Becoming a grandparent can be a really exciting and healing time for a parent. But it can also bring up old wounds in their adult child, which sometimes leads to big confrontations.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for getting upset that her daughter doesn't want her to visit for her grandchild's birth. She wrote:
I am in my late 50s (female) and have two kids. My oldest daughter is going to give birth to her second child next month. Their father and I divorced about 18 years ago. I was a super young bride and did my best to raise my kids but my husband was 12 years older than me and was an alcoholic.
Eventually, I had to go live my own life. I ended up moving to Sedona and getting into the spiritual community (we lived in NY). My daughter was 20 and my son was 17 when I left - they were both off to college. I try to visit twice a year and spend time with my kids and grandson. I’m of a lower income bracket so I usually stay with my daughter.
I was hoping to stay for the month next month, but my daughter told me that she strictly doesn’t want me coming for the birth of her second child. She said I abandoned them and that I don’t just get to show up for the good moments. She told me I can come in January if I want, but I’ll need to get a hotel room. I’m a little hurt because I really try to be helpful when I visit.
I clean, I cook, and I babysit so her and her husband can go out. I know I live far away, but I’m not the first mother to not live in the same state. I make sure to visit at least twice a year and save up a significant amount to do it. I did get a bit upset on the phone and told her I wish she’d told me she was holding resentments earlier.
She told me that she didn’t have a home to stay in during college break because I just disappeared. We hung up angrily. AITA?
I'm sorry to say but you are experiencing the consequences of your actions. You are the one who moved away. I can tell you honestly that even if a mother and daughter have a really solid relationship, it would be unreasonable to expect to be able to stay for a full month immediately after the birth of a grandchild. It's just too much, even for the best relationships.
There clearly are unresolved issues and it's important to respect your daughter's wishes if you want to try and start repairing your relationship. I'd plan to visit near the time of birth (provided they are allowing visitors) and stay nearby but only for a few days.
You can try and visit again when you are able to. Gentle YTA - I know it hurts but you can build your relationship back and there can be healing if you put in the work.
When your adult daughter voices resentment over past pain you’ve caused, immediately criticizing her for not speaking up sooner is a tone-deaf response. How hard do you think it was to finally speak up for herself?
Of course, it’s hard to hear. But criticism in such a vulnerable moment tells her she’s not heard, and minimizes her feelings. The way you’ve recounted it here shows no effort to consider this from her POV; you sound like someone excusing yourself.
Second, no one wants a houseguest for a month. That’s just too long in someone else’s space/life with the (possible) exception of long-distance romances. And even more so after a new baby. In that case, even a weeklong visit is a lot. Bottom line, you owe her an apology. And a good, healthy listen. Because you want to be a parent who knows your kid’s heart, who she can be honest with, right?
YTA. You can try and sugarcoat it as much as you like (undoubtedly to try and curry sympathy) but the fact is that you emotionally abandoned your children. Your daughter has every right to be hurt by that. I don't feel like you actually recognize or care about your daughter's feelings at all. This is ALLLLLL about you. But irrespective of the above, your daughter would've just had a baby.
It's not unreasonable to not want to host another adult in her home for a MONTH after the birth.
This is going to be a revolutionary concept to you, so hear me out...
Maybe this isn't about you at all. SHOCKING I KNOW. Maybe she just wants to spend time with her new little family and get settled into motherhood for a while before having another grown adult come and stay in her house for a month.
YTA. Your daughter is right. Listen to her. Abide by her boundaries and respect her decisions if you want to be a part of her family. BTW my judgment of you being the AH has nothing to do with what happened when you got divorced, moved on, whatever. It's the fact that your daughter and her husband have set boundaries.
You cannot stomp all over them. You may visit when they are ready to receive visitors. They don't want you staying with them, which I understand. This is their time and their space.
YTA. Your daughter is the one giving birth, and this is her child, her home, and her call. It frankly doesn't matter why she doesn't want you there. She doesn't, and that's the answer. Your daughter is entitled to set whatever boundaries around her home she wants. If you staying in her home no longer works for her, it doesn't matter how helpful you perceive yourself to be.
It's her home, and you have no right to visit if you are not welcome. You need an invitation, and she's been clear that one will not be offered going forward. But FWIW, I see your daughter's position. You left her high and dry to pursue your own life because she was technically an adult, forcing her to scramble to find her own accommodations. Well, you're an adult too, and much more established.
So there should be no issue with her now asking you to do the same. I don't judge you for leaving, but you can't tell your child they're on their own at 20 and expect a lifelong extended welcome in their home.
Presumably, you have far more financial means than she would have had at 20 as a full-time student and she's only asking you to find your own lodgings for a visit as opposed to the months she had to secure her housing for on breaks, so maybe you're just now understanding exactly how difficult the position you put her in was.
OP is clearly TA here, but she's gifted with the opportunity to listen to her daughter and do better down the line.