Por qué los abuelos maternos tienden a estar más cerca del abuelo>
Más en crianza de los hijos
Todos los abuelos no son creados iguales. Tanto las encuestas científicas como la evidencia anecdótica muestran que, por lo general, los abuelos maternos están más cerca de los nietos que los abuelos paternos. La clasificación habitual es así, de más cercano a menos cercano: abuela materna, abuelo materno, abuela paterna, abuelo paterno. Excepciones, por supuesto, ocurren.
Razones para las diferencias en la cercanía de los abuelos a los nietos
Algunos creen que esta diferencia se debe al papel de los padres como guardianes entre los abuelos y los padres. A pesar de los avances en la igualdad de género, es probable que las madres dirijan las actividades de sus hijos. Pueden dar mayor importancia al contacto con sus propios padres.
Otros sostienen que la relación entre una mujer y su suegra, la abuela paterna de sus hijos, siempre será complicada. La posesión, por así decirlo, de un hombre atesorado, se ha pasado de madre a esposa. Un poco de celos y competitividad es natural. Aún así, puede obstaculizar una relación cercana, que a su vez puede obstaculizar la cercanía entre abuelo y nieto. Quizás las suegras a menudo son injustamente criticadas, pero el papel genera cierta tensión.
Los científicos ofrecen una explicación diferente, una tesis evolutiva, que algunos observadores descartan. Esta explicación científica sostiene que las madres siempre están seguras de que son los padres de sus hijos, mientras que puede haber incertidumbre en la mente de un padre. Antes de la edad de las pruebas de ADN, un padre tenía pocos medios para demostrar que el niño que se decía era realmente portador de sus genes. Eso es doblemente cierto para un abuelo que se pregunta si su nieto es realmente su nieto. Entonces, la abuela materna sabe con casi 100% de certeza que su nieto está genéticamente relacionado con ella. Un abuelo materno o una abuela paterna solo tienen la mitad de esa certeza, y un abuelo paterno no tiene certeza alguna.
Por supuesto, muchos otros factores afectan la cercanía de una relación. La cercanía geográfica es importante, aunque los abuelos pueden superar la distancia. El estado de empleo, la salud, el estado económico y la personalidad de un abuelo también pueden ser factores influyentes. Otra variable es el número de nietos que tiene un abuelo. Un abuelo con muchos nietos puede tener dificultades para pasar tiempo de calidad y establecer vínculos con cada uno.
El papel de la vinculación temprana
La preferencia por los abuelos maternos comienza temprano, y es más probable que las abuelas maternas sean invitadas a la sala de partos. Del mismo modo, es más probable que la abuela materna ayude después del nacimiento de un bebé, facilitando la vinculación temprana con el nieto. Es más probable que al abuelo que se une temprano con un nieto se le pida que cuide más tarde y que participe en actividades escolares cuando el nieto comience a ir a la escuela.
Relaciones entre adolescentes y abuelos
Los estudios con adolescentes muestran que la ventaja de la abuela materna no se disipa con el tiempo. Los estudios de nietos adolescentes son especialmente valiosos, porque presumiblemente los adolescentes son lo suficientemente mayores como para iniciar algún contacto con los abuelos por su cuenta, y porque son lo suficientemente mayores como para sacar conclusiones competentes sobre las relaciones.
En un estudio de adolescentes británicos, 9 de cada 10 dijeron que su abuela materna era el miembro de la familia más importante fuera de su familia inmediata. El abuelo materno fue el siguiente. La cercanía fue fomentada, según los adolescentes, por la participación en sus vidas escolares. Además, 8 de cada 10 adolescentes dijeron que sus abuelas maternas habían discutido su futuro con ellos y les habían dado buenos consejos. ( Estudio longitudinal de padres e hijos de Avon, Universidad de Bristol, 2007)
El efecto del divorcio en las relaciones con los abuelos
Los roles de los abuelos maternos y paternos tienden a divergir más ampliamente cuando los padres de sus nietos se divorcian. A pesar de los avances en la igualdad de género, solo uno de cada seis padres gana la custodia primaria después de un divorcio. Cuando una madre gana la custodia, los abuelos maternos a menudo intervienen para llenar las brechas en la crianza de los hijos y proporcionar estabilidad a la familia. En el proceso, tienden a acercarse a sus nietos. Esto también puede ocurrir con los abuelos paternos cuando el padre obtiene la custodia, pero ese es un evento relativamente raro.
Cuando la madre obtiene la custodia después de un divorcio, los abuelos paternos tienden a ver menos a sus nietos. Sin embargo, pueden jugar un papel importante facilitando el contacto entre los niños y sus familias paternas.
El efecto de la vida multigeneracional
La preferencia por los abuelos maternos no es tan clara cuando se trata de la vida multigeneracional. Si los jóvenes comparten hogares con sus padres, es probable que los factores culturales determinen si se mudarán con los abuelos maternos o paternos. Por supuesto, otros factores como la ubicación y la economía pueden anular los patrones culturales.
En las familias indias, bangladesíes y pakistaníes, se espera que los padres jóvenes vivan con los abuelos paternos. En las culturas caribeñas, se espera que vivan con abuelos maternos.
En términos generales, las familias blancas, mestizas, negras y caribeñas tienen más probabilidades de vivir con los abuelos maternos. En una encuesta de adolescentes británicos, el 74% dijo que no les importaría si su abuela materna viviera con ellos, mientras que el 54% dijo lo mismo de su abuela paterna. ( Envejecimiento y sociedad )$config[ads_text5] not found
No es necesario decir que el esfuerzo realizado por un abuelo siempre será el factor más importante para determinar si los abuelos y los nietos tienen una relación cercana. Los abuelos que desean involucrarse en la vida de sus nietos y, sin embargo, logran ser respetuosos con los roles de los padres tienen la mayor probabilidad de éxito. Y esto es cierto independientemente de su posición en el árbol genealógico.
6 factores de cercanía abuelo-nieto
Tom Merton / Getty Images
Más en crianza de los hijos
En este articulo
¿Alguna vez te has preguntado cómo algunos abuelos logran tener relaciones cercanas con sus nietos y otros no? No es un misterio La investigación ha descubierto los secretos, pero aún son desconocidos para muchos abuelos.
Merril Silverstein y Vern L. Bengtson, entre otros, han estudiado el concepto que llaman "solidaridad intergeneracional" y han identificado seis factores que influyen en esta "solidaridad". Si bien algunos de estos factores están fuera de nuestro control, otros no.
Es poco probable que esta información ayude a los abuelos que han perdido el contacto con sus nietos, o aquellos que tienen conflictos familiares muy arraigados que pueden requerir terapia para resolverse. Pero para el resto de nosotros, esta información podría ser vital.$config[ads_text6] not found
1. Proximidad física
No es sorprendente que la cercanía geográfica sea uno de los predictores más fuertes de una relación cercana entre abuelos y nietos. Este factor puede estar fuera del control de algunos abuelos, aunque algunos han demostrado estar dispuestos a mudarse para estar cerca de sus nietos. Otros factores, como la salud y el estado financiero de los abuelos pueden ser factores si limitan los viajes. La distancia geográfica no es terriblemente importante para los abuelos que están en forma, sanos y financieramente capaces de pagar el costo de los viajes frecuentes para ver a sus nietos.
Aunque los abuelos están de acuerdo en que no hay sustituto para la interacción cara a cara, la tecnología ha facilitado la construcción de una relación con los nietos a lo largo de las millas. Muchos abuelos visitan a sus nietos diariamente a través de FaceTime, Skype u otra plataforma de video chat. Los nietos mayores apreciarán los mensajes de texto amorosos, siempre que no sean demasiado frecuentes. Facebook y otros sitios de redes sociales también son buenos para mantenerse en contacto con nietos entre adolescentes, adolescentes y adultos jóvenes. La conclusión es que los abuelos amorosos encontrarán una manera de salvar la distancia.
2. Frecuencia de contacto
Los abuelos que permanecen en contacto frecuente con sus nietos tienen relaciones más cercanas, pero la distancia física no es el único obstáculo para contactar. El divorcio de los padres comúnmente tiene un efecto drástico en el contacto entre nietos y abuelos. A menudo, el contacto aumenta entre el padre con custodia y sus padres, y también aumenta el contacto con los nietos. Pero los padres del padre sin custodia con frecuencia encuentran que su contacto con los nietos se reduce considerablemente. Dado que las mujeres aún reciben la custodia con más frecuencia que los hombres, la mayoría de las veces los abuelos maternos tienen una relación mejorada con sus nietos después del divorcio, mientras que los abuelos paternos tienen un papel reducido. Por supuesto, más padres están ganando la custodia, y la custodia conjunta está en aumento. Quizás en el futuro el divorcio no afectará la relación abuelo-nieto tan radicalmente como a menudo lo hace hoy.$config[ads_text7] not found
3. Función de los abuelos dentro de la familia
Cuando los abuelos brindan cuidado de niños a sus nietos o se convierten en padres reales o sustitutos de sus nietos, tienen una oportunidad mayor que el promedio de establecer vínculos. Muchos abuelos que cumplen estos roles, sin embargo, desean poder ser abuelos "regulares" en lugar de tener que llenar los zapatos de sus padres. Además, la investigación muestra que es la presencia regular de los abuelos lo que resulta en la cercanía en lugar de las funciones que realizan. Si usted es un abuelo que se ha hecho cargo de sus nietos o un abuelo "genial" que juega principalmente con ellos, puede estar cerca de sus nietos.
4. El concepto de normalidad.
Las familias que esperan relaciones sólidas entre las generaciones tienen más probabilidades de tenerlas. Esto se debe a que a los miembros de la familia se les enseña desde una edad temprana que los miembros de la familia comparten obligaciones. Esas obligaciones pueden incluir el cuidado de niños y ancianos, asistencia financiera y el intercambio general de tareas. Y la asistencia fluye en ambas direcciones: de joven a viejo, de viejo a joven. Las familias que tienen este tipo de cultura tienen más probabilidades de demostrar fuertes lazos abuelo-nieto que las familias en las que la individualidad y la independencia encabezan la lista de valores. Dichas familias también adoptan prácticas que mantienen cerca a las familias extensas.
5. Vinculación emocional
Aunque los abuelos y los nietos a menudo informan cercanía mutua, los abuelos pueden informar un mayor grado de cercanía que la generación más joven. Eso es natural. Cuando las familias trabajan como deberían, los niños son más cercanos a sus padres y hermanos. Los abuelos suelen ocupar su segundo círculo o segundo nivel de proximidad emocional. A medida que los niños crecen, sus círculos se agrandan y sus compañeros se vuelven de vital importancia para ellos. Los abuelos pueden ser desplazados aún más.$config[ads_text8] not found
Los abuelos, por otro lado, a menudo viven en un mundo de círculos cada vez más pequeños, ya que sus compañeros y parientes mayores mueren, se alejan o sufren problemas de salud graves. Sus hijos y nietos pueden llegar a ocupar un espacio más grande en sus vidas en lugar de ocupar un lugar más pequeño. Sin embargo, lo importante es que los abuelos que se desarrollan establezcan vínculos emocionales tempranos con los nietos descubrirán que esos vínculos duran. Tales lazos generalmente sobreviven al paso de los años y a los muchos cambios que atraviesan ambas generaciones.
La investigación también muestra que la generación media es de vital importancia para determinar la cercanía. Cuando los abuelos y sus hijos adultos están cerca, la cercanía con los nietos es natural y fácil.
6. Alcanzar un consenso sobre los valores
Los nietos a menudo obtienen sus primeros valores de padres y abuelos. Sin embargo, a medida que maduran, es más probable que desarrollen su propio conjunto de valores. Las familias son más cercanas cuando comparten valores, pero pocas familias llegarán a un acuerdo total. Los investigadores dicen que a veces se desarrolla una brecha generacional cuando las generaciones más jóvenes encuentran que las generaciones mayores carecen de tolerancia social e incluso son propensas a la hipocresía. Los abuelos no deben abandonar sus valores y estándares, pero la voluntad de escuchar a la generación más joven puede ser muy útil. Y los abuelos deben estar seguros de que practican lo que predican.
Aunque estos seis factores influyen en la cercanía entre abuelos y nietos, la actitud de los abuelos es el factor más importante. La investigación muestra que el amor por los abuelos no está integrado en la relación abuelo-nieto. En otras palabras, los nietos no valoran automáticamente a sus abuelos. En cambio, aprenden a valorar a sus abuelos individuales y la forma en que ocupan ese papel. Es poco probable que los abuelos separados o no involucrados encuentren un lugar de honor en el círculo familiar. Por otro lado, tampoco es probable que los abuelos que prosperan creando drama familiar y suscitando conflictos sean miembros valorados de la familia. Con todo, es el abuelo quien está decidido a construir una relación fuerte y duradera con los nietos que tiene más probabilidades de tener éxito.$config[ads_text9] not found
¿Los abuelos maternos lo tienen mejor?
Los abuelos han estado en todas las noticias últimamente. Aquí hay algunos puntos destacados:
La ventaja de los abuelos maternos
La investigación sugiere que los niños a menudo están más cerca de sus abuelos maternos que de sus padres, tal vez porque las madres tienden a mantener vínculos más estrechos con sus propios padres que los padres.
The New York Times • 21 de marzo de 2018
'Abuelas para el control de armas': estas abuelas están saliendo a las calles para la Marcha por nuestras vidas
Los abuelos de todo el país apoyan a los adolescentes al frente del nuevo movimiento de control de armas.
The Washington Post • 22 de marzo de 2018
'Han sido invisibles': el profesor de Seattle estudia el papel de las abuelas negras en la sociedad
LaShawnDa Pittman, profesor de estudios étnicos en la Universidad de Washington, ha creado un sitio web para celebrar a las abuelas negras en todo el país.
"No deberíamos estar hablando de la experiencia negra sin hablar de las abuelas negras", dice ella. "Confiamos cada vez más en estas mujeres, y su representación en línea no es representativa de su papel en el mundo".
The Seattle Times • 2 de febrero de 2018
Los lectores nominan a sus abuelas ignoradas para un obituario de Times
¿Puedes nombrar algunas mujeres que deberían haber obtenido un obituario en The New York Times, pero no lo hicieron? Cuando el periódico planteó esta pregunta a sus lectores, muchos nominaron a sus abuelas.
The New York Times • 21 de marzo de 2018$config[ads_text10] not found
Cambio de marca del centro para personas de la tercera edad: las ciudades y pueblos adoptan los programas de auge, multigeneracionales
Muchos de los 225 centros públicos para personas mayores en Massachusetts también se están reinventando para dar la bienvenida a personas jóvenes y de mediana edad.
¿Por qué los abuelos maternos suelen estar más cerca de los nietos?
Puede haber algo en este viejo cliché.
La relación estereotípicamente tensa entre una mujer y su suegra no siempre suena a verdad, pero una fuente de contención citada a menudo podría tener más bases en la realidad, según un artículo reciente del New York Times : la ventaja de los abuelos maternos .
«Escuchas esto a menudo: los abuelos paternos pisan con mucho cuidado, conscientes de que una nuera podría no apreciar sus oberturas o su presencia frecuente, ansiosa de poder limitar el acceso a sus nietos», escribió Paula Span en su columna de la Nueva Vejez. . «Pensé que era un estereotipo antiguo, posiblemente nunca exacto y ciertamente ahora anticuado. Pero los investigadores que exploran las afiliaciones familiares señalan que existe una llamada "ventaja matrilineal".
Span ofrece evidencia de científicos familiares familiarizados con el tema como Karen Fingerman de la Universidad de Texas, Austin. Algunos sociólogos teorizan que, dado que el deber de "cuidar", por ejemplo, mantener las relaciones familiares y planificar reuniones, a menudo recae en las mujeres, es más fácil para las madres y las hijas mantener su vínculo en comparación con los hijos.
Fingerman también descubrió en su investigación que, dado que la nuera es a menudo la "guardiana" en la relación, su relación con los padres de su esposo influye mucho en su relación con cualquier nieto.
Por supuesto, esta es una tendencia; No es una regla. Muchas esposas desarrollan relaciones cercanas con sus suegros, y no hay escasez de personas que luchan con sus propios padres. Pero Span cita muchas pruebas anecdóticas que respaldan esta ventaja matrilineal, y los lectores del New York Times también publicaron muchas de las suyas.
Esto es lo que un comentarista identificado como Sammy escribió:
Mi madre está más cerca de mi hijo por varias razones. Mi madre vive en el mismo estado que yo, por lo que tiene más oportunidades de verla, mientras que mi MIL ve a nuestro hijo 2-3 veces al año (pagamos los vuelos para mi MIL dos veces al año).
A mi esposo no le gusta mantenerse en contacto con su madre. No está en FB u otras redes sociales. Apenas responde su teléfono celular, así que tiendo a actuar como su secretaria, pero no estoy dispuesto a hacer un esfuerzo considerable más allá de empujarlo para que llame en Navidad o en el Día de la Madre. Trabajo más horas que él y simplemente no tengo tiempo para trabajar, mantener mi hogar y nuestra familia inmediata y asumir el deber de mantener su relación con su madre.
Una nieta ahora adulta llamada Jess también intervino con su propia experiencia de la infancia:
Soy un nieto de unos veinte años y puedo dar fe de mis amigos y normalmente estoy más cerca de nuestros abuelos maternos. A medida que crecí, intenté equilibrarlo. Mi madre nunca me impidió verlos, solo parecía que mi familia confiaba más en mis abuelos maternos, ya que mi madre confiaba tanto en su madre cuando crecía, mientras que mi padre se fue de casa a una edad tan temprana y siempre fue muy independiente. Como adulto, creo que ahora he superado con éxito la brecha forjada por la geografía, así como el tiempo que pasé separado. Ahora que soy consciente del trabajo requerido para igualar el «puntaje», intentaré hacer todo lo posible para evitar que vuelva a suceder.
Por supuesto, no todos estuvieron de acuerdo. Otros lectores elogiaron sus estrechas relaciones con su nuera o suegra y cómo han desarrollado un fuerte vínculo a lo largo de los años. Muchos comentarios también mencionan que tal vez sea responsabilidad del hijo / esposo asumir un papel activo en la crianza.
Si bien ninguna familia es perfecta, esta columna pareció golpear un punto dolorido que suena cierto para más que la mayoría.
¿Las abuelas maternas realmente lo tienen mejor?
La columnista Barbara Graham intenta responder a la eterna pregunta
Ser la suegra es el tema candente en el que las abuelas paternas tienden a detenerse, y no soy la excepción. Incluí ensayos sobre el tema en Eye of My Heart . He escrito columnas en Grandparents.com acerca de sentirme excluido como resultado de mi estado civil.
Obviamente no estoy solo. Con más de 1, 400 miembros, Mothers-in-Law Anonymous es el grupo de discusión más grande y jugoso que tenemos. Claramente, muchos en nuestras filas se sienten excluidos y privados de sus derechos.
Aún así, me pregunto: ¿qué pasa con las abuelas en el lado materno? ¿ Realmente lo tienen mucho mejor que nosotros? ¿Se ahorran caminando sobre cáscaras de huevo alrededor de sus hijas adultas? ¿Su acceso a los nietos es tan libre como aquellos de nosotros con los suegros después de la palabra madre imagina? En otras palabras, ¿los viejos mitos son realmente ciertos?
La respuesta es sí y no. Tomar prestado el título de una película reciente, como todo lo relacionado con los abuelos, es complicado . Este es el por qué.
Mito No. 1: las abuelas maternas tienen un acceso más fácil a los nietos que sus contrapartes en la ley.
Bueno, tal vez ... a veces. Pero hay muchos factores atenuantes. La geografía, en nuestra sociedad muy fluida, es una. "A pesar de las maravillas de Skype, estoy menos cerca de la familia de mi hija en California que sus suegros", dice Martha Horne, una trabajadora social jubilada y abuela de siete años que imparte un curso de abuelos en el Instituto Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. en Washington, DC "El contacto regular es muy importante para los niños a medida que crecen". Y aunque Horne está agradecida de que los suegros de su hija estén en la escena y puedan ayudar, desearía poder ver a sus nietos en el oeste costa más a menudo. "Cada nieto es único", dice ella.
También hay otros factores, incluso cuando todo el clan vive muy cerca. Por ejemplo, algunas abuelas paternas están jubiladas y están más disponibles para cuidar a los niños que las abuelas maternas, mientras que otras no participan debido a la mala salud.
La cordura y la disfunción familiar también son clave. Incluso las nanas que viven en el mismo barrio que sus hijas pueden no disfrutar de una política de puertas abiertas cuando se trata de los nietos. Esto es cierto para mi amiga Lily, cuya nuera apenas habla con su madre, a quien considera psicótica limítrofe. En cambio, ella confía en Lily. Lo que nos lleva a ...
Mito No. 2: las hijas confían en sus madres para recibir consejos y apoyo emocional.
Mito No. 3: las abuelas maternas no se sienten excluidas.
En ambos casos ... a veces . Todo depende de la relación entre madre e hija. Para algunas hijas, convertirse en padre puede desencadenar viejos problemas con sus madres. En Eye of My Heart, Jill Nelson escribe: “Cualesquiera que sean las razones, mi hija y yo ... estamos atrapados luchando batallas cansadas. Por mucho que quisiera que lo que me une a mi nieto sea simple y claro, la conexión entre nosotros se enreda entre mi hija y yo. Mi amor por mi nieto conmueve lo que pensaba, o deseaba, que se hubiera resuelto, olvidado o perdonado ”.
Y a pesar de que muchas hijas se llevan bien con sus madres, con frecuencia consideran obsoletas las opiniones de mamá sobre la crianza de los hijos. En cambio, esta generación más joven de madres tiende a depender de sus amigos, así como de la información asombrosamente abundante que ahora está disponible en línea.
Mito No. 4: las abuelas maternas no tienen que caminar sobre cáscaras de huevo.
¡No! Si usted es un abuelo, materno o paterno, que nunca se muerde la lengua, nunca dice lo contrario de lo que realmente quiere decir, nunca pretende aprobar cuando no lo hace, o nunca de puntillas alrededor de sus hijos adultos altamente sensibles, por favor contáctame de inmediato. ¡Quiero aprender de tí!
Julie Bondanza, psicóloga y abuela materna de Washington DC explica: “A menos que sea testigo de abuso infantil u otra situación drástica que ponga en peligro a sus nietos, criticar el estilo de crianza de su hija solo la pondrá a la defensiva. El tacto, el respeto y dejar ir las cosas pequeñas resultará en una relación mucho más saludable ".
Mito No. 5: las abuelas maternas son mantenidas al tanto de sus hijas.
Nuevamente, muchos lo son, pero muchos otros no. Tome a mi amiga Alice, cuya hija se niega a hablar con ella. Alice depende de llamadas telefónicas secretas de su yerno para informarle sobre las actividades de los dos nietos que adora pero que rara vez ve debido a una relación tensa con su hija.
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La geografía también juega un papel aquí. Los abuelos que viven más cerca o están más involucrados con los niños generalmente son más conscientes, independientemente del lado de la familia en el que se encuentren.
Y, por imposible que parezca, hay algunas abuelas maternas que se interesan poco o nada en los triunfos y tribulaciones de sus nietos. Estas abuelas están fuera del circuito porque eligen serlo.
Finalmente, aunque las abuelas paternas pueden tener que trabajar más para establecer la confianza con sus nueras para mantenerse al tanto, la confianza entre madres e hijas puede estar rota para cuando lleguen los nietos.
... y una realidad
Cuando comencé a escribir esta columna, pensé que tenía muy poco que aportar al tema, ya que soy madre de un hijo adulto. Y luego me di cuenta de que aunque nunca seré una abuela materna, soy una hija. No solo no disfruté de una relación cercana con mi propia madre mientras crecía, antes de que naciera mi hijo, Clay, me mudé a 3, 000 millas de distancia de ella y mi padre. Productos de la Gran Depresión, parecían desaprobar cada movimiento de los padres que yo, un niño enérgico de los años 60, hice. No fue hasta después de que Clay se convirtió en padre que mi madre me felicitó por haber criado a un hijo tan amable y maravilloso.
Como dije: es complicado .
Barbara Grahami es la editora de la antología, Eye of My Heart: 27 escritores revelan los placeres ocultos y los peligros de ser abuela (Harper), que dice "toda la verdad loca y complicada de ser abuela en el mundo de hoy".$config[ads_text5] not found
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Qué abuelos hacen tu K> 2 de abril de 2018 -> ->
¿Viste el artículo en el New York Times titulado The Maternal Grandparent Advantage? Habla de cómo los nietos tienden a estar más cerca de los abuelos del lado de su madre, porque las madres a menudo actúan como "guardianes" de los nietos. Si una madre no se lleva bien con sus suegros, puede limitar la cantidad de tiempo que sus hijos pasan en su casa.
Del artículo: "Los investigadores que exploran las afiliaciones familiares señalan que existe una llamada" ventaja matrilineal ". Es decir, las hijas generalmente tienen vínculos más estrechos con sus propios padres que con sus suegros, lo que lleva a relaciones más cálidas entre sus hijos y los abuelos maternos ".
Algunos de los ejemplos en el artículo, de nueras que previenen o limitan la relación de sus hijos con sus suegros, son bastante brutales. Pero sé que sucede. Cuanto más tiempo he estado casado, más comprendo la suerte que tengo de amar realmente a la familia de Ben Blair (y la suerte que tiene de que él ame a la mía).$config[ads_text5] not found
Sé que muchos de nosotros volveremos al trabajo después del fin de semana de vacaciones con la familia extendida, y me encantaría saber si su experiencia vivida coincide con el artículo. Cuando eras un niño, ¿estabas más cerca de tus abuelos maternos o abuelos paternos? ¿Y qué hay de tus propios hijos?$config[ads_text6] not found
En mi propia infancia, esto era definitivamente cierto, pero lo asocio más con la geografía y la religión que con una división maternal / paterna. Mi padre se convirtió al mormonismo cuando estaba en la universidad y eso no fortaleció su propia relación con sus padres. Vivían en el Área de la Bahía y solo los veíamos una vez al año más o menos. Pero los padres de mi madre vivían a pocos kilómetros de distancia y los veíamos a menudo.
Curiosamente, como adultos, mis hermanos realmente han desarrollado nuestras relaciones con el lado de la familia de mi padre. Y en estos días, probablemente pasamos más tiempo con la familia de mi padre que con mi madre.
Para mis propios hijos, claramente adoran a sus primos Blair y Stanley, y el mayor impacto en las relaciones parece ser la geografía. Sobre todo hemos vivido lejos de nuestros primos, pero cuando vivimos cerca de Blairs, en Provo y Colorado, pasamos mucho tiempo con ellos. Y cuando vivimos cerca de Stanley, en Nueva York y California, también pasamos mucho tiempo con ellos.
Creo que las edades de los primos también tienen un gran impacto. Por ejemplo, hay algunos primos de Blair que eran bastante mayores que mis hijos y no tenían muchas posibilidades de interactuar entre ellos. Pero a medida que mis hijos crecieron y las diferencias de edad significan menos, formaron amistades con esos primos mayores basados en intereses compartidos.
Del lado de Stanley, una cosa útil para la unión de primos ha sido una "Semana de los primos" cada verano durante los últimos 7 u 8 años. Por el lado de Blair, no hacen la Semana de los Primos, pero son realmente buenos para tener reuniones familiares y reuniones.$config[ads_text7] not found
¿Qué hay de tí? ¿Ha sido su relación con sus suegros el factor más importante en cuánto tiempo usted (y sus hijos) pasan con ellos? ¿O es una situación de geografía para ti? Si sus propios padres han muerto desde que tuvo hijos, ¿eso lo hace más interesado en brindarles a sus hijos una relación sólida con los abuelos que aún viven? Me encantaría conocer sus propias experiencias con este tema.
PD: la imagen de arriba muestra a mis primos del lado de la familia de mi madre: la progenie de mi abuelo Lloyd Pack y la abuela Lucille Evans. Estoy en el medio de la fila superior, tengo 8 años con una sacudida y un flequillo.
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Mi madre siempre ha sido indefectiblemente amable y amorosa con los cónyuges / parejas de sus hijos. Descubrí que esto es una función de su temperamento, respeto genuino por esos cónyuges ... así como una decisión estratégica. Ella me dijo una vez que ser de otra manera solo la lastimaría al final por tener menos acceso a sus hijos y nietos. Nadie quiere pasar tiempo con quienes no les gustan.
Tengo la suerte de tener una madre y una suegra que suenan parecidas a tu madre. Tengo una relación cercana con mi madre, pero también he tratado de cultivar una relación cercana con mi suegra. Ella siempre ha sido infaliblemente servicial, generosa y amable con nosotros y realmente disfruto pasar tiempo con ella. No sé si esto ha sido estratégico por su parte (ella tiene dos hijos). Ahora que soy madre de tres niños (y nuestra familia está completa), esto es algo en lo que he pensado muchas veces ... qué decisiones espero tomar en el futuro para maximizar mis posibilidades de tener una relación positiva y amorosa con cualquier persona. futura hija (o hijo) en las leyes.$config[ads_text8] not found
Nos mudamos hace dos años para vivir en la misma ciudad que mis padres. Esto fue en parte una función de la situación laboral aquí y también porque mis padres son un poco mayores que mis suegros con una mayor probabilidad de necesitar ayuda cuando surgen problemas de salud, etc. Mis hijos ven a mis padres de manera más regular, pero nosotros También hago un esfuerzo para que pasen más tiempo con mis suegros, que viven a una hora y media de distancia. Mis dos mayores van a pasar una semana con ellos cada verano. También trato de invitar a mis suegros a eventos especiales y luego vendrán y pasarán la noche con nosotros.$config[ads_text6] not found
Este es un tema interesante y complicado. Podría dar otros ejemplos de mi familia extendida donde realmente he visto esta idea de una ventaja matrilineal, pero me alegro de que no parezca estar con mi familia nuclear y nuestros padres.
Mi experiencia desmiente la investigación. Mis hijos pequeños prefieren a los padres de mi esposo sobre los míos, aunque los ven en la misma cantidad, algunas veces al año cada uno. Creo que tiene que ver con la edad y la personalidad. Mis padres tienen más de 70 años y no se relacionan bien con los niños pequeños. Los padres de mi esposo son diez años más jóvenes y su madre adora a los niños y la adoran. De todos modos ... ¡Me siento bendecida de tener dos juegos de abuelos amorosos para mis hijos!
Trajiste un buen punto. Me pregunto cuánta edad de los abuelos afecta la relación con sus nietos.
Quiero decir, tuve mi primer bebé a los 23 años. Ciertamente no espero que mis hijos hagan lo mismo, pero finjo que lo hicieron. Eso significa que podría ser abuela en 3 o 4 años. Pero mi hijo menor solo tendrá 10 años e imagino que aún tendré que concentrarme en mis propios hijos, no en los nietos. Lo que parece que me haría una abuela estúpida.$config[ads_text9] not found
De> 3 de abril de 2018 a las 4:03 pm Respuesta
My maternal grandma had her last baby a few months after my mom had her first. And her oldest daughter (my aunt) had three children and her family was complete! I LOVED going to my grandma's house. Though I was always confused why my youngest aunt wasn't in cousin pictures and the like. I love that the generational lines are so fuzzy. My uncle was older and single and i hung out with him (like an older brother) in high school. His wife, my aunt, had a baby two weeks before me. My grandmother has passed on but the older siblings act a lot like grandparents to the youngest grandkids.$config[ads_text7] not found
It made extended family so fun! And of course, it was on my mom's side who we saw much more frequently, despite both sides being close geographically.
We moved from Boston to the Midwest to be near my husband's family once we had children. My mother-in-law and late father-in-law were great to be around and we loved to spend time with them. I truly lucked out with a warm, loving, supportive and super fun mother-in-law. My mom has done a great job alienating the spouses of her children and, hence, did not spend much time with the grand kids or make any of us feel to inclined to visit. So it goes.
My parents were divorced and my dad's parents held that again my mom. Although we lived close to my dad's parents while my dad lived 10 hours away, we only saw them when my dad was in town which was maybe twice a year. I grew up 4 houses down from my mom's parents and they were a second set of parents to me. I was so close to them. I feel like my life was so enriched by that relationship. My mom passed away 6 years ago when my son was 3 and daughter was 6. They do not remember her at all. My husband's mother lives about 10 minute from us but we hardly ever see her. Her and I have nothing in common and she may be the most self involved person I have ever met. My biggest issue however is that she treats her daughter's kids so differently than she does ours. After almost 13 years of this, I have to admit that I go out of my way to steer clear of her. Truth be told my kids feel slower to my father in law's girlfriend than they do my husband's mom.$config[ads_text10] not found$config[ads_text8] not found
“I grew up 4 houses down from my mom's parents and they were a second set of parents to me. I was so close to them. I feel like my life was so enriched by that relationship.”
The research holds true in my case. My mother-in-law is geographically close enough to visit regularly. My parents live on the other side of the country. We see my mother in law about once every 6 weeks or so, usually for an overnight. My parents visit us a couple times a year and we try to visit them once a year, usually for a week or so each visit.
But even with seeing my mother-in-law much more frequently, my kids are definitely closer to and more comfortable with my parents. But that is mostly my mother-in-law's own doing. I get along with her, but she has a reputation among the cousins on that side of the family as “mean grandma”. She doesn't have a lot of patience and tends toward a “suck it up, buttercup” mentality. She also definitely does not play with the kids other than the occasional board or card game. She loves them very much, but she's just a tough old lady with a loud voice and relating to kids isn't her strong suit. Whereas my parents are both much more nurturing, playful, etc. and just have a natural affinity for children.
I still remember when my first child was an infant my mom stayed with us for a couple of weeks and was eager to do everything for the baby. She would change diapers, give him a bath, take him out for walks so I could nap, etc. Then my mother-in-law came to visit and my husband asked if she wanted to give the baby a bath and she was like, “No. Why would I want to do that? That's your baby to take care of!” That's them in a nutshell!
This is not true in our family, but my husband and I have both tried to make relationships with the grandparents a priority.
I do think it is true though that bad blood between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law impacts the grandparent/grandchild relationship. I've seen it with my mom and one of my SILs. My mom reads into every interaction through that lens and never feels like she's living up to expectations. I don't know how my SIL feels about it, but it isn't as easy as it is with others of the in-laws for sure.
I could see how this would be true, but there are so many complicating factors in my and my husband's case (early deaths of some parents, divorce, remarriage, estrangement from siblings which led to estrangement from parents & step-parents, etc.) that it does not apply in my case or my kids' case. I think there are also just some people who are more excited about being grandparents than others. Some people love babies and kids and spending time with them, and others quite clearly have moved on from that phase in their life and only want exposure to them in small doses. To each her own!
I read this article a week or two ago and I hate to say- but it resonated with me strongly. I wish it had not. I am that DIL who prefers my side of the family over my in-laws. My in-laws are kind and generous people to their grandkids. They always want to send my husband and I out so they can take care of the kids and “give us a break”. But…but…I just always feel a little cold toward them. I don't like the pain that my husband and his sister are still unwinding from their childhood. I don't like that my in-laws have never taken much initiative to make things right in any way, shape, or form. They were not abusive. But she was an angry mother (so much yelling and shaming toward her kids…), and he was absent- working jobs across the country and playing good cop whenever he was home.$config[ads_text10] not found$config[ads_text6] not found
Anyway, in spite of their financial generosity and their caregiving with my kids, I would still prefer a weekend with my dad and his wife. I feel like there's too much pain there for me to truly feel warm and welcoming.$config[ads_text5] not found
I hope I come across as kind to them- I think I am- but there is always something there that keeps me held back from them. I prefer that my kids bond with my dad 100X over.
Oh this so rings true with me as well. I read this article and thought “this is me.” I wish it wasn't.
My in-laws are generous with their time and money but there are so many things about my husband's upbringing that I don't want to recreate with my own kids and that he still feels the effects of now. Therefore I feel like I can't let my guard down around them – I feel like I have to be hyper-aware to be sure that those traits don't carry down to another generation. They're nothing but kind to my kids but I just can't help that feeling.
Geography doesn't help; they now live halfway across the country while my parents live in the next town over.
Same as you, I hope I come across kind but I know my coldness shows through when they see me interact openly with others.
I feel the same way: too much pain in the past to feel very comfortable with my mother-in-law now. Also, I think we need to realize that a daughter has had her relationship with her mom for decades before the one with her MIL can even begin… how can we ever expect to compare them?$config[ads_text7] not found
This is true for me and for my family. I definitely felt closer to my mother's parents. We saw them much more than my father's parents. My mother did not get along with her MIL at all. As for my daughter, she too, is closer to my family than to my husband's. My MIL lives in the same town as us, but suffers from mental illness. My daughter is visibly uneasy around her at the tender age of two. My mother is our child's nanny. Mom comes to our house four mornings a week to care for her. Our situation is more extreme than others. I honestly can't help preferring my family for the simple reason of stability. My husband's childhood was interesting to put it mildly.$config[ads_text6] not found
I'd probably say that my kids aren't that close with either grandparents. My mom is interested in them but she is very hands-off; my in-laws used to be very hands-on, but things have changed with both sets of grandparents over the past 5 or 6 years. With my mom she has had some health issues and my dad passed away, and those things combined have left her mostly focusing on herself. (That sounds like I'm putting her down, but I'm understanding about it. Unfortunately the children are the ones missing out on a grandparent relationship.) And about 6 years ago my in-laws decided to live out their “dream” of owning land out in the country and living in a new home they built there. It was rather hurtful for us to discover that their “dream” did not include them wanting to spend time with their grandchildren. I have put an effort forth on both sides of the family but the grandparents aren't reciprocating, so I've mostly given up. I've learned from them all what I don't want to be as a grandparent myself, so that's my silver lining.$config[ads_text8] not found
anon for this!
My sisters and I actually keep a shared Google doc of “things to do/not do as grandmothers” because we've seen some examples we'd rather not emulate in both our own and in-law families (even though we're all in families of stable marriages and fairly happy lives). One big factor for my kids preferring paternal grandparents (both sets live about a half hour away) is that my in-laws really listen to the kids, and make time for them. My parents are busy with their own lives, and their vegan switch aa few years back also means the food at that grandma's house is pretty nasty (you think it's chocolate cake? aha, made with beets!)–whereas other grandma always bakes cookies. It's interesting, because my parents try (arranged grandchild dates, grandchild of the month letters), but it's all forced and artificial feeling. The other grandparents are kind of flaky and don't try at all in those ways, but just come across as more welcoming and loving, and that makes all the difference.$config[ads_text7] not found
“My sisters and I actually keep a shared Google doc of “things to do/not do as grandmothers” because we've seen some examples we'd rather not emulate in both our own and in-law families”
I would love to see that list! You ladies will need to write a book.
Just this past weekend, over Easter lunch, my oldest son (5) mentioned that we were going to his “real” grandparents' house for dinner later. His “real” grandparents, to him, are my parents, his maternal grandparents. In other words, this couldn't be more true in my baby family.$config[ads_text9] not found
However, in my family of origin, we were much closer as kids (and throughout our teenage years as well) to our paternal grandparents, but I attribute much of that to my mother's difficult childhood.
This is not true in our family. I attribute this primarily to geography. We live minutes from my in-laws and see them several times a week. I genuinely enjoy spending time with them. My husband often says that they like me more than they like him. ???? My parents live in another state. We try to stay connected with annual visits, but it is harder.$config[ads_text5] not found
I really only had one set of grandparents in my life as my dad was a bit estranged from his parents. So I suppose I could say I was closer to my maternal grandparents, but it was a tensious relationship and my siblings and I never felt like we were good enough. I didn't feel trusted or loved by them, even though they did things for us. It was a strained relationship. My mother has learned from that though and does not want to be like her other mother. She tries so hard to be a good grandma for my kids. The crazy thing is that my kids really, really love my dad. We live overseas right now and when we video chat they always ask, “where's papa?” I would say they prefer grandpa on my side, and then grandma on my husband's side (his father has passed away). My poor mother is probably the least favorite and yet, she has done the most for them. Whenever I needed a babysitter or support, it was my mom. She buys them gifts, takes them out to do things, etc. but she is just not fun, I guess.$config[ads_text10] not found$config[ads_text8] not found
I have tried to be friendly with my MIL, but she is a very private person and I have never felt at home with her. I can't tell if she doesn't like me. She is a very nice women, so I don't know, but I just have this feeling that I have done something that bothered her and we have never moved past that. Because of that feeling, I would prefer visiting my family more. However, we do try to balance our time with both families. Since we have lived overseas though, my family has visited. I don't know if we will see any of my husband's family, but I really do hope they want to and would try to.$config[ads_text6] not found$config[ads_text5] not found
mom in mendon
I agree about the maternal gate-keeping influence. I tried to tell my newly married daughters to remember their husband's family. It's natural for a young wife to put up photos of her own family, at the same time they can sometimes over-look or minimize his.
Why couldn't their husband remember or put up pictures of his family? Why would this be a wife's responsibility? Do you imagine the husband is spending his time finding, printing, and framing pictures of his wife's family? Why do we continue to accept this double standard–giving all the responsibility and blame to the women, while seeing the men as incompetent and easily manipulated in maintaining familial relationships?
I agree whole heartedly with this (as did many commenters on the original article). Recently my in-laws came to visit and my husband asked how his cousins he rarely communicates with via Facebook were doing. His mother, my MIL, turned to me and said I should really go visit them (we've never met). The expectation has consistently been that kinkeeping falls on me and that is not something their family values. Very frustrating and sad.$config[ads_text9] not found
mom in mendon
You're both right, I did assume a woman would take these roles. I guess I see framing family photos as a part of decorating, and I think of that as a role women generally like–but maybe not.
As far as “kinkeeping, ” again I assumed, but I guess it really depends on a.) your models or b.) your personalities or c.) the outcomes you want.$config[ads_text7] not found$config[ads_text6] not found
This is really interesting. It makes a lot of sense but doesn't hold true for my family at all.
My dad grew up in a children's home with absent parents who both died before I was even born, so it's not applicable, and I have no way to gauge how that would have played out. My mom was a gatekeeper of sorts from her own parents–she had a very difficult relationship with her mother. We were close but we could have been even closer to them if it weren't for that.
For my own kids, they are certainly closer to my husband's parents than mine. Geography doesn't come into play–I think it has more to do with his parents still being married and being retired. This means we are able to see them more than mine.
They are also very much “kid people, ” and we always feel welcome in their home (we are actually here now!). Neither of my parents have made much of an effort to shift their homes to accommodate kids–no baby proofing, high chairs, special kid food, etc. In fact, we don't even stay with my mom when we are in town–we stay with my sister, and my mom visits us at her house.$config[ads_text10] not found
Now that I think of it, this doesnt hold true for my husband either–he was much much closer to his dad's parents. Partly due to retirement ages and geography (10 min drive vs 30), but mostly due to personalities and family dynamics.
“My mom was a gatekeeper of sorts from her own parents–she had a very difficult relationship with her mother.”
This reminds me of something I learned in a marriage class when I first moved to Oakland: Once a child turns 18 or becomes an independent adult, unless there is a financial connection (like the parents are paying for college or an apartment), the child is in control of the relationship. The child gets to decide if, when, and how often they'll see the parent(s). If the child doesn't want a relationship with the parent(s), the child can basically cut them off — move away, ignore calls, etc..$config[ads_text8] not found$config[ads_text7] not found
Obviously, the parent can make it more appealing or less appealing for the child to maintain the relationship, but the child (now an adult) is ultimately in charge.
Maybe some people would disagree with that whole premise, but it really struck me during the class, and made me realize that I really need to try hard to have strong relationships with my teens if I want them to desire a relationship with me once they're independent adults.
I love this thoughtful comment. I am also curious to know about the marriage class you took when you moved to Oakland! ¿Por qué? Who taught it? What was the basic premise/philosophy behind it? I love classes of all kinds and am just really curious!
A very good point, Gabby. I had never really thought of it like that. In my mom's case, I didn”t blame her for being a gatekeeper, but as a kid it was confusing. This perspective helps me see that dynamic a little differently.
I think this is true to a point, but one thing that I have loved about my parents is that they strive to keep our connection strong even now that I am an adult! We were a close family growing up. And ever since I've left home, at 18 and never having lived in the same state again (except a month or two here and there in-between adventures), they have made a consistent effort to visit me, call me, send me care packages etc… so, I reciprocate:) This attention comes from both of my parents and we are close to them still, living a state away and my kids have a great relationship with them! So, my point is their continued effort plays a big role in our relationship.$config[ads_text9] not found$config[ads_text8] not found
This is possibly true in my family purely because of geography. We live in the UK and my parents are a few hours away by car – but my lovely, kind American in-laws are in California and can only come over once or twice a year (and thus far we haven't made it to visit them at all since our daughter was born, which is totally on us). We FaceTime every single week with my in-laws and they get lots of concentrated grandkid time when they visit, but it's not the same as my parents who do stints of babysitting and who can pop down and visit every month or two.
It's actually more noticeable with our siblings than our parents – our daughter adores my sister, brother in law and brother and has a great relationship with them. She barely knows who her Uncle on my husband's side is, and his wife really isn't a kid person so they just don't put the effort in. Maybe it'll change if they have children further down the line – but I admit I do feel a sense that they're not 'my' family and if they don't put that effort in it's not really my job to pursue that relationship on my husband's behalf.
“his wife really isn't a kid person so they just don't put the effort in”
Reading that line reminded me that often, I'm not much of a kid person either — which I know sounds weird as a mother of six. : ) I guess what I mean is that I've had an easier time connecting with and bonding with nieces and nephews when they are teens or young adults than when they were little kids.$config[ads_text10] not found$config[ads_text9] not found
Who knows, maybe your sister-in-law will turn into a favorite aunt as the kids get older.
Yes I think that's very possible! She's a lovely person, they're just currently in that early 30s child-free phase where they enjoy their independence and their adult-centric life and small children are cute in small doses but very distant from their current lifestyle.
Growing up I was/am much closer to my dad's family. We lived next door to his parents which was a large factor, but the biggest reason was that we shared faith and family values with that side of the family. My mom's family only lived an hour away, and we saw them fairly often, but our families were so different that we never really connected. I was blessed to marry a man who's family has the same faith (which shapes our family's values) and my children seem to be equally close to both sides of the family.
Thanks so much, Gaby. This research triggers a painful time in our family. When my brother was married, my sister in law did not like my parents and limited their interactions with my grandkids, to such a degree that my parents saw their granddaughter only ONCE between the time she was born and when she turned a year old. They weren't even invited to the baptism! (Not was I). I think it was less about limiting the kids exposure than limiting her own interactions with my parents. (Often my parents would visit when she was out of town). Now that they are divorced, they get to see the kids a ton! My brother invites them over all the time. It has been the most joyful result of a hard experience.$config[ads_text10] not found
For my family, geography plays the most important role, as my inlaws live really close and take care of my kids once a week. I love it, although it took some getting used to. We try to counterbalance with Skype calls, a weeklong vacation in the summer with my parents and my brother's family, and by inviting my parents to fly out for important events and birthdays.
I think the key for daughters in law, at least for me, is to have patience and spend time with your inlaws. We don't agree on everything, but we do agree on loving our children. I found time and proximity has helped build our relationship. We had kids pretty soon after getting married, (and got married pretty soon after we started dating!) so we didn't have a shared history. But I will say it's hard for relationships to improve if you don't talk to each other.
I was fortunate to have close relationships with both my maternal and paternal grandparents. I lived in the same town as both for ten years, and one pair for 22. My grandma and I met regularly for lunch while I was in college, and spoke on the phone often (and visited of course) until she died three years ago. Our kids have never lived in the same town as either set of grandparents, and aren't terribly close to either, which makes me sad. My kids have always hated talking on the phone, so I never pushed them to phone, which I should have. BUT, neither did the grandparents call them, so I am making note of how to behave with my grandkids, should I ever have any. I THINK they are closer to my parents, simply because my parents have always treated them respectfully, and have been interested in them as people. My husband's parents seem to have unrealistic expectations of the kids, and expect them to be who they WANT them to be, rather than who they actually ARE. For example, my mil asked me if our daughter liked dolls. I told her she did not, but she proceeded to get her a lovely American Girl Doll for Christmas anyway. You should have seen the look of disappointment on her face when our daughter thanked her politely, but was clearly not excited about receiving a doll. If she'd gotten her something nature related, she would've been thrilled. And then there is their unfortunate habit of monopolizing conversations, and not asking anyone else more than one question about the other person before they go off on their own tangents. They are nice and good people, and I love them, but the relationship with the kids (who are now in their twenties) will probably never be what any of us would like.
“My grandma and I met regularly for lunch while I was in college, and spoke on the phone often (and visited of course) until she died three years ago.”
I have to say, I'm really loving the descriptions in the comments of what a good relationship might look like. It also makes me realize that though I only had positive interactions with my grandparents, and think of them fondly (they've all passed away now), I wouldn't say we were really close — even with the grandparents who lived across town while I was growing up.
I've always been closer to my mom's parents. BUT I also think that had a lot to do with the fact that my dad's mom died young, when my older brother was only 6 months old. My dad has often said he thinks we would have been very close to his parents if his mother had lived. I also agree that distance plays a big part- my mom's parents and my dad's father and his wife both live in the same town I grew up in. But my mom's parents were just around the block while my paternal “grandparents” lived across town, requiring a car. We could, even at young ages, walk by ourselves to see my mom's parents, and remain close to them even now (and are incredibly lucky that they are in their mid-80s and still in fantastic health overall!).$config[ads_text5] not found
In terms of cousins- I'm also closest to my two (and only) cousins on my mom's side. They lived only two hours away and the older one and I were born just 5 days apart. Her younger sister and my sister are the same age as well. I think we'd be closer to our cousins on my dad's side if they had lived closer (we are close to one of them, who grew up in our area), but most of them lived 14+ hours away by car so we saw them maybe once a year.
Cousins who live far from each other can be hard. This is one case where social media has been a real game changer. My kids have different texting groups and Instagram messaging groups with their cousins — most of whom live far away — and it's been an amazing way to keep relationships up even if they don't see each other much.
Proximity is key. I grew up in the same house with my mother's parents, and I was super close with my grandmother. My grandmother was close with her own mother & grandmother. My mother's older sister (who was 15 years older than my mother) was close with her grandmother, but sadly, she died before my mother was born.
I think because my mom missed out on the grandma relationship when she was a child, she was always envious of how close I was with my grandmother. My mom was close with her sister, whom because of their age difference was like another mother to her. Sadly, my aunt died before I was born. So my mom was very eager to have the grandma relationship with her grandchildren.$config[ads_text6] not found
Due to logistics (geography and the fact that she isn't retired) she couldn't be around in the everyday care giving manor that she would have liked. Nor could she be the “hey, let me pay for summer camp/dance lessons/take everyone on vacation kind of grandparent due to financial limitations (her expectation, not mine.) However, last year she moved to our town and has been trying to catch up on 10 years worth of babysitting.
My husband's family lives several hours away and his mother is much older. My kids are her #10 & #11 grandchildren, and she has 3 great-grandchildren. I would definitely say her daughter's children are really close with her, and her other son's children are closer than my kids are. She's a very kind woman and my kids would have a stronger relationship with her if we lived nearer, but it would look different that the very involved ones with the grandchildren who are 10-20 years older than my kids.
Wow, I really disliked this article. I found it to have such a sexist message. Why do women have to be the “gate keepers” for her husband's family? Why are daughters-in-law so commonly blamed for the relationship between a man and his own parents? I would never think that it is up to my husband as to what kind of relationship I or my kids have with my parents. So why should I be in charge of his?
This reminds me of how my husband and I separated doing the thank you cards for our wedding–I did them all for my side (which was the majority of the wedding), and he did them for his side. I don't nag because my husband is a grown man, and I am not his mother. However, I did hear that his actual mother was upset with me because “I” neglected to send thank you cards to her cousins.$config[ads_text7] not found
I don't understand why men get a pass, and women are supposed to do basically everything when it comes to familial relationships. And I am not immune to this. I buy all the presents–birthday, Christmas, mother and father's day–for both my side and my husband's side. I write and send out our Christmas cards to both sides as well. However, I do 100% resent this notion of the daughter-in-law being a gatekeeper (and getting ALL of the blame for any relationship flaws). Why can't we expect men to carry their own weight with their own family? Why can't we expect men to carry the same responsibilities that women do?
Additionally, in regards to the specific article, there were a few red flags in the mother-in-law's account. Why didn't she really know her daughter-in-law before her daughter-in-law had a child? Was she uninterested in having a relationship with her until she produced a grandchild? Also, why did she assume that if she picked up and moved across the country to be near her grandchild, that her son and daughter-in-law would need (or want) evening childcare? That is many working parent's only time to spend with their baby. Did she ask her son if this would work for them or communicate this at all? It just seems kind of odd.
¡Gracias! I had exactly the same response! “Gate-keeper” makes it sound as if women are keeping their children from their in-laws. But really, in lots of families, the wife/mother does all or nearly all of the emotional work and family contact planning. I decided early on in our marriage that I was absolutely not going to be the cruise director: I don't buy presents or send cards for anyone on his side of the family or plan visits to/with them, and I refuse to feel guilty when his siblings' kids don't get presents or we see my parents more often. I suppose that could feel in some families like “score keeping, ” but for me it was a really important way of establishing that we are both grown ups.$config[ads_text8] not found
Hannah, I hear you on the cruise director thing. Ben Blair has always been the main one to maintain relationships with his family. Though I confess, he's also better about maintaining relationships with my family too — he talks to my siblings way more often than I do, and he gets excited for visits to my family, while I often find them stressful.
I imagine some of it comes down to one-on-one relationships. If you happened to become best friends with someone on your husband's side of the family, then I imagine you'd be eager to plan visits with them and wouldn't think of it as a duty or burden.
For me, I've found this to be especially true regarding my relationships with grown nieces and nephews. I have personal relationships with several on “Ben's side of the family” and pursue those relationships because I care about them as individuals, and have developed friendships with them — not out of familial duty.
Katie – I completely agree with you. This was exactly my reaction to the article, and every mention of it I have seen on the internet since. I really resented the idea that the job of maintaining ALL relationships lies with the woman. It makes me weirdly angry every time I think about it. Why is it not the man/father's job to nurture his relationship with his parents (mother and father) and facilitate their connection with his kids?
I don't think it's weirdly angry, I am rationally and justifiably angry that this crazy double standard seems to be accepted across the board. Maintaining long term and close relationships is complicated and arduous work. Putting it all on women to prioritize not only her family, but also shoulder her husband's is so unfair and wrong.$config[ads_text9] not found
I am actually quite disappointed that Gabby, who I usually find pretty aware of the various constraints of misogyny still very much present in modern time, presented this article as a scientific study proving that daughter-in-laws favor their own parents without mentioning the emotional work that women are just expected to take over for their husband when they marry.
What I think this article actually proves is that women work harder to maintain their many relationships, and people find it very easy to blame her when her husband fails to do the same.
“What I think this article actually proves is that women work harder to maintain their many relationships”
I'm actually really crappy at maintaining relationships, and don't spend much time on it, and my husband is really good at it, so I don't know that I would generalize like this.
The article makes the same generalization:
One possible explanation is that women still shoulder more of what researchers call “kinkeeping” …
“Women are more active in maintaining those relationships, ” said Jan Mutchler, a sociologist and gerontologist at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. “When you have mothers and daughters, then you have two women working on it.”
Correcto. And as I described in my post, the article didn't really ring true for me and my experiences — which of course is one of the reasons I wanted to discuss it.
It's been interesting to see how many people commenting relate to what the article says, and how many feel that their experience has been different. I've also really appreciated comments like yours that find the article obnoxious or upsetting. I didn't have that reaction at all, and it has me thinking about why that might be.$config[ads_text10] not found
Also, I agree it's ridiculous that it's assumed women will shoulder the responsibility of maintaining relationships with their in-laws. I would hope that assumption is fading — I know I rejected it in my own marriage.
I need to go re-read but I think there was a line in at the beginning of the article where she assumed couples were more equal and enlightened these days and was surprised that the research seemed to show otherwise.
The assumption also makes it sound like husbands aren't able to disagree with their wives regarding family relationships. So if the wife doesn't want the kids to visit her in-laws, the husband doesn't get to disagree and claim some time for his family?
UPDATE: Here's the part of the article I was referring to —
“You hear this often: Paternal grandparents tread very carefully, mindful that a daughter-in-law might not appreciate their overtures or their frequent presence, anxious that she could limit access to their grandkids.
I thought it an old stereotype, possibly never accurate and certainly now outmoded.
But researchers exploring family affiliations point out that a so-called “matrilineal advantage” does exist.”
To be clear, no one is arguing the “matrilineal advantage” should exist or is a good thing. I think we're just discussing whether we've seen such a thing play out in our own lives, and why or why not.
What I read inthe article and was responding to was not whether an advantage existed, but rather who the blame fell to. The article pretty clearly placed the blame on “gate keeping” daughter-in-laws who were preventing access to grandchildren. This is the aspect I so strongly disagree with. I do not think a daughter-in-law should have the responsibility of the blame regarding a relationship between her spouse/children and her spouse's parents.
I understand that your interpretation of the article is that it's focused on blaming daughters-in-law. And that may be the correct interpretation. I guess I don't read it the same way.
Though the research concluded the relationship with the daughter-in-law is key, I thought the author was careful to acknowledge exceptions and account for individual circumstances, and was hopeful for change in the future. As a daughter-in-law, I wasn't personally feeling blamed. But I can imagine how someone else might feel differently. And it certainly doesn't bother me if people don't like the article.
I agree with you that it's not fair that daughters-in-law should be the default responsible party for the relationship between her kids and her in-laws. But though we agree it's not fair, the research cited in the article seems to show that daughters-in-law are currently taking on that responsibility. Maybe we need better research, or need to ask different questions during our research.
Either way, hopefully by discussing it we can shine some light on the topic, and with more discussions, perhaps we'll see a cultural shift.
“To be clear, no one is arguing the “matrilineal advantage” should exist or is a good thing. I think we're just discussing whether we've seen such a thing play out in our own lives, and why or why not.”
This seems to be a common theme that I am seeing popping up in discussions of women's roles–the difference between the ideal (from a more feminist perspective) and the reality, which can be very different. I think people like Gabby (and I) go into it assuming it the reality is not the ideal, but if we don't actually say it, other women are quick to think we are siding with the traditional roles view of the world, when in fact, we are so NOT on that side, that we don't even think to say it out loud!
He >April 3, 2018 at 8:38 am Reply
While we lived close by to my parents when my children were very young, and they probably spent more time with my parents by virtue of physical proximity-they felt close to both sides of the family. Even though my MIL could be challenging, ahem, I felt like it was important for my kids to know her and have fun experiences with her. We would spend a lot of our vacation time staying with her so that my kids could enjoy a close relationship with her, and my BIL and SIL who I adore (plus they all live in Chicago-a city I love-so visiting was great.) As my kids have gotten older and we've moved to an entirely new area, spending time together has been a bigger challenge. My MIL also met and married a really nice man who my younger kids think of as “Grandpa” but it has changed our family dynamics quite a bit. While MIL used to be quite happy to jump on a plane and come for a weekend, she's much less likely to want to do that unless her husband can come also-and his schedule is more demanding, he has a lot of food issues that make the visit more challenging, and she very much dotes on him vs hanging with my kids like she used to do. Also, my teens feel really close to my parents because they “meet them where they're at”-they make it easy to want to hang out with them when they stay with us, or if we stay with them it's relaxed and fun. MIL has a lot of emotional baggage that makes it difficult now for my older kids to feel close to her-so there's that.$config[ads_text5] not found
“My MIL also met and married a really nice man who my younger kids think of as “Grandpa” but it has changed our family dynamics quite a bit.”
I wonder if this is unavoidable. I certainly saw it in my family when my mom remarried after my father's death. We adore her new husband and he is an awesome Grandpa to my kids. And I'm so grateful she's not lonely — she was only 50 when my dad died.
That said, her relationship with her kids definitely changed when she remarried. It takes a lot to make a marriage work and she needed to keep her attention focused there.
He >April 3, 2018 at 8:22 pm Reply
Oh yes. And believe me-we are thrilled that he is her focus instead of the rest of us ????
I have 4 sons and I have been thinking about this a lot. I have had a uniquely beautiful relationship with my mom but she is getting old and I know that sweet mother/daughter relationship will soon no longer be a part of my life. That's hard to imagine. It's an even more complex loss when you don't have a daughter. I have always been so happy and content raising all boys but lately, as I'm looking at this next stage of life, I can see what enormous value daughters bring – like close relationships with grandkids. I would love to have daughters-in-law to be close to so I can keep that important part of life alive. I actually look forward to having these women in my life. I just hope they can be open to having a good relationship with me. I know this is easier said than done. I hope I'll find SOME way.$config[ads_text6] not found
I appreciate the sweet words you use to talk about your relationship with your mother. I know not everyone feels that way about their mother (or father). It's like I almost feel like we need to give a cheer when we see someone who's figured it out and has a great parent-child relationship.
And…I agree with the comments. I am trying to teach my sons that women are not the only family gatekeepers – men are a part of a family too and need to take responsibility for those relationships. It is interesting how society views a woman who is close to her parents differently than a man who is close to his parents. The whole “mammas boy” thing.
I hadn't thought about the “mamma's boy” idea. I feel like our society has painted a picture that a man can put his marriage at risk if he maintains a strong relationship with his mother.
You've got me thinking: What should a good balance look like of a man who prioritizes his wife, but has a good relationship with his mother?
Hmm, I think that if a man has a good relationship with his mother there might always be some tension there. And I think this goes for anyone–I have felt tension between prioritizing the needs of my mother/father/sister family and those of my husband & children. I will admit that this is a very real struggle for me, as it is for my husband too (who has a great relationship with his mom and is close to his sisters too).
My husband and I have talked a lot recently about the difficulty of this particular stage of life–when you have young children who need you and are pulling you one direction, but also parents who are aging and need your support in other ways. This feels very relevant right now, as I have two young ones, while simultaneously trying to help my father (who is undergoing cancer treatment), while also being present for my husband and his family while they mourn the loss of the “patriarch” of their family. Point being–maybe this is another “balance” myth?$config[ads_text7] not found
Growing up, both sets of grandparents lived within a mile and my family of five kids was equally close to our maternal and paternal grandparents. They were active participants in our lives. In fact, our grandparents became best friends with one another, so it wasn't unusual to go over to a grandparent's house and find the other set there as well! It was absolutely the best way to grow up.
For my own kids, it isn't as easy. We just moved back to my home town after living on the other side of the country for their entire lives. They are close to my mom (my dad passed away when I was in college). My husband's parents are Spanish-speaking and live in another state and my kids only speak marginal Spanish. Also, a ton of childhood issues with my husband (and I'll admit, some cultural differences) makes me very cautious. They work hard to be close to my kids, and I try my best to oblige.
I love your comment so much. I love hearing about an ideal situation like that. I like having successful models to learn from.
Can I ask if your parents are only children?
Growing up, I was closer to my paternal grandparents in large part due to proximity. My father's parents and my family lived in Southern California and we saw each other at least once a month, usually more. My mother's parents lived in southeast Utah and we only saw them once, maybe twice a year. My mother is also incredibly close to my grandmother (her mother-in-law). My grandmother usually calls my mother before either of her two daughters and my grandmother currently lives with my parents.$config[ads_text8] not found
The same is somewhat true for my kids, they are closer to whichever grandparents we live near. For the first part of our marriage, when we lived in Utah or California, we saw my parents more. For the last 5 years we have lived on the East Coast and see my in-laws, who live in Kentucky, more. Although not a lot more now that I think of it. I have 2 siblings also on the East Coast so my parents try to come out at least once a year to see us. My in-laws have never made much of an effort to see us. We have to go them. Nor have they ever really helped us, even when we asked for it whereas my parents willingly fly across the country to help. (And this is not because I am the daughter, my mom frequently helps my brother and his wife as well.) We are moving to Washington (state) this summer and again we will be seeing more of my parents. But both my husband and I are really sad that we will be so far away from our siblings (he has 5 siblings on the east coast as well) and the cousins, we spend more time with our siblings and their families than the grandparents.
My husband has always had a fairly rotten relationship with his mother, and she was always openly disapproving of our relationship back to our early dating days. So it's hard to plaster on a happy face and spend every holiday with her now, so she can take pictures with my husband and kids (and not me) to put all over Facebook. If it weren't for me facilitating, I don't think my husband would have much contact with her at all.$config[ads_text9] not found
I found the NYT article's tone really obnoxious. Evil daughters-in-law depriving loving, available grandparents. My MIL's idea of a great activity is for us to drop off her preferred grandchild for a sleepover and pick her up the next day, which requires us to drive 4 hours for the 2 round trips, while excluding our other kid. And she keeps my kid up way too late watching movies and eating snacks that I find inappropriate. My kid ends up a tired, cranky mess. And since I work all week (unlike my retired MIL), I want to be with my kids on the weekend, not send them to her. When they are home on school vacations with the baby-sitter would be a great time for her to see them, but she's too busy with her own recreational activities.$config[ads_text5] not found
“I found the NYT article's tone really obnoxious.”
And clearly you're not alone. I didn't find it obnoxious and I wonder if the difference is that I don't have a hard relationship with my in-laws. If I did have a hard/strained/stressful relationship with my in-laws, I can imagine the tone of the article would have felt very different to me.
perhaps an interesting perspective, our father stayed home with us and we're closer to his parents. though, my mom got along better with them as well, and her family was quite a distance from us. my mom's whole side of the family barely acknowledged our existence, so it was only my dad's parents around anyway.
“my mom's whole side of the family barely acknowledged our existence”$config[ads_text10] not found
That's sounds hard. Sorry to hear it.
I find it fascinating that the onus is never placed on the older generation )or the men, but that's another debate!)
Growing up I was absolutely closer to my maternal grandma, but had no idea why. Both grandma's lived in the same city and we saw them both regularly (neither grandpa was in the picture). As an adult I've been informed that my paternal grandma basically didn't like my mom or us kids because of my mom's “uppity” middle class background. Ridiculous! But she kept a barrier to the point of denying having a middle name when I was born – she was keeping it for her own daughter's daughter. (She was Roman Catholic, so Marie was pretty darn common and could have been used over and over!)$config[ads_text6] not found
I hope the responsibility for maintaining family relationships is becoming equal between men and women — though I'm sure there's a ways to go. There have certainly been some good discussions lately about emotional labor and how it too often falls to women.
As far as putting the onus on the older generation, it reminds me of something I learned in a marriage class when I first moved to Oakland (and I commented this above, so sorry for the repeat): The teacher told us that once a child turns 18 or becomes an independent adult, unless there is a financial connection (like the parents are paying for college or an apartment), the child is in control of the relationship. The child gets to decide if, when, and how often they'll see the parent(s). If the child doesn't want a relationship with the parent(s), the child can basically cut them off — move away, ignore calls, etc..
Obviously, the parent can make it more appealing or less appealing for the child to maintain the relationship, but the child (now an adult) is ultimately in charge.
I suppose this only matters to parents who want to have good relationships with their adult children — and as we've all seen, not all of them do.
Any thoughts on that premise?
That is a very valid point and I absolutely agree that it's the choice of the now-adult child to allow the relationship with their own parents. (Parenting never gets easier, does it?!)
However that is not the same as a person marrying into a family and not being wanted/welcome by the older generation. There's not much you can do about your in-laws disliking you because of who your parents are, or how much money they do or don't have, and that doesn't even touch on race or religion. And it's very sad when that dislike gets automatically passed on to the kids.$config[ads_text7] not found
Growing up, I lived physically close to both sets, but was much closer to my maternal grandparents (and saw them nearly every day). My paternal grandparents were divorced, which also made things more complicated.
As for my own kids — my in-laws moved to a neighboring state before they were born, and while I get along with them fine, I've always been sorry that they've made little effort on their part to see my children or establish a close relationship. That's not all their fault — financial reasons, MIL's terror of flying — but, it put the onus on ME (the vacation planner in our house) to make sure we travel to visit them every couple of years. Now that my kids are teenagers, I think the chance for a deep, loving connection has passed, and I'm sad for that — but ultimately, my in-laws have done very little reaching out on their end, & I do harbor some resentment for their lack of effort.
It's very natural to me that I feel closer/more comfortable with my own parents than with my in-laws. We are amicable and I love them, but we're not close. And of course I blame them, because from my perspective I've done what I thought would naturally build a friendship & they haven't. But it didn't take long to realize they might think the exact same thing of me. We are pretty equal with spending time with both families, and we live 2000+ miles away from any relatives, so it has to be intentional for us.
I know parents-in-law have it hard- how to balance that comfort level with your own child and the sometimes near stranger they married? I hope when the time comes I get it right, and in the meantime I'm grateful for the superficial, but friendly & drama free family ties we have now.
The dynamic between families in our lives is very different. My mom tries to see each of her grandkids as individuals and do things just for them. But my mother inlaw just counts all the grandkids the same. And actually, I am fairly certain my FIL forgot my daughters name once. But my inlaws come from a family that has epic family reunions and we wouldn't miss them for anything. We joke that these reunions are Woodstock for kids. I am fairly certain my kids only eat Doritos and dirt for three days. So we really get both sides of a family. But in who my kids are closer? It would definitely be my parents because they see my kids as individuals thus my parents work harder to cultivate personal relationships. I don't see my inlaws as people that care to have that.
“My mom tries to see each of her grandkids as individuals and do things just for them. But my mother inlaw just counts all the grandkids the same.”
That's such a good observation. I've never thought of it that way, but I think I've seen that way of “counting all the grandkids the same” quite often. Maybe especially because I grew up around families with a ton of grandkids.
Just thinking. My own kids are each 1 of 33 on Ben's side and 1 of 31 on my side. How much does number of grandkids affect the relationship?
My mother has mentioned this. She says, “It's just something about it being your daughter's baby. It isn't the same with your son.” I'm not super fond of my mother-in-law, and even after her watching our second daughter for most of the first year, she will be moving back to the midwest again in a couple weeks, and I don't expect there to be any magical relationship between her and my youngest daughter (now 14 months). Partially geography. Partially, she can be sort of a nasty person (to me), and I'm not keen on my girls really engaging too much with her.$config[ads_text9] not found
Divorced mama here, and her father and I each live with our respective mothers (thanks economy!). I think the relationship she has with each of her grandmothers is a reflection of the relationship she has with us and how we were raised: my house is relaxed, messy, open, loud, emotional. His house is buttoned up, tidy, a bit more reserved. If something ever happened to him, though, I'd 100% make sure she still spent time with his mother.
Growing up, only one grandmother (my dad's mom) was alive when I was born, and she's still around. We were very close when we were younger, and drifted a bit as we got older, she moved states away, I realized how much their family was disappointed with my mom. My dad died when I was 9, and I was thankful my mom and grandmother put aside their issues so we could see them during the summers.
I have a situation that I feel like is pretty unusual, but I haven't read all of the comments yet, so maybe it's not. I am closest to my husband's step-mother, and my kids are as well. My father-in-law died shortly after our oldest was born and she channeled her care-taking of him into being (almost) completely available to us for help with the kids and just generally. She also realized really early on (after a rocky relationship with my husband and his siblings when they were kids) that she was going to not judge or even comment on our parenting and that has helped to make our relationship really great. She is the first person that I call when something goes wrong or right, and she has become a great friend to me, in addition to a wonderful mother-in-law and grandmother. It definitely doesn't hurt that she lives close and is in great shape in her late 60s.$config[ads_text10] not found
My relationship with my own mother is not easy. She is a jealous person who casts herself as the victim in every scenario. While I was pregnant, and after the birth of my second child, for whatever reason, I became the perpetrator of her victimhood. It's taken a lot of therapy, but I now understand that this is related to her deep depression, but I am still in mourning for the relationship that I do not have with my own mom. It definitely affects the relationship that my kids have with my parents, but I grew up with my mom bad-mouthing my father's parents and it made having any relationship with them totally impossible, so I am always positive about them with my own kids and encourage the development of their relationship. They live far away, so it's harder, but I don't want this history to repeat itself again with my own relationship with my children so I think it's important to try hard in this area.
I didn't have a maternal grandmother as she died before I was born, but I agree with the maternal advantage. My children think of grandma as my mother. The other lady is fine, but mom is NOT going to spend a prolonged amount of time there under any circumstances. My MIL is a good person abs definitely not a meddling kind, but the bond is weak. My own mother didn't like her MIL at all.
I've been thinking about this a lot today — our kids will never know their paternal grandmother because she passed away right before we got married, and I often think about how different things would be if she were around. She made me feel welcome and a part of the family even when my husband and I were first dating and she was a wonderful, wonderful woman who would have delighted in our kids. I think she would have been their favorite, even though (like some other places I've seen in the comments) it's likely my mom would have done the most physical caretaking of all the grandparents. (She is great at cooking and caring for kids but doesn't play with them as much as a “fun” grandma would.)
I mentioned this article to my husband (mentioning to him that I see him as different because he regularly calls his family members, even more than I do!) and he responded that actually it's not a natural state of affairs for him and he doesn't consider himself “good” at relationships, it's just that his mom always told him to call grandma growing up and when he went off to college, his dad reminded him to call at least once a week, which he still does about 15 years later…
While I agree that women do most of the relationship-status-determining (for better or worse), I think we all need to do a better job raising our boys not to be so emotionally stunted. That's on us as a society and we are worse off for it.
My two sets of grandparents became good friends after my parents got married, and we saw them each weekly if not more often. We were all quite close.
My partner's family objected to our marriage, and are pretty transparent about the fact that they're proud of themselves for being civil to me. They live a thousand miles from my parents, who embraced my partner from day one. It was not a hard decision to move to the same town as my parents so our kids could have a close relationship with them. We see my partner's parents a few times a year. Grandma on that side has mentioned that she understands exactly why. Grandpa still pretends to be baffled.
I grew up in a town that was the same distance away from both sets of grandparents. We saw them both at every major holiday and in between, we would see my Mom's side of the family more often. They were a tight knit, very large family of immigrants (my mom became a citizen when I was a little girl) with a few of the siblings who never married. Those aunts stayed living and caring for my grandparents in the same house they are still in today many years after my grandparents have passed away. I felt more comfortable there in some ways growing up because they were more easy going about kids running around and I had so many cousins to play with. We didn't get gifts there at Christmas because of how many kids there were and because material wealth/possessions were not valued at all in that family. We got dirty, played in the nearby river and climbed trees to our hearts content. At my dad's parents house, everything was in its place and needed to look a certain way at holidays. My Grandma was meticulous in her cleaning and keeping of house and I didn't feel comfortable or lie I could every really relax there when I spent a week there every summer. My Grandma was always correcting me and trying to make me more ladylike or proper. I remember one time scraping my knee and her getting upset over me touching the cotton part of the bandaid. She threw it away and said I had ruined it by getting germs on it. I wasn't close to my cousins not hat side of the family either as we grew up Christian and they walked around cussing as small children with no correction from their parents. I know my mom was not comfortable there either so I think I sensed that and took on her discomfort. What's funny is from all my childhood memories of playing with my cousins on my mom's side and her big immigrant family, a shift happened in the family when I was a preteen and we have never been as close. My Dad's parents ended up moving in with us when I was 15 and that changed the trajectory of my life in so many ways. My prim and proper Dad's mom became such a different person after my Grandpa died and she and I became so close. She was there for the birth of my first born and one of the first to meet my foster daughter and celebrated her adoption like no other. She adored my youngest and she championed me as a mom and spoke so much hope and joy and beauty in my life. We lived less than 10 minutes from her retirement home and visited with her weekly. My husband adored her and she adored him- he often would visit with her on his own. She loved me so well as a young adult and mom and I would have never expected our relationship to ever be that close based on my childhood memories of her. Her death this past year was so painful to me because no one has ever adored me or been so delighted with me than my Gram. She lit up when I walked into a room and was always so eager to introduce me to ever single server or worker or resident of the retirement home. I loved laughing with her, caring for her and being in her presence. It was the best feeling and such a gift to be loved by her so well. She taught me so much about how I want to love my future grandkids.