I’m Done Trying-The Mother In Law Chronicles

    Since becoming a mother, my perspective on a lot of things has changed considerably.  I suppose bringing new life into the world has its ways of shuffling your priorities.  It’s no secret that I have never had a close relationship with my Mother In Law.  I’m not going to get into the reasons why this is so, all you have to do is type “Mother In Law” into this blog’s search and you will learn all about our rocky history.  The sad part is that my last post a few years ago was actually hopeful after a surprise visit where everyone got along…

    Unfortunately, she has been an absentee grandmother in my sons’ lives and the good feelings were short lived.  To be fair to her, she lives 12 hours away in another state and does not come to New York City very often.  On the other hand, as a mother, I cannot even fathom how maintaining contact with her grandsons is not more of a priority for her.  There really is no excuse with all of the technology that is available to keep in touch even over long distances.  She also has not seen or spoken to my husband, her son, in almost two years.

    Some might argue that the reason for this is because I make it difficult for her to have a relationship with her son and her grandsons due to the fact that her and I have never seen eye to eye.  This couldn’t be further from the truth because, over the years, I have tried and tried to bridge that gap by reaching out to her repeatedly and inviting her to every event that I have ever had for my sons.  I’ve even gone as far as to call her the morning of my son’s birthday just to remind her to call him which she never did, by the way.

    So, last month she once again failed to call my son for his special day.  It was not a big surprise because he is eight and she has never called for his birthday.  The difference now is that, either I’m too good or too stupid, but I feel very badly that my sons don’t have both of their grandmothers.  She is getting up there in age and I wonder how many more missed opportunities there will be left.  The sad part is that I care about this more than my husband does and she is not even my mother.  You see, he is way past the point of being fed up with her after a lifetime of madness and is just done to the point of feeling like,  “put a fork in me I’m done.”

    I can never imagine not talking to my own sons or not being a part of my grandchildren’s lives in the future.  Maybe I’m naive in thinking that there is a glimmer of hope for this cracked family relationship.  In any case, if she knew how amazing her grandsons are and what she is missing out on by not being a part of their lives, she surely would change her mind about this whole vendetta.

    Life is just way too short to hold on to grudges and stop talking to those who are supposed to matter to you the most.  I wonder if any of these things are worth the price of having grandchildren who don’t even know who you are…

Let’s Discuss:  Would you keep trying to reach out to your MIL in this situation or just give up?

© 2014, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. Robin Rue says

    I can completely relate to this. My father’s mother was an absentee grandmother and she only lived a few towns over!! She repeatedly ignored me, my sister & brother on our birthdays and Christmas. All while she spoiled my cousins. It was very hurtful to the three of us kids and my parents.

  2. Maria Sinclair says

    When my daughter (now a teen) was little my husband said it best “The relationship my mother has with our kids is between her and the kids. If she chooses to have no relationship with the kids, that is her choice.” My daughter is a teen now and while she is fully aware about the lack of relationship with that grandmother, she does love her and basically knows that her Grandmother does not know “how to love her” the way her other Grandmother loves her. Relationships are different. Every person loves differently. I feel sad for my kids AND for her. She missed a great opportunity to know her grandchildren and lost out. It doesn’t seem to bother her. You can force someone to have a relationship with your kids. I know it hurts to see it happen to your children.

  3. Personally, I wouldn’t keep trying to reach out to her. All it is doing is hurting you, your husband, and most importantly the kids.

    My mother and I fell out years ago and she hasn’t reached out to see my daughters either and I just moved on. It hurts at first but I don’t want my children hurt either wondering why their grandmother doesn’t call or visit them. They actually don’t even know who she is. But the good thing is my daughters has their grandfather and his wife in their lives.

    I hope things gets better for you!

  4. Chavonne H says

    If I were in this situation after many failed attempts I would give up in trying to get her to be apart of anyone’s life. It seems that she is not interested for some odd reason and it’s unfortunate but from my experience with family, this happens a lot. I have no idea why and it’s very hurtful but at some point you just gotta let it go for your own peace of mind but it still hurts.

  5. It is sad but you can’t force someone to behave a certain way unless they want to. I have several friends in the same situation and they have given up too. Your kids can now focus on the people who really care about them and goodbye to your MIL.

  6. tina nb couponclipper thornton says

    I know exactly how you feel,I have people in my life like this also and you are right you cant force anyone to do anything. all though we all wish we could.

  7. Wow. This is interesting because I’m the mother-in-law who got so tired of being treated like a slightly dotty foreign object that I don’t care to be around any of them anymore, which is too bad because I dearly love my little grandbaby. I’m one to keep my mouth shut, after all a mother-in-law, right. The one time I did hesitantly suggest that swaddling was an excellent way to help a fussy infant feel secure and cut down on the crying time, you would think I’d suggested they cut off her arms and legs. I guess it’s a miracle my four survived babyhood. There are two sides to every coin.

  8. So, I have a child who’s grandmother has never seen her. She has NO desire to be a part of her life so I don’t sweat it. Sure it sucks but you can force ppl to love others. It is not up to us to try to make others into people that they are not. I have a lot of experience with this and it is so much better when you just stop. Your child will be OK, I promise. Hugs to you!!

  9. JadeLouise Designs says

    What a tough situation. I’m so grateful I have a good relationship with my MIL. But were I in your shoes, I would still keep the door open. Mostly for your son’s benefit. Do what you can to keep the option for her to be present and let her know they want her in their lives. Just as long as you don’t have expectations that she will magically change, but you need to at least keep the open door for her to be apart of their lives so your son doesn’t think you are the reason why Grandma isn’t present. You don’t need that guilt and battle on top of everything else. -Amber

  10. It sounds like you are in a very tough situation right now. I hope you do what you feel is best for you and your family! My MIL was tough to both me and my sister-in-law for a while, but luckily we were able to create a good relationship.

  11. Megan @ That Neat Blog says

    I have been in your shoes. My husband and sons lost contact with my MIL and she only lived 2 hours away. 2 years passed with no contact. Then, she started feeling guilty after her father died and decided to reconnect. It took a lot from my husband to let her back in but he did. She moved to Texas and we live in NC. She calls regularly to speak to my husband and kids. Sometimes I even talk to her but I know I will never have a relationship with her. Maybe once your MIL realizes she won’t live forever she’ll come around. But don’t try to force her. If she doesn’t, her loss.

  12. I am not sure. As you get older you learn that life is too short to waste time on relationships like this and you find out if you let it go, you will be less stressed. However, that approach is really not fair to your children and I would probably keep trying.

  13. I would keep trying, for your son’s sake. It’s a tricky situation, but I wouldn’t completely shut her out.

  14. Be the better and bigger person and reach out to her,ya never how it just might help.

  15. Rebecca Bryant says

    I’m not sure I want to say keep trying but I would most likely give up.

  16. That is such a tough situation. Keep trying. Be positive and stay true to you. AMber-

  17. Anthony Marrero says

    Well expressed…and tough on all levels. I will say that a lot stems from how our mothers were raised and raised us (sons). There is a selfish side that comes from a deeper place. There are no free passes, it is wrong. Some mothers come in with what they they were taught as kids, shown as early adults, and are set in their ways. I don’t say this as an excuse. Behind a controlling spirit is a damaged heart (for some). Not everyone is able to share their heart if they were not taught that love is for everyone…some had to fight for that one love, their own fathers who failed them, husbands who wronged them…and their boys that they try to hold back, because another woman makes them smile. Everyone has an untold story. She has hers, good, bad or indifferent Not easy at all, and so many suffer because of it.

  18. Lawna Young says

    Honestly, I would just give up. My mother in law is a terrible person, more than anyone that I know. We recently stopped contact with her and we have no intention on ever having any contact with her again.

  19. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says

    Honestly, I would probably just let it go if I were in that position. If she was inconsistent with her attentions, that would be even more confusing to the kids. At least now, it’s status quo.

  20. mail4rosey says

    It sounds like a very difficult situation. I’m sorry you have to go through it. I hope it ends up someday with a happier ending.

  21. So sorry you had to go through these struggles. To be honest since I am not in that situation – I really don’t have any idea what should be done but hopefully things will settle and get better soon – prayer always helps.

  22. What a shame! Have your boys send a holiday card and then focus on the family who appreciates and reciprocates. My sister goes through a similar situation and she had to learn to let it go. It was tough but better than feeling bad about herself.

  23. I honestly would have given up already. I try not to put too much effort into those who put zero effort in. At least you’ve been trying at it. Sorry to hear that it’s not working out though.

  24. Amanda Her says

    What a shame. It’s sad that she refuses to make more of an effort, but at the same time she’s grown and there’s not much else you can do. {HUGS.}

  25. Marni | Love and Duck Fat says

    Does mother-in-law read your blog? It’s always hard, but at least you don’t have a grandpa (like me) who lived 40 minutes away and doesn’t see his only grandchild for MONTHS.

  26. I would have given up already if I were you. If she doesn’t realize what she’s doing & the missed opportunities of being a grandmother, sucks for her…

  27. Wow. It’s very sad. I would have already given up, honestly. I think you have done more than enough at this point.

  28. Honestly I would let go. At this point you’ve gone above & beyond in the effort to communicate and bring the family together. It’s beyond time for her to make some effort, otherwise it’s her loss. Just know in your heart that you did what you could.

  29. I think after years of nothing from her, I’d let it go. However it would certainly break my heart. Your sons would benefit from their grandmother being in their lives. But if she doesn’t’ want to make an effort, there is only so much you can do.

  30. I think you have done all that you can do — I mean, you actually called HER on your son’s birthday to remind HER to call him? and then she didn’t do it? I think that is very blatant on her part in saying that she doesn’t care. My only suggestion is to point-blank ask her, “I called you to remind you to call my son on his birthday and you didn’t do it. Be honest. Do you want me to stop all contact with you?” then see what she says to that. Some people you just can’t change. And maybe your grandkids will be important to you…but that doesn’t mean that all people feel that same connection to their grandkids. Or their own children, for that matter.

  31. Katherine Gilbert says

    From reading y6our post you have tried everything. At some point you just have to accept the fact that she is happy with the relationship with her son and grandchildren being just the way it is. I have had to let go of my expectation of how a relationship with my children should be with many relatives. For example I know my parents aren’t the type of grandparents to pick my kids up and spend the weekend with them or taking them on trips. Once I accepted this life became much easier. I realize it is their job to establish a relationship with my kids not mine.

  32. I can related a bit. I tolerate my mother-in-law because of the hubby and my grandson. lol Truth is, my son loves her and she did move all the way from Toronto to live near my son so that will always count for something. Maybe it’s me? Any grandparents that are able in body to have a close relationship with their grand kids and doesn’t is losing out! It’s their lost. It just sucks a lot for the kids =(

  33. I’m sorry to hear that you have to deal with that. I don’t know the answer. I just know she is really missing out!

Speak Your Mind

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.