Question: Dear Luise: I recently lost my father to cancer about 2 months ago. I just got married in march 2011 and I am 6 months pregnant and have a 5 year old daughter. My mother keeps wanting to keep my 5 year old daughter every weekend her daddy doesn’t (which is the 1st, 3rd & 5th of every month). My husband and I like to do family time, but the weekend is the only time we have to go places. I know my mother is grieving the loss of my dad, but I don’t feel that she needs my child to get her through this. we try to visit as much as possible during the week and on weekends. My sister and her husband live an hour away and a my brother and his wife and child live about 2 1/2 hours away. My husband and I live about 30 minutes away, so this leaves me with having to deal with more since I’m the closest. Everytime my daughter goes to visit her, she comes back with attitude and thinks she can do what she wants. In my house we have certain rules. My daughter is 5 and she has a bedtime about 8:30 or 9:00 pm, but when she stays with grandma she doesn’t go to bed until after 11:00 pm. I don’t feel like my mother cares about our rules. She also tells my daughter that she is like her second mommy. I know that before i got married my daughter and i lived with my parents. I raised my daughter, but yes they did help out. that doesn’t mean that she should tell my kid that she’s a second parent to the child, does it? I don’t know how to handle this situation. My husband and I have agreed that she could keep her for a weekend once a month and visit her when we don’t have things planned. What should I do and how do i tell her without hurting her feelings. J.
Answer: Dear J: There is no way to tell her that I know of without hurting her feelings. Your mother has just faced a huge loss and is looking, understandably, for comfort.
However, the person who needs to be given primary consideration is your daughter. If your mother were willing to come a little closer to following the rules that you have set up, there would be more room for compromise. Youngsters need consistency and can learn very early in life to play one faction against the other to get their way. You don’t want to support that. It sounds like there is further complication from the fact that you lived at home and your mother helped raise your daughter…plus you live close by.
I would talk with a child psychologist about these issues. I would also suggest that you come over to my Web-forum www.WiseWomenUnite.com for support. This issue is one that many there have faced. Blessings, Luise