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Old June 25th, 2017, 12:31 AM
Wandarlust Wandarlust is offline
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Thinking of removing myself from my adult children's lives

I'll try to keep this as short as possible. My husband passed away close to 11 years ago. My daughters were 19 and 23 at the time.

My eldest is married to a wonderful guy who is in the Marines and they now have 4 children. They have never lived close as they have been stationed in other places most of the time accept for the past year. They are set to move again soon.

My youngest is now married also and expecting her first child. They live in my general area and always have. I like her husband also.

The problem is this: since my husband passed, they each seem to have gone on about their lives and just left me to go on. Not saying that I haven't visited my eldest and her family during the times they weren't in the area or that I don't do things with my youngest (ever so occasionally). And, of course, I hear from them on the "obligatory" occasions; birthdays, Mother's Day, the holidays, etc. But more often than not, my texts are ignored for days, if they're even answered at all. Most of the time when I see them, it's because I've reached out to them, not because they have me over for dinner or ask if I'd like to do something with them. Several times over the years my eldest and her family would visit her husband's dad, who lives in the same general area I do, and I wouldn't even know they were in town until after the fact. The excuse was "you were working, etc." I'm nearly always the last to know of anything that's going on with them.

Now the general excuse you hear for this is "people are busy". Well I get that. I totally do. My eldest has 4 kids; I understand that this can get busy. The youngest and her husband both work. But I say this is an excuse. It's what you choose to do when you're not "busy" that is telling.

So I'm thinking of just not reaching out to them anymore. If I hear from them I do, if I don't, I don't. I'm even considering making plans to be "away" this coming TG and Christmas.

I know this sounds harsh, and I love the grand kids to death (when I see them) but I'm tired of this. I won't live forever and perhaps I should just go on and say "to hell with it" and start planning my life as if i may or may not be included in theirs. Perhaps I should just admit the fact that even though they like to say "family is everything" their actions don't reflect this. Not with me anyway.
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Old June 25th, 2017, 06:27 AM
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LucyVanPelt LucyVanPelt is offline
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Re: Thinking of removing myself from my adult children's lives

Your children aren't abusive. They're busy, and you aren't being included as much as you want to be. They aren't meeting your needs, but making sure your needs are met isn't their job; it's yours.

I think you shouldn't do anything official, but definitely live your own life and do what you want. You are still young, independent, you should pursue your own interests as long as you can. They'll be there when you need them.
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Old June 25th, 2017, 01:59 PM
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Re: Thinking of removing myself from my adult children's lives

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Originally Posted by Wandarlust View Post
I know this sounds harsh, and I love the grand kids to death (when I see them) but I'm tired of this. I won't live forever and perhaps I should just go on and say "to hell with it" and start planning my life as if i may or may not be included in theirs.
Honestly, I believe this is how it should be. Certainly, I think you *should* be included in their lives and I sincerely hope you will be. But I think you are on the right track.

There's some saying that I don't recall at the moment, but basically the gist is to give people the effort that is returned to you. If your girls don't make the effort in the relationship that you do, you will feel taken advantage of. Just like everything in life, to best value a relationship with you, your daughters need to work for it. I don't know if that's making sense.

Ideally, we all grow up knowing that our parents are there for us 100% no matter what and we take it for granted. As we grow and move forward, sometimes it's hard to remember that there is a parent behind us on the launch pad. I have been on both sides of this, as the kid who went away and now the parent being left. The hardest part is trust - I trusted when I left that my parents would always be there (they have since died, so I appreciate the sentiment of not being there forever) and now, watching my kids testing their wings, I have to trust that they love me and won't forget about me even though they sometimes don't seem to show it.

The one thing from your post that I will encourage you not to fall prey to is backing off from their lives as a punishment to them. Please make sure you are doing it with the right motivation. Withdraw (and I don't mean totally... just "match their effort") for your own good. Do it for your own sense of well-being and self-respect.

With respect to making plans to be away at TG and Christmas, will your youngest have her baby by then? I might hold off a year, or at the very least only make plans to be away for one of the two holidays. Something tells me that once the baby comes, she might want her momma around more to help her out.
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Old June 25th, 2017, 07:10 PM
Wandarlust Wandarlust is offline
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Re: Thinking of removing myself from my adult children's lives

First, thanks for the replies. I've been thinking about this a little and I think the answer lies somewhere in-between, probably something like Kay Kay is stating.

So, I think that I will make an effort to let them make the first move to invite me over, out whatever, and let the chips fall where they may! (The older one is moving away very soon so couldn't do stuff with them anyway). I'll just "hold on loosely" as the song goes, but leave it at that. As to Thanksgiving, my youngest is due right at the end of October/beginning of November so maybe this year isn't the best time. But I do plan on perhaps taking a Thanksgiving getaway one of these years just b/c it looks like it would be fun to go somewhere warm on TG!
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Old June 25th, 2017, 07:13 PM
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Re: Thinking of removing myself from my adult children's lives

(hugs)

I'm sorry that you feel left out


Do you ever talk/Skype with the grandkids?
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Old September 22nd, 2017, 08:38 PM
Wandarlust Wandarlust is offline
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Re: Thinking of removing myself from my adult children's lives

Well, it has been almost 3 months since I started this thread. First day of Fall today!

But, the reason I'm re-visiting this thread is my newest grandchild is due the end of October/beginning of November and the Holidays are coming up.

Remembering how I have spent the last two Christmases, I asked my daughter that lives close (and having the baby) what she thought they may do for the Holidays, explaining that I wanted to know to make plans for myself if they wouldn't be around. She says that they would probably have a quiet Christmas with a new baby, etc. Now, his parents don't live here and I wondered about whether her hubby would want to visit them, as they always do at Christmas.

Sure enough, yesterday I get a text; they will be gone at Christmas. Can't say it surprised me, but ok. I'm down to my other daughter who is in another state. Now I had planned to visit my daughter that lives here maybe right before Christmas and then go down to see the other one anyway. So I think, maybe i should let her know that I'd like to visit. So I sent her an email this morning explaining that I'd like to see them over the Holidays and just let me know when was good for them in case her hubby had plans to have his parents down, or they could be having friends down, how do I know. Haven't heard a word.

Now I know it's early, but I can't find out at TG or the beginning of December that they've both made plans! Then I end up scrambling around or maybe doing nothing b/c things are booked up. Maybe now those reading this can see why I get frustrated. If I go ahead and make plans, then it looks like I don't want to spend any holiday time with them. If I wait, I could end up not being able to do something or pay more or whatever. Ugh!

The last two Christmases since I retired - I usually had to work during the holidays when I was employed - I have spent sitting in my apartment, alone. I really don't want to spend Christmases like that.
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Old September 24th, 2017, 06:09 PM
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Re: Thinking of removing myself from my adult children's lives

I'd love to do Xmas at yellow stone, do you have any friends in a similar situation? Maybe you could do an "orphan" Xmas
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Old September 25th, 2017, 06:11 AM
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Re: Thinking of removing myself from my adult children's lives

Some of my wife's and my friends are in a similar situation... Whether their kids live in town or in another state they say they are left out - which could very well be the case. Our oldest DD is married and has five kids. Our youngest doesn't even have a boyfriend. Sometimes our oldest will go to her in-laws for Christmas, sometimes they do Christmas at home. A couple of times we were just told that they want to do Christmas by themselves. Of course that went over like a lead balloon with my wife. Our youngest will usually come over, open her gifts, eat, chat and leave. Sometimes she'll just stay the night.

It doesn't seem like you're tied down to pets and stuff. Do you have a good relationship with your son-in-laws parents? Maybe you could hint to go along with them. The other option is your other daughter.

I'm sure you'll think of something. Best of luck to you.
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Old September 25th, 2017, 07:51 AM
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Re: Thinking of removing myself from my adult children's lives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wandarlust View Post
The last two Christmases since I retired - I usually had to work during the holidays when I was employed - I have spent sitting in my apartment, alone. I really don't want to spend Christmases like that.
So, your daughters were used to you working on Christmas. Although you're retired and your pattern has changed, they are still in the pattern that was set before your retirement. Instead of hinting, you might need to address this directly. There is a subconscious assumption of "this is how Christmas is done" that needs a conscious decision to change. Make you decision based on that conversation.

If your family's patterns are set with their ILs, they may have less ability to change it because it causes a ripple effect with everyone else. That doesn't mean you have to be alone. You can contact a church or join a retired group and spend your Christmas with other women who are away from their families, too.
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