High Hopes and an Attitude Adjustment

The Easter weekend was all about bonding time with T.’s parents. Two and a half days of quality time. As I mentioned last week, T.’s relationship with his mom has not been the greatest for the last 3 decades. When I came into the picture I couldn’t quite understand the reasons (I still can’t to be honest) but I have been very encouraging for T. to fix whatever needs to be fixed. Each (rare) visit is full of hopes for moving forward from whatever may have happened in the past that caused the relationship drift apart.

But what does one do when ‘putting the best foot forward’ just is not enough? I think this visit finally made me realize that I would not have that perfect relationship with my mother in law, she will never be the ‘second’ mom I always imagined I would have once marrying someone. T. is used to not having that closeness with his mom that I have been craving for so much. He does not think it is a big deal, but it is to me. He would say he could try to fix things if he knew where they are broken. He stopped trying years ago 🙁

High Hopes and an Attitude Adjustment

I’ve felt all along that T.’s mom is wanting my friendship but it is hard for me to give myself away to fully embrace it when all she has to say about T. is demeaning. T. was not provoking negative comments, tried to be helpful and pleasing. Things that would trigger confrontations were trivial, things I would never imagine could blow into a full steam one sided screaming episodes. T. is one of the kindest people I know. I just don’t understand. Just because I feel put right in the middle, in a very uncomfortable situation, I don’t think there is much for me to do.

On the last day of our stay I got really upset, just because, again, I had really high hopes. I hoped for a fun trip full of laughter, love, trip that would make us all connected more, because we are family. Instead, I was upset and disappointed. When we left Naples and were on our way to Miami I was cranky in a car, snappy and basically looking for someone to blame. And who was the closest one to blame? T.  And so I went on and on about what I thought may have gone wrong in the last several years that caused his relationship with his mom suffer. I was getting more and more ‘wired up’. Now I was getting upset with him. And T. did not even do anything. He was just peaceful and quiet, patient, just driving. And then it hit me, I created ‘a story’ in my mind and when it did not go my way, I was looking to blame someone for it. Now it was up to me, to have a nice and enjoyable drive and a great evening in Miami or to stay upset, complain and spoil the rest of the day for us.

The coffee surely made it a better ride :)

A cup of coffee surely made it a better ride 🙂

So I took a few minutes to refocus, just some quiet time for attitude adjustment. Sometime one can only do that much. Sometimes things are not perfect, even though we wish they were. At the end of the day all one can do is make sure that she is kind and thoughtful and considerate.

It really takes conscious effort. “It’s easy to be heavy, hard to be light”.

I will continue to make the phone calls, to write cards, to be the best daughter in law that I can.  I will continue to be a good daughter, sister and a friend. That’s what I CAN do. That’s what I can control.



  1. Anni says:

    You are not going to be able to change things between them that is up to them is his mother married still to his father? My husbands mother is remarried and it has been my observation that both his dad’s new wife and his mother’s new husband are very envious of m husband and always try to burn down any bridges that have been built between him and his parents all i can suggest is that you love T and support him in the life you build together you can’t change people but you can change yourself and how you decide to deal with this disappointment

    • SimpleIsGood4U says:

      Thank you for taking your time to comment, Anni. Yes, T.’s parents are still married. Around 15 years ago they separated (T.’s dad getting a girlfriend for 2 years) and almost divorced but I think the fact that they were retiring just then and money issues may have complicated things. That’s what I think.
      The dad is quiet and humble, he simply just follows now. I know the relationship with him would blossom it that would be just him. He basically does not hold any opinions of his own for now.
      The family is alienated, T.’s mom has 5 siblings and none of them talk to her, while having great relationship among the rest of them.
      May be worth mentioning that I am the second wife. The first wife, with whom T. has a son, had no relationship with T.’s mom. Absolutely zero. They met once and apparently it went to badly that there was no follow up after that.
      I think the hard part for me is knowing that this is the exact opposite of what I always imagined it would be.

  2. Maria says:

    You need to back off. His relationship with his parents is what it is…you don’t get to meddle just because you want a “second mother.” Be willing to listen if he wants to talk about it and continue to be friendly with his parents, but it’s not your relationship to fix. If you keep pushing, it will most likely backfire.

    • SimpleIsGood4U says:

      I will surely not push much after this past weekend.

      If that depended on my husband he would have not bothered to visit at all. It was all me pushing it. :/ He does not want to talk about it to be honest, it has been a reality for him for a very long time and I know he made peace with it. Now I obviously need to do same.

  3. TerriCheney says:

    I shall echo Anni. You cannot change T’s family dynamics but you can be a great wife to T and you can connect with his family on your own. It is a rare thing for all family and in laws to love wholly and fully. I do understand what you hoped. I have a rater rocky relationship with my only living brother and my mom. I am the first to take the brunt of their anger and bitterness. It’s a long story but it is, what it is. I can’t control them. I can control me. I choose to severely limit my time in their presence. I have a daughter in law who has made every attempt to be friendly with her a road of thorns and broken glass. I have another daughter in law that I do sincerely love like my own children. I consider her a huge blessing. I don’t want a negative relationship with my first daughter in law and have put up with some rude, disrespectful and downright nasty treatment but in the end it’s not a relationship I will pursue simply because peace at any cost isn’t peace. I’ve come to see that her horrid behavior is a way of holding others hostage to her moods.
    I think your blessing in this is that T is the man he is DESPITE the way his mother treats him. Thank God for that!!

    • SimpleIsGood4U says:

      Dear Terri, thank you for sharing a bit of your personal story with me as well. Yes, definitely agree that it is hard to embrace the new ‘in laws’ family fully. It is hard to start calling strangers ‘mom’ and ‘dad’.. I find myself constructing sentences so I avoid it. Lots of going around.. Especially when it is a bit rocky from the start, especially when one is unsure of the reasons.
      Anyway, it is what it is, just like you said. We are back to being in 2 different states. I wrote a nice note of Thank You basically the next day. I feel I did best I could, and am moving on, since we probably will not see them for another 6 months.
      Again, I really appreciated your constructive feedback, Terri. x

  4. Becky says:

    Life is so complicated, especially when you are talking about years and years of whatever patterns people have gotten into, before you came along.

    It sounds like you have come to a wise conclusion–control what you can, let the rest alone. This is a conclusion I have had to come to as well, mostly with my children. Because they had rocky beginnings, birth mothers who took drugs, etc., sometimes things have not turned out the way I wish they had. They tend to make bad choices, often because their brains do not work right, sometimes because they just want to. (Not all of them, thank goodness)I do know the grieving that comes with the loss of a dream, and that is very real. In your case, it is for a second mother. In mine, it is for a family like the old tv show, “The Waltons” or other “perfect” families that I perceive people to be. I have learned over the years, that sometimes families I observe are not actually perfect when I get a closer look–we all have our troubles.

    Instead, our family looks much different than the close, happy family (of course, fictitious) that is on tv shows. When they make poor choices that affect us all, I have to remind myself that they were shown another way, and it is their decision, and their consequences to bear. I can’t control them, or their choices. You are wise to figure this out now. I spent quite a bit of emotional energy trying to fix things before I figured it out. So, now, I will buy groceries if they need them, but never offer money, etc.

    • SimpleIsGood4U says:

      I admire and respect you Becky, your blended family is a dream come true for the children you and your husband took in. They all seem to be doing so well, although I am sure, just like you are saying it, it is not all perfect all the time (or most of the time).
      The lack of connection with the in laws is something I am having hard time to accept (although I am) is because I always imagined I would have a big family, lots of visitors for the holidays, cousins and all of that and none of that is happening. T. is the only child and ALL my family is back in Poland. I am still hopeful I will have children on my own but at almost 37 I am not even sure any more how realistic I am.
      So there are a lot of factors here that brought me down, the crazy mother in law, being just one of them. :/

  5. Kathy says:

    Mariana, Thank you for sharing your family experiences on your blog. You are brave to be so vunerable. I am certain that you will continue to make the best choices for you and your family. Take all posts, including this one, with a grain of salt. Xxoo Kkw

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