not do and that you WILL be present for her son.

- Response by trhjr1, A Guy Critical, Male, 66 or older, Retired

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Mom is right.

This is her first child. Grandma had at least one child and has seen and enjoyed all the firsts. If she missed them, it's truly a shame. But taking them away from the Mom of her grandchild is not the way to do it.

Share ladies. Each can live/relive the firsts and the child is the better for it. You can't have too many people who care for you when you're a child.

- Response by dollhouse88, A Grandmother, Female, 46-55, Rochester, Retired

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There is no right or wrong when it comes to loving kids and grandkids.

My thought is "My, isn't that nice?"

I would have LOVED for my husband's mother to take ANY interest in her grandsons when they were one year old. That would have been a miracle!

Look at it this way -- YOU get an hour each week to YOURSELF. Use the time to pamper yourself -- do your nails -- soak in the tub -- read a book uninterrupted.

Be thankful your husband's mother is loving and caring and is providing these wonderful experiences for your child.

That's what I think from my own experience with my mother-in-law and her interaction (lack there of) with my sons.

I encourage you to pick up the book "Boundaries" by Cloud & Townsend.

- Response by utahmom, Female, 56-65, Managerial

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Sounds like there is a bit of cultural differences between the two ladies....

I think Grandma is assuming abit much...

And the Mom should be able to be abit more flexible and not need to "be there" and allow grandma some alone time..unless
that is she feel grandma might be irresponsible or undermine the Mom when she isn't around...

It's all about bonding and trusting... for some reason these women haven't...

- Response by lady4u, The Cook, Female, 56-65, Cincinnati, Who Cares?

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I've been through all this grandma signing up children for activities problem. For one thing, it is the husband who must communicate with the mother about the problem. My first three children were worn out with classes five days a week to fulfill the grandmother, ex-ballet teacher's, dream of cultivating performers. They would cry every day when they had to leave home and the mother-in-law would scream at me to make them go. With my husband's support, we told her that if she signed them up for anything else when the classes ended, that we guaranteed that the children would NEVER go to a single lesson, and we told all her friends so she would have no one to tell the lies to anymore of how she was martyred having to pay for and drive them to classes half of the time. Studies show that women who have the most contact with their mother-in-law's are more likely to get divorced. The subtle constant criticism of the mother-in-law is rarely detected by the husband at first, but drove me crazy for years until I saw her as the sick alcoholic that she is. I was overjoyed when my husband started to read the psychology sites about dysfunctional family dynamics and when he finally started standing up for me in her presence. The happiest year of my marriage and motherhood was when I lived on the opposite coast from her. What sweet peaceful evenings without her angry screaming at all of us. Don't give up on your happiness either. When a man gets married, his wife rightfully replaces the mother as the most important woman in his life. I've already told my oldest son that his wife should come first when he is married and that she shouldn't have excessive contact with me as was forced on me as a wife. A wife needs her own space and shouldn't be troubled with excessive demands from the Mother-in-law. One day a week with the granddaughter should be enough. Also my mother-in-law even said when my twins were born that she wanted to be the mother and not the grandmother and had the nerve to ask me which one of the twins I was keeping and which one was she going to have.

- Response by annestudstill3, A Stay-at-Home Mom, Female, 46-55, Tampa

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