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Any tips for letting go of my family expectations?(10 Posts)
Basically my problem is that I have expectations that don’t get met and then I get disappointed....
I have a 2yr old DD and pregnant with second child. My family are great but DHs family are smaller and more reserved, they don’t play/read/chat with DD and I always find it so sad. She just had her second birthday and one of her uncles/aunts forgot completely and the others just sent a card, we always send them birthday presents (adults with no kids) and never get anything back. I’m not fussed about getting gifts but would love them to show DD attention! My family does birthdays and kids in a big way, so I’ve always expected that I guess.
Now I totally get that they’re different to me, they’re not baby people, some people don’t do birthdays, and I’m projecting my own expectations onto them so I’m responsible for my own unhappiness here....I need to let go of what I think they should be like and just accept however they choose to interact with us. I know all that.....
Where I need help is, HOW do I do this?! Does anyone have any tips or strategies for letting go of expectations, has anyone been through this and come out all inner-peace-y? I’d love to just go with the flow! Open to any ideas!
It’s hard - either you just accept it or distance yourself - or ask them?
Personally I’m over it with my lot and go LC
Oh God, I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to ask them!! “Err, excuse me, why didn’t you bother sending your niece a birthday present?” I don’t think I’d get an answer I’d like!
I’m reluctant to just bin them off and have less contact (than we already do), so that just leaves acceptance, but it’s easier to say than do!
On lying one of my 4 siblings sends my kids anything. I don't feel sad about it. We're all different and some people aren't bothered about birthdays. I don't send 3 if them anything either. It's fine!
Dont distance from them, enjoy their company. Gifts are not everything.
I think you just focus on what you can do as a family. Honestly, my family is a bit overbearing. My mum and stepdad do come for important things like birthdays, but sometimes the meddling and the gifts are a bit too much (interestingly, I now understand why I turned out the way I did!). As for my husband's family, we have no contact with MIL and her partner anymore, but when we did, they still only saw our dd about 3-4 times a year for like an afternoon. They live relatively locally (1.5 hour away). My family live outside the UK, but still saw her more! The interaction was limited. I think MIL stayed with her twice in 4 years while we went out for a meal and then once overnight when we went for a wedding. MIL would buy gifts at Christmas and her birthday as would her aunt and uncle (we're really close to them), but for the most part, we're lucky if we got a card from anyone else in the family. That's just how it is. Now we have no contact with them at all (that's another story) except my dh talks to her maybe a couple times a year by phone. But our dd gets no cards or gifts (this is now enforced by us as part of the no contact, but before that, like I said, it was minimal at best by their choice). We focus on what we can do and the family we do have in our lives. My family makes a big effort to be present for special days, makes a big deal of birthdays. We make a big deal of Christmas ourselves just as a family, I don't mean in terms of lavish gifts, but we have started our own traditions, make a big deal out of certain things about the day, really make it about us. It sucks and I'm still really angry about it, but as time goes on it gets easier and you just come to accept that's how it is. I think focus on what you do have instead of what you don't and it will eventually get easier. Also, don't feel like you have to try too hard. If gifts are never reciprocated, I would stop buying them for other family members and just send a card.
Thanks for the replies guys, I guess it’s just time that will help me accept it the way it is! And I think I’ll definitely stop buying gifts that aren’t reciprocated, as that just makes me feel worse (as altruistic as I would love to be, clearly I’m not there yet!)
Yes! Drop the gifts, enjoy their company, job done.
I do agree, gifts aren't everything. anything material is fleeting and so the joy that it brings. Relationships are irreplaceable so know what counts the most.
Perhaps try to accept people for who/what they are instead of putting your expectations on them? Everyone is different, and all families have different dynamics. For all you know, you are not what they expected!
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