Stopping the "holidaying with the IL's" routine

(95 Posts)
Kat101 Fri 01-Feb-13 15:36:19

For the past 7 years we have mostly holidayed with the IL's. This worked well at first - they were a bit younger, we only had one DC, everyone took turns and everyone got a bit of down time / time off to do adult stuff. We always booked a holiday cottage and self catered so everyone was happy.

However, and in the last year in particular, this is not working for me any more. The IL's are older, we have 3 young DC (7, 4, 2) and so they don't help any more. They take their own time out but don't offer us any (until 10pm when the last child is in bed and i'm falling asleep on the sofa). But they think they do help! Sitting with your eyes closed on a lounger while the (then) 1yo runs around an open space is apparently "keeping an eye out". There are many more examples such as this - last year I was counting the hours til we could leave (DH and DC1 had a sick bug and I cleaned puke up all day) while my MIL was pressurising asking me whether we could phone the owner and extend our stay as the sun was out!

I totally appreciate that they are not obliged to help in any way. But I want a holiday where I actually get a holiday too! Not one where I'm just doing all the washing / cleaning / childcare etc to support the running of the cottage while enabling them to enjoy the holiday. It also gets on my goat that they have several holidays a year (luxury abroad type ones) and we have one holiday in the UK (share the cost jointly with them).

I am by nature a people pleaser and I know they will argue the point if we mention that we are going to book a holiday alone. MIL will be "hurt" and "missing out time with her gc" (they live 5 hours away), etc etc. DH will support what I want, he is laid back about such things although doesn't feel as strongly about this as I do.

So, aibu? And how could I tell them that joint holidays are off the agenda? (sorry for the essay)

Moknicker Fri 01-Feb-13 16:42:59

"Monicker I think you are missing the point somewhat. Catered cottages are hugely expensive - it would be cheaper to go abroad than stay in one. "

Perhaps that particular suggestion wont work but my fundamental point that it seems harsh to dump the Ils just because they are now old and cant provide the childcare that they used to. People do get old you know - are they just to be jettisoned then? The very fact that they did pull their weight when they were younger and that the OP doesnt seem to have issues with them apart from that seems to suggest that on the whole they are not unreasonable people.

I think it would make more sense to have a conversation with ILs about the fact that the OP also wants a holiday and find some sort of compromise that works for them as a family - maybe stagger the days as someone upthread suggested or ask them to take over the cooking. To not do so seems unreasonable to me.

atthewelles Fri 01-Feb-13 16:43:26

Its about not upsetting people in your family if there's a way of agreeing to something that keeps everyone happy. The GPs have got used to holidaying with extended family every year. To suddenly drop them like that could be very hurtful and upsetting for them. Its not all about 'rights', its about being understanding to elderly grandparents. I'm not saying the OP has to go on and on doing something she doesn't want; just find a way of changing things that, if possible, doesn't involve upsetting or hurting or excluding the GPs.

elizaregina Fri 01-Feb-13 16:44:00

you poor thing.

i get where your coming from, your being the slave i presume - the house maid whilst they have a nice holiday with thier GC and your also paying for the privalige. Its like they could it seems afford to at least pay for the cottage seeing as the holiday seems to be moslty about them and them having a nice time.

whereas before you didnt mind paying half because you all got equal benefit.

dont go - 7 years is a hell of a time, say your needs and wants have changed.

they are more than welcome to stay near you in a b and b when they want to come and see the GC. thanks for 7 wonderful years of holidays....

elizaregina Fri 01-Feb-13 16:45:28

But i thought they were too old to be put upon monical?

atthewelles Fri 01-Feb-13 16:46:51

You sound lovely Eliza hmm

boodles Fri 01-Feb-13 16:48:51

Is there any need for comments like that?

Kat101 Fri 01-Feb-13 16:49:16

I am thinking of a med holiday with a kids club. Myself and DH want some time as a couple and as the ILs would prefer not to take 3 kids on, then a kids club holiday village type place seems ideal. The ILs shuddered when it was mentioned in generic conversation, said they wouldn't like that sort of holiday as they dislike water/swimming, and they are much happier helping us with the childcare as they do at present.

But they don't, not enough. Which is fine. But we need to change the format of our holidays, instead of resenting paying out for holidays we don't want.

Am def going to suggest a long weekend, centerparcs or something (no doubt they'll hate that) sad

atthewelles Fri 01-Feb-13 16:49:20

Yes, boodles, I think there is.

I wouldn't say you're never doing the shared holiday again, just not this year. (You can intend to never do it again, but you don't have to say that straight off).

Reassure them that they are wonderful and you love them, but that things change, children get older and want different things. This was going to happen sooner or later, unless you can afford two holidays a year, and you can't.

The line to stick to is "We'd love to, we just can't afford two holidays". They get to choose other holidays, where they do things just together, and do things they couldn't do with you in tow. Why should that apply only to them? You are also entitled to a family holiday, doing things you choose without having to cater to other people.

As for your MIL missing out on her time with the gcs - tell her you'd love to come and visit for a week in a half-term. On her turf, with her looking after you all.

atthewelles Fri 01-Feb-13 16:51:10

I agree you need to change the format of the holdays Kat and maybe even the length of time your ILs join you for. That's the kind of thing I, and I assume other posters, meant by compromising as opposed to suddenly pulling the rug from under them.

It seems a bit harsh that you only wanted to holiday with them when they were of use to you.

You have a 7, 4, and 2yo and you are not supposed to take them on water & swimming holidays because your ILs are "much happier" on another type of holiday? What selfish grandparents!

Book your club med and then say "We know you don't like that kind of holiday so we're not pressurising you to join us, such a pity as we love our shared holidays, but we know you wouldn't enjoy it".

I think switching to a weekend away with them this year is an excellent compromise.

ENormaSnob Fri 01-Feb-13 16:59:59

So you have offered an alternative that they have declined?

I can't see a problem tbh.

I certainly wouldn't be going.

Viviennemary Fri 01-Feb-13 17:03:19

I don't think you are being unreasonable to want to go on holiday without your ils. . But a lot of holidays when the children are young are hardly a rest. Unless you go somewhere with a lot of childcare and child entertainment facilities and meals provided. I found sometimes I was more exhasted after the holiday than before the so called holiday.

atthewelles Fri 01-Feb-13 17:04:03

In fairness, Bertha the OP said the GPs said, as part of a generic conversation, that they wouldn't enjoy that type of holiday. I got the impression they didn't realise the OP was hinting that this was they type of holiday she was considering booking for the following year.

I think OP and her DH saying "How would you feel if we went on a club med with the kids this year, now that they're getting older and then we all went away for a long weekend afterwards so we get to enjoy a holiday with you' would be better than just presenting GPs with a fait accompli and a sense of not being wanted.

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 01-Feb-13 17:29:11

Atthewelles suggestion is a good one, but I suspect MIL will say "I feel terrible about it I want to see my GCs " rather than understanding the OPs pov.

OP I'm not sure I understand your family holiday budget. Surely a med holiday is a lot more expensive than a shared cottage in the UK?

I believe you are entitled to book holidays to suit yourselves, but it would be the right thing to come up with other suggestions, such as dates they could come and visit for a long weekend, or search and see what cheap cottages you can find.

I love my parents but we went on holiday with them once and never again so I already think you have done pretty well to go for 7 years particularly as its your only holiday. We are sharing a cottage with SIL and family this year and though I get on well with them I am slightly wary as DH spends all his time with his nephews and I'm quite a fussy eater and worry about what SIL is making for dinner. But I'm ok with it because it isn't our main break, if it was our only holiday I would put my food down and say no.

FlouncingMintyy Fri 01-Feb-13 17:33:20

No of course yanbu!

elizaregina Fri 01-Feb-13 18:08:44

Isnt it also a little harsh that these PILS sat round watching this poor lady running herself ragged looking after THREE small children AND her now elderly PILS? knowing THEY would be going on several other breaks but this is OPS only break??

Ummm thats lovley too!!

Kat101 Fri 01-Feb-13 18:08:56

We usually go on uk cottage holidays as we've always had a child younger than 2 / I've been pg and its been easier. This time the youngest DC will be nearly 4, and no more pgs to factor in.

We get on v well with them. They come down for weekends lots, we go up when we get the opportunity (with work etc). 2-3 times a year MIL comes down for a week and I take her to toddler groups etc which she loves and she goes shopping and out for coffee when I'm at work. Its all great. The sticking point comes where DH and I don't get any couple time and we need to make changes to holidays to rectify this.

Also the kids moan that cottages are boring and they want splashzones etc. Which suits me - we might get a sit down while they tear about. Difficult to include the I'll though - most places that are designed with kids in mind are not their cup of tea.

elizaregina Fri 01-Feb-13 18:11:21

why do they have to spend time with you on a holiday?

Let them come down for a week to your house or a local b and ba instead and go off on your own holidays.

Kat101 Fri 01-Feb-13 18:16:31

Visiting each others houses (as detailed above) seems not to be good enough, they don't like the uk weather.

It is partly my fault for allowing this precedent of holidaying together to develop I think.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 01-Feb-13 18:17:05

Completely off topic but made me laugh seeing how suddenly PILs are described as "elderly" they may only be in early 50s if that!

Kat101 Fri 01-Feb-13 18:18:41

When I say uk weather, I mean the weather where we and they live. They are ok with the (generally) milder south coast for holidays.

Kat101 Fri 01-Feb-13 18:20:24

Now in their 70's (just)

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 01-Feb-13 18:23:47

Well however you phrase it, don't make it look like it's all your doing not DH's. Seems perfectly reasonable to tell them you are going to book the kind of holiday that wouldn't suit them, now the children are getting older. It needn't mean you won't ever holiday together again, and they won't 'go without' as hey already enjoy more than one trip away anyway. They may well change their attitude to UK holidays or B&Bs etc if they are faced with holidays without you.

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