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?
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.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Get started »
Please login first.