Getting along with your in-laws can definitely be a challenge. After navigating relationships with two sets of in-laws, I could probably write a book on the subject. Right now, my in-laws live hundreds of miles away. In some ways it's hard on our family, but in other ways — mainly involving my mother-in-law — it's so much easier. I've found that regardless of your relationship, there are some things that all moms with long-distance in-laws just know.
On one hand, there are fewer opportunities for your in-laws to spend time with their grandchildren, which sucks for them and your kids. At the same time, though, there are also fewer opportunities for them to criticize your cooking, cleaning and parenting ability, which is awesome. I know my in-laws love their child and grandchildren deeply, and that love is probably the reason why they tend to be judgmental. But regardless of their intentions, it hurts to know that I will probably never live up to their expectations.
Because they live so far away, seeing my in-laws is such a challenge, and something that my family can't do more than a few times a year. We'd love to visit them more often, but traveling with kids is a challenge and expensive AF. My in-laws, on the other hand, are retired and have more freedom and money to travel. I've learned that pesky things like logic or finances don't matter when your mother-in-law feels slighted, though. And honestly, I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm glad they don't visit as frequently as they used to. As much as our kids love having them here, their visits disrupt our family's routine and, in the end, are not always the most fun for me or my husband.
So there are both pros and cons to having long-distance in-laws, and things all moms who have them know to be true. Things like, for example, the following:
They Don't Get To See Their Grandkids As Much As They'd Like
While my father-in-law finds his way up to visit every couple of months, my mother-in-law and her husband don't make it here very often. Since we have five kids and traveling is hard, we don't make it to their homes very often, either. Somehow, though, it is never their fault that they only see their grandchildren once or twice a year. It's always my fault.
Having Them Visit Is A Pain In The Ass
As hard as it is for our entire family to travel, having my in-laws visit is hard, too. We have a rhythm and routine to our lives that works, which is totally disrupted when we have house guests. When one of those guests is my mother-in-law, who seems to always be judging me, it's super stressful to have them visit.
Visiting Them Is Hard
To be honest, visiting either set of in-laws is hard. They don't have enough room for all of us, and are offended at the thought of us staying in a hotel. We have five kids, so hotels are expensive. It's so stressful.
Your Kids Might Miss Out
I literally moved from a diverse urban paradise to a rural red state with my now ex-husband to make sure that my daughter could have a relationship with both sets of her grandparents. It was both a blessing and a curse. I can't help but wonder if my kids are now missing out on the kind of relationship I had with my grandparents who lived up the street.
Social Media Is A Blessing & A Curse
I've learned a couple of key lessons over the years when it comes to interacting with your long-distance in-laws over social media. First, you can never post too many pictures of your kids on Facebook. Unless, they happen to be naked, have dyed their hair purple, or have penises and long hair, a pink shirt, or nail polish. Second, you should never skip a day of posting, or they will think you are hurt or dead. If you, for any reason, limit access for your in-laws on social media, they will immediately know and will message your spouse asking why. I honestly wish I had never friended my mother-in-law on social media.
Passive-Aggression Isn't Bound By Physical Distance
A mother-in-law has a special set of skills when it comes to passive-aggressively calling you out or insulting you, while simultaneously making it seem like they are complimenting you. You guys, I've learned that they can do this both in person and long-distance. There's no escaping it.
Sometimes Distance Is Awesome
I'm not going to lie and say I wish we lived closer, but at the same time, I wonder if our relationship might be different if we saw each other more frequently. Unfortunately, there's no real way to test this theory. Well, at least there isn't one I'm willing to attempt.
You May Have To Alter Your Holiday & Vacation Plans To Accommodate Them
Trying to plan holidays or trips with in-laws, co-parents, and my parents, is an exercise in futility. Either we invite everyone, which sucks, or someone gets excluded and we never hear the end of it. Whatever we do, someone will be upset, and it will be my fault.
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