Author Topic: Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude  (Read 8925 times)

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Offline Monroe

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Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude
« on: June 26, 2014, 11:37:20 AM »
This is a general piece of advice for the younger DILs out there.  And not for all of you, as I know that some of you have truly horrific MILs and FILs.  This is for the DILs whose in-laws are not just awful, just annoying.

Here goes - -  if between you and your husband, you take a "They are YOUR family, YOU deal with them" attitude, and you deal with your own FOO by yourself, you are losing a partner who could be quite valuable in years to come.  My DH I have been married 30 years, both sets of our parents are quite elderly - and it is so nice that he and I help each other with our respective parents. 

Example, I go to all the doctors appointments with my FIL.  He is in his 90's - and needs a family member with him at the doctor.  His son - my DH - cannot take half a day every time his dad needs to go to the doctor.  My schedule is flexible, I can go, and I do.  It helps my FIL, and means so much to my DH that he doesn't have to try to track the doctor down by phone later in the day.  I give him a full report and help with whatever medical decisions need to be made. 

What goes around comes around - and my DH helps with my parents.  My dad is also in his 90's, surrounded by women all the time.  Just today, my DH called my Dad, and invited him to lunch, just the two of them.  They went to a place that is geared towards men - something Dad would not want to do so much with me.  Dad got some male companionship ( which can be in short supply when you are 90+ ) - and my husband has a very appreciative wife. 

Soooo - I hate to sound like a PollyAnna - but if your in-laws are not truly awful, it could benefit you and your DH in the long run if you help each other in those in-law relationships.  Just saying. 

Offline shiny

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Re: Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2014, 01:53:41 PM »
I agree with you a hundred percent, Monroe, but how in the world do we convince the younger generation that this is the right thing to do?

I can't even get my own AC to check on me and DH, let alone the DIL and SIL.

Last winter I had a health scare and in the hospital for ten days. My SIL has been married to my AD for twenty years, and he never once called to check on me.
I assumed we were on good terms with him, but IMO, silence during a health crisis is NOT silence at all.

I just chalked it up as a generational thing -- because DH and I worked together to help each other's parents. And my AC have witnessed this type of action, so it's not a new thing to them.
Some people just don't care...
,

Offline FAFE

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Re: Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2014, 05:12:53 PM »
I so agree with this.  My husband and I had only been married for a year when my mother became disabled (ovarian cancer) and had to quit work.  She suffered with it for 13 years and only had a small income.  All 7 of us children and I put our heads together and each sent her a monthly amount that would help her.  My husband wrote her a check just like he paid a bill.  He never once complained about doing that.  (He did fuss at me about other spending habits every once in a while).  My mother passed away in 1989.  His elderly parents lived next door to us and when I retired  in 200I knew that his parent's would have health problems, etc.  Since I was the only one not working I ended up with 95% responsibility with their health care until they were moved into an assisted living facility.  I still was the hands on person and husband took care of their finances.  They had another son and DIL who were essentially not into caring for them.  FIL passed away in 2012 and July 4th will be one year for MIL. 

I am not confident that AC will give the same care to my husband and I.  We have one DIL who has elderly parents in Japan and a SIL who also has elderly parents.  My 2 sons live 12/14 hours away and daughter lives just 30 mins away.  I'm hoping that we have prepared well enough and can still make good decisions about our care.

This is not to be taken as a tale of woe - just the facts!

Offline Lillycache

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Re: Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2014, 04:21:54 AM »
I know that I cannot depend on anyone in my "old age".. or when I will need them.  I have an adult son who is impaired, and I worry who will care for him... and another adult son who is married to a woman who detests me..  So what chances have I got.  I know that I am going to have to make arrangements outside the "family".. for my care and fortunately, I have some resources that will allow me to do that. 

Ya know..   I know I shouldn't look at the WHYs..    Why do so many mothers of men find themselves in this situation?  We all cannot be dispicable, controling, evil shrews..  Of course that is not true... but to look at this site... and so many others far less supportive of us, one would think so.  and that perplexes me.   Is our gender so insecure and petty, that another woman...mother or not, is seen as a threat instead of an ally?   Is she someone to "deal with" and rid yourself of?   Is it the goal of most young women to "Win" their prize (husband) and fend off any other female interloper.... including his mother?   I don't know.. seems so.  IS this a new phenomenon or has it always been so, and young women feel more empowered now to make these demands and draw these lines in the sand.   NO answers here.. just thinking out loud..    and of course I am guilty of generalizing and know that there ARE loving DILs out there.. but it seems they are the exception..or perhaps they just don't post on message boards.

Offline herbalescapes

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Re: Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2014, 02:11:06 PM »
I believe the "your family/your problem" rose out of frustration at dh's still considering all family interaction "women's work."  Not too long ago, it was generally agreed upon that the wife was responsible for sending xmas cards, buying birthday cards and caring for sick relatives for both sides of the family.  I would hope that couples who take on a "yfyp" stance would pitch in with the other FOO in an emergency.

If my DH can't be bothered to take off from work to take his mom to the doctor or can't be bothered to remember her birthday with a card/call/gift or can't be bothered to ask his own parents to babysit  but leaves the arranging of a sitter entirely on my shoulders, should I be considered the DILFH?  I think the vast majority of MIL/DIL problems are really DM/DS and/or DH/DW problems, with the MIL/DIL being used as a scapegoat. 

What can we do to make DH/DS shoulder more of the traditional wife-y responsibilities other than establish a yfyp policy?

Offline Sarah

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Re: Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2014, 03:28:36 AM »

If my DH can't be bothered to take off from work to take his mom to the doctor or can't be bothered to remember her birthday with a card/call/gift or can't be bothered to ask his own parents to babysit  but leaves the arranging of a sitter entirely on my shoulders, should I be considered the DILFH?  I think the vast majority of MIL/DIL problems are really DM/DS and/or DH/DW problems, with the MIL/DIL being used as a scapegoat. 


Thank you for that.  I couldn't agree more.  If my husband leaves his mother to me to deal with while he sticks his nose in a book, then I get blamed for not doing it right, doing it well enough, not being nice enough, etc...then really, why does HE get a pass?  It is HIS family.  Only so much you can take.  But the OP's comments seem very patronizing to me.  jmo.

Offline NewMama

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Re: Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2014, 11:52:09 AM »
Here's the thing - it's up to the married couple to decide how they want to handle it. It has to work for them. DH and I manage our household pretty evenly - we both work roughly the same hours, we both spend roughly the same amount of time solo-parenting due to my shift work, we manage bills together, manage chores together etc. No one expects him to buy birthday presents, help my parents out, call them up to chat or catch up. But the expectation of me is different. There's a lot of "the younger generation" that is no longer buying into the woman as social secretary thing anymore.

My job in our marriage is to be supportive of the relationship my DH wants us and the kids to have with his FOO - and that's what I do. If he is not willing to put in the effort, why does that become my responsibility? The mine/yours issue seems to be primarily with the DH's FOO. It's not very often that I hear complaints from the mothers of DDs who's SILs don't pick up the slack for their DDs. They complain about their DDs.

Offline Pen

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Re: Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2014, 03:24:48 PM »
I completely understand the "your parents, your problem" concept. I expect my DH to take the lead dealing with my ILs, and I am the one who maintains contact with my side. If we all lived closer we might have cultivated a less divided relationship, but that's how it turned out for us. We would help either side if needed w/o worrying about who belonged to whom, but so far I do  mine and he does his. If I'm seen as a bad DIL, oh well.

However, I don't try to influence my DH to like my FOO best or to limit his interactions with his FOO the way my DIL and her FOO do with my DS. I certainly didn't expect DIL to be the social secretary, but I didn't expect to be shunned or to have limited interaction with DS due to the overbearing influence of DIL and her FOO. There's a difference between being controlling and being supportive.

Wouldn't it be great if people were honest about their motives and/or expectations? It would save a lot of time and heartache!


Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline NewMama

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Re: Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2014, 04:54:45 PM »
I think the yours/mine approach gets twisted into something it's really not. It doesn't mean you never interact with your spouse's family. It just means you let them take the lead and responsibility for the keeping up of the relationship. If my DH asked me to help my MIL, I would. I have asked him to help my family before and he has. My DH opted for a very long time to not go visit his mom and only see her at our home. That was his decision, he had reasons that were very big to him, I didn't necessarily agree but it was my job to be supportive of my husband, even though I knew his mom was not happy with it. That's how yours/mine looks to me.

Offline Monroe

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Re: Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2014, 06:25:24 PM »
  If my husband leaves his mother to me to deal with while he sticks his nose in a book, then I get blamed for not doing it right, doing it well enough, not being nice enough, etc...then really, why does HE get a pass?  It is HIS family.  Only so much you can take.  But the OP's comments seem very patronizing to me.  jmo.

I think most MILs on this board realize that their sons fall short in maintaining the relationship.  I certainly do.  So it is usually MORE a DS issue than it is a DIL issue.  We get that.  However, it would be nice if the DIL was interested in friendship with the woman who raised such a wonderful man that the DIL wants to spend her life with him.  Surely we must have SOMETHING to offer.  RIght, Pen, Shiny, FAFE and Lilly??

We're not out to compete with the wife.  We recognize that relationship as primary, but it's nice if the DIL is an extra connection to the man's parents, just as it is nice if the man is an extra connection to his wife's parents, like my husband is to my dad. 

I'm sorry you view my comments as patronizing.  They are not. 

Offline shiny

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Re: Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2014, 05:03:14 AM »
Ditto everything you said, Monroe ... it couldn't be said better.

And, often, time has a way of changing how we feel.
At least it did for me when I became MIL with DIL.

Now that I am "walking in those shoes," my heart sympathizes with the MIL, of course, provided that her expectations are reasonable, even minimal.

Also, it has deeply pained me b/c some of the misunderstandings I had toward my now-deceased MIL were simply that -- I misunderstood her and the love she had for her son.
Wish I could go back and start over ... I would love her to pieces.

Offline Lillycache

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Re: Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2014, 05:42:00 AM »
Ditto everything you said, Monroe ... it couldn't be said better.

And, often, time has a way of changing how we feel.
At least it did for me when I became MIL with DIL.

Now that I am "walking in those shoes," my heart sympathizes with the MIL, of course, provided that her expectations are reasonable, even minimal.

Very true Shiny...  A tiny pebble in someone elses shoe is just that... a pebble, and not that big of a deal.   In OUR shoes.. it's a bolder, and a very big deal indeed. .   As with so many things in life.  But unfortunately, it takes walking in those shoes before we understand the pain of that pebble. 

Offline jdtm

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Re: Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2014, 07:03:37 AM »
My husband and and I have been married for over four decades.  When we got married, we both had "four" parents - not his and not hers.  The "four" parents were ours.  And, all "four" responded fairly (and fairly does not mean equally).

Today, my husband and I have two married sons (one for the second time).  The ex-ILs were the "yours and mine" family; luckily, the FOOs of our present DILs are not.  Funny, the "yours and mine" family are having major issues with their children and grandchildren omitting them from their lives.  Coincidence?  Don't know, but often "what goes around comes around".  I believe Shakespeare called it "just reward".


Offline FAFE

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Re: Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2014, 07:14:56 AM »
In the early years I was the one that made the calls, got the cards, gifts, etc., for the in-laws.  At some point when life slowed down a little, DH did pick out cards for his parents and brother.  I would laugh like crazy because his mother always gave me credit for getting them.  It was hard to persuade her that he had actually picked them out.  Gifts I still did because my DH is color blind and has no fashion sense at all.

I have been married twice and was very fortunate to have had 2 great mother and father in laws.  First set treated me like one of the little children as she had a granddaughter a year younger than my husband.  Second FIL thought I had hung the moon most of the time.  MIL was a friend as well as a great MIL.  I strive to be that.  My one DIL is Japanese and she goes along with whatever my son does - or don't do.  What I always hear from him is that how "busy" their life is.  I agree but tell him to come back when he has 2 more kids and you both work full time and then do all the activities, etc., that we did for our kids.

We used to try and make the 12 hour trip up to see our grandson a couple of times a year - but they're too busy and we ended up buying every bite of food the 5 of us ate for the entire time we were there.  So, that stopped.  I mean, can you not buy a loaf of bread, a package of ham just to have something to offer us to eat?  Other son is a little better in communicating with us - but generally on his time.  Daughter and SIL live closer and we do see them more often - got a 3 year old GD that we love to visit, play with.  They both work and spend a lot of quality time with GD, so we're lucky if we see her a couple of times a month. 

I do read another website every now and then that is truly dedicated to people who hate their in-laws and are so, so happy to vilify MIL's.  Wonder how they will feel when their children realize that it's ok to treat others very badly.  I do know some of it is real and a lot of it is imagined (at least that's my take).
 

Offline Pooh

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Re: Please don't take a My Family/Your Family attitude
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2014, 08:29:45 AM »
I have a very responsible husband who pitches in a lot.  But he is still forgetful about things concerning his family.  If we are out and I say, "Want to pick out something for your Mom's birthday next week", he'll do it in a heartbeat, but if I don't remind him it's next week, he would forget most of the time.  I remind him that we have a "get-together" this Saturday or we would miss it.  It has nothing to do with him not wanting to spend time with his Mother and family, he gets along with them fine.  He just forgets as much as he forgets when my side has something and I have to remind him.  If I didn't remind him of our side stuff too, he would forget. 

Let's be honest here.  It boils down to if you choose to do this as the wife/Mother.  I choose to do this in our household because I know he's a good guy and doesn't mean to put it on me, he just doesn't keep up with family things well....on either side.  He has 99,000 other qualities that make him a great person.  So I choose to nuture his family's relationship and do more of the before-work in order to have a great relationship with them.  I cook the pot-luck dish and I keep up with the both sides of the family outings/birthdays/holidays.  If I decided I didn't want to, we wouldn't go to anything and I'm sure his family would think we didn't like them.  Just as if I went without him to my side stuff because I decided I wasn't going to remind him any longer, my Mother would think he didn't like her.  So not true, he loves my Mother.

It's worth it to me because I know he appreciates it.  He gets a pass on this because he does so much more right.  If you choose not to do this, then nothing wrong with that either.  I'm not dogging women who choose not to do this or take on this role as you should be able to decide how much you will do too.  Everyone picks their own battles and makes their own decisions what's right for their relationships.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell