“I wish we could do better”

(Last Updated On: July 10, 2019)

Hi everyone, I’m back! I haven’t blogged in a few weeks due to a bunch of consecutive events: visiting my in laws, having my friends over for a stay, us all falling very ill which included a couple of night spewing episodes with Ally and hospital visit for the baby. Typing on here feels a little effortful and even unnatural once again :/  But I’m sure I will ease back into it with a couple of posts…

So few weeks ago, we drove up to the sunny coast to visit the in laws. There were good moments, great moments, not so nice moments – as you do. I did really enjoy seeing the kids (my little brother-in-law, little sister-in-law, nephew, cousins) and going out to dinner with my husband’s parents and his favourite uncle & aunty. The last time I saw any of them would be almost 4 years ago.

Before travelling up there, I had dreaded the trip for days. I couldn’t sleep for a few nights, dreaming up possible conflicts, conversations gone bad with my MIL – cue MIL problems. (I have 2 MILs – 1 whom I get along with and 1 whom I struggle to.) I have actually only met the one I don’t get along with once in my life for a period of 2 weeks and sadly, it wasn’t the nicest of experiences. I was in tears half the time and was extremely uncomfortable. This time, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to another visit.

Almost like Monday-dread but 10 times head-in-hands, totally-stressed-out kind of worse!

See, my MIL isn’t a terrible person. Neither am I. Sometimes, some people just don’t click and I think that’s ok. We are civil, sometimes she texts me and it’s all good and polite.

This time, Husband and I got her some gifts and made a silent note to make sure we meet her in the day so as not to coincide with her drinking times so hopefully, it is all civil and sober with no dramas, tears, fighting.

On the day we were supposed to meet her, my husband asked me again if I wanted to go. He said I didn’t have to go if I wasn’t comfortable and he would understand. Besides, it wasn’t just us meeting her for lunch so it probably wouldn’t be too obvious or rude that I was missing from the group.

After all the hours and nights of dreading, I jumped and bolted for the opportunity. It just looked like such a good, easy way out not to have to deal with any potential dramas.

“Alright, I won’t go then. But please do send her my well wishes and give her the presents we got for her. I really hope she likes them.”

I wasn’t trying to be smart. Neither was I trying to be nasty or rude.
I simply justified in my mind and thought it would be better if we didn’t meet.
That way, I potentially won’t get upset, I potentially won’t cry, I don’t have to put myself in a situation that I am not comfortable in… On the other hand, she will just have my well wishes, have the gifts and everything will be civil and neutral!

No one has to go out of their way to deal with any potential discomfort.
What a perfect win-win situation for both.

Later, she sent me a text message to thank me for the gifts and said she missed seeing me. She also apologised for anything she had said or done to hurt me in the past and said: “I wish we could do better”.

As we made the long drive home back to the Hunter, I was surprised to realise that I didn’t feel all that happy about not seeing her.
The relief I thought I would feel was distinctively missing.
The ‘brilliant’ arrangement that I thought was foolproof had failed to satisfy.

Unexpectedly, it felt like… a missed opportunity.
Unexpectedly, I felt a little sad.
Unexpectedly, I felt a little disappointed with myself.
One visit in 4 years and I couldn’t even do it? Is my heart just not magnanimous enough?

Sure, things could have gone bad as before. But it could also have gone better.
I was too busy being guarded and hurt and preventing potential this and that to allow a second chance.
Too busy trying to protect myself.
That is a problem I definitely have.
Maybe time will help me open my heart a little more.

{Linking my reflections with Essentially Jess for IBOT}

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  • I think this is a really honest post Mandy, some people are super difficult to deal with. I am glad that she text you to say thank you. Is she a drinker? I have experienced a drinker in my life who would do horrible things under pressure but actually is a kind person the rest of the time. Maybe next time you will feel like seeing her again. Big hugs, it is a hard thing to deal with.

    • Hi Eleise, yeah see I feel bad making her out to be a difficult person because I do think she is also kind and lovely in her own way. I would say drinking is a big factor; many people agree but she denies it and I can’t control someone else except to make decisions for myself to put myself in certain situations or not. Maybe next time!

  • I can totally relate to you and your MIL – I have issues with my MIL as well. She still lives in South Africa and only visits when we pay for her to come here. I don’t think she will come again as she was very unhappy the last twice that we brought her out here – why, I have no idea as everything is paid for, she taken around the country, entertained, fed and looked after. She is a strange lady but I make the effort for my husband’s sake.
    Having said that, I love both those quotes you have – they are both so very true !
    Have the best day that you can !

    • It is hard and to prevent our husbands from feeling stuck in the middle, we really should try to make the effort. I sometimes think I should be trying harder than I am! But I then have moments where I think I have the right to make choices for my own life not to be in a miserable situation! Oh, the dilemma!

  • I feel for you. In-laws are tricky at the best of times. On the positive side, it is nice that she made the effort to contact you so it is left on better terms and I’m sure this missed opportunity will help you be more open to other similar opportunities that come up in the future. Thanks for sharing so honestly

  • Finding you via IBOT – a nice reflection – love that Jim Rohn quote about walls keeping out both sadness and joy. Sometimes when we do push ourselves to do hard things we feel better – even when they don’t work out, at least we know we have tried. A hard situation – maybe you can cultivate the relationship long distance a bit more so that next time you will choose to meet. Step families are hard with more different relationships – more chances that we won’t get along with at least some people.

    • I love the Jim Rohn quote too! I think we get along better just on text messages; at least it’s always civil and polite. But I know it can’t go on forever.. oh well, maybe next time!

  • I can totally understand this, wanting to avoid seeing a certain person because of the way they make you feel. Unfortunately I can’t go 4 years without seeing them! But I get the strange thing where when you don’t see them you think that it would have been better if you had. It’s almost a catch-22 situation, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t! #teamIBOT

  • Relationships are so difficult, particularly between MILs and DILs I think. I know my relationship with my MIL leaves a lot to be desired and I also wish that it wasn’t so, but I don’t know how to do anything about that. I love the two quotes you posted too. Hope you’re having a great week 🙂

    • Thanks Lizzy! It is a tricky relationship as it is without other factors such as different cultures, different backgrounds, different beliefs… there is always hope for things to improve though x

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