I have been embroiled in yet another family saga with my IL’s, the ones with whom I actually have a better relationship. It got quite ugly with my sending a reply email that got quite specific about what I like and dislike in our relationship and in their lives and how they impact our family life. It was written in response to a very mild email, but brought together years of feeling like I do not belong and like I am being undermined and bullied for my choices.
The day after I sent the email (with my husbands knowledge) I met a mum in the homeschooling group that I had not met before. The one with plans to leave Israel. In part of our discussion, she mentioned that she has been thinking of same and different and how there is no thing such as ‘same’ really. Even in the homeschooling group, there are dramatic differences in approach to lifestyle. The feeling of being with like minded people is partly an illusion. In that group, we share children not being formally schooled and maybe natural childbirth and breastfeeding and baby wearing (Most of the mums there have the Israeli soft carrier, Yamo). However, we will have different and passionate views on nutrition, religion, healthcare, discipline etc. And that is OK. It makes it hard for me as I don’t want DS eating too much white flour/sugar (as in none yet if possible) and he has twice had biscuits that he found/were given to him. That kind of food just will be there and I will have to find my way to be OK with that. I also doubt the mums will share my passion for information regarding vaccination, and I might feel like my son needs more adult direction when it comes to discipline…. the list is endless of things that I am not going to see eye to eye on with other mums’ in the group.
I guess I am thinking ‘out loud’ as I try to figure out why I find it so intolerable that my IL’s keep trying to offer solutions that they know I would prefer not to use.
I know we are vastly different in our life approach. And in practice with DS they have never given him food/drink that they know we don’t want him having and also make sure he is not left in front of the TV. It is very foreign to them to avoid TV/sugar/white flour/electronic baby entertainers/etc. It is very foreign to make a choice outside of the mainstream.
And yet we have my husband in common and DS. Who adores them just as much as they adore him. Our same-ness is our love of DS and DH. And our desire to live an autonomous life.
Where I feel our different-ness lies at the moment, is as follows.
They – live in their country, living the lives they have lived since, well, forever for them. Meaning they have well established family ties and support bases. Are Israeli and have an aggressive communication style. Are older and more sure of what they know and the choices they make. Do not think too much about choices, and do not have an ideology other than ‘no one really knows anything, so why bother trying to know anything’.
Me – I live in a foreign country, far away from my close friends and family. I have more of an indirect communication style. I am younger and finding my way, with all it’s ups and downs. Think a lot about my choices and my life. I do have an ideology of doing the best I can to find what is right for my family and not what someone else tells me to do.
I think our clash comes down to generation, culture and communication. And I do not know how to fix that.
I am guessing it would be ‘easier’ to write them off and just get on with my own life. But I do not know if I can do that. I have already written off the other side of DH’s Israeli family. I do not know if I can write this side off without us having to move very far away. I feel like right now I am fighting for us to be a family that accepts differences and leaves each other be with those differences.