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is it ok to choose who you or your kids hang out with? (looong post)

982 Views 17 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  urklemama
I feel so bad right now, I hate doing things and then feeling bad about those things.

Last week dh and I were having a normal evening, he was mowing the lawn in the front of our house, the kids were playing, and I was finishing up cooking dinner. The table was set, everything was ready to go and I heard someone outside screeming "does Carmen live here?" I looked and it was someone in a car talking to my husband asking him if Carmen lived here. He said yes as I came out and inside the car was a very, very distant cousin that I have seen about twice in my life (I lived in Chile since I was born until 3 years ago so there's people in my town that are probably related to me in some way but I have no clue) so she's jumping and saying how excited she is that we live about 2 blocks away from each other and she asks if we would like some company. Well, my obvious polite answer was "sure" but what was I supposed to say? to hell with our peaceful family dinner, I guess. So she, her mom and her unbuckled 4 year old in the back seat (no car seat OR seat belt) parked her car and came in. They wanted a "tour" of our house so we showed them around. We sat down in the living room and talked for a while and then my cousin asks if we have dessert
so I say no, we don't just yet. So she offers to go get some ice cream for everyone and come right back. She even told us we could have dinner while she was getting the icecream (gee, thanks!) and I told her she could leave her daughter since she and my daughter were already playing barbies in my daughter's room.
I told my husband we might as well eat dinner since it was already 8 pm (it was about 7 pm, our dinnertime, when they first came) and who knows when they would leave. So we sat down and asked the little girl if she wanted to join us, she said sure. So I served dinner and when she was done she said in a rather, slang way of speaking, that she didn't want anymore. That was fine with me, I let my daughter excuse herself early from the table to go play with the little girl, while dh and I finished dinner with our son (16 months old) and kept looking at each other in shock over this whole situation.
Then, the other 2 people return with the icecream for everyone, and she tells me "I called my other daughter and her friend and "they're both comin' up". So I figured that meant that she had invited more members of her family. So as we are eating the icecream, two girls STORM in through our front door, literally SLAM the door open, come running to where we were, and they start talking with the 2 people that invited them (my cousin and her mom) without even LOOKING at my husband or myself. Note that I had never seen these two people in my life. ever.

So.. about 2 hours later, around 10:30, they leave. Before that she asked for my number and told me we could do playdates with the girls all the time since we live so close by, and etc..

When they leave, I am in SHOCK and call my mom immediately and she said that there is a distant part of our family that is like this although she does understand this being shocking to me because we grew up very differently.

Today I got a call from them asking us if we wanted to come over to play in their pool. I said we couldn't, but thanks so much for the invitation. I felt terribly guilty and like a "mean girl" because I heard the little girl in the backround say "why can't Valentina come play with us" (Valentina is my daughter) that really made me feel awful because I had to make a decision, and that decision is that I don't want to hang out with them. I also (and my husband too, I must add, although me, perhaps, a bit more) don't want Valentina learning these bad habits (not using a carseat, swearing -oh, they swear a lot and in my house we hardly say "shoot"- and slang language.

So anyway, I feel guilty because of the little girl, mostly. My cousin told me that someone watches her about 10 hours a day for $2 an hour, and when she told me that my gut instinct was to offer to watch her for free because I imagined that the type of care she received must not be very good. My husband told me not to do this, and that I couldn't save the world and that I hardly had any time left with my kids, LLL and just being a SAHM. (oh, I also work part time some evenings, lol)

so anyway, am I completely wrong?? I feel guilty but I feel I made the right decision, though. What should I say or do if they show up unannounced again? what if they continue to call with invitations to come over?

Thanks, ladies
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I, for one, think you are doing the right thing. I consider it my responsiblity to choose companions for my kids while they are still little. I also wouldn't subject myself to rude (sorry! I think they were rude
) people for any reason, related or not.
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oh, I totally, completely and absolutely agree that they are the rudest of all rude people. I kept telling my mom "but we CAN'T be related". lol. I just feel so bad for the little girl, you know? I feel I made the right decision, but why do I feel guilty?
I'd probably make the same decision but I'd be feeling guilty about the little girl. I wouldn't worry so much about my kids picking up bad habits, I'd be thinking that little girl might pick up some good habits.
Be cautious. Offer to meet them at the park, not at your house.
Trust me when i say I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My extended family is sssssssssooooooooo mainstram it makes me sick and they are a bunch of the rudest and ill mannered ppl I know.

I have a cousin (yes a cousin) who is 3 months younger than ds1 and they have seen each other once, WHY . B/c my mom and I worked SSSSSSSSOOOOO HARD to help out my aunt when she had my cousin, teaching her the importance of bfeeding and other things just to have her throw it in our faces and call me crazy for almost exclusively bfeeding ds1 for the first year of life.

I don't mind the mainstreamness, actually. It's the lack of class, politeness and education that bothers me, to be honest. Also, I don't even want to meet them at the park, or anywhere else for that matter. I don't want to socialize with them at all. I am struggling with this decision and the guilt feelings that come with making a decision like this. I feel like I'm being "classist", but on the other hand, I do have a justification for feeling this way. kwim?
I don't blame you one bit. There are some in my family I don't socialize with too for good reason. Of course, they think I'm a snob because of it but oh well...I have my own fish to fry.
Yes it is okay to choose who your kids hang out with. I don't want my Sons to pick up dirty words, or habits so I choose who they hange out with
Thanks for the great advice & support, everyone!
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I agree with the other posters. You have to choose who to hang out with, for your sanity! Wow, those are some rude relatives.

My DH's sisters kids are rude, obnoxious, name it. Car seats/seatbelts? whats that? sit at a table and eat dinner? Nah, they run around while mom& dad stuff their faces then maybe they'll eat bread/butter, or have nana make soup just for them. Unfortunately they are right around my kids ages. We try to only see them at bigger family gatherings, they are too busy/important to show for say a kids bday.
I think it really struck me how rude they were when DH told his sister " they dont even call us aunt/uncle" and usually he lets stuff slide off his back.

Maybe for the sake of the little girl I'd see her once in a while HIGHLY monitored tho. (In my head I'm saying we don't use those words in our house!) :LOL
I think you have a right to decide who your family spends time with. Don't feel guilty.
These family members sound socially agressive and rude though so I'm not sure they will get you politely declining invitations. Good luck.
I also definitely wouldn't jump in with an offer to babysit for free because of the reasons your dh gave you and the fact that likely you would feel taken advantage of in the end (and be spending even more time socializing with people you don't like).
Sounds like a class thing to me. My dh has a big (like huge) extended working class family. Thier rules for socializing are different as are their manerisms (they are gregarious, super-infomal, lacking in prefunctional nicities). I look forward to my kids spending time with them. I really believe in my kids knowing a diversity of people (racial diversity, class diversity ect). I too am enriched by knowing them.

The difference might be that my dh does know these people AND that we have established firm boundaries (they would never dream of stopping by without checking with us first). You, however, don't know these people and you are not sure you can establish boundaries.

If you don't want to know them/spend time with them, you don't have to. Your family and your daughter may benefit from the diversity, but there has to be more to this relationship that your desire to expose your family to different kinds of people, there has to be an underlying bond (did you share anything with them - family stories?).

But give up the rescue fantasy - it is impossible (and a bit presumpuous on your part).

good luck. Big messy diverse families can be a wonderfull thing.
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You have every right to make the best decisions that you can for your dd, guilt free. I would make the exact same decision. There is no excuse for that kind of behavior and your dd would not benefit from knowing them.
yeah, there are NO memories whatsoever with these people. I was raised in Chile, thousands of miles from PA so I never saw them, maybe 2 times on vacation (we came here every year to see my grandma and direct family- they are very distant family) so I maybe saw them on 2 separate ocasions, that's it
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They sound obnoxious- but- they might grow on you after a while, and having more people who care for you is almost always a benefit. I'd accept invites to their place- then it can be on my terms- but make it clear they can't show up at my place without an invitation. But it's not wrong for you to say "no way" either!
This is absolutely not a class thing. I know middle class people who act like this and working class people who are incredibly formal.
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