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How do you deal with being MIL's fallback?

MIL and I had our issues when I was younger. Things seemed better now that we live farther away and I have children.

In the past week, it's become VERY clear that my children and I are her "fallback" for when she's having her frequent relationship problems with her daughter and favorite granddaughter. My husband seems to think I'm nitpicking, however looking at all these small things together it's clear what's going on. Trust me, I'm not wrong.

I have stressed about this all week to the point where I feel absolutely sick. Even typing this, I want to go throw up. I have problems with my own mother, and really felt we were close. My children LOVE her like crazy, and she is a good grandma, but she shows intense favoritism when they're all together (which is basically unavoidable.) How do I deal with her? How do I protect my children as they get older and start to notice?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 6:24 PM on Sep. 13, 2009 in Relationships

Answers (11)
  • Wow, this is a hard one. I would talk to the grandmother and tell her that you find that to be unacceptable. And your right, your kids will start to notice. Ask her why she feels like your kids are the "fallback".

    Answer by Katrina3016 at 6:28 PM on Sep. 13, 2009

  • My Grandma plays the favoritism role too. Ive never been one of her favorites. But my Aunts kids Are! Im pregnant with my first a boy.... He will also be the first Great Grandson and Grandson... She told me she would buy me the pack in play of my choice. My Dh picked out a cute owl one and I told her thats what I wanted she went to buy it and said it was ugly and now wont get it.... Soooo needless to say Ive never been close to her. I dont speak to her often and neither will my kids

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:31 PM on Sep. 13, 2009

  • OP here. @Katrina- My MIL would deny this until she died, and play victim to the family. She does it with everyone else. I really think this approach would work with a normal person, and I love the suggestion, but I don't think it would work with her. Everytime I've tried talking to her about something much smaller than this issue, she either tells me I'm wrong or ignores me.

    I just feel so used!! I mean, favorite grandchild DOES live with her grandmother and her mother, and does need extra support because her father is toxic and completely uninvolved. Do I simply explain this to my children one day? But I mean, even with my children she has favorites between the two.

    Blah. Thanks everyone for listening and helping me. I really do need an outside perspective on this. :)

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:34 PM on Sep. 13, 2009

  • My MIL doesnt play favorites....she doesnt like ANY of her grandkids.....

    I think kids eventually figure out which grandparents are the caring ones without having to tell them.

    My MIL couldnt care less about my kids, she makes NO effort to seem interested in them, HER LOSS!! My kids are great and FINE without her!

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:43 PM on Sep. 13, 2009

  • YOU are focusing on it so of course the kids will pick up on YOU and how YOU react so cut the crap out. Your MIL's issue is not your issue unless you make it your issue and it looks like you are. Stop it. Listen to your dh and stop acting like some spoiled brat who isn't getting enough attention. what is it with drama queens here tonight? The world does not revolve around you and your motto should not be "me me me".

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:40 PM on Sep. 13, 2009

  • anon 7:40, you dont think kids pick up on favoritism?

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:15 PM on Sep. 13, 2009

  • Not to side with your husband because i could understand how frustrating this could be but it may be one of those things you will just have to let go.
    I was the first grandchild born to a teen mother so I lived with grandparents when i was very young and I was def. spoiled by them. The thing is now that myself and my younger cousins are all grown (well half of us are anyway lol) all this has affected our relationships. I have one particular aunt and uncle that are downright mean to me when no one is looking and i never get invited to family functions.
    SO my point is yes its common for grandparents to favor certain grandkids BUT it would be better to try to be an adult and just ignore it. If your kids notice it and ask you about it then talk to them but as some of the people said earlier if you let it go they are less likely to notice it.
    Oh and im sorry this is stressing you out so much. MILs can be a total PITA

    Answer by SaturnsMom at 8:20 PM on Sep. 13, 2009

  • SaturnsMom: I know exactly what you're saying and I'm being SO careful to try and focus the blame on Grandma and not my neice. It isn't her fault at all. She really is so adorable, and I love her to pieces. I am really trying and am determined to hold onto that. And I love her mom too! She's my favorite SIL, lol. I am afraid of it affecting their relationships, and I believe thats partly why I'm obsessing over it. My sister and I went through something similar when we were younger and it hurt our relationship for some time.

    Anon 7:40, I could see how you think I'm looking for drama. I really haven't mentioned it to anyone, in passing I did mention it to my husband. I probably shouldn't have. I would never mention it to the kids, they're very young and I don't agree with doing that at all. I think I'm more upset because I thought we were building a relationship and it turns out that it was a farce. Continued...

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:29 PM on Sep. 13, 2009

  • Overall though, I really was more concerned with how it was going to effect my kids, not necessarily "me, me, me."

    Do I really sound like some spoiled brat looking for attention? Blah, maybe you're right. Thank you. :)

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:30 PM on Sep. 13, 2009

  • My cousin & I are weeks apart in age. Our grandmother adored , babysat & bought her things. She had little interest in me. It didn't bother me, & never affected my relationship with my cousin. We adore each other. It definitely bothered my mom more than me, & I had more trouble over that than my grandma. I wasn't close enough to my grandma to care how she felt, but I felt like I let my mom down by not being as good as my cousin. Every time we came home she was upset & I knew it & knew why. She didn't tell me, but I did hear things. I always felt like if I was prettier, behaved better, smarter. That maybe my mother wouldn't be upset about it. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized it wasn't about me. There was nothing I could do to change things. My grandma was who she was, my mom is who she is. I know you hurt for your kids, but it probably hurts your hubby too, & how you handle it may affect your kids more.

    Answer by ohwrite at 10:10 PM on Sep. 13, 2009

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