Author Topic: In Laws and Family Event  (Read 8721 times)

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LeveeWoman

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Re: In Laws and Family Event
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2013, 11:32:34 AM »
Sorry if this double posts - I am having computer issues.

First of all, I appreciate everyone replies and views.

I apologize if things were not properly explained; it is challenging to put in writing everything that is occurring and I may have left holes.

JenJay pretty much hit it on the head with what I was trying to ask.

To clarify a few things: while my husband was "asked" to cook, knowing the way this family works he was volunteered before he ever agreed as the family believes everyone is available and willing to help out for any reason.

There was a comment about the way small towns do weddings - this is usually how they are done and I have had no problem with helping out - either me or DH as it is very informal, no one misses out on anything, and it seems everyone congregates around the food. However in this case, the bride wants a fairybook wedding (rumor is she has glass slippers) and wants a catered affair. Mary Fay probably doesn't want to spend the money (which I can assure you she has) and so begins this business of assuming family will pitch in to help. I have nothing against the bride, she is a lovely, sweet girl But is a little clueless and I am sure has been the victim of her grandmothers scheming. However, I also don't think she has the spine to stand up to her.

As to DH, this has been a common theme in our marriage if his wanting to be there for everyone and help out at any expense. I could tell him I want him to stay with me, but that causes other problems in itself of rumors starting that I "wear the pants" and he isn't able to make his own choices. Even though we are even in our marriage, small town dynamics come into play and they love anything to gossip about.
As for the service, I could suck it up and attend sitting with just DS. I can't sit with MIL and Mary Fay's entourage because it takes more energy that I'm willing to expend - they sit around gossiping about everyone and overly complimenting each other while turning to gossip about that person.

I feel I have painted the picture of me versus small town residents. This is not the case. I get along very well with FILs family and this would be a non-issue with them because theirs would be the ceremony described above. AND, they are very direct people with no manipulation or back stabbing involved.

So, let them gossip!

ccnumber4

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Re: In Laws and Family Event
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2013, 11:38:05 AM »
You are missing my point.  Apparently, the fact that your parents in law work for you for free or for very little pay is relevant, since you brought it up.  Why does it not bother you for them to work for you for free but you get irritated that they might possibly work at this wedding for free?  And if they do, that's not really your business. 

The financial standing of Mary Fay and her family is not your business, either. 

TootsNYC

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Re: In Laws and Family Event
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2013, 11:50:30 AM »
Quote
I will sit through a service I am not familiar with (remember I'm a different faith) by myself as DDs will probably sit with their friends (they mostly go to that church) and MIL will sit with Mary FAy and her entourage. I will be very uncomfortable to say the least.


I'm sorry to say that I don't really have a lot of sympathy with this point.
You just sit there. You stand up when other people stand up, and you sit when they sit. And if there's singing or responses, and you can figure out what's going on, then you participate or not as you wish.

It's going to come out cold when I say it, so I'll try to say it as encouragingly as I can.

Etiquette requires us to suffer through situations in which we are uncomfortable.

Growing, as a human being, requires us to *learn* through situations in which we are uncomfortable. Want to get better muscles? You have to work out, thereby actually *stressing* those muscles; in the process of repairing all those little injuries (micro-tearing of the muscle fibers), the muscle becomes stronger.

Being uncomfortable is something that we all just have to put up with. It's not the end of the world. Nobody's going to bleed; nobody's going to suffer physical pain or even extreme emotional trauma. It's just a wedding. That's all.

You aren't even required to participate in the worship service. You just sit there and watch--that's all wedding guests are expected to do. At weddings far more than at other church services, you just sit there quietly and witness. Even at Catholic wedding ceremonies, you can just sit there. You don't take communion if you're not a member, and you don't have to say all the responses, etc., if you don't know them. You aren't invited in order to worship--you're invited in order to witness.

There will be people at that wedding that you know--that you are related to by marriage. You will not be isolated and stranded and ostracized. Maybe these aren't your closest friends and relatives; maybe your relationship with your DH's family is sort of strained. They'll be perfectly friendly.

And you have a 4yo, and you're a VERY experienced mother (witness the ages of your older children), so I wouldn't expect you to really need your DH's help in terms of childcare. 4yo's are really pretty well behaved, and you'll be occupied explaining things to him, or conversing quietly with him before, etc.

I think you just don't like the bride's mother, aren't a fan of the family dynamic, and so you're coming up with all these other things to justify the idea that you have a right to be angry with them.

Socialworkinjune

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Re: In Laws and Family Event
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2013, 11:52:32 AM »
I see where you are coming from.

The point about my MiL and FIL was brought up to put background to my MILs trying to get out of helping so she doesn't have to explain her current living situation of pretty much living off my income. Because we live rurally, their house is behind ours. The utilities are shared and we pay for them and the mortgage, taxes, etc. Because she has shared this fact, it is now common knowledge and she doesn't like people trying to make her feel inferior because of it. I tried to explain that we are codependent on each other - them on us for my income and us on them for their free help.

As for Mary Fay, I do not have business knowing her assets, however I am trying to show that she can afford the wedding her granddaughter wants.

I am also not against families providing free labor for events - as long as each member has a choice and no one misses out on festivities because they are the "help". In this case, families are being told to be "the help" and will miss out on both the ceremony and reception as they will be in the kitchen working.

TootsNYC

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Re: In Laws and Family Event
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2013, 12:02:06 PM »

As to DH, this has been a common theme in our marriage if his wanting to be there for everyone and help out at any expense. I could tell him I want him to stay with me, but that causes other problems in itself of rumors starting that I "wear the pants" and he isn't able to make his own choices. Even though we are even in our marriage, small town dynamics come into play and they love anything to gossip about.

First, how are people figuring out that you're the one holding DH back from over-involvement? They may just decide that's true because you're the "new" component in the equation. But you and DH maybe need to discuss this. If the gossip causes you distress or has repercussions in terms of how people interact with you, then he has a serious responsibility to counter that. And he needs to be extra-sure that he's not saying, "my wife doesn't want me to" and instead say, "I don't really want to."

Also, I'd suggest you and DH talk a little bit about the assumptions you have made about him. I see at ton of communication problems between the two of you, just in your posts here.

*You've assumed he's already said yes, even though he told you he didn't.  Are you correct, or not? It matters.

*If he did say yes already, why didn't he tell you the truth?

*Why can't he say to you, "I don't really want to, but I feel like I have to"? Does he *want* you to give him an excuse to say no? (if so, why can't he tell you that directly)

You and he need to talk honestly, without pressure or criticism or resentment from you, and without defensiveness or criticism or resentment from him. You need to explore what ONE ANOTHER wants, with no regard to what the family wants. Maybe your DH wants to have smooth waters in the family, or maybe he wants out from under all the pressure. But you neither one of you know what the other wants.

Heck, you may not even know what you YOURSELVES want. Time to talk about that.


I think you just don't like Mary Fay. And you have your own resentments here that are influencing you.

(Just because Mary Fay can afford the wedding her granddaughter wants doesn't mean that she's wrong to want to not spend it. Or wrong to tap into family and friends to help.)


TootsNYC

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Re: In Laws and Family Event
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2013, 12:07:29 PM »
Quote
Quote
To clarify a few things: while my husband was "asked" to cook, knowing the way this family works he was volunteered before he ever agreed as the family believes everyone is available and willing to help out for any reason.


Are you sure? My therapist told me recently that the believe is, most of our thoughts and assumptions are wrong.

Maybe you're right--but you really should verify before you make this assumption.

And if you and your DH think he should have been asked, then you should completely act as though he WAS asked. And say yes or no based on what he'd like to do.

What *would* your DH like to do? Be sure he has full info when he makes this decision, like if you'd like him with you, say so; if you feel bad he'll miss the ceremony, say so; if you've seen him fume w/ resentment later in similar situations and think he'll do so again with this, say so; if you think saying yes will set up or encourage a bad dynamic for your family, say so.

But leave room also for the idea that a part of his self-identity may be that he's a family member and that he does things as part of this larger family that occasionally inconvenience his nuclear family. That's actually appropriate. You can live through a little inconvenience.

Then if he says he'd like to say no, back him up. Point out that saying no is best done right away, before they've made lots of plans around his assistance.

And maybe he doesn't either have to be cooking through the ceremony--challenge those sorts of assumptions as well.

TurtleDove

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Re: In Laws and Family Event
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2013, 12:10:39 PM »
she doesn't like people trying to make her feel inferior because of it

Does SHE feel inferior because of it?  She can't change gossipy townspeople and relatives. 

This entire situation seems yucky to me.  I know I would be constantly irritated if I lived in a place as you described.  But, it I decided to live there, I would know that I am the one who would have to adapt and expecting the town and family to adapt to what is comfortable for me is futile. 

In short, as another poster said, if you can happily attend the wedding, do that.  If you cannot, don't, but know that there will be consequences.  I am not saying you are wrong to be upset - I am saying that your being upset is not likely to change anything aside from having you be upset.

Poppea

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Re: In Laws and Family Event
« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2013, 12:15:46 PM »
Sorry if this double posts - I am having computer issues.

First of all, I appreciate everyone replies and views.

I apologize if things were not properly explained; it is challenging to put in writing everything that is occurring and I may have left holes.

JenJay pretty much hit it on the head with what I was trying to ask.

To clarify a few things: while my husband was "asked" to cook, knowing the way this family works he was volunteered before he ever agreed as the family believes everyone is available and willing to help out for any reason.

There was a comment about the way small towns do weddings - this is usually how they are done and I have had no problem with helping out - either me or DH as it is very informal, no one misses out on anything, and it seems everyone congregates around the food. However in this case, the bride wants a fairybook wedding (rumor is she has glass slippers) and wants a catered affair. Mary Fay probably doesn't want to spend the money (which I can assure you she has) and so begins this business of assuming family will pitch in to help. I have nothing against the bride, she is a lovely, sweet girl But is a little clueless and I am sure has been the victim of her grandmothers scheming. However, I also don't think she has the spine to stand up to her.

As to DH, this has been a common theme in our marriage if his wanting to be there for everyone and help out at any expense. I could tell him I want him to stay with me, but that causes other problems in itself of rumors starting that I "wear the pants" and he isn't able to make his own choices. Even though we are even in our marriage, small town dynamics come into play and they love anything to gossip about.
As for the service, I could suck it up and attend sitting with just DS. I can't sit with MIL and Mary Fay's entourage because it takes more energy that I'm willing to expend - they sit around gossiping about everyone and overly complimenting each other while turning to gossip about that person.

I feel I have painted the picture of me versus small town residents. This is not the case. I get along very well with FILs family and this would be a non-issue with them because theirs would be the ceremony described above. AND, they are very direct people with no manipulation or back stabbing involved.

The problem as I see it is that your husband made a commitment to be your escort to a wedding and reception and then accepted another obligation later that conflicted with his obligation to you.

I would have told him no.

If he hasn't yet developed the spine to say no your choices are to accept it or say no yourself.

In this situation I think you are stuck.

ladyknight1

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Re: In Laws and Family Event
« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2013, 12:22:40 PM »
I think you are stuck for this particular event. I also agree with PP that you should refuse to serve in lieu of caring for your DS.

After this, I believe you and your DH need to work on being more open with communication and expectations. Because he and your FIL are missing work time to help with the wedding food, is your business suffering?

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: In Laws and Family Event
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2013, 12:41:22 PM »
You’re not going to be able to fix this situation to your liking.  I suggest something that has worked for me a hundred times – basically an attitude change.  Decide that you’re going to do whatever you can to make this a great wedding for the HC.  Put a big smile on your face, look for the goodness in your in-laws, and help out when possible.  I’ve found that when I make an effort to ensure others have a good time, I wind up having a great time.

Sit with your MIL’s group and put your young son between you and her.  Focus on keeping your son entertained and happy.  Smile, smile, smile. 

I also suggest that you and DH have a discussion with his parents and formally agree that their work and baby sitting are being paid for with a small salary, plus housing and utilities.  Scrap the notion that they’re mooching off of you. If you paid FIL a real salary and paid MIL the going rate for childcare, they could probably at least pay their own utilities. 
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

nuit93

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Re: In Laws and Family Event
« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2013, 12:41:56 PM »
I think you are stuck for this particular event. I also agree with PP that you should refuse to serve in lieu of caring for your DS.

After this, I believe you and your DH need to work on being more open with communication and expectations. Because he and your FIL are missing work time to help with the wedding food, is your business suffering?

I agree with the bolded--it sounds like some major miscommunications and assumptions are at play here.

postalslave

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Re: In Laws and Family Event
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2013, 12:43:24 PM »
To the OP - you haven't been getting much sympathy here but you have mine *hug*

I also agree with JenJay. Stick with your son and don't let serving get passed to you.

Be really friendly and smiley and play good wife if that's what's required of you in this social dynamic (assumption based on your concern about who's wearing the pants).

Also pleeeeeeeeaaaaase update us on the wedding, it sounds like it could be a good read ;)

LeveeWoman

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Re: In Laws and Family Event
« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2013, 01:01:57 PM »
To the OP - you haven't been getting much sympathy here but you have mine *hug*

I also agree with JenJay. Stick with your son and don't let serving get passed to you.

Be really friendly and smiley and play good wife if that's what's required of you in this social dynamic (assumption based on your concern about who's wearing the pants).

Also pleeeeeeeeaaaaase update us on the wedding, it sounds like it could be a good read ;)

I can only speak for myself, but I have a great deal of sympathy for her. She's in for a battle, and in order to win it, she and her husband need to find their spines.

Socialworkinjune

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Re: In Laws and Family Event
« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2013, 01:07:32 PM »
Thank you for your kind words postal slave  :).

I am a therapist/social worker and try look at things from all sides. I had some internal debate about posting and opening myself up to be vulnerable. Some comments are valid points, some are far off. This I understand because these posters are not here in my shoes.

I do not feel that my in-laws are "mooching" off me, I reap many rewards by having them so close and all of their help. Without their help, my DH would be unable to run his business and I wouldn't be able to do the job I love. MIL has made comments that she worried of what others say about her. I attempt to help her, but she is very concerned with appearances and gets upset when gossip gets back to her.
I don't mind gossip about me, it's human nature. But, it upsets DH. I try to avoid all situations of gossiping, so I will not be sitting with MIL, et al.

It was observed that I do not care for Mary Fay. This is very accurate. I have been "burned" emotionally by her manipulation on three occasions - while it is too personal to go into detail, it is much deeper than just town gossip. The first two times I was unaware that she had malicious intentions, by the third I suspected and it was confirmed.

Even through my dislike I have tried to remain objective and seeing the manipulation for what it's worth - that is what is making me angry.
As for my DH, the reasons he is so accommodating to being spineless to his family is the same core reason he is such a good husband/father.   Hard to explain, but he is kind, loving, and gentle and wants the best out of everyone. It's me who is usually calling people out. I would live to encourage him to grow a spine, but he resists the change and you can't change those that aren't willing. When we met (many, many years ago), I was headed down a bad path in life. DH encourage me to turn my life around and follow my dreams. It is because of him I now have a masters degree and do a job I love. I am now supporting him in his dreams of being self employed. (I felt he was being portrayed as this evil person when he is not).  As for my assumptions on his being asked - the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior and boy is there a past here! He is known as a nice guy in his family, is well liked, and always known to be there to help. I feel he was taken advantage of in this situation because they KNEW he would agree.
He and FIL don't usually work weekends unless its the busy season (which ironically is now). He has readjusted his schedule to not lose any work.

Again, thank you everyone for reading and for taking the time to reply. Some posts are causing an internal examination of myself.

I believe I will go - with a smile on my face and will do my best to get through it unscathed. I agree that the HC deserve as much - they are both good people. I will post the craziness that will occur, though I will warn you that based on her past behavior, Mary Fay will have a starring role.

TootsNYC

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Re: In Laws and Family Event
« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2013, 01:17:37 PM »
Quote
I believe I will go - with a smile on my face and will do my best to get through it unscathed. I agree that the HC deserve as much - they are both good people. I will post the craziness that will occur, though I will warn you that based on her past behavior, Mary Fay will have a starring role.


Think what it must be like to be more directly linked to her! Poor kids.

(as a therapist, perhaps you've seen that you have a great deal of control about "getting through it unscathed"--especially when you're not even a principal in the event, just an onlooker. I worry that you're still making it "all about you" when it isn't, really. Your *life* is all about you, but this event is just not. This should be a minor, minor, minor blip)