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Old 07-11-2012, 07:37 AM   #1
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Semi vent. How do you juggle your visits to inlaws? esp. holidays?

We are already dreading the holidays from the standpoint of how to fit in DH's family. My mom lives fairly close--only about 1.5 hours away. But DH's family lives 9 hours away.

This past weekend DH's mom and dad came up for DS's birthday, as did my mom. Well, my MIL got upset because DS kept asking for everyone but her (IMO it's because she tries so hard to get him to ask ONLY for her, and he can sense it). SO, he was asking for his pawpaw (my FIL), my mom, me, DH, his cousin, his uncle, etc... Apparently I'm a total social nincompoop, as well, and everything I said was offensive and hurt her feelings (It was totally unintended. I had no clue she was upset). DH said she kept stomping upstairs in a huff, and honestly I never noticed. Also I made a photo book, and it had pictures in it of DS with his cousin and with MIL's mother, and so forth but no photo with her (I didn't have a high res one to put in!) and she got very angry and asked DH what did she do to me to make me mad enough to leave her out... Geez. I didn't even think about it, I just put some photos that I liked into a book!

I just don't know what to do. DH is afraid to talk to her, he thinks she'll just get more upset. But, what ends up happening is every. single. time we see her she spends half her waking hours asking when we are going to come to her house. She thinks that if you leave your house to travel you should be going to visit family, and if you choose to go somewhere else that you must not love your family. The thing is, she travels all the time and has all sorts of "points" for free flights, and it's easy for her to pick up and go somewhere---for one thing she isn't carting a toddler around.

Also, she actually sees DS alot. She was here last month for an entire week, the month before that for a weekend, this month for a weekend, and is traveling with us for a week in early December. But she already starts to cry and ask what we are doing at Christmas and gets mad if we say we want to spend it at home. She also sends DH messages every other day asking if she should take a week off this summer for "our visit" (which we have never indicated we were planning to make).

SO, basically I'm just using this post to vent because I know I can't say anything at all, it's not my mother. I just get agitated and then when we DO visit there's all this tension because DH is aggravated and I'm aggravated and she's desperate for DS to cling to her.

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Old 07-11-2012, 07:47 AM   #2
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Re: Semi vent. How do you juggle your visits to inlaws? esp. holidays?



We don't travel much during the holidays. We have 3 kids and tell family to come to us if they want. Tough toodly to anyone who gets upset.

I think the main thing is not to give into her adult tantrums/guilt trips or she will keep using them on you!
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:58 AM   #3
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Bummer. All the Grandma's are in town for us, so we spend holidays going from house to house, which works for us, and no one gets their panties in a twist generally. So we have it easy. We don't see DHs family as often but that's his own fault and frankly just kind of their style, they're very laid back. I hope it works out!
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:02 AM   #4
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Re: Semi vent. How do you juggle your visits to inlaws? esp. holidays?

We decided early on that for the holidays, we will stay home. Folks are welcome to visit us but we won't travel. We'd rather establish our own family traditions, keep the kids in their own home for Christmas. Plus my husband's birthday is the day after Christmas and growing up he never was able to spend it at home. It was always spent at various relatives homes dealing with the fighting between the two sides of the family over who gets more time with them than the other. He refuses to put our kids in that situation because he learned to always hate his birthday because it always had to do with the relatives fighting. So we don't deal with it. We say where we will be and that if they want to see us, they are welcome to visit and just leave it at that. It's so much easier/nicer.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:03 AM   #5
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Re: Semi vent. How do you juggle your visits to inlaws? esp. holidays?

DH and I decide where we're going, when we're going, and we let our family know. We have never had the drama that other people talk about.

Now, my SIL and her husband alternate large holidays. One year they will do Thanksgiving in Michigan with her family and Christmas in Texas with his, and then switch the following year.

I would suggest you and DH sit down and figure out for sure what y'all want and then speak to her about it. Explain to her about the tension and how it makes it difficult to sit and visit and enjoy each other. But, until you and DH figure out what you want to do, nothing's going to change.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:10 AM   #6
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Re: Semi vent. How do you juggle your visits to inlaws? esp. holidays?

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Originally Posted by tallanvor View Post
I would suggest you and DH sit down and figure out for sure what y'all want and then speak to her about it. Explain to her about the tension and how it makes it difficult to sit and visit and enjoy each other. But, until you and DH figure out what you want to do, nothing's going to change.
Here's where the problem lies. We do know what we want. We want to spend the holiday at home. We go to my mom's the weekend before Christmas, and we want to spend Christmas day at our house making our own traditions. Like most, we don't care if someone else wants to come to us, but we do not want to travel (and won't).

The problem is, we tell her that and she starts crying. Then she uses emotional blackmail. If we tell her we are thinking about going to the beach she says "well if you are travelling then you can come here" and on and on and on.

The overarching problem is that about 20 years ago she tried to commit suicide. So now DH is terrified to talk to her about anything that might remotely upset her. She is much better, mentally, than she was then. I see her own mother use the same manipulation techniques on HER kids, so I understand where she gets it. The problem is that DH is scared to upset her because he is afraid of her mental health. It's a very unfortunate situation, because I truly love my MIL when we're around her and she isn't constantly asking when we are going to visit again. She is great with DS, and she is a sweet person, helpful around the house and fun to be around most of the time. IT's just this whole issue of visits drives me insane.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:15 AM   #7
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We ultimately make the decisions on who and where we spend it with but honestly our family (except my MIL) can be selfish with the travelling. They always expect us to do it, when I'm heavily pregnant, have babies, toddlers...and we always do! No one else has kids but us.

But my DH put his foot down recently, and I don't blame him. He said we aren't doing it anymore. Everyone tries to make me feel bad, but I agree with DH.

I understand where you're coming from.

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Old 07-11-2012, 08:24 AM   #8
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Re: Semi vent. How do you juggle your visits to inlaws? esp. holidays?

I like being home for Christmas, but I love going to my grandparents for Thanksgiving- last 3 years my husband has been gone for both, so it was pretty easy for me to just go see my family. (He wouldn't debate it anyways) but we usually go see his family (grandparents in Ohio primarily) for holidays like memorial day, 4th of july etc. We now live 2 hours from his Mom's house so we spend 1-2 weekends every month up at her house, and although it's not the same as the big holidays it's more than everyone else gets, so I don't think she'd ever have a tantrum about it (at least directly to us) for her not getting the bigger holidays (though We've spent 3 of 4 "Christmas"s together. We were moving over Xmas break this year, and our lease didn't start til January 1, so we went to her house. Year before he was deployed, so I went to my grandparents(Florida) for Christmas then went to her house(Texas) the day after. And 2 years prior they came from Tx to NC (our house). This year if I make it to Florida (which I'm due for havn't been since last Thanksgiving) we will invite MIL to our house for XMAS.

really I don't think I typed anything of value, or even a complete thought. Sorry.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:51 AM   #9
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Thanksgiving is a good time to travel to her. I like to stay home for Christmas and that's that. You need your own time as a family to start creating your own traditions.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:57 AM   #10
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Re: Semi vent. How do you juggle your visits to inlaws? esp. holidays?

I think you just need to be firm with her and let the chips fall where they may.

I live very far from all of our family. My mom is the closest in Florida (We are in New Jersey) so she sees DS more then the rest of the family. Honestly my father has only seen DS briefly ever, however the reverse is true as I have only met my youngest sister briefly as well and she is nearly 9 (adopted at 4)! So we get it from all ends ALL THE TIME. I have a good excuse this Christmas season as I hope to be pregnant and I can't travel with my history. However I completely get you about not being able to take a family vacation because you have to see family.

One thing that helps us a bit, is FIL finally got it in MIL head that it is hard for us to fly out to see them (in Seattle). So they are agreeing to meet us at a vacation destination (Hawaii) next year. They are even paying for part of it. Before then, they will come out to visit us (they were out in February and will come out again in September). I know they can't do this every year, or every time but it makes it so we sort of get both a vacation and see family. They will be using their points (vacation club and airline miles) to afford this. Maybe your MIL could do something like this for you? It doesn't have to be as far away as Hawaii, honestly my inlaws got us a hotel room when we visited their family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (in 2009) and that felt like a vacation for me as I had never been there.

I am sorry your in this spot however I have been there so I feel you!
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