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How Do You Balance Life with Kids?


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Thank you, Batya, I feel like I do that very well now. It's their reaction to our setting the boundary that is anxiety-producing... seeing a full grown man have a tantrum in front of you is awkward! A little funny, but also can be scary with the explosive anger or passive aggressive remarks. Whichever reaction they choose, it's not a normal, "Ok."

 

Plus they complain to their relatives on both sides, who actually live in the same area together. So it's not just his parents' reaction we have to deal with, it's actually the other relatives as well who then treat us different at holiday gatherings and events because they think we've been, "rude," to his parents! It's turned into a mess, BUT at least it's better than it used to be at the beginning.

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Starting Thursday, hubby will be off 5 weeks and we'll have made it through this difficult studying phase!  Thank God!!!  Phew!!!!

Avoided? I don't think of it like that! I mean, I've "avoided" a lot in life. I've avoided living in Africa, I've avoided becoming an accountant, I've avoided bungee jumping from a hot air balloon. Bu

You and I are fortunate regarding help from husbands.  My husband helps me with everything so I've been very lucky.  Even though he helps me immensely, I was extremely busy especially when my son

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Thank you, Batya, I feel like I do that very well now. It's their reaction to our setting the boundary that is anxiety-producing... seeing a full grown man have a tantrum in front of you is awkward! A little funny, but also can be scary with the explosive anger or passive aggressive remarks. Whichever reaction they choose, it's not a normal, "Ok."

 

Plus they complain to their relatives on both sides, who actually live in the same area together. So it's not just his parents' reaction we have to deal with, it's actually the other relatives as well who then treat us different at holiday gatherings and events because they think we've been, "rude," to his parents! It's turned into a mess, BUT at least it's better than it used to be at the beginning.

 

Yes, sleep deprivation of course can exarcebate anxiety. I think the answer is tuning it out. Just like you would with a child. Who cares that they react loudly or that other relatives choose sides? You can only control you. Nothing new under the sun about people reacting with other than an "ok". But the answer is not to appease all the time. The answer is to keep distance and to politely assert "when you yell at me I feel disrespected. I won't let you treat me that way so either stop yelling or we will leave/please leave".

 

You don't have to deal with anything. You don't have to attend these gatherings. These are not your colleagues where you can go to HR or perhaps quit if it's that bad/toxic. You don't have to attend. Your husband can if he wishes to and perhaps he can take the kids but you don't have to. My FIL didn't treat me nicely the last few years of his life. So when he came over I left after saying hi politely. Told him I was going to run errands or whatever. He spent time with my husband and son. I didn't have to deal with him. I know of many couples where they don't both attend the gatherings or one does not because of toxicity.

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That is really good advice about tuning it out, and yes, we do that with our kids if they whine or push boundaries. I just never thought of doing that with adults, I'll have to tell my husband because I think it may help him, too.

 

Thank you, Batya.

 

And yes, that's where we are now concerning the gatherings and events... we send a card or have another engagement. He's fiercely loyal to me, and even though I tell him he's welcome to go to anything without me for them, he just doesn't want to for some reason. Part of me wishes he would, but I leave it up to him.

 

At least it hasn't ended our relationship or made us less committed to each other. We're still very passionately in love... in our boring life together LOL. The oxymorons! :p

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That is really good advice about tuning it out, and yes, we do that with our kids if they whine or push boundaries. I just never thought of doing that with adults, I'll have to tell my husband because I think it may help him, too.

 

Thank you, Batya.

 

And yes, that's where we are now concerning the gatherings and events... we send a card or have another engagement. He's fiercely loyal to me, and even though I tell him he's welcome to go to anything without me for them, he just doesn't want to for some reason. Part of me wishes he would, but I leave it up to him.

 

At least it hasn't ended our relationship or made us less committed to each other. We're still very passionately in love... in our boring life together LOL. The oxymorons! :p

 

I don't get it . What in the world does going to a family event have to do with loyalty? Yes, I get it -if you are at a family event and you are being mistreated he should have your back but it's not "loyalty" to stay home instead of see his family - you're not joined at the hip Sounds like he doesn't want to - not because he's loyal, because he doesn't want to. Many people avoid certain family gatherings. They can be stressful or boring, etc. Passionate and boring life are perfectly consistent!

I regularly assert boundaries with adults. I mean it's second nature. Not in exactly the same way as with my son, not in exactly the same context but of course. I had to tell a friend politely but firmly -and more than once "I am not ok with being told who I must vote for. Happy to have you share your opinions though." For example.

 

My son's teacher was ranting at him over zoom for something he absolutely didn't do -I let son handle it as best he could and I stepped in - and said "he was not [whatever the supposed infraction was]. He was trying to respond to your question and ask for assistance." I said it firmly and quietly. It's very rare for me to ever do that -I have utmost respect for teachers! - but this teacher was regularly whining and ranting at the kids over zoom and when she turned on my son she had to deal with Mama Bear raised in the big city. Be polite and firm. And no apologies. And not wordy - that takes away from the succinct message!

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I'm sorry it sounds odd to say, "fiercely loyal." He is loyal to whoever he feels he has responsibilities toward though, it's a good trait.

 

Even if you google it, there's a phrase that comes up under the definitions describing an example where in-laws are involved, "fights with in-laws are distressing because they cause divided loyalties"

 

 

I had a very kind, older therapist explain it to me a few years ago that if his family really loved him and had wanted him to be happy, they would have been kind and accepting of his partner, no matter who they were, so I think he feels a huge rejection of himself in that they didn't. They didn't want him to be happy, they wanted to control him still, and that's really hard for someone to psychologically deal with (he has, but it's taken years for him to accept that).

 

I mean they even tried to get us to get rid of our cats when we first got pregnant, and told us we were, "putting our cats above the baby," as if people can't have both kids and pets LOL We had bottle-fed those cats and there was no way we were going to get rid of them. It was always about control.

 

I think all that made him feel like he had to choose sides if that makes sense, and of course he chose his wife and new family he started. It NEVER had to be that way - I definitely did not want it this way - they caused it by acting nuts and over-stepping boundaries. I think in normal families, you can be loyal to your family AND your partner/kids - that's how I relate to mine, but in dysfunctional ones I think it's different.

 

He's had to stand up to them for us so many times to defend our decisions (or stop insults when we used to go) and he even cut them out for several years, due to their behavior. Him having to experience those negative instances of standing up to them makes him seen as an opponent, he's not loyal to the family in their opinion, and we're the same team - we're now disloyal because we won't get rid of our cats (major LOL) - if that makes more sense?

 

I do know at a wedding event we attended in the past, they made extensive speeches about putting the family above the marriage itself, that the family loyalty is basically above any relationship, and on and on they went praising the family as a group. We looked at each other from across the table trying not to laugh. I'm sorry if it's confusing... I don't think it's normal at all.

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No that is not what I meant at all. Him declining a family gathering has nothing to do with loyalty to you unless he is declining because they did not invite you or mistreated you specifically the last time and refused to apologize or make amends. But if you don't have fun at a family gathering or want some me time then he can go and hopefully take the kids (or not I guess) - and all else equal - you don't have to go as a couple to every family gathering especially since you get so little time to yourself. If he chooses not to go it's not out of loyalty to you -it's because he doesn't feel like going without you - that's different.

 

I agree it shows loyalty to stand by your spouse if family is disrespecting her. That's not what I meant at all.

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No that is not what I meant at all. Him declining a family gathering has nothing to do with loyalty to you unless he is declining because they did not invite you or mistreated you specifically the last time and refused to apologize or make amends. But if you don't have fun at a family gathering or want some me time then he can go and hopefully take the kids (or not I guess) - and all else equal - you don't have to go as a couple to every family gathering especially since you get so little time to yourself. If he chooses not to go it's not out of loyalty to you -it's because he doesn't feel like going without you - that's different.

 

I agree it shows loyalty to stand by your spouse if family is disrespecting her. That's not what I meant at all.

 

They never apologize or try to make amends. But you're right that he just doesn't want to go if I don't.

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My dad's mother never did accept my mom. There's no doubt in my mind in that case there was a bit of racism going on, that she didn't like my moms skin colour and background.

Dad would bring us to visit them without mom, except for Christmas when she would go and had the buffer of my aunts and uncles ( who are not like that at all).

It worked good for my brother and I.

 

In reference to one of your earlier posts, there's something so satisfying I find in cooking in large amounts. I don't know, I just love it. I even love the shopping for massive grocery hauls. Lol. I can't for safety right now, but I really enjoyed volunteering at the community center and helping with the community meals. My extended family is super big, and growing up we were always doing something cooking related for community events and family, maybe that's why I love it - good memories, connecting with people, and also I just love all things food!

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They never apologize or try to make amends. But you're right that he just doesn't want to go if I don't.

 

I'm so sorry they don't treat you with respect or properly. I had that issue with my FIL for a couple of years. It was awful.

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My dad's mother never did accept my mom. There's no doubt in my mind in that case there was a bit of racism going on, that she didn't like my moms skin colour and background.

Dad would bring us to visit them without mom, except for Christmas when she would go and had the buffer of my aunts and uncles ( who are not like that at all).

It worked good for my brother and I.

 

In reference to one of your earlier posts, there's something so satisfying I find in cooking in large amounts. I don't know, I just love it. I even love the shopping for massive grocery hauls. Lol. I can't for safety right now, but I really enjoyed volunteering at the community center and helping with the community meals. My extended family is super big, and growing up we were always doing something cooking related for community events and family, maybe that's why I love it - good memories, connecting with people, and also I just love all things food!

 

Yes, I love cooking, and there's something odd about the satisfaction in cooking a large amount, I don't get it, either! It's just really satisfying to me to see all that food :D So much deliciousness in one place! I usually cook for the week in large quantities and so it's a good thing I enjoy it, otherwise that would not be fun LOL

 

Just wondering, how did you feel knowing they weren't accepting of your mom? Does it make you view them differently?

 

The last time we were around certain members who were just way too insulting (and unapologetic), they were making degrading jokes about, "white girls," right in front of me when I was playing on the floor with our then baby son (so this was a long time ago). My husband couldn't believe it and told them it was inappropriate and reminded them that I was right there, but they just laughed. We should have left, but we didn't go back after that. I remember silently thinking that there was no way I wanted our kids growing up around that - where family would make racist remarks about their mother right in front of them and laugh about it.

 

Just doesn't seem like a good environment to have kids around, where their mom's race/ethnicity isn't accepted or openly joked about in derogatory ways. It's complicated because his parents aren't like that, but they took the other extended family members', "side," in deciding we were the crazy ones with the problem for being upset or not coming back.

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I'm so sorry they don't treat you with respect or properly. I had that issue with my FIL for a couple of years. It was awful.

 

It's really complicated, Batya, they do usually treat us ok now for the most part, which is why we still see them every other month or so. We're trying to let them have a relationship with their grandkids... but it is complicated and not always easy because they've now yelled at our oldest and really scared him when we last trusted them to watch our kids alone.

 

So now they know that we can't really let them watch them alone, we've addressed it with them and put down that boundary, and they can still come over and be with them when we're there. They don't like not being able to watch them alone, but at least it does seem to work out... I enjoyed them over this past weekend believe it or not! I like talking to them, we actually laughed a lot.

 

People are sooooo complicated... they can be really nice and fun when they want to, so I feel like at least we've come to a place where we can enjoy them, our kids can enjoy them when we're there to make sure it's going ok, and they get to enjoy our kids, too, so it all works out for everyone.

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They're Hispanic with a strong Spanish side influence... gorgeous people oh my word!

 

My husband looks like a more hunky version of a Spanish-styled Ashton Kutcher... I have a weakness for the dark eyes and hair type LOL

 

Anyway, his family are gorgeous people, very glad our kids mostly show those genes LOL

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It's really complicated, Batya, they do usually treat us ok now for the most part, which is why we still see them every other month or so. We're trying to let them have a relationship with their grandkids... but it is complicated and not always easy because they've now yelled at our oldest and really scared him when we last trusted them to watch our kids alone.

 

So now they know that we can't really let them watch them alone, we've addressed it with them and put down that boundary, and they can still come over and be with them when we're there. They don't like not being able to watch them alone, but at least it does seem to work out... I enjoyed them over this past weekend believe it or not! I like talking to them, we actually laughed a lot.

 

People are sooooo complicated... they can be really nice and fun when they want to, so I feel like at least we've come to a place where we can enjoy them, our kids can enjoy them when we're there to make sure it's going ok, and they get to enjoy our kids, too, so it all works out for everyone.

 

I completely understand why you want them to have a relationship with their grandchildren if at all possible! One way it's less complicated is when you accept that you can only control yourself and your reactions, not other people. Not easy especially when kids are involved!

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Yes, I like having the ability to control my own reactions... the hard thing about being so sleep-deprived is that I feel way less resilient, unfortunately :D. But I mean, luckily that should go away in time as this last baby sleeps more.

 

Yes - sleep deprivation makes choosing a reaction so much harder. What helps is self-talk - when you're feeling less resilient notice it, be aware of it, so you can pause before reacting.

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I do have to say, even with all the insane sleep deprivation, there is a big relief having a stable life to come home to.

 

I think part of why my anxiety isn't too bad, normally, is that our life is nice and peaceful.

 

Grateful for all the little things in life. Life is so beautiful and there's so much to be thankful for.

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I do have to say, even with all the insane sleep deprivation, there is a big relief having a stable life to come home to.

 

I think part of why my anxiety isn't too bad, normally, is that our life is nice and peaceful.

 

Grateful for all the little things in life. Life is so beautiful and there's so much to be thankful for.

 

Yes, I love when I have that realization! Maintaining it requires the harder effort!

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Yes, I have to step back and have a moment where I take all of it in and am like, "wow, this is my life!" I really feel like I don't deserve it at times.

 

Like last night we were doing a family game night (we usually do this once a week and the kids love it), and we were playing Risk and my husband was just so good at it from the get-go, already strategizing. Something about his traits like that make me attracted to him even more, which shouldn't be possible after 13 years.

 

And then to see our boys, 10 and 5 copying him!!! Oh it made my heart swell! I tried my best, but Risk is just not my type of game really, even the 5 yr old was better :p and it was so cute how seriously they all took it.

 

Life or Death in the Risk game LOL

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Yes, I have to step back and have a moment where I take all of it in and am like, "wow, this is my life!" I really feel like I don't deserve it at times.

 

Like last night we were doing a family game night (we usually do this once a week and the kids love it), and we were playing Risk and my husband was just so good at it from the get-go, already strategizing. Something about his traits like that make me attracted to him even more, which shouldn't be possible after 13 years.

 

And then to see our boys, 10 and 5 copying him!!! Oh it made my heart swell!

 

As the old song goes....

 

The greatest thing

you'll ever learn

Is how to love

And be loved

In return

 

(Eden Ahbez)

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I hear you my in-laws have been a thorn in my backside for 3 decades. Thank goodness now they are too old and infirm to do anything .

 

I'm so sorry, Seraphim, 3 decades is a long time... I feel so dumb... I only just realized a couple of years ago that this problem will always kind of be there, maybe not in the forefront, but in the background.

 

The crazy thing is that I do love them, I feel sorry for them at times because they're mean and cruel to each other (he belittles her constantly... and she shoots back with her own daggers... it's horrible to be around).

 

How do you manage the relationship, if I may ask?

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