Working Moms

Am I being unreasonable? WWYD? (long)

I know I don't post often, but I'm hoping you ladies can offer some advice...

Background Info: We live across the country from most of our family, and my family and DH's family are about an 8hr drive from each other (driving w/o stops).  DH's family will not travel anywhere outside their county.  ILs both refuse to set foot on a plane or train, and will not drive more than an hour or two under any circumstances.  We have offered to pay for plane or train tickets, to rent them an RV, bus tickets, etc- all to no avail.  For us to travel to them means a 4+hr flight into Chicago, then connecting to a propeller plane into their closest airport, then a 2-3hr drive (very icy in winter) to their house.  Since DS was born in October, they have not been out to visit because they don't travel, but have complained in their weekly phone calls that we haven't brought him out for a visit and that we don't visit enough.  I made it very clear to them that I would not be making that type of trip with a newborn, and our first visit out is planned for next month.

My family comes out often for short visits (i.e. long weekends or over holiday weekends) and has seen DS several times.  MIL is hurt that my mom has seen him several times and she hasn't seen him at all.

I would like to set some reasonable expectations for our visiting frequency while we're there next month.  DH and I each get 2 weeks of vacation to use during the year.  I am agreeable to using 1 week per year to visit ILs and using the other week to travel (my passion and very important to me) or to visit my family.  MIL is very offended every time she hears we're going somewhere besides visiting her and complains about only getting to see us once a year.  I don't think it's fair for them to expect us not to get a real "vacation" or to see my family for the next 18 years because we spend all of our PTO visiting them.  We can't even combine our visits with our families because they don't have enough room at their house for my family to stay (nearest hotel is 2+hrs away) and they won't travel to my family or even a central location.

First, am I being unreasonable?  Am I depriving ILs of a relationship with DS?  I have told them that they can come see him at our house anytime they're willing to make the trip and that we'll foot the cost for the trip

Second, how do I lay this out for them without hurting MIL's feelings.  Aside from their irrational (I think) refusal to travel, they are lovely people whom I like a lot.  MIL is very sensitive and I don't want to hurt her feelings or have DH think I don't value them and their relationship with DS.

TIA and sorry for the long-winded post!

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Re: Am I being unreasonable? WWYD? (long)

  • I think you are being very reasonable by offering a week each year. It is unfortunate that they do not travel so I would try to have them skype with the baby, blog, send them videos, pics etc. to make them feel connected. I think that is all that you can do. GL Come from a place of love when you talk to them and hopefully they will see that it is not something you are doing to punish them but it is a family decision that you have made.
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  • We have the exact same issue.  My husband is from Spain and his parents are terrified of ever leaving their city.  They are the type of people who have done the same exact thing every single day for their entire life and are scared of anything new.  They have never even been to Madrid (about a 5 hour drive or 45 minute plane) to see his aunt, who has lived there for 40 years.  Every time we suggest that they visit, there is a new excuse.  We went to visit over christmas and travelling with an infant was really hard.  We have solved the issue the exact same way you have.  We will go to Spain once a year and they are free to visit any time they would like.  I don't feel guilty about it.  They are adults and it's their choice.  I also have a family and a life to live and I can't spend every moment off of work on a plane to Spain.
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  • They are adults and it's their choice.  I also have a family and a life to live and I can't spend every moment off of work on a plane to Spain.

    I agree with this completely.  I know its easier said than done, but I would really try not to feel guilty about this.  I also like the other pp's suggestions of skype, pictures, etc.  We do that with various family members, even those we see often.  My DD has an extremely close relationship with my mom, more than with my dad, and much more than with my in laws.  I don't feel bad about it at all.  I love that she has that relationship with one grandparent.  Some people don't even have that.  I figure anything she has with the other grandparents is icing on the cake.

  • You're being totally rational. They are the ones that are not. What is their reasoning for not wanting to travel? I just am curious. Sounds like they live out in the boonies and just aren't used to getting out. Maybe there is some way you can help them to be comfortable with travelling so that you aren't the one always having to compromise.  Maybe that's impossible with them, I have not idea, but just throwing it out there.
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  • You're being extremely reasonable and accommodating.

    If your ILs refuse to leave home, then one of the consequences of their decision is that they will miss out on a lot of time with their grandson.  It's unfortunate, but it's their choice to make and they won't like it.  That doesn't mean you should change your mind or your approach, just that you should be prepared for the fact that they'll be upset and that there really isn't anything you can do about it.

  • When you're there, set them up with a Skype account and set a weekly time when you will Skype with them with DS.
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  • You're being more than reasonable.  They are being completely unreasonable.  I will never understand or pity people who refuse to travel though.  I just cannot fathom it. 

    Of course, my parents and in-laws will fly all over the world to visit us.  I would have your DH explain this to them.  You may run into a year when you can't use an entire week of vacation time to visit them.  You may have other obligations, etc.  They need to make an effort PERIOD. 

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  • lbi21lbi21
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    Sounds like you are being perfectly reasonable!  They are being unreasonable to expect you to travel such a great distance with a newborn! 

    Inlaws will be Inlaws-My MIL lives 40 minutes away and she has only seen DD maybe 7 times since she was born!

  • You are not being unreasonable.  They should travel to you also.  I would just emphasize to your MIL that you only get 2 weeks vacation so you can't come to her more than once a year.  
  • I think you are being more than reasonable, but as an aside - where in the world do they live?  You have to take a prop plane and THEN its a 2-3 hour drive?  Is this in the US?  Why do they live so rural/so remote?
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  • Well, considering id never obligate myself to using a week of my vacation every year to see my ILs, your more than reasonable. I think your DH needs to remind them of their role in this. It's THEIR choice not to travel. If that means they don't see your LO, then that's on them. Not you. Seriously your DH needs to nicely tell them this. I would also be careful of committing yourself to a week EVERY year.
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  • I agree with other posts, using one week of vacation every year to visit is more than reasonable since they won't come to you. My in-laws won't fly either, they live in FL and have never been out here to visit. We are flying there today so they can meet DD, but their refusal to travel to us causes them to miss out on a lot.



  • I am the odd one out, in that I think you ARE being a little unreasonable - to yourself.  If you only get 2 weeks vacation a year, eventually you are going to regret giving one of the weeks up to the in-laws every year.

    I would set-forth the expectations that 1 week a year will be used for your family (you, DH and LO) - so that you can go on vacation, take a mental health day, whatever.

    The other week a year will be used for visiting family.  And not just DH's family.  Tell them that your intention is to allocate the 'family' week every other year to your family and then the in-laws.  Make it clear though, that if something (such as a family wedding) were to come up, you would need to use some of your vacation time for that.

    If you get any grief, I would tell them how hurt YOU are that they make no effort to travel and visit your LO.  If they point out how many times your parents have seen LO vs. them, definitely bring up the fact that your family travels to you, and the in-laws don't.

    If MIL disagrees, ask her what she would do in your situation - have her come up with a 'vacation plan' that is fair to all 3 families involved, and then poke holes in it.

    Really though, DH should be having some of these conversations with her - not you.

  • No you are not unreasonable.

    If it were me, I would make sure she knows that you have an open door policy to any visits from them, all year.  I would also explain that traveling to other places for a vacation is very important to you because you have only one life and limited time.  And point out that you will give them at least one trip a year.  

    It is likely she will still be upset by this.  You can try to reassure her that it has nothing to do with how important she is to you, that you are trying to live a balanced life.  It is up to you how much comforting that you do.  Me?  I am very impatient with this kind of selfish behavior and would insist that my husband deal with his loony mom. 

    My mom visits me a lot but my dad is kooky in his old age and doesn't really like to travel (refuses planes too, but will drive if he feels like it).  He points out that he doesn't see us as much as he would like and I simply state that the street runs both ways.  I also point out that we have about double the responsibility now here to what he does at home and that it is really hard for US to travel.  Since this conversation a couple of times, he has visited once or twice.  I appreciate his effort. 


  • Maybe I'm a hard a$$, but if I was in that situation and my ILs complained about not seeing us, I'd keep repeating, "You're welcome to visit us whenever you want." If they choose not to travel, remind them that it's their choice and they are the ones who are choosing not to see you. Don't feel guilty about it. It's their problem, not yours. This is assuming they don't have health issues or other valid reasons for not wanting to travel.
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  • My ILs live three hours away but my MIL doesn't have a job and doesn't have any hobbies....so she visits us...about twice a month.  We RARELY make trips down there...our life is here...it doesn't matter if you live 30 minutes or 30 hours, it has to be a two way street.  If she wants to see her grandchild, she needs to get her a$$ on a plane (especially if you are nice enough to pay for it) and frankly, do not worry about hurting her feelings.  I honestly have a much better relationship with my MIL since I started being honest with her...I am not MEAN but honest...stern and foot completely down.

    You have offered and opened your home, you have offered a week of PTO, and she needs to understand that if she is CAPABLE, she is the one who is missing out b/c she is CHOOSING to avoid traveling to see the baby...not you choosing things OVER her. She needs to get over it and grow up. 

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  • You are being very reasonable. I totally understand the struggle as my family all lives far away, but you guys need vacations as well. My parents do come visit and it's your ILs choice not to travel.

    I would set up an online account like skype and set up a blog for them so they can feel 'connected'.

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  • Ugh.  We have totally been in this position.  Until 2 yrs ago, we lived in California, and both my family and DH's family live on the East Coast (where we're from, and where we live now).

    It wasn't an issue until DD was born.  We too, only had 2 weeks vacation a year. In our case, DH's family have the $$ means, so they did come out and visit us.  My family, not so much.  My parents are divorced, and my mom still works full time as an executive for a company, so she didn't have much time to visit us, and my dad doesn't work and doesn't have $$, so he could only visit once a year. 

    The result?  We ended up flying all over the country like crazy people the first 2 years of DD's life.  We burned up all our vacation visiting family, and it was crazy.  We never had any time to visit California while we lived there, and I regret it. 

    We finally moved back east, and so it's not an issue anymore.  I think you need to find some kind of compromise here.  The issue is for your child to have a relationship with their grandparents.  It might mean that you go and visit your IL's more than your parents.  It also might mean that it's not as often as you see your family. 

    You're not going to please everyone, and you shouldn't have to accomodate everyone either.  I think one week where YOU travel is fair, and the other week should be reserved for your own family.  If the IL's don't make the effort, then it's their loss, sadly.  :( 

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  • I think you are being VERY reasonable by giving up a whole vacation week to spend with them.  If they are not willing to come visit you during other times in the year, then it's their loss.

    My in laws live about 1000 miles from us.  I get 5 weeks vacation per year and the most I will visit them is two long weekend per year (and by long, I mean 3 days).  Most people think it's mean of me but I have a busy job and when I'm on vacation, I want to spend it with my husband and daughter and DEFINITELY not with the in laws (and I like them!).

    My family is local so it's no issue seeing them (but ironically my mother complains that she doesn't see my daughter enough).  LOL.

     

  • image RoxyLynn:

    You're being extremely reasonable and accommodating.

    If your ILs refuse to leave home, then one of the consequences of their decision is that they will miss out on a lot of time with their grandson.  It's unfortunate, but it's their choice to make and they won't like it.  That doesn't mean you should change your mind or your approach, just that you should be prepared for the fact that they'll be upset and that there really isn't anything you can do about it.

    agreed,

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  • If they wont come to visit you then that is their problem that they feel deprived. You have to live your life, too, and cannot make everything about them.
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  • I'm in complete agreement with the pp. You are being fair/generous to ILs, they are being unreasonable.

    One thing I would recommend is to see if there is a rental home or cottage in there town. I know you said the nearest hotel was 2 hours away but I would check on this. My sister and her husband started doing this so when they visited our family once a year they had a place of their own to relax in. They could kick people out, invite friends/family over and in general actually have a vacation. It's not inexpensive but it has saved their sanity.

    In fact we started doing this on our long weekends (both families live in the same town, we visit often but they rarely visit us). I was tired of not having any downtime or time with our friends when we were 'home' and being bounced between 2 families. Now we have a little more relaxing time and don't have to explain why we won't be at lunch on Saturday. :)

  • PeskyPesky member
    Ditto pp -- have you thought of putting it to MIL as a question?  "Hey, we have a maximum of 2 wks of vacation.  We already spend half of that allotted time with you, visiting you in your home.  The other we take as a family trip or visit my family.  How exaclty would you suggest we meet your request of visiting you more but still meeting the demands of giving my family equal opportunity plus allowing ourselves time to have those family vacations we will remember in later years?"  See what she says.  Honestly, hopefully it helps her realize it is an untenable position and you can gently suggest that it is fine to wish she could see you all more often, the constant requests end up creating an unsolvable burden of guilt which you know is not her intent.  Then I'd suggest skype and do that more routinely.  And continue with your offer to pay for their travel to see you.


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  • image BeccaMarie:

    I am the odd one out, in that I think you ARE being a little unreasonable - to yourself.  If you only get 2 weeks vacation a year, eventually you are going to regret giving one of the weeks up to the in-laws every year.

    I would set-forth the expectations that 1 week a year will be used for your family (you, DH and LO) - so that you can go on vacation, take a mental health day, whatever.

    The other week a year will be used for visiting family.  And not just DH's family.  Tell them that your intention is to allocate the 'family' week every other year to your family and then the in-laws.  Make it clear though, that if something (such as a family wedding) were to come up, you would need to use some of your vacation time for that.

    If you get any grief, I would tell them how hurt YOU are that they make no effort to travel and visit your LO.  If they point out how many times your parents have seen LO vs. them, definitely bring up the fact that your family travels to you, and the in-laws don't.

    If MIL disagrees, ask her what she would do in your situation - have her come up with a 'vacation plan' that is fair to all 3 families involved, and then poke holes in it.

    Really though, DH should be having some of these conversations with her - not you.

    100% agree! That's what i thought when I read this. You get 10 days off and you're willing to give up 5 full days to these completely unaccomodating people?!  You're being way too kind.

  • McRibMcRib
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    I think you are not unreasonable at all. Your ILs are selfish. So are mine. They do not travel either and have never met DS. It costs us like 1k to fly down there, our PTO, the trauma to LO and now I am pregnant. We are not going. Unless they can get over it, they will not meet their grandchild (they have never actually expressed an interest or asked us to come down anyway). I think you are being more than fair. I assume they are retired too? Mine are so it's not like they are doing anything but watching TV at home all day.
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  • If your ILs came to visit you, wouldn't you still have to take leave while they were visiting?
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  • You are being completely reasonable.  Your ILs need to grow up and stop whining or hop on a plane.  What does your DH have to say about this?  Can he talk to them?

  • image trackchik6:
    You are not being unreasonable.  They should travel to you also.  I would just emphasize to your MIL that you only get 2 weeks vacation so you can't come to her more than once a year.  

    I don't want to give the exact location in case anyone I know IRL is on here, but it is in the US and it's waaaaay out in the boonies.  I have no idea why they wanted to move to this area for retirement, but the ILs love it.

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  • Ooops- meant to reply to kathrynmd in above post.

    THANK YOU for the great advice!  To answer some of the questions, the "reason" they won't travel is that MIL is petrified of planes, trains, basically anything besides a car.  FIL thinks travelling for more than an hour or two is annoying and just flat out refuses to do it...it's not like they're in wheelchairs or can't drive.  We've come up with every possibilty for making it work (having other family members travel with them, breaking up the trip with stops to see other family members on the way, etc.)- they won't have any of it.  As far as needing to use PTO if they come to us, we would plan to go to work as usual, but let DS stay home from DC so they could play with him all day and just visit with them in the evenings and on weekends.

    We're already skyping once a week, make YouTube videos of milestones (babbling, giggline, eating from a spoon), post pictures on Flickr weekly, and send nice prints whenever we do pro pics.

    I think I'm going to do as some PPs suggested and put the ball in their court.  "Gee MIL, I just *wish* there was a way we could see you more, but after our family vacation, we only have 5 days of vacation a year....what could we possibly do so you could see DS more?"  I know I make her sounds a little nutty, but MIL is very down to earth and kind, so I think if I put it to her this way, she'll realize we're doing the best we can.  Everytime she brings up how she doesn't get to see DS, I'll keep reminding her that she's welcome any time she wants to make the trip and we'll cover the travel arrangements for her.

    Thanks again for all the affirmations that I'm not the crazy one.  Everytime we get off a call with her I feel like the world's biggest meanie depriving her of her first grandchild...it's good to have some objective opinions that it's not the case! :)

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