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Respectfully, please close

post #1 of 164
Thread Starter 
Well, I can see this is going nowhere. Some posts are helpful, most not. Every time I attempt to deconstruct, the basic advice is "life is not fair" (no kidding), "leave your husband," "make your husband do his 'fair' share" (interesting), "handle your responsibilities yourself," and "just go out and build your own village."

Deconstruct further and you find that some people are SAHPs with supportive to semi-supportive spouses and / or full or semi-villages, who aren't in this place and while have their own struggles probably do not get this on this level. Granted, there is no way to compare.

I'm not blaming everyone else and shirking all my responsibility.

God, I've done the opposite of that and carried more of the load for longer than I think is healthy, but with no alternative, that's what needs to be done. And I'm doing it. I'm not waiting around for someone else to do it.

'Life is not fair' is not an answer. It's a trite saying. To say no one has any obligation to be fair to another person is just...bizarre. People have obligations. They don't always live up to them. Yes, life is unfair. Obviously. The ends don't justify the means.

Yes, I'm quite sure my inlaws pick up on some of the tone. I'm sure they are uncomfortable as heck around these parts. Their actions PREDATE all of this and are a cause of at least some of it.

It isn't accurate to assume the "response" to (or effect of) their actions is the "cause" of their actions.

First comes the chicken, then the egg.

Sure, things can compound and get worse, but the cause comes first, the reaction second.

I can't argue against a mob of people. If the chorus says something, then there must be truth in it.

Parents on these boards talk about the need for a village ad nauseum. But say you need a village a little too much, when the going gets really tough, and you might be interpreted as thinking you are demanding a village, expecting a village, thinking you deserve nothing less than a village.

It either takes a village or it doesn't. I feel it does. Or life is perpetually like pulling an all nighter in college. But if there is not one, then that doesn't remove personal responsiblity, and that has not happened here.

Somehow some of you have criticized me for complaining as though that is all I am doing.

I'm not resting on past accomplishments and shirking responsibilitiy. I am pulling an unending all nighter. I need a village, like all of you, and sometimes that might be hard to see or understand if you have givens in your life taken for granted or accepted as fundamentals. I think this is human nature. I'm sure I do it myself on many levels.

Lastly, I'm stunned none of you feel your parents or inlaws have any obligation to your children. In an ethical context, for discussion's sake, if a child's parents die or become disabled, or incarcerated, or incapcitated, do grandparents have no obligation? Do grandparents with means and age have no obligation to the children of their children? It's interesting the responses I have read here and yet you will find in many other forums here on MDC statements about how American society differs in parenting cultural norms from other cultures where the extended family collectively cares for children as a village.

It's just interesting - our cultural norm of independence versus collective and how it manifests in parenting.

It's also funny how 5 minutes of posting and complaining about a longstanding inequitable situation becomes shirking responsibility and not fixing things myself when the 23 other hours of the day are spent doing just that at an exhausting pace.


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post #2 of 164
I'd realize that they are never going to change and figure out what that meant for me.
post #3 of 164


Mama, I've read what you've written about your inlaws before. I can tell how much their behaviour hurts you and I'm sorry. If I were you I would be hurt too. That said, you can't control what they do - only your response. For your own well-being I think you need to work towards letting go of your anger and resentment. Do not expect any more of them than what they already give. I wouldn't look to them for help (help after c-section, financial help for stuff for the kids, etc), because you will just end up hurt and disappointed again. It is very sad that they are missing out on a closer relationship with their grandson (your ds). I wish they would change, but nothing in their behaviour suggests that they will. For your own healing I think you need to accept this and put away any and all expectations that they will be there for you and your family.

Again, I'm sorry mama.
post #4 of 164
Sounds kind of like my kids' grandparents. Both sets in different ways.

My MIL favors her other son, so spends boatloads of money "helping" him and his kids. Poor them, their housekeeper can only come two days a week, so she has to go drive (not a short drive!) and go get the boys so they're not in the housekeeper's way. Because their parents work so hard and it would be a shame if the housekeeper couldn't get the house clean for them. They have money for multiple sports, classes, and activities too (in addition to the housekeeper) but my MIL will go make the drive (again!) and chauffeur them to all their stuff, plus buy their karate uniforms, camp snacks, daycare nap mats, tee ball equipment, etc. And no, their mom doesn't work.

My parents make excuses like "I have arthritis!" (my mom) and "I have back pain!" (my dad) and "Gas is so expensive!" for why they can't make the trip. But my mom can drive to the outlet mall three hours away and carry huge bags by herself, and my dad can drive all over the state for work (including past our house, but does not ever stop). And they have money to buy my teen sister things like a car, a chihuahua, and more fancy clothes than she could ever wear.

So yeah, other grandparents do things like that. The only thing I can do is stop expecting them to be fair. It sucks for my kids (because they will notice sooner or later), but there's really nothing I can do about it. Maybe they'll feel bad and try harder when the kids themselves call them on it. I would think they were either choosing to ignore their unfairness, or justifying it to themselves. And I would stop expecting them to be fair and asking them for help, because that's probably not going to happen. You can confront them, but they'll just rationalize it away and call you crazy.
post #5 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
I'd realize that they are never going to change and figure out what that meant for me.

Let it go. There's nothing you can do that you haven't already done. You've invited them many times, they've declined, just stop. You're only hurting yourself.
post #6 of 164
I agree with previous posters. This is the way they are, for whatever reason. It's wrong, there is absolutely no doubt. But nothing you say or do will change them.
I would cut off my expectations of them so that you are not disappointed, and so your child is not disappointed.

I'm sorry. I have in-law issues, too.
post #7 of 164
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post
Let it go. There's nothing you can do that you haven't already done. You've invited them many times, they've declined, just stop. You're only hurting yourself.
Right. I know.

But I really need their help, actually. Well, I don't need it. My kid does. We need the help...somewhere, somehow. We need the help.
post #8 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
Right. I know.

But I really need their help, actually. Well, I don't need it. My kid does. We need the help...somewhere, somehow. We need the help.
But its not going to come from them. So sorry.

I too, am married to the unfavorite child... my in-laws favor the other grandchildren to the point that they are spoiled brats. I realize now that I've been better off without their interference.
post #9 of 164
I agree that it sounds like your IL's just don't have the same type of relationship with your DH than they do their other son (or daughter?). It isn't fair to your child, but it is what it is. I wouldn't take it personally, and I would stop wasting energy feeling annoyed that they went on a cruise instead of to see you all. Also, don't consider counting on them to visit or watch your DS for a M-F like you were hoping for. That way, if they do end up coming to stay and offer to help out - it will be unexpected and very much appreciated, yk?

What about your parents? Do they make time and effort to have a great relationship with your child? If not, then I would really try to focus on the good things about your IL's. Some kids don't have grandparents, and others see them very rarely. I don't think there really is a fair way to grandparent, BTW, even though I do agree that it sounds like your IL's favor the other family, and spend more time and $ on them -- but just like parenting more than one kid, it's not going to be an equal type of deal. If anything, your DH should be working on the relationship he has with his parents. Can he, you, and DS go to visit the grandparents instead of wait until they come to you? Then maybe you'd feel like your child isn't as left out.
post #10 of 164
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post
But its not going to come from them. So sorry.

I too, am married to the unfavorite child... my in-laws favor the other grandchildren to the point that they are spoiled brats. I realize now that I've been better off without their interference.


Sorry for you, too.

I wouldn't say DH is the unfavorite child, but maybe he is. I don't know. I guess I'm not privy to their personal thoughts and actions speak loudly. MIL sure overlooks anything he does that isn't stellar. She's always done that. FIL is sort of hands off on everything in life. The issue is more that my husband is very passive about his relationship with them, and pretty much with everything in life.

FIL and MIL love the location where BIL lives. And they love his pool, etc. They love the climate. They visit often because, honestly, it's sort of like a vacation to them. And then BIL makes good money and BIL and SIL, according to my inlaws "you know them, no holds barred when it comes to money..." maybe try to fit in with the Jones, so to speak. Whenever they talk about their visits they'll say how new and expensive and nice everything is where BIL lives so I really think on some level they are trying to fit in. Weird.

I don't get it.

Then another layer is that BIL has some issues with actions on the part of FIL growing up, about how good of a dad he was, how active, how engaged. And so FIL in some ways might be trying to make up for that. DH doesn't really have any issues with his dad, or if he does, he's not going to bring them up because his dad will fall off the wagon...again. Also, I do think DH just doesn't even want to deal with his dad. The relationship is hard to understand fully. They're not the kind of people to really think about it, talk about it, solve it, or acknowledge it.

FIL just won't visit, and DH is like whatever, his loss, but what bugs me is that DH should be looking out for our son now.

But then DH is sort of hands off too...I guess like his father. It's layered and I don't even fully understand all the layers. I just don't like the unfairness and the reluctance to make things better or address issues. They'd all rather just keep the status quo and not be called out on anything.
post #11 of 164
I'm sorry your IL's are so inattentive to your family. I agree with other posters that I'd stop engaging them - don't invite them anymore, don't call them anymore, and leave it up to them. Inviting them means you're hoping for a different outcome than you have gotten all the other times, and you set yourself up for disappointment.

Are there ways to make friends within your child's world? Places like your neighborhood, parenting groups, preschool, kindy when it comes - all are great places to meet other families. We've made some great friends along the way with whom we can swap childcare just to get some work done or to go on dates, and it is a big help.
post #12 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmansions View Post
Are there ways to make friends within your child's world? Places like your neighborhood, parenting groups, preschool, kindy when it comes - all are great places to meet other families. We've made some great friends along the way with whom we can swap childcare just to get some work done or to go on dates, and it is a big help.
This is a good idea. We have no family where we live or anywhere near where we live, but we do have friends here who are really like family to us. We help them and they help us. With kids, with work around the house (building fences, things like that), and we would even help each other out financially if the other was in a bind (though luckily we all have parents that are able and willing to help us on that front). I wish for you that people like this will come into your life. It's a godsend.
post #13 of 164
I think I'd be thankful that I don't have these toxic people in my life very much. They sound rather selfish and self-absorbed- can you imagine spending several weeks with them around your children, several times a year?
post #14 of 164
If I had inlaws like this: I would end up feeling less important and resent their behavior. I'd probably make lots of mean remarks with my dh about it and complain. I'd feel hurt. I'd feel responsible for making even more sacrifices for my kids to try to make up for what (I felt) was a poor relationship that I couldn't control.
That said, I think kids don't really know what relationships with their relatives *could have* been like, and don't feel the same kind of disappointment as acutely as their parents. I also think I'd strive to let my feelings go and just try to not notice what they did, but I'm sure every so often I'd fall back on feeling badly about the situation.

what would I do: At best, I'd try to get involved in things that made me and my family less available to them overall and find and cultivate relationships for my family with neighbors, friends that had a 'grandparently' feel to them. My parents even had pretty decent relationships with their parents and we still ended up doing this since we always lived pretty far away from them.


We've had our own dilemmas with dh's mom who spends significantly more time with bil's family (mainly as they have lived at her house for a few weeks or months at a time when they've been in this area) and, even though we live local to her - she's constantly canceling plans with us she makes to go shopping or gambling or whatever, complains about how our schedule isn't more convenient for her and she never sees our kids. I've had to shrug it off by realizing that the only way she's open to what I think a good relationship would involve would mean we'd have to live at her house, or right next door or something (which isn't worth it to me) so that it would work for her to be involved with our family it when she wants.


It might be, in your case, that you'd get the relationship you want if you cast aside your financial responsibilities and catered to them significantly more such that they'd be vacationing and treated to stuff that cost you a lot of money when they were with you - would the debt and subservience be worth the relationship? Would moving to somewhere they'd like to visit more at the expense of your life where it is worth it? It might be that your bil & sil's family didn't do this on purpose, but it just ended up to be something that motivated his parents to get more involved in their lives.
post #15 of 164
I would be THRILLED not to spend the time with them and have them around.

Wish I was this lucky
post #16 of 164
My dad's parents were like that too. My brother and I definitely knew we weren't the favorite. Kelly was the golden child. We never had a chance. They weren't mean, or hateful. It was just common knowledge that Kelly was favored.

In the long run, it almost worked out. (in a selfish way) When my brother, cousin and I grew up, my cousin was expected to call them every Sunday. We not only were never called by them, they didn't expect a phone call from us. We were never made to feel guilty if we didn't drop everything and run to their sides when they were upset, sick or anything. But, my cousin was. It was almost as if she owed them.

My other grandmother was as fair as they can be. She loved us all equally, and if you asked any of the cousins who was her favorite we all say "I was".

I say, let it be. Don't worry about it. You can't change it, and they don't feel like changing it. It's nothing you are doing, or not doing. It's not about your son at all.
post #17 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
I think I'd be thankful that I don't have these toxic people in my life very much. They sound rather selfish and self-absorbed- can you imagine spending several weeks with them around your children, several times a year?


I too have a selfish and self-absorbed MIL (FIL not as bad but he is getting there). The kindest thing I can say about her is that she is toxic. She shows no favoritism when it comes to her 4 grandkids--she is equally disinterested and insulting to all. It's a tossup as to to which daughter-in-law she dislikes the most (me or SIL). I used to lament the lack of a relationship, think that there surely must be something I could do to win her over, worry that my kids would suffer because of her inattention. I used to bend over backwards to issue invites for the holidays, birthdays, etc. Now I'm actually thankful that she doesn't show more of an interest in my kids--she's toxic--mean sprited, selfish, racist, she lies, and has no clue as to proper social interaction. I could go on and on. I'm at the point now where I feel my role is to protect my kids from her ugliness and toxicity. She visits once a year, for about 3 days, and that is more than enough for all of us. My SIL is in the same boat is me as far as her kids are concerned.

I'm sorry you are struggling with this. My only advice to you is to raise your child as best as you can to know that he is loved and cherished. Surround him with as many people as you can who love him and will treat him well and can be good role models. When all is said and done he will realize that the relationship (or lack thereof) is their loss and not his.
post #18 of 164
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mumkimum View Post
It might be, in your case, that you'd get the relationship you want if you cast aside your financial responsibilities and catered to them significantly more such that they'd be vacationing and treated to stuff that cost you a lot of money when they were with you - would the debt and subservience be worth the relationship? Would moving to somewhere they'd like to visit more at the expense of your life where it is worth it? It might be that your bil & sil's family didn't do this on purpose, but it just ended up to be something that motivated his parents to get more involved in their lives.
I think you are right about this. I could go out and spend a couple thousand dollars we don't really have and get a great couch, a pool, a big tv, a grill, and MIL and FIL would love it. Those are the draws at my BIL and SIL's home. They love it. I can't change the climate where we live, but I could make other changes. I just don't feel like going into debt for my inlaws. The more they say and do the more selfish and shallow they seem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
I think I'd be thankful that I don't have these toxic people in my life very much. They sound rather selfish and self-absorbed- can you imagine spending several weeks with them around your children, several times a year?

Yeah, I am thankful for that. I mean this was going on before BIL/SIL and we had kids, but only to a certain extent. Not this much! Back then, I didn't care. I mean, it didn't affect me. Now that it's my child they're ignoring, oh, yeah, I'm mad as hell. They don't get to treat him like he's less. And that is exactly what they are doing.
post #19 of 164
How old are your children? We have family who isn't all that involved, and my kids really don't think anything of it. If you don't make a big deal out of it, the kids won't make a big deal of it.

I'm sorry you're hurting and I'm sorry they aren't giving you and your family the support you feel you deserve. But from the multiple times you've posted, they aren't going to change. They just aren't. And the sad, hard truth is, they aren't obligated to change. They aren't obligated to help. They aren't obligated to give your children what they choose to give to others. And it sucks, for sure, but you seem to be directing a lot of energy into trying to make them change or trying to understand the why behind it. Sometimes, there is no why. Sometimes people just suck. They do get to treat him like he's less, as much as that stinks. They get to do whatever they want with their time and money. The only thing you get to control is your own reactions. You can choose to be bitter and keep directing all this energy their way, or you can choose to move on. But you're not going to change them.
post #20 of 164
Sorry, TIN, but I have to agree w/ everyone else. My ILs are similar, and it bothered me a lot at first but then I realized that they treated their son pretty much the same way. I mean, if they weren't interested in their own son, why would they be interested in his, right? It's hurtful to us but I don't let myself think about it--what's the point--and try to focus on the small non-crappy things they do. The ironic thing is I'm sure my ILs think they're great parents and g'parents. I don't think it's going to affect our kids at all unless we (the adults) make it an issue, b/c sadly, that's their normal.
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