We have a similar siltation which crops up each year as we think about visiting various family members over the Christmas period. Each year I end up feeling frustrated by the situation and feel that we always end up changing our plans to accommodate everyone else's. Realistically there is little I can do to change it so I need to move on.
The in-laws start planning their Christmas visiting very early in the year, as in we've invited them in August and they are already booked up. However they have never asked us when we can visit or when they can visit us, and since we tend to leave the planning till rather later in the year, (like about now) we end up working our plans each year to fit around them. Usually this means we end up travelling to see both sets of parents, mine are unable to travel as they are caring for elderly relatives and the in-laws travel to see DHs brother and prefer not to travel again.
I'm not that bothered by the actually dates we see people, but I would really like to spend some family time at home. Not having to pack and repack the car constantly would be lovely and it would be nice to see the kids able to play with their new toys instead of me worrying that we will loose pieces at other people houses.
DH and I have agreed that we will spend Christmas at home. We've made the same decision before though and I get talked into changing so we get to see his parents. I wonder if we can stick to it this year.
I do feel we've really done enough to work round things. However we often end up thinking it's a shame that the kids don't get to see their grandparents over Christmas and rearrange plans to make it happen with the result that I end up completely stressed out by the whole thing.
However this year I really think DH has had enough too, or at least enough of me moaning about it :lol. He still hasn't rung them to talk about plans though.
Part of it is visiting at a time when we get time off from school, work etc. For me that seems easier to arrange round the "big" holidays when most people have time off. I count New Year in with Christmas there as it's all part of the same "time off" period. I guess what I should learn for this is that it's clearly not easier for the inlaws.
Growing up most of my extended family lived very close together and it was unheard of for me not to see both sets of grandparents on Christmas, Birthdays etc. We lived next door to one set of grandparents, and less than 5 minutes walk from the other.
I think you were very lucky growing up. And while you may want to recreate similar memories for your children, these are different times and different circumstances. Talk about creating different kinds of memories with your children. Get their input, if they're old enough. I wasn't able to create the same kinds of memories as my older sisters. Things changed too much to make it possible. It's disappointing, but your children don't know the difference. To them, it's always been this way, grandparents far away.
When my kids were small we traveled for holidays, until one disastrous year when our then 19 month old was badly hurt at an extended family gathering. Both my DH and I were so exhausted from traveling with small children and visiting, and assumed someone was keeping an eye on her (tons of people). She pulled on a table cloth that had a huge urn of hot coffee on it. We spent the rest of the holiday in the burn unit at a Children's hospital.
Since then, we've put out children first and made our holidays SANE occasions when we can attend to them and connect as family.
If it is important to your inlaws to see you and your kids, they can come see you. If they don't give a crap about it, which it truly sounds like they don't, then put your children first and give them a wonderful holiday.
Just tell your husband No. He'll get over it. His parent could come see you and the kids if it was really a priority to them. Your parents could find someone else in the family to give them a break, or they could hire in home health care workers. Everybody here is making a choice.
Christmas time is the busy season for ERs, and my DD is now 14 and still has scaring on her back from our putting other people first.
We enjoy out holidays so much that are just the 4 of us. It's really sweet.
but everything has pros and cons
Thank you for posting this thread! My DH and I have been discussing this very issue. The past holidays we have always gone out visiting all the relatives--they live nearby. Our kids are 2 and 4 now, so they were babies! It left me exhausted, crazy, and fed up. All I wanted to do was spend time with my kids and DH, but felt "lazy" for not getting out and taking the kids to see their relatives.
The Thanksgiving I was pregnant with my second son, I got so hot I had to go outside. I was really exhausted and just wanted to go home, but was trying to please everyone else. I eventually went out and sat in the car I was so mad! My DH and I fought the whole way home and I really thought we might split up over it all. Ugh!
Why does all of this seem so silly as I write this, yet the stakes can end up being so high?
This year we are deciding to stay home. I am open to relatives coming over to see us. I hope I don't get talked into driving all over to see everyone again, but I am in a much different place and realize what's important for us all.
For me, I didn't have any relatives growing up and I think my parents felt guilty about it so they made up for it by deluging us with too many presents. Now, I feel guilty for not spending time with them more since there aren't many relatives. I also feel guilty for not seeing my DH's family because shouldn't they get to see the kids too?
All of this has nothing to do with the real meaning of the holidays--it's just guilt, expectations, and family traditions that can be really really hard to maintain in our modern society/culture. I think many people feel bad or letdown or like their missing out somehow. It's sad and I don't want my kids to keep this cycle going. I am really hoping to create a saner, less stressed out holiday for them.