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Old 12-12-2012, 10:33 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
Sheesh, I think you should talk to your daughter about how best to establish, even this late in the game, some boundaries between the inlaws and her own family. Offer to help her come up with solutions if she asks for assistance.
But beyond that, you don't owe those folks much--and I'd hide the busybody MIL on your FB page too, otherwise she's likely to continue making your blood boil pretty frequently!
So glad not to have inlaw problems--my own family is plenty!
+1
I don't see this ending well, if she doesn't talk to her husband about setting some boundries. He's probably going to have to be the one to talk to his mom for it to be effective.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:59 AM   #22
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Historically the family unit (group living in same residence or in close proximity) has been a reflection of economics: high living standards support a nuclear family, lower standards promote an extended family.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:13 AM   #23
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I am 40 and my parents are in their late 70s. I live 400 miles away. I talk to them about every 6 weeks and visit them twice a year (rotate Thanksgiving/Christmas, and every summer). Its an 8 hour drive without easy flight options. A few years ago they would come to me once a year for the kids birthdays (two days apart), but they don't like doing the drive any more.

My three siblings all live within a half hour of them and talk to them 3-4 times a week. I feel that distance at times, but you do the best you can. They refuse to join facebook which is kind of a pain. They'd get a lot more pics of their grandkids if they did and a few pithy comments every now and again.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:19 AM   #24
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I was expecting an article that said we are all turning our kids into dependent wusses and was ready to argue. I was pleasantly surprised to find the opposite.
Same here. The plethora of articles talking about the horror of having adult kids move back in, parents who meddle excessively, etc., was getting a bit over the top. It's nice to hear about extended families having positive relationships and being successful.
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Both of my adult children live nearby (DS and grand-kids just a few blocks away, DD several miles across town). We see them several times a week and are close. I used to worry that they depended too much on us (especially DD) but as the years go by they have both shown us otherwise. DS is successful at work and a very solid father. DD has forged a career she likes although she still turns to me to do her taxes and advise her what to do re health insurance, finances, etc. But, with each year she heads further and further off on her own. It is great having them both nearby and DW and I enjoy feeding them a couple of times a week. We are careful not to push our views on their lives. We are ready to discuss anything they ask us about but don't jump in uninvited.
Don, our story parallels yours very closely. DS and DIL live about 30 mins away in another Chicago suburb. We see them fairly frequently. Due to the oldest of their three children having cerebral palsy and my DW being a retired Special Ed teacher, DW is there four days per week for tutoring and also manages his case with the local school district to ensure he receives all services he requires. I try to help out by doing small repairs and maintenance on their house. This allows DS and DIL to both continue their engineering careers which is important since having a special needs child can be expensive.

Our son was never the clingy type. Once off to university, he was pretty much on his own. But after he and his college girlfriend married and both found engineering jobs in the Chicago area, we seemed to reconnect and enjoy being an extended family working as a team to meet life's challenges. And we have more than our share of those..........
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:37 AM   #25
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My daughter & I are close despite living far apart .We talk several times a week and Skype often . I visit her twice a year which involves a flight & a long drive .She sends me videos of my grandchildren . It's not a perfect set up but it is what it is for now.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:44 AM   #26
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The thing I have not been able to settle in my own mind is that every week-end, she and her husband travel either the 2 1/2 hours north to visit daughter, or the 4 to 5 hours south to visit a son. By visit, I mean they stay for the week-end or a long week-end. They are intimately involved in their lives.
.
This new mother in law has been somewhat annoying. Prior to the wedding she posted pictures on FB of my daughter calling herself her "mother" and calling my daughter "her daughter".


So here we have a set of parents that every week-end are not just involved in one of their children's lives but make it their mission to do so. Or so it seems.
Your daughter seems to have won the awful Mother -in -law contest .
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:44 AM   #27
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Sheesh, I think you should talk to your daughter about how best to establish, even this late in the game, some boundaries between the inlaws and her own family. Offer to help her come up with solutions if she asks for assistance.
But beyond that, you don't owe those folks much--and I'd hide the busybody MIL on your FB page too, otherwise she's likely to continue making your blood boil pretty frequently!
So glad not to have inlaw problems--my own family is plenty!
Thank you Sarah in SC. I'm patiently waiting for her to ask me or to talk to me about this. I have to be a little careful and give it a little time. I have let my daughter know that....equitable time will be appreciated. We are not the type to "demand" or "impose" ourselves. Besides, we do have lives to lead too.

That said, there were enough things that have happened that had me red flagged early on. Before the wedding, my daughter and Ben traveled north to see his parents. They were suppose to come back South and spend a night with us. Well.....their night with us was delayed because as they were leaving his parents, his mom stood on the front steps with tears in her eyes. They stayed up north and the visit with us was for only a couple of hours.
Yes, her FB activity, along with her comments are often annoying and I need to diplomatically find a way to tune it out. I noticed the other in-laws are NOT friends of hers on FB and have picked up on some issues there.

So, I think my daughter married a great guy but a guy whose mother can pull on his heartstrings ....and DOES. And a mother who does not respect the boundaries, needs or fairness for or of other families involved.

Yes....I have to do something about the FB thing. If I think it is bad now...it will drive me nuts when my daughter becomes pregnant. And she thinks that she is. We'll know in a week or two.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:52 AM   #28
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Your daughter seems to have won the awful Mother -in -law contest .
LOL. That's what I think Moemg but my daughter is newly married just last May and is feeling her way. I'm old enough, been around the block a few times to know that what this mother is doing is a form of control. Thank the lord for the 4 to 5 hours distance.

But, I've been told she and her husband want to retire near the two sons.

We'll see how it goes. I have struggled with keeping my mouth shut ever since they became engaged which is when some of the things started happening.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:23 PM   #29
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I see my parents (who are boomers) probably 2-3 times a month. We live in the same town, maybe 15-20 minutes away. We have 3 young children (my parents' grandchildren) so they are always interested in coming to visit the grand kids (I suppose they are rather cute kids). DW's parents are even closer in distance, being under 2 miles away and basically on the same street as us. We see DW's family almost daily because they watch our youngest kid during the day while we work. But when our oldest 2 went to school and the youngest wasn't here yet, we didn't see DW's family that much - probably 2-3x a month like my family.

For DW and I, we both launched at a very early age and never went back, but my brother and a number of DW's siblings didn't launch quickly or ended up going back to live with mom and pop for varying periods.

I have told my own kids (the oldest is 7) that they can stay as long as they want, but at some point they will have to pay rent, and there will still be rules. I'd like to think that at age 18 if they stick around they become more like roommates and less like dependents (ie we would transition from parent-child relationships to adult-adult relationships). My thinking is that as long as the joy of their presence more than offsets the burden of them living with us, then we come out winners.

Edited to add: I have thought about this issue of "closeness of family" before. I have almost all my extended family (besides my parents and my brother) all in one place about 4 hours away from where my parents, brother and I live. My grandmothers on both sides are still alive and well. I used to get tons of pressure from my parents to visit the grandparents very frequently, as in once every month or two. I was a little torn at first saying "no", and that I don't plan on visiting more than once every year or so. Once I put the visits in the context of my life and where I am at now, I think it is fair. We have plenty going on here at home in terms of activities, fun times, holidays and celebrations for our family and DW's family, our friends, and now our kids friends and the string of play dates, barbeques, and birthday parties they (and we!) enjoy attending. It wouldn't be fair to us or the kids to consume one out of every 4 weekends with a long drive and then very little to do at the aging grandparents' houses. Sometimes it is good to get a little distance. Over the last few years our stubbornness has worked out well, since my grandmothers end up visiting us about as much as we visit them (1-2x a year).
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:42 PM   #30
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I left home at 18 and never moved back. I live on the other side of the world from my parents, yet we remain very close. We talk at length at least once a week and we visit each other once or twice a year.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:38 PM   #31
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Am wondering what all of you think about this.
Sheehs1 - I doubt that there is much you can do although I think the mother-in-law is too bound up in her children and as others have mentioned doesn't respect boundaries.

From the description, she reminds me a bit of my mother. I have had to realize over the years (my mom is in her late 80s now) that even though she has many wonderful qualities -- she just can't see certain things from the point of view of anyone else and she is totally unable to understand why we can't revolve all of our visits around her.

She lives about 250 miles away. In that same area, we have other family and my husband has an adult daughter (my stepdaughter) and grandchildren about 30 miles away. It isn't enough for my mother for us to visit a couple of times a year (lengthy visits are hard as we have several pets so boarding expenses are very high) and we go and get her and bring her to see us any time she wants to come (we have invited her to move in as well). Well, she gets upset because when we visit her we either visit other family, see DH's daughter/grandchildren or even a couple of times I went and spent a few hours with old friends. She wants us to visit only to see her. THe last time she visited us she complained that we never came up just to see her. The irony is that there have been several occasions when we did go up just to her (we drove up there and back in one day on her birthday for example). We don't do that for anyone else. But, she forgets about those and in her (faulty) memory we never come up just to see her!

It has gotten to the point that we make less visits up there than we otherwise would because she gets so upset if we see anyone else. It becomes easier not to go at all. The thing is that she just can't see it from anyone else's point of view. It doesn't occur to her that sometimes my husband doesn't go and see his daughter and grandchildren because he is visiting my mother instead....
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:24 PM   #32
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+1
I don't see this ending well, if she doesn't talk to her husband about setting some boundries. He's probably going to have to be the one to talk to his mom for it to be effective.
I agree Ally. With time that may happen. In the meantime, my husband and I go about our lives as we always did. If that includes a lunch on a week-end with any of our children that is what we do.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:38 PM   #33
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Sheehs1 - I doubt that there is much you can do although I think the mother-in-law is too bound up in her children and as others have mentioned doesn't respect boundaries.

From the description, she reminds me a bit of my mother. I have had to realize over the years (my mom is in her late 80s now) that even though she has many wonderful qualities -- she just can't see certain things from the point of view of anyone else and she is totally unable to understand why we can't revolve all of our visits around her.

She lives about 250 miles away. In that same area, we have other family and my husband has an adult daughter (my stepdaughter) and grandchildren about 30 miles away. It isn't enough for my mother for us to visit a couple of times a year (lengthy visits are hard as we have several pets so boarding expenses are very high) and we go and get her and bring her to see us any time she wants to come (we have invited her to move in as well). Well, she gets upset because when we visit her we either visit other family, see DH's daughter/grandchildren or even a couple of times I went and spent a few hours with old friends. She wants us to visit only to see her. THe last time she visited us she complained that we never came up just to see her. The irony is that there have been several occasions when we did go up just to her (we drove up there and back in one day on her birthday for example). We don't do that for anyone else. But, she forgets about those and in her (faulty) memory we never come up just to see her!

It has gotten to the point that we make less visits up there than we otherwise would because she gets so upset if we see anyone else. It becomes easier not to go at all. The thing is that she just can't see it from anyone else's point of view. It doesn't occur to her that sometimes my husband doesn't go and see his daughter and grandchildren because he is visiting my mother instead....
Thanks Katsmeow. Your story and comments from the others have helped me validate what I was thinking and feeling. I have to allow my daughter and son-in-law to handle it.
Did not mean to hijack the thread. At the time I thought it an applicable story regarding the efforts the new mother-in-law makes to make sure she is with one child or another practically every week-end. When she is not, she is posting about it on FB...etc.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you said, "just can not see it from anyone else's point of view". That is this mother in law to a tee.

As for your own mom, she is getting up there in age and I wonder if that is a factor.

One thing I do know...as your story also points out. Pressure does not work.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:38 AM   #34
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I think it depends on the family and individuals.
I think the independent-living motivation begins when an adult male child wants to bring home a hot date for a sleepover. Kinda awkward to show off your Mommy&Daddy's basement.

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I can say I left at 17 and never moved back again. I see my parents maybe every month or so, talk every few weeks, but don't really get involved in each other's lives. They live here in town.
"I moved a lot when I was a kid, but my parents always tracked me down..."

I think I speak for the entire three generations of Ohana Nords when I say that having my parents-in-law living just five miles away from us on Oahu for over five years was the worst experience of everyone's lives.

It all started out with such optimism: they were going to move to Hawaii to watch their only granddaughter grow up. My parents-in-law never adapted to the culture or the climate of Hawaii, and they eventually felt isolated from their Mainland friends & Civil War history hobby. They talked a good game about being involved in our daughter's life, but it mainly consisted of hanging around us during family activities. Our daughter grew into a teen and wanted to spend more time with her friends, not her grandparents. I personally had to deal with my FIL's habit of keeping a loaded 9mm Beretta in his nightstand and both my FIL's & MIL's casually ignorant racist comments on several different minorities. (My PILs are products of their environment.) My spouse had to relive being her parent's kid all over again, and you know what they say about Momma not being happy. I could go on and on but I'll stop here.

Today the PILs are 5000 miles away. They hardly ever call or write, and when they do it usually leaves spouse upset & angry for hours. She's finally accepting that she can't change them and she's beginning to change her attitude. Our daughter is developing the adult perception to understand why Mom doesn't really get along with Grandma & Grandpa, and thankfully she's on Mom's side. But she's treading a delicate balance between the generations.

My mother died of a decade of breast cancer in her 40s, when I was in my 20s. We were at the height of our parent-child infighting and never really resolved it. After her death, my father withdrew into his own life. Whenever I start to feel maudlin about my parent's situation, I take solace that I'm not in my spouse's situation.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:15 AM   #35
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It has gotten to the point that we make less visits up there than we otherwise would because she gets so upset if we see anyone else. It becomes easier not to go at all. The thing is that she just can't see it from anyone else's point of view. It doesn't occur to her that sometimes my husband doesn't go and see his daughter and grandchildren because he is visiting my mother instead....

A suggestion is that you split up... you stay with your mother and your DH goes to visit his daughter... if this upset her, then it is time to sit her down and give her the talk that she needs...
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:54 AM   #36
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A suggestion is that you split up... you stay with your mother and your DH goes to visit his daughter... if this upset her, then it is time to sit her down and give her the talk that she needs...
+1

That works like a charm for us. DW's mom lives about 40 mins away. At almost 88 yrs old, she needs someone to stop by the condo and spend a bit of time with her from time to time. I like my MIL. I've known her for almost 50 yrs. We get along fine. I just don't like sitting around the condo while she and DW chit-chat/gossip/shoot the shi* about whatever.

After a period of me being Mr Groucho about going on MIL visits, DW suggested (in a not so nice tone) that I just stay home, and I did! After a few trips, DW decided that she wished she had thought of that long ago! I still go from time to time, especially if there is something for me to do like check out MIL's car or maybe help move a piece of furniture from this spot to that spot. But generally, DW now accepts the responsibility for visiting her mom alone and in fact, without Mr Groucho sitting on the couch looking bored and unhappy, she says her visits are more pleasant.

I think an important part of retired life for a couple is decoupling and doing some things alone. Family visiting would be one of those things. Also, hobbies, some vacations, Monday night football at the bar with the guys, an occassional afternoon session at the pub enjoying a Guinness or two.......
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:08 PM   #37
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My parents are about 3 hours away. I go up every other month to visit the weekend. Though nice people, they aren't much for talking on phone. I noticed the other day my father tried to call me but left no message. I called him back to ask what he needed. He said he accidentally dialed my number and didn't need anything. I said I'm coming up in 2 weeks. He said great, see you then. Our phone conversations definitely don't expend many minutes on my phone plan.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:17 PM   #38
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I live very close to one son, and about 5 miles but some time by either car or bus from the other. Slow by car because of traffic, and sometimes slow by bus because that's the nature of the bus. I do have very quick and direct bus service to my son who has a child. (He and I both live on the eastern side of I-5, the other son lives on the west side and north of the ship canal.) But many people in his neighborhood use metro, and service is frequent and my neighborhood has the best service of anyplace other than right downtown.

I passed up a a good price on a possibly more dramatic condo across town to live where I do. I can help out on a moments notice, for a bit of baby sitting or whatever they might need. No way do they overuse this, in fact they greatly underuse what I am able and willing to do.

My son and DILs are all hard chargers with very demanding jobs, and sometimes stuff just comes up. I am really glad I can help, just like I was really glad that I could be there for them as children and teenagers. It is one of the deepest satisfactions of my life.

I have never experienced the kind of very stressful interactions with family that some of you have recounted, either as a son or a father. My Dad could at times be difficult, but we were usually both on our good behavior on holidays or visits. He was a good man with deep love for his family. His flaw was common for men of his generation. They didn't like to observe themselves and modify their behavior according to how it was being received. I generally do a better job at this than he did (though some here may disagree with this), and my sons do much better at it than I do. So at least this is progress.

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