Grandparents who don't (hardly) visit — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Grandparents who don't (hardly) visit

Does anyone have experience with grandparents who don't or hardly visit?  My parents visit regularly even when my husband and I have balanced schedules with our 1-year-old.  My MIL lives out of state, retired, and only visits once a year even when we've welcomed her to spend more time with the baby.  She won't even have to worry about the "babysitting hassle" and merely spend time with her, staying with us.  Not to assume but she doesn't have a busy schedule being retired and goes on cruise vacations so money is not an issue.  Supposedly, she doesn't "want to interfere with our lives".  We've stressed how we hardly have "personal time or space" since we are raising a toddler now and would want her to be a part of her life.  I know we shouldn't expect much from grandparents but it's a little odd how she only wants to see her once a year.  Any experience?
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Re: Grandparents who don't (hardly) visit

  • We dont have the same situation but I will say that everyone in my family definitely has different comfort levels with personal space and visiting etc. I guess my only advice would be that if you have offered to have her stay with you and she has declined then thats all you can really do short of going to her. How was she about visiting before the baby? If this is new behavior then maybe she just isnt 100% comfortable with the idea of being around a baby/toddler and perhaps she will relax as your toddler gets older. If its not really new behavior then maybe you just have unrealistic expectations of her. She just might not be the kind of person who visits family a lot. I dont know since Im just making guesses based on your post but try not to stress too much about it. In the end all you can do is make sure she knows she is welcome. Good luck!
  • Or maybe it's the staying at your place? Maybe offer a nice hotel near by so she could enjoy her space but have a longer visit? Or since she likes to travel maybe go on a family vacation like a Disney Cruise or something? My parents are close and visit every weekend. We've gone to the beach for a week with them and to Disney for a week. My in-laws live out if the country and can only afford to come every few years. They usually stay 2 weeks at a time (which in my experience, 1 week is good, going into the second week they start wearing on my nerves) Do they have other children/grandchildren they visit?
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  • Thank you.  Yeah, we only saw her once a year before and welcomed her to be more a part of the baby's life but it is her decision in the end.  I don't know if we would plan a family cruise with a toddler yet; we'll take her to the zoos someday.  This is the first and only grandchild on both sides.  My parents also seem to have the mentality of make the most of her while they're still strong.  My MIL is a lot older and we figured she has less time for these precious moments.  I guess every grand parent is different and all we can do we welcome.

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  • My aunt is a lot older and surprised me when she said last month that she did not want me to come up with my niece (who was in town for a week) - "kids are just too much, you know".  My niece requested to see my aunt so I suggested meeting at a restaurant and my aunt agreed to that.  Even my parents' (now both 70) are starting to surprise me with their "lack" of activity.  They very much want to be visiting but with financial difficulties (even though I offered to pay for a flight) it's been almost a year since they've been here.  My MIL would be here most of the year if I let her - I won't, but I agreed to a 5-week visit which is coming up - BLUCK.  Then compare this to my sister whose MIL met her 1st granddaughter once at birth (now 10 yrs) and has not met her 1st grandson (now 7 yrs).  All ways.  BTW - My MIL who visits frequently - great at physical care (cleaning, cooking) and otherwise detached (little communication).  Even our psychologist friend commented on how my MIL's communication (or lack thereof) is the oddest she has ever encountered.  Gotta love 'em (or hate 'em! or be zen... ;) )

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  • Is your husband surprised by her behavior? I'd guess that he must have seen this coming, otherwise he should really talk to her about how she's missing out on her grandchild's early life. My FIL didn't even see DS2 until he was 18 months old (and hasn't seen him since). We live about 4 hours by car from each other, so it's not exactly impossible to visit. But, we're not surprised at all by his behavior. He took little interest in DH when he was a kid, so we don't expect him to take much interest in grandchildren. Our almost 6 year old son doesn't even recognize him. It's sad, but it's FIL who is missing out.
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  • edited April 2015

    Is your husband surprised by her behavior? I'd guess that he must have seen this coming, otherwise he should really talk to her about how she's missing out on her grandchild's early life. My FIL didn't even see DS2 until he was 18 months old (and hasn't seen him since). We live about 4 hours by car from each other, so it's not exactly impossible to visit. But, we're not surprised at all by his behavior. He took little interest in DH when he was a kid, so we don't expect him to take much interest in grandchildren. Our almost 6 year old son doesn't even recognize him. It's sad, but it's FIL who is missing out.

    Thanks.  Yeah, my husband was actually puzzled too as to why she wouldn't want to visit more often.  She's retired, plans other travel vacations, but still only has one plan to visit this year.  Well, at this point we've tried to move pass the disappointment and think it's her loss.  These are precious moments that are such a blessing to experience.  I just try to be happy my parents are so eager to be a part of her life regularly.
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  • I just had another thought. Can she Skype? Or FaceTime? Maybe DH can help her set it up? My Inlaws Skype DH all the time and the kids see them that way from time to time. They are also on Facebook and "like" all the pictures I post. My 6 yr old Facetimes my mom all the time on his iPad. It was great in the winter during ice storms when we didn't want to leave the house. My 90 year old grandmother had email and Skype but my 50-60 year old Aunts avoid technology all they can. Sounds like your MIL might be in the later group but it's an idea anyway. Like you said, her loss. Hopefully she will realize that soon.
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