In-Laws - How often should I have to see them? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 09-04-2012, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I have a beautiful 6 month old daughter and a great husband. He has a tight Jewish Russian family. When we were dating I liked his family enough, we never bonded by any means but they did not bother me. Throughout my pregnancy I started to feel concerned about some of the things his mother would say or the behaviour of his nephews and the lack of discipline of his nephews by his brother and sister-in-law. 

 

Since my daughter was born I'm finding that I dislike spending time with them more and more. His brother and sister-in-law in particular have been aggressive about their expectations of how often they see us. They seem to want to see us at minimum once every two weeks if not more often. I would say we see them at least 3-4 times a month. When we see them, their children are always rude to me, they are 5 and 7 years old and speak to me as if I'm their equal if not their servant. I have nothing in common with my sister-in-law. She is a nice person but we just don't have anything in common and after 2 years of trying I don't see us bonding in any way. I actually really like my husband's brother but as he is playing the role of Mr. Mum and Dad, he is always busy whenever we hang out, taking care of the kids or cooking, cleaning up, etc. that I rarely get to have a conversation with him (which I probably could actually do whereas with my sister-in-law it's like pulling teeth unless we talk about her and her favourite and only hobby - shopping!). 

 

In brief, I really don't enjoy spending time with them. I understand that my husband loves his family and I am happy for him that he does and I understand that he feels an onus to spend a lot of time with them but I just don't enjoy it. I'm not comfortable having him take our daughter to see them without me because I am BF her every 3 hours and because his nephews often throw tantrums where they for example throw things or kick our dog (i.e. they lose control physically and behave violently) and because I don't feel his brother and sister-in-law are respectful of our decisions as parents: they think they know everything and that their way is the right away. 

 

I want to cut down on how often I see them. I'd even rather see his mother more often how makes comments that upset me. I feel like seeing them once a month is enough. Is this not fair?

 

Don't forget that seeing them doesn't include seeing his father and step mother, seeing his mother and his grandmother, it's a lot! So far they have been very kind not demanding visits or trying to book us up weeks in advance like his brother and sister-in-law do but they need to see their grandchild. His nephews show no interest in our daughter, my sister-in-law holds her as if she is holding a bomb (she is VERY unmaternal and a VERY hands off mother) and my brother-in-law is very loving towards her but as he is pulling double duty he barely ever gets to interact with her.

 

I'd just like to know if I'm being unreasonable expecting to only see them once a month.

 

Thank you!

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#2 of 13 Old 09-04-2012, 05:28 PM
 
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That's a rough situation.  How about trying to coordinate visits, so that you can have your dh's mother, grandmother, sil, bil, etc at once.  I know that would be crazy, but I always prefer to have more people at once and get it out of the way, instead of having people trickle in here or there. 

 

As far as seeing them once a month, how about making it twice a month.  Are they always coming to your house, or do you go to theirs?  It seems like if their kids are being violent and distructive, that it'd be easier to go over there and then you can control how long you have to spend with them. 


 
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#3 of 13 Old 09-04-2012, 05:56 PM
 
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How's the weather where you are OP? Maybe you could meet them at a park for a picnic or hot dog roast. The older kids would be running around and you might get sit quietly while the guys grill and throw back a few beers. I find outings like that much easier than the "in your face" sitting around tightly packed indoors.
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#4 of 13 Old 09-04-2012, 05:58 PM
 
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I feel for you. I was in a similar situation. My advice is -- do what makes you comfortable. That's what they are doing, after all. Why not you, too? If they change, fine, you can visit morw often. If they get worse, go less often. But find time to visit with people you feel comfortable being around. If your husband or in-laws ask, have a clear, direct, non-emotional answer ready for what behavior you would like them to have in order for you to visit more often.
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#5 of 13 Old 09-05-2012, 09:20 PM
 
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start getting busy. book up your schedule for the next few months, then offer alternatives to their proposals, so these visits can be more on your terms. you will probably have to phase it out a little at a time. 

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#6 of 13 Old 09-06-2012, 10:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stalgia View Post

So, I have a beautiful 6 month old daughter and a great husband. He has a tight Jewish Russian family. When we were dating I liked his family enough, we never bonded by any means but they did not bother me. Throughout my pregnancy I started to feel concerned about some of the things his mother would say or the behaviour of his nephews and the lack of discipline of his nephews by his brother and sister-in-law. 

 

Since my daughter was born I'm finding that I dislike spending time with them more and more. His brother and sister-in-law in particular have been aggressive about their expectations of how often they see us. They seem to want to see us at minimum once every two weeks if not more often. I would say we see them at least 3-4 times a month. When we see them, their children are always rude to me, they are 5 and 7 years old and speak to me as if I'm their equal if not their servant. I have nothing in common with my sister-in-law. She is a nice person but we just don't have anything in common and after 2 years of trying I don't see us bonding in any way. I actually really like my husband's brother but as he is playing the role of Mr. Mum and Dad, he is always busy whenever we hang out, taking care of the kids or cooking, cleaning up, etc. that I rarely get to have a conversation with him (which I probably could actually do whereas with my sister-in-law it's like pulling teeth unless we talk about her and her favourite and only hobby - shopping!). 

 

In brief, I really don't enjoy spending time with them. I understand that my husband loves his family and I am happy for him that he does and I understand that he feels an onus to spend a lot of time with them but I just don't enjoy it. I'm not comfortable having him take our daughter to see them without me because I am BF her every 3 hours and because his nephews often throw tantrums where they for example throw things or kick our dog (i.e. they lose control physically and behave violently) and because I don't feel his brother and sister-in-law are respectful of our decisions as parents: they think they know everything and that their way is the right away. 

 

I want to cut down on how often I see them. I'd even rather see his mother more often how makes comments that upset me. I feel like seeing them once a month is enough. Is this not fair?

 

Don't forget that seeing them doesn't include seeing his father and step mother, seeing his mother and his grandmother, it's a lot! So far they have been very kind not demanding visits or trying to book us up weeks in advance like his brother and sister-in-law do but they need to see their grandchild. His nephews show no interest in our daughter, my sister-in-law holds her as if she is holding a bomb (she is VERY unmaternal and a VERY hands off mother) and my brother-in-law is very loving towards her but as he is pulling double duty he barely ever gets to interact with her.

 

I'd just like to know if I'm being unreasonable expecting to only see them once a month.

 

Thank you!

The bolded bit seems to cut both ways - you obviously don't respect their decisions as parents and feel yours is the right way.

 

I would limit the amount of time that I myself would spend with these in laws, but I would provide my DH with pumped milk and pose no objections to him and my daughter seeing as much as they like of his own family.

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#7 of 13 Old 09-06-2012, 12:35 PM
 
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I would say you should see them the same amount of time that you expect your husband to spend time with your family, assuming you live in the same community.

 

It is totally normal for a 5 and 7 year old boy to not be that interested in a 6 month old baby. They will be more interested once your baby is a toddler and they can teach he things. My 6 and 8 year old play with my 2 year old now, but at 6 months a baby is pretty boring. They would have a few minutes of interest at the most, and mostly what they liked was to help take care of the baby.

 

If you are mostly visiting at your house it would be a good idea to try to take it to their house or a park. Those 2 boys are probalby bored to tears. I generally let my kids bring things along to do it visiting someone without children or with only a baby. If they don't do that you might want to invest in some kids games or lego that they can play with, then they will leave the dog along.

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#8 of 13 Old 09-06-2012, 10:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by choli View Post

The bolded bit seems to cut both ways - you obviously don't respect their decisions as parents and feel yours is the right way.

I would limit the amount of time that I myself would spend with these in laws, but I would provide my DH with pumped milk and pose no objections to him and my daughter seeing as much as they like of his own family.

So what if she disagrees with their parenting, if she is not insisting they visit her?

The point is not that they differ on parenting issues. The point is the OP is not comfortable during the visits. I don't feel it's necessary to visit people who are indifferent to your feelings, at best, frequently. If your husband wants to go visit, fine, but until the child is not needing you along for comfort or food, the child goes only if you go.

And about the older children, being bored is NOT an excuse to abuse the dog! Play with the dog, sure, but abuse is not play!

I see some red flags and would proceed cautiously.
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#9 of 13 Old 09-07-2012, 12:38 AM
 
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Hi, Stalgia. You are not alone. My husband has a close Russian-Jewish family (they're from Odessa with roots in Beltsi, Moldova) and his family, though smaller, is the. same. exact. way.

 

I disagree with the idea that you should see both families an equal amount of times. Not every group of people is the same. If one is safe, sane, open, accommodating, respectful and animal-cruelty free, then that is an environment worth spending more time in. I do agree that you need to develop a clear and direct response should they question your absence, but since they're Russian they might not get it the first thirty-one times, if they're anything like my in-laws. My husband literally threatened to cease contact with them before they finally started to acknowledge and respect our roles as primary caretakers who don't want to expose our kids to certain behaviors and environments.

 

Once a month is all I can handle and all I'm willing to give for the sake of my sanity and the safe and sane rearing of my kids. If I spent more than a few hours a month with those people I'd frigging lose it and my little ones don't need to hear Mommy going off on Daddy's parents. I'm not comfortable with my kids going there/being there without me, though my husband has taken our 3 1/2 yo DS to see them a few times; I wasn't exactly comfortable with this but I trust him to be firm with them in my absence. Don't feel badly or think you're unreasonable. If you feel that an environment is inappropriate or unsuitable for your kids then it probably is. Young children are impressionable and none of us want our kids watching and learning from such negative behaviors. 

 

 

Feel free to PM me if you want to vent or share stories. I'm sure you've witnessed or heard quite a few eye rollers from your in-laws.

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#10 of 13 Old 09-07-2012, 08:28 PM
 
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Could there be cultural (background) differences playing a role here?  Could your husband sometimes take the baby over and see them while you do something else?  The thing is, it sounds like these people are different from you but not neccessarly horrible? My thoughts are, you could do what you need to do without cutting how much your DH and his family see each other, that will be the best.  

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#11 of 13 Old 09-09-2012, 06:40 AM
 
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There is no hard and fast rule.  My ILs live close and, early on, I set up a general once-a-week thing.  MIL complains frequently about not getting her "grandma time" (meaning babysitting, or 1-1 time).  If I adored her and enjoyed spending what little free time I had with her, I'd do it more.  My now 2-year old son enjoys being around my ILs, so this is the compromise we have.

 

I agree with a PP that sometimes the location is helpful (ie: a park instead of at someone's house).

 

If you are comfortable with your husband taking your child to his mom's for an extra visit from time to time, that's an option that also might score you some time to yourself.

 

The IL dance is not my favorite, but we've generally worked it out.  It was not easy and has caused tension for sure on all sides.  Good luck with your situation.


 sleepytime.gif I got tired of my signature, but I still love my children and husband and miss my little brotherkid.gif

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#12 of 13 Old 09-09-2012, 07:22 AM
 
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Could there be cultural (background) differences playing a role here?  Could your husband sometimes take the baby over and see them while you do something else?  The thing is, it sounds like these people are different from you but not neccessarly horrible? My thoughts are, you could do what you need to do without cutting how much your DH and his family see each other, that will be the best.  

Cultural or not, throwing things and kicking the dog are not acceptable to me. Speaking to someone in a condescending way is not acceptable to me. In a social situation, no one is someone else's servant. Cultural differences that are not directed at someone (or an animal), such as religious beliefs, should be tolerated. Abuse, even if mild, should not.
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#13 of 13 Old 09-17-2012, 08:21 AM
 
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You aren't being unreasonable. I have similar issues although the kids aren't a problem. We never see them and they never want to see us either. We only meet at birthdays and ocassions like that.


Positive thoughts generate power, negative ones waste it ~ Unknown
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