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I spent my first Easter alone. And although my husband and I aren’t in the midst of a divorce, my heart couldn’t tell the difference.

This feeling was all too familiar to me and I could recall exactly how I felt as a child after my parent’s divorce – when days were separated out… and I hated it.

My children were being taken to their grandparent’s house. Their grandparents decided it would be best if seven children made the journey to see them, rather than the way more convenient option 0f the two of them visiting us on Easter Sunday.

I Wasn’t Going to Stand In Their Way

I’m not sure who exactly they believed it would be easier for or whether they grasped what it is like to get one kid into a child restraint – let alone a few. But who was I to stand in their way?

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I may have been in shock when my husband broke the news to me on the day without any prior warning. I was bemused by his lack of consideration and the fact that his parent’s wishes yet again trumped my own.

Oh, but I wouldn’t be completely alone on Easter Sunday. No, I’d have the opportunity to be with our baby because she’s still breastfed – oh joy!

Why Oh Why?

Why was this happening!? I had given up so much of myself for our children. Out of the eight little ones we have been blessed with, not one has ever attended daycare. None of them have spent the day away from me to be with relatives – my in-laws social life is far too spectacular to be tied down by my kids. In fact whenever they start school, this is their first experience away from home.

Now suddenly these kids who don’t even get wished on their birthdays by my in-laws were on their merry way to their house for Easter… and as much as I didn’t feel their grandparents deserved their time, as much as I didn’t want my Easter plans to be destroyed nor did I really want to spend the day alone, I did not intervene.

The experience really made me think and reflect on the way that adults use children as some sort of pawn during times of family rifts and I loath it. I hate that grown people who should know better, simply don’t.

Don’t Use Your Kids As A Bargaining Chip

Prior to becoming a parent, I knew I would never entertain these sorts of games. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why I chose to give my children all of me – because I knew that if someone else ever wanted them solely, namely their father, I would surrender them wholeheartedly knowing I had given them my all.

However, if I genuinely was so prepared for this moment in time, then why did it hurt so bad. It didn’t feel right. It felt so unfair. But then I reminded myself that life truly isn’t supposed to be fair… I mean if it was, then surely the human race would have evolved enough to create a way of living which was fair in every aspect by now.

They’re Awful To Me!

My vibration was dipping, in fact it was at an all-time low and no amount of happy thoughts that I could force myself to think of were enough to bounce me out of it. My children were leaving me, and going to their grandparent’s house because their father knew that his parents couldn’t be civil towards me if they had instead come to visit us- this fact only worsened my feelings. Why was he taking our children to see his parents KNOWING that they don’t want to be decent towards me?

In the bigger picture I know it isn’t so bad. I’m an adult. I should be capable of regulating my emotions so that incidents such as these don’t phase me. It’s wonderful that the children got to spend the day with their grandparents during this time of the year especially when so many children are not as fortunate to have their grandparents around.

Besides, if my husband had taken them out to the Easter Show or somewhere equally as exciting or special I would have been happy for them. So why couldn’t I just let go of this… I just could not shake the feeling that my husband was enabling his parents’ nastiness by not simply telling them to come to visit us, he knew that his parents would still be cruel towards me- and so he took our children to visit them claiming that it was to ‘protect me’.

I Would Never Do It!

The way I would have done things was completely different, and more than likely, that was my problem. If the tables were turned, I most certainly would not be taking our children to visit anyone who was intentionally cruel to their other parent. It would feel as though I were condoning the bad behaviour and simply finding an alternative way to enable it.

When they returned home my eldest daughter told me how strange it was listening to her grandmother making fun of my lack of cooking ability. God I regretted sending my in-laws food the day before… I honestly thought that for once I had cooked something really appealing and I shared it excitedly when my husband asked if he could take some over to them. In reality I clearly had plated up yet another failed attempt at pleasing my in-laws.

What if the meaning of life is actually to achieve fairness? What if humanity reached some point of genuine empathy and every encounter we had in our lives was a fair one… would we still ever be faced with situations that called on us to grow? Or would personal development happen on a completely different level which no longer included pain?

When a person wants to demonstrate how much power they have over a situation, there can’t possibly be any room for fairness. And if I were to put up a fight over the children, no one other than my little ones would suffer.

I Would Give Them Up!

I would not hesitate to give these children up, not for lack of love. But rather to spare them the grief of having to choose. The lesson my in-laws probably wanted me to take away from this experience is that not only are they still their son’s main priority, but that through him, they will get whatever they want, including his kids.

Hopefully, they know what they’re getting themselves into and don’t end up biting off more than they can chew because in over a decade I haven’t had a single day off from parenting. Are they truly willing to sacrifice their time for our children, because I’m not willing to play games.

Oooh…Me Time!

On the upside, this could work gloriously in my favour. In fact I’d love some sort of advanced notice if my in-laws will be taking the children for Mother’s Day as well as Christmas – this way I can plan something special for myself… oh boy I can’t wait to see their reaction when I break the news. Yes, dear in-laws, whilst you’re enjoying the company of my little ones, I will be enjoying myself too! And suddenly the smile returned to my face – or perhaps it is an evil grin… either way I simply cannot wait to find out when they would like to have our children again!

Do you have manipulative family members? Tell us in the comments below.

  • Sometimes, loosening your family ties is the healthiest option.

    Reply

  • Yes, very much so on both sides of our family. My in-laws have always used my son as a pawn in their vicious abusive game to the point that we no longer have anything to do with them (for what became the safety of our son). And through 3 years of therapy, it’s now clear to me that I had no boundaries with my mum and oldest narcissistic sister, who have manipulated my son at every opportunity. I now see it and have removed myself from my sister’s life to break away from her violent and abusive ways that my mum continues to support.

    Reply

  • I have felt like this too with my husband and his mother and step father. Although I won because my daughter did not like step-grandpa and wouldnt go near him. after he passed away I found out he wasnt allowed to see his own sons until they turned 18. I am glad I trusted my then toddler’s instincts

    Reply

  • I’m so sorry your in-laws treat you this way and run you down to your children. I’m sorry but I think your husband is totally gutless when it comes to his parents. I never had this problem with my in-laws. I’m glad that you’ve come up with a way to benefit if it happens again.

    Reply

  • Ok this article went different to what I thought based on the title. I thought you were going to talk about Myka Stauffer who gave up her son….

    Reply

  • l really feel for you children are not prawns in live it’s not a game Your so called Husband Has No Balls . Don’t wait for your in-laws to spring mother’s Day or Christmas day on you . You spring it on them . You arrange a Nice Day for yourself and go & Enjoy yourself Make Sure you have a Big Smile on your face Relax and let your Husband & in-laws handle the children for the day . You Deserve Better

    Reply

  • Yes we do, for many years now but not as bad as what they used to be

    Reply

  • I certainly wouldn’t send your in-laws food anymore, when they make fun of your lack of cooking skills to your children !


    • Neither would I give up my children for my in-laws ;)

    Reply

  • I’m in a “situation” with my mother in law. I grit my teeth and bear everything for the sake of my son

    Reply

  • Your husband didn’t do the right thing

    Reply

  • Family can be amazing and tricky also.

    Reply

  • I don’t think the title is in line with the content of this article

    Reply

  • Badmouthing you in front of your children is really unfair, but hopefully they will alienate your kids and they won’t want to visit with their grandparents again! That might just be the wake up call they, and your husband need!

    Reply

  • Families are complex and it is sad when manipulative Grandparents take over.

    Reply

  • Have a toxic MIL that we no longer see due to her constant attempts at manipulation.

    Reply

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