Help with the Holidays?

Heather - posted on 12/08/2011 ( 39 moms have responded )

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My inlaws live 4 hrs away and my family lives in the same town, our problem is that my inlaws expect us to do all the traveling every year. One year we go there for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and the next ony for Christmas day, so that we can always spend the holidays with family. This year we are suppose to go the inlaws for Christmas Day and my husband has to work the day after so it will be 8 hrs on the road and no time to enjoy. Would love some idea on how to slove this. We have suggested they come down here but they say thats not an option but we have to do all the traveling. Please Help!

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[deleted account]

Personally I'd say that because your hubby has to work the next day it's not an option for you to travel to them, as you would be spending half the day driving so couldn't relax and have fun so this year you're going to stay at home, but you would love it if they came to you as you don't get the chance to look after them at Christmas normally.

Otherwise you could maybe suggest meeting in the middle at a restaurant or hotel.

Susan - posted on 12/29/2011

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I realize Christmas is over for this year, but it's never too early to figure out how to state things... Our daughters are both grown, married with children of their own. We live in northeast Oregon, one lives in Kodiak Alaska, the other in Okinawa. We travel to them or buy tickets for their little families to travel. Both son in laws are military so it depends on their leave availablility, always determined by what will work for them.
My point? let your families know they are fortunate to have you so close that they can travel to you with little fuss.
Usually younger families have less travel money and its alot harder to travel with small children than it is for Grandma & Grandpa.
Our best times have been when we can all get together in one pile. That usually takes 4 to 6 months of planning.
Just state what you know is best for your own little family, and say they are sure welcome to come your way!

Bernadette - posted on 12/09/2011

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I'd just say sorry, but in that case we simply can't make it. And point out that next year is your turn with your family so if they don't make the effort to come to you, then it will be another 2 years before you get to spend Christmas with them. There is no way I'd be making that trip for one day, with young kids too.

Tinker1987 - posted on 12/08/2011

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You need to lay down the law, its not a nice christmas being in the car for 8 hours, if they want to see you on christmas they can travel for once.if she wants to lay a guilt trip and act like a child let her,she is being selfish

Stephanie - posted on 12/29/2011

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Glad your in laws finally figured out that driving all day is not what is best for your family. sorry they had to learn it at your expense though.

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Heather - posted on 12/28/2011

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Thank you all so much for your help! This year we made the drive and they got to see what we ment by having a cranky kid all day from being in car. My husband talked to them and from next year forward we are doing Christmas 2 weeks before Christmas holiday starts. It will be more time with his entire family and not just his mom so that made more people happy.

Tracie - posted on 12/27/2011

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Sorry, but you both need to stand up for your own family's needs. Eight hours in the car is an unreasonable request, imho. Declare that next year you will be taking a break from the car marathon so the in-laws have time to prepare themselves/make alternate holiday plans.

We had to do this with my family. We are on the West coast, they are back East. They wanted us to fly back every year. Besides the $$$ factor, that is a lot of hassle with two little kids, vacation time from work, gift transportation, etc. We had to put our foot down and say we just can't afford it, financially or otherwise.

Your priority needs to be your family. Good luck!

Anne - posted on 12/20/2011

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You just flat out say you're staying home and they are welcome to come to your place. If they don't want to travel, well then I guess they miss out on any memories they could have made with your family.

Tamsin - posted on 12/20/2011

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sounds like your mother in law still believes she is the main woman in your husbands life. It will be tough relationship for a while but as long as your husband and you agree to stand firm and don't give in to guilt trips. Absolutely stand up to her and say its not fair on the children to be in the car so much, and your husband needs rest time before work- if they want to see the children around the holiday time they will have to travel to you. End of- may be send by email rather than phone call- that way you don't have to hear the guilt trip and she has time to digest. If they choose not to travel then they will miss out on the grandchildren. may be as a sweetner offer to visit for a few days after the holidays-
best wishes. I have delt with monster-in-laws had a rough few years as they treated my husband like a child. Now my mother-in law respects that i am primary in my husbands life. I am happy to ask for her to help with the children.

Laural - posted on 12/20/2011

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Learn how to stay NO. Stay home and enjoy yourselves. Tell the fam you'll miss them if they can't make it to your house. Refuse to be guilt-tripped into doing something that makes no sense.

[deleted account]

i dont have the same problem because both my parents live in our town, and inlaws live 1/2 hour......but my husband works nights so the only day we see his parents is Sunday......and we have to go there they never go to our place. It gets annoying with a 3 yr and 2 yr and a 3 month old to go bk and forth...*(I need to have enough diapers, formula etc).....even if you stay at home Christmas day that is 100% okay....let your daughter enjoy opening presents and not running around getting ready to leave! let you husband know that he is with his family!!

Tania - posted on 12/19/2011

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Heather,
I have in-laws that live 5 1/2 hours away as well, and my mother lived down there as well. We use to do ALL the travelling during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and sometimes Easter. When I had twins and my oldest was 5 and in school, it got harder to travel especially w/ babies, but we always made the effort to get down there. I finally got fed up w/ it. We decided to go home for Thanksgiving one year and go home for Christmas the next year. Then my mother moved up here to be closer to us. Now for the past couple of years we have gone home for Thanksgiving and stay home for Christmas. The kids got older and started giving their opinion about travelling so much. SO far it has worked out great for us.

Try suggesting swapping out holidays every year: one year Thanksgiving, the next year Christmas. My in-laws never came up here to visit either other than when my husband had his accident. It would have been alot easier for them to travel but they wouldn't never do it. You just need to stick to your guns. It's not gonna hurt the kids to not be there every holiday. I hope everything works out, but your husband does need to consider what's best and less stressful for you and the kids. Y'ALL are the ones making the drive, not them!

Alyn - posted on 12/19/2011

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Well my family is 1.5 hours away and my husbands is local. Since my parents are divorced we have 2 sets to see. I was rotating every year Christmas eve in town, Christmas out of town. Decided this year to stop the confusion and we will spend Christmas day and eve out of town and Christmas at home. Unfortunately I won't see one of my sister's and her family now. I have decided I have to do what is best for my family. Luckily everyone but my sister understands. 4 hours is too far to travel, decide what is best for your family and do it. You may have some hurt feelings, but as adults we (they) have to understand what is being do e is best for you and your family. Not sure if that helps. Good luck.

Cara - posted on 12/18/2011

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Do. Not. Go. I applaud the women who have said they stood up to family members and STAYED HOME! You have the right to take care of yourself. Stop the cycle of guilt and shame! That's NOT what Christmas is supposed to be about! The people that truly love you will want you to be happy and healthy, even if it means you STAY HOME!!!

[deleted account]

You are going to be w/ family. YOUR family (you, husband, and kid). It's not fair for your daughter to spend 8 hours of HER Christmas driving around!

Stand firm and good luck!

Kyra - posted on 12/18/2011

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If their reason for not coming is financial call their bluff and offer to pay for traveling expenses.

Heather - posted on 12/18/2011

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Well it is not turning out great, we are still fighting about it when our daughter is not around and only have 7 days left, he says it not fair that his family not see her for the holidays but that they can't afford to drive down. On the other hand we can't really afford to drive up there either so I suggested just staying home and they told him that Christmas was about being with family so he thinks we need to drive up there. I a really at a lose on this and am stressing more now than ever over it. I hate fighting with my husband about it but I just don't think its fair to us or our daughter. Thanks for all the help and suggestion maybe in the future I can get it to work better.

Angie - posted on 12/14/2011

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Heather,
I am with these other gals 100%! I think maybe some healthy boundaries might be appropriate... :) You and Your husband have children now and if they aren't willing to be flexible and understanding maybe you need to decide as a married couple, what kind of traditions you want your kids to remember when they grow up! I think opening up your home is great! I say, If they really want to see you.. they can come to you! Blessings & Good luck, let us know how it turns out! :)

Stephanie - posted on 12/14/2011

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Stand up for what is best for your family which sounds like it is not driving for 8 hours within one day.

Kyra - posted on 12/14/2011

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I think your in laws are selfish! I also think it is time for you to take a stand with your husband not his parents. Why should your children be subjected to 8 hours in a car on Christmas day? Of course you have to do what you feel you can live with but let me tell you what I would do. I would tell my husband that he can go spend time with his parents and I would not be angry about it or hold it against him, but I would stay home with my children. It is his place to set boundaries with his parents on behalf of his family. I hope your Christmas turns out to be relaxing and enjoyable. Please let us know the outcome.

Danielle - posted on 12/13/2011

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My sister and her family lives about 2 1/2 hrs away from us. They usually come up a couple weeks before Christmas and we have a big celebration then. They stay for the weekend and then go home.

Amy - posted on 12/13/2011

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What did your husband do for Christmas when HE was growing up? Assuming he didn't have to do what your family is expected to do, I'd use that as a way to get through to your MIL. Of course he'll probably have to do the explaining, but if he can explain to her that he loved Christmas because he got to spend it at home with his family...and that he loves his kids as much as she loves him and his siblings and that he wants to give his kids the same wonderful Christmas memories he had... Well, maybe she'll understand. She probably is having a really hard time letting go, and not much is going to help her other than her realizing things are changing. It's usually not as bad as we make it out to be, so she'll get over it, I believe. Good luck!

Tracy - posted on 12/12/2011

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I have pretty much the same scenario, family and in-laws live 5 hours away and seldom come visit (almost never for the holidays). And on top of it all, both our parents are divorced, so that doubles the number of people we're expected to go see AND spend loads of time with. Now that we have 2 children and my son is at the age where he's excited for Christmas, we simply stay home. Fortunately my husband has a job where he gets a lot of leave, so we head up after the holidays. We almost never travel for Thanksgiving and such, we just celebrate here with our little family and friends and neighbors. It's simply too hard! Every year we head up after Christmas and my husband usually takes a week off. That way we get to spend Christmas at home, watching our children wake up to Santa. Every time any family gives us a problem about "not coming home", we simply tell them that we would LOVE for them to come here and spend the holidays with us. We sometimes get takers for Thanksgiving and Easter, but never for Christmas (so far). It's sad that we have to miss all the family festivities, but it's so nice to build memories with our family.
I would tell them that it's simply too hard to do all that traveling and enjoy any time, so you'll come when you have a little more time to spend. If they don't understand, then they'll get over it. And who knows, maybe they'll start coming to you on holidays once they realize you're serious.

Hollie - posted on 12/11/2011

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explain how much simpler it would be for the inlaws to travel to you, then both sides of family get to spend time togther that will be enjoyed with out you and your husband rushing to get back for work commitments :)

MaryLou - posted on 12/10/2011

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Simply switch the days. See the inlaws on Christmas Eve, and your family on Christmas. You cannot help if your husband has to work the day after. These things happen. If they don't like the change that is too bad for them! Don't feel guilty about it!

User - posted on 12/10/2011

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We travel 8 hours one way. Both sets of family is there. We do all the travelling. In your case. This year switch the time. Go down for Christmas Eve, for the inlaws and for your family Christmas. Things like this cannot be helped. If your husband has to work, he has to work. Do Christmas with them next year! Don't feel guilty!

Carla - posted on 12/10/2011

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Guilt his mom back! Tell her that there is just no way that your husband could work effectively the next day, he would be just too tired and that as his mom, you are sure that she wouldn't want her son to be miserable the next day. As for the kids, you are welcome to come over to see your dear grandchildren open their presents and spend Christmas day with us, but I'm so sorry, we just can't come up this year.

Bernadette - posted on 12/10/2011

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why isn't it an option? Do they not drive? Or finances are too tight? Other relatives already coming for Christmas? Those reasons I can understand (although it still doesn't make things any different for you - if you're not in a position to go, you're not in a position to go) but if it is anything else? Sounds like they are just unwilling to compromise. To put it nicely...

Amy - posted on 12/10/2011

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I completely agree with all of the other ladies. Stand firm, even to your husband, he'll thank you for it later. Your in-laws can meet you at your home on Christmas. You even offered to drive down for a weekend later, so that option is available. Stay strong!

[deleted account]

You do need to stand firm with the fact it's not an option for you to spend 8 hours travelling...that is pretty much ALL your kids awake time...Christmas is about the kids it's their right to enjoy it and your mil should care about that. If your husband won't be firm you have to, why should you spoil your families Christmas just to make her happy? It's not like you have said she can't spend Christmas with you, you've just suggested moving the location...

Sally - posted on 12/09/2011

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This year it isn't an option for you either. To expect your family to go through that stress in completely unfair. If they want to see you, they can drive. If your MIL guilt trips your husband, your husband stops taking her calls until she stops. It really hurts to have to do this to family, but they will keep doing this to you every holiday until you end it.
The second time my MIL tried to guilt trip us into letting her be selfish, I told my husband we can have a big fight now or we can have this stress every holiday forever and he agreed to "lay down the law". :) The initial argument was horrible. My MIL tried to say that we were damaging our child by damaging her relationship with her grandparents. She also said some very cruel things to my husband. I told her to grow up and that if her ego was more important to her than her son, I didn't want my child having a relationship with her anyway. They didn't speak to us for a couple months and things were strained for about a year, but they've been nothing but helpful the 4 years since then.
Good luck

Kelina - posted on 12/09/2011

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would inviting them to stay the night christmas eve and christmas day be feasible for you? enumerate all the things that would be wonderful about that-a great christmas breakfast wth their grandkids, watching them open all their presents in their jammies, Christmas dinner with you guys, etc. Tell them you'd really love to have them as it would just be too much for you guys t travel on christmas day and you'd be worried for you hubby's safety to and from work the next day if he had to stay up late traveling. If being nice doesn't work and being firm doesn't work, then guilt trip her back. Mom's usually want their kids to be safe no matter how old they are.

Maureen - posted on 12/09/2011

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Growing up we always drove two hours to be with my dad's family. One year he just stated that with all the young kids we were staying home making our own traditions. If they wanted to see us they had to make the drive. We told them that all year long and they were still surprised that we didn't come for Christmas but it was important for my parents to start their own family traditions. Be strong and stick to your guns. They will get over it. Lay the guilt on them that it would be difficult for the kids this year. Good luck.

Heather - posted on 12/08/2011

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I have said that and suggested doing before the holiday or them coming down a couple of weeks later when it is our daughters birthday and we can see them there. My husband won't stand up to them, then it cause problems for us. I hate traveling the day of Christmas cause I would like to be able to enjoy watching the joy in my daughters eyes on Christmas morning.

Medic - posted on 12/08/2011

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So YOU lay down the law. It wont work for your family to go all over kingdom come this year and your husband needs to be rested for work and why the hell would you want to drag kids around all day long.

Heather - posted on 12/08/2011

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Thanks Ladies, my husband has tried telling them that but it hasnt worked and then his mom guilt trips him making him feel like a bad son if we dont go up there. I'm at a lose and stressed out because of it.

Corinne - posted on 12/08/2011

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I'm with Toni on this. Also, Christmas is about the kids. I have always refused to spend Christmas away from home since I had the kids.

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