Sunday, March 4, 2012

What Would You Do?

I'm really hesitant to publish this post. It's been sitting on my computer for weeks in various forms. I've written it from different angles and rethought it a hundred times. But ultimately the situation weighs so heavily on my heart and mind so much of the time, that I feel like I need to post it. 

In-laws. Does the word make everyone cringe? Or is it just me? I had wonderful, youthful fantasies about getting married and being welcomed into another family where I would have a mother-in-law who was helpful and kind and always there if we needed her. Sisters-laws and brothers-in-laws who would be great friends, and all of our kids would love growing up together as cousins and the best of friends. Fast forward to reality and I was rudely awakened by a family that not only didn't care so much for me, but for my American culture. Say whaatt?? Um, don't you folks live here too? I know lots of people have contentious relationships with their in-laws.  The real question is, what do we do about a relationship between them and our children?

We've tried inviting them over, going to them, meeting them places.. but they still always act the same way. They treat Roman horribly, like he's beneath them and a child who can't possibly make his own decisions. They say they want to see the kids, but when they do, they watch them without interacting. Every now and then they will ask Braeden a question, but not be satisfied with his answer. Evan might as well not exist. However, now that we have Maggie, they want to visit more often because of "the girl". They have, on more than one occasion, brought gifts for Braeden and Maggie and not Evan. They will ask Roman on the phone how Maggie is, but not mention the boys. I'm not even sure our kids know exactly who they are to them. Braeden knows it's "daddy's mom" and "daddy's grandfather", but Roman's mother has always refused to tell the kids to call her Grandma. I really struggle as a mom to allow this behavior near my children. I don't want them exposed to people who treat others this way. What would you do?


  1. Theresa,
    I have struggled with similar issues with my actual family. Without getting into too much detail, let me just tell you that I realized long ago that family is challenging and brings us an opportunity to embrace some unrealized aspect of ourselves. The challenges that they bring to us, the disappointments that ensue are all a part of our experience. (and, like it or not, our children's experiences as well)... I have found that letting go of expectations and even holding myself back from them a bit... Allowing them to come to us when they feel so inclined, is my best tool for dealing with an otherwise hurtful scenario. Also, I have come to embrace the "family" that IS involved. To appreciate my immediates. Those I can ALWAYS count on. Some are blood relatives, some are in-laws, but some are the truest form of family, the ones who we choose and who choose us in return! Those friends and loved ones that we just can't go a day without.
    I know you have a sound support system (growing everyday). Try to remember it is not you and the kids who miss out. The "in-laws" will either realize or they won't, either way, it is THEIR loss.
    You and your family are lovely. And you deserve to feel considered and cared for. People who crush your spirit need to be kept at arm's length from our hearts.
    Love you.
    If they insist on showering one child with attention while ignoring both or either of the other two, I would speak up. I would suggest that they treat the children equally as they are equally as worthy of love and they each mean so much to you and Roman. If they can't do that then I may request they refrain from bringing gifts, period. Good luck mama!

    1. Sara, I completely agree with your idea of "family". We definitely have friends who are much closer to and love our children far more than my in-laws ever will. My kids have no shortage of people who love them as much as Roman and I do. The problem with speaking up about ANYTHING is that they simply disregard. Our opinions are of no value; therefore nothing ever changes. It's too bad, but I feel responsible for my children whether Roman is willing to make a stand or not. I feel like I'm letting them down if I don't demand equal treatment or no contact. It's unfortunate and you're right, it is their loss for sure. Thanks for your help!

  2. I'm fortunate that my MIL is one of my closest friends. I think that you should give up trying, even if you think that will hurt the kids and Roman. It is clear that their relationship with their grandparents is unhealthy. I know how it must hurt to see one child favored over the other(s). I would let them make the first move and leave it at that. If they don't, then too bad for them. You'll have a healthier family on your end for it.

    1. I tend to agree with you Tina. I know my husband doesn't want to completely sever the relationship, but I don't think they deserve to make all the rules and act in a way that we wouldn't allow anyone else to in our home. I gave up caring about my own relationship with them a while ago and I know that I am definitely healthier for it. My kids deserve better and it's my job to maintain their well-being right? Thanks so much for your input!

  3. I agree Theresa. You'll make the right decision. :)