Sharpen your knives! In-law Drama! HELP!! (long) — The Bump
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Sharpen your knives! In-law Drama! HELP!! (long)

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Yay! In-law drama! So, many of you know my storied history with my in-laws. The highlight of which was them not even attending our wedding. Today, I need some help figuring out if I really should stand my ground on this one.

The latest offense is that they didn't show for Cecil's first birthday party. They RSVP'd and said, "Yes, we'll attend." Okay. Great. Party starts, no sign of them. Cutting the cake, no sign of them. DH finally calls them and they say, "Oh, the trip was too long and we needed to help your brother move." The brother that's been living with them and mooching for the last three years after his second marriage went up in an adulterous ball of flame. Ask me about that story another time. It's a good one.

Backstory here is that the in-laws just moved. Finally got rid of the house in Augusta and moved even further away in North Carolina. What was a two-hour trip for us just became almost four hours. Apparently they didn't take this new trip distance into account when telling us they'd be at a birthday party. If they'd just said, "Hey, it's a little too far of a drive for us, we're not going to make it," that's one thing. I would have bitched about it (that's a given), but whatever. They're really far away now, I get it.

But we had to call them in the middle of the party - me trying to be considerate - to see if we needed to wait to cut Cecil's cake until they got there.  The short answer to that question was NO.

Today, DH calls and asks me if we're going to his folks' house for Christmas.

I had to ask him to repeat it because I wasn't sure I'd heard him correctly.

I had assumed (incorrectly, I guess) that because they recently bailed on us in such a large fashion that we were in the clear to bail on THEM at Christmas. Especially considering the distance. Nope! DH has apparently now taken pleading phone calls from his brother and sister (doing dirty work for their father) and has been guilted into coming up.

I'm beyond furious and I don't want to go. Those people treat my husband like crap, treat me like crap, and generally ignore our family. I've suffered anxiety-ridden visits to their house for the last eight years (because they won't come HERE) and I'm tired of it. Sending DH alone with the kids just isn't an option. Our two kids are a two-person job. Not to mention, I'd never hear the end of it.

So, what do I do? Say, "Maybe next year!" and enjoy the rest of my holiday and week off work? Or do I actually hire a dogsitter, let DH ply me with Xanax, and make the trek with two kids to the backwoods of North Carolina for two days?

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Lil' G was born April 25, 2008! Big C was born September 28, 2011! Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Re: Sharpen your knives! In-law Drama! HELP!! (long)

  • Sorry for the formatting issues. Something in the HTML...
    Lil' G was born April 25, 2008! Big C was born September 28, 2011! Image and video hosting by TinyPic
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  • I will start off by saying that I am not the expert on family relations.  Mine are a mess.  Honestly, I wouldn't go.  I think I would try to start my own family Christmas tradition at our house.  Two small children in a car for 8 hours total sounds awful, especially when you don't want to go.

    That being said, the big kid answer is, yes, you should go.  Be above their pettiness, and hopefully the family will be gracious hosts.

    Hopefully your DH would be supportive of whatever you really want to do.

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  • This is a tough one. We have had similar, although not as dramatic, issues since our son was born. My gut reaction is to say "eff you" and not go. But I have had to try really hard to be more flexible for DH's sake and take some trips to the in-laws that I haven't wanted to take. I am basically only doing it for DH because I know he hates being put in the middle of his parents and me.

    I do think it's crap that they didn't bother to call and tell you they changed their minds about being able to make it to the party. Christmas is very important to me and I made it clear a long time ago to DH I would not be traveling to see the in-laws during that time, so luckily I haven't had a fight there.

    I would say if DH is really feeling like you need to go and he is feeling the pressure big time from his family to try to see if it's possible for you to suffer through it without going crazy. I usually have to stew over it a few days and then realize maybe I'll just have to give in this time and then I can stand my ground at a future date when I don't want to do something. I think if you're just totally against it, stand your ground; but if there is an inkling that you might be able to pull it off without killing anyone, go for it and save the battle for next time around. This is what I usually do. Good luck!

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  •  Ahh, inlaws sucks so bad unless your Heather and got TODD and super grandma. Most of us are only lucky enough to end up with the awesome husband. I wish mine would move 4 hrs away. lol

    Stand your ground. Say "hell to the no" and enjoy your holiday here.

    I will say I am always baffled when Brian gets guilted into pulling the "so are we going to see them" card on me. Because even when we are with them and then the time spent is over we both have the "WTF, did that just happen" looks on our faces for a good 48hrs. Then it happens, he remembers why he normally says no and we go on about life. This is one part of the holidays I dislike. The assumption that we need to spend time.  

     Can you take xanex when your pregnant? I have fil/smil sat holiday breakfast and mil/sfil sunday breakfast. Yippie!  

  • I guess I should add, I moved past the "be the bigger person" thing with mine long ago when they have time and time again proven they at the core don't have the best interest for my family. 

    Seems I remember your stories being equally crazy inlaw ones.  

  • I wouldn't go. I have to go to mine because they are only 10 minutes away although, they've actually been pretty good the past couple months for the most part!. If 4 hours is too far for them to drive when it's just the two of them, then its definitely too far for you to drive with 2 kids.
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    Abigail Taylor 09.18.2008


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  • I would absolutely NOT go, but I'm not even sure I would travel for my own side of the family on Christmas.  I made it known early on that we would be staying home for Christmas and anyone who wanted to was welcome to come.  Both sides are 12+ hours away and they all make the drive.  My family comes for Christmas and his for New Years.  I have a lot of complaints about my ILs at times, but they've been really good about accommodating this (at least to our faces).  

    Do what works for you and don't dwell on it.  It sounds like they're the type of people who would just find something else to complain about if you did go visit, so why bother if they won't be happy either way?! 

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  • I'm so sorry, Myra, but I think you should go. Not for them, but for the DH. It's his parents, after all. (Sorry. I know.) Could you stomach driving up one day, quick visit, spend the night and come back the next?
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  • imagerara855:

     Ahh, inlaws sucks so bad unless your Heather and got TODD and super grandma.

     

    LOL!  So true!  Although, I may have ended up with super grandma, but I did have to endure my mother for 18 years.

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  • I could have written this.  My own father just skipped out on Ava's birthday party last week.  Said he wasn't feeling well.  He was feeling well enough to hang out at the office with his buddies the previous day though. It was a 30 minute drive to the party location.  That's the 2nd party he's missed of hers - she's 5.  So I totally get this.  And he doesn't even have the excuse of living hours away.

    Cecil is too young, but how does Geneva feel about them?  Does she love them unconditionally, completely unknowing of what asses they can be?  Is she genuinely overjoyed at  the idea of seeing them?  This is what drives me.  My kids don't know how rotten my father is.  Or what a martry my mother is.  They love them regardless b/c they don't see that side of them.  So I do things on their behalf, b/c I want them to have a good relationship with their grandparents and to have good memories of them.  I don't have that of my own grandparents b/c of family drama when I was a kid.  If you think it would mean the world to Geneva, then do it.  You can do anything for two days.  If not, then just tell Rob that you really want to spend Christmas at home this year and his parents are welcome to visit you (knowing they won't).

     

  • imageMrs.Guz:
    If 4 hours is too far for them to drive when it's just the two of them, then its definitely too far for you to drive with 2 kids.


    This. Don't go. Work on your own stress free holiday tradition. I'd tell them if they want to see you guys that much they can come to you. Easy out, bc from what you've said they don't give a crap so of course they won't come!
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  • imagekep:
    I'm so sorry, Myra, but I think you should go. Not for them, but for the DH. It's his parents, after all. (Sorry. I know.) Could you stomach driving up one day, quick visit, spend the night and come back the next?

    I agree with this. I know it sucks, I know it isn't what you want to do, but at the end of the day they are his parents, and if he wants to go then you should support him. 

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  • I have to chime in and say that if it were me I would NOT go. This, based on what I have heard of your ILs over the years is simply a manipulation tactic that they use (over and over again) so that they don't have to make any effort to see you/Rob and the kids. "Oh, yes we are coming to you for X event" Then they don't show but want you to schlep you+kids to them. They win every time. Granted you also have to balance DH's feelings, I think you need to say that Christmas is being spent for your kids in your home. I have travelled for every holiday to accommodate everyone else until this year, as a result we did not spend one Christmas in our own home in the 7 years we lived there. 

    I think it's always interesting when family who makes NO EFFORT 99% of the year to see you, feels entitled to spend holidays with you and totally put you out in the process. If you give in this time it just sets the precedent for the next time and for this to continue over and over again. I would tell them you can't come for Christmas but that you will plan to come a different weekend when it's more convenient for you guys. GL! 

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  • I would recommend going. I have had so many issues with my inlaws... Screwed over by my BIL so many times it's ridiculous. But I have always been the better person and done the right thing and that makes me feel good

    With that said, I will be allowing them in my house for Christmas Eve dinner and will be grinning it and barely baring it for DH and kids
  • imageKerrin:

    Cecil is too young, but how does Geneva feel about them?  Does she love them unconditionally, completely unknowing of what asses they can be?  Is she genuinely overjoyed at  the idea of seeing them?  This is what drives me.  My kids don't know how rotten my father is.  Or what a martry my mother is.  They love them regardless b/c they don't see that side of them.  So I do things on their behalf, b/c I want them to have a good relationship with their grandparents and to have good memories of them.  I don't have that of my own grandparents b/c of family drama when I was a kid.  If you think it would mean the world to Geneva, then do it.  You can do anything for two days.  If not, then just tell Rob that you really want to spend Christmas at home this year and his parents are welcome to visit you (knowing they won't).

     

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  • imageKerrin:

    I could have written this.  My own father just skipped out on Ava's birthday party last week.  Said he wasn't feeling well.  He was feeling well enough to hang out at the office with his buddies the previous day though. It was a 30 minute drive to the party location.  That's the 2nd party he's missed of hers - she's 5.  So I totally get this.  And he doesn't even have the excuse of living hours away.

    Cecil is too young, but how does Geneva feel about them?  Does she love them unconditionally, completely unknowing of what asses they can be?  Is she genuinely overjoyed at  the idea of seeing them?  This is what drives me.  My kids don't know how rotten my father is.  Or what a martry my mother is.  They love them regardless b/c they don't see that side of them.  So I do things on their behalf, b/c I want them to have a good relationship with their grandparents and to have good memories of them.  I don't have that of my own grandparents b/c of family drama when I was a kid.  If you think it would mean the world to Geneva, then do it.  You can do anything for two days.  If not, then just tell Rob that you really want to spend Christmas at home this year and his parents are welcome to visit you (knowing they won't).

     

    Geneva doesn't really know them. She's friendly when she's with them, but her definition of grandparents was set by my parents who communicate with her regularly and spend time with her. G doesn't have an opinion one way or another right now.

     

    Lil' G was born April 25, 2008! Big C was born September 28, 2011! Image and video hosting by TinyPic
  • Thanks for your input, everyone! DH and I had a pretty constructive conversation about things last night and I think we've determined not to go. Even he wasn't enthusiastic about putting Cecil in the car for that long for just an overnight trip. He also admitted to being bugged about the birthday party business. And he legitimately has to be at work the last week of the year to close out.

    His fear, and I totally understand this, is that our kids won't know his dad. DH doesn't give a spit about his stepmother. The largest part of the problem though, is that FIL lives under SMIL's thumb and won't make a single step without her. She's essentially depriving DH of any kind of relationship with his father. In turn, it stresses any kind of relationship our kids have with them. FIL has to sneak out of the house to even call Rob on his cellphone. I mean, WTH? Go beyond them treating me like poo and it makes for a tense situation all around!

    My point to DH was that we've gone there every Christmas for the past six years. FIL and SMIL have bailed on us multiple times. I just asked if we could get a pass this year and not go. I even went so far as to say for him to invite them down for an overnight in Jan/Feb. They're retired - it's just easier for them to travel. 

    But just like I hope they'll one day see the error of their ways, DH still hopes his dad will come to his senses. However, we both know old dogs don't learn new tricks. It kills me to see DH put such effort into a relationship that looks highly unlikely to bear fruit. Does that make sense? It's all so terribly sad for me to watch DH as his dad slips further and further away. Us going up there really does nothing to help things because his SMIL runs the proceedings and sucks whatever joy exists. Why these people are like this is part of an even larger backstory with lots of atrocious behavior from Rob's dad. He's done some shitty things and he's now paying for it, so to speak. 


    Lil' G was born April 25, 2008! Big C was born September 28, 2011! Image and video hosting by TinyPic
  • imageMrsL1022:

    I have to chime in and say that if it were me I would NOT go. This, based on what I have heard of your ILs over the years is simply a manipulation tactic that they use (over and over again) so that they don't have to make any effort to see you/Rob and the kids. "Oh, yes we are coming to you for X event" Then they don't show but want you to schlep you+kids to them. They win every time. Granted you also have to balance DH's feelings, I think you need to say that Christmas is being spent for your kids in your home. I have travelled for every holiday to accommodate everyone else until this year, as a result we did not spend one Christmas in our own home in the 7 years we lived there. 

    I think it's always interesting when family who makes NO EFFORT 99% of the year to see you, feels entitled to spend holidays with you and totally put you out in the process. If you give in this time it just sets the precedent for the next time and for this to continue over and over again. I would tell them you can't come for Christmas but that you will plan to come a different weekend when it's more convenient for you guys. GL! 

    Pretty much this to a 'T', Lauren. 

    Lil' G was born April 25, 2008! Big C was born September 28, 2011! Image and video hosting by TinyPic
  • imagemyrall:
    imageKerrin:

    I could have written this.  My own father just skipped out on Ava's birthday party last week.  Said he wasn't feeling well.  He was feeling well enough to hang out at the office with his buddies the previous day though. It was a 30 minute drive to the party location.  That's the 2nd party he's missed of hers - she's 5.  So I totally get this.  And he doesn't even have the excuse of living hours away.

    Cecil is too young, but how does Geneva feel about them?  Does she love them unconditionally, completely unknowing of what asses they can be?  Is she genuinely overjoyed at  the idea of seeing them?  This is what drives me.  My kids don't know how rotten my father is.  Or what a martry my mother is.  They love them regardless b/c they don't see that side of them.  So I do things on their behalf, b/c I want them to have a good relationship with their grandparents and to have good memories of them.  I don't have that of my own grandparents b/c of family drama when I was a kid.  If you think it would mean the world to Geneva, then do it.  You can do anything for two days.  If not, then just tell Rob that you really want to spend Christmas at home this year and his parents are welcome to visit you (knowing they won't).

     

    Geneva doesn't really know them. She's friendly when she's with them, but her definition of grandparents was set by my parents who communicate with her regularly and spend time with her. G doesn't have an opinion one way or another right now.

     

    Then don't do it.  She won't be missing out on anything.  It's their loss, not hers (not that they would know it).

  • imagehthomas02:
    imagerara855:

     Ahh, inlaws sucks so bad unless your Heather and got TODD and super grandma.

     

    LOL!  So true!  Although, I may have ended up with super grandma, but I did have to endure my mother for 18 years.

    I'm in this boat.  My inlaws are amazing.  Wonderful, gracious, kind and considerate.  They live mainly in either West Palm Beach (9 hour drive) or Colorado (5 hour flight + 4 hour car drive usually) and I would rather spend every holiday with them than my parents that live less than a mile away. 

    When we do have to spend holiday time with my parents I prepare myself, sometimes with xanax, and just mentally talk myself into avoiding situations where we would normally butt heads.  For my parents, they like to crucify me as a sh!tty mom, or housekeeper sometimes and I have just stopped defending myself to them.  And they can be overbearing and underminding with me about the girls.  So I just try to take 3 steps back.  I let my mom ask them 7,000 times what they want to eat.  I don't say anything when she gives them 50 cookies before lunch.  I don't get involved when she won't leave them alone to play or sort out every little bickering match they get into themselves.  With my inlaws on the other hand, I have to be kind of the opposite.  They aren't big drinkers so I try to limit my wine, I fix the kids food, I let them dictate and decide what we are doing for the day, when we eat, where we sleep, etc. even what family traditions they like to follow instead of what I'm used to doing, like Santa wrapping presents or hiding the dang Easter basket instead of sitting it out on the breakfast table.

    Basically, I just try to let go of control and let them set the stage.  For my parents, they end up looking like jackasses, and my inlaws are usually heros.  But hopefully, to my kids and my husband I come across as cooperative. 

    My advice is to do it once.  I don't think that because they missed the bday party that gives you an automatic out.  Especially if your husband wants to, or feels obligated to go.  I know you've been burned with them before and honestly, the main reason I think you should go is because they've moved.  I would just try and make the visit as short and sweet as possible and try to get a clear idea ahead of time what the expectations and plans are for your visit.

    Good luck, keep up posted!!

  • imagemyrall:

    Thanks for your input, everyone! DH and I had a pretty constructive conversation about things last night and I think we've determined not to go. Even he wasn't enthusiastic about putting Cecil in the car for that long for just an overnight trip. He also admitted to being bugged about the birthday party business. And he legitimately has to be at work the last week of the year to close out.

    His fear, and I totally understand this, is that our kids won't know his dad. DH doesn't give a spit about his stepmother. The largest part of the problem though, is that FIL lives under SMIL's thumb and won't make a single step without her. She's essentially depriving DH of any kind of relationship with his father. In turn, it stresses any kind of relationship our kids have with them. FIL has to sneak out of the house to even call Rob on his cellphone. I mean, WTH? Go beyond them treating me like poo and it makes for a tense situation all around!

    My point to DH was that we've gone there every Christmas for the past six years. FIL and SMIL have bailed on us multiple times. I just asked if we could get a pass this year and not go. I even went so far as to say for him to invite them down for an overnight in Jan/Feb. They're retired - it's just easier for them to travel. 

    But just like I hope they'll one day see the error of their ways, DH still hopes his dad will come to his senses. However, we both know old dogs don't learn new tricks. It kills me to see DH put such effort into a relationship that looks highly unlikely to bear fruit. Does that make sense? It's all so terribly sad for me to watch DH as his dad slips further and further away. Us going up there really does nothing to help things because his SMIL runs the proceedings and sucks whatever joy exists. Why these people are like this is part of an even larger backstory with lots of atrocious behavior from Rob's dad. He's done some shitty things and he's now paying for it, so to speak. 


    oops, sorry I was late to the party posting I guess.  disregard my other post :)

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