I rarely watch t.v. but one day I was watching Dr. Phil and I was shocked, and it struck me as funny ,when he made the statement that he doesn't do the in-law thing...ever.
WHAT???? "How can you avoid it?" I was wondering.
He proceeded to say that he made it clear from day 1 to his wife that she could visit her family at any time but he wouldn't go. Now I know some people think that is being mean, but in some ways, I can see his point.
(I think all this started when hubby wanted to stop and spend a night over at his parent's house on one of the last days of heading back on our honeymoon over twenty years ago...not a good idea! )
I told my Hubby I can see why it is hard for either spouse to go to a family gathering of in- laws and feel like you really like being there among strange people who have odd ways about them compared to what you are used to being around. (Of course Hubby's family is odder than mine!)
For example, I laugh and tease and talk a lot, (shocking, I know!) but when I get to my in law's family get togethers, I often feel like I must have a huge wart on the end of my nose! Often when I say something that would have made everyone on my side of the family laugh , all I usually get is a sickly smile at best with the in laws, if that. And, when THEY laugh about things or talk about what I would call "loaded subjects", I know it just isn't funny to me because I have no idea what or who they are talking about! It also makes me glad we cannot read other's minds, otherwise no one would never speak to each other again! Wait a minute...that doesn't sound so bad after all!
And of course there are the in-laws who dispense child rearing advice to you when it is very obvious that their own haven't turned out all that well. Or, they talk about how cute it was when their little Elmo said something that you would have washed your kid's mouth out with soap for saying! That's just a few examples, but I could write a small book if I wanted to on it.....
Often I don't say much when I do have to go visit, and I sit there trying hard to be quiet, (no easy task at my outspoken age!) even when I hear statements I strongly disagree with, or that make some interesting retorts pop in my head, or make me want kick hubby's shins under the table and give him the pleading look that says "Can we go now? "
Don't get me wrong, I realize the fact is that this is my spouse's side of the family. He grew up around these people, as I did around mine, so each of us is more used to the characters we grew up around. But , except for rare cases, I would say most people don't do cartwheels of joy when they have to vist the in-laws. It is sort of like you have to be on your very best behavior and not really be yourself . (And who really likes doing that?)
As you can most likely tell, I just got back from having to be with the in-laws. Walking in our front door after visiting was like taking a girdle off after you have been wearing it all day. (or being let out of jail...not that I have experienced either of those, mind you!)
My in- laws? I would never intentionally try to be rude or hurtful to any of them, but after this past weekend, I am beginning to think Dr. Phil had something there when he said he doesn't do in-laws! Gotta admire his honesty any way!