Empty Nest and Jealous Children

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by CrazyinVA, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Do any of you find that your adult children are actually "jealous" of your lifestyle now that you have an empty nest?

    As I've posted here before, Youngest can be very needy. She seems to think I don't spend enough time with my grandson, and is constantly throwing out comments that other people's mothers spend more time with their grandkids than I do, other famlies do more stuff together, see each other more often, etc. etc. etc. If she calls me and I'm out, sometimes she'll say, "oh, I should have known you'd be out," in an accusing sort of tone.

    It's a ridiculous accusation, of course. I've committed to spending specific blocks of time with my grandson every other weekend, so she'll get a break and he and I can build our relationship. In between those times, I frequently see him, either by stopping by to say hi (and get my "Aidan fix," as I call it), or occasionally watching him at her place while she goes grocery shopiong or runs another errand. Nothing regular, but it's not like I ignore him or them for weeks on end.

    I talk to Youngest almost every day on the phone. I respond to her texts, sometimes several in a day. I'm working on backing off of all that. I've begun to stop answering my cell phone if she calls while I am out, because I don't want her to think i am so "available" all the time. I want to be there for her, bot not 24/7. She's a grown-up now.

    I think she is jealous. She's 22, has a 3 year old and another on the way. She's tied herself down, and is watching her peers have fun, start careers, go to school. I am 48 years young, have an extremely active social life and many friends. She doesn't get to have a social life, and she resents mine. Today, she posted a quote on her FB profile about how "family should come first" and that some people are more concerned with their friends and career than with their families. That quote was undoubtedly written about the immediate family unit, parents with children still at home, spouses and children coming before friends/career, etc. It's not meant to be about parents of adult children who have their own kids. You're *supposed* to have your own life once you're out of your parents house, and not want them around constantly. Likewise, parents should have their own lives, right? Sure, my family will always come first when it counts, as in an emergency, but overall my role is different now. Famly comes first when she calls me about some issue she's having with my grandson, when I'm out with friends and can't discuss it with her. Nope, she doesn't come first in that scenario. Nor does it mean that she comes first when she wants me to watch Aidan overnight so she can go somewhere with her fiance, and I have plans to go to a concert that night. Nope, I come first in that scenario.

    Just wondering if others have dealt with this. When I Googled "empty nest" etc., most of what comes up is articles about those who are mourning the empty nest. I'm embracing it.. but Youngest is resentful as heck about that. I know I'm right to keep the boundaries I'm keeping ... and I don't react to her "accusations" of "neglect" as much as I did at first, becuase I know I'm a good grandmother and mother. But still ... it bugs me.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If I got hit with the guilts constantly I would be ticked off...thankfully no one tries that on me. We do probably spend more time than is normal or average with Keyana but that is our choice. We can say no. The only time we do is if one of us is sick, then we normally just let her stay with her Daddy.

    I would get rather irritated if I felt put upon and forced to keep answering for my actions even though I was being more than helpful. You raised her, you are helping with grandson and are being grandma not mom. Thats your job. Grandma.

    I think you are doing fine.
  3. judi

    judi Active Member

    I think that what is right for you or me or Janet, might not be right for someone else. You have to forge what is what involvement you want.

    We have four grandchildren and keep one grandchild every other weekend (at least). However, like Janet, we wouldn't have it any other way. This works for us.

    You have to do what works for you and not stress about it. Good luck...I'd ignore the daughter.
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    My mom is continually irritated with my brother for assuming that since she's retired, she "does nothing" all day and can drop everything and drive an hour to pick up his kids. Who, I might add, are 13 and 12, and in my opinion, can handle staying alone for 90 minutes till Mom gets home from work.

    I agree with you that family comes first in an emergency, but you shouldn't be expected to change your plans because she wants to do something.
  5. helpme

    helpme New Member

    Hell YA you are doing fine. WTH? you aren't a glorified babysitter. Even Dr. Phil says
    that if grandma has the baby more than 20 or so hours a week, that she should get
    paid a few dollars for it! Grandma's are no glorified free babysitters, they are special
    people with special time and there for special occasions!

    I'll tell you what. I think you instincts and comments are right on the money. I'd BET
    on you. Sounds to me like you do have your boundaries in place & you are enforcing them.

    I'd give you a BIG FAT GOLD STAR if I could.
    Better yet, name a star for yourself...you deserve it!
  6. jal

    jal Member

    I don't have an empty nest (although most days I wish I did - long way to go), and this post just struck a cord with me as someone who is very close to their own parents. But crazy in VA you have every right to enjoy your empty nest! You've earned it. OK, she has a 3 yr old and another on the way @ 22. She has to know what she has gotten herself in to. You make time to spend with-your grandchild EVERY other weekend and it's still not enough for her? I am sorry, I may sound very harsh, but she is very selfish. My husband and I have been together since we were 18. Got married and had our planned child @ 29 (unfortunately he's a difficult child). No way in hades do we expect our parents to take him on a regular basis or to be there at our beckon call. He's hard enough for us the last thing we want is to project that onto them. They help when really needed and my parents live 1 min away and mother in law is 5. The way I view my parents is that they have earned the right to have their own life and their vacations and whatever they choose to do (dinner, movies, sports events). They struggled for us (my brother and I) and now have the means to vacation and enjoy their life. I would never begrudge them that. You are absolutely right to stick to your boundries and not feel bad about it.

    You've done your job and the only thing that should matter is that you are there in an emergency. The funny thing is I have found that my parents have a more active social life now, more then they did in their 30's & 40's. And I say good for them. It makes me happy.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  7. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    CinVA, I think you're perfectly right to put your life and your needs at the top of your priority list. Your children are grown up and should be seeking independence, leading their own lives.
    I think that many of our difficult children have a great degree of self-centredness. They become so much the focus of our entire lives during their often hellish teen years, that it is easy to believe it truly is All About Them. Then, when they grow up and leave the nest, many of us heave a sigh of relief at finally having the freedom to do all the things we put off for so many years. I think it bewilders them to realize that they're not nearly as much the centre of our universe that they believed themselves to be.

    This is not to say that we don't love them, and that we won't help them when it's necessary and appropriate. It's just that every waking minute is no longer all about them and they find it hard to live without that level of attention.

    Stick to your guns, you've more than earned it.

  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    My empty nest is about to come to an end in about 2 weeks. But I've enjoyed every minute.

    Oddly, I've found I have a bit more issues in this area with my easy child than with the difficult children. It's not jealousy.......but more like tending to take advantage. I flat out and told easy child and Nichole I didn't want to babysit while in nursing school because I knew the study load would be heavy and when I did get free time that I'd want to relax, not watch kids. Somehow this has zipped right over easy child's head although I've repeated it to her several more times. I still get the boys on occasion. Now don't get me wrong, Darrin and I are exceptionally close due to me watching him daily for his first 3 yrs, and I do enjoy being with them. That's not the point. I just watched them last night, after having them sunday. Now I've told her she needs to get a sitter to cover for when her reg sitter can't do it because family is not always going to be available. Has she done it? Nope. Irks me.

    I don't want to babysit my grandkids. I want to have them when I want to have them and spoil them crazy and send them home. lol So far.......haven't gotten to do that with any of them and I've got #7 on the way. sigh

    Also when thru a period after easy child moved out where she latched on to me like glue. If she wasn't here, she was on the phone. I love her, we have alot in common, but it was more than I'd seen and talked to her thru her teen years. lol It was driving me crazy. So I started to make myself less and less available, sort of weaned her. She still calls often and comes over....but it's not all day every day anymore. She told me she missed what she had at home. lol

    You've got a right to have your own life. Daughter needs to settle in and get comfortable with the life she chose for herself. Don't feel guilty.

  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    HD...lmao...I have to laugh at what you said about easy child calling you every waking minute when she first moved out. Jamie was so like that too. When he finally got out of boot, out of MOS and to his barracks...OMG, I thought the boy would never stop calling us on his free minutes! Every night when he wasnt working...he was on the phone. It didnt matter what he talked about, he had to talk. And if you know how much an unmedicated ADHD'er can talk, you can only imagine how long those conversations would be! We would tag team the phone. Even now he calls at least 3 times a week when he is out driving in the truck because he is bored!

    On the subject though of young parents expecting their moms or parents to help, oh how I wish my mom would have been there like I am...or even half as much as I am. Tony and I sometimes talk to each other about how we really want to be there to help the kids and be active in their lives because we had no one to even give a hand with anything. No one ever took my kids for a break when I was sick. My dad kept Jamie one time when I was moving but thats it. For 2 days. That was the only child he ever attempted to have at the house alone. My mom? Heck no! I had double pneumonia when Cory was 6 months old, Jamie was 2 and a half and Billy was almost 6. I begged her to please take the boys just during the day because I couldnt even get off the couch without vertigo and throwing up. I was running a raging fever. It was darned near impossible to take care of the boys. She refused. Wouldnt even bring food to the house. Wouldnt bring bottles of formula ready made for Cory and snack foods for the older two and some ginger ale and crackers for me. Nothing.

    Billy made PBJ and milk for him and Jamie and fed Cory watered down kool aid. Oh...and jars of mashed bananas.

    Its no wonder I overcompensate with my grandkids. I never want them to feel like I felt.
  10. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I can't speak to the grandkids thing (thank God, difficult child needs to grow up a bit first) except to say that I have observed a real sense of entitlement among young parents I know about how much grandparents do for their kids.... way over the top in my opinion. You are right to hold your ground and do as little or as much as you like.

    As to jealousy.... I have a weirdly empty nest. DEX left, quite suddenly, 3.5 years ago after a long marriage. difficult child is currently living with him after suddenly dropping out of college. On top of that, I had a house fire in October and am currently in an apt while my home is being rebuilt. It's all very weird. I miss everything about my intact family but I am going on and making the most of my life. I am a full time student, but don't feel comfortable discussing that with difficult child as she dropped out of college and pretty much goofed off for the 2.5 semesters she lasted. Also, because of the fire, I've bought some new clothes recently with the insurance money. She will always comment "Is that new?" - sometimes she's seen me in said shirt or whatever a dozen times, but always the comment.... ALL her life, I put her first when it came to everything. I bought her clothes when she reallly didn't need them (I know, I know) and watched her strew them across her bedroom floor and walk on them. I had two pairs of jeans, a pair of black shoes and a pair of brown shoes ...you get the picture. She is living with her dad by choice. I have a lot of friends and I go out a lot ... and, yes, I have a few new sweaters. She is jealous of that, but I let it just roll off my back. When she repays me for her speeding ticket, brings her bank account out of a negative balance and starts to take care of what she has ... maybe I'll take her shopping!
  11. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I do not have an empty nest--but what Janet wrote really struck a chord with me. How I wished my Mom would have been there for me, too!!!

    I've been sick and he's been "too busy".....I've struggled and she's been "too tired"....

    Now--to her credit, there were a couple of true emergencies when she was there and Thank G-d for her help!

    But I longed so much to have the kind of Mom that so many of my friends seemed to have. A Mom who wanted to be there when the babies first came home from the hospital. A Mom who wanted to take care of us when we were sick. A Mom who just couldn't wait to spend time with the grandchildren. A Mom who wanted to be a part of birthday parties and school recitals and "Grandma and Me Day".

    I was very jealous.

    Not of my mother's social life. If she has friends and activities and fun things to do--good for her!

    I was jealous of the relationship that other mothers/daughters/grandchildren seemed to have...and that I was missing out on.

    It still makes me sad to think about it....
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh...my mom wasnt having a social life...lol. She was fighting and spying on the neighbors because their leaves were falling on her property or when they watered their lawn it hit her fence. Or she thought someone 6 trailers down was smoking pot and she could smell it so she would call the cops on them. Sigh. Or the most outrageous one ever. Someone trying to be nice, left her a few tomatoes on her front steps and she was so ticked off that she called the police and wanted them to track down the perp!

    This was what she was doing when she could have been doing anything else...sigh. I am convinced...Schizotypal.
  13. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Although not an official empty-nester, I notice that easy child, now living at her boyfriend's parent's house, seems a little surprised each time she comes home and finds something new, or that H and I have plans, or when I call her to watch the dogs because I have an appointment. She's always like, "What? Where are you going? Wish I could do that...." lol. difficult child, on the other hand, doesn't even seem to notice unless there is not food for her to graze on.
  14. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is part of what Youngest is feeling, I think, and what she expresses to others. But, her perspective is a bit skewed.

    I do want to be there for her, and for my grandchildren. The caveat is, "within reason." I don't mind helping her when she's sick, and will help when the new baby is born. I definitely want to go to Aidan's soccer games when he starts those, and school plays, etc. etc. I love being part of his birthday parties. The thing is, Youngest is very, very, very, VERY, needy. So, she might call me when she's sick, but she might not be THAT sick, she just "wants her mom." Or, she might just be afraid to be alone. So, even though I do things for her, and my grandson, it's frequently "never enough" in her eyes.

    Youngest felt slighted growing up, because she felt I wasn't "there" for her then.. and the truth is, much of the time, I wasn't. Oldest was very sick with Crohn's Disease, in and out of the hospital and frequent ER visits. Add to that Oldest's frequent rages, and Youngest definitely got the short end of the stick. I was (still am) a single mom, with no family nearby.

    Thing is, I can't change any of that. It's done. She's an adult now. I can't suddenly mother her the way she wanted to be mothered all those years ago. I've enabled her enough through my own guilt, for a long time now, and it's a process trying to "cut the cord" so to speak. I've come a long way, but there are lingering issues with her. Her issues, not mine, now.

    Also, I am tired. Raising two difficult children by myself was exhausting. Dealing with them still is at times. I want to enjoy being a grandmother and as someone said above, not being a babysitter, but enjoying my grandchildren when I want to enjoy them. I am finally living the life I deserve, on my terms. I don't want to be "needed" any more.. not in the need-me-so-much-you-hoover-the-life-out-of-me way. Plus it is just me, if I take my grandson for the day there's no one else to help me ... and honestly I find that overwhelming at times (and wonder, how did I raise two by myself when one 3 year old wears me out after 2-3 hours?! The answer is, of course, I'm now 48, not 28 :p)

    Anyway .. thanks for the input. It's one of those situations where, I know I'm right, but I find myself wanting validation from other grandmothers. I'm working hard on maintaining the balance and figuring out the "new roles" Youngest and I have as grandmother/mother/daughter. I just wish she would do the same... sigh.
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    CVA...You also work fulltime. I dont. When I have Keyana here on weekends or even when we take her for these long stretches like we will have her from this Thursday evening all the way through the entire spring break...I have Tony, and her Daddy. Its not just me. Like I will pick her up Thursday evening and she will go spend Thursday night at her Dads. Will will get her sometime Friday to leave for VA for Easter. We come home Tuesday morning. Of course, I wont be hands on with her that entire weekend. Tony is there, Jamie is there, (Billie is useless...lol). At almost 4 she is pretty self sufficient really. She travels well. Pretty easy kid. I couldnt do my kids again. Not on my life. Jamie maintains he couldnt leave Hailie with me alone...lmao. He is right. She is a handful. My two rolled into one.
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I did see this with my siblings and my parents. Also, there was obvious favoritism from my parents towards my neices and nephews because they were "normal" happy children. It was that way with L for quite a while, and I think it helped her to realize that I was young and done having children by the time I was her age, and that choice allowed me to still be young and enjoy myself once my children were gone. You might point this out to your youngest that if this is her last child, she too can be relatively young and financially better off when she is an empty nester if she chooses to stop at two. Otherwise the later she has children, the older she will be when she's able to enjoy her adult freedom. For now, she has young children, and being an active mom is what comes with that.
  17. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Well, I'm jealous of all parents whose kids are out of the house. :tongue:

    CV - You did your tour. It's your time for you. You aren't neglecting Youngest or your grandson by any stretch of the imagination. Youngest has Borderline (BPD). It's her issue, not yours.
  18. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Sooooooooooooooooo.......how much does a Grrrrrrandma and Grrrrrrrandpa get for puppy-sitting? That would be - From November 20th until present - Includes all shots, wormings, potty training, snacks, after-school snacks, breakfast, lunch, dinners, toys, adorable little outfits - remember the Mrs. Beesley outfit?, collar, leash, Diva tiara, mani-pedi 3x a month for 4 months, baths, belly-powder and

    Removal of Living room carpet, Removal of Dining room carpet. Dining room table - oversided, oval, maple, dragon claw and ball foot, kitchen rattan bakers shelf, brand new wainscoating, wallpaper (okay it was ugly but still), three shoes - all right foot and no, not where she could get them - she snuck them off the shoe rack. Three stuffed toy monkeys, 4 potted plants - again not where she could get them - who knew she could climb like a goat? Wall board, a piece of tile, an office chair, a lamp cord - did I mention she ate the safety strip off the floor first, it was unplugged but still .....grrrrrr, a wall - just a wall - have no idea - she just ate the wall. A 1/2 dozen books, a slotted spatula, a fly swatter, a shoe horn, a back scratcher, sinus spray, 2 boxes of kleenex, a California purple iris, a bird house, 2 plastic squirrels, a pot, a butter dish (I have no idea), a set of keys, her sisters black cashmere sweater, her Uncles hoodie, a football, 2 baseball caps, a full bed pillow, a tree, one boot, a Pez dispenser, a copy of Ebony magazine, the mortgage bill, a dead bird (brushed her teeth for 10 minutes after that one), her favorite thing is washcloths - we have none left - and yet.....the boy says - i'm coming for my dog.

    Yeah - What was the question again - Oh who empties out your nest? Ouixa does. No wait you wanted to know if anyone was jealous. Me. I keep pointing to the living room furniture and saying 'mmmm bacon'. At this point I figure Dude can't AFFORD to get this pup out of our nest. I think something is terribly backwards in our house. I keep reading CVA put in her time, and I'm thinking - I did too, but here I am picking up pieces of a shreded Beyonce and Pdiddy from my yard amongst completely anhilated household objects that should me mine all mine. (insert boo hoo) Okay so CVA to answer your question - YES, I'm jealous of YOU. mwah hahaahaha. Hey - want a special needs puppy???
  19. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    husband and I wistfully make plans of the things we want to do once our nest is empty, or at least when Son becomes an adult. Our concern at this point is that our health holds out until then :anxious:.

    I pretty much agree with everyone so far. You are done raising your children and now it's their time to raise theirs. As a kid that spent a lot of time at my Grandparent's house it was some of the best times I ever had. I will always cherish the memories, but my Grandmother never left her house except a very few times in her life (I suspect some social anxiety) and didn't mind having us kids often because that was the only way she was going to see us. However, my Mom, who is widowed and retired, as a fairly active life with her quilting guild and travel. She helps out and gives me a break when she can, but I would never expect her to become babysitter or co-parent. She has made it clear she done raising kids..lol

    Honestly, I can't wait until it's my turn!