Family Matters

As I’ve said, I’m not a Christmas person. I try hard for the boys, but I’m sort of past the point where I can try any more. I’m anxious…mostly about the in-laws coming to stay. They’re now coming a full day early. 6 days of in-laws… Shoot. Me. Now.

As I’ve said before, my sister-in-law is a nice person and I like her very much. Please let me start with that. She also adores her family. She’s just someone with no boundaries and a need to comment on/be involved in everything. That’s how their family works and I’m not really allowed not to be ok with it. The way my family works doesn’t matter, I’ve moved in with Curtis and the boys, and I have to be ok with the way they do things. I’m getting better at managing it all. It’s hard, but I’ve come to accept that there is no limiting family when the boys are there. Unfortunately, with how it works out, more than half the time they’re here we don’t have the boys. It may make me a bad person to say this, but I resent her taking away my time… My time to get ready for her visit, to get ready for the holiday, my Christmas time alone with Curtis, my time to get ready for my family Christmas without her being underfoot (in a very nice and attempting-to-be-helpful way). What makes it harder is that I’m expected to act a certain way when she’s there. Excited to see her, welcoming, warm, involved, not fake… It’s really asking a lot. I’m not free to be myself and feel how I feel AND I can’t be fake. I’m exhausted already… I’ve told Curtis that’s a lot of family time for me and he has to be ok with me stepping away. I genuinely have a lot to get done for my show so they all need to be ok with me doing my thing. I will be out of the house or away from the action as much as possible without being (too) offensive.

I thought for a second that Kim might actually be willing to trade times and that would allows the kids to come to my family Christmas… I have to hand it to Curtis for trying. And, to be fair to him, that would alter the kids normal Christmas plans in favour of incorporating my family Christmas. I need to give him credit for that. Kim didn’t get her way so there’s no trade at all, which is fine, it is what it is. Again, being a terrible parent, part of me is relieved that I don’t have to worry about the kids going. My family Christmas is unlike anything Curtis or the boys have done. It’s pretty formal and I don’t even think they have appropriate clothes to wear (and they will fight wearing them). On top of that, they aren’t going to like 90% of the food and I’m sure someone will try to feed them something they don’t want to eat (there will be tears)… so I have mixed feelings. I’m sad they won’t be there. Furthermore, I’m sad I won’t see them Christmas Eve and, of course, I’ll bet it won’t matter to anyone that I’m not there. I suspect it’ll be a relief to some to have time without me and my rules. I think his sister bought the kids significantly more than us, more that Curtis’ parents, more than Santa. She might have as many presents as the rest of those combined. We had asked everyone to follow this thing where you get 4 presents (Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read). My own mother was a complete bitch about the whole thing, as I should have expected and I tried to explain it to his sister on a few occasions. I also tried to nicely say that we were sticking to one gift per category, not a box full of stuff per category. And yet… more gifts than the rest of us combined… overall it was a pretty big fail. Sigh… Yep, I’m stressed… Gotta find a smile soon… can’t be stressed, can’t be fake… can’t be stressed, can’t be fake…

Petty rant aside, I’m pretty lucky in the in-law department. I recognize this. There are worse in-laws out there. My mom on her own is worse than anything Curtis’ family can throw at me. But does anyone else struggle with feeling like the in-laws can’t accept the change of amalgamating two families? I suppose that’s not limited to step-parents. But why is it that what I want doesn’t matter? They don’t really listen to me or respect what I say in my own house, it has to come from Curtis. Is this a normal thing? I know my view of family isn’t always normal, I like a little more distance than most families… but is it normal for it not to matter how I feel about family? Why can’t I have boundaries? Is the one with the kids the one to make the rules? I am definitely struggling with this. I have a feeling there will be much wine and much Atavan this Christmas. The gift that keeps on giving.

 

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