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4Kiddos

Reasonable Expectations for Visiting

Realistic Time for Visiting  

137 members have voted

  1. 1. How often do you think a loving child and their family should visit their in-laws if they are 45 minute drive?

    • Daily
      1
    • Weekly
      16
    • Monthly
      73
    • Every other month
      33
    • Every six months
      4
    • Other
      24
    • Just for holidays
      2


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What do you think is reasonable for how much a loving child and their family should visit the in-laws if you live about 45 minutes away and want to try to have a good relationship. Could you elaborate on your answer? I would like to know if my husband and I are being reasonable or not. I would appreciate your response so much!

ETA: Visits are 3-4 hours each

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I would say it depends on the relationship. Once a month to keep the peace if things are not ideal.

 

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There are so many variables here. In general, I would say "should" visit around a holiday or two, maybe twice a year because they are (just) 45 minutes away. They "could" visit much more frequently. In some areas, and to some people, 45 mins. may be a short drive--to others, that might be quite a distance to travel.

The real answer is based on your comment about wanting "to have a good relationship." That would probably be as often as the person who doesn't want to visit as often would choose.

I don't know if you are the child or the parent, but it does sound like you are hurting. I would encourage you to either visit as often as your schedule reasonably allows, or I would encourage you to give the person plenty of space and visit as infrequently as they wish. The less pressure put on them, the better it will be for the relationship.

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It really depends on the situation, I guess. Like the health status of the in laws, how young any grandchildren are, what other obligations each has, etc. When I was a kid my maternal grandparents lived about 90 minutes away. We usually went to see them every week, but no less than every other week. Those visits and the drive to and from their house are some of the best memories of my childhood. It was great family time. 

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I voted other.  I think it depends on the situation. 

Right now, I live about twice that distance from my parents. And sometimes, I drive that just for lunch.  Today, I drive 40 minutes to meet my mom to pick up my kids because they spent 2 nights with my parents. And in 2 weeks, I am driving out to moms to go do a 5k with her (and my aunt, who is driving 3 hrs south just to do this 5k). 

But, we didn’t see my parents at all, and barely talked to them even, for most of January, and February. Actually, from the first weekend of January, till Easter, we basically hibernated at home. 

Its just a matter of the situation. 

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That distance isn't a lot to us. I don't think weekly is necessary and often could be difficult but I feel monthly isn't quite enough if that close. I would think every other week, so about twice a month, would be what we would do. 

Of course, I spent most of my childhood seeing all of my grandparents almost daily because we lived so close and seeing great grandparents about once a month because they lived just over an hour away. 

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I think it depends. When I lived 45 min away from my parents, I drove to see each of them weekly (they are divorced) and they would each drive up to see me 1-2 times a month. I'm 5 hrs away from my dad now and come down monthly during the spring-fall and maybe once in the winter.

We have a good relationship though. MIL comes up about every 6 weeks and we see her when we go back home as well. FIL we see maybe once or twice a year. 

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Ideally, I'd say every 4-8 weeks, but ideally, that would include both the children and the parents visiting each other.  

 

But it would depend on so many things.  If the parents aren't up for traveling, that makes it harder.  Or if the children have children, that can be complicated too.  If one of the adults has a busy or stressful job, or if some of the people are very introverted, or if they don't have similar hobbies and interests, too-frequent visits might start to be frustrating.

 

When our oldest two children were small, we lived a tad under 2 hours from both my parents and ILs (who lived ten minutes from each other), and my kids were pretty happy in the car.  We would see one or both sets of grandparents, either at our place or theirs, around every 6 weeks.  It was rare that we went two months without seeing either set, and day trips were easy.  We live farther away now, and my parents have also moved, and my ILs are a decade older, plus my kids aren't the only grandchildren anymore so they travel to see my SIL some too, and packing up five kids is different from packing up two little ones, so we only get down to their place once or twice a year, but we do it for 4-7 days at a time.  My husband and I are very introverted, and while we enjoy seeing our parents, and having the children spend time with their grandparents, too much togetherness is very draining on both of us.  (It helps so much that there is text, skype, FB, now, so that the grandparents are still able to keep up with the grandkids' lives.)

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I'd consider 40 min pretty close - in a lot of cities that might just be the other side of town.

But a lot would also depend on schedules.  I find the thing that gets most in the way of getting together with our family is things like kids activities.  I'd say we see my parents every second week on average, they are about 20 min to 1/2 hour away.  My in-laws at 30 min away are about once a month, which is probably not as much as it should be but dh is not as good at arranging visits as I am with my family.  And for various reasons we don't see then on a casual basis as often either, it's usually a longer visit which of course requires more free time.

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I said weekly. If my parents were that close, I would want to drop in more often. I enjoy my family. If it was otherwise, I would visit less often but at least every other week.

 

I wanted to clarify that when I say I would visit at least once or more, I don’t mean spend all day there. It would be more like dropping in for an hour or two every 3-4 days and I would expect them to do the same, come for a dinner or to watch a movie. Not forced and formal.

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I said every other month, but probably monthly would be more what I'd do. As kids get older, it gets more difficult. We have nearly always been much further away, personally.

If I went every couple of weeks to monthly, I probably wouldn't stay as long--maybe a couple of hours.

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My son and daughter-in-law live 40 minutes away.  They spend every other Sunday over here, anywhere from 3-8 hours.  There are times in between that we spend time together.  My son works out of town sometimes, and my DIL will come spend time over here.  They are expecting a baby in August.

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Other. How old are the parents?  Are they mobile?  Generally I am against proscribed relationships. I am also against one sided relationships unless one side is unable to reciprocate.   If parents are elderly and need help as well as visiting, then their needs should determine frequency. 

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The question is worded oddly.  If it's a loving CHILD, then how are they visiting their in-laws?  Wouldn't the child be visiting their own parents?  So, is the question, "How often should I be expected to visit my in-laws?" or is it "How often should I be expected to visit my parents?" or just, "How often should a grown married couple visit each partner's parents?"

Either way, to me 45 minutes is not that long of a distance, but I live in an area where things are somewhat far away.  When I lived in the Baltimore suburbs, anything over 15 minutes seemed so far away, because everything was so packed together. Now that I'm in a more rural area, something has to be 35 minutes away before I start to feel as if it's "far", so 45 minutes isn't that big of a deal.  

I find visiting with my in-laws to be semi-distressing.  They're not mean people, but are just mildly critical of pretty much everything and we don't have much in common.  It's hard work coming up with conversations.  I am exhausted when I leave their house.  I would not do well visiting them for 3-4 hours a week.  3-4 hours a month would also be pushing it.  Right now they live 20 minutes away and we visit them about every other month for 3-4 hours.  It's always at their request and usually for some sort of family meal.  

However, my DH visits them a lot more than I do.  He will help his dad do some sort of project, or he'll help his mom with her computer.  He visits them much more than I do (or the boys.)  They are rather boring for the boys to visit, so they only visit during the every other month family dinners.  My in-laws don't do anything to make the visits interesting to the grandkids, but I know they wish they knew how.  I heard my MIL saying something about how she knew the boys were bored visiting, but then she never comes up with stuff for them to do.  There is no way I'm going to suggest anything.  They gently criticize anything I suggest, so I have given up suggesting anything, ever.  Also, the kids have picked up on how critical they are of everything and they are somewhat tense when we visit, waiting for a critical comment to come their way.  

 

My own parents moved 2500 miles away, but if they lived 45 minutes away, I'd be seeing them all the time.  Probably every other week or so.  But they're lots of fun, are cheery, I have tons of stuff in common with them, and they are excellent at coming up with ideas on how to make things interesting for grandkids.  It would be a delight to visit them a couple of times a month.

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i think there are too many variable to answer.

but it needs to be something that works for both parties.  some people need space without the other party taking it personally.

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I chose other. So many variables. In our situation it was about 30 mins away to visit my folks when they were still alive. We usually saw them a minimum of once a week because they lived in the larger town we did all our stuff in.

 

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I agree with others - it depends. 

If it were just children driving all the time to visit parents - and they have children - I would expect less. And a three hour visit seems long to me. 

If visits were done from both ways, that would make things more equal - assuming the parents and adult child felt up to that.

To visit weekly or monthly would have been hard on us if my parents had lived that close. We were busy during the week. My dh was often travelling during the week when the kids were young, and he just wanted to stay home and chill - not drive 1.5 hours round trip and visit with relatives for 3 hours. And quite frankly, we enjoyed the weekends to do just family things together. As your kids get to be teens, they are more interested in spending time with others outside of family. Normal. 

Now that the kids are older, we simply would not have the free time to go except maybe every 3-4 months - if we planned and made arrangements and didn't do some activities.  And that would still be stretching it. Hey, one still living grandmother lives about 800 miles away and finding time to visit her just once a year is tough. 

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This depends on many factors, but in a good relationship, I would pray for weekly. And I don't think it has to be one way either.  If only one can travel, then that's just the way it is, nut ideally it's mutual effort.

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Should visit.....every other month.

Would be nice to visit....every month

This might happen if there is a holiday and a pre scheduled visit in the same month.....every other week.

I can't imagine seeing them this often.....every week.

 

I don't see my friends every week, so I really can't imagine seeing my family that often.  One big factor in this, is that I don't have much down time in my life.  When I see my inlaws it is for half a day or so at a time.  I rarely have half a day free, and I wouldn't want to use all my down time on my inlaws.  

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I put 'other'.

I think that a good relationship involves gathering and enjoying each other and events.

That means, celebrating all of the holidays together--Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, Thanksgiving, maybe Fourth of July, graduations, weddings, some anniversaries.  Some families have a tradition of entertaining on Sunday afternoons--gathering every single week.  That's a nice custom but really only works well if there is a large extended family and/or a bunch of friends, strays, etc.  GPs attending kids events like performances or some sports events is good.  Some folks rent adjacent cabins and vacation together as well.  It just depends.

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Ideally, people would visit other people when they felt like it. The elderly and parents of tots should not be expected to do an equal amount of travel for relationship maintenance.

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I live that close to my Mom and there is NO WAY we could buy weekly, unless it was her coming to us. We do not have the time. Average is probably monthly, but sometimes it's more often and sometimes it's less. At this point my mom comes to us more often than we go to her. When my kids were younger we were able to visit a little more often.

 

I don't feel you can expect more than holidays. But every other month seems reasonable. Are the in-laws going to visit the child? Maybe they are each other more often then.

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Monthly or every other monthly seems reasonable. More if they enjoy it, of course.

I tend to think that if it's important for one side to see the other - typically, IME, the grandparents are the ones who are disappointed in not seeing their grandkids - then they should be the ones to initiate the contact. Like, grandparents who refuse to babysit grandkids or come to them - barring health issues, of course - really don't get to complain.

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I didn’t read any replies. 

I voted weekly and monthly. My hope would be that loving family that is that close (distance) would see each other more than monthly but the wording made it seem like the grandkids would be the ones that need to do all the traveling. In my family my parents or mil (all gone now) would have come to visit my kids at least once a week if they lived that close. 

ETA - my parents and my mil were fantastic grandparents. I would have put in a great deal of effort to make sure my kids saw them often. 

On the other hand, my fil is an asshat and I would be perfectly happy if none of use ever saw him again. Shrug 

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We're about an hour from my in laws and we don't get there very often. Maybe once/6 weeks. We are them more in the summer and less in the winter. Roads are often bad in the winter. I honestly don't know how people could go much more often than that. Kids have activities on the weekends and it's too far to go on a weeknight. (Not that weeknights are less busy!) This makes my Mil mad- but she almost never travels to us to see the kid's games or whatever. (They have come maybe 3 times to games  and we have had many, many to choose from. My parents have been to more of my kids games and they live 18 hours away. If my parents lived 45 minutes away, I'd see them a lot but I could/would go without dh. I wouldn't have to wait on him to get out of work. Sometimes I take the kids in the summer without dh. But not as much as I would with my own parents. It's just easier for me and the kids to go do stuff. Dh works a lot and we have lots going on. She likes to communicate by texting dh. Dh doesn't respond. Ever. (About scheduling) You'd think she'd figure it out and text me....but she doesn't. I always answer promptly to encourage her to text me- I'm the one who knows what's going on with the schedules!

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We lived about that far from my in laws for 5 years (we moved when my oldest was 4). My sister in law and I would meet there with our kids every Thursday. That continued with other family members (as more siblings had babies) for a few years after we moved. Now, nobody goes out weekly because kids are in school and have activities. My in laws have 5 kids who all live about 45 minutes from them, and I would say they get together on average once a month. They could see them more, but the in laws don’t really make an effort to go to grandkid activities (sports events, school shows, etc). I’m not sure why the grandparents don’t do that more. 

 

We now  live a flight away and visit twice a year. We are hoping to move back eventually and in my head I think we would see them about once a month.

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I dunno, I feel like I have a good relationship with my folks, who live about 70 minutes from me, and I go less than monthly.  Maybe on average bi-monthly, usually around a holiday or one of their birthdays.

Why is this?  Part of it is that I feel like it's hard on them to have visitors.  It stresses my dad out.  Part of it is that I am pretty busy between work and kids.  And I don't think they have ever invited us over or said they would like us to come more often.  It seems to work for them.  They do have 5 other kids, most of whom live much closer than I do.  Some of them are over there a lot.  So it's not like they have a chance to feel lonely.  :P

In the other direction, my mom has been to visit us 3 times in the past 10 years.  My dad used to come and babysit when my kids were tots, but that stopped a good 7 or 8 years ago.  They have never mentioned any desire to attend any of my kids' performances or whatever.  It just isn't in my family's culture.

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I see my mom weekly, but not for a 3-4 hour visit. Like a cup of tea, maybe an hour? My dad lives 5 min away on weekends, and we see him every couple of months.

i think it’s whatever works for everyone 

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I am sorry as I didn't mean to be vague. I didn't quite know how to word it. My ILs are just really difficult and we are trying very hard to be loving and make this relationship work. They just seem to have some big unrealistic expectations and I wanted to be sure it was not my husband and I being unreasonable. They are youngish and are in good health and still have a teen at home. We have six kids nine and under and try to visit them at least once a month but many times it is more than that. Every visit is so hard but we really love them and want to make an effort. Anyway, they just complained that we hate them because we do not do enough things with them. But we have our own lives too and my husband can't just drop his work to do something and I have homeschooling and regular life and feel like I already have a lot on my plate to try and add in random visits at their whim. They are not safe to babysit or anything. I have tried so many things that they wanted over the past years and they are never satisfied. I do want to be reasonable however and thought I would ask to see if perhaps my idea of reasonable is truly not reasonable.

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2 hours ago, Farrar said:

Monthly or every other monthly seems reasonable. More if they enjoy it, of course.

I tend to think that if it's important for one side to see the other - typically, IME, the grandparents are the ones who are disappointed in not seeing their grandkids - then they should be the ones to initiate the contact. Like, grandparents who refuse to babysit grandkids or come to them - barring health issues, of course - really don't get to complain.

Thanks for saying so.  I get so frustrated being the one expected to initiate everything and go to them.  Um, you're empty nesters in good health with all kinds of time on your hands, why is it always up to us to call and drive?  You can't come my way for the sake of the relationship?  They come to performances, but we're expected to visit with them at their house unless I'm hosting everyone (up to 30 people) for a major holiday.

My mom and step-dad are 15 minutes away.  My in-laws are 20.  My dad is 45.  All are perfectly content to leave 90% of it up to us and always have been.  Now we're moving across the country next month and I know damn well it's extremely unlikely they will be flying to see us even though we're buying a house on Monday with an extra bedroom and bathroom for guests.  My dad moved to AZ in the 60s.  He went home to Maine to see relatives 3 times since then.  My step-dad is from Virginia.  He didn't do back to see his mother or brother after he left in the 60s.  Sigh. 

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I think you are asking what is a healthy relationship.  My friends do well with visiting weekly for an hour or two, not around a meal. The parents have enough yard and enough interest in the whole family that the dc aren't expected to stay quiet in the backroom. The dc and parents may chat once during the week, to confirm the visit and anything else.  The parents also come over to the dc's homes, about once a month to share a meal if its not a month with a holiday and someone hosting an extended family event. Grandparents usually come over to babysit once a month while couple goes out or mom goes to dentist.  Grandma is also over frequently when a newborn arrives, will have lunch with the gang.  Grandpa has a Saturday activity with one kid that revolves around a hobby, and is up for chess and checkers. 

   What I would suggest is a well check... are you being invited to do chores they don't have the health or desire to do, to provide food they can't afford or don't want to put the effort into getting and preparing, fix the house at your expense, tote their teen around? Are they retired and have no friends?  Would a weekly phone call be helpful? Are there other children whom they feel don't spend enough time with them? Do they have hobbies ?  Hobbies that get them out of the house and with other people? I'd suggest a pet, but that just turns into you being expected to do the care, so perhaps a bird bath in front of a window, where they can get to know the frequent visitors.

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7 hours ago, 4Kiddos said:

I am sorry as I didn't mean to be vague. I didn't quite know how to word it. My ILs are just really difficult and we are trying very hard to be loving and make this relationship work. They just seem to have some big unrealistic expectations and I wanted to be sure it was not my husband and I being unreasonable. They are youngish and are in good health and still have a teen at home. We have six kids nine and under and try to visit them at least once a month but many times it is more than that. Every visit is so hard but we really love them and want to make an effort. Anyway, they just complained that we hate them because we do not do enough things with them. But we have our own lives too and my husband can't just drop his work to do something and I have homeschooling and regular life and feel like I already have a lot on my plate to try and add in random visits at their whim. They are not safe to babysit or anything. I have tried so many things that they wanted over the past years and they are never satisfied. I do want to be reasonable however and thought I would ask to see if perhaps my idea of reasonable is truly not reasonable.

My answer to the OP is: as often as you want. And 45 minutes is nothing for a drive imo... Very average, not too far.

And for me personally, given this info, I'd NEVER want with people like this. Relationships are give and take, not "take and complain passive-aggressively." 

So whatever you're doing for them, feel good about it and try not to internalize their whining.

 

EDIT: YMMV. I do have a chip on my shoulder about family going on about missing us all the time when we lived far away but then never coming to visit us when we moved closer. So. Grain of salt.

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7 hours ago, 4Kiddos said:

I am sorry as I didn't mean to be vague. I didn't quite know how to word it. My ILs are just really difficult and we are trying very hard to be loving and make this relationship work. They just seem to have some big unrealistic expectations and I wanted to be sure it was not my husband and I being unreasonable. They are youngish and are in good health and still have a teen at home. We have six kids nine and under and try to visit them at least once a month but many times it is more than that. Every visit is so hard but we really love them and want to make an effort. Anyway, they just complained that we hate them because we do not do enough things with them. But we have our own lives too and my husband can't just drop his work to do something and I have homeschooling and regular life and feel like I already have a lot on my plate to try and add in random visits at their whim. They are not safe to babysit or anything. I have tried so many things that they wanted over the past years and they are never satisfied. I do want to be reasonable however and thought I would ask to see if perhaps my idea of reasonable is truly not reasonable.

When we go to “visit” my family, we don’t just go for the sake of visiting.  We make plans to do stuff. Like, the 5k in 2 weeks. The girls and I will drive out the night before and spend the night, then early the morning of we will all drive downtown together to be there by 6:30 am.  Then we will probably be out there again for Memorial Day.  Well, maybe.  I may be doing another yard sale for moving prep.  

In June my parents might come out once for a barbecue for DH’s birthday, and then mom and the girls and I plan to go do another 5k, this one about halfway between our houses.  We will probably also see them for my brothers kids birthday, and at the end of the summer, the girls and I are going on a weekend long yard sale trip.  

Now with my sister in law, we just struggle to see her, even though she lives just a few miles away from my parents. We share very little in common with her, she and her DH make bunches of plans on weekends, they have no kids...it’s just harder. We probably don’t even talk to her on the phone more than once a month.  

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We're in this situation (about 1 hour away) and its about once a month. It would be hard to do more because 2 hours on the road + 4 hour visit is still basically a whole day and we don't always have a free Saturday or Sunday to spend on just hanging out. There's also nothing for DS to do at their house so he ends up getting bored and cranky. It works better when we plan a hike nearby or something to do thats more active. 

 

 

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Well, I put once a month, but given your situation, it would be difficult. If they are "not safe to babysit," then they must be very difficult people. 

45 mins is just around the corner for us. All our family is at least 10 hours away. 

I think it'd be harder to visit when the visit is just "free time together." It's much easier to psych oneself up for a visit when there's a holiday or an event--even a kid's soccer game or something. If my parents lived that close when I had littles, I would expect them to attend the occasional school performance/dance recital/championship game or whatever, come to a family birthday, or come do something with us. I would expect to visit them, too. But my parents and inlaws aren't your parents and inlaws--they are safe and wonderful. 

I'm sorry you are stressed. 

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We lived 45min away from my grandparents when I was a child and visited weekly, however I voted for monthly. I think monthly would be a reasonable minimum as things happen and weekly may be too much to expect regularly. 

We lived 1.5hrs from my parents, however, and I'm not sure if we even went up monthly. I think we'd go more if it had been 45min. I used to have no problem with the drive to my grandmother's but the 1.5 hr drive to my parents' would just drag at the end. 

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12 hours ago, 4Kiddos said:

I am sorry as I didn't mean to be vague. I didn't quite know how to word it. My ILs are just really difficult and we are trying very hard to be loving and make this relationship work. They just seem to have some big unrealistic expectations and I wanted to be sure it was not my husband and I being unreasonable. They are youngish and are in good health and still have a teen at home. We have six kids nine and under and try to visit them at least once a month but many times it is more than that. Every visit is so hard but we really love them and want to make an effort. Anyway, they just complained that we hate them because we do not do enough things with them. But we have our own lives too and my husband can't just drop his work to do something and I have homeschooling and regular life and feel like I already have a lot on my plate to try and add in random visits at their whim. They are not safe to babysit or anything. I have tried so many things that they wanted over the past years and they are never satisfied. I do want to be reasonable however and thought I would ask to see if perhaps my idea of reasonable is truly not reasonable.

This makes me feel angry inside for you.  

They are young enough to have a teenager at home, yet expect a mom with 6 kids aged 9 and younger to come to their house?  And then they say you “hate” them because you visit them only once a month?  Did they use that word?  

What’s up with parents?  My own parents, who are generally cheery and easy to get along with, have also thought I didn’t like them at various times.  When they told me that, I was completely floored.  I’ve always loved them dearly.  (It’s my in-laws I don’t get along with.)  Sometimes people get things in their heads that just aren’t true.  I wonder if they have friends who have horrid daughters-in-law and they assume you will be horrid to them, too?  And so they see horrid things that aren’t there?

Do you invite them to your house?  

I think you ought to have a little sit down, if it’s possible, and say that you want to see them more often, but it’s too draining on you as a young mom to drag all 6 kids out on long visits more than once a month.  Tell them you’d like to host them coming to your house every month, in addition to you going there. 

If they don’t want to do that, then you are free.  You’ve explained your limitations.  You’ve expressed your desire to see them. You’ve made the offer to host.  After that, it’s on them to put their money where their mouth is and come to see you, if they actually do want to see you and this isn’t some sort of power trip on their part.

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2 minutes ago, Garga said:

This makes me feel angry inside for you.  

They are young enough to have a teenager at home, yet expect a mom with 6 kids aged 9 and younger to come to their house?  And then they say you “hate” them because you visit them only once a month?  Did they use that word?  

What’s up with parents?  My own parents, who are generally cheery and easy to get along with, have also thought I didn’t like them at various times.  When they told me that, I was completely floored.  I’ve always loved them dearly.  (It’s my in-laws I don’t get along with.)  Sometimes people get things in their heads that just aren’t true.  I wonder if they have friends who have horrid daughters-in-law and they assume you will be horrid to them, too?  And so they see horrid things that aren’t there?

Do you invite them to your house?  

I think you ought to have a little sit down, if it’s possible, and say that you want to see them more often, but it’s too draining on you as a young mom to drag all 6 kids out on long visits more than once a month.  Tell them you’d like to host them coming to your house every month, in addition to you going there. 

If they don’t want to do that, then you are free.  You’ve explained your limitations.  You’ve expressed your desire to see them. You’ve made the offer to host.  After that, it’s on them to put their money where their mouth is and come to see you, if they actually do want to see you and this isn’t some sort of power trip on their part.

I agree with everything Garga says with one change.  Your husband is the one who should be sitting down with his parents to set their expectations.   It will show them that  you and your husband are in agreement on the issue.  There is no reason for you to be the one telling difficult in-laws things they don't want to hear; there is the strong possibility that that will turn them against you and blame you for keeping their son away from them. 

If your parents were the problem, I would agree that you should be the one to talk to them.  

I didn't answer the poll because there are too many variables.   We have never lived close to family so I can't compare your situation to my own life in any way.

Hugs to you.

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7 minutes ago, marbel said:

I agree with everything Garga says with one change.  Your husband is the one who should be sitting down with his parents to set their expectations.   It will show them that  you and your husband are in agreement on the issue.  There is no reason for you to be the one telling difficult in-laws things they don't want to hear; there is the strong possibility that that will turn them against you and blame you for keeping their son away from them. 

If your parents were the problem, I would agree that you should be the one to talk to them.  

I didn't answer the poll because there are too many variables.   We have never lived close to family so I can't compare your situation to my own life in any way.

Hugs to you.

Good point about your dh talking to them.  When I wrote “you” I was meaning “you” as plural, with you and dh talking about how you’d both like to see them, but that it’s hard on you as the mom of littles.  The south has it right that we need a better way to delineate you singular vs you plural.

I think all y’all should get together and talk, or as Marbel said, just your DH should get together with them.  Whichever seems to be best.  I do not think you (singular) should talk to them about it alone.

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Thinking about it more, if you say it’s hard on you as the mama to bring the kids, then they might turn on you and think you, personally, are trying to do something sneaky—like keep their son from them, even though you’re actually inviting them to spend more time with you.

Yes, marbel is right that your dh needs to talk to them and maybe talk about how it’s hard on the kids to be away from home for so long while they’re little.  I know it’s true that my kids didn’t do so well away from their own home for hours at a time when they were little.  It disrupted eating times and nap times, etc.

 

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My in laws are 15 minutes away max and we are all so busy that we can go two months without seeing them. They don’t have expectations because they have their own very busy lives and 4 kids, all of whom are local. If my dh were the only child, it might be different.

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14 hours ago, 4Kiddos said:

I am sorry as I didn't mean to be vague. I didn't quite know how to word it. My ILs are just really difficult and we are trying very hard to be loving and make this relationship work. They just seem to have some big unrealistic expectations and I wanted to be sure it was not my husband and I being unreasonable. They are youngish and are in good health and still have a teen at home. We have six kids nine and under and try to visit them at least once a month but many times it is more than that. Every visit is so hard but we really love them and want to make an effort. Anyway, they just complained that we hate them because we do not do enough things with them. But we have our own lives too and my husband can't just drop his work to do something and I have homeschooling and regular life and feel like I already have a lot on my plate to try and add in random visits at their whim. They are not safe to babysit or anything. I have tried so many things that they wanted over the past years and they are never satisfied. I do want to be reasonable however and thought I would ask to see if perhaps my idea of reasonable is truly not reasonable.

 

Remarkably like my MIL, and not just the bolded part. We do live farther apart, so the expectations are adjusted a wee bit for distance. Ironically, my MIL complains rather loudly that her in-laws made her drag her kids to their house (same town, disabled MIL) every week for a family dinner on Sunday, but if she had her way, we'd talk on the phone the same time every week (the one she sets--even though DH's schedule varies) and come for long, painful, extended visits to literally do NOTHING.

I would suggest having them start coming your way except that it might be wiser and happier to keep your home in-law free, honestly.

My MIL has never once been satisfied with the amount of time we spend with them even though most of it is spent around a table staring at each other. It's like the same visit over and over again forever. We used to visit for days at a time, and I would get miserable headaches. This was before we produced the only two grandkids she's likely to ever have, thus adding to the expectations. Eventually, my DH realized I was getting tension headaches. My in-laws cannot babysit either for many reasons, including a total lack of common sense, paranoia that leads my MIL to do really, really dangerous and foolish things, and general unhealthy boundaries. And holidays--it doesn't matter that we found a way to spend some portion of Christmas or New Year's with them EVERY year for something like 17 years (with my family living even farther away and DH not being given holidays off, with tiny infants, when DH was in school, etc.); my kids STILL DON'T HAVE all of their CHRISTMAS PRESENTS from 2017 because my MIL is holding out that "We'll have a FAMILY Christmas." She even put some tripe in their cards about getting the rest of the presents (which she included pictures of) when she saw them in person. Well, she came to visit (not my doing), and she still didn't bring the presents! 

My kids are pretty okay with it--she is probably not neurotypical, and my kids seem to know this. In fact, my kiddo with ASD recognizes it's weird, and he gives people a really big benefit of the doubt.

Do what you can live with that you consider respectful and let them stew if it's not enough. You will be healthier for it. It sounds like you've already put more into the relationship than they have, and they are not healthy people. DO NOT let your in-laws say things in front of your kids or to your kids that stand uncorrected. You can respectfully tell them the truth even if you don't do it in front of the grandparents. Don't let your kids feel unloved if the grandparents say or do rude stuff. Explain that the grandparents are not correct, and make sure they know they don't have to please the grandparents when expectations are not right.

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Totally depends on how many kids they have, their ages, their jobs and other commitments. My first reaction was how often should loving in-laws visit them? It’s a two way street. Just my two cents.

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I picked "monthly", but that depends on so many variables. Do you have other important obligations? Then it'll have to be less often. Can they visit you half the time? That's better, because you're sharing the burden of a 90 minute round trip. Are they really difficult people to be around? Listen, you're well within your rights to taper your visits off some if you actually can't stand being in the same room as those folks. Haven't read other comments yet, will do now and add an edit.

Edit: I've read the follow-up. Your inlaws are completely unreasonable. You should not be the only one "making the relationship work", and it sounds like they're not even trying.

Are you stating that they try to have you come over "spur of the moment"? That's how I'm reading this comment. That's controlling behavior. You're darn right they'll never be happy. And then to pull that passive aggressive garbage of you don't love me blah blah blah - that's what I expect from a toddler!

So forget about making them happy. You can't win, so stop playing the game. Decide with your husband how often you're willing to see them. Cut that in half, and have your husband call them and say that due to life issues you're willing to visit once every two months (three months, six months, whatever) and invite them over once in that same period of time. Offer to call them on a schedule as well - every week, every two weeks, whatever works for your family.

And then stick with it. Put it on the calendar, and when you visit, say as you leave "Great, see you on $DATE!"

They won't be happy about this, and they'll whine and fuss and be a big pain, but if you make this boundary and stick with it and don't give in to their manipulation they will adapt and they will stop doing this.

(I also recommend that you immediately end any visit or phone call once certain unacceptable behavior pops up - like calling you and your husband unloving!)

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