When you find a man you want to spend your life with, very seldom do you take into account your in-laws. After all, you are marrying him not them, right? This mindset can be helpful or hurtful especially when your husband a close relationship with his family. So when it comes to co-parenting issues and your in-laws, should they stay on neutral ground? When I say neutral ground, I am referring to inclusion of the biological mother at your man’s family event despite knowing of the existing issues? I am not referring to birthday parties or events for the child(ren) that you are co-parenting for but family cookouts. The presence of the biological mother at the events showed the family’s lack of concern for the distress she often caused for us. In my family, if a person is a known source of issues for a family member, they are not invited whatsoever. I had to learn the hard way that my husband’s family were quite different.
Inclusion and being amicable towards the biological mother took a long time to come to terms with because I never understood it nor agreed with it. For me, it was difficult to appreciate them as my in-laws when they failed to preserve our peace at a family function. At certain functions, I would alienate myself from them to avoid being the “problem.” I struggled to respect their decision, not despise the biological mom and enjoy myself at the function. Whew, that was a lot of work and exhausting! As a result, these choices, if not all, allowed me to build resentment towards my in-laws and the biological mother. How could I enjoy myself with the presence of a person that I despised? What is the bigger problem?
Some may believe that it’s okay for the biological mother to be there because she had been invited and is amicable with your in-laws. If we were co-parenting successfully, inclusion wouldn’t have been an issue for me at all. The fact that she would show up as if we were had become more disturbing than anything. Did I really expect my in-laws to ban the biological mother for the sake of my husband and I? Truthfully, yes! I would have preferred for them to wait until both sides were amicable before inviting the biological mother. I understand they made the decision based on her being my stepson’s mother. However, it created a false sense of reality for my stepson because once the event was over, we went to back to business as usual with us barely speaking to his mother. Essentially, what was this really communicating to him?
The question remains: Is it okay for the in-laws to invite the biological mother to functions knowing that there are unresolved issues? Does the answer depend on the offenses of the mother? Should it? Every family is different but by choosing to invite the biological mother, does that translate to your family member and his wife that you are not concerned about their feelings or situation? Can the actions of the in-laws be viewed as waving the white flag and choosing not to pick a side? I would love to hear another perspective on this.