I wonder if you and your readers could bring some fresh outside advice to this awkward and somewhat charged situation.
My husband & I have been married 4 years (together 9), our parents were introduced to each other in Year 1. They’ve never been overly close but have been polite (My in-laws are definitely the more friendly of the sets). My parents have their own issues; recent divorce, lifestyle choices (dating & over indulging) and poor parenting decisions of my younger siblings.
My in-laws have their own issues too; easily stressed & controlling to each other & us. There’s never been any incidents between the two sets of parents but they are clearly ‘different people’ with different views on family & relationships.
Since my son has been born the negative feelings my parents have towards my in-laws have come to boiling point. My stepmom now refuses to attend any but the most formal (Birthdays, Christenings) get-togethers and makes constant snide remarks about how unpopular they are with the rest of the family. My father also avoids our house if they are visiting and will often decline joining us if they’re also coming (though won’t be blunt and say it’s because they’re here). I have caught them gossiping about us (and our preference for my in laws) behind our backs and some very hurtful comments about me in particular. I’m starting to get very tired of this and aggravated that my parents are acting like children.
My parents often say they “never see their grandson” but are awkward when trying to arrange dates and rarely initiate planning (except at the last minute). Which means often I am already booked or my in-laws have invited us to an event/come to visit us. My in-laws are also very eager & hands on with my son and always offer to help out, whether it’s coming to babysit so I can catch up with cleaning or when we stay over they’ll take over a night feed/let us have a lie in. My parents like seeing their grandson but are quick to hand him back when he requires ‘work’, I don’t mind this but again it’s the source of nasty comments about my in-laws being ‘overbearing’. I’ve tried talking to them but they’re both stubborn & ignore anything I say.
I feel so awkward, I’ve now taken to actively trying to conceal when we meet up with my in-laws to avoid the remarks & gossiping my parents do behind our backs. Am I right in just carrying on in inviting all parents to events, then arranging separate catch ups when we’re available? I feel like going out of my way again & again to facilitate my parents (over what I do for my in-laws) is just enabling this behaviour. What can I say when the snide remarks start? And when my parents are pointedly turning down meet ups? Just to be clear, I love both sets of parents and they are a part of our son’s life. I just need help dealing with the drama my parents keep creating. 0203-19