Saturday, April 10, 2010

What do you do when you don't like your family

I don't like my family. If I'm honest with myself, I never have. I can remember being little and wishing I would find out I was adopted, I dreamed of running away all the time. I tried leaving for my undergrad degree but I coudn't afford to leave on my own and my brother (the only one I actually get along with) was very upset at the thought of me leaving. At seventeen, my sense of family prevented me from deciding to leave.

In my last year of undergrad, I started looking into moving away for grad school, but then I met my husband and fell in love. If it wasn't for him, I would've left. Now we're tied here, because of his awesome family and his involvement with the business. I really do love his family. Yes I have a crazy SIL and my MIL irritates the crap out of me at times, but everyone has their moments. Overall she's a good a person, who treats me with respect.

My parents and sister on the other hand....are selfish and expect the world to revolve around them. I'm supposed to be there every other night, every weekend. I'm bad mom because I choose to go to school fulltime, because I have my kid on a routine. I don't call them every day.I don't let them interrupt bishan's night time rountine. How dare I ask my dad to bring my kid home before a certain time. How dare I expect my dad to ask me if he can take my kid swimming before he asks or tell my kid he's going to take him swimming. And he does that on purpose. He wants to my kid swimming (which is nice that he wants to do that) but instead of asking me, he tells my kid. Putting me in the position of having to say no or agree despite whatever plans we have. I'm sorry thats manipulative and just plain disrespectful.

12 comments:

Maggie May said...

I think this is a common feeling, just as common as liking your family, and it's good for you to say it 'out loud'- and brave. Setting limits with grandparents can be REALLY hard- I've been there too.

chall said...

I'm sorry.

I feel like saying "at least you have given them a grand child" I'm currently having some kind of strange situation where my family is slightly feeling punished by me since I have not provided a grand child... I'm mean to them by not thinking about thier feelings and providing with children "like everyone else have".... family, not easy.

Anonymous said...

Kids are smart and yours will soon figure out what the deal is.

Enginerd said...

Do you have any advice for sort of handling people who expect you to say that your family is perfect and you get along great? People seem to be generally horrified if I tell them that I don't enjoy my time back home, or that I don't have any common ground with one of my parents. Do you ever have other people accuse you of being selfish and unloving for not wanting to accommodate your parents and sister?

Girlpostdoc said...

I think that the cultural baggage makes this situation worse. In the South Asian culture, there is an expectation of sacrifice and respect placed on women that is unhealthy. All I can say is hold your ground. From reading your blogposts, you sound like a loving and caring mom and an awesome role model. Don't let others tell you how to be - be true to yourself! Hang in there!

ScientistMother said...

MM - I know! They think they're the only people in the childs life. Its freaking annoying!

Chall - Sometimes I wish I didn't. All they ever want is stuff that makes them happy. When will I finish school, so I can spend time with them. When will I have another kid for them. When will I spend all my time with them....

Anon1 - they are smart! Last night monkey said he didn't want to see his grandma because she fights with me. Kids are so not stupid!

Enginerd - I only really talk about my family issues with people who have known me a long time and who know my family. They understand why I feel the way I do.

GPD - Oh you hit the nail on the head! Its doubly worse I think because my mom feels like I've betrayed my feminist values by not making demands on my inlaws - which is a whole other blog post. thank you so much for your encouraging words. I really needed to hear that!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous again. Might I add that when you do attain your doctorate, these very same family members will be the first to be bragging about you, as if they are the full driving force behind your achievement. Because this is how families from "traditional" cultures behave ... though in some ways it's a little more refreshing than how "westernized" families handle their business, keeping their resentments repressed. At least our folks let you know up front exactly what they're thinking, which is, weirdly enough, somewhat more fair, if that makes any sense.

I don't know how much longer you have to go, but in a few short years, this will be in the past.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Wow - you've mentioned their demanding nature before, but when you list it all out like this, it really drives it home (and makes my current annoyance with my parents seem very minor in comparison). I'm sorry you're in such a frustrating situation.

All the kids I know who have a fixed routine seem much better behaved and more settled than the ones without. So keep up the good work, you are an awesome mum!

The bean-mom said...

Wow. I know that there there is a lot of emphasis on family closeness and duty in Asian cultures (my own family is Asian, although a different ethnicity--we're Thai-Chinese), but those demands are *really* out-of-control! Does your sister have children yet? Perhaps when she does, she will be more understanding of your duties to your own nuclear family, and the grandparental attention can be diluted a bit more.

My parents live almost two hours away, which is a nice distance for us. Even so, it can be hard when they do not respect the childrens' schedules and feel that they can do anything they please because, after all, they are the elders and my husband and I just have to take it. Sometimes it really seems as though my parents have NO memory of parenting young children themselves.

I think we just have to be firm and continue to insist on limits--i.e. "Johnny has bed-time at 8 and cannot stay out later; you *cannot* give him that huge candy bar right before noon because then he won't eat lunch." It's hard, I know, and sometimes it seems like the grandparents are deliberately doing everything they can to sabotage your set routine!

I and my kids only seem my parents about once a month, though, so you definitely have it harder.

Amelie said...

I'm sorry. This sounds really tough, especially with having them so close. No advice, unfortunately, my family situation and the associate difficulties are rather different... (though this might well change when we have a kid).

ScientistMother said...

Anon - Yes and No. I don't ever see myself as 9-5 worker and as my kid gets older, his life will be busy too. He'll have his activities and will want to hang out with his friends..I'm going to have to figure out how to deal with this.

Cath - Routines are so essential to preventing or stopping tantrums. Monkey knows what to expect and is able to deal. When he's overtired or overstimulated he just can not deal with his emotions. I find myself giving in and trying to "manage" him, as I feel guilty doing my normal boundary setting. He's acting out because he's so tired and doesn't know how to cope, vs trying to push the limits.

BeanMom - my sister does have kids, 2 actually. She's a very different from person me. She's not very career focused and actually spends alot of time with my parents. She finds it easier to drive 30minutes to their place for dinner than to cook and she doesn't have alot of emphasis on rountine. Most likely because our kids are so different. Monkey is really a monkey, whereas my nephew is a much calmer, shyer kid. He's not very active and will not go nuts if left in a house all day. But he is also very mouthy and I've seen my sister get very very frustrated with his behavior and tantrums. We have very different children, different lifestyles and life choices. My parents want me to be like her put less emphasis on my career / education and more on them.

I have been regulating my parents to seeing monkey about 1 month or 1 every 3 weeks. There are alot of characteristics / behaviors I just don't want him being overly exposed to. Both my parents can be hugely judgmental, very critical and negative. They lack proper communication skill ie yell and scream, say very hurtful things and then expect you to get over it. I'm not like that. I need to figure out how to let them have a relationship with monkey, where I feel like monkey's needs are being met and my wishes are respected....

I also know I need to remain firm. They're going to throw everything at me to get me to be the way they want.

Amelie - thanks for the understanding. I so wish my parents lived farther away...

The bean-mom said...

Oh, sorry to hear that the parental pressure isn't diluted by the other grandchildren! That just seems so strange to me for young children to NOT be on a schedule! I know everyone is different, and my husband and I aren't fanatics about routine, but we find that it really does help stave off the tantrums!

Ah, well, different folks... Hang in there, SM>