Picture the scene.....a day at the museum with the grandparents....getting up a bit late and rushing to meet up. Everyone was excited and ready to go. First comments? Grandma: "N, you didn't brush your teeth?" "No, I forgot, I was excited." Grandma...."umhum....." put that "look" here....
After a fabulous day at the museum, lots to see and learn we all returned to their hotel to get our vehicles for going to dinner....but first I see Grandma go to the desk and hear her whisper, "Can I get 3 tooth brushes please?". Yes, you got it, I got the look because I am a terrible mom who didn't force her kids to brush their teeth that morning. This is just the first of many things so far this week. Why do we have to accommodate our in-laws and their "rules" when it is our home? Hum, still working on that one. Even my poor DH has been relegated back to being 10 years old again. Our home looks GREAT, but the ceiling fan in the kitchen got missed. And ya know, "son it is good to help your wife with cleaning the top of the fridge"....not, "Wow I am so proud of you keeping up a good home and doing such a great job paying bills or taking care of kids."... They tell us what great children we have, but the children must be doing it completely on their own for all the things we are doing wrong.
*sigh* I really thought this would be a fun week with his family celebrating birthdays and Christmas as well as a home cooked Thanksgiving. Even that is becoming a chore I don't feel like dealing with. I had it all planned out, my list, my schedule...they are acting like I have never cooked a meal before. I have been cooking since I was 3 and my mom was the master at getting everything out, cooked and hot at the same time. It is fine to want to help, but to walk in and just take over without asking or checking seems a bit much.
Even the kids are grumpy about it. My middle child worked really hard and cleaned his room all by himself! It looks stunning! I mean it was shining and vacuumed. Of course the grands found problems with it. Talk about crushing. I had ooozed praise all over him when he first finished it last week and every day I looked in there because it really does look amazing for a 10 year old boy. *sigh* Of course it is *my* fault when their rooms are disasters. I don't force them or pick up after them. I feel so badly for them that they are rated by their rooms instead of just loved for who they are.
Here is the last thing I will mention. We celebrated birthdays and they got each child a present. We opened youngest to oldest. Girly girl got jewelry, spy boy got really really cool spy goggles so of course 13 year old thought something cool is coming. Now to me, it was cool, but to a child who isn't into mystery novels it was just another thing saying you don't like me for who I am--I will explain that in a minute. It was a novel by an author local to where his grands live. It is a mystery based on Indian myths. My middle son loves mysteries, my older loves comics and superheros. They think comics and superheros are not "good" things so they want to change him and force him to be or like things they do, things they think are wholesome and good. Being the gracious kid he is, he said thank you, even though you could see and feel the disappointment. Maybe he will love the book, but it still hurts to think they don't know you. My DH said they never wanted to know him. The job of child is to be a good little boy and do your chores. :(
How can you explain this to the children? Why do we have to be completely different or feel we are being different simply because they are around? They are good people and I know they mean well...but? I just can't comprehend where they are coming from when they do things like this. I am trying to put it into perspective, from their point of view, but I don't have the same ideas about force vs. freedom and love that is conditional. The sad thing is I don't think they are trying to be conditional about it, they are just so used to being how they are they no longer remember the difference between conditional and unconditional. Of course, I could be completely fooling myself in my wish for everyone to be selfless, caring and basically good....
I wish I could take away the pain and hurt. I wish I knew what to say or how to approach them without fighting. They don't listen and never take advice they have asked for. It is truly frustrating to feel a relationship is so shallow--especially when it is family. We don't even call what we do unschooling to them. They just wouldn't understand that.