Grandparent Visits

Yesterday’s post got me thinking as i mentioned that we see Mr. MPB’s parents about once per year.  Maybe twice on a good year.

In fact, prior to Little MPB we went 3 full years without them visiting us. where as we visited then 9 times.  Mr. MPB and I have a theory about relationships in life – we put in the same effort that others put in.  So, if they wont visit us, we wont visit them.  Let me explain my logic:

  • First, relationships are reciprocal and I/we deserve to be treated respectfully.  We cannot always put 1000% percent of ourselves into relationships, especially when we don’t get anything in return.
  • Second, air travel with a child is HARD!  We’ve done our fair share of air travel with a toddler (at least 10 flights), and with the exception of flying with an infant under 3 weeks old, it’s never been easy.  And it’s never been stress-free. We have managed to have a bottle of formula explode all over another passenger.  We’ve managed to have a toddler pull an all-nighter on more then one flight.  On another flight we walked 2 km up and down the aisle.
  • Let’s not forget that our child doesn’t sleep when he’s not in our house.  And, I mean, he does not sleep at all!  We force naps by driving and for our most recent trip to Hawaii we resorted to melitonin at night to try to get a few hours of real sleep (melitonin was recommended by his pediatrician to help with his complete lack of sleep when we travel).  So, when we travel, we tend to spend every night awake, which means we have a grumpy toddler and grumpy adults.  There isn’t much fun about extreme exhaustion while attempting to visit family.
  • And cost.  Now that Little MPB doesn’t travel for free, with the exception of our Hawaii trip, we have to pay full price for 3 flights and a rental car.  All of which means each weekend visit is at least a few thousand dollars.

Now, back to the point of this, Mr. MPB’s parents.  Neither of their kids live in the same city as them.  Which means none of their grand-kids live in the same city as them.  They complain that we never visit, and in fact, we actually did an early Christmas at their house last year in an attempt to appease them (which turned out to be one of the worst trips we’ve ever done).

I have to mention that they have the means to travel, if they wanted to.  But they wont.  They seem to believe it’s is the kids responsibility to travel to them, especially the MPB family which is the furthest away.

Not that it’s the same as an in-person visit, but they used to Skype with Little MPB when he was a baby.  We used to suggest it, but, for the last 6 months if we even suggest skype, Little MPB cries and says no skype.  And if we just surprise skype, he runs away and hides.   The most recent attempt he looked at us and said I don’t want to skype these people, where is Auntie MPB(to which I laughed so hard I cried – thankfully I was off the screen).  All of this means we’ve stopped suggesting it, and apparently they don’t ask.

So, what this means is that their grandkids don’t know them, especially Little MPB.

And that infuriates me.  Mr. MPB’s mom has always said she wanted to be a grandmother.  We always say that they are welcome to visit anytime.  Yet, now that she is a grandmother, and she refuses to visit.  Truthfully, since her and I don’t have the best relationship, I don’t mind that she doesn’t visit.  But, this isn’t about me, and I am so sad that Little MPB will grow-up not knowing this set of grandparents who would be wonderful grandparents if they ever saw him.

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14 Comments on “Grandparent Visits

  1. I can so relate to this post. We go through the same thing with my in-laws. My mother-in-law is always complaining and saying she wants to see the kids more but doesn’t really ever plan trips but yet constantly goes on motorcycle rallies over weekends. We also have the same issue with face timing them. I don’t think they would initiate it if we didn’t. It sucks because we would like our children to have as many people in their lives that love and care for them as possible but unfortunately that’s not always the case.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like you guys have made a great decision to stop catering to their whims. I think saying “you are welcome to come anytime for a visit.” Is a great way to answer their complaining. (You could also flip it on them and start complaining about how they never visit you!) ha ha

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My perspective is completely different. I have the same distance barrier as you, but my kids and my parents are close to each other.

    Both sets of grand parents for my kids are 2 continents away, with very few hours of overlap even to sky~pe/ FT. My little one has not seen my parents , ever. All he has seen them is via sky/pe and phone and yet, he can recognize them by voice and face. He also saw his paternal grand parents when he was 8 months old, so doesnt really remember them

    The reason is that we make sure both me and my husband sky/pe with them once a week(every weekend), whether the kids see them or not and I talk to them on speaker while driving the kids to daycare. So they ask questions to my boys and my boys talk to them as well.
    My sons sit on sk/ype for 2 mins, say Hi and then all I do is talk to them while I show my parents what the kids are doing.

    I do the exact same when its my in laws. I talk to them on speaker as well and my husband does the same.
    My kids just think it as a natural part of their day to talk to grand parents. If I miss calling them for a day or two, they themselves ask to speak to their grand parents. You cannot force kids to sit in front of sky/pe and talk, they don’t and they wont.. they are kids for a reason.. you both have to talk to the grand parents and get little MPB involved, simple stuff like did you eat breakfast? etc… Make it feel completely natural for little MPB, not an activity which is why he doesn’t want to do it.

    I know you don’t have a great relationship with your MIL, so not sure how you are going to do it, but if you want little MPB to have a relation with them, you have to have a great relation with them (at least a pretend to be great one).

    Money is always going to be a reason to visit or not. Even if we have a million dollars, its about do we really want to spend that money to visit someone we are not excited about meeting v/s going elsewhere?

    I know my comments might seem harsh, but I assure they are not. I am just trying to offer you a different perspective.

    Liked by 2 people

    • First, sorry I’m so slow to respond. Second and more importantly, I always greatly appreciate your thoughts. And I’d say this one was an excellent thought considering Mr. MPB and I spent the evening discussing it. (I love nothing more then when someone says something to me that Mr. MPB and I discuss in detail because it almost always means it’s made us look at something from a different perspective and really consider that perspective).
      A few of my thoughts are:
      Our skype interactions used to be just like yours – every single weekend and Little MPB would say hi and then run off to play. We’d keep the tablet focused on him so they could watch him play and he could hear their voices. But the last 6 months has turned to him crying and screaming when skype is on. We actually aren’t sure what’s causing his reaction. But last night we even tried having him talk to my parents (who he adores and knows really well) on the phone and he just kept pushing the phone away and saying no, no, no. I’m kind of hoping this is just a phase? I’m wondering if he’s mad that it’s skype and not blippi or paw patrol? I really don’t know.
      As for my relationship with my MIL, I’ll probably never have a great relationship with her, and it’s taken me years to accept this fact. When we are together we both fake it and play nice (mostly). But, in over 18 years together, she has only called me once a year on my birthday (which is nice, don’t get me wrong). She used to demand to spend time with “just” Mr. MPB when we would visit, and leave me at their house while they went out to do something fun (Mr. MPB put a stop to this years ago because what was the point of me even visiting if I sat at their house alone, I might as well just have stayed home). I’m point these out as examples of how little of a relationship we have, not to make her look bad. So, while I can fake it during visits, as I have with all but one visit when Little MPB was a baby and I was simply too exhausted to function, I’ve made a very conscious decision to choose not to keep trying to force a different relationship with her then what she’s willing to give. I tried for too long and the hurt was too great, so I’ve had to accept that she is who she is, just as I am who I am. And I struggle with what this will show Little MPB, on the one hand, eventually he’ll see me setting boundaries to protect myself which I think is a good thing. But in the short term, he will simply see how different his relationship is with his my parents vs. my in-laws and that may be hard for him to understand.
      Also, we do talk about both sets of grandparents with him. And his aunts, uncles and cousins too. But he only initiatives conversations about my parents, who he sees probably once or twice a month. He adores them, which makes me so incredibly happy. And simultaneously makes me wish he could have a similar relationship with his other grandparents.
      And you are right about money. A great example is that we choose to travel to places we want to visit (Iceland, Hawaii) rather then go visit them every time we take time off. Even if we had am amazing relationship I suspect we’d still make the decision to travel to places we want to see because that’s just life. 🙂
      Anyways, thank you again for making me think. 🙂


  4. I definitely agree with you that the effort needs to go both ways. If your in-laws aren’t up for traveling to where you are or interested in phone/skype calls, then it’s not fair for your family to keep making that sacrifice and putting in the effort.

    I never had a particularly close relationship with either set of my grandparents, and we lived in the same town. I always felt like a relationship was being forced. So my perspective on grandparent/grandchild relationships is different. With my son, I don’t feel like he would be missing out on anything if he didn’t develop a close relationship to his grandparents. It’s really all just based on how personalities click.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel the exact same way about relationships. I only try for so long without something in return before I’m done. It’s sad that his parents won’t bother to go see their grandkids. I had to laugh at Little’s reaction to the surprise Skype as well!! Leave it to kids to be honest!! 😆

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My husband’s family lives in the same town and his mom is always complaining that she doesn’t see the kids enough. So living close by likely wouldn’t make a difference – if they really wanted to be a part of your lives they would make the effort.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have lots of thoughts here, but I want to share one in particular.

    What mamalife wrote is true, even if it seems harsh. It feels harsh to people like you and me who do not have good relationships with our in-laws. But she’s right. Here’s the thing though… She says you need to have great relationships with your in-laws (or fake it) if you want your kids to have a relationship with them. She’s right. But… I ask this seriously… Do you REALLY want little MPB to have a relationship with them? I ask that because WE’VE had to have this discussion about my husband’s parents and the answer was ultimately “no.” They have said they can’t be the grandparents we would like them to be (you know, please just spend a little time with them outside of a cafe breakfast every 3 months because you live a mere 40 minutes away) and they treat us terribly in front of them when they do see us and show no real interest in the kids. The kids are gaining nothing from seeing them every 3-4 months for coffee, so we’ve decided to stop the visits.

    I think you need to talk with Mr. about what he wants for Little MPB and his parents. I let my husband decide since it’s his family. We encourage a full-on relationship with my parents and it’s terrific. It took work, but we BOTH wanted it for the kids. We BOTH did NOT want it due the kids with my in-laws (serious mental, moral, and social issues there).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the validation. I consider MPB to be a good friend and I was feeling awful writing what I did. Its such a touchy topic, so thank you again!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I thought I remembered you two being close. And what you wrote is true, so no need to thank me! It was good for me to read what you wrote, because it validated the decision we made for our kids – so thank YOU!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you both for all your thoughts on this. I adore that you both made Mr. MPB and I think and talk about your comments. 🙂
        I just wrote a big note back to Mamalife on her first comment, which I think somewhat aligns with Courtney’s thinking.
        Also, Courtney, I completely agree about little my husband decide since it’s his family. I will talk to him about it, provide some input, but ultimately it’s his family and his decision. We have an rule that I deal with my family and he deals with his family. And it’s generally worked for us over the years. I used to force him to go visit because I felt it was right, and I always said he wont lose his relationship with his parents over me so I forced it. But, I’ve slowly realized that it’s not just about me, and it’s not my decision.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I’ve taken the big step back and said, “I’m done making visits with them happen. I’m not your kin-keeper. If they were kind to me, I’d keep trying, but they’re not. Visits are on you now. It’s not my relationship.” And… He has NO interest in seeing them. NONE. He’d like to see his dad, one on one, but his mother will not let that happen. So, neither of them see my husband or the kids (or me, but she prefers it that way, as do I). My MIL is feeling the pain of treating us poorly and not establishing a strong relationship with her son (my husband) when he was young. He was on his own, emotional and financially, from the time he was 14 and now she’s paying the price. I cannot make a relationship between them when he doesn’t want one.

        Oh lady…. I feel you….


  8. These flipping baby boomers are hopeless. I wish my mum would visit more. My dad was very absent in the early years but has been a few times in the past 12 – 18 months and is due to arrive today. It is what it is. I agree it is sad though. I loved visiting with both sets of grandies when I as young. It’s a lovely relationship to enjoy. Hopefully they’ll rally as he grows x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Amen sister.

    You know that t doesn’t bother me one bit that I don’t have to see my MIL much, but that being said, it is infuriating that she doesn’t try to visit her grandson, or more importantly her own son!!!

    I’m the end. It’s their loss. Little MPB has a fulfilling life and sounds like a happy little boy (most of the time 🙂)

    Liked by 2 people

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