Author Topic: My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated  (Read 2615 times)

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MoonChild

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My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated
« on: May 04, 2011, 12:19:52 PM »
Hello to Everyone! First of all let me just say that I love this site and all of you wonderfully wise women have opened my eyes and helped me turn a new leaf.
My background: I am, essentially, engaged to be engaged to my wonderful boyfriend who I have been with for two and a half years now and living together for two. We are in no rush to get married we just want to enjoy our time together and make sure that we are emotionally mature and financially stable before we embark on that journey. We live about 5 minutes away from my parents and an hour away from his parents. I have a sister who is three years younger than me, and he is the only child from his parents' marriage. He has a half brother who is 13 years older than him, unfortunately at some point a misunderstanding occurred and his brother cut his parents out of his life completely.  I was raised in an Italian Catholic household (i.e. very conservative, religious, family oriented, traditionalist) while he was raised in a pretty liberal Irish/Mexican household (his parents met at Woodstock, a very romantic story).  That being said we both had very similar upbringings and thus we now are hard working, family oriented, smart young adults; at least I would like to think that is the way we are perceived by society.
I decided to take a leap and join this site so that I could share my thoughts on some things with you ladies and also get any insight from you as well. I found myself becoming frustrated, once we moved into our house last June (2010), with both sets of parents, more-so his. I was starting to think that all of those sitcoms I watched as a young girl were right and that no lady EVER has a good relationship with her MIL. I began doing some searches online for advice in dealing with MIL issues and I came across many websites dedicated to this, but when I would read what the ladies on these other sites had to say it seemed to me like they were more there to vent rather than try to find insight and that they had already made up their mind about their MIL/ FMIL and they just wanted justification for their decisions. And the worst part was, that while reading what these DILs/FDILs were saying about their MILs/FMILs and the responses (that seemed to clearly be from other DILs/FDILs scorned) I found myself agreeing with what they had to say and began thinking my FMIL was out to 'keep a hold' on her son and not let him grow! But then I came to momresponds.com and found the link to this website and here through your questions and responses I found what I was looking for: INSIGHT and PERSPECTIVE. The old saying holds true: Before criticizing a man (or MIL/FMIL), walk a mile in his (her) shoes. Being able to read through the threads and hear what each of you had to share based on your own experiences was so refreshing. I think one of the best things that you ladies try to do when responding is that you remember to share your background, your personal experience, and then you give suggestions or you inquire further to make sure you are giving a solid and feasible response. You have helped me understand how differently we all perceive our experiences and surroundings. I am still learning, trust me I fully realize that I am still young (24) and I still have so much to learn about life.
Now for my thoughts, I would love to hear what all of you especially the MILs have to share:
For me personally, I do put a lot of pressure on myself to be a good; to be a good daughter, to be a good girlfriend, to be a good sister, to be a good employee; little did I realize that by doing this I was sacrificing my sanity. I was (still am sometimes) always nervous that I wasn’t being 'good enough'. And really isn't it that all anyone wants in life is to just be accepted and liked and loved for whom they are?! I have learned that this needs to go both ways, if I want to be accepted for exactly who I am then I need to accept others for exactly who they are: all of their wonderful qualities and any flaws too, our flaws and imperfections are what make us the unique individuals that we are, if not for our flaws then we would all be perfectly 'good' robots, and where is the fun in that?! LOL. One of the things I needed to understand was that this self-imposed pressure to be 'good' was just that: SELF-IMPOSED. Somewhere along the line the self-imposed aspect was forgotten and I began thinking that the pressure to 'be good' was coming from these outside sources. This was especially true when it came to our parents' actions.  I would think of their inquiries as interrogations, I now try to remind myself that they just want to know what we have been up to or if anything interesting has happened that we want to share with them. I try to remember that as a child one of my Mom's favourite parts of the day was eating dinner and my sister and I sharing what we did and learned that day, it made her proud to hear these things. Another action I would take out of context is that I would think of their house-hold gifts as instructions or suggestions that we were doing something wrong, I now try to remind myself that they just want to help. I try to remember that when they were young they had to learn how to take care of a house and all that goes with it and now they want to help us learn. I try to remember that they are not trying to suggest that I am not doing a 'good' enough job they simply are trying to make our life just a little easier any way they can help. And of course there is the act of showing up unannounced; this issue is a tricky one that I feel is completely misunderstood due to technology. I try to remember that XX years ago when our parents were our age it was normal for people to literally just knock on the door to see if anyone was home (heck, I did it as a kid knocking on my friends' door to see if they could come out an play), they didn’t have cell phones to make the quick call of 'hey, I'm in your neighbourhood are you busy?' I also try to remember that they are not viewing their 'stopping-by' as intrusive and I need to not view it as so either. I try to think: if they were stopping by and I did not already have plans would I really be that annoyed by this action? I will say that sometimes I became frustrated, especially with his parents knowing that it is an hour drive, by the unannounced arrival because if we were unable to accommodate the unexpected appearance I feel like a sub-par FDIL for not meeting their expectations and having to tell them NO. No child wants to ever say NO to their parents; at least this is how BF and I feel.
One thing that I will say that discourages me is when people/society says 'well, you should do this – or – 'she should not have done that'. When I hear this all I want to do is go to a roof top and scream "Please stop SHOULD-ING all over me!" It is strange to think that there is one set of rules of how our relationships 'should work' or how we 'should' do things. Isn't one of the most important and fun things, about finding your wonderful significant other, creating your life together and the rules the two of you choose to live by? Isn't it that what is good for some might not always work for others? My suggestion: when I hear 'should' I think of a set of rules that someone is telling me I have to follow, I feel like it is a very authoritative word; however if one were to instead use different words such as: could, perhaps, or try – then the messages being sent would sound less demanding and more helpful, just my own personal thought. What do you think, do you ever think that maybe a misunderstanding arose between you and your DIL because the word 'should' was used when giving a suggestion that you meant no harm by, but your DIL might have perceived it as *gasp* you telling her what to do?
Something I am still trying to work on is: accepting help. For awhile I was hell-bent on proving that I could make-it-on-my-own. I would scrutinize offered help as a way of people insinuating that I couldn't do it on my own. I wanted to be independent and self-sufficient. Now, when help is offered I try to think that what our parents are saying 'we are proud of what you are doing and if you would like we are willing to help you make your goal by …...' Why is the line between helping and imposing so thin?
Before I begin this next thought let me say: I do not have children and I am sure that having a child is leaps and bounds different than having puppies, but I have puppies and I feel like I can relate to some DIL/MIL issues in regards to my pups. To reiterate: I am not saying kids and puppies are equal but for me they are comparable and I will explain why: Background: I have two pups one is 3 years old and the other is 9 months, the 3 year old I adopted when I lived on my own she is a rescue pup from the local pound. I love her so much, I saved her as she only had 2 days before her 'time' was up at the pound (our local pound is only authorized to keep animals available for adoption for 2 months before they are exterminated, tear). The 9 month old pup my BF and I adopted together through a rescue organization; so both pups are very near and dear to our hearts. They sleep on our bed with us, eat at the same times we eat, we take them on 2 one mile walks everyday, we take them everywhere we go except work; basically we have completely incorporated them into our lives and schedules. So now to get into why I brought up my pups: I have been noticing a lot of hurt feelings over grandchildren and the amount of time that some of you MILs are allowed to spend with them. Many of you are hurt that your DIL/FDIL wants to spend more time with her FOO. Some of you admit that she feels more comfortable being with her FOO. My BF and I had a little tiff over a vaguely similar sort of situation that may shed some light onto your distant DILs/FDILs intentions when she pulls towards her FOO. We were planning a week long trip to Disneyland and when it came down to where the pups were going to stay and BF said it might be nice if his parents were the ones who got to take care of the pups for us because my parents always watched the pups and he wanted the pups to be able to get to know his parents better and their pup. (Both he and I always had at least two dogs in our respective households growing up).  Without a thought about the suggestion I said NO, my parents always watch the pups so it won't be too stressful on the pups to be there for a week. It turned out that his parents would not have even been able to watch them as they themselves were going on a trip that week. However after reading some of the comments about how hurt you have felt that your DIL/FDIL pulls more towards her FOO for support especially with kids it got me thinking: why did I automatically say no, without even thinking about it, and was it fair? My conclusion on this matter: No, it was not fair that I did not even entertain the thought of asking BF's parents to look after the pups. He was trying to include his parents in something that we hold near and dear to our hearts, our pups. For me, I have come to realize that I instantly decided my parents should (yes, I used that word, I demanded) have the pups that week because I knew exactly how they would be cared for and what would happen while they were there because I was already familiar with the way they raised their pups. This is not to say that BF's parents don't know how to raise pups, they have wonderful pups, I just don't know what they do differently. So I wonder then, do any of you MILs/FMILs think that maybe your DILs/FDILs are taking their child to see their FOO more and allowing their FOO to watch the child more frequently because this is the family that raised them so they are already comfortable with what goes on?  Do you think that if instead of just doing something with your GC because that is the way you do things you instead could slowly over time make suggestions (not that she 'should' do it) along with an explanation as to why you like to do this and that may make DIL/FDIL more comfortable with you having your GC over more. For me the not knowing is what worries me, if someone is able to say this is what I like to do and this is why I do it, and then I feel comfortable with almost any situation. Just a thought.
So I have also read that many of you wonderfully wise women are also a little, dare I say it, jealous of the distance between your house, DS and DIL/FDIL's house, and her parents house; and I have experienced this jealously first hand. As I stated in my background we moved into our house in June (2010) and live about 5 minutes from my parents house and an hour from BF's parents' house and, oh my, were they J-E-A-L-O-U-S when they first heard about this. (Note: my parents own our house and my Grandma lived there before she died, when she passed they offered to do a lease to own on the house with us and we accepted) What I could never grasp was why were they jealous when, since a month into our relationship, we have driven up or they have driven down once a week every week to see us and this did not change when we moved into the house from our apartment, our apartment was still 45 minutes away from their house?! Yet, since we have been together BF and I have only gone to my parents' house maybe 20 times together. I have never pressured him to do anything with my family because I have never wanted to force him to spend time with my family as that may turn him off from the idea of having a good relationship with them. I wanted him to build that relationship with them on his own terms and giving him that time and space to choose when and if he wanted to hangout with them really helped him build the amazing friendship he and my Dad now have. Yet, despite this I can still sense their jealousy when I talk about my parents and I don’t know how to convey to them that just because we live five minutes apart does not mean that we are over there all the time, this year alone we have hung out with my parents together 3 times: Superbowl, my Mom's Birthday and Easter. Any insight or suggestions on this, I would love to understand why they are jealous when they still see us once a week? We don't view this as a competition but their passive reactions to me saying something like 'oh, I just ran over to my parents' house the other day and my Mom and I went bird watching' or something else along those lines it makes BF and I fell like in their minds it may be a competition?  Or am I perceiving this incorrectly and it isn’t that they are jealous of how close WE live to MY parents but how close I live to MY parents and they wished BF lived closer to THEM so he could 'run over' there and do things with them like I do with my parents?
And my last thought for today, it's kind of a bone I have to pick with some MILs/FMILs. Why is it, seemingly, automatically the DIL/FDIL's fault that your DS is not doing what you want/expect? Does she know your expectations, have you verbalized them to her with supporting reasons to help clarify and not demand? Is your son not a grown man who can make decisions on his own and stand up for what he wants and believes in?
I am excited to hear everything and anything anyone has to share. I am excited to have found a website that seems to be about finding insight and understanding. Thank you for taking the time to read my first post. 

holliberri

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Re: My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2011, 12:23:03 PM »
Hi MoonChild!

I am a Cancer and a Stevie Nicks fan (my idol), so I love your name. I am at work, but I will catch up on your story later. I am the moderator for this board, and I wanted to let you know that our Forum Agreement is under "Open Me First." Please read it when you have the chance.

I know the ladies will have some good advice for you. Congrats on your engagement!

Offline themuffin

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Re: My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2011, 12:45:28 PM »
Hi Moonchild,

  I'm only half way through your post, but had to say, "I LIKE YOU!!!"  You sound like such a level headed woman, so humble and down to earth, and a personal insight that I find refreshing!!! 

Let's not forget the sense of humor!!!!!  I promise to try not to "Should all over you!"    ;D ;D  That cracked me up!!!

Oh, BTW...Welcome and Congrats on your engagement!

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MoonChild

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Re: My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2011, 01:03:04 PM »
Thank you both for the warm welcome. I apologize for the long post; I have wanted to join a support forum to share my thoughts and ask for others' insights for about two weeks now, so when I finally started writing it just all seemed to flow out.
I will admit that the idea of 'should-ing' I got from an episode of S&theCity many years ago but the idea still holds true: Why do we as women should all over each other and ourselves? 
I will also admit that I still have a lot to learn and a lot of growing to do. I am not perfect but I am trying to be a more understanding and open person and you ladies have all helped me grow, even in the past two weeks. A lot of those other websites we full of hatred in their posts and it really put me in a negative state of mind, it was completely unhealthy. I hope to hear and understand everyone's insights.
*Hearing and understanding are two completely different things (this concept is lost on many people in our society) and is still something that I am learning everyday.

Offline themuffin

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Re: My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2011, 01:06:40 PM »
Whoa!!! That was a mouth full! LOL

I'm not a MIL yet, but I have FDIL issues.  They are very different from yours so I don't have any great insights.  But I have two cents worth of an opinion. ;D

Well, first off I wish I had a FDIL who was as open minded as you.  I think it's wonderful that you came here to learn what MILs and FMIL may be feeling, rather then just venting.  If we could all just understand each other maybe we could all get along better.

I loved your analogy with the puppies.  That was so well done.  And from what you wrote it seems that you didn't need any advice as to a resolution.  You had already disected it, analyzed your feelings and owned up to it.

Now about your ILs, other than sensing they are jealous over the distance situation, have they actually said or done anything?  I mean I'm sure that there is some kind of energy being released because you are feeling it, but could it be envy rather than jealousy?  I know there is a thin line between the two and neither are good to have.  It just seems to me that you and FDH are incredibly loved!

Are you and FDH happy with the current arrangements?  I understand that you all love and like each other, but is there a feeling of obligation to see each other as often as you do?

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Offline pam1

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Re: My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2011, 01:09:18 PM »
Welcome Moonchild :)

They are jealous b/c some grandparents do in fact consider it a competition.  Note, I said some.  Especially like in your case where it is clear they are the "winner."

I didn't see it; but did your MIL stay at home?  Have a job?  Not that it really matters but in my case, my MIL only considers being a Mother the most worthwhile thing she has ever done and wants to do.  That could be a big part of your problem too.

People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

Offline themuffin

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Re: My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2011, 01:18:11 PM »
Pam,  Unless I misunderstood, Moonchild doesn't have children yet. 

Moonchild, do you have children?  I thought you only had the puppies.  Are the IL in competition over the puppies?  I thought there issue right now was their distance to you and future hubby and who get to spend more time with the both of you. 

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Offline pam1

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Re: My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2011, 01:20:31 PM »
Good catch TM  ;D  I think it's still the same though, it's just parents of adult children.  Some people never get that relationships are not competitions.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

Offline lancaster lady

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Re: My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2011, 01:43:02 PM »
hi Moonchild :
you sound like a very well adjusted human being and I think will have no problems in the future .
when our DS moves out to live with his partner , it takes a wee bit of adjusting for us Moms .Don't forget we were the
person who he would come to for advice etc . It's the MIL's who can't accept this change around that have the problems .
As long as you keep in touch on a regular basis I'm sure everything will be fine .
Perhaps you are having a hard time trying to be 'good' a you said in your post , by keeping everyone happy .
It's normal for the daughter to visit her parents more than her IL's , DS's don't seem to bother so much , but that's guys for you !
My DS's don't visit me that much , but I still know they love me .
My advice is to keep all communication channels open , any problems , tell each other .IL's too !

MoonChild

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Re: My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2011, 01:43:51 PM »
I will say neither of our parents have done anything 'bad'. That being said I do wish I had been given the same option I gave FDH in that:
"I have never pressured him to do anything with my family because I have never wanted to force him to spend time with my family as that may turn him off from the idea of having a good relationship with them. I wanted him to build that relationship with them on his own terms and giving him that time and space to choose when and if he wanted to hangout with them really helped him build the amazing friendship he and my Dad now have.  "
I will admit that because of this and the once a week visit I was for awhile I feeling like the relationship was being forced on me and it made me uncomfortable and a bit stand-offish. And for a while I even began to almost resent the idea of seeing them. But after researching and reading what you all had to share I realized what frame of mind they may be in during their son's transition into adulthood. BF and I had a funny conversation the other day about how as children we view our own parents as perfect, they raised us after all and did a darn good job at it if you ask us, and they are flawless. Yet upon meeting someone else's parents we can so easily point out their flaws yet we still cannot recognize the exact same flaws in our parents.
The ILs have not said anything about the distance I just sense that they wish they were closer. But, I don’t think that being geographically closer necessarily makes one emotionally closer. I just feel like they feel (I am assuming here which is a bad thing to do) that I took him just a little bit further away from them. I just wish they could understand that it had nothing to do with the location, the fact is the house is where it is and the opportunity presented itself and we together made the decision to accept the offer. It had nothing to do with location just simply: opportunity. I think they do understand that but they are still a little sad about it and I don't know what to do to make them feel better.
No children, just two wonderful pups. My mom just retired, my Dad and I actually work for the same state agency and work in the same building, but we never see each other at work because we are so busy. His father is a chiropractor and his mom is a delivery nurse.

Offline lancaster lady

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Re: My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2011, 01:55:08 PM »
Unless they have said anything , I wouldn't worry ....we are all a little sad when fledglings fly away, but we get used to it ,
and after a while , we actually love having the house to ourselves .
As your F/IL's are both working they don't have time to be sad , just make them welcome when they visit .... :)

MoonChild

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Re: My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2011, 02:02:17 PM »
Lan you hit it on the nose, communication is key. From day one FDH and I said that if we ever have an issue about anything we need to be able to come to each other and be able to openly discuss whatever it was without letting our emotions cloud the path to understanding and resolution in order to have a good healthy relationship. So many issues can stem from a lack of communication: lack of communication easily leads one to assume and perceive actions and statements as hurtful and then in turn resentment and pain.
Now Lan you also mentioned welcoming them when they visit, which I always do; but what may you suggest about when they show up unannounced and we already have plans, I feel terrible to turn them away, especially when it is an hour drive (one way) for his parents.
BF and I will joke about how both our parents' view our front door as our bedroom door at their house still. LOL

Offline lancaster lady

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Re: My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2011, 02:26:48 PM »
You have answered your own question ......ask them to let you know when they are coming ....communication ....lol

I never go to see my DIL unless I am asked , long story , but we get along fine now . We have mutual respect which
includes time , they never come unannounced either .It works ...... :)

MoonChild

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Re: My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2011, 02:58:03 PM »
My concern is though; we had the 'boundaries' conversation with both sets of parents. We let them know that 'we love them very much and we want nothing more than to have an open and loving relationship, but with our busy lives and building a solid foundation for our blossoming relationship we did need to have some boundaries and we asked that they at least give us ten minutes notice before stopping by.' This was agreed upon and everything was fine until last weekend when, on different days, both sets of parents showed up unannounced. We did mention to them again after the incident(s) that we would love to have them over whenever, we would just like notice so we can be able to tidy things up and free up our schedule if possible. I was just wondering: if, given these circumstances, the unannounced arrival were to happen again how would a MIL/FMIL like to be approached about the boundaries, we don't want to shut anyone out EVER and we don't want to sound like we are attacking them or have anything we say as coming across as 'how dare you just show up'. This situation may very well never happen again, I just know that I would not know how to approach this minor issue and I was looking to see how one would prefer to be approached about this?

Offline lancaster lady

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Re: My First Post Any and All Responses Appreciated
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2011, 03:50:34 PM »
How about ....hey guys ,really nice to see you but we are.actually just going out .why didn't you call ahead to  say you were coming ?    That is no way.offensive ,and they would soon.get the message .of course you.would have to.go out.....lol .......sent from my phone ,plse excuse grammar ..... :)