Posted in Family Life, For Dads, In-Laws

To close for comfort?

Anonymous

Our daughter turned 1 recently and she is the only grandchild in both sets of our family. So yes, it’s a bit overwhelming with both grandparents and both sisters who aren’t married and are turning 47 this year. Our daughter is so loved by all but sometimes it feels like she is “the family baby”... this annoys me a bit since I feel this way mainly because of the way my wife’s family treated our daughter and us. My in-laws live near us (within 2 miles) 6 months out of the year so we see them easily 3-4 times a week. My sister in law currently lives about 6 hours away at the beginning (after our daughter’s birth) she was around almost every weekend from Oct 2017 - end of Dec 2017. My parents live about 80 miles away one way and my Dad is 80 and Mom is mid-70’s. My sister lives 45 mins away. We have seen my parents maybe 6 times this year and my sister maybe 7 times this year. —- I raise this since you’ll begin to maybe see how I feel... About 2 months ago my sister in law tells us she is going to look for a job closer to us in Northern CA. Mainly so she can be closer to our daughter. She originally moved from FL to Southern CA to be closer to us since we were pregnant. — She was actively looking and ended up getting a job that begins In early January. So now my in-laws will be 2 Miles from us from June - Dec and my sister in law will be an hour away from us forever. Question / Issue I value family and know we are blessed to have loving family (grandparents, aunties) who just love our daughter and she will get to have fond memories of them all... However, my wife and I have struggled since the birth of our daughter likely because I like my space and I want to establish our new family (my wife, daughter & myself) beyond the extend family. I’m not used to being so close to family and definitely didn’t expect to be spending 3-4 times a week with my in-laws for 6 months out of a year (likely to change to permanent eventually right???) and now my sister in law who will be within an hour so likely spending at least 2-3 weekends a month. My family as a reminder again we have seen 6-7 times a year and they have lived their all their life. They recognize boundaries or the “limits” we give them but my wife’s family feels like an open ticket. I already can tell my sister will likely be upset that my sister in law is over so often and why not her since she has lived 45 mins away from us for the past 14 years... As my sister in law moves to the area and will spend more time with us I think my sister has a valid issue... the major difference is the mother vs father side of the family and treatment. My sister in law already posted that next Halloween she hopes to be tricking treating my her niece. — So I already know what we will be doing next Halloween! My main concern is that I likely will get 1 weekend (if I’m lucky) with me, my daughter, and wife a month which is just not what I expected when getting married over 14 years ago or having a family now just over a year ago. I’m truly struggling and concerned about what the long term future will now look like for the rest of our lives... My wife and I have already begun discussing my concerns but she downplays it and doesn’t think my sister in law will be around as much as I think... just like her parents thought I know that if we asked if they wanted to come everyday they would jump at the chance. My wife doesn’t agree but I know it’s true... for example they couldn’t wait for me to have two straight weeks of business travel (home for the weekend) since they moved in and had 100% time with the baby and to help my wife which is great. — however all the FaceTime chats were with my in-laws in the background... “how fun...” Not. At least my wife sent me a few Marco Polos through the app with just her and the baby... Sorry for rambling but I’m beginning to see how my life will literally be forever changed with the sister in law moving so close and already the in laws being so close etc... Again I know this issues is truly a non issue since it’s all about love to our daughter but I still also believe our family “unit” is what I also want which I now see floating away... Your thoughts?

  • Lulu
    Nov 02, 2018

    From the perspective of someone who has no family in sight, no matter how much cajoling or bribing or luring I try, you are very blessed. It is wonderful to add to a family instead of having to start from scratch as I am. However, if it really bothers you, figure out what makes you comfortable and set boundaries. There is no escaping family, but you can give them guidelines. Have a productive talk with your wife. But at the same time, think of how she feels. It is very difficult to raise a child by one's self. I'm betting she is super glad to have her family so involved. Don't take that away from her in your quest for solitude.

  • B
    Nov 02, 2018

    Hi. You’ve posted a few times recently with a similar question. It seems like you’re looking for some external validation for what you’re feeling. And that’s fine. But it’s obviously a big issue for you, and you’re struggling to talk about it with your wife. You need to. And to be honest about what you’re feeling. And then to compromise. Want your sister to come over more? Great tell her. Want to get one weekend a month without relatives? Great tell her. And then tell people no we are busy because I’ve planned for us to go to the zoo (or whatever). Having a kid changes your life forever. You need to work with your wife to make it work for you and for her. There are compromises to be made on both sides here, but that won’t happen until you find a time alone with her and really lay it out.

  • Anonymous
    Nov 02, 2018

    Talk to your wife and set boundries. It doesn't matter if you're blessed to have them, that doesn't make it okay to suffocate you and hijack moments (Halloween). It's rude for them to invite themselves over and if you don't put them in their place it won't stop.

  • Anonymous
    Nov 02, 2018

    @Lulu. I agree 100% that my issue of having to much “family time” is actually not a “major” issue and in reality I should embrace the family time and “get over my own issues” since I do remember fond memories of my grandparents. I also truly recognize that my wife can use the help as currently being a stay at home mom is hard work. I experienced it first hand when she prepared a dinner meal and went out with friends and my daughter and I had a fun one side food fight. Haha! Fun, tiring, and not exactly the most nutritious meal of her life. Haha! @B, yes, I did begin to discuss boundaries and schedules with my wife and she agreed that we could do better at us leading the invites but seeing my sister in laws post about Halloween next year on social media set me off knowing that no matter what the family “demands” have been set. My wife mentioned she spoke to her mom about her thoughts on if my sister in law would be around a lot like every weekend and she said no but it’s just not been what I’ve experienced so hard to understand why they would think that way. I realize neither of them have a true issue or concern about this etc... I did also tell my wife that I would love to have one weekend a month (although I’d likely love 2 weekends a month) of just us with the baby and maybe us with our friends who have babies etc.... —- while I think she heard the “minimum” I was going for I don’t know if she saw it as “truly necessary” to carve this out as a guarantee etc... I think my wife doesn’t think these issues as truly problems and likely is more passive with schedules. For example my mother in law texted and said they would bring dinner tonight at 5pm. We agreed and yes it is obvious nice of them. —- however I told my wife yesterday morning that we could meet the in laws for dinner on Thursday night or we could meet them for dinner and walking spring a first Friday art walk on Friday (today) and she didn’t accept either idea from me. I’m grateful for them and the dinner but when I was trying to be proactive it didn’t go anywhere but when they suggested their dinner idea it was accepted quickly. —- I get a home cooked meal is different from going out to eat etc... In the end, yes this issues isn’t horrible and likely a good problem to have as it is a blessing to have happy and excited families around. — possibly I’ll find ways for my family to get more time as well since I can also see my parents be a little disappointed that they have lived about an hour away the whole time we are hear and have only seen them 6-7 times while my sister in law is 6+ hours away and likely have seen our daughter 12+ times which will change as she becomes an hour away etc... my sister will for sure be a bit disappointed and realize that she has also not had he same time being only 45 mins away. Seems like we are great at boundaries with my side of the family and not with my wife’s side but I hear this is common...

  • Lulu
    Nov 02, 2018

    I hope you didn't misunderstand me..... too much family time CAN be a major issue, and you shouldn't GET OVER your issues. I find that when things are swept under the rug, they fester and become much larger issues. It also sounds like the boundaries are up to your wife to set... maybe stress the importance to her and let her know you can't really set these boundaries without her firm back up.

  • Anonymous
    Nov 02, 2018

    @lulu... thanks. No I didn’t miss understand you I just realized that my “problem” is actually not really that bad... while yes, boundaries are key which are sometimes difficult to set. While I’m glad my wife and I have begun discussing some of my concerns and interests in us taking the lead with schedules for visits I also know that since this is her family she likely has no issues with them wanting to do what they want when they want as much as it is my issue etc... In the end we are blessed to have a daughter as it took us over 3 years and several IVFs that my own “minor issues” are truly not any real major issues. My buddies have been providing me advice and understand my concerns and frustrations and encourage me to continue to share with my wife etc... Thanks again Lulu. Good luck!