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Distant family


ZeddsDed
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Our family is at a point where we rarely get along. There is a lot of anger between my parents, 2 sisters and I, and i always thought i could count on my sisters. My younger sister and I always got on SO well but suddenly things have changed! I have 3 children, have left an abusive marriage and am working hard towards a degree and working. My youngest sister is pregnant with her first, with a slacker husband who wont work. I offered to help with money as my youngest son was in daycare fulltime and said if she wanted to take him instead, I'd rather put the money towards her and the baby. She agreed and seemed to be thankful.

On the days I left school early, I would come to the house and my son would be alone on a phone watching videos with her upstairs doing who knows what. I was upset, and asked if it was too much for her and she assured me she loved having him. (I paid over 600 monthly).

Suddenly, she tells me that she is moving 2 hours away, to where my other sister lives with her husband and kids in a few days. I told her I was happy for her, but would have appreciated notice for child care etc... she didnt even seem sorry.

Now that she has moved, she is posting public posts on social media on how much my other sister helps her (by buying her ice cream) and that she feels so thankful to be close to her. Photos of her and my sisters kids, seems to be visiting her all the time etc. She had never visited my home, had never accompanied me to anywhere, parks, swimming etc with my children and I feel quite hurt!

I haven't said anything, I prefer not to make it a big deal as I dont really have the time for the drama. But now I am faced with decisions that I'm unsure what is the right thing to do. As I'm in university from monday to friday, I book all my childrens sports and activities on the weekend. My sisters just asked that I attend 3 weekends in a row the kids birthday parties, baby shower and a housewarming.

I would have to travel the 2 hours there and back, which is expensive and also miss my childrens activities.

 

Do I attend? Should I miss my families important schedules for people that dont really reciprocate? Am I being petty? Do I tell them how i feel?

 

I'm not really sure how to feel about it all, I know that I'm hurt by the recent events and there is probably much more to it than I can include here... but I would really appreciate some honest input.

 

Thank you.

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If your children have activities, then no, you don't attend. Your sisters will get over it.

I also have two sisters. When they started having children, I often felt guilty for missing birthdays. And sometimes, they contributed to that. And then I remembered that I have my own life and I stopped feeling guilty. And they no longer held that power.

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If I were you, I'd pick the middle ground and choose one, like the b-days and take your kids too. They are cousins after all. Unless we are talking major competitions, skipping one weekend to engage with family isn't going to hurt them. Other stuff, just bring or send some presents and a card and explain that you can't afford to do more.

 

Other than that, don't cut off your nose to spite your face. I really don't see what your sister did that is so wrong and so horrible to you. A lot of this is kind of childish on your part, like you are in competition on who gets more attention and recognition. Come on now. You are all adults making the best out of life that you can and it's not always easy. You are pretty much looking to create resentments here, which makes me wonder what's really going on with you and your life and how much you are trying to take out the stress of school, work and raising your kids onto your family. If you refuse to attend anything at all, all you will be doing is isolating yourself from your family. Nobody is doing anything to you, you are doing it to yourself and all it will do is start a vicious cycle of where you snub them, they get more distant, you get more resentful and feel more left out and round and round you go. Don't get into this madness.

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I stopped having to go to my niece and nephews birthdays when they turned 5. They are 21, 18, and 14 now. And I love them so much. It's just silly to go to their bdays. 2 hours is a trek when trying to move 3 kids, there's traffic, tolls, gas, and then you need the full day to hang out. If under an hour to get there, then yes. But two hours is too much!!!

 

Don't assume that because she posted about ice cream that she loves the other sis more. The one sis could have gotten her a great flavor, and she liked it a like. Don't take social media personally. So for $600/month, maybe 8 hours a day, and weekdays, that 176 hours = $3.40/hour. You get what you pay for. Pretty much slave labor if you ask me. Most sitters in my area are $20/hour.

 

And she shouldn't have to be sorry about childcare for your kid. You weren't paying a professional. She needs to move because she can't afford where she is. Maybe feel sorry for her for having a deadbeat baby daddy.

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I should have posted, she took care of him for 3 hours, twice weekly. Which comes to $25 an hour. I was paying the same at my daycare but offered her the money instead of my daycare.

 

I wasnt looking for resentment or an argument with any of my sisters either. I had just noticed with the last 2 years, I had asked her so many times to visit or go places and she always had an excuse. But within the month she moved there, she seems to be visiting my sister daily and babysitting for free!!

I also didnt want to mention anything to them, hence why I am not looking for resentment between us..

 

Thank you for the input. I'm going to message them and explain that I can attend one.

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I should have posted, she took care of him for 3 hours, twice weekly. Which comes to $25 an hour. I was paying the same at my daycare but offered her the money instead of my daycare.

 

I wasnt looking for resentment or an argument with any of my sisters either. I had just noticed with the last 2 years, I had asked her so many times to visit or go places and she always had an excuse. But within the month she moved there, she seems to be visiting my sister daily and babysitting for free!!

I also didnt want to mention anything to them, hence why I am not looking for resentment between us..

 

Thank you for the input. I'm going to message them and explain that I can attend one.

 

You have to allow for the fact that with different people/different life stages and circumstances there will always be different dynamics. Different doesn't make it less than or better than and that's the mentality I'd try to avoid. Maybe the move itself made her feel more happy and less depressed about her life, a natural boost if you will so for the moment is in fact more energetic and outgoing. A lot of the times, what a person does has little to do with you personally, as in it's not personal. All about ups and downs, ebb and flow.

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A lot of this is kind of childish on your part, like you are in competition on who gets more attention and recognition.

 

So true. But even so, let's say for instance that your sisters get along better or like each other more....so what? No really...SO WHAT? Some adults get along better, some relate better.

It does not say anything about you, it's not personal and it is petty to be watching and resenting. Get on with your own life.

 

If they invite you to something, go if you feel it would be nice to go or for your children to be a part of. But go with the intention of seeing family, not to see if they are going to behave as you want them to or if they treat so and so better than you, etc.

It's a waste of energy, emotions and your life.

 

Life is short, don't waste it on petty, meaningless things.

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I should also add she had paid for the deposit on her new rental a month in advance and never mentioned it to me.. I think it's just polite to give notice to anybody to find new childcare so wouldnt be stranded? Especially family. But I guess that's personal morals.

 

Like I said, im not making a big deal out of it, but cannot help the way I feel about the situation.

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So true. But even so, let's say for instance that your sisters get along better or like each other more....so what? No really...SO WHAT? Some adults get along better, some relate better.

It does not say anything about you, it's not personal and it is petty to be watching and resenting. Get on with your own life.

If they invite you to something, go if you feel it would be nice to go or for your children to be a part of. But go with the intention of seeing family, not to see if they are going to behave as you want them to or if they treat so and so better than you, etc.

It's a waste of energy, emotions and your life.

 

Life is short, don't waste it on petty meaningless things.

I do agree with this. And I am super happy that she moved and will hopefully feel better where she is.

My sisters are also younger so I expect them to be closer. I guess it just stings a little. Blah.

I have called and have agreed to bring gifts for the shower and will be attending the bday.

 

Thanks

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I should also add she had paid for the deposit on her new rental a month in advance and never mentioned it to me.. I think it's just polite to give notice to anybody to find new childcare so wouldnt be stranded? Especially family. But I guess that's personal morals.

 

You have a right to be disappointed on how she handled things. But don't let it get to you. She was thoughtless, I absolutely agree with you. But let it go.

 

Focus more on your own friends, and on your children and your own life. Stop allowing yourself to be disappointed over others who don't have the same heart as you, and who don't view things as you do. All is it doing is causing unnecessary hardship. It would be wonderful if all sisters were best friends or families all appreciated each other the same and were fair to each one. But they are not.

 

Accept this, let it go and don't let it cause bitterness or upset. You can still have a good relationship with them as long as you don't focus on the shortcomings.

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You have a right to be disappointed on how she handled things. But don't let it get to you. She was thoughtless, I absolutely agree with you. But let it go.

 

Focus more on your own friends, and on your children and your own life. Stop allowing yourself to be disappointed over others who don't have the same heart as you, and who don't view things as you do. All is it doing is causing unnecessary hardship. It would be wonderful if all sisters were best friends or families all appreciated each other the same and were fair to each one. But they are not.

 

Accept this, let it go and don't let it cause bitterness or upset. You can still have a good relationship with them as long as you don't focus on the shortcomings.

Thank you :) I am going to continue concentrating on our life. I tend to get wrapped up in our families dysfunctions and sometimes over extend myself to help family and other people then end up feeling discarded. I also am heading for a psychologist meet and greet to deal with these type issues next month.

 

Thanks again guys

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Invitations are not subpoenas. Simply send the appropriate gift/greeting to whichever events you can not attend. However try to resist the urge to feel resentful or hurt. It does you and your family no good.

I would have to travel the 2 hours there and back, which is expensive and also miss my childrens activities. Do I attend? Should I miss my families important schedules for people that dont really reciprocate?

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Rise above.

 

There are always going to be family dysfunction. Try not to get caught up in it or take it personally.

You still have value, worth, you still would be a great asset as a friend. You don't need them to validate that for you. Family, especially sisters, can be funny/fickle. Let them continue on with their life. But you focus more on creating good friendships nearby.

 

It might still sting from time to time. And it is disappointing that things can't be as you had hoped, but don't let it cause bitterness or upset. Just accept that they are still family, they just won't be "best buddies" as you had once hoped.

 

And that's okay.

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I'm in the same boat, ZeddsDed. I too am bitter and resentful due to "bad blood" (ill feelings between families due to past transgressions).

 

Everyone is busy due to work, raising families, school, maintaining households, extracurricular activities (kids organized sports, practice, games, piano lessons, recitals, dance, marching band, competitions, parades, etc. Been there done that).

 

For special occasions such as baby showers, housewarming parties and birthday parties, I would make exceptions for that.

 

Granted, I did not attend every birthday party for my sister's kids because she has 3 kids with a party every year for each child which was too much for me with driving, doling out money for presents and it's time consuming. I attended the first few birthday parties for each child and after that, we had a MUTUAL agreement not to attend birthday parties anymore due to cost savings and we don't even exchange Christmas gifts anymore for the same reason. It gets to be very expensive and it adds up. However, I send birthday greeting cards (minus money) in the postal mail several weeks prior to the birthday just so at least I acknowledged their birthdays in advance and didn't completely ignore. It's called practicing good diplomacy. I do this for my nephew, nieces and sister.

 

As for baby showers, housewarming parties and holidays (Thanksgiving / Christmas), we (my husband, sons and I), attend special occasions.

 

My sister, brother-in-law (BIL) and I had a history of arguments in the past and to this day I hold grudges due to no forthcoming humility nor apologies whatsoever. :upset: However, we attend special occasions for the sake of my sons so they can enjoy camaraderie with their cousins and grandparents. Example was my niece's grad party. I endure these family reunion type gatherings for the sake of my children. I'm gracious, kind, well-mannered, polite, peaceful yet not overly chatty nor chummy. There is a way to go about this in a dignified, cordial manner.

 

Don't burn your bridges. Don't keep score. Life is too short. You never know when it will be your sisters', her child or children, you or your childrens' last day on this Earth. Accidents, tragedies, poor health or premature death happens. You don't want regrets someday which you'll have to live with for the rest of your life. Cast your differences aside for temporary joy for your children and hers. Sometimes, as mothers we have to be selfless and make the next generation happy.

 

You're not petty with how you feel and neither am I. I know you're hurt, bitter and resentful as am I. However, be the bigger person, take the high road and do the right thing. Show class. You are setting a fine example to your 3 children. Someday, they too will face people whom they do NOT like yet they too will have to show class and behave admirably despite the undercurrent of stewing animosity.

 

There is a way to remain peaceful yet keep your cautious, wary, jaded distance. If I can do it, so can you.

 

If it's truly inconvenient for you with the 4 hours roundtrip drive, then I'd send whatever you can afford in the postal mail with 'signature confirmation required' to prevent porch piracy whether a gift card or present for the baby shower, housewarming party or birthday party but don't spend excessive amounts of money. It's shows good will, grace and good diplomacy. You've done your good deed and you're off the hook. This is what I would do.

 

My sister resides one hour away from me so it's a 2 hour round trip. If she resided 2 hours away from me with a 4 hour round trip drive for me plus 3 kids in tow, that's awfully long and taxing.

 

If your sisters or anyone does anything nice to you or your kids, send a brief postal thank you note and be done with it. This is how I am. It keeps the peace yet it doesn't mean you have to be close to siblings, family nor anyone if you don't have the desire due to your personal reasons.

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Lower your expectations to nil from your sister and everyone otherwise you'll be forever disappointed.

 

If your sister tends to gravitate towards other members of the family instead of you, you can't control that. My sister is very chummy with my mother and her friends within her age bracket. At first, I too was envious and wanted to fit in but not anymore. I concentrate on my own life and get so busy that I'm too tired to have brain space for her and her 'thick as thieves' cronies.

 

Focus on your own life, 3 children, activities, fitness, health, hobbies and surround yourself with moral friends and selective family members. You don't have to belong in an overrated dramatic clique. Enforce your own healthy boundaries with others and you will feel content and secure.

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I can appreciate that the contrast in your sister's relationship with other sister struck you as glaring, but I'd make room for the life stage thing. It really IS a thing.

 

You've spent years raising 3 kids and battling an abusive husband to land on your feet. That's a big accomplishment. It's also not the kind of chaotic situation that your childless sister wanted to engage.

 

While you found it disturbing to find your child quietly amusing himself at sister's home, that was her environment, and it contrasts the hustle and bustle of your life. This doesn't imply at all that her quiet world was 'better' than your energetic one, it merely shows you the contrast in your personal choices of environment. This can make it easier to understand that not everyone would choose to spend time among 3 children voluntarily, no matter how welcomed they may be.

 

You can opt to be hurt by that, or you can view it through a pragmatic lens. Now that sis is starting a family of her own, she'll need to overcome her prior aversion to childrearing chaos. She's opting to involve herself in other sister's environment for that, so consider all of the ways in which her new location might offer a gentler approach to learning.

 

How many children does you other sister have, and how old are they? Is other sister married, and if so, does pregnant sister like her BIL? What aspects of other sister's environment might sister find appealing?

 

As for the invitations, I'd consider them an olive branch to include you in their world. Your resistance to them might indicate an overarching metaphor for WHY your two sisters have bonded outside of your busy world. I would consider that carefully, and I'd behave in ways that can help me to strengthen my bridge with family rather than isolate myself from them.

 

If arranging transport for your kids to attend their activities with friends' families on some occasions is possible, I'd attend those family events on my own. Where that's not possible, I'd bring my kids along. I'd consider which invitations are more suitable for the kids to attend and align accordingly.

 

You get to decide whether you'll model for your kids that family bonding through events is important, or not. They will carry this message into their own adult lives, and they will play it out during times when you may wish for them to be more connected to YOU and the events that you consider important.

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I accept big momentous event type invitations such as a bridal shower, baby shower, housewarming party, big anniversary parties, some birthday invitations (if not excessive), my nephew's First Communion and luncheon, my niece's grad party, visit a new mother in the hospital or bring a home cooked dinner to her house for HER and HER family (not for us to eat), funerals, etc.

 

As I've mentioned previously, don't burn your bridges nor keep score.

 

I accept and attend perfunctory events. It may not be an optimal relationship but it does several things when you partake in special events. You practice good diplomacy and maintain ties. This 'in person' connection prevents your already dicey relationship from falling into the brink of estrangement. I'm in the same boat. I can tell you firsthand that I vehemently despise certain relatives and in-laws due to unforgivable past transgressions and their continued despicable, unacceptable behaviors to this day. However, for the sake of my sons and traditions, we accept a few invitations per year. I do my part with lots of cooking, bring a lot of generous home cooked food from my house to my sister's or mother-in-law (MIL)'s house, clean up, give gifts, my sons enjoy camaraderie with their cousins and grandparents and after that we go home.

 

During the majority of the year every year, everyone goes back to their four corners and remains there. We don't bother each other nor do our lives intertwine due to our daily busy, hectic household lives. It works. We don't get personal and stay out of each others way. We don't engage in regular, relentless texting, emails, messages, voicemails, postal mail and the like. We're not chummy nor have regular, frequent contact. If it's towards the upcoming event, I'll coordinate cooking duties with my sister or defer to my husband to contact HIS mother about the home cooked dishes I'm bringing to her house. However, other than that, we don't have regular, frequent contact whatsoever. We don't get personal either. This is called enforcing healthy boundaries. We do the bare minimum for peace and diplomacy's sake; no more no less. Everyone benefits and we all know our place. We don't cross lines which we're not allowed to cross. This prevents arguments and fights. We treat each other like acquaintances. This enforces respect.

 

On rare occasions, there are family reunions at a restaurant once or twice a year. We're all peaceful and then we get to leave! :smug:

 

There's still a habitual, chronic bad character problem with 3 extended family members, relatives and in-laws but at least it's only for a few hours and after that we leave each other alone for the majority of the year.

 

Whether it's colleagues, family (relatives / in-laws), any group you belong to such as church, sports, charity groups, social groups or whatever, there will always be people whom you don't like due to their unacceptable characters or obnoxiously rude personalities. You can either avoid them entirely if you have the luxury to exit the group and if you can't, you make the best of a bad situation. How do you do this? Remain stoic, carry your own dignity, be pleasant, natural, kind, peaceful, diplomatic, polite, well mannered yet not unnaturally chummy. Know where to draw the line with people especially if you do not feel close to them. Know your boundaries and borders with people no matter who they are. This is how you survive while keeping the peace. You can be gracious yet maintain a cool distance. This is how I behave and it works splendidly. :smug:

 

Why do you think acquaintances get along so great? Because there are very strong enforced boundaries. It works.

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