In laws upset about us visiting my family for Christmas

Morgan - posted on 11/15/2014 ( 7 moms have responded )

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When my husband and I got married and had children we decided that we would do our best to split the holidays every other year. So one year Thanksgiving with my parents and then Christmas with his parents and the next year switch. Simple enough....we thought so. Therefore, I was surprised to find out that there was an issue with us traveling to see my family for Christmas this year.
The quick synopsis is this: his family lives 10 miles away, my family lives across the county. The first Christmas we had as a family, my son was six months old. My husband is a firefighter and at the time was in his first "probationary" year, so we assumed he would not be able to get holiday time off to travel. When he ended up having surgery that Oct and was taken off work for 8 months, due to an injury to his knee, we thought we might try to go see my family for Christmas, if he was cleared to travel. When we let his parents know, his dad was furious and his mom cried. Our solution, we spent Christmas Eve with his family and flew out Christmas morning at 6:00am to go see mine. After the flight and two hour drive to my parents, it was dinner time before we got there on Christmas day. The next year we stayed home and spent both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my in-laws. Last year should have been my parents year, but we had a brand knew 8wk old baby and did not want to travel. So my family came to us and we had a joint Christmas. We still went over to his parents house for Christmas Eve and then Christmas morning we had both sides over to our house and also hosted Christmas dinner.
This year my husband was scheduled to work Christmas Eve, but someone was kind enough to trade with him and we booked tickets to go and see my family. My husband had a conversation with his mother about this. Then just this week. His father attacked him basically telling my husband that he needed to control the situation and how hurt his mother was that we were leaving for Christmas. I think their opinion is that my family had last Christmas because they were here. Whereas we look at last Christmas as a "hybrid" Christmas that was really no ones, but joint because of our new addition. We were all together...is all that should matter.
I understand that they are sad and disappointed and will miss their son and grandchildren, they are allowed to feel this way. But I am upset that they are putting my husband in the middle and guilt tripping him about this. My family sees my children 2, maybe 3 times a year...that is it. They see them 2-3 times a week! I asked my husband if I could talk to his parents and let them know where I am coming from and how hard it is to live so far away and not be confrontational with them but just be able to discuss my feelings. I am hurt and I am hurt for my husband. My 3 year old is so excited to go visit his other grandparents for Christmas and when I heard him tell my husbands parents one day and talk about being excited they didn't even acknowledge him. This is wrong. My husband asked me not to say anything because his parents asked him not to share with me that they were even upset. I am respecting his request, but this entire situation is driving me crazy. This is not how we should all be exhibiting the Christmas spirit.
Any advice on how I can let this go and move on without being hurt and angry is welcome. I don't want to put my husband in the middle and they are great grandparents and my children love them. So I do want to move on. Mostly I just needed to vent too!!!!

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Kelly - posted on 11/29/2014

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I know what you are all saying. We spend thanksgiving, Christmas eve and Christmas morning (which I hate,I think it should just be our family in the morning) with my husband's family. This year I said I wanted to go to my brothers for Christmas dinner. All my family will be there. My husband said no way he is not traveling on the holiday. My brother lives an hour away. So he said I can take our 3 kids and go without him. He wants to go to his parents. It is killing me that he even thinks that is right.

Ev - posted on 11/16/2014

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I think you should remind his parents that your parents need time with the grandkids too. I think they need to understand that is why you guys chose to try and switch the holidays around each year to give them all a chance to spend time with your family. I understand this fully. When I first got married to my now ex, his family (parents, siblings and their spouses and children) would attend ALL major holidays at his folks house. It was never done any other way. Well, the first year we went to his folks but after that my own parents expressed the want to spend time with us on those holidays as well. So it was suggested we do the holidays like you decided Thanksgiving with one and then Christmas with the other and switch them every year. At first his family did not like it but it was only fair that my family got some time too. They had to get used to it. And his family always drew names and that we did not do the years we went to my parents because it was too much to spend on presents. Even years we went to his folks for Christmas it was still to expensive to buy presents for four other people on top of our family. But it did work out. Stick to your idea and keep it going. If they do not like it still after another couple of years, tell them that this is how its going to be and they need to get used to it. You do not want to cause drama and tell them that. Tell them you want to be able to spend the holidays with each side as equally as possible and if they can not accept it then they will just have to deal with it.

Morgan - posted on 11/15/2014

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Sometimes I agree with you @ Michelle. I feel like this may be the first time he really said his peace and stood up for me and the situation and it was so nice to finally hear that he did this. I don't want the drama...I really don't and I wish I could just address it head on without my husband being upset. But he feels as if he handled it. I think its wrong that they told him not to tell me and I think at the very least he could have told them, "I am going to tell her because I don't keep secrets from my wife" maybe if they knew I was aware they would realize it needs to be discussed between us as well.

Crystalann - posted on 11/18/2014

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Reading this was like looking into my own life. My family lives about a five hour drive away while my husband's family is here in town. They, in fact, live down the hill from us. They visit us every weekend and spent some time with my kids. They are very close to the kids and to us, but I find it is becoming more and more difficult to deal with them and their use of guilt to try and get us to spend more time with them. I also really dislike how my MIL is with my family, when they do come to town to visit us. She has literally taken the kids out of my families arms to put them down or have them have some quiet time. It blows me away because of how much time they DO have with their grandkids. It took until we had kids for my husband to stand up to his family (though he is still very weary of confrontation and drama within his family so it takes a lot to get him to actually say something). He has often told his parents that if they say anything about me or take issue, he will say that he tells me everything, that there are no secrets, so if they don't want it to get back to me, not to bring it up with him. This is good and bad. I have reached a point now where I don't take them into consideration (or my family either) for our plans for our family. We have told everyone that Christmas will be in rotation and that is that. You can not control how people are going to react to what you do, instead, you can only plan for yourself and your little family. I do think you should be able to say to your in laws your feelings, to express how difficult it is to be so far from your own family, how much you appreciate them being there for you but that it is important to you and your husband that your kids have the joy and pleasure of being close with both sides of their family.

Ultimately, I agree that your husband has to realize that he is no longer part of his mother's "club" but is instead in your club, on your team, whatever the analogy you want to apply here. The bottom line is that YOUR family is you, him, and your kids. Do what is best for those people. No matter what, your MIL is still going to want to see the kids and so she will have to get over it.

Good luck!!!

Michelle - posted on 11/15/2014

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I would raise it with them anyway (that's just me) and if they said anything I would tell them that we don't keep secrets.
I think you both need to show them that you are your own family now and will do what's best for you, not them. If you don't do it now it will only get worse and your husband will always be stuck in the middle.

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Sarah - posted on 11/15/2014

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I spent many a miserable Christmas trying to please both sets of grandparents all because my husband and I did not stand together. If you can talk to your hubby and get him to see that you two need to stand together and tell both sets of grandparents that every year you will make the choice that is best for your family. Once you and your husband are on the same page you can tell the grandparents together. The problem starts when you promise to take turns. In theory it seems logical but it hasn't been working out that way has it? Who know what the future holds? Maybe your hubby won't get the next two Christmases off because other firemen are hurt or sick? What if one of your in-laws was terminally ill (God forbid) and it was your family's turn? Say it kindly but explain that you two are united on the issue and won't be bullied into staying home or traveling.
It isn't a contest and once you and your husband agree on a plan you'll feel better.

Michelle - posted on 11/15/2014

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I think your husband needs to grow up and stand up to his Mother. She knows that if she turns on the waterworks and is "upset enough" then you will change your plans. It's like a toddler having a tantrum. If you give in then they will keep at the tantrums to get what they want.
You've done it before so why won't you change your plans again to keep her happy. She has your husband still attached to the apron strings and they need to be cut.

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