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Already over Thanksgiving

strugglingSM's picture

In early October, one SS called DH to ask if he could go to California to spend Thanksgiving with his grandparents, even though it's his year to be with DH. In response, DH sends a message to BM via OFW saying, "SS asked me if he could go to California for Thanksgiving. Please confirm." BM sends 9 paragraphs in response about how it was just SS's idea and she doesn't even know if her parents will be in California...and on and on and on about nothing. DH then replies to SS and says, "your mom says you haven't confirmed with your grandparents", but he then tells SS he can go (SS is nearly 16 and DH is over fighting with them about coming over). Then we don't hear anything. Weeks later DH sends SS a text asking if he's going to California. He replies, "Ya". Again, no word from BM at all about this and no word from anyone on whether both SSs are going or just one.

So, last weekend, SSs are with us and I have to drive one to basketball practice. So, I ask him if his brother is going, too. He replies, "No. I'm going because I wanted to see my grandparents new condo." I say something like, "I'm sure it will be nice to get away on your own" and that's that, but really, not sure why SS gets to set his own trips, esp on DH's time. 

This same weekend, my mom (who is in town for Thanksgiving) tells MIL that she won't be able to go to MIL's house to help her cook because she's doing something with me and my DD. MIL replies, "that's fine because other SS will be with me to help me cook." Ok...MIL was at our house earlier in the day, but did not mention anything to DH about it.

Then today, BM sends DH a message saying, "are you going to pick SS up or am I dropping him off on Thanksgiving. And what time?" This is all in their agreement. She drops SSs off at the start of the holiday time, which is 9am on Thanksgiving. She also includes something about how she dropped other SS off at the airport and she'll be cooking all day (for whom, we don't know, since her parents will be in California and her kids will be with DH. Also, when I met DH he told me that she "didn't celebrate Thanksgiving" because she always wanted to go away with her DH (now ex husband #2)). So, DH replies and says, "you can drop him off at 9am." BM then sends him a nasty reply saying, "I mentioned that I was cooking all day, so if you really wanted to be amicable you'd pick him up. You're not even going to have to drop him off because your mother is doing that!" Um, okay, DH has rearranged his Friday twice in the last month because BM had "plans" and couldn't do drop off, like in their agreement, but sure BM just send your nasty message. Also, if you want him to pick up then just ask. No additional responses sent to her and I also pointed out to DH that his doing Friday pick up for her has earned him no good will, so he should remember that the next time BM is "in a bind" and can't drop SSs off like she agreed to at the last mediation. 

At the exact same time, MIL is texting DH asking if it's okay if SS stays with her on Wednesday night (which is not DH's night). DH texts her and asks why BM is telling him that she's bringing SS home from Thanksgiving. MIL replies that she made plans for SS to stay at her house on Thanksgiving because BIL's kids are staying over. She didn't ask DH's permission for that, so not sure why she's asking him about Wednesday. DH assumes that BM contacted MIL to ask if SS could stay because she was too busy to drive him...while also emailing DH about what a jerk he was for not offering to pick up. BM has no idea what might be going on at our house that day, but always assumes we have nothing going on and can easily take on whatever responsibilities she doesn't want. 

I just can't with these women. There is so much triangulation and poor communication from both of them that even simple things like following the custody schedule become long, drawn-out, whose-on-first drama fests. It makes every holiday miserable.

Also, still no idea what time MIL expects us to be at her house for dinner, no idea who will be there, etc. BM probably knows since she and MIL seem to be besties lately (a month ago, MIL showed up at my house unannounced because she made plans to meet BM at pick up), but I have no idea since MIL never tells me or DH anything. I've already had to see her once this week for my daughter's birthday. Seeing her twice in one week might kill me. 


lieutenant_dad's picture

"Since you've already been coordinating with BM, talk to her and leave me out of it. Also, we'll be over at noon on Thanksgiving unless you want us over at a different time."

The triangulation is why my DH and MIL have a poor relationship. She did much the same things that it sounds like your MIL is doing, and DH eventually just told her that if she was going to be besties with ET that she did so on her own. Worked in her favor for a while, but now she has lost relationships with her son and grandsons.

Your DH has the right attitude about not fighting it anymore. Don't get me wrong - it sucks for him. But, they're 16 (and holy cow, I remember you posting when they were 12!) and soon they'll decide what kind of adult relationships they want with folks. Your DH is transitioning from being a primary family member to just another member of the family, and it's a crap place to be when kids are still teens.

Have some wine, eat some pie, and let the drama-stirrers just stir away at their drama. 

strugglingSM's picture

I advised DH that he should just let MIL figure it out...she wants to "talk" to him today and I can almost guarantee it's because BM's sister has cancer and MIL is going to tell DH he has to "help her out". Um, no, MIL, you can help BM if you want, but DH is an adult and you don't get to tell him what to do. What really stinks is that MIL then tells SSs what she thinks DH should do...which is essentially alienation. MIL also told my mother this week that she hopes DH "realizes that being a parent doesn't stop when they are 18" and that DH will have to pay for college. Um, no MIL he doesn't "have to" and also, you're a terrible parent yourself and have undermined DH being a parent every step of the way, so what exactly do you expect him to do when SSs turn 18? I cannot wait until we can move away to at least have some distance between us and MIL. Then she can complain all she wants and we'll be too far away to hear it. 

tog redux's picture

Ugh. I don't miss the 9 paragraph email manifestos when BM felt challenged. 

strugglingSM's picture

For us, these are the longest when BM gets caught doing something that goes against the agreement. When DH showed me the message from her, I noticed that she also added her summer vacation for next year...right over one of DH's weekends. She won't say anything to him, even when the weekend arrives, but if he comments on how she's scheduled over his weekend again, she'll say that she couldn't possibly know when his weekends are, so far in advance. Um, yes, you could BM because we added them all to the calendar for the next four there would no longer be any "confusion" and no need to discuss switching weekends. 

SeeYouNever's picture

Man you've got all the classic annoyances all at once. Triangulation between the BM and in laws, BM expecting your DH to be a mind reader when it comes to her "busy" plans, wishy washy stepkids, in laws competing for time, long winded self-righteous relies from BM, and the biggest classic: not sticking to the CO. 

How in the heck can anyone say stepparents "knew what they were signing up for?"  The most one expects is having a skid every other Thanksgiving, but is that anyone's reality? How does could anyone expect all this next level crap? 

My in laws pull this triangulation crap too and talk to BM more than DH, then fail to loop him in, and definitely fail to loop me in to anything. They always play dumb too, and act like they thought you knew. 

My DH was traveling for work for the first half of this week, we almost skipped doing Thanksgiving but had a friend invite us. It will probably be pretty nice, no stepkids, no in laws, no family, no cooking! 


strugglingSM's picture

MIL's excuse is always, "I'm just an old lady who doesn't know any better", "I was just trying to help", or some variation on how she needs to show SSs they are loved because DH clearly doesn't love them enough (the last one is always the response when DH tries to set a boundary). Really, all involvement is so MIL can feel relevant and "needed" because she's also a bit of a narc herself and has never met a boundary she didn't want to trample on. I tell DH that when he asks her not to do something, it's almost like she views it as a dare to do it.

I dream about spending Christmas off somewhere traveling with DH and my daughter...instead of dealing with any family drama. Enjoy your glorious, drama free and stress free thanksgiving!

strugglingSM's picture

It's 9:20am and no sign of SS. This was even though yesterday afternoon, there were emails with BM that confirmed she would drop him off at 9am. And no additional word from MIL on SS staying at her house. Between these two women, I just can't.