Thursday, November 13, 2008

How do you deal with your in-laws?

I'm really at a loss, here. I think most of you that read this know the history with my in-laws. It was a year of pure hell, really, with a huge blow-up at the kid's first birthday party. My mother-in-law picked a fight with me in the cul-de-sac and I drew the line and cut off all contact. I pushed my husband to continue his relationship with them, but made it clear that, until they could respect our marriage and the fact that we are adults and make our own decisions - and until they could respect ME, then there would be no contact with myself or the kids. Several marriage counseling sessions later, my husband understood where I was coming from and we started working towards telling his parents what exactly we had issues with and working towards setting boundaries with them. In September, we agreed to meet them for dinner. At this point, it had been 9 months since we had spoken. As expected, the in-laws were defensive and immediately told us that they didn't do anything wrong and that we were blowing everything out of proportion. The only thing they admitted to being disrespectful was constantly being late. (We're not talking 15 minutes here and there, we're talking hours. On one occassion, they were 2.5 hours late for dinner.) My mother-in-law also made it very clear that I broke her heart, that she would never forgive me (touche) and that she never did and never will trust me. All of this, of course, I knew and had always told my husband. So, at the end of all of this, I agreed to give them another chance and to let them see the kids. That occurred about a month later and, true to form, they were 45 minutes late. They showed up carrying gifts for the kids and stayed about 2 hours. It was an incredibly uncomfortable situation, but I did my best. I made them come to us because I wanted it to be on our terms and to do what was best for the kids (their home, their comfort zone). It has been over a month and a half and we haven't heard from them. I should say, they live 35 minutes away. In all, my stepmom in Oregon has seen them more than they have.

To say that I am a stubborn woman is putting it mildly. When I am hurt like they hurt me, my first instinct is (and always has been) to close people off. I have no problems with shutting them out of our lives. I grew up with no contact with my grandparents and it didn't even dawn on me that other kids had regular contact with their grandparents. I grew up with an extended military family, so I have always felt like blood isn't necessarily thicker than water. My kids are surrounded by numerous people that love and support them, so I feel like they're going to be well adjusted.

With the holidays coming up, I have put my suit of armor on and readied myself. We were discluded from Easter celebrations at my husband's aunt and uncle's house because of the rift. I normally do Thanksgiving celebration at our place. This year, being pregnant and with money the way it is, I asked my husband if we could possibly just do a small Thanksgiving dinner here at the house and then, if he wanted to, we could go to his folks house for dessert. He was good with that, of course, until he spoke with his mom. Apparently, she wants us to come up for dinner so bad (not caring or having a clue how difficult it would be for us) that she told him she would cook dinner whenever we wanted her to. Now, I have been with my husband for just over five years. Not ONCE has his parents EVER been on-time with anything. A few years ago, the last time we went to there house for Thanksgiving dinner, they were (can you guess?) two hours late. I'm not about to count on them to be on-time. Not to mention the fact that there house is not at all child-proof. Hell, OUR house isn't even 100% child-proof (I can't even figure out how to do that). Add to that everything we'd have to take up there, it's insane. Baby gates, high chairs, our large diaper bag, a box of toys... She doesn't even realize how much child-proofing would need to be done just to get us through dinner time. She, of course, told my husband that they would do whatever we needed to get the house child-proofed. She's not thinking of all the things I am, obviously, because I know she'd not accept us gating off her kitchen, two sets of stairs, the dining room...then you have 10 of us in a 10x10 room? No thanks. I'm really making an effort, here, by saying we could go up for an hour or two for dessert. After everything that has happened over the course of 5 years, I need (and this was agreed to by the counselor and my husband) to make baby steps with them. Four hours over turkey dinner is NOT baby steps, in my opinion. Really, I'm feeling like I've been backed into a corner with this phone call and I'm ready to come out swinging. I don't like these people, they don't like me, and they have not made one single effort to have a relationship with our kids. THAT makes me feel like a momma bear that needs to protect her cubs. Do you know they showed up late for the birth of our twins? In the first year, they came to see them twice. It was always expected we'd come up there. With newborn twins. To their house. With all of our stuff. No phone calls to see what new milestones...and they're only 35 minutes away! No RSVP to their 1st birthday.

Ah. I have to stop. I'm making myself more upset, instead of the intended calming down. I think his parents are slowly driving a wedge between us. I think that's been his mom's intentions from day one. I've heard her negative remarks to my brother-in-law's girlfriend (one conversation AT MY BABY SHOWER was about his brother (B). She told his girlfriend, "B is a liar, he will lie to your face and you won't even know it..."). Who does that? What mother doesn't want her sons to be happy?

Bah. :(

No comments: