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Need your wise advice

JRI's picture

You've all heard me rant about my SD61.  Emotional, high-maintenance, lying, manipulative.  I am trying to stay gray-rocked and detached.

She has 2 daughters, C & M.  Her relationship with M has been tenuous, I dont want to know the details altho she drained M"s college fund forcing M to take out student loans for her teaching education, for a starter.  I try to have my own individual relationships with C & M without criticizing SD.   

M delivered her 2nd child, a boy, 1 month prematurely this month.  Last week, they called 911 when he was limp and turning blue.  He's been in a local hospital for a week now.  We visited last week and the latest news is he's off oxygen and doing better.  The Drs say it was just a cold but he's a preemie.  Also, he sleeps very soundly and sometimes "forgets" to breathe. What I'm hearing is this will all clear up as he reaches his normal birth time in 10 days.

When we visited M & baby last week, M didn't mention her mom and we didn't ask.  Apparently, SD didn't know about all this til DH told her yesterday.  Today, she called in tears wanting to know whats wrong, will the baby die, what will happen.  I gave her what info I had, emphasizing the positive spin and saying since I hadn't heard more " no news is good news".  She asked that I update her if I heard more. 

I texted M, how's it going (he's doing better) and asked if she'd mind if I updated SD.  She said ok but she doesnt want her showing up anywhere, they had some kind of upset around the baby's birth.  I texted SD with the facts phrasing it as "M doesnt want any visitors right now".  Alarm bells were going off in my head since I don't want to get in the middle.

Then C called me.  SD had called her in tears about the baby's possible death and all the drama, what was the story?  I told her what I knew and she said she was glad she called, can't believe SD, why does she say this harmful stuff.  I didn't comment.  SD either didn't read my soothing text or chose to ignore it.

So my question is, what do I do now?  I'd like to just dig a hole and escape.  I have a bad feeling that I'll get blamed somehow as usual.




CajunMom's picture

C and M know their mother well. Also, your SD did SOMETHING as M doesn't want her showing up. I would try not to stress over this; keep your relationships with C and M "normal" going forward. Ignore your SD. Everyone knows she's a hot mess. Hugs to you, JRI. You are a good lady.

Survivingstephell's picture

Sounds like M needs you right now. To protect her from any unwanted and unnecessary drama.  Would you be ok being that " punching bag" choosing it instead of it being forced on you?   The main concern is that the baby gets healthy and having an undistracted mother.   Can you enforce your boundaries while outlining what needs to happen for M?   I've read enough of your story over the years that I get not wanting to be in the middle but I can see your role as one of leadership and sanity.  You are surrounded by dysfunction.  Maybe you could ask M what role she needs you to play during this time.    It sounds like a scary time for all.  

JRI's picture

Good idea to ask M what she needs.  I'm tempted to throw my disengagement to the winds and offer to go spell M for awhile, she's only had 1.5 hors of slerp.

CajunMom's picture

Great advice. Reach out to her and offer help. Her mother clearly can't. 

EDIT: I'm thinking you are close to both C and M. Can you talk with them and express your concerns? I feel that they both would come to your defense, should the crazy SD/mom act out.

JRI's picture

I texted M and asked what she needed.  I offered to come in so she could get some sleep.  She thanked me, says she can make it and they're probably going home tomorrow. I'm glad I got this advice, she said it meant a lot that I'd offered.

Harry's picture

So I don't know why you are so surprised about her.  Her. DD know her well, that she is no help.  There are electronic devices out there that alarms when baby stop breathing.  IDK how well they work.  But it's something to look into and baybe buy for SGD.  

JRI's picture

Yes, M said they bought some kind of alarm, its like a sock and emits a loud sound if he stops breathing, cost $300.  So, between the alarm, pumping breast milk and the every 4 hour feedings, I dont see much sleep in M's immediate future.  Lol.

It's a pity SD isnt in the picture, they can really use some help right now.  M's DH took vacay time but I dont know how much he has.  They took the 2yo out of daycare to prevent infections.  So, between a delicate preemie, a 2yo and 2 dogs, it's going to be a lot.

AlmostGone834's picture

My advice is offer help only if you want to and set limits to it. Don't exhaust yourself. You have enough on your plate dealing with your SD. If anyone tries to blame you for anything I highly suggest you tell them that they need to manage their own relationships going forward. 

JRI's picture

I do have a lot on my plate with my 85yo DH coming down with dementia, my 99yo mom in long term, also dementia,  my DS and DIL here about a quarter of the time due to DIL's health issues, my house, my own care and last but not least, SD.  If M lived closer, I might offer to go help but they're 50+ miles away and I shouldnt be driving highways with my eye issues.  Back in the day, I had to deal with a 2yo and sick newborn, too, and lived thru it and she will, too.

My only concern is the way SD twists everything, " SHE didn't tell me about M earlier", "SHE should have taken me to the hospital", blah, blah, blah.  My grayrock antennae is on high alert.


lieutenant_dad's picture

I don't know your finances, but if M would be open to it, you could pay for a cleaning service, send some gift cards for DoorDash or GrubHub, send some oven-ready meals through an online company like Home Chef, etc. Or find out what kind of pump she is using and send her an extra set of parts and bottles so she doesn't have to clean pump parts every time she pumps (I LOATHED doing that at 4AM). Certainly don't force gifts on her, and don't over-extend yourself. But there are very practical gifts that can make life easier for her right now.

And SD can suck it, whether that be suck it up, a phallic object, etc. I think going forward you can tell SD that if she wants details she'll have to talk to her daughter, then M can decide to block her mom.

JRI's picture

These are thoughtful suggestions but it would feel somewhat off for me to do this.  I've had sort of a hands-off relationship with SD's girls over the years starting with BM emphasizing, "She's not your REAL grandma".  It also felt like SD didn't want me getting too close.

But yes, next time SD asks for an update, I'll suggest she contact M directly.  I want to keep my one-on-one basis with the girls.

CLove's picture

You are such a kindhearted person, that you are even going through this sucks.

I hope things work out with M and her sister, although with SD "in there" nothing will ever be right.


JRI's picture

Your'e right, you must have experience with high conflict SKs.  Lol.  Just imagine Feral Forager after 2 divorces and 3 grown kids, being on disability and having a drug addiction, all on top of her usual personality features.  Grim.

advice.only2's picture

Personally I would be asking M what information she feels comfortable with you sharing with SD61.  If you feel comfortable being a buffer for now then make sure whatever you are sharing with SD61 has been approved by M.  The last thing she needs is her own mother twisting this entire situation to be about herself.

floralsm's picture

Oh poor M. I had my DD2 5 weeks early and she was in NICU for 3 weeks before I could even take her home. It's scary when they are a prem and forget things like breathing! How your SD reacted is absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary for M. SD sounds drama filled and and M definitely doesn't need that right now. 
Going by what other people advised I think is definitely the way to go. Text M what she needs and know you are there as a support if needed.. it's stressful having a bub early. I felt like I was literally a dairy milk cow attached to the hospitals breast pump for 3 weeks until she was strong enough to drink from by breast. Every two hours I was pumping 24/7 and it was exhausting (I was fortunate to have a huge milk supply) and all I ever loved getting was 'Here if you need' texts from family. 
Ignore SD and her drama. Wishing you all the best and sending well wishes to little bubba and M. 

JRI's picture

The preemie scenario seems to be harrowing for everyone.  This little boy was in NICU for a week, then was home about 10 days before turning blue and going limp.  He has recently been in the hospital for a week, partially in the childrens' intensive unit.

The upside is that so many of these babies are saved nowadays.