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Old 07-11-2012, 03:19 PM   #21
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Re: Semi vent. How do you juggle your visits to inlaws? esp. holidays?

Can you establish some sort of traditions with her so she can look forward to them every year? Like, for a long weekend every August, you will visit her. Or Thanksgivings at her house, or she comes to you for the week between Christmas and New Years?

I am wondering if some stability of schedule would ease her mind a little bit and make the visits you do have with her more calm. It really just sounds like she is insecure with not knowing when the next visit is, and she is a person who really needs to know that.

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Old 07-11-2012, 03:22 PM   #22
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Luckily I have been blessed with wonderful in-laws. It's my own family that tends to be more of an issue as my parents are divorced and unamicable. We decided a few years back that we would no longer travel around the winter holidays (the weather here is too unpredictable and we have our own traditions now). The first couple of years we got some flack, but now everyone knows we do this and when planning for the holidays they even ask whether we want to get together before or after Christmas.
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:26 PM   #23
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Re: Semi vent. How do you juggle your visits to inlaws? esp. holidays?

all i have to say is
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Old 07-11-2012, 06:56 PM   #24
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Re: Semi vent. How do you juggle your visits to inlaws? esp. holidays?

Ugh, we don't! IL (only MIL, FIL is deceased) is in town, but DH's brother is in FL (we are in IN). When DH was married previously, he and XW drove MIL down to FL every other year and every other year DH's brother traveled here. Well DH and XW were a lot more irresponsible with $$ than I am, so unfortunately if we do that trip then it blows our whole trip budget for that year, so no. BIL can travel here we have finally (after 3 yrs of arguing each year about this.... ) decided. BIL doesn't seem to mind, he travels a lot as it is ($$ is not an issue and he flies here for free anyway).

The first year I was with DH, we made the trip with MIL. 18 hrs in the car. She was very unfriendly but has gotten better over the years. There were a lot of issues but I told DH NEVER AGAIN! LOL

So BIL comes here, DH's mom travels the 15 minutes to our house, and we host xmas eve (that afternoon and evening) with DH's brother and mom and usually my mom and brother join us as well) and then we spend X-mas day with my dads side of the family at their house (local).

It's the only thing that seems to work for us and keep everyone happy.
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:10 PM   #25
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Re: Semi vent. How do you juggle your visits to inlaws? esp. holidays?

We just say we are spending it at home and do. There is guilt, but I have learned to brush it off. And if your hubby won't say anything, then maybe you should.
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:15 PM   #26
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We also stay home for Christmas and usually Thanksgiving, too. My in laws have been gracious enough to come see us (they are about an hour away). They understand that it's hard for us to pick up and go, with 3 little ones. Plus our house is bigger, and we have plenty of room for the family. They usually come on Tgiving and Christmas Eve or a few days before. My sister and BIL come Christmas day bc they live a couple of streets over, have no kids yet *impatiently taps foot*, and love to see our kids.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:07 PM   #27
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Re: Semi vent. How do you juggle your visits to inlaws? esp. holidays?

To either set of parents (mine or DH's) it is a 15-18 hour drive from here. Or a fairly expensive flight. We drive out for Christmas and once in the summer. My parents come out here usually twice a year, his parents once or twice as well.

We stayed home for Christmas the year YDD was a newbie. His parents came in early Dec and mine came in Jan to see us, but no one came ON Christmas. Honestly, I was a little depressed. I want the big family Christmas, and if that means I need to drag my kids half way across the country to do it, so be it.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:24 PM   #28
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Re: Semi vent. How do you juggle your visits to inlaws? esp. holidays?

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Originally Posted by Hungry Caterpillar View Post
Can you establish some sort of traditions with her so she can look forward to them every year? Like, for a long weekend every August, you will visit her. Or Thanksgivings at her house, or she comes to you for the week between Christmas and New Years?

I am wondering if some stability of schedule would ease her mind a little bit and make the visits you do have with her more calm. It really just sounds like she is insecure with not knowing when the next visit is, and she is a person who really needs to know that.
This is a good idea. It's exactly what we do with my mom and brothers. Maybe I'll suggest it.

Happy to report we finally settled a date to visit, so hopefully that is that for now!!

Thanks mamas!
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:40 PM   #29
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Re: Semi vent. How do you juggle your visits to inlaws? esp. holidays?

DH's parents live about an hour away, my dad & sisters live about fifteen minutes away from us (on the way to DH's parents' house), and my mom lives in Florida (we're in Illinois). During ODS' 2nd or 3rd Christmas season, I put my foot down on US traveling to everyone. DH's parents are welcome to come to us on Christmas Eve for brunch or lunch, or really any day during the week...or they can do Christmas with the kids on the Sunday closest to Christmas while we're already there. We do Christmas brunch, then present opening from grandpa & aunties at my dad's house on Christmas morning, then we come home & have a relaxing evening & open presents from DH & I on Christmas night. IF my mom happens to be up for the Christmas holiday, the kids usually open presents from her on Christmas Eve night & my sisters & my niece come to our house and we do dinner for everyone here.

For the rest of the year....We go to church in DH's hometown where his parents live, so we're there most Sundays, then go to his parents' house after church for lunch and "visiting"...if we stay any less than 3-4 hours, Iam rude and trying to keep their grandkids from them (notice DH is not included in that??) They do absolutely nothing with any of us while we're there...FIL usually naps on the couch or goes outside to do yard/car work, and MIL sits on the couch doing quilt stuff & chasing my children around the house trying to shove as much junk food into them as possible while they're there...like seriously...they can be saying "no, I don't like/want that" and she's pretty much forcing it down their throats. They come try to sit by me to keep her from doing it, and then she gets all mad and is like "oh, mommy is so mean and won't let you have this, mawmaw is trying to be nice & give you fun things" The kids usually just sit there and watch a movie or two, or if its nice, they play in the backyard with DH & I while their grandparents sit inside the house. After we get away from DH's parents on Sundays, we usually stop at my dad's house for supper & the kids hang out with him, my sisters, and their cousin for a bit. They also usually drop by our house at least once or twice a week, we all have dinner together fairly often because they just happen to be here when its time to eat My mom travels up this way for business throughout the year and usually tries to schedule those trips so she can use the weekend to come see us for a quick visit. We alternate years for a week's vacation...either she comes up here to see everyone, or my sisters & I go down to her (separately) with our own families...she's actually done more than her share of coming up here because the last few years I've either been pregnant, just had a baby, had a baby/young toddler that HATES the car/gets violently carsick, or she just happened to be up this way more often & used vacay days. She's managed to come up here for a week or so around Christmas every year since I've had the kids, so she gets to have those holiday memories/experiences with them as well
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Old 07-12-2012, 12:20 AM   #30
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Re: Semi vent. How do you juggle your visits to inlaws? esp. holidays?

For me, it's simple. My parents have said Christmas is about the kids waking up and opening presets under the tree. It's about the surprise and watching them get lost in the wonder of presents.

My parents are only an hour away and DH's are mile away. We have our family Christmas and then visits. Head to my parents for Christmas mass, and dinner with the in-laws in the evening. It's a bit of travel, but it keeps everyone involved.

If I were you, I would address it, but in a way that may help you all achieve what you want - MIL to feel important & you and your DH to not feel aggravated. Since you don't feel you can address it head on... Plan events and activities that include her. When she visits, establish some regular activities (zoo, park, play class, home art projects, baking cookies with grandma) you can enjoy together. When you visit, do the same. Whether it is a day at the park, letting her watch the little ones for an hour, pick them up from school with you, etc. You may do this already, but adding "The kids would love if when you visit that you (name an activity)." or "I'm planning when your here next to make some wonderful memories." If she goes home with a painting or drawing, or homemade jewelry, etc., she might think more of the time she does spend with your family. Have her do things the kids like to do; some of the activities will change over the years, but the special grandma time will be a lasting memory. If she's happy when she leaves, you'll be happier that next time will be easier, and you being building a different relationship.

Rituals, holiday or otherwise, make memories that last. And they give us all something to look forward to the next time someone or that holiday comes around. Ask her to think of things she would like to do. A special way to make her feel more included could be to do a family portrait with her... And you're kids will have that many years from now too.

Sometimes it's all in how we approach bridging our differences that makes it less awkward and a better situation. She may not contribute any ideas, but if you start the ball rolling doors are more likely to open.

PS - We also Skpye on Christmas morning. So, even though people aren't with us, they do get to see the joy of kids opening their presents. We Skype a few times a week, and our 2 year old even uses the iPad to randomly call the grandparents.

Good luck!

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