If the rest of your family lives across country do they expect you to visit them all of the time?

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Posted 1/31/2013 by BrookeQ in NSBR Board
 

BrookeQ
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:08:34 PM
Background:
DH and I live in Pa and have 2 small children (4 and 2)

DH and his family (and mine) grew up in Pennsylvania. SIL's both moved out to Utah and now currently live in same city. 5 years ago MIL and FIL moved out west to be near the SIL's and Grandkids.

Because they live all together it is expected that we go visit them all of the time. It is very expensive for us. MIL or FIL dont' want to come back here and visit ever. Even when we had our babies they didn't want to come visit. (even though they did when SIL's had babies). And we offer to pay for plane tickets so they can visit our kids.

I love to vacation. I work part time coaching soccer so we can afford to go on a vacation every year. And every year DH family expects us to come out and visit them as our vacation. THe air fare is usually expensive and depletes our vacation fund money. ANd I just don't like going to the same place every year.

I have tried to suggest doing a family vacation but they just pick somewhere that they can all drive to and that we have no interest in going. They plan family vacations most years and dont' include us in trying to pick a place. We are willing to go out west, we just don't want to go to utah every year. This year we have tried to offer things they can drive to like Disneyland, Yellowstone, or other things. We were told no.

I know I sound selfish. I want my kids to have a relationship with their grandparents but I also want travel as a family and see new things. The inlaws don't understand and I want to be reasonable. What is a good compromise. How often is a good amount to visit? I want to be fair and not be a bad DIL. But money is an issue too.

Gsquaredmom

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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:12:14 PM
Virtually ALL of our vacations since 2000 have been to the same place because my husband's entire family moved there. They have NEVER come back here, but they go all sorts of other places for vacation.

Sometimes I feel resentful, but it is family. Just once I'd like to go the other direction!



knittingpea
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:23:01 PM
We live very close to my mom and step dad and we see them a couple times of month. The rest of the family are anywhere from 9-13 hours away. My grandparents are still alive and live near lots of other family and DH's grandmother is alive in the complete opposite direction from lots of my extended family. Luckily my dad and brother and his family (who live one/two states away) live on the way to visit DH's grandmother.

At this time all of our vacations revolve around visisting family. Until my grandparents and DH's grandmother are gone we will continue to visit them for our vacations. We are lucky that our family all live near cool places, Southern CA/Portland OR, Seattle WA, so while we are on vacations we are able to do lots of cool things with our extended family.

One day our older family members won't be here and we will do other things for vacation. But, for now, our family chooses to spend our vacation time traveling great distances to visit our family. We are lucky that DH's mom, who lives 10 hours away, flies up to visit us three times a year.

We do the bulk of the travel, except for DH's mom coming up an visiting us. We are the ones who do all the travel. My brother's daughter is only 6 months, so I have a feeling that once she is a bit older he and his wife will come and visit us. They currently live 13 hours away and it is a bit daunting for them to travel all the way to our house. Luckily my dad lives roughly half way between us, so we often make a long weekend out oof it and we all meet at my dad's.

Could you let your family know that this year you will be traveling to see them, but next year you will not be traveling to see them, but they are more than welcome to book tickets to XYZ while you will be there? Assure them that you will still be coming and seeing them, it will just be on an every other year schedule?

Claire

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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:32:26 PM
My kids last living grandparents live in the same city and cannot be bothered to see them and if they lived in another city I wouldn't be going out of my way to visit them every year. Go on a vacation where you want to and don't feel guilty. Visiting is a two way street and if they cannot bother to do it I really don't see why you need to go out of your way and use up your vacation time and money to do it. I think it is important to find a balance that works for your family and it doesn't sound like they really do anything to accommodate your family.

Pea-T-A-Mom
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:38:54 PM
There should at least be a trade off. One year you visit them, the next year they visit you. But I completely agree with you that vacation funds should be used to visit somewhere fun, rather than somewhere obligated.



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WillowJane
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:40:06 PM
After 12 years of being the ones to go visit family for holidays and on vacations, I put my foot down with my family. We are not burning any more vacation time or money to go see them. The road works both ways. It is their turn to use and no health issues stopping them. It is all a matter of effort and the ball is in their court.

Harsh? No. Just reinforcing the boundaries.

BrookeQ
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:43:25 PM
Heck they don't even need to come visit us here. I wish they would just meet us somewhere.

We met our SIL in Disney World and that was fun. But that is the only time it hasn't been in utah. The rest of the IL's didn't come. But I understand that Disney is expensive and not what everyone wants to do.

stittsygirl
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:48:56 PM
Yep. We've been in Texas almost six years, all of my family is in Utah. My mother has been to visit us once, for two days. Other than that nobody else has made the effort.

We've travelled up there four times in those six years.

I don't even bother anymore, to tell the truth. We're obviously not a priority to them, and it is a long, expensive trip for us. I'd rather spend the time and money on a fun trip with just DH and the kids.





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irishscrappermom8
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:50:06 PM
Well, I was a service brat growing up. Dad's family is in New England, mom's in IL.

No one came to visit us when we lived in Alaska (which is unfortunate for them because it was awesome), but they always came to visit when we were stationed in FL.

It was just too expensive to visit often. I don't really think it was a bad way to grow up. We would often go on vacation where WE wanted to go.

DH and I got in a bit of a pickle when his mom and her DH moved several states away. She did come visit, but she's retired and had lots of $$ and went on a lot of trips. As the kids got older they got really tired of spending their vacation in Arkansas. There's only so much you can do there before you repeat yourself.

FIL then moved to AZ and couldn't understand why we didn't visit. We were matter of fact and told them we could not afford it.

Life is too short to miss out on all the amazing places there are out there to visit. I remember all those cool places we went more than our family visits and they really enriched me.




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crimsoncat05
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Posted: 1/31/2013 11:09:43 PM
There's only the two of us, but we are in the same situation and probably will be as long as my BF's grandmother, who is in her 90s, is still with us. He wasn't able to spend as much time as he would have liked with his mom's mother, so we visit our family every summer.

Would I like to go somewhere different, just the two of us, instead of using a week of our vacation and pay for a pet-sitter, fly back, rent a car, drive 4 hours, etc. etc.? heck yeah, I would. Sometimes, anyway. The other times, I think about the fact that I didn't spend as much time with MY grandma as I would have liked, and I'm grateful for the time we get to spend with his family, and with mine.




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redboots
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Posted: 1/31/2013 11:16:18 PM
I'd love to see our out of state family more than we do, but finances absolutely have to be taken into consideration here. Unless I am personally offering to foot the bill for the visit (and even then, vacation time must be considered), I don't think it's right to get offended at the realities of life.

ETA: I think you've been more than reasonable and accommodating with regard to visiting your husband's family. Why can't they come visit you?

Your family has a right to enjoy the vacations you work so hard for, and I hope you enjoy a fun trip somewhere new this year....guilt free.

Nyla
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Posted: 1/31/2013 11:33:41 PM
Same situation! I've lived across the country from my family for the past 20 years. I've gone to visit them twice a year, often more. I've made my very best effort to attend weddings, funerals, family reunions, baby showers, graduations, special birthdays, etc. In the past 20 years my dad has been here ONCE. My siblings have been here twice & it was "business trips" that their employers paid for. My mom is the only one that has consistently come to visit us once a year & I'm VERY thankful for that. No one except my mom gives a shit about coming out for my kids' events & it sucks!

I've done it because it's important to me for my kids to have a relationship with their extended family. But after 20 years the resentment builds. I have no advice but wanted to let ya know you're not alone.


kimberly38
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Posted: 2/1/2013 5:40:40 AM
As long as you continue to go their way and vacation their way, why would they come out to visit you or meet anywhere else? They get exactly what they want, all the time.

And let's say you stop meeting "their" expectations and they still do what they want when they want. That just shows you how much you actually mean to them and the relationship that they want to have with yoru children.

I am so tired of people saying, "Well it is family and they will be gone one day". Well, I don't want to waste my life or that of my children's doing for those who clearly would not do for us or not even bother to care to. Not saying, all the time, I would still visit occassinally, but I would not make it a priority every year.

My children are only young once and I want to give them some memories of not only extended family, but immediate family. So, this year, I would be doing a vacation with my immediate family. And every other year also. You can plan it close enough to dh's family and if they want to join you fine, if not, their loss.

And I would be so sending pictures of all the neat things we did and all the fun they missed out on!

BrookeQ
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Posted: 2/1/2013 6:50:00 AM
Thanks everyone. I am glad that my feelings aren't totally crazy.

MIL has been bringing it up because they are planning a "small trip" for all of them out there and want us to do that. Well it would not be small by any means to us!

And a trip to the dessert with my two young ones just doesn't sound fun right now, ESP for the cost.

elaynef
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Posted: 2/1/2013 8:54:15 AM
If your family has never been in your situation, they may not realize the burden that travelling to see them puts on your family budget. I know mine did not.


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Posted: 2/1/2013 9:01:03 AM

I know I sound selfish. I want my kids to have a relationship with their grandparents but I also want travel as a family and see new things. The inlaws don't understand and I want to be reasonable. What is a good compromise. How often is a good amount to visit? I want to be fair and not be a bad DIL. But money is an issue too.
You sound far from selfish!

Your inlaws could not even be bothered to come visit when grandchildren were born? Sounds like they want to see you when it is of no trouble or consequence to them.

They moved away but now YOU need to see them? I think not! I would tell them where you are going on vacation and that if they want to join you, they can, but otherwise, it will be Facetime and emails.



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eebud
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Posted: 2/1/2013 9:06:28 AM

As long as you continue to go their way and vacation their way, why would they come out to visit you or meet anywhere else? They get exactly what they want, all the time.

This is very true. I have been known to tell people before that this is my last trip to see them until they come to visit me. Funny thing is, when I put it like that to them, I think it made them stop and think. Then, I stuck to what I said. I told this to someone once and the next time they asked me when I was coming for a visit, I told them "Not until after you come to visit me". Guess who visited who next time. LOL

This goes for more than just family.

My mother has always traveled to see us more than we have traveled to see her. Part of that is because she had a lot more time available to her since she didn't work and money was not a problem whether she drove or got on a plane. Also, she usually wanted to travel to the city where we all lived for the majority of our lives so that she could visit her friends too.

Today, I try to visit her a little more often than I used to. Even though she doesn't work and I do, I have more vacation time than I used to and now, she really needs to fly instead of driving. She is still in very good health but she is getting older and I prefer she not get on the road for these long trips.





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CnBsmommy
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Posted: 2/1/2013 9:35:28 AM
we are in that situation. we learned it's important for us to vacation as a family & not spend our vacation budget to go see family. our extended families are sit around the house with the TV on type people---nope, we're not going to do it.

Peal
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Posted: 2/1/2013 9:36:47 AM
We've dealt with this a lot. DH is military, so we've moved a lot and have been pretty far from "home". My parents have made a big effort to visit us and DH's parents have tried to come out for milestone events, but other than that mostly family doesn't visit and the onus is on us to go see them. Which is fine, except now we have kids that are old enough to travel with and do some really cool stuff we aren't interested in going to the same place every single year for "vacation". Add to that DH's last two jobs have made taking time off extremely difficult, we haven't been able to attend a lot of family events.

DH's parents have recently decided that they want to have a family reunion every year. We managed to go to the one two years ago but not last years. This year they are planning for August. We are moving to TX in July. Dh said if anyone can make it it will probably be just him and it's a pretty big if. It's about a 26 hour drive.




I am so tired of people saying, "Well it is family and they will be gone one day".


I agree with this. When DH and I moved away after we got married my dad said this about his mom. Come back and visit often, you don't know how long she will still be here. Well, she was still here for 15 years. It kind of lost it's guilt value. It's manipulative and I wont let it be used on my kids. We make an effort, but we want to show our kids other things than the inside of grandma's house before we release them into the world.


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Posted: 2/1/2013 9:38:59 AM
You are NOT being selfish. I like the idea of going every other year. On the years you visit them, plan a less expensive 4 day weekend somewhere close to your own home where the children can experience something a bit different, even if it is an overnight to visit an amusement park like 6 flags or Great Wolf Lodge. Something that the children will enjoy that doesn't take an entire week or break the bank on transportation.

Then do something big on the vacation year and just let them know where you will be on vacation if they would like to plan a trip at the same time to see the family. I would not even suggest planning it for them if they say yes.

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mlana
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Posted: 2/1/2013 10:06:12 AM
Growing up, the only vacations we ever took as a family were to see family. Seriously. The closest we came to visiting non family was doing a day trip to Six Flags, which was only 4 hours from home. And we did that with our church. My mom's folks lived in NOLA until they moved to our town when I was 9, which put an end to our trips to NOLA.

My family only lives 4 hours away from where we live now, but they expected us to visit them often, like any free time we had. Mom and Dad were very close to my oldest child and they felt they had a right to spend as much time with him as possible. They were willing to come up here if we absolutely wouldn't go there, but they preferred to meet halfway and take him back home with them.

In 25 years of marriage, we have only been to my in-laws 5 times and they have been here 3 times, including the wedding. That is DH's choice as I have offered to go there numerous times. His family, his choice.

I wanted my kids to be comfortable traveling anywhere, not just to see family. I think you do your kids a disservice by not teaching them how to stay in hotels and act around other people when they aren't family. Against my parents' wishes, we took our kids on long road trips in exotic locations where they had to stay in a different hotel each night and be mindful of their surroundings.

They learned to tip the bellboy, and ask for a wakeup call.
They learned that jumping on the bed made an awful noise for the folks below.
They learned not to run ahead to the elevator and press the number for the floor we wanted. (We could hear DS screaming when the door closed and the elevator left us below.)

Most importantly, I think, they learned that not everyone is family, but there are still a lot of good people and great places out there to visit. My son now lives in CA, where he has wanted to live since we took a trip down the PCH from San Francisco to San Diego, hitting as many boardwalks and skateparks in between as possible, when he was 10.

DD is going into international studies because she loved seeing how other people lived on our cruises and on our trip to Romania. She plans to major in Asian studies (she already speaks Mandarin), and she wants to live and travel in Asia after she graduates from college. She'll do great, I am sure.

So, have I convinced you yet? LOL I really think you owe it to your kids to expand their horizons. Yes, the grands and cousins won't be there forever, but your kids won't be home forever either. Open up their world!

When you do go see the family, don't fly, drive. Take time to see something on the way. It will cut down on your time with the family, which may be a benefit. LOL I sometimes took the kids and left early in the van and DH flew out to meet us a few days later. This way, we got to see the country and he didn't have to spend all of his vacation driving. It really cut down on expenses because we were only paying for one airfare and no rental car. After a couple years of this, we changed to only flying DH home, because the road trips sounded like so much fun, he didn't want to miss them!

HTH,
Marcy



Mallie
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Posted: 2/1/2013 10:37:39 AM
Yes, they did. When we moved out of state for job reasons we learned that the road only runs one way. We played that game for years. Then called a halt to it after a couple of incidents -- including finding out after the fact that the rest of the family had gone on several vacations together overseas and never invited us and when a close relative was IN our town for a 7 day business conference and couldn't 'find the time" to meet us for a drink. Those incidents made us truly understand that our money could be better spent creating wonderful memories with the family who cares about us, that is, our own immediate family.

So we've used the money and time we would have spent sitting around watching tv in someone's overheated "tv room" in the basement to have great experiences that we all -- including our kids -- remember happily and some of which I think have tremendously expanded our kids' horizons (such as foreign travel). My oldest dd is working towards spending a semester in France right now and I am sure she would have never had the confidence to do that had we not traveled abroad with her and shown her it could be done. I have no regrets about changing our ways.

Casii
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Posted: 2/1/2013 10:54:16 AM
You are not being selfish at all. I'd say that label might belong to the Utah branch of the family.

My DH and I live far away from family. I can count on one hand how many times anyone has been to visit us and we've been in MD since 1990. When we go to visit family, it is of the sit on the sofa, tv on, chat variety. I'm not bragging, but I try to sell our area being next to DC, close to tons of Civil War sites, great downtown area with culture, restaurants, shopping. No one is interested in any of those things or even coming to our house to sit on the sofa, tv on and chat variety.

We used to take all our vacation time to see them, but at some point we really wanted our children to experience classic vacation moments, so we switched to planning a vacation and then maybe planning a family trip. I get the brunt of the guilt trips from my mother. For years she said my Papa was going to die any day and now she's switched it to herself (the woman is only 63). I gave my parents plane tickets last year to come visit and the day before their flight, mom begged off sick. I decided no more going out of my way. She was well enough to call several times a day to complain that we should've gone to visit them instead because it would've been better for her.

Plan a family vacation for YOU all! My 2 oldest have left home and its so true that they grow up too fast. Enjoy that quality time while you can. Be a little selfish with it.


Ciao,
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Posted: 2/1/2013 11:13:57 AM
Thank you for this post! I decided last year not to do the annual visit from CA to GA, but GrNdpa ended up having heart surgery and an aunt with cancer, so of course I wanted to see them. So this year we'll take a break and save up to take DS to see other parts of the world I have a long travel wish list, but it's hard to get started when we do that same annual trip. Everyone I've spoken to are (surprisingly) understanding, and some even talk about visiting us. We'll see!


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Posted: 2/1/2013 11:25:05 AM
My entire family still lives on Long Island. DH and I moved to FL 18 months ago and only 1 family member has visited us here in all of that time. We, however, have gone back to LI twice to visit them all. No one wants to come to FL!!!!!!! It is easier for us to go to NY so we could visit all of them. They went so far as to pay for our tickets to come there b/c no one wanted to come here! LOL. We gladly went!









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Posted: 2/1/2013 11:28:25 AM
Old saying

The road runs BOTH ways.



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Posted: 2/1/2013 11:37:39 AM
Yes. We live in Alaska my parents and 2 of my brothers live in upstate NY. My mom will not fly so we have to go there. There are 5 of us. At $500+ per ticket it gets expensive. I finally told my parents a few years ago that if they wanted us to visit they would have to buy the tickets. They do (thankfully) and can afford to do so. However, it does get old that all our vacations are to see family. DH's parents live in WA. However at this point we go to Seattle once a year for medical reasons so we see them then.


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Posted: 2/1/2013 11:42:22 AM
My family lives an hour and a half away and yes, the elders expect us to visit them.

My grandparents haven't been to my home in probably 8-10 years, yet, if I don't get the kids to see them a few times a year - I hear about it. I adore them so I deal.

My mom says it's generational. The chickens coming home to roost or some such thing.





VexedAngel
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Posted: 2/1/2013 11:46:03 AM
You don't sound selfish. They do. They left, to me, that means they get to make the extra effort to visit. (I'm the one that left the area where all my family is, so I'm the one that usually goes back to visit.) Or at least trade off with you.

Sorry.


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SayraG
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Posted: 2/1/2013 12:05:51 PM
Virtually ALL of our vacations since 2000 have been to the same place because my husband's entire family moved there. They have NEVER come back here, but they go all sorts of other places for vacation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is where we've been for 20 years (except make that "1994". Imagine my surprise (yeah, and butthurt) when they talked about all the cruises they've been on... other things, and knowing we save so we can bunk in the guest room because we "need" to go visit family. In all the years we lived in SoCal - where we would have treated them to Disney, the beach, the mountains, the desert, Hollywood Kitsch and beyond - they never once came. Believe me, we offered!

The bloom was definitely off the rose when we drove up after 13 hours to the "lake house" near the beach (at a kind of trailer park near "the Shore". Ten to 13 of us at any given time in a single wide- with a sleeping porch. The teens were allowed to sleep until they woke up (they'd be up all night with the TV on, because "they don't fall asleep with it off!" with the rest of us expected to tip toe around. Oh... and 1 bathroom. That's the trip we found out they'd take these big, fun cruises (the sisters and their families)...

I know it's our own fault, our choice - and we could be more vocal about it (maybe they just don't care to have us along for one of these things, and that has to be ok...)

Thanks for letting me vent. Says the woman who just got back from a road trip down to JAX to visit the brother-in-law and his kids...
<sigh>


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pennyring
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Posted: 2/1/2013 12:19:52 PM
I would plan to MAYBE go visit them once every five years. Seriously, if they can't be bothered to come to you once in awhile, or even coordinate, why go see them every single year? Seriously. Why?

I think too, if you move your trip to once every five years, maybe that would show them that they really need to take your family into consideration. If they WANT to see their son and grandkids more often, then they need to make a little effort.

Personally, I think it's great for grandkids to have a relationship with their grandparents, but I think it's equally important for them to have travel opportunities. I wouldn't want to give up my kids' opportunities at seeing the country and the world for a repeated trip to the same place every single year.

We're taking our nieces to Disneyland this year, but we're already talking about a trip to Washington DC next year. And maybe NYC after that. If we can really save in a few years, maybe they get to go to Paris! The sky's the limit.

Why confine your kids to Utah?



megmc
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Posted: 2/1/2013 12:23:11 PM
What does your husband say? They are his parents let him deal with them.

tikibay
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Posted: 2/1/2013 1:44:27 PM
MIL lives in IL and we live in NJ. We don't have the money or time to go out to see her. She's retired and travels around the world for weeks at a time with her best friend but has never come here. She has the time & money. My oldest is 11. She has never met any of our kids. She thinks we should drop it all and come see her.


ETA: In 12 years being with dh we have never taken a vacation. So it's not like we go other places and don't visit.



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nicolequinn
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Posted: 2/1/2013 1:52:45 PM
I am sorry... I don't get why you just don't say "This year, we are going to Disneyland (or wherever). I hope you can come. Here is all the info!"

Maybe they can't afford to vacation and don't want to come out and say it?
Maybe you really aren't a priority to them?
Maybe they are just selfish?
Maybe they have NO idea how you and your husband feel?

For whatever reason, they want to see you on their terms. I'd be done with it and enjoy my own vacation... maybe seeing them every other year?

Life is TOO short to deal with stuff like this.



batya
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Posted: 2/1/2013 2:09:34 PM
WHO is being selfish? They all choose to move away and then guilt you into doing what THEY want you to do with YOUR time and money? Nice arrangement. For THEM!

I'd say, as a compromise, on odd years, let them know you will be visiting family in Utah. Even years you are going elsewhere for vacations. But anytime they are free, either of those times, they are more than welcome to visit you. Discussion over.




OK. Newbie. This is how it works. If your post consists of 80% sanity, 10% stupidity and 10% all kinds of crazy, we immediately focus on the 20% b/c it discredits the 80%.




AnonPeaName
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Posted: 2/1/2013 2:22:47 PM
Not selfish at all. We dealt with the same thing when kids were little, time and money tight(er).

They gave every excuse in the book and it was creating such resentment we stopped visiting for a few years. One bro travels the world, but can't manage to visit our large city? The other brother is constantly "poor" - not. Our weather too warm for grandparents? You name it.

It didn't change their minds but we got to have some happier, real vacations.

It's sad our children don't know that side of the family very well, but they know those willing to compromise and be understanding.

tots didn't know that vent was still in me - it's frustrating situation

good luck

likescarrots
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Posted: 2/1/2013 3:14:03 PM

As long as you continue to go their way and vacation their way, why would they come out to visit you or meet anywhere else? They get exactly what they want, all the time.

And let's say you stop meeting "their" expectations and they still do what they want when they want. That just shows you how much you actually mean to them


I agree, my husband and I are in a very similar situation, though all of our family members are very spread out across the country. We enjoy traveling very much and he has very little time to do so (like most people), we are not going to use it up visiting people who can't be bothered to do the same for us.

social worker pea
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Posted: 2/1/2013 3:53:45 PM
Not selfish at all. We also live in PA (we moved here for dh's jo. All of my family lives in WI and all of dh's family lives near Boston. We don't fly (family of 6 ) but the expense still depletes our ability to save for a "real" vacation.

My in-law's are awesome about visiting and completely understand if/when we can't make it out to see them. We visit my family once a year in the summer. We visit my in-laws either in the summer or at Thanksgiving. My mother is a quadriplegic and can't travel. At all.

I can understand your frustration and would have a heart to heart with your family. Also, I find it odd that they would never want to visit "home". They still have family there and I'm assuming that's where they lived most of there lives?? Both dh and I love going "home" each year...

Jamie
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