Eva - posted on 12/30/2015 ( no moms have responded yet )
This Christmas our gift to our adult kids and their families was an overnight stay to an indoor water park. We have three sons and a nephew who Lost both of his parents. One son is married - it's his second marriage now of 5 plus years. Another son lives with a women who befriended the other son's ex wife after his divorce and after developing and moving in with my other son (I hope this makes since - as it's difficult to follow). This, of course, created hurt feelings on several levels. We didn't have a perfect family unit but our boys loved and cared about each other. Now they are not very close and have little interaction as a family.
Anyway, I had hoped that they would use this overnight gift as a family and maybe strengthen their relationships. I believe that my sons want to go as a family. However, my daughter-in-law called me and said that they want to do their own thing and go by themselves. She doesn't trust my other son's girlfriend and cannot feel comfortable because of the friendship that exist between the girlfriend and the ex-wife.
I don't like that the girlfriend developed a friendship with ex-wife whom she talked horribly about at the time of my son's divorce. The girlfriend had behaved in other disruptive ways as well. The girlfriend clearly needed to isolate my other son from his family and was successful in doing so. It was a difficult time on all of us but over the past year or more - we've been trying to put some of the pieces back together.
I want to tell my daughter-in-law to put family first - for her husband, their children, and us, too. It's a day at a water park with an overnight stay. They are not sharing rooms and there are other family members to concern. I've already told her that I can't make them go together but I had hoped that they would use the gift as a family. What I really want to tell her is that her actions are just as distructive as the girlfriend's actions have been but in a kinder, more empathetic manner. I care and love my daughter-in-law. I empathize with her perspective as well but, I wholeheartedly believe that if it were her family she would put these feelings to the way side and make an effort.
As parents, and especially in-laws, we so often place our feelings out-of-sight and bite our tongues for the sake of our relationships. Something that conflicts with the very nature of being a mother. And, the years beyond childhood that so many of us spend nurturing the lives of our adult children and their children. I realize that my family values may not be theirs and that the kind of family they want to be - well that's their decision - I can't force it, and sadly, I can't make it happen!
This is the first time I've reached out in search of suggestions. At this point, someone else's thoughts may be helpful!