Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tell Me if I'm Wrong Here...

I'm hoping that posting about this will help to take away some of the anger I have before I sit down to talk to my husband about it. As I've mentioned in the past couple of posts, yesterday was my oldest daughter's birthday. I may not have mentioned, however, that she's my child from my first marriage. So, technically, she's my husband's stepdaughter, but she calls him Dad (of her own volition) and has done so since we got married. They have a fantastic relationship and have several activities they participate in as father & daughter that I have relatively little to do with. My husband is from Philly, and all of his family still lives in that area, so our immediate little family (me, hubby, H, and baby) don't see them often, usually only once a year. His father is great; you really couldn't know a more laid back guy, and he's super kid-friendly. His brother, sister, aunts, and cousins are generally nice, I get along with them all just fine. His mother, however, is now officially on my shit list! (Note: she's been there before, but I keep forgiving and giving her the benefit of the doubt.)

She didn't even call to wish my daughter a happy birthday yesterday. No card. No nothing! And this is after my husband talked to her over the weekend and most likely mentioned something about the birthday weekend, the slumber party, something. She did the same thing last year, but my husband assured me that it was just because she was still adjusting to him being married to a woman with a child, someone who hadn't already been her granddaughter for 7 years. Okay... benefit of the doubt. He had a talk with her, reminded her of when H's birthday is, and let her know that we would definitely be expecting equal treatment - not step-grandchild treatment - for H in the future.

Luckily, H hasn't even realized her complete lack of thoughtfulness, sensitivity, or general concern. But, she will eventually, and when she does, her feelings will be very hurt. How do I explain this behavior to her? How do I get my husband to understand how I'm feeling without it seeming like I'm attacking his mother? What do I do when it's the baby's birthday and she treats that occasion differently? I don't think I'm being unfair to expect fairness, and I don't think I can be expected to continue to brush this aside and pretend like she doesn't continue to be hurtful and thoughtless to my daughter and I.

5 comments:

Supadiscomama said...

Is is safe to say, though, that H doesn't really see your hubby's mom as a grandmother figure (yet)?

wwwmama said...

I regularly walk that line of trying to express to my husband the irritation I feel with my mother-in-law. It's a tricky line, but I think you have to make your feelings clear--to him, not to her. Can you tell him in a way that expresses your feelings ("I feel...sadness, anger, disappointment") but not in a "your mother sucks" kind of way? Maybe he can talk to her and try to find out what's behind the behavior. Maybe it's an innocent mistake, maybe not. But it's probably better to find out now while it's still not a big deal to your daughter.

AcadeMama said...

Luckily, H doesn't see her as a grandmother figure, and she probably won't---ever. His mom is not the "grandmother" type...She refuses to be called any type of grandmotherly name, insisting rather on going by T (her name is Tina).

But, I found out after talking to my hubby that she had, indeed, sent a card and gift, she just didn't get them out in time for them to get here on Monday. I missed your advice though, wwwmama, b/c I think I did give him a touch of the "your mother sucks" attitude, and I felt bad about doing it. I apologized later, and have come to realize that - in terms of a phone call on her birthday - maybe I'm expecting too much. BUT, I'm still going to wait and see what happens on Baby E's birthday. If she calls then, it will likely arise as an issue of equal treatment for both girls.. That said, I'm going to try NOT to look for trouble that doesn't exist yet.

M said...

I think you're right to be irritated, and I also think it is hard to complain about your hubby's family and make him feel like you're not attacking him. I've not been in your position, but I have been in H's. My parents divorced when I was 4, and my mom remarried my dad (he has been a dad in every sense of the word) when I was 6. His mother, a woman I came to know as my grandmother, embraced my siblings and me as her own, but even after 25 years, his sisters still do not think of us as their nieces and nephews, which was hard for a long time. They also don't think of my mom's siblings' children as my dad's nieces and nephews, as one sister chastised him for missing his only niece's high school graduation. My dad quickly reminded her that she had not made it to his kids' graduations and that he had three other nieces.

I can't offer any advice except to say it sucks. But in all honesty, I didn't notice the double standard until I was much older than H, and by then I was old enough to realize it had less to do with me than it had to do with my "aunts'" hang-ups. To this day, I think of them as my dad's sisters, not my aunts.

wwwmama said...

I've definitely crossed into "she sucks" territory before too, so don't beat yourself up about it. It happens, and lord knows mother-in-laws have a way of driving us crazy and sometimes hubbies need to know that.