Urrg. Parents.

I feel like I use an extraordinary amount of patience and restraint when it comes to my parents. I only imagine how much I could accomplish in my life if I didn’t have to do that.

One of my best friends is throwing me a baby shower. I’m very excited about it, and a little nervous too, because I don’t really like being the center of attention. But mostly excited.

As you know, my parents are divorced. It is not amicable. They only speak when they have to, and always through text or email. They saw each other once after they got divorced, and that was for my wedding. It wasn’t pleasant.

Anyway, this shower is going to include my closest friends and the women on my mom’s side. My dad’s side is huge and very spread out, so whenever we have a new baby come into the family we celebrate at Christmas when we’re all together. We don’t do showers on that side because, for one thing, a lot of people were procreating all at once a few years back and it would have required a lot of travel. For another, like I said-we’re spread out. Christmas is easier.

So I didn’t invite even the local women from my dad’s side because of this. Also because I knew they wouldn’t be nice to my mom. I also didn’t invite my dad’s girlfriend, ONLY because her and my mom have never met and I also knew she would have literally no one to talk to there. There will be no one she knows. I talked to dad about this and he said it was fine-that he totally understood. I asked him to talk to his girlfriend about it too, just to make sure she wasn’t offended before I sent the invite list off officially to the hostess.

That was WEEKS ago. He said at the time he wasn’t even going to bring it up because he thought I was right in my assumptions. But, apparently yesterday he decided to bring it up. And she really wants to come. She said she wouldn’t be at all uncomfortable.

And she’s really nice for the most part. Sometimes I feel like their relationship is a little one-sided and that my dad is having to work a little too hard, but that could be because he never did anything for my mom so it just seems like he’s doing a lot for his girlfriend. She’s been super supportive of me during my pregnancy and so has her daughter-she’s offered me really nice hand-me-downs (that I’m totally taking her up on). In general they’re nice people.

But this put me in a two-fold awkward position:

1. Telling my mother.

2. Adding ANOTHER person to the invite list I had already sent to the hostess-I don’t want her to be overwhelmed with guests.

First I tackled the telling of my mother. She was passive aggressive about it at best. She kept saying that “of course it’s not your fault” but that this was “the absolute last thing that [she] would want” and “doesn’t your dad’s girlfriend know that this should be MY day as the grandmother? not her’s as the girlfriend of the grandfather?”

Ahem. Or mine, as the mother? But I didn’t get into that.

I tried to stay positive. I kept saying things like “Mom, maybe she just feels like this will be a good neutral place for you two to finally meet-she’s always wanted Dad to learn to be on better terms with you for the sake of K and me.” Which is absolutely true. Dad’s girlfriend (we’ll call her B) is a therapist, and went through a very painful divorce herself, but she managed to stay civil with her ex for her kids and grandkids. The truth is, I can’t honestly think that she’d want to put herself in an uncomfortable position like this to make it “all about her.” She’s not K after all.

Then my mom went on to say that she resents how well my dad treats her because he never treated my mother that way. I tried to gently say “I totally understand that, but you know that’s not B’s fault.” Which she acknowledged. Anyway, it was another “going in circles” kind of conversation. It’s like she wanted me to say I was going to put my foot down and refuse to invite her and I just wasn’t going to do that. Then she told me that she had told my step-dad that he can’t come to the hospital when I’m in labor because it’s going to be my dad’s day that day (again, OR MINE AND CHIEF’S DAY) and why couldn’t my dad be considerate like that?

First of all, I NEVER asked her to do that. And I was actually a little upset that she did. For one thing, I don’t really want any of my parents there until labor is really progressing. But I love my step-dad, and I’m quite fond of dad’s girlfriend, so I’m fine with all four of my parental like people being there at the end to meet Charlie, and for goodness sakes don’t I get some sort of say in it? And for the love of all that is holy, why can’t my parents just GET OVER IT at this point? I realize that seems hypocritical of me to say considering that I’m refusing to spend time with K right now, but in my defense, it took me 27 years to get there, and I’m not the parent in this particular situation.

I think my mother also has the very mistaken impression that she’s going to be in the delivery room with me, but I really just want Chief there. I guess that could change, but the way things are right now that’s the way I feel. I’m fine talking to her right now, but there’s an underlying level of upset over everything that’s gone down. She just wants to pretend like nothing has happened, but I just can’t do that.

All I can hope is that I have learned something from all of this crap with my folks, and that I won’t pull this mess on Charlie someday. Please, someone just smack me across the face and tell me to wake up and remember what it was like for ME if I ever do this to her.


18 thoughts on “Urrg. Parents.

  1. I swear, the single best thing about me not ever giving birth is not having to have that convo with my mother. I don’t envy you that. Best of luck. Stay firm. It absolutely is YOUR day.

    • It’s like, WHY do they have to be so difficult? Don’t they remember what this was like for them? How awkward and uncomfortable so much of it is? Thanks for the support Fox-good to see you still hanging around 🙂

  2. I like the quote about “We only regret the things we *didn’t* do…” and in this case I believe you’ll regret it if you don’t clearly and unapologetically tell your Mother what you expect from her (ex: “I expect you to be polite to Dad’s GF at the shower”, and “Chief and I will not allow anyone in the delivery room–we will call you when we are ready for visitors”, etc.) You will regret it if you let her (or K, or anyone) ruin YOUR special moments–which are also Chief’s moments with his wife and daughter. You’re the Mom now and it’s time to put your foot down for and protect all 3 of you from your family’s nonsense. There’s a lot of support for these situations on the DWIL board on babycenter. Your family will try to manipulate you with guilt and tell you you’re selfish. You most certainly are not! And you most certainly will not manipulate Charlie that way (passive-aggressive, bullying, etc.). Only YOU can stop the madness! What’s the worst that can happen? They stop talking to you? They leave you in peace to enjoy your pregnancy/birth/baby? You got this! XOXO

    • You’re right-I was saying to Chief the other day that becoming a mother has made me grow a backbone in a way I never have been able to before. I think it’s why I was finally able to stand up to K and to my parents ABOUT K.

      • I felt so liberated when I finally stopped dealing with my family on *their* terms and started dealing with them on my terms. I didn’t run away crying anymore or get hung-up on. I do all the hanging-up now. I just shrug and ignore the temper tantrums & sh*t talking–it’s not easy and it goes against all your instincts/how you were raised *but* it’s worth it. ❤

  3. Oh wow that is all a bit crazy. I don’t know what is wrong with parents when it comes to babies and weddings. They suddenly seem to think it is all about them! Good luck. I hope it all works out.

    • You are exactly right-my parents were very much this way about my wedding as well. My mom was upset that I wanted to do a lot of the wedding myself and didn’t want to spend hours looking at bridal magazines like my sister did. Well, sorry, we’re different people!

  4. Oh the joys of mothers… I’m sure that when the time comes my mom plans on being in the delivery room unless I say otherwise but then she will be upset and get all teary eyes like she does when ever she talks about the grandkids she wasn’t there for at the birth honestly IDK how I will personally feel but I’m not even pregnant and I already feel the pressure because she keeps saying I’m the last one to have a baby so it’s her last chance to be there! She is already laying the guilt trips… ugh… I would just do what feels right to you! Tell her you don’t mind everyone being there once the labor is progressive and to practice for those moments at the hospital it would be better for B to be at the babyshower…

  5. Why do people that that are helping to cause drama always think that things can just be swept under the rug? In stead of apologizing when they’re in the wrong…they try to pretend it never happened! Totally feel your frustration with this!

  6. Girl, your mother needs to BACK OFF. This is all about you, your hubby and that baby girl. YOUR shower. YOUR birth. If your mom can’t suck it up and act like a grown up for a few hours on a couple of occasions, she needs a serious reality check. This is not her party. I understand how hard the divorced parent dynamic can be (been there, done that), but come on. Is this the kind of example that she’s going to set for her grandchild? I wonder what kind of advice your mother would give one of her friends in the same position.

  7. How frustrating! My parents were divorced when I was around 7 and my dad quickly remarried. My mom remarried when I was 13. My parents don’t enjoy being together, but they have done so gracefully for my entire life and my brother’s entire life when need be. In fact, my aunts on my mom’s side of the family are throwing me a shower and asked my step-mom if she wanted to help. At any rate, things haven’t always been super pleasant, but they tried hard. I hope for your sake that things work out and people can get past their issues because this is YOUR day and Chief’s day! ❤

    As for having my mom in with me in the delivery room – That will be a no for me too!

    Hugs! ❤

  8. Umm… all of these “events” are YOUR DAYS. Stay strong, make choices that you know are best for you and your family, not whats best for your mom or dad or dad’s girlfriend… This is about YOU and your husband welcoming a new family member. Do whats right for YOU 🙂 You can do this!! I know you can! XO

  9. I can honestly say I do not envy your current situation. I am glad that your dads girlfriend wants to help you celebrate such a special time in your life, and your mom should realize that it is your special day. If she wants a day to herself she can throw a grandma to be party.

  10. The etiquette of baby showers is something new to me, so when I read about your troubles My first reaction was…I thought this celebration was all about the mother and baby? and being invited to this celebration is a privilege not a given! Then I remembered the politics with planning our wedding, I guess it’s not to dissimilar to this. But all I want to scream whenever I hear about things like this is ‘it’s not about you! Put up or shut up!’ But maybe this is my unrealistic expectation and in reality it’s impossible to say this nicely.

    Or you could just do what we did and move to a far away country!! 😉

  11. We’re dealing with this a little bit too since my husband’s parents are divorced and remarried. We’re trying to figure out when everyone can come after the baby is born and if they can all be civil. Like just going through labor and delivering a baby for the first time isn’t stressful enough…I have to worry about adults acting like children!

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