Good afternoon, Dear Readers!
I thought I’d add a bit to yesterday’s post….
I didn’t mention it yesterday, but one thing that has made me dislike the holidays is in-laws. I am on my second marriage, & both sets of in-laws I have had share one thing in common- expecting their adult children & their spouses to spend the holiday with them. Period. No excuses. Why that is, I have no clue, but I don’t believe it’s right. For one thing I believe the day should be spent with husband & wife together (& small kids at home too, if they have them). Extended family can be visited within a few days of the holidays. My grandparents always had their Christmas celebration on the Sunday between Christmas & New Year’s. That way, everyone could relax on Christmas day & enjoy it. This always has made so much sense to me.
For another thing, what about my family? What if I wanted to spend a holiday with my family rather than his? I’ve learned that is not something to admit- saying that warranted the evil eye from both mothers in-law. I quickly learned not to say that, & give up hopes of spending the holiday with anyone in my family.
And lastly, if you have a dysfunctional relationship with your in-laws like me, why would anyone want to spend an entire day together? How is that a joyous family celebration? It saps all of the joy out of your day spending it with people who you know dislike you, & who you dislike. It certainly has for me. I dreaded the holidays for years, & got depressed each holiday season knowing I would spend a holiday with people who were less than thrilled I was a part of their family.
I guess I just wanted to say please think before arranging your holiday get together. It’s not fair to demand your adult children run to your home for a holiday. There are 364 other days in the year- why not pick one of them to get together? If you force them or use guilt to manipulate them into coming over, they &/or their spouses will end up resentful. It can damage your relationship greatly! I loved my first mother in-law, but when she knew my ex & I were having car trouble, yet still demanded we drive that car (our only one) well over an hour away, in the cold, to the Christmas get together, it greatly damaged my fondness for her. This was in the days before cell phones, so if the car had left us stranded, I have no idea how we would have gotten home.
And remember, your adult child’s spouse has a family too. Demanding they spend the day with you tells that person they & their family aren’t as important as you & your family. That hurts! It also stirs up strife between the couple. They feel stuck in the middle since both have families who want to spend a day with them. It is NOT a pleasant place to be!
Lastly, I understand not everyone is pleased with their son or daughter’s choice of a mate. Some personalities just clash. If that describes your relationship with your son or daughter in-law, then please, for your adult child’s sake, try to be civil. You don’t have to be phoney. You don’t have to try to become best friends. Just practice basic politeness & civility. Showing your dislike of that person not only hurts him or her, but shows an incredible disrespect for your adult child. It also stirs up problems in their marriage, & makes the adult child feel stuck in the middle. Do you really want to do that to your son or daughter?
As for daughters & sons in-law, this also applies to you!! Practice civility with your husband’s or wife’s parents. I know first hand how hard it can be when an in-law is mean you, but do it anyway!
Also, don’t run to your spouse complaining about his “psycho mom” or whatever other things you’d like to say. I know you want him or her to understand your position, but that is still his/her parent. It’s difficult for someone to accept his/her parent is capable of doing such nasty things, especially to someone they love. Instead, talk to a friend or relative, or write in a journal. At a less stressful, busy time, it is more appropriate to discuss in-law problems with your spouse. Gently & with sensitivity, of course!