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Improving accommodation of inlaws for the sake of a grandchild - Page 3

post #41 of 103
For another perspective - my DH always says that it is our job to bring the kids to see their grandparents and not the other way around My ILs would never come and stay at my house but are happy to have us visit them.
post #42 of 103
OP, this is no different than your other threads. How ever you slice the pie you are not going to get the inlaws to be 'fair' in your eyes.

You need to move on and find peace with that fact.
post #43 of 103
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by savithny View Post
In other words, I would suggest that it might be good for you, personally, to spend some time examining your own feelings about the relationship between love and material goods, and the way those feelings were shaped by your own family life.
True. I should do that. And I'm not saying for sure that isn't at play here on some level.

But that wouldn't explain the difference in standards in how they treat BIL versus DH. Or BIL1, whom they treat even more unfairly, versus BIL2.

I have talked to my girlfriends and I see in real life how their inlaws act and it's not how my inlaws act. Not at all. So, it can't just be me being impacted by my own childhood. My childhood has nothing to do with how MIL and FIL treat BIL1 so differently than how they treat BIL2.

In that family, it's like a heirarchy of better treatment.

BIL2 is at the top. Then DH. Then BIL1. It stinks.
post #44 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by cycle View Post
I am going to say this gently and I honestly mean no snark at all by it; I really think you should talk to a therapist. It is not healthy for you to be so fixated on this issue with your in-laws. They are not going to change, they are allowed to have make their own decisions even if you don't think they are fair or they lack etiquette. The amount of time you have spent on this subject with so many people telling you over and over to let it go, or that maybe they just don't like visiting, or whatever, and you don't accept any of it, it is disturbing. You are obsessed with this issue and it isn't healthy. You are not in an unusual situation, $6000 for taxes is not a huge amount of money in the area I live, thats nothing. Being a working parent with no outside support from family is not unusual, having a husband who doesn't pull his weight around the house, again, not unusual. I really mean this sincerely, you are not hearing what anyone is saying to you, you are asking for advice but you are rejecting it, I really think you should seek help dealing with this issue and the other issues weighing you down.


Night after night I have been reading these threads trying to think of a nice way to say what you did. Thanks
post #45 of 103
It might be along the lines of "they are just not that into you". It sounds like the other BIL has resort like accommodations for them and maybe they just get along better. I understand why you won't buy or cook meat or keep alcohol in the house but if those are things they have on a daily basis then right or wrong, they are not going to want to spend much time at your house. Try not to take it personally. People are strange, families are strange and ILs can be the strangest of all. Maybe you would be better off doing things on neutral ground - going to an amusement park or out to eat and skip the extended visits.
post #46 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
True. I should do that. And I'm not saying for sure that isn't at play here on some level.

But that wouldn't explain the difference in standards in how they treat BIL versus DH. Or BIL1, whom they treat even more unfairly, versus BIL2.

I have talked to my girlfriends and I see in real life how their inlaws act and it's not how my inlaws act. Not at all. So, it can't just be me being impacted by my own childhood. My childhood has nothing to do with how MIL and FIL treat BIL1 so differently than how they treat BIL2.

In that family, it's like a heirarchy of better treatment.

BIL2 is at the top. Then DH. Then BIL1. It stinks.
I'm saying that you come from a family of alcoholics.

They *are* a family of alcoholics. THis often results in disparate treatment of children. As I said in my first post -- playing children off each other is not uncommon. It's part of the dysfunction.

So yes, it explains their treatment of their sons, too.

What is messy is that you, and they, BOTH have some nonstandard ideas about familial relationships, and the two different ideas (yours and theirs) are at opposite poles away from some kind of mythic centerline of "what most people do." This is making things worse for you (thought not for them, because its possible that they actively enjoy the results of their unequal treatment in terms of feeling the power it gives them).

DO you see what I mean? Alcoholics and children of alcoholics often have unrealistic expectations of family roles, responsibilities, etc. This may well be at work on BOTH sides in this situation.
post #47 of 103
You're 3 hours away from them correct? Could you try meeting in the middle? It's a way to start fostering a better relationship. Meet them at a restaurant for a meal on a weekend. I'd easily drive 1.5 hours to meet my inlaws or parents for dinner. Or the zoo, or a museum, or the movies, etc.

But I agree with the others who say it might just be personality. My kids have 4 sets of grandparents (all are divorced) - my mom, my dad, my MIL and SFIL and my FIL and SMIL. We are not "fair" in the amount of time we spend with them - we spend the most with MIL and SFIL because we get along the best with them, we tend to go on a week's vacation together yearly, stay at their home when we visit our home state (where all the grandparents live), and I'd almost always pick them if we had to pick one set of grandparents to do one "thing" with. We like the other grandparents just fine, but have minor issues with all of them. Perhaps the same is true for your in laws.
post #48 of 103
Again, you just have to let this go. You can't fix the disparate treatment of the sons over decades. You can't fix that they are missing out on your wonderful child(ren). They don't have a problem. *You* have a problem and *you* are the only one who can fix it. Let it go. You will have so much more peace.

Jenne
post #49 of 103
We don't really do anything specifically for either set of grandparents except to see them when we can. Nobody ever stays with us; we don't have an extra room or extra bed.

I think inequity in families is extremely common. In my dad's family growing up, the siblings were always pitted against each other, which made my parents so determined to be scrupulously fair. And they are, although they do see me and my kids more than my brother and his daughter, simply because I don't work and my brother and sister-in-law are both lawyers who are on a much more inflexible schedule than I am. As far as gifts and such, though, they are very even.

My in-laws..... well, my MIL died two years ago, after draining all of her savings in order to buy my SIL (DH's sister) and her family two different houses a couple of years apart, and pay off their credit card debt and car loans and such. Over and over and over. She was always apologizing to us about not being able to help us buy a house because she'd given SIL hundreds of thousands of dollars and had nothing left.... we were okay with that, since we had a much less tumultuous relationship with her than SIL and didn't expect her to hand us money all the time. Secretly I think MIL liked me better than her own daughter, and she sort of evened things out when she made us the sole beneficiaries of her life insurance. That money bought our house, and we are forever grateful to her for this final act of love. If she had lived, though, my nieces would have been the ones having the sleepovers with Nana, spending Christmas with her, having her attend their events. She and SIL had a very strange codependent relationship, based on drama and complaint. We get along with SIL much better now that we aren't hearing how awful she is all the time from MIL anymore.

FIL isn't interested much in either SIL's kids or my kids. He wasn't much interested in DH and SIL when they were kids, either. FIL doesn't buy birthday gifts or Christmas gifts, wouldn't ever watch the kids, and seems pretty indifferent in general. Basically the only time we ever see him is when we specifically call him and invite him to our house (he lives by himself, chain-smoking, in squalor, so would never invite us to his house). He comes, we take him out to dinner somewhere, and then he and DH disappear to watch a movie or something. The kids still enjoy having him around, even though he doesn't relate to them at all. I think maybe he's just not good with kids?

When DH and I were first dating, he had been estranged from his father for seven years. FIL made contact again when he found out that MIL (from whom his divorce set off the estrangement) had cancer. DH was so forgiving and patient about his father, and both of us have come to terms with the fact that the entire relationship needs to come from us. We can't ever expect that FIL will show an interest in our kids, and we need to be okay with that. FIL will almost never initiate contact at all, and we need to be okay with being the ones who always call and invite him over. He'll never be a beloved grandfather to our kids, and we need to be okay with that and teach our kids that sometimes people aren't capable of certain levels of relationship. At some point they will wonder why one Grampy is so fun and involved, and the other Grampy is not. We'll work on teaching them to be grateful for having one fun Grampy, and accepting the other Grampy where he is.

SIL is unable to accept these things about her father, and still is upset when he doesn't call her, doesn't remember her kids' birthdays, doesn't seem interested in coming to their events or birthday parties. To her it would seem things are unfair, since we see FIL once a month or so. But it's only because we call him every single time we want to see him. I think he has equality in his lack of interest.

I'll echo the sad news that others have said, in this thread and others. You can't make someone care. Trying to do so will cause frustration and hurt feelings. I'm sorry your in-laws are being crappy to your family, but it seems as though you have done every single possible thing to change the situation, and it didn't take. You need to either cut them out of your life or work on accepting the situation for what it is: a crappy, unchangeable, fact of life.
post #50 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
Could DH and DS visit them? Yes. But FIL is a chain smoker and DS has asthma so I've sort of put my foot down on that.
ugh!!! that's right. i had totally forgotten. sorry.

DANG!!!! life has really handed you a plate of doozies hasnt it. no place to turn. TG you at least have two good friends to talk to.
post #51 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
True. I should do that. And I'm not saying for sure that isn't at play here on some level.

But that wouldn't explain the difference in standards in how they treat BIL versus DH. Or BIL1, whom they treat even more unfairly, versus BIL2.

I have talked to my girlfriends and I see in real life how their inlaws act and it's not how my inlaws act. Not at all. So, it can't just be me being impacted by my own childhood. My childhood has nothing to do with how MIL and FIL treat BIL1 so differently than how they treat BIL2.

In that family, it's like a heirarchy of better treatment.

BIL2 is at the top. Then DH. Then BIL1. It stinks.
That may be a heirachry of 'better treatment' that you say but all families function differently. YOU can not change that. No matter how badly you want it, no matter how badly you think your son deserves it. Its not going to happen. And I can assure you there are inlaws who act worse than yours. Be thankful you even have inlaws. My DS only has one set of grandparents (mine) and they treat him like the black sheep of the family.

You can wish all you want, talk all you want, this family is not going to change.
post #52 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
Maybe DH and I are freaks. Or losers. I don't know. It seems like a lot of people have pretty nice set ups with king size beds, 5 bedroom houses, and tvs and stuff.

...

Or do people have more debt than us? Honestly, how are you guys all paying for this stuff?
I say this as gently as possible. Who cares? You live your life the way you want to and that's fine. Some people live their lives with king sized beds, some live in debt, some get paid well and can afford everything. Why stress about it?

The same thing with your inlaws. They're not going to be the people you want them to be, EVER, so you need to let it go. I've seen several threads where you've been agitated about it, but what's it going to do in the end? You might not think you project this, but I wouldn't be surprised if in the end, some way you do, which will also affect your relationship with your inlaws. Again, gently, I do agree with cycle and therapy. You have had more people than I can count tell you on this topic, that you're not handling it in a healthy way.

In my group of friends, one woman has inlaws who rely on their son to negotiate petty family wars of upwards of 50 people. They barged in on her room shortly after delivery and in their fussing over the baby, they tried to give the newborn food and what have you. Another friend has a MIL who is always in her face, dragged her to a therapy appointment because she cannot stop wondering why my friend is so distant and not cozy cozy with her. Another friend has inlaws who dictate to their son every move in his life and he listens. You are not in a unique situation, believe me!

On to your question. My inlaws are fussy neurotic people. They like their structure, their way. I can't imagine them ever staying in our house for more than a few hours, even if they had the complete run of it, because it's not theirs. I can count on my hands the number of times I've ever seen inlaws just sit and relax, even when we've been on vacation together. They are incapable, which drives me batty.

My inlaws live about a 10 minute walk away. They are very involved in my childrens lives and my kids love them.

One of my biggest learning points in life is learning to get along with my MIL and not being the DIL. I treat my inlaws as I would any of my close friends. They are family, but this helps to make things clearer for me. I'm considerate of their feelings, and respect my boundaries. I wouldn't be upset if one of my friends were closer to another, or another person's kids, so long as the time they spend with mine is good for my kids. If my boundaries include no drinking in the house, so be it. If they don't like it, then it's their problem. We've had to tweak and work on our relationship and expectations of family commitments and obligations, but that's after 15 years of working together.

You need start at the beginning. Treat them like they are wanted, treat them like they are friends, lose your expectations of them, because you're probably scaring them half to death. Don't expect things to change overnight, it's going to take years to repair damage and build and you're just going to have to come to terms with who they are and either accept it, or not, but trying to change them is not going to get you anywhere.
post #53 of 103
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StellarJournies View Post
You are debt free? Hm, maybe if you have good credit scores you could obtain a CC to a home improvement store and finish that basement. Or at least part of it, turn it into a guest room. A little temporary debt to finish a room in the house would certainly pay off if or when you sell later in life anyway.
I thought home improvements almost never pay off when you sell a home, particularly in this market. My home is valued right now at less than the purchase price from a few years ago. I'm not investing any money in the house, not with the depressed values and overstock of houses for sale glutting the market here.

I'd love to finish the basement for logistics but even if we did it ourselves, that would cost a couple thousand in dry wall or whatever.

That is definitely not in the budget and I don't want to incur debt. We don't have credit card debt or anything - but we do have debt. We have a mortgage and a small amount left on my student loan.

We do have good credit.

I could put a bed down in the basement for them. I doubt they'd like that. I don't think it's about the bed, honestly.

I think I will just focus on not having them be a part of our lives. That's what I've been doing the last few months and, really, we don't miss out on much and things are much easier without them. No worries...just a missed opportunity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StellarJournies View Post
I agree their drinking is questionable, but perhaps they drink while they're visiting because they feel you treat them like crap? I know I'd knock back some drinks if I were to feel like you viewed me as not worthy of making an effort for.



I spelled out how I make an effort in my OP. I do make an effort.

And they drink at BIL and SIL's house. SIL buys them a big cooler full of beer and they enjoy mixed drinks, etc. No one is a big drinker or anything, except FIL who is an alcoholic and has been since before his kids were born. He's had bouts in detox and rehab. They're not just drinking at our house. In fact, they've almost never had drinks at our house, unless they bring them themselves. If they get a hotel, they usually bring a cooler full of beer. If they come to our house, they go dry and maybe that is why they are so uncomfortable and grouchy and out of their skin.

I'm quite sure if I bought a few cases of beer and set up a bar on the kitchen counter and made them gin and tonics, margaritas, and high balls or whatever, they'd be more at ease. Sloppy with DS, but more at ease. They might even say "this is fun, we're coming back!"

There is a history of drinking excessively in the family and we didn't cause that.

Again, I think I will just focus on not having them be a part of our lives. That's what I've been doing the last few months and, really, we don't miss out on much and things are much easier without them. No worries...just a missed opportunity.
post #54 of 103
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joyster View Post
I say this as gently as possible. Who cares? You live your life the way you want to and that's fine. Some people live their lives with king sized beds, some live in debt, some get paid well and can afford everything. Why stress about it.
Exactly.

Thanks.

That was always my opinion. Until MIL started saying things like "we don't visit because you work and SIL is a stay at home mom."

"We don't visit because you do not have a comfortable couch and place to watch tv. We don't visit because there is no guest bedroom."

"We really like BIL's pool and house."

I would never have thought that any of these issues would be what they respond with. I was really surprised. I mean, to each their own and they know our finances so I guess I'm just surprised that they don't visit because we don't own the right things or have a SAHP. They are the ones who had those responses when we tried to work out improvements. And I've found those responses to be shallow, I guess, and that's why I posted. I mean, we have hotels near us, 5 minutes away. If they really wanted to, they could, like someone else said, visit every other month and stay in a hotel. Then FIL could bring all the alchohol he wanted and drink it in his hotel. He could smoke in his hotel. They would be comfortable. We would be comfortable. Bam. Issue solved. Certainly a hotel every other month would cost less than the airfare they buy every 3 months going to see the other grandchildren for a week. The issue isn't that they don't like hotels or don't have the money. The issue is they don't have an interest in resolving the situation, probably.

I think I will just focus on not having them be a part of our lives. That's what I've been doing the last few months and, really, we don't miss out on much and things are much easier without them. No worries...just a missed opportunity.

It's not the most horrible thing in the world. Actually - from my point of view - it's easier not dealing with them. I was just trying to improve things for my DS. But I should count my blessings.

I do have one friend who said something to me one year that I thought was great. We were talking about inlaws and hers are very judgemental to her and she's really a great person. It was right after Christmas and I asked how Christmas had been and she said if she didn't have to see any of those people until after Easter, she'd count her blessings. Sometimes families just don't see eye to eye.

I should just take that attitude and forget about DS in terms of a grandparent relationship. DS has me, his teachers, his friends, my friends. I guess that will have to be enough.
post #55 of 103
Thread Starter 
I think I will just focus on everything else in our full-plate lives, and not have them be a part of our lives for the most part. That's what I've been doing the last few months and, really, we don't miss out on much and things are much easier without them. No worries...just a missed opportunity.

It's not the most horrible thing in the world. Actually - from my point of view - it's easier not dealing with them. I was just trying to improve things for my DS. But I should count my blessings.

I do have one friend who said something to me one year that I thought was great. We were talking about inlaws and hers are very judgemental to her and she's really a great person. It was right after Christmas and I asked how Christmas had been and she said if she didn't have to see any of those people until after Easter, she'd count her blessings. Sometimes families just don't see eye to eye.

I should just take that attitude and forget about DS in terms of a grandparent relationship. DS has me, his teachers, his friends, my friends. I guess that will have to be enough.
post #56 of 103
Just some data points:

We have a pretty comfortable queen-sized futon (not the cheap kind; it has a mission oak frame and a good mattress and I sleep on it myself sometimes) in our rec room in the basement and that's where guests generally stay. There's no door, but it is on a separate floor and there is a full bathroom and that is where our one ancient TV and relatively new DVD player reside.

I'm pretty comfortable with this arrangement - as I said in another thread, I pretty much prefer to use our space for the 340 days a year we don't have guests. But if it were a serious issue with anyone I might change my mind. We get visited reasonably often by everyone that's from out of town.

My parents prefer staying with my sister (as I said), but they live in our city so it's a moot point right now. (It wasn't when we were contemplating a move.) My sister has amazing guest spaces, and it is pleasant for sure. But she can afford them *and* all the family space she needs.

My SIL has a four-bedroom house and 5 kids (blended family, but 4 live there full-time). She has 3 kids in one bedroom, 2 in the other, and a full-out guest room. She is visited less frequently by people despite the guest room. I love her to death but her home is full of tension.

My BIL has a very small (but gorgeous) home and three kids, and we stay in a hotel when we visit. His family is 100 per cent debt free - no mortgage or anything. I totally get the choices they have made. Everyone visits them about as much as they visit us - the ILs do stay there if there's only one of them and they sleep in one of the boys' beds, I think.

My other BIL lives in a rooming house and is single, and no one stays with him (but he lives near other relatives people do stay with). He's a bit hard to take because he's a down-on-his-luck type of guy. But he's loved.

My parents have *three* guest rooms but they are hoarders, so it's a little suffocating to stay with them. However, people do.

I think there definitely are people who don't handle less than stellar accommodations well. But I also think that visits and relationships are really way more complicated than the space.

I do think you have to give up trying to get your ILs to treat you the same.

For the spending issues it's really hard to say and compare. If you want data points I'm happy to share. I suspect the base difference is the percentage of your total net income you spend on fixed housing costs. If it's more than 33 per cent then that explains the lack of disposable income. Hobbies can make a huge difference too. My husband's and my hobbies in the past have included fine dining and water sports so this is why my home is like an Ikea showroom - it was a fancy-pants living room vs. a canoe and the canoe won. Sadly it got dropped off a truck at one point and needs repairs.
post #57 of 103
I'm not sure it's ever perfectly fair in any family, and that's just something you have to live with. For example, one of my sisters lives in a 1 bedroom apartment (close to Lake Michigan). My family visits her several times a year even though it means they have to stay someplace else. We have a larger house with a room in the finished basement with a bathroom for guests and nobody's ever visited us in our new house (and we've been here 5 months...nobody in my family has been able to see the house, and only dh's parents have even been able to stop by, and that was once for about 2 hours). We've lived in Ohio for 6 years and we've only had family visit *maybe* 5 times, including the day of my son's funeral. It is what it is. I'm only a 30-45 minute longer drive than it takes for my family to get to my sister's, but they just like being near Lake Michigan more than they like being in Ohio so if they have a weekend free and want to travel, going to my sister's so they can spend the day at the lake wins out every time.

We're always the ones doing the driving to travel to family (and unfortunately, it's getting too expensive to make that drive 4-6 times a year, so we're going to have to pare that way down). We've just come to accept the fact that no, family won't really travel to see us (and if they do, it's a nice surprise) so I'll likely only get to see them once or twice a year now. I don't spend my days stressing out about it because ultimately, you can't force people do spend their time and money the way *you* want them to. You have to just let it go. The *only* thing you can change is your own behavior and thoughts...so if you want a better relationship with the, *you* can only change *you*...find a way to travel to meet them, find a way to make it more comfortable for them to visit you, or just let it go and accept that it is what it is.
post #58 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
they go dry and maybe that is why they are so uncomfortable and grouchy and out of their skin.
no maybe about it, that is definately why they don't want to be at your house. Of course, there are so many other issues that piggy back on the "dryness" but yeah, that is why they are not comfortable staying with you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
That was always my opinion. Until MIL started saying things like "we don't visit because you work and SIL is a stay at home mom."

"We don't visit because you do not have a comfortable couch and place to watch tv. We don't visit because there is no guest bedroom."

"We really like BIL's pool and house."
Your MIL is a co-dependent. A co-dependent's job is to make excuses for the addict. Your MIL is never going to say "the reason we don't stay with you is because FIL needs to drink and we know you will cast a critical eye." so she shields the truth with other excusses/reasons.

TIN, you say there is alcoholism in your own family. Al-non is a free program where you could learn so much that would help you cope and process what is happening with your relationships. People I have known in the program were incredibly supportive of each other. You talk about wanting more support and help, a village, you very well may find it there. The women I knew who were active in it were warrior women. They stuck together and supported each other like nobody's business.

My truly awful set of ILs are dry drunks. DH says the less awful ones are drunks too. The less awfuls have zero interest in DS yet they do absolutely everything for their other grandchildren.

They, the addicts and their co-dependent partners and family members, are all the same - same behaviors, same tricks, same manipulations, same guilt trips, same put-downs.

Pick up any book about it and you will swear that it was written about your family.
post #59 of 103
TIN, I just took the biggest virtual sign of relief you can immagine.


AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

And

to what seems like your epiphany and light bulb moment. You go girl!

You are awsome and its their loss to not have you and your boy in their lives. Let them drown in their shallow puddle of booze and self loathing. Better you dont have to deal with it. And your son neither.

post #60 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
A great deal of what made my relationship better with my MIL had to do with my mental attitude. I stopped expecting her to behave in a certain way and started to concentrate on enjoying her for her strengths, not what I wanted her strengths to be.
Brilliant! And so true!
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