Why Do Your In-Laws Hate You?

“My in-laws hate me.” You probably have great reasons for this lament, but the truth is, very few men have in-laws who actually despise them. More likely, you’re dealing with some deep core differences with your wife or significant other’s parents. Here are a few common reasons your in-laws may balk at your presence.

You are the “Other” Man in her Life

Remember, your partner is also their daughter. Your in-laws raised her for eighteen to twenty-one years. In many ways, marrying you is the biggest and farthest-reaching decision she has made, often largely without their input. Many in-laws have a visceral negative reaction to this, even if they’re good at hiding it. Your in-laws may fear you are “stealing” their daughter, especially if the two of you have moved far from them. They may also fear your influence, or accuse you of changing her for the worse. To avoid this, spend as much time with your in-laws as possible in a non-confrontational manner. Drop by for a visit, email frequently, or Skype. Invite the in-laws out for activities you all enjoy, and discuss each other’s positive traits.

Major Personality Differences

So, when the in-laws visit, you feel as though you have to talk constantly to fill the silence. Or you get excited about everything while they seem cold and unemotional. What seems like coldness and lack of interest is probably a personality difference. In addition, your partner may well have absorbed some of the traits that you find less than desirable in her parents. Talk to your partner, and your in-laws, about your basic personality, needs, and wants. You can even agree to take a personality inventory for fun.

Differences in Core Beliefs

Some couples marry knowing that they have vastly different beliefs in terms of religion, politics, finances, or the way to raise children. The couple may have made peace with this, but the in-laws might be a different story. This often causes hostility between the couple and one or both parent sets. Therefore, it’s essential to discuss how this subject will be approached before it comes up. For instance, let’s say you are Catholic and your partner is Protestant, or you are Jewish and your partner is Christian. If you have decided to give the kids exposure to both faiths, explain to the in-laws exactly how you’ll do so (taking Mass on Sundays and going to a Protestant service on Wednesdays, for example). If you have decided to raise the kids in only one faith, stress this is a mutual agreement and does not make one religion “better”–one faith is just particularly suited to your lifestyle.

Similar problems can crop up with other issues, but may be more difficult to handle. For example, if you want to be relaxed about discipline, but your in-laws are authoritarian, they may worry that the kids will grow up spoiled. It’s crucial not to bash your in-laws’ parenting style. Simply say, “We appreciate your input and will seek it often as we raise children, but we need space to be parents on our own.”

Sometimes, it can seem as if your in-laws despise you. The truth is, though, they rarely do. They may simply be uncomfortable around your beliefs, personality, or position in their daughter’s life. With tips like these, though, you can help assure greater family harmony.

Connecting With Your Child before Birth

While it is the woman’s body that experiences all the changes and miracles associated with bringing a new life into the world, there are many ways for dads also to feel connected to the unborn child. Read on for some great practical tips on how to feel a special bond with your little one, even before meeting face to face.

Be Kind To Mama

One of the best ways to connect with your child before birth is to show kindness and understanding to the woman growing this new life. Go with her to doctor’s appointments and childbirth classes. Show patience during any hormonal changes. Rub her tired feet and back. Allow her quiet time to rest. Find creative ways to let her know that you find her beautiful. Tell her that you love her and display this love through not only words, but also thoughtful actions such as listening and dreaming with her about this new life.

Talk to the Baby

Babies can hear, even in the womb. Be sure to frequently talk to baby. As you talk, gently massage your significant others belly. As the pregnancy progresses, you will even be able to feel the kicks and movements of the baby. Although you may initially feel silly talking to a belly, your baby will begin to recognize the sound of your voice, and it will be familiar when the baby is born. If you are musically inclined, consider singing to the baby, or even composing a song for the baby.

Get the Nursery Ready

Discussing nursery ideas with your significant other makes the unborn baby seem very real. If you are accepting hand me down baby items from generous friends or family members, they are very likely to share their fond memories of this special time in life, which makes the baby’s arrival even more anticipated. When the nursery is actually set up, the baby seems very real. There is actually a space in your home dedicated to this little person. Sometimes it is hard for men to feel especially bonded to a baby before birth, so taking physical action to get ready for baby is helpful in this bonding process.

Choose a Name

If you decide to find out the gender of the baby ahead of time, choosing a name can be very significant. There are various books and websites containing a myriad of baby name options. You may also decide to use a family name. When you begin referring to this unborn child with a real name, you can really start to imagine who this little person will be!

Above all, enjoy this very special time. Take time to savor the pregnancy, and take time to marvel at the joy of parenthood when baby arrives!

Essentials for a baby Hospital Bag

Photo by Essie

Photo by Essie

If your significant other is expecting a baby, you can help take the stress off of going to the hospital and the impending labor by packing the hospital bag for the baby. This might seem like a challenge, especially if it’s the first baby. However, with a few tips, you can make sure the new baby has everything it needs while in the hospital and for the trip home. There are also things that you can pack in the bag for the mother so that she will be as comfortable as possible. Try to pack the bag when the mother is about six months through the pregnancy.

The Essentials
These are items that might make you feel a little odd when packing them, but they will come in handy for the mother while she is in the hospital. If the mother is nursing, then she will need a nursing bra, nursing pillow and nursing pads. The hospital can provide a binder if the mother does not plan on nursing. Make sure you have a camera and plenty of batteries to take snapshots of the mom while she is willing to let you take her picture and of the baby. You also want to pack the baby book so that the footprints can be added as well as the information about the birth. Keep a contact list in the bag so that you don’t forget who to call when you get to the hospital. Socks with a non-slip sole are good for the mom to wear so that she can walk during labor or to keep the feet warm during delivery. Don’t forget toiletries for yourself and the mother. These include shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, glasses or contacts and toothpaste. Most hospitals have small samples of lotion and soap, but you can take your own items to feel more like you are at home. You also need to pack clothes to go home in for the mom and the baby.

Comfort Items
Whether the mother plans on a natural delivery or one with an epidural, pack a few snacks and drinks so that neither of you get hungry. Labor could take a few hours, and it is important for the mom to sustain her energy. Pack a few books or magazines for the downtime. A spray bottle can be used to cool off the mother during the delivery. Lotion and oils can be used after delivery, and you can also pack a cosmetic bag so that the mom do her makeup and feel a little more like herself after she has had time to rest.

Some of the items that won’t fit in a bag that need to be taken to the hospital include the car seat and video camera. You can also pack scratch mittens so the baby doesn’t scratch its face. An outfit to go home can be placed in the bag, and you should also have a few blankets, especially if the weather is cold.

The Commercial Origins of Father’s Day

Father's DayFather’s Day is frequently marked by ties, handmade cards, special fishing trips, and steak dinners. It is a special time set aside to remember all that fathers do to support and nurture their families. At the same time, as with many holidays, it can be hard to ignore the commercial undertones that come along with the day. While Father’s Day can be a great way to honor the bond between a father and his children, the motives behind the holiday itself have not always been so pure.

The renown of the recently created Mother’s Day led Senora Dodd to found Father’s Day in 1910. She came from a family of six children supported by a single father and wanted a way to honor him for the sacrifices he had made in caring for their family. While Dodd may have been earnest in her motives for creating Father’s Day, it took the aid of trade groups and financial institutions to really get the holiday recognized on a national scale.

It wasn’t until the mid 1920s and early 1930s that Father’s Day began getting international recognition. Trade groups that sold gifts that were, at the time, typically purchased for a father, such as pipes and ties, began coming out in stronger support of the holiday. The Associated Men’s Wear Retailers particularly helped spread word of the holiday and supported its becoming a federal holiday. The association formed the National Father’s Day Committee in the 1930s in New York City in order to further advertise the potentially profitable holiday. Both President Wilson and later President Coolidge came out in favor of Father’s Day, garnering it some further recognition.

Much of the controversy about Father’s Day at the time centered around commercialism in one way or the other. Some shop florists warned that sentimentality about fathers was not as strong as it was for mothers, and they would not see high enough profits for the day. Many ordinary people saw Father’s Day as an attempt to domesticate and subvert masculinity by celebrating it with flowers and sentimentality. Many more understood the commercial reason behind the support for Father’s Day and became cynical about the day.

In the end it was the Great Depression that secured a place for Father’s Day in the national holidays. A great deal of public support was garnered for dissolving both Mother’s and Father’s Day in favor of a more equitable Parent’s Day, but increased pressure on stores to find a way to turn a profit led to a greater push for the nationalization of both holidays.

The National Father’s Day Committee took advantage of the controversy in their advertising for Father’s Day gifts. Rather than insist Father’s Day was a holiday based on pure motives, they sent out advertisements that satirized the over-commercialization along with everyone else, thereby increasing awareness. The end result was a holiday that most people saw as overly commercial but would still buy a gift for since it seemed socially expected. The power of insisting that everyone else was buying gifts led to a Father’s Day that was the equivalent of a “second Christmas” for retailers, with a solid three weeks of increased purchasing leading up to the day itself. While it was widely celebrated for years beforehand, Father’s Day was officially signed into being a national holiday in 1974 by President Richard Nixon.

While the moniker of “second Christmas” isn’t really accurate anymore, there are still quite a few commercial aspects to the standard Father’s Day. While it can be easy to become cynical in the face of such commercialism, Father’s Day can still be a special time to honor the love and support that father’s offer their families without becoming obsessed with the gifts. Something as simple as heartfelt words and special time together can be a great way for both fathers and their children to show how much they appreciate each other.

The Best Way to Support a Friend Through Their Divorce

Divorce supportWhether the marriage lasted two years or twenty, divorce is rough thing. Even if you are not going through it personally, it can hurt to see it happen to a friend or a loved one. When someone close to you is going through a divorce, of course you want to help, but where is the line drawn? What can you do that will make an impact on their suffering?

Be There
One of the biggest things that many people facing divorce encounter is a feeling of isolation and loneliness. The person who was likely their primary life companion is now gone. While you cannot replace that person in their life, you can offer to help alleviate some of their loneliness. Make contact with your friend and offer to spend time with them. For example, some people just want a friendly chat online, while others would love to go out for a carefree night where they can forget their troubles. On the other hand, remember that sometimes, the person just needs to be alone, too.

Offer Concrete Help
It is very kind to offer help, but sometimes the person who is going through the divorce doesn’t even know what they need. Take a look at your resources, and consider what you have to offer. For example, if you can help them out with a little bit of cash, do so. If they have lost their car and you can offer a lift to work, ask them if they would be willing to accept that kind of help. If they are having a tough time dealing with their children, offer to babysit for a weekend so that they can get their head together. Offering your friend a concrete task that you can fulfill is a great way to get them back on their feet.

Let Them Rant
A divorce is a thing that brings up many harsh feelings, and no one is immune to feeling petty and cruel. There may be times when your friend turns downright venomous. It may shock you to see that someone you like so much is so mean, but remember that they are acting out of a place of hurt. Remind them that they should not vent where their children can hear them, and instead, take them to a safe place where they can rant as they like. After some ranting, you can start inserting some advice, but let them get their anger out.

Get Them Out of the House
After a divorce, many people go through a period of withdrawal. This is normal, and even healthy. They are gathering their strength and recovering. However, the problem is that too much isolation is bad in the long run. They may become withdrawn and bitter, and if you are their friend, you of course want to keep this from happening. Invite them out for food or for fun activities, like camping or sporting events. Anything that gets them engaged with the outside world again is a good thing.

Keep It Up
While you should of course be aware of your own limits and while you should avoid extending yourself further than you should, make sure that you are consistent with your offers of help. Some people help out a great deal at the beginning, but as time goes on, their efforts flag and they lose touch. Healing from a divorce is a long process, and your friend may go through it quickly or slowly. This is something that must be handled at your friend’s pace, so stay with them, and go the distance!

At the end of the day, simply remember that your friend will not always be this upset or this angry. Divorce is a very rough thing, but the people who grow from it and learn from it come out stronger. Be there for your friend, and remind them that you are there. This may be all it takes for your friend to come around.