This is kind of a vent but also asking for some perspective if I’m in the wrong here. SO long, apologies.
My DH’s extended family all lives in the town we live in, and he grew up here too. My parents moved here 3 years ago to be near one of their children. I didn’t grow up I’m striking distance of any extended family. It’s wonderful to have family all around and see them often. Twice recently though I’ve had my wrist slapped for not “inviting” someone to events. First one: I didn’t formally invite DH’s grandma (so my kids great grandma) to DD2’s 3rd bday party. We invited friends she explicitly asked to invite (2 of whom happen to be her first and second cousins), and her grandparents (who she also explicitly asked to invite). I didn’t think to invite great grandma, mostly because she was still in Florida when I sent the invites (we had exactly enough for friend invites, and invited grandparents by telling them) so she wasn’t on my mind when I literally reviewed the invite list with DH (she comes back at Easter, and DDs bday was on Easter, party 1 week later), and also because I hadn’t really planned to invite grandparents (it was more of a friend bday party). She was offended, passed on via MIL. This irks me because I feel like if there was someone I should have invited, MIL should have told me. We didn’t invite extended family to bday parties growing up so I explained that to her a little.
Yesterday DD2 had her Kindergarten concert. The only reason my mom was there is because she was babysitting DD2 and picking DD1 up from school after the concert. My dad didn’t go (they’re married and live together and he knew about it). MIL knew about the concert because she saw a flyer and noted she couldn’t go because she is out of town, and in the past has always communicated events to FIL. I texted him yesterday before the concert to see if I could grab a costume from their house, and when I was there he asked about the concert and I just said “Yes, it’s just a Kindergarten concert.” It didn’t cross my mind to extrapolate as I was in transit to bring DD to school, bt in hindsight I probably should have picked up on the fact that MIL obviously didn’t tell him about it. Now he’s offended (via MIL), and she’s asked that I send a text to everyone about events like this.
There are a few things at play for me. One, I feel like I should be able to invite whomever I want to to events. If I just wanted my nuclear family to go to a K concert, I think that should be ok and that it shouldn’t be a big deal if my mom is there because she was DDs transportation (note: this isn’t what actually happened, MIL was “invited” via seeing event flyer). Two, if MIL thinks certain people should be invited to specific events, I think she should tell me that when she herself is invited to the events (“Thanks for the invite, did you invite so and so?”). Third, I work 40+ hours a week, DH works 60, and I’m doing my hardest. Figuring out how to navigate extended family and friends and who to invite/not invite to events is obviously confusing, and if I misstep I feel like it’s not a huge deal and doesn’t warrant slapping me on the wrist via a text message. I feel like this is especially so because we also have a big friend group and sometimes just want to do something with them.
If you made it through all that, what’s your perspective? Did I really mess up (I can take it!)? How do I talk to MIL about this (she’s gone for 3 weeks)? How do you navigate extended family?