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Awkward MIL situation

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 

hi

I am not sure what forum to post this under but I am having an awkward situation with my mother in law and want perspective. My husband thinks I should just let this go and that it is not a big deal but it is kind of pissing me off!

To start, my mil and I have an off and on relationship. I think we both think the other is kind of rude, but in different ways! I am very blunt and direct and she is (in my opinion) more passive agressive. She acts sort of mild and polite for a while, then later she un leashes kind of a wrath of fury- like a " this is what i really think of you" at me. We recently had a falling out where she lashed out all these negative feelings she has at me. Prior to that we had been getting along pretty well, and a while before that we had some other conflicts. But she and dh get along well and the thing is that we just recently moved pretty close to her- in the same neighborhood! So we are in eachothers' lives right now, and she is in ds (19 months)'s life. And I am happy to have her in ds's life, and when we get along to have her in my life. she and dh get along fine.

So there is a whole lot of various issues going on which I think is just our two very different upbringings, and our very different priorities about life coming into conflict. But in this instance I want to post abot this awkward situation.

 

So MIL got (re) married about 2 yrs ago to a man she had been with for about 2 yrs before that. DH and I have been together about 6 years ( a little more) and married also for 2. So the man she married was pretty much a stranger to both me and dh, and in no way a father figure to dh. We only recently even moved near them so we don't even know him that well.

So MIL has always been on my case about how supposedly standofish I am to her husband. And I guess I am, but I just don't feel that because he married my husband's mom that he is instantly my intimate family. and I tend to take a while to let people close to me, and sort of resent it that MIL is always telling me I need to let her husband into my life more. she says I am mean to him- which I am not at all- he is an okay guy I guess, other than me feeling like people are trying to force me to think of him as family and I just don't! I am a pretty private person in general.

So ths issue at hand is regarding my son's relationship w- this man. I am fine with him having a relationship with my son. but I do not consider him to be his grandfather. His grandfathers are my dad, and dh's dad. So MIL is insistant that we teach ds (19 month old) to call her husband a grandfather like term. I don't want to say it here specifically- but it isn't granpa but it is one of those types of names. MIL says this is what people in his family call the granfather type of person. I have said to her again and again that I want him to just call him by his first name. I brought it up again the other day becuase they continue to disregard my feelings about this and slip in the name to ds all the time. I think it is really annoying. MIL yelled at me about it the other day- saying how awful and selfish of me it is- and how mean I am to her husband, blah blah. and why can't I budge on this one thing- amongst a whole lash out of other insults. Now I admit I can see how I may have pissed her off in some situations of late- too long and detailed to get nto here- just by the nature of me having different values than her. Because we had some tircky situations this year where we had to depend on her to help us out- and she now feels I guess that we took herfor granted, or over used her- or at least that if they are willing to help us as we needed, that I should therefore allow my son to call her husband a grandfatherly name.

For me the issue is that I think those types of names are special, and terms of endearment- and should be used for the person who had some deep connection to one of the parents. I know some people call some non family "uncle" or whatever- or similar things, but even in that case it is because someone in the family had a close relationship with them. This guy she wants my son to call grandpa- type of name- he is somewhat of a stranger to both me and dh.

 

So dh thinks I am making too big a deal out of it, and dh's mom thinks I am deliberatley being selfish and rude- etcetera. And I think it is my right to determine who my baby calls intimate names and has that type of relatioship with, and also that it is my right to let her husband into my life as I see fit. I am never rude to him- I let ds play with him and all that, but some times I am standofish when I feel they are not respecting my bondaries.

thoughts?

post #2 of 59

Well if this is your only battle right now you're doing good.  I understand that names of endearment are not endearing when they're are forced upon you.  Though I doubt the other grandfathers would appreciate it.  I have family that flip out that my girls call all their steps by grandma (first name) or grandpa (first name).  And I honestly could care less.  In our situation the Steps are better than the real ones.  Now thats sad!

post #3 of 59
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response- the thing is that I just really don't feel close to this man at all, so it irks me that people are insisting ds call him this name. I know it is minor in the scheme of things but it still irks me. We actually get along really well w- both his actual grandpas. MIL says- oh, you should want to have more close people in ds's life- and yeah, maybe this man will become close to my son- who knows. but I resent that it is forced on me and I kind of feel like the more they push it the more I retreat from them.

post #4 of 59
Would she allow a cool nickname in place of the grandfather title? Brother John.. Bubba.. Poppy Jack... ?
post #5 of 59
Thread Starter 

maybe---

I guess the situation kind of triggers me- pushes some of my buttons. Because before having ds I was a really private person- lived far away from lots of things and other people for years- very independent and I really liked doing my own thing and having lots of privacy. Since having a kid, the total seclusion privacy thing was just not a good fit for me to raise my child. So we moved closer to dh's job and also to the town where some of his  family live. So now I am having to integrate other people more into my life (dh's family) which is both good and bad in different ways. There is a certain degree in which I feel like dh's family just comes with the territory- and I can go with it. but mil's husband- something about him just rubs me the worng way- I don't even know what it is- but I feel a little put off from him. So that is whay I am standoffish and withdrawn and sort of keeping at arm's length.

post #6 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post

Thanks for the response- the thing is that I just really don't feel close to this man at all, so it irks me that people are insisting ds call him this name. I know it is minor in the scheme of things but it still irks me. We actually get along really well w- both his actual grandpas. MIL says- oh, you should want to have more close people in ds's life- and yeah, maybe this man will become close to my son- who knows. but I resent that it is forced on me and I kind of feel like the more they push it the more I retreat from them.

But it's not about you, it's about the relationship between your child and his Grandmother's husband.

 

How does your husband feel about the situation? This is his mother, and his stepfather, and I think the decision should be up to him.

 

 

post #7 of 59
Thread Starter 

My husband is very easy going- and he just doesn't  think it is a big deal.

post #8 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post

My husband is very easy going- and he just doesn't  think it is a big deal.


Then I'd let it go. In the great scheme of things it is very minor indeed. Your child can decide when he is older if he would prefer to address his step-grandfather differently.
 

 

post #9 of 59
Thread Starter 

Has anyone here been in a similar situation, or can see my perspective on this?

post #10 of 59

I agree with choli. In the grand scheme of things the word your son uses to call this man isn't honestly going to be that important. It could be too that as he grows older it naturally morphs into something different and less personal, or it could be that your son does become close to this man and appreciates an intimate nickname. 

post #11 of 59

My children usually refer to my father as "Grampa" and my stepfather (who my mother married when I was 18) as "Grampa G----". We live far away from both. Even tho I have children by three fathers, these are the only living grandfathers, and I would love the opportunity to have more elders in their lives.

You can't micro manage your son's relationship with the rest of the family, unless you do want to completely isolate him. Let it go.

post #12 of 59
Thread Starter 

Just one more thing- I didn't mention the name she wants him to call him- she wants him to call him "Pop".  To me that is a name people call their dads! Any thoughts about this?

 

Also, everyone keeps pointing out how minor and insignificant it is- I am sorry I don't have deeper subject to probe here! (light hearted sarcasm). I am not saying it is an epic issue or that this is the only issue in my life! I was just trying to see what someone outside of the situation thought of it. I can see that most people agree with MIL which I am surprised by but it is okay- I understand the perspective.

 

I still feel uncomfortable with it all but obviously being in the relationships I understand all the nuances involved more than I can express here.

I am not sure if I agree that I don't have a say in the relationship my son- a young toddler- has with this man I don't really know well yet.  the mother protector in me feels reluctant to just let this guy take such a close place in our lives.


Edited by Snapdragon - 11/1/11 at 3:58pm
post #13 of 59

I've always known Pop to be a grandfather term personally.  If it really bothers you that much maybe try to gently encourage *Papa*? That's what my kids call their step-grandfather. That way there is still the *Pop* sound, but not exactly? I don't know... I'd just let it go personally.

post #14 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post

Just one more thing- I didn't mention the name she wants him to call him- she wants him to call him "Pop".  To me that is a name people call their dads! Any thoughts about this?

 

Also, everyone keeps pointing out how minor and insignificant it is- I am sorry I don't have deeper subject to probe here! (light hearted sarcasm). I am not saying it is an epic issue or that this is the only issue in my life! I was just trying to see what someone outside of the situation thought of it. I can see that most people agree with MIL which I am surprised by but it is okay- I understand the perspective.

 

I still feel uncomfortable with it all but obviously being in the relationships I understand all the nuances involved more than I can express here.

I am not sure if I agree that I don't have a say in the relationship my son- a young toddler- has with this man I don't really know well yet.  the mother protector in me feels reluctant to just let this guy take such a close place in our lives.


I think you are giving a word way too much power.
 

 

post #15 of 59
Thread Starter 

I think the issue is that I don't really know this guy very well- and I feel uncomfortable around him. He only recently married MIL. If he was just her boyfriend, would people still suggest that I let him be ds's grandpa? And if not, then does him marrying MIL give him full entry into our lives? I just feel uncomfortable around the guy.

post #16 of 59

I do understand that you don't feel comfortable around the guy. That is totally valid. But I just think a more effective way to handle it would be to monitor their interactions as much as possible (especially if the guy actually creeps you out) and handle real problems on a per incident basis, y'know? There will be people throughout your child's life who rub you the wrong way, but it's better to teach your child effective methods of handling uncomfortable people/situations, rather than just imposing rather arbitrary rules just because it triggers you. I know there is alot of history and emotion involved, but this is going to make things worse if you force it, really. Besides, the guy might really be OK, and a good thing for your son. Just be open to the possibility.

post #17 of 59

When everything is said and done he is your son and you DO have the right to say who has what kind of relationship with him.If you dont feel comfortable with him being seen on the same level as your childs blood relations there is nothing wrong with that.I had a similiar situatuon years ago with my ex's mother's long term bf but my child was older so she knew that this person wasn't a blood relation and was called by their name. When people who are unrelated want to be called by an honorary title it needs to be earned not given because you feel pressured.It sounds to me like your dh doesn't care one way or the other so since it isnt important to him he needs to support you because it is important to you. You need to talk to both you MIL and her husband and tell them how you feel and tell them that until you are comfortable your child will be calling him by his name and as you are the momma your word is final.If you are uncomfortable around him there is a reason,you just haven't figured it out yet.What is the rush anyway?,He's barely talking .Go with your gut.

post #18 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post

I still feel uncomfortable with it all but obviously being in the relationships I understand all the nuances involved more than I can express here.

I am not sure if I agree that I don't have a say in the relationship my son- a young toddler- has with this man I don't really know well yet.  the mother protector in me feels reluctant to just let this guy take such a close place in our lives.


Absolutely you should have total control over the type of relationship your 19 month old has with this guy and anyone and everyone else he comes in contact with.  You're right.  You are his mother and his protector.

 

But, calling him Pop or some other grandfatherly name isn't going to change anything.  It is just a name.  It doesn't really mean anything.  It is an opportunity for you to show a little good will, consideration for your MIL's desire to have her husband be accepted as part of your lives, and is seriously not worth making a big deal about.  If you draw a line in the sand with this, they're all going to see you as really unreasonable which gives you less leverage when you have a real reason to protect your son or say no to something important. 

 

I'm all for boundaries and I tend to stick it to my in-laws on all sorts of things that tick them off, but Pop is just a name. It doesn't diminish your son's relationship with his other grandparents nor does calling this guy Pop turn him into something special.  Let it go...
 

 

post #19 of 59
Its not about whether or not you are letting your kid call his grandmas husband "Pop". Its about the fact that your MIL is controlling the situation and forcing something on you and your kid. That would drive me up the wall, but your MIL sounds a lot like mine. I'm sorry, but if someone YELLED at me about what I needed to do or not do-- it is no longer my DH's decision. This woman treats you like crap, and you are supposed to tolerate her unleashing on you, yelling at you, AND telling you what your less than two year old "must" call her husband? Nope. Sorry. Not in my family. No freakin' way. My 19 month old calls people what she wants, when she wants and if someone started pushing the issue of what to/what to not be called, I would tell them to stop. Because she is a child, not a puppy in training class. If and when he decides a pet name for this man, he can call him that. Sorry, you dont get to be "Pop" just because you married a lady with a grandkid.

But, Im not really too interested in making nice with my MIL as you can tell, so you might not want to take my advice. Pop is a grandpa name to me, and if this guy barely knows your kid, why should your kid be calling him a grandpa name?
post #20 of 59

To me, "Pop" would be a dad's nickname, but I have found that people have zillions of different names for family members.

 

One good thought, echoing what a PP said:  your child is currently too young to talk a whole lot.  Whatever your child ends up calling this man may or may not sound like what your MIL is pushing for.

 

And, thumbs up to you for putting aside your typical comfort zone of solitude in favor of what you think is good for your child.  You have done a lot more to connect with your DH's family than many DILs (including me) would do.

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