In-Laws or Out-Laws
I’ve had my fair share of experience with discourteous in-laws and grandparents. Disclaimer: not all are like the ones I’ve encountered but you never know anyone’s true colors until it’s “fight or flight” time.
First, you try the be nice and kind approach. Second, you’ve gotten a feel for one another and start the joking around. Third, someone’s feelings get hurt and you’re back to square one. Or you’re never in the “family” to begin with. Dealing with in laws and grandparents is a never ending cycle.
My first marriage ended with the death of my husband and in that instance I had to do what I felt was best for my daughter. Her grandmother and I were not getting along at the time. There was a lot of animosity, tempers flaring, things done out of spite, etc. I wanted to keep my daughter sheltered from what was going on. Especially because she was an infant at the time. I tried to avoid my in laws and everyone associated with my husband’s side of the family for months. Until one day I was served with grandparent visitation paperwork. I had to obtain an attorney and start the process of fighting for my right as a mother to keep her child away from those I didn’t want her to be around.
When it was all said and done I had to share my daughter 50% of the time with a woman and family that I despised. The paperwork outlined the sharing of holidays, summer, and birthdays. I felt defeated, angry, and sad.
It has taken six years for us to get to a point where we can communicate effectively, respectfully, and work together on sharing time with my daughter. My bitterness turned into an understanding that I didn’t see when I was filled with anger. Time has healed our dysfunctional relationship; for the most part.
When it comes to your children:
- Do what’s best for them. As their parent you know what’s best and no one else can tell you otherwise. Honestly though, if you put stock in what others are saying negative about you, you’ll be miserable. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
- Be consistent. My daughter comes home with tons of things from her grandparents every other weekend. It’s frustrating. But I use every time as a teachable moment to reiterate the rules of our house when she’s with us and not at grandma’s. Again, it’s uber frustrating because she thinks she can get her way and get whatever she wants because she can; when she’s not at home.
- Talk to your children. Tell them your feelings, as long as it’s appropriate. They want to know what you’re thinking.
Be true to you. Yes, I said you. If you feel inadequate or have low self esteem take time to work on yourself before attempting to solve any other problems. Knowing who you are will make you more confident in any situation.
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