managing relatives when everyone is scattered across the country - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 40 Old 05-18-2010, 11:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
NicaG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 1,733
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If you have close relatives who live far away, how do you decide on when to visit, who travels (them to you, or you to them), and how often?

We have two kids and we live on the east coast. My parents live in Minnesota and ds's mother and sister live in Ohio. Ohio is about a 10-hr drive (with kids) and Minnesota is really only accessible by 3-hr plane ride.

Anyway, the cost of plane tickets is rapidly becoming a problem, now that dd will need her own ticket in a few months. We're thinking of having a third child, and that would pretty much end plane trips for us for a while. Plus I hate taking the kids to the grandparents--it's a duty, and a lot of money, and a lot of stress, and a lot of time off work for dh. And we usually don't have a very good time.

Our families basically refuse to come visit us. My mother occasionally visits to help me if dh is away on business (but she expects us to pay for her ticket). Dh's sister also visits maybe once every couple of years. There are a lot of good reasons and excuses that our families use for not coming to see us....but basically I'm just sick of it, I'm sick of schlepping the kids all over the place so the relatives can see them.

Anyone else have this problem? Do you discuss visiting schedules openly with your relatives? Any good resolution? Is it ok to go years without visiting the grandparents?

lady.gif mama to H. 4/05 and A. 9/08 and baby C. 10/11

NicaG is offline  
#2 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 12:12 AM
 
JL83's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 973
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In my family, the people who did the moving do most of the traveling. When my brother and his family moved away, they factored the cost of visits into deciding if it was worth it.
JL83 is offline  
#3 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 12:59 AM
 
Mummoth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 3,475
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
My whole family is local, most within a half hour drive. All of SO's immediate family is a 16 hour drive away. His mom is on air, and needs an oxygen tank when she leaves home, so it's not possible for her to come to us. His brothers and their families might come visit at some point, but their youngest kids are toddlers so it's not practical. Once a year is enough for our family, SO can go on his own if he wants to visit more than that.

~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

Mummoth is offline  
#4 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 08:53 AM
 
fritz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 407
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Are the grandparents/extended family online? If so, it makes it all much simpler. We use a photo sharing website (Shutterfly), and I regularly send out albums to share with family and friends (all of whom are long distance). There's also Skype for chatting live via webcam, which we usually only manage to do for major holidays. Most of DH's family is on Facebook, so I finally joined just to see the family pictures they share that way. And I've got a blog I update almost every day so they can read up on our latest doings without my feeling guilty about flooding their inboxes with updates.

I'm very lucky that my mom loves to drive, and several times a year comes up to visit us. (She has another grandson across the country from her that she can only reach by plane, so she told us when our DS was born she'd only be able to afford only a few visits a year between the two of them--this was before we moved several hours closer to her, so some years she'd see one of her DGS more frequently than the other, but it would all balance out eventually.) However, my DS gets very carsick, so we try to limit ourselves to one trip a year (and if DH's siblings would stop getting married, we'd be able to stick to that!).

My grandparents are not online, so every so often, I write them a brief letter updating them on DS's latest interests/achievements. Sometimes I include DS's artwork. I'll also send them prints from Shutterfly a few times a year. We just visited them for the first time in 9 years last year. It was only a few days, and it worked out really well for all of us. We all enjoyed seeing each other, but we weren't there long enough to disrupt their lives too much. So go ahead and save yourselves money and stress--stop visiting the relatives so frequently, especially if it's not even enjoyable. There are plenty of other ways to stay in touch!
fritz is offline  
#5 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 09:28 AM
 
SweetPotato's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 911
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Okay-- I just had to laugh reading this because we have the same problem-- only WE live in MN, my parents live in Ohio, and dh's parents live on the east coast. It sounds like you and I need to just trade some families and we'll all be good!

Seriously- It drives me nuts. My dh's family is very expensive for us to visit, in terms of airfare and precious vacation days for dh. We're thinking that we may commit to visiting each set of parents once a year, and more than that they can come see us. It's true that WE moved (for my dh's career)- but I feel like it's much simpler for a couple of affluent retired people to travel than it is for dh to take off work and us travel with dd. Dd and I occasionally travel alone for more frequent visits to my parents, since we can take the train cheaply, but I have to admit that I'm feeling kind of petty and grumpy about how long it's been since they came here and how slow they've been about making plans to come back. Dd loves to have them here in her life, and it makes me so sad every time she asks if they're coming to visit and I have to put her off because they simply won't make plans.
SweetPotato is offline  
#6 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 09:48 AM
 
NiteNicole's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 4,717
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
When I was younger, my friend's family would all rent and split a huge beach house (not expensive, depending on where you go. Lake houses, mountains, etc are all good choices) and meet up there. I always thought it was such a neat idea and we've used it ourselves. It doesn't have to be expensive, everyone has to travel so no one feels especially put out, it's not anyone's home turf, and it doesn't feel like you're wasting vacation days and not doing anything fun.
NiteNicole is online now  
#7 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 10:51 AM
 
aprons_and_acorns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: by the beautiful blue hills of WI
Posts: 3,395
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Subbing because my family is in the same boat. DH and I both have divorced parents (actually his were never married) so we have four sets of scattered grandparents to contend with, plus scattered siblings. It is a constant balancing act and has been the source of many a near nervous breakdown for me. I agree with Fritz that Skye and internet photo sharing have been wonderful.

My Etsy Shop
Acorn Dolls~Wool Felt Crowns~Children's Craft Kits~Shooting Stars~Dancing Fairy Rings~Come On Over and Play!
aprons_and_acorns is offline  
#8 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 11:31 AM
 
just_lily's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,187
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We are pretty bad. My DD is nearly 2 and has never been to either of my parents' houses (they are divorced). We live in Alberta, and they live in Ontario about six hours from each other. It just isn't going to happen financially. We flew out to visit my dad before we got pregnant, and did it mainly on points.

Aside from the money issue, both of my parents live in apartments without a lot of space, so taking a toddler there for several days sounds like an unusual form of torture to me.

They each come to visit us about once a year. DF and I are getting married at the end of June so everyone is coming out and I am looking forward to seeing everyone.

We may drive to Ontario next year for an extended trip, and to take DD to places like Wonderland and Marine Land. But it will take several days just to drive.

I have a brother about 10 hours away in BC so it is a little easier to see them, but still tough. Last year we met halfway and went camping together, and it was great. Hopefully we will do it again in future years. (The wedding is throwing things out of wack this year.)

Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).

just_lily is offline  
#9 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 11:33 AM
 
JL83's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 973
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by just_lily View Post
Aside from the money issue, both of my parents live in apartments without a lot of space, so taking a toddler there for several days sounds like an unusual form of torture to me.
Just so you know, many families live in small apartments and their toddlers do just fine.
JL83 is offline  
#10 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 11:54 AM
 
just_lily's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,187
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JL83 View Post
Just so you know, many families live in small apartments and their toddlers do just fine.
Small apartments that are likely babyproofed, with an area for play set up (no matter how small). A small apartment filled with breakable and dangerous items with no toys and barely enough space to even put a kid down is different.
ugh.

I was referring to their places specifically. I know lots of families do great in apartments and I didn't mean any offence.

Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).

just_lily is offline  
#11 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 12:27 PM
 
Comtessa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 1,146
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post
When I was younger, my friend's family would all rent and split a huge beach house (not expensive, depending on where you go. Lake houses, mountains, etc are all good choices) and meet up there. I always thought it was such a neat idea and we've used it ourselves. It doesn't have to be expensive, everyone has to travel so no one feels especially put out, it's not anyone's home turf, and it doesn't feel like you're wasting vacation days and not doing anything fun.
DH's family is talking about doing this sometime soon. His siblings/parents are spread out through six different cities in all different parts of the country, and there aren't enough vacation days in a year to go visit everyone or for them to all come to visit. And then, there's always the problem of finding a place that will fit eleven adults, eight children, and three dogs. Utter madness, I tell you. But, I will say that a few days of intense family time -- all staying in the same place, playing board games or staying up late drinking beer and telling stories -- is worth a whole lot for us. We get a lot of relationship "miles" booked in those times. It's worth it to find a way to make it happen, IMO.

I'm traveling the world with my kids without ever leaving home and blogging about it -- watch, taste, and share our adventures at TheGlobalStayCation.com!
Comtessa is offline  
#12 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 01:38 PM
 
mbhf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,761
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We are lucky in that most of our family lives in the same place, our parents live about 5 miles apart and our grandparents are all within 1 hour of our parents.

We used to make the drive (we are military, so we've lived in several different places since we moved away, all about 5-600 miles from home though) very frequently, once a month or so. As we had more children it became much less practical to drive 500 miles on Friday night and then 500 miles back on Sunday afternoon. We also got tired of having to drive around to see everyone, you know, spending 20 hours of a weekend in the car to get there and then however many hours in the car going from one house to the next, never doing anything we wanted to do.

Now I go home with the kids once or twice a year for a week or more. My dh isn't able to come, time off is rare and when he has it we want to spend it together at home. When I go home, I stay with dh's parents (they have the most space with us and I am more comfortable there) and *try* to visit my parents, my grandparents, and dh's grandmother once or twice, depending on how long I'm there. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out, but I will not spend my vacation time trying to make everyone else happy anymore. It was rough for a while, people were mad at us and no one understood why we didn't visit more often. I told them they are welcome to spend the time and money to visit us, we are more than happy to have them and it is a lot easier for two adults to get in the car and drive 500 miles than it is for one adult and four small children to do the same. I think they get it now. Dh's parents visit every so often for a long weekend.

Spend your dh's vacation time (and the money you would spend traveling to see your family) on a real vacation that is fun for everyone, or just stay home and relax, do all of the fun stuff nearby that you don't normally have time to do. The first time we did this was amazing. We couldn't understand why it had taken us so long! The kids had a much better time, too.
mbhf is offline  
#13 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 01:42 PM
 
Drummer's Wife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Land of Enchantment
Posts: 11,793
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Mostly our families come visit us here (even though we are the ones who moved away 2 years ago). We do come up to Denver, sometimes, but it's a bigger deal for the 6 of us to travel and to stay in someone elses home than it is for 1-2 of our parents to fly or drive down to see us - and we have a large home with plenty of space for guests.

ribboncesarean.gif cesareans happen.
Drummer's Wife is offline  
#14 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 02:05 PM
 
cjam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 82
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I extend an invitation for major holidays.

"You guys are welcome to come visit at Christmas/Easter/summer, we'd love to see you. Can you let me know by <date> so that if you're not coming, we can extend the invite to the other grandparents."

I'm just not travelling long distances with young kids. We haven't gotten any grief over it.
cjam is offline  
#15 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 02:49 PM
 
newbymom05's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,634
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We struggle with this too. All our family is a two+ days drive or 4+hr plane flight away. I have flying issues and DH hates long drives. So basically, we haven't been home in 4 yrs. People pretty much have to visit us. All the GPs downsized and have completely child un-friendly living spaces, 4 plane tix for us are a fortune, car rental would be a necessity thanks to our huge car seats, and we'd have to spend most of the time driving all day just to see everyone. Blech, for the time and money--not to mention the hassle--it's hard to want to do it. I have the vacation house idea too, but so far it hasn't happened.
newbymom05 is offline  
#16 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 03:05 PM
 
HappyMommy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,824
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The semi-retired grandparents come visit us more often. Two young kids on a plane is expensive and exhausting!
HappyMommy2 is offline  
#17 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 03:31 PM
 
JessieBird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Quebec, Canada
Posts: 1,385
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
It's hard but there are ways to make everyone feel better about it. My family is all within 2 hours but DH's parents are a 5 hour plane ride away, his sister and nephews are even further. So we don't see them often but when we do we make sure it's a big deal and really special. Either Christmas or a baptism, that sort of thing. Even though DH and I aren't religous, these events mean the world to his parents and they go a long way to making up for the fact that we only visit once every two years or so. This week, his mom is actually coming here for once and I scheduled my "big" ultrasound for when she could come. This will be a huge surprise for her and I'll get some serious mileage out of it.

There is always someone on my side of the family who gets upset about missing some of these big events but there are other events to go around and its my call.

Another thing that really helps is video chatting, as pps have suggested. We even bought DH's parents a new macbook so that they could easily ichat with us. It cost a lot but less than a trip out there and they LOVE IT. They were able to "be" at DS's first birthday party, see his fist steps, etc, and generally it makes them feel connected and they stop hassling us about visits. They are pretty computer illiterate but it wasn't that hard to teach them how to use it and I think it will spare us the cost and hassle of a lot of trips in the future.

Happy mumma to my boys Henny Tom (Nov 30, 2008), Arlo Odie (Oct 5, 2010), and baby SISTER! due mid-Dec 2014.
JessieBird is online now  
#18 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 03:43 PM
 
mamadebug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: CA
Posts: 651
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In most families I know where the grandparents live far away, the grandparents do most of the traveling to see their grandkids. Two main reasons - many of them are retired and so can be more flexible with their time compared to working parents who have to use up vacation days and because it is a lot cheaper to buy 1 or 2 plane tickets rather than 3 or more. My MIL lives in Mexico, and while she still works, she has a lot more flexibility in terms of time off and only 1 ticket has to be purchased for her to come here instead of us buying 3 to go there. We do still go sometimes, but for every 1 trip we make there, she probably makes 3 here.
mamadebug is offline  
#19 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 05:20 PM
 
noobmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,053
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We're in a similar situation. My parents are at a drivable distance (one full day of driving) and DH's parents are an airplane ride (plus a drive) away.

I try to budget (time and money) for one trip home to each family every year. We're on a three year rotation for Christmas--one year at my parents, one year at the ILs, one year we stay home. We used to travel at Thanksgiving to the other families home, but became too expensive to travel at that time. So, now I take advantage of last minute fares and go at other times of the year.

Ideally we'd see both sets of grandparents twice a year--sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn't. They do try to come visit us occasionally too, esp. my ILs. They usually come at least once a year.
noobmom is offline  
#20 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 06:32 PM
 
VisionaryMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,851
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by NicaG View Post
Anyway, the cost of plane tickets is rapidly becoming a problem, now that dd will need her own ticket in a few months. We're thinking of having a third child, and that would pretty much end plane trips for us for a while. Plus I hate taking the kids to the grandparents--it's a duty, and a lot of money, and a lot of stress, and a lot of time off work for dh. And we usually don't have a very good time.
We were at this place about 18 months ago. We haven't visited since then. I will be going to Atlanta (6-hour drive) by myself to visit my mom & sister this weekend. (They don't live there; we're all meeting for a girls' weekend.) The kids and I will go down to my parents' in south Georgia in June. I'm anxious to see how things work.

Here's what we've done. At one point, I'd drive the 12 hours down and then *still* be expected to drive between people's houses. My mom lives 3 hours from the rest of her side of the family. My dad's an hour away from that family. Then it's rural so there are these 15-30 minute drives here and there because everyone's on farm land.

When DS was 2 and DD a babe, I just said "no more." I will let everyone know I'm going to be down and that we're having some shin-dig (usually barbecue) at my grandparents' house on a certain day and time. People who want to see us can show up. I still drive to see my mom and dad, but at least I'm not driving to see random other relatives. (I lived with my grandparents growing up, which is why I stay mostly at their house.)

Then we went in December '08, and it was awful! The kids cried. They missed DH. He rarely goes with us because it would eat up all of his vacation time. I cried because we were living out of suitcases. It was just a miserable time. We used to stay for 2 weeks because it seemed I needed to in order to make the trip worth it. Now I'm cutting our trip to 8 days, and of course, the kids are a little older.

Long, long story short - While I love my family and I'm the one who chose to move away, I don't think it's fair that I should be expected to do all of the driving. I've asked my family to visit. I've even offered to help pay expenses because the hassle is bigger than the money for me. (We drive. The cost of flying would be outrageous and wouldn't save much time.)

My grandparents & parents have become more web-savvy recently. I'm thinking of getting them webcams or using Skype to talk to them. A friend's parents live in Canada, and they are able to keep in touch really well with Skype. It's easier for the kids, too, because they can be fiddle with things and still talk, unlike on the phone.

As I said, I lived with my grandparents, so I think grandparent relationships are really important. At the same time, I had to take a break to maintain my sanity.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
VisionaryMom is offline  
#21 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 08:21 PM
 
newbymom05's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,634
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I thought some more on this. Having to go across country to visit relatives w/ our 5/2 y'os is a PIA, but having visitors isn't much better! My mom visits pretty frequently, but she expects to be entertained rather than be helpful and 5 of us + dog in a 1850' house--let's just say that I prefer short visits.

DH's sibs have visited with their young children and of course my boys love that, but ugh, then it's 8 people in the house, 4 of them who spend most of the time shrieking, running around and/or making a mess. Don't get me wrong, I love that the cousins have fun, but sheesh, would I love to have them down the street to see for a couple of hours weekly rather than 24/7 in our cracker box.

Growing up our relatives were a plane flight away too, but our parents just shipped us up to them while they had their own vacation. DH and I would never be comfortable doing that. Honestly, the 70's were a time of neglectful parenting IMHO but sometimes it seems like they had some good ideas.
newbymom05 is offline  
#22 of 40 Old 05-19-2010, 11:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
NicaG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 1,733
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetPotato View Post
Okay-- I just had to laugh reading this because we have the same problem-- only WE live in MN, my parents live in Ohio, and dh's parents live on the east coast. It sounds like you and I need to just trade some families and we'll all be good!

Seriously- It drives me nuts. My dh's family is very expensive for us to visit, in terms of airfare and precious vacation days for dh. We're thinking that we may commit to visiting each set of parents once a year, and more than that they can come see us. It's true that WE moved (for my dh's career)- but I feel like it's much simpler for a couple of affluent retired people to travel than it is for dh to take off work and us travel with dd. Dd and I occasionally travel alone for more frequent visits to my parents, since we can take the train cheaply, but I have to admit that I'm feeling kind of petty and grumpy about how long it's been since they came here and how slow they've been about making plans to come back. Dd loves to have them here in her life, and it makes me so sad every time she asks if they're coming to visit and I have to put her off because they simply won't make plans.
Wow, I feel like you are the bizarro-world me! I am also admitting I feel petty and grumpy about how no one will visit....even when we pay for their tickets! Makes me feel quite rejected, really. And I'm tired of the guilt trips used to pressure us to travel.

Frankly I am not buying this "you move away, you come back to visit" argument. Really? Dh and I have both been away from our hometowns for 10+ years. It doesn't feel like we "moved away" it just feels like we're adults and we happen to live elsewhere. And just because there happens to be a better job opportunity elsewhere to support your family, the entire burden of travel falls on you? I think it's unrealistic to expect families with several young children to do all the traveling--it's disruptive, it's expensive, it's a pita! I understand that our families don't want to leave the comforts and routines of home....but neither do I! Neither do my kids!

We do Skype, but we always sort of run out of things to say, or the whole thing seems strained and awkward. Maybe it will work better when the kids are a little older.

Mostly I am just ranting because I am stuck with the kids at my parents' house and getting very little help, and I am vowing not to visit again for a couple of years. Grrrr....

lady.gif mama to H. 4/05 and A. 9/08 and baby C. 10/11

NicaG is offline  
#23 of 40 Old 05-20-2010, 03:28 AM
 
Alathia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 336
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My family is also far flung. We live in N. America, and we have a lot of family either in southeast asia or western europe. we trade off visiting with family who has to travel overseas. we went two years ago to europe, my cousin from germany came over here last month, and we'll go to asia next year. everyone is understanding that we can't get everywhere, so both sides of the family try to make it to one major destination (when we went to europe, everyone in western europe tried to make it out to Paris for our visit) so we aren't travelling all over the place.

DS1 04/2005; DS2 08/2008
Alathia is offline  
#24 of 40 Old 05-20-2010, 08:15 AM
 
jtbuko's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: front porch swing
Posts: 1,061
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We live on the east coast, and have close family all over California, in Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado and Ohio. We discuss it openly, AND we do most of the traveling, which can be exhausting.

Factors re who travels:
who can get time off work
disability
who can afford flights/ trips

The kids having strong relationships with our families is super important to us, and trumps the major inconvenience of schlepping them all over the country (although the schlepping has gotten much easier since they hit 3 and 5 - the last year of travel was easy compared to all the prior years).

When we look at our financial picture alone the choice to travel so much is a bad one. We have postponed home improvements and racked up some credit card debt paying for our trips. However, when we look at the big picture we have no regrets. We are young and our income will go up as DH's career takes off and I reenter the work force, but if we waited until then we'd have less time to travel AND the kids would have lost a lot of childhood memories with grandparents, great grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles, some of whom have progressive medical conditions that will affect their ability to get out and have fun with the kids.

In our family, the person who travels is not always the one who pays. My mom and dad have the means, so they usually pay for the kids' tickets whenever we travel to see them and pay for hotel/ cabin if we meet them somewhere. My inlaws are in a tight spot, so we often pay their way.

As others have said some of the best times we have had together with both sides of the family have been when we met in a neutral location and rented a cabin.

We cannot wait until circumstances change and we can move closer to family and cut the travel in half.

mom to a 7 year old lego fanatic and a 5 year old cross dresser
jtbuko is offline  
#25 of 40 Old 05-20-2010, 08:48 AM
 
russsk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 1,017
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My family lives in New England, we live in Maryland and DH's parents live in Wisconsin. Usually, we visit the ILs twice a year (for holidays) and they visit us two or three times. This year, however, the whole family went to Ohio for Passover and we will have a newborn for Rosh HaShanah, so we won't be going to Wisconsin at all. We pay for our trips and they pay for their trips, but my MIL came to help me out on short notice a couple months ago when my mom flaked, so I paid for that. We often discuss travel schedules.

We typically only go to visit my family once a year, if that. I would really like to go more often, but it almost always ends up bad. My mom is in the midst of divorce (going on two years now) and we definitely cannot stay with her. I stayed with my dad last summer, and that was a nightmare I will never repeat. So that leaves us with staying at a hotel, which is pricey. My mom usually plans to visit three or four times a year, but she often flakes out or cuts her visit short. I don't know why she's like this. My dad hasn't visited since DS was born two years ago.

Maybe I'm weird, but I really enjoy visiting my ILs. They love DS and we usually have a wonderful time. I don't love the cost, but it's really important to us that our kids have a strong relationship with their grandparents, no matter where they live. I wish it could be the same with my parents.

Mama to DS1 (2/08) and DS2 (9/10).
russsk is offline  
#26 of 40 Old 05-20-2010, 10:38 AM
 
mamadelbosque's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 6,946
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Most of our family are fairly local (within Ohio, anyhow), but my moms parents do live out in CO. DH & DS1 met my grandma once when my brother got married a couple yrs ago (DS1 was just over a year, I think). I'd love to go out and see them some day but we simply don't have the money to travel right now, maybe in a few years. All of my moms family basicly lives in New Mexico, and I've met most of them just once or twice, though its now been several years since I was out there.

My dad's sister and her family live out in LA, and she flys out to see her parents/us a few times a year. Her daughter (my cousin) has been going to Syracuse, so we've seen her a bit more (she's caught rides with friends or a short plane trip and come to thanksgiving/easter a couple times now).

DH's dad lives up in wisconsin, and he comes down to see his family once or twice a year, and I've been up there, once or twice too, though its been a while.

So, I suppose in general the people who moved away go visit everybody else (ie Dh's dad, my dad's sister). We just rarely see my moms family... but its always been that way. As kids we'd drive out every couple years, and we all flew out there once, but mostly we talk on the phone.
mamadelbosque is offline  
#27 of 40 Old 05-21-2010, 02:51 AM
 
lilmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 859
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
OP, it does seem really unfair that they aren't coming and are expecting you to travel with little ones to their place, far away.

We have the same problem, with my mom, who doesn't want to make the drive to come see us (3 and 1/2 hrs..not that bad!) She insists we go to her.

IL's live in NYC. We are in west TX. They have the money and time to fly down to visit but usually they don't. In fact, they expect us to come to them. SIL & BIL live in Los Angeles. They refuse to come see us which is fine..they have a 3 yr old and we would not expect them to. But they expect us to come see them!

We used to do it. We used to try to do Christmas and everything and we'd fly to L.A. or NYC and then we'd drive all over creation to see other relatives too.

BUT. Year before last, Christmas was such a horrible beatdown, with our little guy really not happy being dragged from place to place, long plane ride, nothing babyproofed..and a bunch of relatives he doesn't really know..so we decided no more. This past Christmas we told everyone that if they wanted to see us they were welcome to come but we were staying put. Period.

And nobody came. Which was actually fine with me, because I don't really care for my IL's anyway. But it would have been nice though if some of my family had come. They just decided not to. So..there you go. We decided no more catering to all the relatives who we don't enjoy the time with anyway. ANd it turns out, they really don't want to see us very much if they can't be in control of every.single.thing.

I don't really have advice except to decide what is best for you, DH, and kids, and go from there. You are not required to do all the travelling!!!!!
lilmom is offline  
#28 of 40 Old 05-21-2010, 07:43 AM
 
Bellabaz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Gex, France
Posts: 843
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Haha, we are on a visiting strike. My family all lives around the same area (Philly and NJ), all within an 1 hour of each other (my one sister is moving now to the other side of the state though). For three years we lived in Northern NY, a good 8 hours drive, more often 10 with bad weather and stopping. With the exception of my father and his gf (who I am not really fond of and so visits are not great for me) NO ONE made the drive to see us. We on the other hand made the drive 2-3 times a year, pregnant, with baby, through blizzards. No one except my dad even came when I had dd1. They waited for me to come there. I get that it was easier and we weren't living in a very interesting place but still. Any exuse they had we had too (work, school, kids), but we went anyway. And we made less money than all of them.

Now we live in Europe. We refuse to go back to visit them in the US until at least one of my sisters or my brother comes here first. Petty? Maybe. But it is what it is. We paid for my dad to come out in March to meet dd2. Then he came and I found out that he really could have afforded a ticket if he tried a little bit and prioritized. Whatever. I was glad he came (especially without said gf). But it is 3 full airfares plus one partial for us. I want my kids to know their family but the effort has to come from both ends.

Mamma to dd1 3/8/07, one 9.5.08, and dd2 9/9/09
Bellabaz is offline  
#29 of 40 Old 05-21-2010, 10:21 AM
 
tabrizia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Maryland/DC Metro
Posts: 1,158
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by NicaG View Post
If you have close relatives who live far away, how do you decide on when to visit, who travels (them to you, or you to them), and how often?

Anyone else have this problem? Do you discuss visiting schedules openly with your relatives? Any good resolution? Is it ok to go years without visiting the grandparents?

I don't actually have this problem, but I'll post how we deal with close relatives that live far away. First off my in-laws live 45 minutes away, so they aren't a concern as far as visiting goes. My brother is in Northern Virginia so he also isn't an issue. That being said my parents and 2 sisters live in Georgia and we're in Maryland so around an 11 hour drive or 2 hour plane ride away.

I do tend to travel the most, that being said I do not tend to pay for said travel. My parents want to see their Grandchildren often. So they pay for me to fly down with the two of them 3 or 4 times a year, normally 2 times in the summer, once in February and sometimes a 4th time in October. On those trips it is normally just me and the kids not DH at least not for the whole trip. What often happens is one of my parents will fly up, spend the night here and then fly down with me and then before we leave DH will fly down so he doesn't miss much if any work and fly back with me. I tend to stay for at least a week when I go down to visit. I'm going in 2 weeks for a week and a half. That way my parents get a lot of grandchild time.

That being said my parents do both work still, and since I am a SAHM it is easier for me to come down for long visits then for them to come up for long visits. They have no problem baby proofing their house and my Mom is a lot of help, not as much as DH, but pretty close. My Dad will watch the children as well, but is not that much help with them, he does like to play with them though.

We also go down at Thanksgiving. DH comes with us on that trip. We will sometimes drive depending on how much vacation time DH has, though often we fly, sometimes I fly in a few days before DH and leave a day or two after him, but he is there for most of the Thanksgiving trip. We always do Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with his.

My Mom also travels up to visit us, normally for a long weekend, she has 2 meetings a year about 2 hours away so she will normally stay with us either the weekend before or after the meeting. She also visits a couple more times a year so probably 4 or 5 times. My Dad will often come with her for one or two of the trips.

We also go on vacation with my parents on occasion. We went to the beach when DS was 1, and last year we did Disney. We aren't doing a vacation with them this year because my brother is getting married this summer and my Mom is basically their wedding coordinator, but I expect we'll do something next year.

So we visit them a lot, it is rare to not see my parents every 6 weeks or so, often more frequently. We do discuss travel and figure out the plan that works best for all of us.

In our situation I could not go a year or longer without seeing my parents, my children's grandparents, but everyone's situation is different and you need to find a plan that works for you.

Sarah nak.gif married to DH Dan (August 2001) dh_malesling.GIF and Mommy to DS Desmond (April 2007) pinktongue.gif, DD Eloise (March 2009) hearts.gif and Sullivan (March 29, 2011) babyboy.gifselectivevax.gifdelayedvax.giflactivist.gifcd.giffamilybed2.gif
tabrizia is offline  
#30 of 40 Old 05-21-2010, 05:20 PM
 
JL83's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 973
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bellabaz View Post
Haha, we are on a visiting strike. My family all lives around the same area (Philly and NJ), all within an 1 hour of each other (my one sister is moving now to the other side of the state though). For three years we lived in Northern NY, a good 8 hours drive, more often 10 with bad weather and stopping. With the exception of my father and his gf (who I am not really fond of and so visits are not great for me) NO ONE made the drive to see us. We on the other hand made the drive 2-3 times a year, pregnant, with baby, through blizzards. No one except my dad even came when I had dd1. They waited for me to come there. I get that it was easier and we weren't living in a very interesting place but still. Any exuse they had we had too (work, school, kids), but we went anyway. And we made less money than all of them.

Now we live in Europe. We refuse to go back to visit them in the US until at least one of my sisters or my brother comes here first. Petty? Maybe. But it is what it is. We paid for my dad to come out in March to meet dd2. Then he came and I found out that he really could have afforded a ticket if he tried a little bit and prioritized. Whatever. I was glad he came (especially without said gf). But it is 3 full airfares plus one partial for us. I want my kids to know their family but the effort has to come from both ends.
But, if you moved, why should they come visit you? They weren't the ones who chose to create the distance...

If we moved away, part of that would be making sure we set our budget up to be able to go back home to visit. I wouldn't expect other people to absorb the cost.

Also, if you live in Europe now and they are in the US, then you're trying to dictate where they should spend their vacation and use their vacation time. That's not very fair.
JL83 is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off