How do I resolve a child care conflict with people who swear they have done nothing wrong?
posted by The Giant Squid to Human Relations (89 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Two weeks ago, my wife and I decided it was time for a 'date night' (our third since the child's birth), and dropped our seven-month old son off with her parents to babysit for the evening (they had been asking for this privilege for months). We run a few errands, get dinner, and then head out to the Roller Derby. Six hours after dropping him off, we call the in-laws up to find out how the little man is doing, and they inform us that they've dropped our son off with their neighbors, and they are out getting dinner with family from out of town.
I called their neighbors, and when they picked up, the kid was screaming his head off. Apparently he hadn't eaten since we dropped him off (and he normally eats every 2.5 hours). He's mainly breastfed, and just wasn't taking to the bottles they offered.
My wife and I called 'date night' off, and sped off to the neighbors house, grabbed the kid, the wife hopped in the back seat to feed him, and we went back home, trying to make sense of the events of the past few hours.
That was a Saturday, and we spent Sunday cooling off. My father-in-law called my wife and told her: "we need to talk". We arranged to visit them on the following Tuesday night.
In hoping to straighten things out, I commence asking: "So, let's talk about Saturday." And, the first thing out of my mother-in-law's mouth was: "You need to apologize to the neighbors for the way you treated them." They further suggested that we had embarrassed them and their neighbors, and were rash in our decision-making. I asked them several times if they felt it would have been appropriate to call us to notify us and their response was: "You're overreacting." Any further commentary was met with: "The neighbors are good people and I trust them with my grandson's life. It's not like they're criminals or anything."
My mood grew considerably worse, and I asked if they felt that could admit that they were wrong in dropping the kid off with the neighbors, and all I got was an "I'm sorry you feel that way", which, in my opinion, is the weaseliest non-apology anyone can half-offer. I then said something along the lines of "If you can't admit any wrongdoing here, we're leaving." No wrongdoing was admitted. I was told I was overreacting (my wife mainly remained silent...) - and so, we packed up with our child and headed off.
So, as of today, two weeks have elapsed, since the Tuesday argument/fight and the in-laws have not contacted us, (to issue an apology or otherwise) and now I believe my wife is starting to get angry with me. She asserts that I should commence 'making nice' with them, and that she feels guilty 'denying them access to their grandchild'.
The in-laws will never apologize nor admit wrongdoing. Unfortunately, I feel like to 'make nice', I've got to go to them and pretend to be the 'bad guy', which I feel like I've done nothing wrong. In such a situation, I'd have to go to them, hat in hand, and apologize to them for 'overreacting' or having a 'short fuse' or whatever.
In my 'ideal' world, the in-laws would contact us and, at the very least, offer a 'well, we didn't do right then, but we'll try to at least notify you if we change plans in the future'.
Unfortunately, the longer my in-laws take in ... well, not offering an apology, the more guilty my wife feels, and the more pressure I am under to 'make things right'.
Any ideas for any sort of resolution I could put forth in which I can satisfy my wife, straighten things out with the in-laws, and somehow not feel like I've been shat on by my in-laws and then reward bad behavior?