You’re Ready for the Outlaws, But What About the In-Laws?, by Ellie Mae

I’ve been a daily visitor to SurvivalBlog for nearly three years now.  I really can’t believe it has been that long since that desperate day when anxiety from losing my job took over and compelled me to search for survival information on the Internet.   You see, I was a 20 year mortgage originator.  Not only had I lost my job when my company folded, it was clear to me that I and millions of others had lost any ability to make a living in that crumbling industry.  The music stopped while I was chasing the dollars and it was game over.  At first, I was sneaking around learning how to store water and food.  Next, a budding interest in gardening blossomed into a permaculture addiction.  And all the while, I was reading and becoming acutely aware of how fragile the whole system is and how we had been lulled into such a vulnerable state. By now my self-sufficiency agenda was becoming clear to my husband and although well employed, he too feared the house of cards could collapse and take with it the dollar. Collecting that fiat paper had been all we knew to do to prepare for the future or an emergency.  We were out of the closet with each other and now prepping together instead of worrying and toiling alone.  Together we took the plunge into guns and target practice, skill learning and resource gathering.  Each step helped relieve some of the uncontrolled anxiety we were feeling and prayer still works on the rest.

My husband and I are in our late forties and this is a second marriage for both of us.  Between us we have six young adult children, two are married and there is one grandchild.  None of the children live with us and never have, since we were married only a short four years ago.  Aside from supporting the youngest who is in her last year of college, they are all employed, living on their own and generally great  kids.  Unfortunately, none of them seem to take this preparedness stuff too seriously.  They listen and even engage in conversation, but no real action.  They are busy living their life the way we taught them and they don’t seem to have time to be concerned.  In a way, I am envious of them. We both raised our children as Christians, in the suburbs, playing every sport available etc.  Suburbanites…. Now we have learned things we would like to introduce to our grown children and the teachable moments are few and far between.  So we try to prepare for everyone.  This is where things get difficult!

While all six children would be welcomed to our retreat with open arms, there are others that come along with them.  While only two are currently married, the others are involved in some lengthy relationships that may result in more in-laws. I am an optimist, a peace maker and a diplomatic person.  I believe that the significant others of our children would all add value to our group and be able to contribute something. My husband may disagree about the potential contributions of some but he is in complete agreement about their inclusion in the group.  This may seem an obvious conclusion to some, but I firmly believe these decisions need to be discussed in the open before a crisis to avoid any last minute disagreements. My nightmare begins when I consider the other familial bonds.  In particular, we have one daughter-in-law (official and also the mother of our only grandchild) who is dysfunctionally close to her dysfunctional family. These people are living breathing examples of everything wrong with our country.  While I believe them to be generally decent hearted people, they are card carrying members of The Ugly American Association.  Picture politically apathetic, fast food eating, video game playing (males), shopping mall wandering (both), Coach purse carrying (females), no life insurance or savings holding (neither), job hopping, baby-making, non-breast feeding, obese, insulin dependent, American Idol and Bachelor watching, gun loathing, lethargic and of no notable talent, skill set or physical ability group of five adults and currently four children.  Our son, who married into this tribe is their rock and his wife would never leave her family.  Of course, none of them will have prepared for even the most minor emergency, never mind the big Schumer.  They will be in need and our son who refuses to be alarmed will be unprepared. 

I don’t mean to sound harsh, but sitting in a room for a few hours with this group of people for birthday gatherings, ballet recitals and such is almost more than my husband and I can bear.  So it becomes obvious that there is no way we could accommodate this group at our retreat when the SHTF.   I have to assume that our son, his wife and our granddaughter will not bug out to our place without the rest of that clan.  They all live in two houses and spend most of their waking hours together.  We will have to make it very clear who is included on the retreat guest list. While it is difficult to accept, we will most likely not be joined by our oldest son, his wife and our only grandchild. After acceptance of our retreat limitations, our son’s leadership role in his wife’s family and refusal to prepare; we have embarked on Plan B to attempt to assist him with this daunting responsibility that he doesn’t even know he owns.

In addition to Plan A -the ongoing retreat preparations for the remainder of our family, we have compiled the following list of actions to help light the way for our son and his adopted clan.

  1. Present maps showing different routes to the retreat and explain that he, wife and daughter are of course on the guest list…but it’s invitation only and limited resources and space availability. OPSEC explained.
  2. Create a basic bug out bag for him (highlighting the importance for the safety of his baby girl) and suggest he has the others follow suit. We will highlight their need to include maps to wherever they intend to bug out.
  3. Attempt to get him to the shooting range. We have tried this twice and failed…we will continue to reach out to him.
  4. We will give the gift of “Patriots” the next gift giving season.
  5. We will share fresh fruits and vegetables from our garden to attempt to develop an interest in nutrition and sustainable gardening. We do this, but usually at our home- This time we will deliver.
  6. We will deliver storage food as well.
  7. We will ask him to tag along when we purchase a generator in the next few months. 
  8. We will play Wii with him to express interest in something he likes and hoping for reciprocity. (Think shooting range)
  9. We will stop spamming him with articles and blogs that he never reads and doesn’t seem to appreciate.

Instead we will make a notebook of useful information available during an emergency.

  1. We will pick up our granddaughter at least twice a month and attempt to foster a love of knitting, cooking, gardening and general love of outdoors activities.  No television!
  2. We will love them and accept that they are God’s children and know that we have done everything within our means. Pray.

We must consider the possibility that our wishes will not be respected with regard to our son’s in-laws.  When the SHTF I can imagine he may be unable to behave “cold-heartedly” enough to leave them behind.  I can see him asking us “What was I supposed to do, leave them there to die?”  Of course the answer is “You were supposed to tell them to prepare.”  However, a single “I told you so” is enough.  In the event we are faced with this circumstance, we will have extra rations and gear to temporarily help.  We can be charitable, but we cannot be responsible. Since most of these adults are dependent on insulin or high blood pressure medication etc, I assume they will need to move on rather quickly to a location where meds might be available.  We currently have no need to attempt stockpiling those types of medications.

While our other children may present similar challenges, at this time there is none so apparent as the above mentioned.  I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent evaluating our options.  It is heartbreaking to think of our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter being somewhere else during a collapse. There just isn’t any other alternative without compromising the safety and security of the rest of our family. I will continue to pray for my son to prepare and for the flock to follow suit. Take inventory of your people and their connections.  Make decisions now while you are calm of mind because in a crisis situation you may not have the capacity to make a rational decision.  Know who you can count on and let others know to what degree they can count on you. Survival plans should not be vague nor should they leave room for misunderstandings.

JWR Adds: I’ve found that the best way to keep kids and visiting relatives from wasting their time watching television is to not own one.