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The bane of my disengagement journey

momjeans's picture

The withholding of information. Is this normal? 

I’m referring to skid’s visitation. Is she here? Is she not here? Am I not worthy of knowing this information? Yeah, I don’t entertain her, spend money on her, play taxi for her, or babysit her, but I do welcome her into our home and treat her with the same respect and selected attentiveness as I do any other child I haven’t given birth to.

Per skid’s school calendar, May 30th was skid’s last day of school. A half day at that, and usually not worth sending skid if that means BM can get her on a plane ASAP. Screw end of year celebrations and yearbook signing for skid is BM’s repeated MO. DH would know this information if BM didn’t refuse to coparent. She goes through the in-laws because they are enabling Yes Men.

With that said, skid is too precious to fly unaccompanied minor, even if DH offers to pay for it, so that means either MIL or FIL endure a one-way 12 hour plane adventure just to pick her up and bring her back. This is the way it happens every summer and Christmas. It’s spendy and I’m not a fan. MIL and FIL also give BM too much say and power in decision making, overriding their own adult child, but that’s another story for another time. It’s basically beating a dead horse when we address it, MIL turns on the water works, flying monkey FIL yells at DH that he has made his mother cry. It’s a trifecta of BS.


I caught DH at just the right moment a few days ago, blah blah blah something or other about his parents, so I took the opportunity to ask “So, when is skid going to be here? Have your parents mentioned anything?” In true DH form, he pauses then gives me his classic blank stare and says “Ha! Yeah, I don’t know. I haven’t talked to my parents.”

Yeah, okay DH. He’s either lying by omission (which he often does come visitation time to avoid confrontation, I guess!?), or his parents actually haven’t divulged the travel dates/times (which is also plausible, because his parents live to play their games, too, withholding of important information being a favorite). I think this is also their parent/adult child dig towards DH because he doesn’t enforce me to toe the “skid is the BEST thing ever!” line. They have expressed their dismay in DH’s complicity in my disengagement before, so, there’s that. I haven’t forgotten their little emotional blow ups because I don’t prioritize poor COD over my own flesh and blood. 

So, here we are. June 1st. (Spoiler alert - she IS usually here by now.)

The absence of this info is by no means keeping me from engaging in day to day life in general and with our kids, but it IS nice to know what’s going on. I mean, spouses share things with one another right? Even things that the other spouse with eventually be asked over and over, all summer long, then ultimately guilt-tripped into engaging in. Is it wrong for me to hold this expectation, twice a year, even though I see the sharing of information being acted out more aggressively with each passing year at the hands of my in-laws and even my DH? 

Until I ended up blocking MIL and FIL last Christmas, that was how I would find out. A high and mighty matriarchal-esque text from MIL like “Hey Girl! Skid is here! Would you guys like to go to dinner tonight? She wants to see everyone. She loves everyone!” Because we’re faaaaaaamily.

Then we show up and it’s the skid show and the “My Mom is/does/said” show - every time. I swear this is all to stroke the in-laws emotions and needs to have control at all times. 





justmakingthebest's picture

I am so confused.... why do your in-laws have anything to do with the schedule of visitation? Why doesn't you DH know when his kid is going to be there? 

momjeans's picture

It’s a long, long story. My past blog entires will offer some insight, though.

Short story: HCBM went off the rails when we moved across the country in May of 2014 - 4 years ago. My DH gave his mother permission to temporarily step in on his behalf to make summer visitation arrangements for that summer. MIL hasn’t relinquished that position since. We’ve had several family meetings since, to address the matter, which ends in an epic meltdown on MIL and FIL’s part every single time.

It’s also a win for HCBM, because in-laws never tell her no and allow her to deviate from the CO. 

DH paid for another certified copy of the CO to be sent to him, but it somehow never made its way to him. It’s no coincidence. I’m 100% positive my in-laws intercepted it in the mail, seeing an official letter from the state of skid’s residence. 

momjeans's picture

He cannot. I mean, he CAN, but it would still have to be mailed to him from the west coast. 

I’m aware he needs to change venue to our state. He’s dragging his feet, of course. 

Iamwoman's picture

Ok, so disregarding the messy in law situation, I do think that info is being withheld from you as a passive aggressive retaliatory measure to punish you for your disengagement.

Time to play the game back at ‘em.

Here’s what I would do: since no one is giving me skid info, I would assume that skid isn’t coming this year (she’s not here on usual date so this assumption is safe given no info about her arrival which you also usually get). Based on your assumption that skid isn’t coming, make plans and buy tickets for awesome summer fun for just you and your bios. Schedule events, book hotel rooms, and make sure there are only enough beds for you and bios. Then, grab your bios and rush out today on a “summer prep shopping trip” in which they get to pick out their fave foods and snacks for the summer, as well as summer toys, books and swim suits, etc. Make it clear that this is a one time shopping trip to kick off the summer.

Next, sign yourself and bios up for some sort of really cool class together (multi week would be best), such as pottery, glass making, parasailing, windsurfing, etc (whatever in your area - check out Groupon).

Omce all of your summer plans are in place, refuse to change them, or even budge an inch once skid shows up. Make a big deal about not knowing that skid was coming because usually everyone tells you, so you assumed that since you weren’t told anything she wasn’t coming. Stress that you are NOT changing YOUR plans one iota, as you resent being made the pivot point of whatever mindagmes or “forgetfulness” everyone else seems to be indulging in. Tell them that if they want you to be aware of skid visitation next summer, to open their mouths, because you can’t be held responsible for what you don’t know, as evidenced by the mess that THEY have made out of this summer with THEIR games.

If they try to claim that you are the one playing games, it is very easy to turn that back around on them again. You’re not the one withholding information... everything you do is above board and out in the open. End of story. 

Then enjoy your summer with bios and ignore the ensuing drama. 

notsofast's picture

Completely agree!  Go be awesome with your family.  I wouldn't hesitate to schedule vacations when it's convenient for you and trips to museums and the zoo etc when it's convenient to you.  No one has told you otherwise, so just go have an amazing summer.  

She will show up or she won't.  And it will be the job of those who arranged her arrival to entertain her.

twoviewpoints's picture

I seem to remember this very same topic this time a year ago from you. So same ol', same ol' at MomJean's house?

I really wouldn't worry about what the in-laws, BM and SD are up to and all the when. If in-laws are willing to fly round trip twice a summer to pick-up kid and take her back, meh. Dad is reimbursing the flight for them is he? 

I'd not give whether the kid is here or not until DH officially informs you (with appropriate notice) that SD is due at your house (not necessarily in town). If BM sent the kid early without discussion with Dad to his parents, let the grandparents be responsible for her. 

Surely Dh knows what the CO says. Surely it doesn't say kid will show up when she shows up and/or whenever GMa gets done playing games. 

You want a date and time as to when the kid is showing up on your doorstep. What the kid does the week before (days prior to your doorstep) is not your problem.. If he's aware kid is in town, shame on him for lying. If he really doesn't know, shame on him for not putting his foot down with BM. 

Once the day comes that kid is due per the CO in town, the grandparents are totally out of bounds in the annual summer visitation. I'd have no problems with kid spending an extra (BM's time) week before or after the father's CO schedule, but if the grandparents take the kid on BM's time it's solely them and shouldn't involve Dad and especially not you. No calling you, no dropping by, no bothering you with anything at all. 

So Dh needs to give you a date whether it's 'oops, honey, I forgot it's *surprise* today' or whether he grabs one out of his hat and says 'kid will be on our doorstep beginning 9am June 9th' 

You really should start thinking about taking the first week of June off each summer and flying off to some wonderful quiet relaxing place where you don't have to GAF what's going on with DH, skid, BM or in-laws. 

momjeans's picture

Yep! Same sh*t, different year.

Thank you, twoviewpoints. Your response is empowering.

Harry's picture

If you don’t change anything, nothing is going to change.  Your DH and in laws are sick, no other answer, I know you don’t want to see that. And you make excuses for him. We all do that!  But unless you put your foot down, and made your DH talk to you and not except. “ I don’t know”  it’s not going to change.  He works 12 hours a day and never sees his DD.  He does not care,  BM doesn’t care and your DH doesn’t care about this child and your the one getting the short end of the stick.  

You should be happy your in laws spoil SD and keeping her out of your hair. I would not let your Bio kids any where ne’er thes people.  Tty to have a nice summer, hopefully you don’t have to see SD that much 

momjeans's picture

Thanks, Harry.

I agree. My DH is equally a POS in this scenario. 

And, oh yes. I’m totally grateful that they keep skid out of my hair. I think that’s the area of contention, too, DH working 12 hour days, working when he’s home even, forfeiting time with our kids, while playing into his mother’s “let’s all rally around skid” BS once her plane touches the ground. 

Absolutely not. 

momjeans's picture

I assume she’s on her way, because D(umb)H said he noticed his dad posted a bunch of photos on Fakebook late last night of skid, of skid and MIL, from the previous years of summer visitation. It’s their enmeshed way of preparing all their friends and family for the arrival of skid, I’ve observed. 

(In-laws level of enmeshment is next level weird to me, btw. My FIL admittedly drove around the block, over and over again, where drunkBIL was doing intensive inpatient alcohol treatment, in hopes of “catching a glimpse of him” while they had “outside time”.) 

Also, FIL, who lives to retweet, or reply on Twitter, has been radio silent for the last 24 hours. He’s the epitome of the average 70-something white guy who shouldn’t have access to Twitter, let alone the internet. 

D(umb)H was overly sweet and attentive last night, too, after walking in the door at 8pm and pulling a 12 hour shift. 

The devil is always in the details. Always.