Should I have to attend my wife's brother's children's parties?
I am in my mid 40s and my wife is about five years younger. We have 2 kids who are both in their teens. My wife's brother (who is about 15 years younger than me) and his wife (about the same age) have recently started their family. They have one child who is 6, another who is 3 and another on the way.
They have got into the habit of holding 'family' birthday parties to which they invite us (including our kids), my wife's parents and also my wife's brother's wife's parents. I dread these occasions, as I feel no connection with my wife's nieces/ nephews, I have little in common with my wife's brother and his wife as they are much younger, and don't particularly enjoy the company of her parents either. And the nieces/ nephews don't really notice me anyway as they have grandparents fawning over them.
However, my wife insists that I attend as it is a 'family' event. But given that I haven't chosen to be an uncle, I don't feel I should be pressured into doing the role - especially when it comes to attending an event like this that the kids won't remember anyway. I work very hard and my spare time is valuable - and I don't think it should be wasted trying to be what other people want me to be, if that makes me miserable. I am never going to be the 'fun' uncle as I am quite a reserved person.
What advice does everyone have for dealing with this situation?
I agree you definitely need to go. Not for the kids, you don't even need to interact with them if that's not your thing. Extended families get together a lot less these days and it's by seeing people that you maintain relationships.
And I say this as someone who is an extreme introvert who never talks to anyone at these types of get togethers. Just be yourself and participate to the extent that you're comfortable with but at minimum you need to show up.
Yes, I agree you need to go . It’s normal for families to do parties for their kids and invite the grandparents, aunts and uncles, Cousins. It’s what my family did too. Granted it’s not always fun for others but it’s about being there like you wife says as a family to show you care. And to see family. it’s not a habit, it’s making memories :-)
You don’t have to be the ‘fun uncle’, you just have to be nice to the younger kids if they interact with you, because like you say the grandparents will be making a fuss of them.
There’s nothing wrong with being introverted or reserved and I can see how (I’m fairly introverted) these kind of things might be out of your comfort zone(?).