Monday, November 17, 2008

The Holiday Mess

Families are like minefields. You have to navigate through uncharted territory and hope to God that one move or another does not blow up in your face. My husband's family is a particularly dangerous minefield. My mother-in-law makes me feel so uncomfortable that I end up censoring everything I say in her presence. She makes me feel so self conscious to the point that I do not enjoy spending time with his parents if I can avoid it. I love her in my own way, but deep inside I know that I would not be the daughter-in-law that she would have chosen for her son. I am taking notes now about what not to do or say because someday I will be someone's MIL and I would rather die than hurt someone else the way I have been hurt by my own MIL.

I feel terribly that my husband knows exactly how I feel. I know I should just keep those feelings to myself or vent to my closest friends about how I feel, but I end up telling him. He doesn't appear to be bothered by it but still I think that he must feel somewhat torn between me and his family. To be fair, I should note that, while he loves his family, he feels like an outcast among them, and he isn't treated very well by them either. To me it seems like when he gets around his family I get a glimpse of what it was like for him growing up. He is the youngest of 3 siblings and his brother gets a lot of positive attention because he is outgoing whereas my DH is somewhat shy. He has to compete to even be heard sometimes and that puts him on the defensive. It says a lot about the way he feels about his clan when he told me that he feels more comfortable with my family than his.

All of this is leading somewhere, I promise. As I said before holidays are complicated. Even more so now that we have a child. It would be so much easier if one of our families lived somewhere else and travel would be involved in order to visit on the Holidays but we all live in the same town. If I had it my way, we would stay home for Thanksgiving and Christmas and have my family over. But that would be selfish on my part to demand that we don't spend any part of the season with the In-Laws. So compromises are in order. I could do Thanksgiving at my place and invite the In-Laws over as well as my Mom, brother and nephew, but I don't think my family would mix well with his. My family is really laid back and casual where as my DH's family is more formal. My brother-in-law is inviting his wive's family up from the Sacramento area. I am hoping that they invite the In-laws over for dinner and maybe we would invite them for dessert. I don't know. This part of the holidays is more stressful for me than the cooking or shopping. This isn't even mentioning Christmas eve or Christmas day. I think we will spend Christmas eve with his family and Christmas day with mine. I will probably smooth this over nicely by having his family over for dinner on a different night the week of Christmas. I will let you know what I decide.


brownII2 said...

Oh Honey! I feel for you, I really do! I'm sorry I can't invite you over for tea, while we discuss ways of getting through your future holidays... But know this, they must have SOME positive feelings towards you,their son, and grandson, because they show up for the events time and again. You've put forth the effort. God sees that and will reward you. All you have to do is get through the event, and then RELAX! You have been blessed with a truly special man! His momma can think what she likes, only God's opinions really matter in the end.

BrownCoat said...

brownii2 is right. Don't think that woman would ever call you if she didn't like something about you, but then again....

This is what my cousin and his family does:

Christmas morning/day is with Shan's parents, then in the afternoon they make their way over to Zabrina's parents and spend just a few hours there. Now if you can't tell which in-laws are the preferred there.... lol!