Pride and prejudice 

Earlier this month my in-laws came to visit. They flew halfway across the world to see and take care of SB. Who didn’t really approve of this change in her routine – not sure if she sensed that they were nervous or if it was just bad timing and their visit coincided with the onset of stranger anxiety. In any case, I had to come home early almost every day to console my baby. It’s humbling, in a way, being so important for a person. It makes me worry how she’d deal if something were to happen to me… Of course it’s also sweet and lovely and gives me extra cuddle-time with my daughter!

My in-laws have always complained about us living so far away, with the baby even more so. To some extent I can understand this, although their ideal – us living practically next door and them taking care of SB – isn’t anywhere close to mine. They are sweet and dote on this only living grandchild of theirs, but also somewhat narrow-minded and drain my energy rather quickly. On a trip with public transport, they got all worked up about a guy wearing nail polish. Welcome to pride central. (My parents visited this city over 20 years ago. My mom returned with a huge pride flag – she thought the colors were pretty.) I want SB to grow into a tolerant person. I feel a bit like an ungrateful bitch for not wanting them to take care of her full-time in the long term, but it just doesn’t seem right for me. (H doesn’t have strong feelings about this scenario either way.)

This year the old conflict about us living too far away got a new twist: our contracts are running out. And without at least one of us having a job we’d have to leave the country. So there were lots of discussions about where we should look for jobs. There also was an undertone of whether I really had to work, with how little SB is and all. Which all just piled onto my stress level. 

Soon after we learned that my contact was not extended. Which is probably good in the long run as I haven’t been happy with this job lately, but it does scratch my ego. My boss’s comment that it might be nice for me to spend more time with SB didn’t help – sure, I’d have loved a longer paid maternity leave, but one of our salaries just isn’t enough to live in this city. (Also, way inappropriate. I can’t even go there.)

H is interviewing for a job in Europe which is a great fit for his professional background. I find myself really hoping this’ll work out, even though it means uprooting our lives again, probably saying goodbye to my original career plans, and staying home with SB for some time. Cue confused feelings. She is at an awesome stage right now and I’m sure this could be fun for a while. Mainly, it’s a twist I didn’t see coming at all. 

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14 thoughts on “Pride and prejudice 

  1. That’s a lot of life changes! It’s too bad about your contract; one one hand it sounds like you would like to spend time with Strawberry but on the other hand we want to feel confident and successful as professionals. The comment from your boss raises some red flags – I know I’d wonder if I was being treated fairly (without discrimination). I’m sure it will work out though! one job is not destiny; there are other opportunities. Sorry to hear the in-laws twigged you with some of their comments; people really can’t be too sensitive about what they say to new moms. Wishing clarity and peace for you as you figure it all out.

  2. Ohhhh in-laws. I love my in-laws to death, but I had issues with them this past weekend as well. It’s very stressful. My mil has a conniption because we live an hour and a half away! Sounds like you have a lot of big decisions and life changes coming up. Hopefully you all will land in just the perfect place for your family!

  3. Ok, as per in-laws: it doesn’t matter how nice they are or how moble their intentions are, you *need healthy boundaries*. Distance helps, but it’s good to manage their expectations NOW rather than later (i.e. we will not be seeing you for every holiday, you will not be included in every family vacation, you do not tell my daughter that boys wearing nailpolish is a problem–it’s not a problem for US and WE are her parents). Google “DWIL nation” and read the concepts of “boundary stomping” and “enmeshment”, just for good measure. XOXO

  4. Hey, I love my in-laws, but I’m very glad they live an hour away. You deserve to have your own space for your family. I’m not sure where in Europe you guys would end up, but is it crazy that I’m jealous? I’ve always wanted to live overseas for a couple of years! I hope it all works out so that you’re both happy with your roles.

  5. Europe, Europe! We made the move 10 years ago in August, and it was one of the best decisions of my life. We were in the Netherlands for just over 7 years, Germany for almost 2, and moved to England last October. If you do end up going that route and have any questions about things, I’d be happy to share our experiences!

  6. Oh, in-laws. I also have a set with very different values from our family, and, well… my kids are older now, so I can see it as an opportunity to teach them what’s important to us. (I repeat to Bug a lot, “People believe all kinds of different things but your papa and I think it’s most important to treat others with kindness and make choices that don’t hurt other people.”)

    I’m sorry about your job. I’ve been in a position where my life took some hard right turns from original career plans and it was tough to let go of what I wanted and had worked for. Screw academia anyways. And your boss! “Hey, you’re fired, but since you’re a chick it’s all for the best, you can stay home with the baby!” Thanks for nothing, lady. How insulting.

  7. Oh boy in-laws. My MIL constantly makes comments like “oh it must be nice to have your parents so close by.” Actually yes, yes it is. We lived 3 hours away from my in-laws (they are divorced but live close to each other) and barely saw them more than two times a year. Maybe you should have made more of an effort to see us….we might not have left…. My MIL said she would have watched our daughter if we lived closer and I just don’t know how that would have worked out or if I would have been comfortable with it. Thank goodness we didn’t have to make that decision!

    Sorry to hear about your job. Europe could be fun though!

  8. Sorry laughing that your MIL was taken by a guy with nail polish. Good thing she didn’t go to the Castro district and see some guys walking around in ass-less chaps!

  9. In-law management is something that requires herculean amounts of efforts, in my experience anyway. Kudos to you for managing it so well, in spite of the clash of values.
    And the work/life stuff sounds really unsettling. I’m sorry your boss was such a douche bag. And I hope there is a progression that feels comfortable for you three in the realm of work and living arrangements. Sending hugs

  10. In-laws are always tricky to deal with it seems. I hope the job situation/s work out exactly how you and your husband would like it to. Wishing you all the best!

  11. I’m sorry about your contract, but I’m glad that you can see the bright side. And I understand how navigating difficult in-laws can be. I don’t talk about it much, but while my in-laws are nice people I have a hard time getting along with them. They’re not so much intolerant (which is understandably at a different level, at least to me), just we have different cultures and different lifestyles and it gets tiring to try to relate.

    I hope that H gets the job in Europe–it sounds like a great opportunity. Fingers crossed!

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