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Do family really matter?

(8 Posts)
verbeier Sat 09-Aug-14 21:32:36

I am not from the UK bit have been here over a decade. I met and married my husband fairly young and we now have two children. My family are OK. I could never rely on them for anything but they're attentive to childrens birthdays, events etc. Unforunately, they are not very interested in Skype so my children mostly know of them anecdotally from me and as the buyer of presents. They all get together for celebrations and have an OK time but no one is close to another. My British husbands family, on the other hand, are awful. His mother has cut him off and has never met our children. Even before she cut him off, she was pretty horrible to him (e.g. took her new bf to his 21st birthday party - DH never even knew she was having an affair). His father sees us for an hour and a half four times a year, at best. His sister makes plans to meet us, then cancels last minute (countles times over the last 10 years). She has no interest in her niece/nephew while we send her kids cards and always ring (used to also send presents but i got fed up a year ago). We havent seen her for over two years. We have met her eldest twice, her youngest never.

My kids are watching cbeebies and starting to realise that they have a pretty raw deal, family wise. The image of my son clinging to his grandfathers leg during a recent visit, imploring him to stay a bit longer and watching my FIL push him away gently as he had a date with a pint or ten will stay with me for awhile. I know my family are better but I think we would be quite a lot financially worse off if we move home. Plus, we like it here, despite family blues.

Will the lack of family leave a gaping hole for them? Is this a no brainer and we should just leave? But we really could move there only to find we only see my family too a couple of times a year. How important are family, in the end? This is probably complicated by the fact that i was not close at all to my family (theyre pretty stand offish) and im absolutely fine. My kids are only 4 and 2, and i worry that more questions/resentment etc will come out when they're at school. Anyone else have anything similar?

balancingfigure Sat 09-Aug-14 21:39:15

Yes family are important - family being you, your DH and kids! I don't think you can create a close extended family, just concentrate on your own family unit.

Lally112 Sat 09-Aug-14 21:44:27

I think you make the best with what you've got. My mother was a junkie and father a drug dealing, woman beating car thief so I was taken away and raised by my grandparents - who were fab, but old and unfortunately dead by the time I was 15 so I was left with no one really.

DHs family are awesome, MiL is a godsend, never judges me when I have a sink full of dishes to be done, takes the kids regularly, treats them all the same, if I need her - she will be there. FiL is a hoot, great with the kids, call him anytime I need directions (because I couldn't find my way out a paper bag if I tried) and they all just care. DH still has both sets of grandparents too and though some aren't in the best of health they still call and send things for the kids and visit if they are up to it.

I feel like you do because DH had both sets of grandparents but my kids don't and it used to break my heart when DS1 would ask "mummy - wheres your mummy?" when he was younger but really they don't need that and theyre just fine (probably better off) without my parents. What I'm trying to see is you probably see it as a bigger deal than they do - for them its just normal but yes the questions are relentless.

verbeier Sat 09-Aug-14 23:44:16

Thanks for your replies and I am pleased that you got the in laws you have Lally! smile You're right though, I am paranoid about it whereas my children won't be. Its really nice to have different views - I get a bit sad when I see all the lovely grandparents taking children to the park etc. so I seem to need to remind myself it is not always the case. It does frustrate me so much - my kids are lovely, why does their family not love them as they deserve?

Lally112 Sun 10-Aug-14 01:31:05

I really believe in breaking the cycle and changing the future the way you want it to be with your children. They might not have the grandparents you want for then (I didn't have the parents I wanted but my grandparents showed me by example how to parent - not that I am perfect but better than my own mother).

You can show your children how to parent by what you do with them and you can carry on that by showing them how you can be a grandparent to their children when they are old enough. If I am really honest I don't think your mother in law is the best example of how to be part of a loving family (but who am I to judge) and your FiL and SiL don't seem the most consistent or reliable either.

heyday Sun 10-Aug-14 03:43:19

I think that to have a close, loving extended family is wonderful...... If you can get it. Not too many people really have this luxury due to a variety of reasons such as family breakup or dispute, family members living so far away or family members not interested.
There are always things that we could have that could make life better for us or our family but if those things are not there then there is not much point in keep dwelling on them. Get on and enjoy and make the most of all the good things that you do have. Try to create a happy, secure and loving home for the children with memories that they can cherish. That's all they really need at the end of the day. Kids just accept things the way they are so perhaps us grown ups need to take a leaf out of their book.
Don't think any more about moving. Be happy where you are and make the most of what you have.

dimsum123 Sun 10-Aug-14 10:31:25

No, extended family is not important. You and your DH are your DC's world. As long as your family unit is healthy and strong, nothing else matters.

I was NC with my family for 8 years. During that time my DC's were fine. They saw DH's family quite a bit. I am now in touch with my family and they have all just slotted in with each other as if the 8 years apart never happened.

Smilesandpiles Sun 10-Aug-14 10:39:07


It's just me and the kids. Even exp doesn't feature much in our lives at all.

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