Katelyn - posted on 01/21/2014 ( 2 moms have responded )
This has been a heated topic between my husband and I ever since our oldest was turning 2 (who's now 4 1/2 years old). I get so stressed and start having anxiety attacks whenever we get close to one of the kid's birthdays because all we end up doing is fight (like I don't get enough stress from planning the birthday out to begin with). I come from a Caucasian family with the belief that when you get married and have a family, you become your own unit. My parents want and encourage us to start our own traditions and start laying a foundation down now for us to bond and be close with our children. We are always welcome to my parents to do family things, but they also understand and respect if we want to do our own thing instead (i.e. We spend Christmas evening with my parents, so we can have Christmas morning with just us and the kids). And this is something I want... to be close and bond with my kids. I want to be able to have private time with them, just my husband, myself, and our kids. My husband's family is a different story. My husband is Filipino and grew up in a household where even after you're married and have kids, you're still very much involved in the family and do what the older adults want. In this case, parties, especially kids birthdays, are a big deal to his Grandma. Their parties are big. The whole family is invited... Grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. And they are long, lasting until early morning. Usually when we go to these family parties, I don't feel very included. The kids my age (my husband's siblings and cousins) all play poker in the other room, which I know nothing about since I don't gamble. The older adults are usually gawking and drinking, while wanting my kids' attention. I'm not much of a drinker and if I try to mingle with the older adults, the women usually ask me questions about my family and/or American culture, which usually ends up with them laughing at what I say and them being brutally honest on the topic, which can get offensive. So least to say, I don't have much fun at their parties. I usually try to get involve by bringing something over, since they like my cooking/baking. Anyway, they have never once told me Happy Birthday, or wanted to throw a party for my birthday, even though they know when it is (however I do get a card/gift usually from my mother and father in-law). However, they make a big deal about my kids having a party for their birthday. It's important to them that Grandma is ensured time with the kids on their birthday because we don't know when Grandma will pass away. So a couple years back, I came up with the idea that for the kids' birthdays, we would celebrate some with a big party and all of the family and friends (both his and mine) and other years we would celebrate with just us/our family. That way we both get a little of what we want and it helps with our expenses, since we don't have a lot of money and throwing a huge party for each kid each year can get very expensive. Come to find out last year (2 days before our oldest's birthday) that this doesn't work for him, nor my in-laws. They now want multiple parties (one for just us and one for my in-laws; my parents are invited, of course.) After fighting about it, we ended up doing something with just us, but my husband constantly throws it in my face how I won for now and got what I wanted, but this issue is still not resolved. I came up with this whole idea so everyone could somewhat win and be happy. I mean well and am trying to understand. However, I feel like my husband doesn't understand what my wants/needs are (Grandma's wants/needs trump my wants/needs), how exhausting and stressful it is for me to plan and/or go to multiple parties, nor do we have the money for it all. I don't feel like my husband or his family respects my boundaries. Last year, our youngest was turning 1 and we had a huge party for him. Grandma couldn't make it because she was going to be in the Philippines at that time. So my husband wants to make it up to Grandma this year by having a party, even though we had one last year and agreed that age 2 is a year to skip for a party. And now with our youngest's birthday coming up, I'm starting to panic. So I'm wondering... what other compromise can we come up with? How do you celebrate your child's birthday with relatives that live close by? And no, inviting my in-laws/Grandma for dinner, or cake and ice cream on another night is not an option. If they come over, everyone comes, and there will be a party. Someone... please HELP!!!