- 4 years ago
- Wedding: October 2010
(sorry if this is long)
My MIL threw an engagement party for DH’s cousin, her niece, at her home. DH and I have an 18mo-old son and we called beforehand to make sure he was welcome. She said she wanted our son there.
In order to make this story make sense, I have to give you an idea of how the house is laid out: the dining room/living room is open-plan, so imagine a big room, and at one end, is her dining room table that seats about 12. Then you have the spacious living room set-up, and then on the other side of the room is a sliding door that is floor-to-ceiling so it feels like an open wall when you open it, that goes out to patio. So she had the main table in the dining room and a smaller 4-top round table out on the patio. Next to it was a mini-table for kids (ours and the bride’s 5yo).
We get there and my placecard has me sitting at the outdoor table (with DH’s uncle, cousin, and the bride’s cousin, all of whom are single); DH’s is next to her inside at the main table.
I was pretty surprised and offended by this, and it really made me feel sort of shameful and awkward because people sort of noticed that she decided to seat her son’s wife, her daughter-in-law, outside.
As the night wore on, it became very clear that she considered me a de facto babysitter. So whenever our son decided he wanted Daddy, he’d toddle into the living room and she would look at me like, “Why are you letting your toddler interrupt OUR dinner party?” So the first few times our son wandered inside, I sort of kept an eye on him, but figured that since Dad was closer and usually since DS WANTED Dad…then it was Dad’s turn. Now I know that some parents handle things differently and that people of a different generation often just expect that the woman do all the childcare duties, but in our family, we usually share the kid-wrangling where appropriate. And maybe it would have been acceptable to look to me to handle DS *if DH and I were seated at the same table*.
But because we weren’t seated together, I felt it wasn’t appropriate or fair for her to do that. It was really awkward and frustrating to feel that you are considered the de facto babysitter to the point that you aren’t even included and asked to sit outside as if you ARE a babysitter or nanny. Everyone around me noticed and I could tell that they felt it was awkward too (and because I had to get up and go deal with DS every like, 5 minutes, the conversation among myself and the other 3 people outside was really uncomfortable–I think me having to do that made THEM feel “second-tier” as well).
I mean, at the very least, she should have called and explained beforehand or asked me about it (truth be told, I’d probably said either that it’s too difficult for one person to handle the toddler AND eat (which is true) and that it’d be better to seat us BOTH outside OR I’d have bowed out and said I’d take care of DS at home while DH enjoyed the party).
I am pretty angry about the whole thing, and hurt too. Not sure what to do. How would you feel and what would you do?
Sorry to post and run, but I’ll be checking back in here and there. TIA!