From the TV sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond (and I'm paraphrasing):
Maria, the overbearing, narcissistic MIL is complaining, "I don't feel welcome in your home."
Debra, the DIL says "But you are over ALL the time. You never give me a chance to welcome you."
This is a sentiment I feel with my in-laws a lot. They are here. All the time. Well, not ALL the time, but enough that it doesn't feel like I get much of a break from them. And they are coming down, again, on their monthly trips to babysit the other grandkids and park it over at my BIL's house for the weekend (they always stay the ENTIRE weekend, Friday morning to late Sunday night).
I'm feeling annoyed by that again, and partially I know that I don't really have a right to feel that way. I didn't make the plans, it's not my house, and I don't have a say so.
But part of me feels, again, that we are just expected to go along with everyone else's plans. Sure, we can say no. But there always feels like some sort of pressure to go along with every one else's life. Like we are expected to fit into THEIR lives, but no the other way around.
As usual, BIL and MIL schedule these weekends and we fit around BIL's social schedule. Or MIL and FIL make plans to come in for their social schedule and we are expected to fit around that. I always feel like we are an "add on". Something to round out their weekend.
Which would be fine once and awhile. But we are never the priority. MIL never tries to work out coming into town, or making plans with us, it never feels like it's about US. About actually making an effort to treat us like grown ups with our own family and schedules. About trying to communicate with us and get together with us on an adult level. I'm not sure if I'm conveying that well. But it just feels that it is always about MIL, or BIL, or football games, or whatever. And not about finding time to spend together in which we can all feel comfortable or valued.
And on the flip side, there is lots of pressure to invite them down to our house, to make plans with them. MIL, despite her intensely controlling nature, likes to sit back and have people create plans for her. To come to her and ASK her to be around us. To WANT her to be around and to prove it. She's very covert in how she does conveys that, but I always feel that. It comes across in that she never just calls up and says "We would like to spend time with you. What would work for you. What would you like to do?" It comes across in the subtle ways she hints to my husband (and he in turn gets upset with me) that she'd like to stay. She talks a big game about wanting to create family time and family memories and all of that, but she doesn't seem to want to do any of the actual WORK to make that happen. It's so, so subtle but it always feels like it's a choice between doing all the work for her, or fitting in around her. I just don't feel like we are considered at all.
I'm not sure if I'm making sense with this. I have a hard time really understanding my feelings myself. And, being a big hypocrite, I actually don't want to spend more time with them. But I think it's times like this that seem to highlight how enmeshed and self-centered the family is. I don't feel like plans are made between adults, but that we are children expected to just "go along" with things. I don't feel like it is negotiated time in which everyone can feel comfortable. I feel like we are just puzzle pieces fitting into MIL's (and BIL - or in this case SIL's - grand schemes.) And I can't really say anything. What would I say? You can't come down? Don't invite us along to your things? Even telling them to make more of an effort to involve us specifically would have an outcome I wouldn't want.
So, maybe I'm just here bitching because it's a shitty situation all around. I don't really want it to be fixed (because to "fix it" would mean more time with these thoughtless people, which I don't want) but I don't like feeling like an "after thought" all the time. I dislike feeling so marginalized and unimportant. I dislike how all the toxic and negative behavior is hidden underneath "family" dinners and the like. I dislike how I'm always cast as the one who doesn't invite them down enough (when they are ALWAYS here) or make an effort to plan things (when they never do that themselves). There just is no good solution