I see this board is not very active at the moment but I'm going to give this a try. Hopefully some of you have some advice.
I have been married for almost 7 years and my daughter is 3.5 years old. My husband is in the Navy and will be for over 20 more years. Almost a year and a half ago we moved to our first duty station that was really far away from our family. Our first ever duty station was only 8 hours away. We'd see our families every 4-6 months or so. (And we were getting guilt tripped then too) Our duty station now is almost 2000 miles from our families. Now, every single time I post a picture of my daughter on social media, or every time I speak to a family member, I get guilt tripped about living far off. Every time the holidays roll around I get phone calls, texts, emails, etc begging me to come home and telling me that my family is missing out on my daughter's life because I'm keeping them from her.
The truth is, traveling with my daughter is very difficult and expensive. Our families cannot provide a place for us to stay when we visit so we have to stay in hotels which are expensive. We have special dietary needs that our families ignore so we have to eat out almost every meal, also expensive. So because of that, we cannot visit home often. We do budget for travel but things happen (family emergencies and things like that) which cause us to spend our travel fund. We have allowed our families to 'borrow' money from us with the knowledge that they are using the money we would have used on plane tickets. Then when the time comes for us to travel, we have to listen to the sobbing over the phone and accusations.
My mother is the worst one. Literally every single time I talk to her she brings up how fast my daughter is growing and how much she misses her. She gets all upset over what she's missing. Then she asks when we are coming to visit. I try to tell her gently that I don't know and we miss her too, but she flips out and starts crying. She's begged me to leave my husband and just take my daughter and come back home. She's told me that I'm a bad wife for not budgeting properly for travel money (so I should stop feeding and clothing my child so I can stick her on a plane?) and made other accusations like, "maybe you just don't love us anymore...". She loves to bring up the fact that my grandmother is going blind and tells me that soon my grandmother won't be able to see at all, so I need to bring my daughter home so my grandmother can look at her "one last time". My husband says we may get stationed overseas next and I told my mother that, hoping she'd be grateful that for now we are still in the country. She told me that would be the worst possible thing to ever happen to her and flipped her wig and started crying. I've offered to pay for her and my brother to fly here and stay in our home, but she refuses to because she can't bring her dog with her on the plane, is afraid to fly, can't get the time off work, etc.
And yes, I do get that they miss us. I miss them too. And I tell them that. I call them and keep them updated on her progress and I send photos. I post at least one photo almost every day on Facebook or Instagram for my family to see. I HATE social media and I stay on for the purpose of keeping them updated. I send them things she makes for them, we do webcam so she can talk to them and see them. We videotape almost every cute thing she does. We have a youtube account with over 1000 videos just of my daughter for my family to look at. It's a lot of work, really. We try very hard to keep them involved. We have paid their airfare, gas money, hotel bills, etc when they visit us. I don't know what else I can do.
It is really hurtful that they can't be understanding of the situation. I get all the blame for my husband's duty stations ("why are you letting him stay in the Navy?") and when we can travel. If my family finds out that I spent money on a large item for our home or for my daughter she gets upset and tells me I could have used the money for saving for plane tickets. It's very frustrating and I feel I have to keep things from my family now to avoid getting a lecture.
What can I do? I dread speaking over the phone with certain family members now because of this issue. It's also so hurtful for me. But I have no idea how to tell those family members how I feel without hurting their feelings or them getting defensive. Many of them don't understand what its like to be in the military but oddly enough, those who have never been in the military or had military parents are the most understanding!! My mother moved all over europe and the US with her dad who was in the army, and my father was a marine, but she is the #1 worst one about guilt tripping me!
If you have advice, any at all, I'd love to hear it. Thank you!