For being overly sensitive & feeling ostracised by my 2 SIL's?(41 Posts)
NOTE: I suffer from anxiety, so please be sensitive with your comments/wording.
I am hoping you can give me some advice, or help me feel a little better… My 2 SIL’s always seem to ostracise me and my husband, maybe as we have no kids.
Husband’s sister, let’s call her X
Husband’s brother’s wife, let’s call her Y
They both had kids and are always meeting up, taking the kids out. Y is always talking about how she met up with X and took the kids out and they had a nice glass of prosecco, took the kids for dinner and a movie, etc.… Recently I found out that they both (& their kids) went to visit my husband’s cousin (also has kids), who lives 1.5 hours’ drive away. I did say to X, “why didn’t you ask me?” Her response was “you were working” (they went on a weekday). Even though she knows I WFH and my job is flexible and can take my laptop anywhere with me.
There have been more incidents in the past where me (or my husband & I), have not been invited/included. My husband’s brother had his daughter’s birthday party (a kids thing at a local rugby club), we were not invited. Then the next day Y was going on about how they had the best evening ever and how all the adults were all sitting out in the sun enjoying a bottle of wine! My husband was fuming at this but remained calm, and the next time he saw him, he asked why we were not asked to attend, his brother said ”it must have been an oversight!!!” When my husband and I mentioned this to X, even she was surprised that we were not invited (however she is always away with the fairies and really never has a clue about what is going on around her or even think to ask where we are or why we were not invited). So she is aware that we are sometimes ostracised.
On top of this, I know that X does not like Y as she has talked about her to me and my husband, as their daughters are the same age and Y is constantly putting X’s daughter down and is very competitive. Now my husband is more than capable of outing everybody on their behaviour, my issue is that he will just get wound up, losing his temper and end up arguing with them all and probably say some things he doesn’t mean, which I why I have said to my husband not to confront everybody. Also I know it will give Y the satisfaction that we felt left out as she is really not a nice person, (even my In-laws have said they don’t like her and have remarked on her jealous and horrible ways.) She is always making remarks about how my husband and I don’t have kids,( e.g. we travel a lot, and the comments have been “you can only travel a lot as you don’t have kids”, to which my husband curtly responded “we could have 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 kids, we would still travel!” or when asked what we got up to on the weekend, we mentioned that we went to Ikea to get a few bits, to which the response was “oh when you’ve got kids, Ikea is a nightmare”. ALWAYS starting her sentences off with “when you’ve got 3 kids…”) Basically anything we mention that we do, the “kids” line is dropped!
Before anybody comments why would I want to spend time them... Although I am not too keen on my SIL’s, it would be nice to try and have a better relationship with them, be included in meet-ups (or have the option to say no) and at least build a better relationship with my nieces/nephews. I feel that sometimes they do it on purpose, the way they speak about it afterwards, and I’m sat there thinking, why did you not think to ask me?!
I have tried to meet up and have dinners with X & Y, purely as I’ve wanted to make an effort for the sake of my husband and the family. (We all live within 5 mins drive of each other). Y always makes a huge hoohaa about timings as “when you’ve got 3 kids” is a “nightmare” putting them to bed. And when we have had dinners, most of the topics have been about kids (again Y does this on purpose knowing I will be left out).
I do have a small circle of close friends who are amazing and have given me advice, but maybe they are being biased!
I do suffer from anxiety, which doesn’t help, but how can I solve this without coming across as b*tchy/petty to them, stressing myself (& my husband) out, making myself more anxious or causing arguments in the family?
I hate to say it.....but when you have children it IS harder to go on nights out and arrange meals....That's just fact....so they might be being realistic there.....I've never invited people with no kids to kids birthday parties as why would they want to come? So some of the things you mention are not necessarily against you per se.
They sound a bit tactless, but I think you're being over sensitive.
Also you can only travel a lot as you don’t have kids”, to which my husband curtly responded “we could have 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 kids, we would still travel!”
It's easier to talk a good game than to play one!
I think you're wasting an astounding amount of energy concerning yourself with what they do. They don't even sound like enjoyable people to be around. I think you should count yourself lucky you're not invited.
You don't have kids. Why would you be invited? 🤨
@TabbyMumz Thanks, I guess I feel if it's your close family, it doesn't hurt to invite them. Especially if you know a the other mums and dad (that we know) will be going there and will be having a few drinks. My sister and brother always invite us to their kids bdays. Would be nice to be given an option to say no. Obvs if at a kids soft play we wouldn't go. But if somewhere with a bar, I would have thought they would invite us.
Also no OP 😂 you would not travel... Because you, like the rest of us, would rather just have half an hour to take a shit alone than face a flight or trip with a baby or a toddler or infact any kid under 8.
@FlaviaAlbia my sister and brother have 3 kids and have no issues travelling. I know that my husband was probably exaggerating saying we could travel with 5 kids. But it's the feeling of being put down due to our lifestyle choice and perhaps her not being able to travel. Her husband did once day to us... I wish I had your life...
@Aquamarine1029 Thanks, I guess it's the principle for me. Treating everybody equally. I'm trying to learn to not let it bother me. But thought I would post on heat for some unbiased advice. x
They are at a different life stage from you. They probably think you wouldn't be interested, that's all.
The whole 'kids' thing seems to be a sticking point.
Your husband sounded quite silly to say “we could have 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 kids, we would still travel!” as he doesn't have a clue.
Also, why would they invite you and your laptop to visit the cousin? You're either working from home or taking the day off.
Maybe invite them over for dinner/drinks and try to be totally open to whatever evening they can manage?
@Fiveredbricks & @DelphiniumBlue I get if it's soft play then yes, we probably wouldn't be invited and wouldn't go anyway. But if it's a place with a bar, and all the parents will be having a few drinks (we know all the parents very well) it would have been nice to be invited. Or a pub for lunch / girls dinner etc...
@Fiveredbricks maybe that would be the case if we have kids and happy to have 30 mins to ourselves. But would you just go on and on about your kids all the time and start off the majority of your sentences with "When you've got 3 kids". (Don't get me started on her social media!!!) Why not just a comment like oh how lovely hope you have a nice holiday. Or yeah we went to Ikea the other week, it's always so busy isn't it. She always wants the conversation to come back to be about her.
They share DNA with a member of your family or the person you married. That's it. To paraphrase a film close to my own heart, I would rather swallow razor blades than drink Prosecco (yuck) with my SiL. She dislikes me intensely, as another family member once helpfully informed me, and I find her completely vapid. And if these are the kind of people would ostentatiously exclude just one female member of their family from their 'girly bonding' meets, I'd happily let them get on with it without a moment's regret.
If you're on Facebook, restrict them so you can't see their posts and disengage. Be polite when you have to be around them. And expend your precious time and energy on real friends; people you'd voluntarily spend time with whether they are 'family' or not. One bitches about the other to you and your DH, FGS. Do you think they wouldn't do it about you too?
Life's too short to entertain this petty crap, OP, not least waste your headspace in worrying about people who behave like dicks. SiL or no SiL.
I think it's a bit if both. They probably are leaving you out...as the things they are organising are things that 99pc of people with kids would have no interest in going to.
I hang about sometimes with people. I wouldn't necessarily call 'friends', who've got kids the same age. It's just a small break while they play, it's a chance to talk to another adult. I wouldn't normally invite another child free adult as I would imagine most people without kids would rather do anything than referee turn taking or sharing between other people's children.
Likewise kids parties - most people find them hell and only put up with them for the own kids. I would never make someone even family feel they had to go to one (unless it was a 1st or 2nd party where the baby doesn't have any friends going and it's actually just for the adults)
I would never ask someone to come out for the day when they're wfh, as, well, they're working. It drives me and a lot of people I know mad when you're working from home and people assume you can stop working. I feel like there is a perception of people taking the piss when wfh that I generally try and fight against
Its nice you've invited them round in the evening. If you want to do things in the day with the kids, you could try doing that as well? Or invite them separately to change the dynamic? Maybe do a BBQ on a summers day so adults and kids can all have fun?
With all due respect you really don't sound like you like your SIL very much at all so are you sure you really want to spend much time with her? I think she's being tactless and a bit thoughtless but from what you've said it doesn't sound like there's any malice involved in not inviting you to these things.
A quiet word in her ear to the effect of 'we'd really love to come along to the nieces and nephews parties as we want to be involved in their lives, please don't exclude us from these things just because we don't have kids' - said in a non confrontational way should surely sort this out?
Also not sure why you want to spend time with the 'when you've got 3 kids...' one she sounds dull AF
It wouldn't have occurred for me to invite you when I'm doing stuff with my kids and another mum and her kids. Same with parties tbh
You don't actually like her and it doesn't sound like you get on at all, just spend time with people you like instead.
It would have been very strange and rude for her to invite you to someone else's home, let alone if there was a chance you'd want to work on a laptop during the visit.
Thank you @MarieIVanArkleStinks
Why would they want to hang out with someone who doesn’t want to listen to their main topic of conversation? You might find the constant referencing to the children boring, but that’s the biggest part of her life just now - why should she include you if it involves making an effort to not talk about the children?
No idea what you mean about going for a visit while wfh. Do you do web cam work? You can’t work while out for a chat and a visit!
The problem is OP you and your husband don’t understand what life is like when you have children, and in your post you are demonstrating a clear lack of empathy for their situation. Evenings out are difficult when you have children, travelling is difficult too. Routine is important. Maybe they don’t want to spend time with you as you are not being sensitive or understanding to their needs as parents.
Since I had children, I stopped adjusting my plans to suit others and just did what I needed to do for my children. When people have children, they put the needs of their children first, such as bedtime.
Also when a couple has kids, life changes, they do kiddie activities and tend not to invite childless couples. Why would they think you would enjoy the same things their kids do?
And she's all about her kids. Nothing wrong with that. Some people become kid focused.
when we have had dinners, most of the topics have been about kids (again Y does this on purpose knowing I will be left out).
When parents have dinners most of the topics are about kids, they’re not doing it deliberately! And it’s most weird to expect to be invited to bring your laptop and work from the cousins house while the kids pla6 around you. I think you might be being a bit oversensitive.
Agree with tunnockswafer.
You can’t except people with children to not talk about their kids! That’s what parents do. Not because they are boring but because it makes up such a massive important part of their life now. Its unreasonable to expect them to censor their conversation for your benefit.
Trust me op, people dont tend to invite people with no kids to kids parties....for a number of reasons...firstly they aren't really very pleasant...screaming kids all over the place, dribbling noses, food everywhere....it's something you invite other kids to and their parents so as they can supervise their kids. When people get chance to talk..it's usually about their kids, which we tend to think would bore anyone without kids. Your Sister probably invites you to hers as a..she's your Sister and b, she probably thinks you can help. I really don't think you should be upset about them not inviting you, they are probably doing you a favour. I never counted my in law's as close family so I never felt the need to be Bessie mates with the, plus they had no kids and we wanted to spend our time with ours.
Don't get me started on her social media!!!
This is your indication that this isn’t aimed at you, it’s just what she’s like.
It would never cross my mind to ask people without kids to a kids party. Honestly, they're not that much fun, even with a glass of wine or in a nice pub. You can't relax and kick back when you're always aware of the children, and the need to avoid carnage, or disruption to others.
What puzzles me is why you want to spend time with someone you don't like? And if your husband's sister doesn't like her much, then clearly the meets are for the children's benefit, so why would she ask someone without kids? That alters the dynamic for the adults, because they need to engage with you rather than be two people parallel parenting.
In fairness to your disliked SIL, your main issue with her seems to be that she is very child-bubble-dwelling. There's nothing wrong with that, and as the kids grow up she'll come out of it.
Your husband's comments on how you'd live with kids did amuse me though. It made me think of Michael McIntyre's riff on the gulf between parents, and non-parents. We've all been your side. And then... this side. (This is not a good thing. )
Yes I agree, it is totally like the Michael McIntyre Clip. Life is just different. They probably like most people, just want to spend their years as parents, spending quality time with their kids. And the Ikea quip sounds to me just a kindhearted comment, that they didn't know would annoy you.
Do you ever take the kids out with their parents or babysit for them? "lots of ways to build a better relationship with them with spending time with their parents who you don't like. Might also help you be a bit more understanding.
You don't like them. They probably don't like your DH's smug comments about how he'd parent.
Spend time with friends instead.
OP, completely unrealistic to expect them to invite you and your laptop out for the day if you also expect to work on it at someone else's house!
I don't get the feeling that they are leaving you out deliberately, they are just getting together with their children. Nor is talking about their children excluding you from the conversation.
If you want to meet up with them, the daytime is probably better than the evening tbh, and perhaps somewhere out of the home where the children can play - have you offered to do that? You say you feel left out when they do this but you only mention inviting them for dinner which probably is a bit late if the children are young.
There isn't anything to solve though, really - you are in different seasons of life.
No offence OP but I have 2 young DC aged 4 and 1 and your post did make me giggle a bit! You’re not being ostracised, they are just at a different stage of life from you. I wouldn’t invite someone without DC to a day out that is orientated around the kids because frankly it wouldn’t be very interesting to them and once kids get to preschool age and beyond, it’s beneficial and fun for them to spend time with kids their own age.
The comment that your husband made just shows that he has no idea really. My 2 DC have never left the country because we like to go on holidays that are easy to get to and that we know the kids will enjoy, and because the idea of spending 8 hours on a plane with 2 young kids sounds like my idea of hell, although I know some people do manage it successfully.
Invite x out or over without y. Get to know her suggest a trip with her and her kids eg zoo just you guys for now. Let y feel left out for a change then after invite both and talk about said trip. If she asks why she was not invited say it was an oversite or you thought with 3 kids she would not have time
Meeting people when in charge of kids is more like work friends, people in the same stage if life
When I had small kids I would rather meet other kids the same age and their parent as the kids would play and if I had duck down me and no sleep I could just mutter that and we would chill out, give parenting advice. Even parents of kids in different stages didn't quite fit the bill.
I found it was quite stressful keeping in touch with, even really close, childless friends. I do (still have!) rubbish sleepers who needed lots of comfort to go to sleep so evenings were hard and I would crash at 9. Partly it was logistically hard and partly as even if dp did all the work I didn't really want to go out in the evenings. Then just as stressful in the day with friends trying to have a good old chat about grown up issues while I always had to have an ear out for the kids getting up to mischief or just wanting a cuddle with their mum.
It's different now the dc are older and I have more space for my friendships.
Honestly, OP, you sound like hard work. You don’t even like them, you work FT, and their lives currently centre on childcentric stuff they assume, rightly, is of no interest to someone without their own young children. No one in their right mind wants to go to a children’s party. You are looking for slights and insults where there are none — how were your SILs to know that your idea of ‘working from home’ includes expecting to be invited on a three-hour weekday round trip to see a member of your DH’s extended family? Of course they talk about their children! Of course having three small kids makes arranging a dinner around bedtimes etc complex! Why are you so determined to be offended?
My SIL’s are a bit like this, though they tend to sometimes include me, but always leave the 4th SIL out. They have invited me at the last minute on theatre trips that they arranged months beforehand, so I ended up sitting on my own far away from them. I have gradually distanced myself from them and it no longer bothers me.
It sounds to me like you are trying to force a friendship with these people purely because they are "family" and live nearby. Would you really want to be friends with them if they weren't your sisters-in-law?
Step back, hide their Facebook posts and leave them to it. I think your anxiety will be better for it
I really don’t see what the problem is here.
You don’t seem to like them and find it annoying that they talk about their DC all the time... but you want to be included in event that are centered on the DC!
I have to do mainly child focused activities, it's more enjoyable if another mum comes along with kids as I have adult chat. I wouldn't invite friend without kids as they have more options and I expect they will have something they would rather do.
If you want to see them more text and say "what are you doing today? Can I pop in for a coffee to see you and the kids?" Let's either sil know you are interested and purpose of visit includes kids so they dont feel they will be boring to you.
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