The last 12 months have been great for raising the voice of the over-60s community at Starts at 60, something we feel strongly about doing. During the next few weeks we are celebrating the blogs that resonated with readers the most throughout the year. This blog is one of our Top 30 blogs for 2018.
Recently my mother told me my daughter-in-law hates me because I am strong. This news shouldn’t come as a surprise to me — she is forever trying to drive a wedge between me and my son — but it feels wrong that others are aware of it.
It does not matter what I may think. It does not matter if I am a wealth of knowledge and life experience. It does not matter if I know so many old ways that would work better on anything at all. I know to keep my opinions to myself and my mouth remains firmly shut when I am around her.
When I attended events for my grandchildren of any sort I didn’t wear colourful clothing. If I did wear what I wanted everything would be ‘wrong’, so I wore boring beige just to try and fit the ‘acceptable’ grandmother mould.
I gave up buying gifts because they were always wrong. Gift cards were the way too go, but I made sure there were those EFTPOS cards that can be used anywhere. If I gave a gift card for a particular shop I’d be promptly informed by my daughter-in-law that it was the wrong shop.
I never assume I will see the grandchildren on a regular basis. I have to be content with whatever time I get. I had to accept that I will always be at the bottom of the daughter-in-law’s totem pole.
When I was asked to babysit — often at the most inconvenient times — I always obliged. I even cancelled appointments I had been waiting to get for three months, because the desire to spend a little time with my grandchildren was more important.
When I left a message, I learned that I could not trust it would be passed on in the same context in which I first said it. Adjectives and verbs were added and/or subtracted. This girl would do anything to make me appear foolish.
There were definitely times when I felt like yelling “For heaven’s sake! Stop with the jealousy and the hate. I am not the enemy, I am his Mum!” but I knew it would only make the situation worse.
However, after an age of not being true to oneself, I got so very tired. I realised nothing I do will ever be good enough and I made the decision to be genuine regardless of the consequences. I now wear what I want when I want (the beige clothes went to goodwill).
My attitude now is take me as I am or leave me alone. Consequently I get left alone a lot, but I am happy.