Problem Solving => Daughter in Law's or Son in Law's Parents => Topic started by: Lillycache on May 12, 2014, 07:29:29 AM

Title: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: Lillycache on May 12, 2014, 07:29:29 AM
I just had a conversation with a coworker, and of course the obligatory... "How was your Mothers Day" came up.   This woman has a son and a daughter... both married.  Both her ACs and their spouses spent the entire day with her and her DH having a nice barbeque.   I asked.. Don't your kids go th their MILs house on Mother's day?   She replied that her DILs mom is deceased so that is not an issue.   Her daughter prefers to be with her because she likes her food better and usually drops in at her MILs for a few minutes on Mothers Day.   This year, however,  her MIL fixed a dinner and had them over a week ago.   I asked her if she didn't think that the MIL would like more time with her son on Mothers Day and is settling for having a day with him a week earlier and not on Mothers Day?  Stopping in for a few minutes is hardly the same.   She told me she never even thought of that.    So I have to wonder if some of the one sided unfairness is just a matter of not even considering the feelings of others..  Just total oblivion to how it may hurt the other side, and NOT malicious selfishness.   It is of course selfish not to think of that, but I guess oblivion is better than maliciousness and deliberate exclusion.  Is it better to be mean or simply thoughtless?  lol! 
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: jdtm on May 12, 2014, 07:44:52 AM
I believe empathy is a genetic trait as is numeracy and/or literary skills.  Some of us have a lot of number and/or writing/reading skills; others not so much.  I believe that empathy is the same; some of us have a lot of empathy (compassion, understanding, selflessness, etc.); while others have less.  Of course, this would hold true for many other intellectual or artistic or spiritual or athletic, etc. gifts (or not gifts).  Just one opinion ....
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: luise.volta on May 12, 2014, 09:08:43 AM
My take is, yup, 'it takes all kinds.' And...that other saying...ah...er...oh yes, 'it's never too late to learn!'  8)  Useful platitudes!
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: Pooh on May 12, 2014, 10:03:26 AM
I guess in my world, I think being simply thoughtless is being mean?  :)
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: Pen on May 12, 2014, 10:30:08 AM
My thought too, Pooh. It's kind of a "PA-mean."

JDTM, I've read studies that do back up your point. I think that if one isn't gifted in a certain area one needs to work a little harder to become at least moderately proficient (me & math, for example.) However, unless it's pointed out to the person and they are open to improvement, they're not going to change and it may actually backfire on the person making the observation in the first place (first hand experience here.)

IMO, until the offending thoughtless/mean people suffer from the same circumstances, they aren't likely to become more compassionate. All we can do in the meantime is change our reactions to their behavior.
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: luise.volta on May 12, 2014, 10:35:14 AM
What comes up for me is interpretation. It's so incredibly personal. I had a dear friend with a much stronger self-image than mine and when someone said something unkind...that would have taken me down in a nano-second...she would look at me, totally untouched, and ask me what was wrong with them. I'm serious!
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: herbalescapes on May 20, 2014, 07:41:26 AM
It may not be pure obliviousness; it could be just a different set of standards.  I grew up with one set of grandparents in the same town (less than 5 min walk away) and the other set just over an hour away, but we never spend Mothers Day or Fathers Day with my grandparents.  My frame of reference is that those holidays are for the people currently raising minor children.  If AC send a card or call on those days, I figure they are going above and beyond.  Obviously not everyone has that view.  My DH's family does those holidays as multi-generational big to-dos.  I can appreciate that they have a different pattern, but I don't feel I'm under any obligation to adapt to their tradition.  I get to spend my mother's day how I want.  My DH is free to dictate the terms of Father's Day, but whenever I have asked him since we've had kids (and we have AC) he's never indicated he wanted to spend the day or even part of it with his family.  Am I the DIL from H for not joining in his FOO's mothers day party and insisting we spend fathers day with them too? 

My ILs were mad at me for not asking them to babysit a lot (my FOO is all out-of-state so it's not like I was favoring them).  I didn't ask them all that often, not to snub them, but because I didn't need a babysitter all that often (I'm pretty much a homebody and don't want to go out on the town on Sat night) and most of the time I did need a babysitter, it was during working hours and they were at work.  Once they voiced their disappointment about not babysitting more (note: more, they did babysit some), was I under an obligation to manufacture reasons to ask them to babysit? 

My ILs desires weren't unreasonable, but that doesn't make me a witch for not obliging them.  And of course there's the whole question of why I was to blame when their own DS wasn't trying to abide by their preferences. 

We're really good at knowing what people do (or not do), but we're not especially gifted in knowing the why behind the action or lack thereof.  It's good to remember that our DIL/MIL/AC/mailmen/etc. may not be doing something wrong just because we feel hurt or slighted.  I've felt slighted by my siblings most of our adult lives, but in my more rational moments I have to accept that they aren't deliberately excluding me or being rude.
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: Pooh on May 20, 2014, 08:42:15 AM
I don't think what you are doing makes you a witch or unreasonable. I think it is when one party is always unwilling to compromise that makes them unreasonable.  I have certain things I don't want to budge on, but I also make concessions for other people. 

I agree with you that two married people can grow up with totally different sets of standards, which makes it hard to please everyone, but let me ask you this. Do you ever budge from your upbringing and try to participate in his family's traditions on occasions?  Not because you want to, but simply to do something for them?  And I'm asking that sincerely.  Not a visit every once in awhile simply because they are the other parents, but a flat out give up something you want a certain way to do it for them?

This is not a religious statement, it's what happens to me.  My DH's family are a totally different religion than my family.  Now DH, he has left many of the traditions behind but his Mother has not.  They do a couple of celebrations every year that are exclusively based on their religion.  It is nothing that I have ever done in my family and frankly, it doesn't rock my world at all.  Not only that, but they are all vegetarians and I'm a carnivore.  But those two things are really important to his family, so I go, vegetarian dish in hand and I participate to the best of my ability.  The parts I don't agree with, I remain silent and respectful while they complete them.  Would I rather not go?  You bet.  It's not the most comfortable thing for me but I do it for his family because they want us there and it's important to my MIL.  It doesn't hurt me, it's a few hours out of my time and she really appreciates it.  DH would prefer not to go to, but he does it for his family as well.

That is something I do totally for my MIL and DH.
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: Lillycache on May 21, 2014, 08:26:03 AM
I understand that there are differences in families.. and that the customs and practices of the DHs family seem different and odd to the DIL.   However, does a DIL ever consider that the customs and practices of HER family are equally odd to her DH?  Yet somehow, that is not taken into account as the husband is simply expected to participate in his wife's FOOs celebration.  So I agree... it's the old "what's sauce for th Goose" thing.  IF a man is expected to go to his  ILs home and participate in whatever is planned... AND to do so with a smile and grace..  So should the wife.   Perhaps I'm not looking at it properly, but it just seems appropriate.    I know that no family was more different than MY ex husband's family.  They were from the deep south and my family from the north.   However, once I learned to relax and enjoy the company, I actually found that I had a nice time., and I learned a lot about the customs and food of a different culture.  I'm happy I did.   My life is richer for it.   
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: Lillycache on May 21, 2014, 08:41:46 AM
oopps  hit post before I was done..   :-[

I wanted to add...   People are VERY sensitive about their customs and traditions... especially if they were handed down from generation to generation and bring back lots of loving memories.

The MOST hurtful thing my DIL said to me... and one that I cannot forget... Was that she thought my customs on Christmas Eve were STUPID and that she hated having her children be "forced" to participate..   German custom has Santa visit on Christmas Eve when the kids are still up.   Usually a relative will dress up as Santa and come in to pass out presents.  When each person goes up to get their present, they say a short German Childs prayer. " abba lieber vater amen"  That's it.. No long catachism.  It was a custom passed down in my family for generations and meant so much to me to see my own young children say int and then  my grandkids trying to remember the words and how they looked saying it to Santa.  Precious..  YET apparently SHE thought it was silly and made the mistake of telling me so... rather than being open and accepting to her husbands family and bending a little even if she DID think it ridiculous.
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: luise.volta on May 21, 2014, 09:30:35 AM
The subject of 'why' touches my heart. I am in search of a word other than expectations...but I can't find one. Reasonable assumptions on our part, maybe? Kindness, consideration, acceptance, willingness...tolerance...seem like a given to me. Not so. How about open and perhaps reasonable? Could we try conscious? None are a given.

Those characteristics are some of the stuff of maturity. As we stumble over our own fallibility, it dawns on many of us that it must also be something others are facing or trying to deny. If denial is successful, then we are up against it with the person dishing that out. We can't change it and living with it can be a bear. I feel it in down to my toes when I read this thread.

Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: kate123 on March 26, 2015, 06:18:58 AM
" My frame of reference is that those holidays are for the people currently raising minor children. "

Herbalescapes, I know this was posted awhile ago, but since Mothers Day is around the corner I thought I might bring this up. I am not sure what you meant by your frame of reference, I am guessing you mean that is how it has always been in your family. In my family we always visited the GM/GF on these special days and I do not know of any family who didn't back then. However I have never had a Mothers Day visit from my children whether or not things were good between us because they have the same idea that you have, that the holiday is for the current parents. I can't express how broken hearted this made me through the years, and continues to.
Pooh has it so right, and you can tell she has such a good heart for saying it, that you do it for THEM. I also believe that the children enjoy being with extended family on these occasions and makes them feel the bonds they have with everyone beyond Mom & Dad. Why can't the holiday (and love) be shared with the generations that have given life to the family. Each family member had/has something to contribute and pass on and that should be recognized in all holidays (IMO of course) :-*
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: luise.volta on March 26, 2015, 10:49:39 AM
One of the best things about WWU is that we get to take what we want and leave the rest without debate. There's a huge difference between sharing another view and disagreeing. There are as many perceptions here as there are members.
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: herbalescapes on March 30, 2015, 11:19:35 AM
Katie, I understand you're being hurt by your kids not spending part of mothers day with you, however, I do not think they owe it to you to do so.  It would be really nice if they tried to accommodate your expectations, but it's not a requirement.  I think we tend to get defensive when our feelings are hurt and try to paint the hurter as mean/bad/inconsiderate.  I will never feel guilty or feel I have to apologize for not adapting my Mothers Day plans to fit in with my ILs method of doing it.  I didn't even realize for several years that they were disappointed that we didn't come to the large family party.  My DH never approached me about fitting his FOO into the day.  I know I'm not the only DIL who gets sooo frustrated when DH is give a pass at not making an effort, but DIL is DILFH for not doing more. 

I don't have to maintain my house like the ILs do; I don't have to practice my religion like they do; I don't have to handle my finances like they do; I don't have to practice politics like they do.  As an independent adult I get to decide how I live and that include how I spend holidays.  The only person I have to compromise with is my DH.  Now, I can't do things my way and expect everyone else to accommodate me.  If my ILs retaliated to my not spending mothers day with them by turning down my invitation to 4th of July, I would have to accept that and not complain.  If I turn around and expect my AC to take me out to lunch for mothers day, then everyone can call my a hypocrite. 
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: herbalescapes on March 31, 2015, 10:51:51 AM
I was thinking about this topic some more last night and something struck me.  Why do we feel we should be able to influence how another adult spends their time and sit in judgment when said adult doesn't spend time the way we think is correct, but when it comes to how an adult spends money, we tend to say each adult gets to make their own financial decisions?  A lot of people would call me selfish for not including my ILs in my mothers day plans.  I'm supposed to make some effort because it would make them so happy and wouldn't take much from me.  But if I pouted that my ILs (or FOO) didn't pay for my kids' summer camp, music lessons, vacation, college, etc.  I would be considered out of line.  If an adult doesn't include family in Christmas or TG plans, that adult (AC, DIL, SIL, parent, etc.) is criticized.  But if the complaint is that the adult doesn't spend enough on presents, then the complainer is criticized.  Is it that adults have financial freedom but not time freedom?  Do family members have the right to judge how an adult spends his/her time but not his/her money? 

Where do we draw the line in getting to dictate how much another adult should do to make us happy?  If a DM or MIL wants the bride to wear DM/MIL's wedding gown, but the bride doesn't want to, should the bride do it just to make the older woman happy?  If parents don't want to raise their kids in a religion, should they go through the motions of a christening to make the GPs happy?  If you don't like to ski/golf/gamble, should you spend your vacation time on such activities because that's what The Family is doing and you should go along to make The Family happy?  If a relative is running for office, should you make a donation to the campaign or put a yard sign in your yard even if you do not think the relative is the best candidate for the job? As a parent do I get to pick who my kid's godparents are, or should I pick a relative that really wants the position just to make them happy? 
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: luise.volta on March 31, 2015, 11:55:23 AM
H, your last post activated my people-pleaser / super-critical sides and has them looking at each other dumb founded!
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: jdtm on March 31, 2015, 12:30:18 PM
I hope we choose to do things for others because of love; not obligation.  I choose to do things for others because I care for/love them; not to make them happy.  Unfortunately, the reverse is also true.
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: Stilllearning on April 01, 2015, 05:05:04 AM
And after you have spent years doing for them because you love them you do kind of expect some return on the emotional down payment.  When we do not get it, even on Mother's Day, it hurts.  I guess it is kind of like having my DH stay at work all day and night on Valentines Day.  Sure he could do it but unless he had a really good reason he would not be getting any loving from me for a while!!!

In every relationship you have to put some effort in to reap the rewards.  Do not forget that you are teaching your children how they and their spouses should treat you once they are married.  These things have a habit of coming back around.
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: kate123 on April 04, 2015, 06:16:44 PM
I am not sure if I got lost in this thread, or misunderstood what others said, or what. All I meant was we spent the time with the mothers, grandmothers, whatever, because we loved them and wanted to make them happy- which made us happy. I would not want a visit if it made someone unhappy in doing it- that would probably be pretty miserable for everyone.
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: kate123 on April 04, 2015, 07:06:37 PM
Something else I just thought of, if you do have young children and want to just have your own Mother's Day say, without GM's, then how is that different from any other Sunday?? Guess I am missing something in that thought.

Getting back to the original question here which I may have lost track of, I think the mother (grandmother) who gets the visit is just not going to rock the boat, she is not oblivious. She is getting what she wants and she is good with that. IMO, no one, unless they are brain dead, would not think about the other mother. Maybe for others reasons she would not ask, but oblivious? I don't think so.
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: Elise on April 05, 2015, 11:08:27 AM
I agree Kate
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: Pooh on April 10, 2015, 07:30:15 AM
H, your last post activated my people-pleaser / super-critical sides and has them looking at each other dumb founded!

I'm in the same boat.  I can't even correlate in my brain, how spending a few hours with your parents or in-laws, just to be nice on a couple of holidays, equates to judging and paying financial obligations that your AC make?   

Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: Green Thumb on April 12, 2015, 06:17:56 PM
This is a good thread and much to think about. I am going to adopt the attitude that Mother's Day or Father's Day is for people with younger kids. Since my AC often blow me off and my husband's son blows him off. Yet my DH's birth family is so dysfunctional that his MIL is doted upon for Mother's Day even though they all dislike each other and most are vying for "best loved child" award so have to fight for the love from mom that is not there. If you have younger children, their day with their mother is second to the time grandma gets and what is planned for grandma. Mom loves mom and it is very sad to see the 50+ year old AC go nuts trying to get some love from her. My husband hates going and we do sometimes and don't sometimes.

I do think it is nice to go along and participate in whatever family traditions there are but at the same time, one has to also be true to oneself and put the needs of your own young children first. My ex husband hated being dragged to his grandmother's house every Christmas morning. Open presents and hit the road for a 2 hour drive. So we stayed home every Christmas and frankly, I liked that best. It put the focus on the children. 

I think I have been too nice (mature) to my AC. The other parents in their lives all demand attention and to be kept in the spotlight. That means the others take precedence. At first I was very hurt, but have learned to accept it. I don't have it in me to demand anything but respectful behavior towards me (boundaries) and I am not willing to fight for attention from the AC. The ex has a new wife and I can see that she demands attention from my kids and they give it. Funny thing, her kids don't seem to ever be around but she is always around my kids.
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: Pen on April 13, 2015, 09:00:55 AM
I'm wondering why one person needs to be the "star" on Mother's Day? Why can't families get together and honor all the moms (and even potential moms, lol) on the same day if they live within reasonable travel distance?

But that doesn't happen in my family either. Our FOOs have moved far away, both DMs have passed on, so it's just us locally w/o GPs. Although we aren't more than :45 minutes away by car, DIL's DM gets it all. Mother's Day is usually just another Sunday for me (DH says "You're not my mother." Kind of a joke, but still... although one year he surprised me with a beautiful home cooked dinner.) DD is not able to plan or create a celebration since she's disabled. DS sometimes calls to wish me a happy Mother's day to which I reply, "Thanks, I couldn't have done it without you." :D

For me the difficult part is smiling and not tearing up when friends and co-workers talk about their Mother's Day celebrations, how spoiled they were, how AC & DH planned the perfect day, etc. etc. I truly am happy for them and don't want to look like Debbie Downer. Some years are easier than others, thankfully. I try to practice and strategize beforehand. All those TV commercials, you know....
The bottom line is, I know I was a good mom. Made a couple of mistakes here and there I'm sure. If my AC are, for whatever reason, unable or unwilling to celebrate my fabulous Mom-ness, I can celebrate myself! I see a big bunch of Costco flowers in my future, lol. Maybe a new watch...
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: jdtm on April 14, 2015, 05:30:06 AM
I try to practice and strategize beforehand.

I also do this but as the years pass, well - the pain is not as sharp.  One thing I often do is purchase flowers and put out a Mother's Day card or two (I even have one I purchased for me from me).  Then, if anyone should drop by and ask about my Mother's Day, I can point to the flowers and card(s) - what they assume is not my concern and no one ever asks (of course the items did come from "family").  Years ago, the presence of this card and flowers seemed to "soothe" my soul - today, I don't need them as much.  But, it did give me a comfortable "out" - just in case ...  Been there ....
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: shiny on April 14, 2015, 10:51:03 AM
Jdtm, this is not a bad idea ... last Mothers Day, I didn't hear from one AC at all. The other called late in the afternoon to say hello and how busy they've been. The following week I bought a nice bracelet for myself and I like it, ha! Don't know if that was selfish on my part but it did ease the hurt a little.
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: luise.volta on April 14, 2015, 04:21:17 PM
My own mom, who was a bit of a rebel even though she was born in 1892..told us we could love and spoil her every time we were so inclined..but never on the commercialized day under any circumstances! :-)
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: Pooh on April 15, 2015, 10:42:25 AM
This is going to sound backwards.  I do have the YS and DIL that do remember me on Mother's Day.  Usually it's delivered flowers (since they live 15 hours away) or a phone call, which I truly appreciate.  I visit my Mom and Stepmom on Saturday, because they live out of town and deliver cards and something small.  Then on the day, my DH does usually spoil me some.  That's not the backwards part.  When he goes to work in the afternoon (he works Sundays), that is the day that I drive 30 minutes to where my Grandma is buried and I clean up her grave for the Spring and put out new flowers.  I was 16 when she passed and she was a huge influence in my life.  For some reason, doing this on that day, makes me feel like I'm honoring her memory as a great Mother and Grandmother.  It's backwards because it actually makes me feel better to do it on that day.  I know.  I'm weird. :)
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: luise.volta on April 15, 2015, 11:02:15 AM
I think of another word that starts with 'w'...wonderful! :-)
Title: Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
Post by: Pooh on April 15, 2015, 11:14:09 AM
I think of another word that starts with 'w'...wonderful! :-)

And YOU are too sweet!