to ask how often is a reasonable frequency to visit parents?

(70 Posts)
CurtainsForNow Mon 18-Mar-13 19:11:13

I have 2 DC - aged 9 and 7. My parents live about 30 minutes drive away. Until a few months ago, we (i.e. me and DC) used to go to see them every 2-3 weeks for 2-3 hours after school plus for odd days in school holidays/special occasions.

A few months ago, the children started extra evening activities (now have activities 3 nights a week) plus were getting more homework, and visits after school became impractical and too tiring. I've also started a new job which is full time and the final nail in the coffin of after school visits.

This year we have seen them at the end of January (day for DD's birthday) and for a day in the half term holiday. We will probably see them next during the Easter holiday. I expect over the year it will even out that we see them about every 5-6 weeks.

My mother complains about not seeing us (for this read the DC) enough and that I'm not making enough effort to arrange visits. We could visit at a normal weekend but they are often busy with DC's activities, seeing friends or visiting DH's parents (who live further away - we see them much less than mine) and frankly quite often DH and I are shattered and don't want to do anything! It doesn't help that my mum does not get on with DH (she's been very rude to him in the past) so he is not keen on meeting her more than the minimum necessary - hence I normally try to organise visits when he is at work.

So am IBU about my visiting frequency?

Iaintdunnuffink Tue 19-Mar-13 10:26:57

My pil's live in the same town and around a 10 to 15 min drive away. We probably see them once a month on average, sometimes we pop to them and sometimes they come to us. I like them and we all get on but we don't have regular visits, it depends on what family visits are going on.

We see my parents every couple of months, they live a few hours away so we tend to visit them for longer periods. Or I've left the kids with them for a few days during holidays.

Skygirls Tue 19-Mar-13 10:27:19

curtains you have to do the best for your family. Lots of posters here say your visits are too low, but they are basing it on their own relationships with their parents.

If your parents expect to be waited on, then either they become more hands on and thus see dgcs more often, or they just have to accept that the dgcs have their own lives and see them less often. Personally, I don't see a problem with once or twice a month.

I see my mum about once a week , on a weekend, with DCs, BUT she lives 10mins from me and we all get on( no problems with me or DH). We can't see her during the week because the DCs, like yours, have after school activities plus need time at home for homework. My DM doesn't mind- she knows she'll see then at the weekend- and certainly doesn't moan about it.
DM knows that we all have our own lives to lead and is happy for the time she does have with DCs. If she wants to see them more, she'll ask if she can come round, which is always welcome( except after school activity night where DCs finish at 5pm)

They are still young 5&4, so dinner time is 5.30, bath at 6.20 and bed for 7pm.

My Pils on the other hand, live about 2 hours away so see DCs about once every 4-6 weeks, at the weekend, when we stay overnight. Of course they would like to see the kids more but again, they don't moan about it. They know that we have lives to lead too and they are happy for the time they have.

Both sets of gps are very reasonable. They know its not fair to put pressure on us to see dgcs, and if they wanted to see them more, they would visit us.

I think it's unfair to be moody with you because they don't see dgcs as much as they would like.

Do you feel you should see your DP more? If you think that what you're currently doing is fine, then you explain again the reasons-laying out the DCs timetables if you have to.

You have to do what fits you and your family and not made to feel bad because your mum pulls a mood.
Hope you find the best solution.

mrssmooth Tue 19-Mar-13 10:42:24

Like others have said Curtains, you need to do what's right for you and your family. I personally don't think your dcs after-school activities are too much, I'd love my dds to do more! Why should you spend more time with your parents when they treat you the way they do? I wouldn't be busting a gut to go and see them, only to be ignored when you get there. They want to see their gcs, tell them to do something proactive about it then instead of moaning!

I have an OK relationship with my parents. They live at the other end of the country from me though. I (me personally) over the past couple of years have seen them on average once a year. My dds last saw my dad about 3 years ago when we went to visit them. They last saw my mum when she came to see my new niece earlier this year and we went to visit for the day. I think that was the first time they'd seen my dm for about a year. My parents have not come to visit me for about 6 years ...

PIL on the other hand, live about 15 minutes away. I meet mil once a week most weeks when the kids are at school, the dcs probably see pils once, maybe twice a month. 9 times out of 10, we go to them, or we see them at my sils. Just because they are close by, doesn't mean you have to visit them all the time! Live your own life, your dcs are your family now, you shouldn't have to be worrying about upsetting your parents because they tell you they don't see your dcs enough!

DIYapprentice Tue 19-Mar-13 10:46:33

It's on the low side TBH. Your mistake is seeing them when you have free time, instead of considering seeing them as important as all of the activities you and your DC want to do and scheduling it in on a more frequent basis. Your DC don't HAVE to do so many activities. TBH, if it comes at the price of seeing GP then some of the activities should be dropped.

But.... that is not taking into account the relationship between your Mum and your DH - if she's been rude to him then what the hell does she expect??!!

nilbyname Tue 19-Mar-13 10:49:58

op sorry yes working full time does add pressure I can see that. You mention a poor relationship that they ignore you and play with the dcs and although that seems to hurt try and see the positive.

You can go round, take the paper, magazine, laptop and leave them to it? Or can you go over of a Saturday, spend half an hour gave a cup of tea, then leave the kids there for a couple of hours then go back and collect them?

I guess it really depends whether or not you see the value in your kids having a good relationship with them or not.

I have a poor relationship with my parents who live a flight/long drive away. We see them 8-10 times a year. They adore my kids and vice versa.

DontmindifIdo Tue 19-Mar-13 10:53:22

Well, my parents live a lot further away and are out of the country a lot, when they are here, we see them once a fortnight, but I work parttime and they come to me.

PIL are comparable, as they are just under 30 minutes away. They see DS every other week at least, sometimes weekly. However, MIL comes to our house, picks DS up and takes him over to hers for a few hours while I get on with a few jobs.

To be honest, it sounds like your parents are just not prepared to put effort in themselves to fit into their DGC's lives, so I see no reason for you to put yourself out to present your DCs in a way that suits your parents, but not you and not your DCs.

I would suggest you keep to what you do. If your mum whinges, say that you can't come over in the evenings, so unless she wants to change her mind about picking up the DCs from school and having a few hours with them before you get back from work, then this is as good as it gets. Or she can come to yours for tea, and she does the hour's drive.

Quite frankly, she's been horrible to your DH, she's not prepared to help you out, she won't do babysitting or have the DCs without you there to supervise, she expects to be waited on when she's at yours, but when you are at theirs ignores you, why the fuck should you put yourself out for them? She wants to see more of the DGCs? Tough, you reep what you sow.

GeorgiePorgiePudding Tue 19-Mar-13 10:57:55

I see my mum about two or three times per year - I go to her two out of the three times and she tends to come to mine once a year.

We see my partner's parents about five times a year - we go to them once or twice per year.

We live about 3 hours drive away, me and my partner don't drive and neither does my mum.

Loa Tue 19-Mar-13 11:19:14

I got dragged every weekend to see one set of GP - did not make for a close loving relationship between us.

DH was similar every week set time though for him in a public location so he was shown off - again not a close relationship. Not particularly fond memories either for him.

My DC see my parents once every school holiday - their choice they are an hour away. We saw IL pretty much every weekend last summer but not since Dec but they live 2 hours away.

There are times - like now - where we are very busy and the GP just have to accept that. In your case they haven't made it easy to see them - being rude to your DH and not very pleasant to you when you visit.

I'd ignore the guilty tripping, refuse to respond to it and focus on what best for you for a bit.

EldritchCleavage Tue 19-Mar-13 13:10:53

There needs to be more accommodation from your parents, I think. At the moment, it sounds as though it's all on you to make this work, make the effort and the sacrifices.

Your parents seem to be quite rigid about it: don't like DH, not coming over to you, like to be waited on, don't make an effort with you. Unless they are prepared to move on some of those, I wouldn't run yourself ragged trying to keep a certain frequency of visit.

And I would offer visits in a different vein, e.g. meet halfway for tea after school, or they come over, DH will be out but you will have things to get on with. If they refuse new arrangements, well then they'll have to accept less time with the DC. Your siblings have obviously decided not to bend over backwards-is it worth getting their views on this?

Don't be made to feel uncaring, or unfair-if my mother ignored me when I went to see her I suspect visits would be pretty token if they happened at all.

gardenfan Tue 19-Mar-13 13:33:36

i experience a lot of guilt about the frequency i see my parents. They are both 80, generally fit and healthy. They live about 100 miles away, on a good run, about 2 hours, but more usually 4ish (M25!!!!). I have 4 DCs, all at uni. We are trying to support them financially, as their loans hardly even cover their rent!!. We both have proffesssional jobs, with fairly long hours, weekends being our only time off, tho i often do some locum work at weekends to boost funds. My often should i visit. I try to go every couple of months, but as they get older, i feel it may need to be more. I have 2 sisters in a similar position. parents are lucky in that they can afford home help, gardener, decorater etc, but i still feel i should visit more, but my loyaltys are divided between wanting to support DCs, and DPs

DontmindifIdo Tue 19-Mar-13 13:57:19

Gardenfan - my view is always when it comes down to a straight choice, your are responsible for your children, not for your parents. It's only a couple of years before you will start to ease up on the costs for your DCs, and will start to have more time.

DontmindifIdo Tue 19-Mar-13 13:57:35

BTW - OP, how often do you see your PIL?

tvmum1976 Tue 19-Mar-13 14:16:40

It seems kind of low to me- we now live abroad, but when we were living in the UK (just over an hour from my mum and about half an hour from in laws) we saw them both every week pretty much, and often more than that unless there was some real reason not to. we do prioritise family pretty highly which has it's real benefits and also disadvantages.
But I do sympathise with you, as it sounds hard, especially as your mum was rude to DH which adds a whole different dynamic.
Can your DC's go to them and stay overnight on the weekends perhaps after activities (you could drop them off?) or could you arrange for them to visit you on the weekends when your DH is out?

tvmum1976 Tue 19-Mar-13 14:19:18

btw sorry- havne't read the whole thread, so apologies if previous comment was offensive or didn't take circumstances into account.

ChristmasJubilee Tue 19-Mar-13 14:42:03

OP I think, given what you have said in your posts, 5-6 times a year sounds fine! IMHO working full time does not allow for evening visits. Perhaps it's just me that gets stressed but I find it hard enough to get them fed, to their, activities, homework and bed as it it.

You could go on a Saturday after swimming lessons once or twice a month if you wanted or they could come to you, but they sound like hard work and if they are not prepared to give a little then I think they will have to be happy.

Pigsmummy Tue 19-Mar-13 14:54:00

I try to see my parents monthly, they live 220 miles so have to make a weekend out of it. I would love them to be 30 mins away, if so I would try to pop to them weekly and would probably suggest some baby sitting too. I am sure that there is two hours free in a weekend and I think that IOU should encourage them to come to you too.

Kamer Tue 19-Mar-13 15:00:28

How do your DC feel about the situation? Are they bothered that they are seeing their GPs less? My PIL live about 30 minutes away and we probably see them every 1-3 weeks, depending on what everyone is up to. However, increasingly some of these visits might be them spending time with one DC while the other is busy, etc. If they were rigid about only seeing us all together for lengthly visits at their house we would have to see them less frequently.

piprabbit Tue 19-Mar-13 15:03:44

Given that it is them complaining about the frequency of visits, but they have alienated your DH, been rude to you and are unwilling to put themselves out in anyway (to come to you, to provide any sort of babysitting or to fit in with your family acitivities) - I would say they will simply have to be grateful for whatever visits you can manage.

badguider Tue 19-Mar-13 15:19:23

We see each set once a month (and we have GOOD relationships) so I don't think that seeing your parents who have alienated your DH once every 5 weeks is particularly low.

Weekday visits for us would be more stress than it's worth with f/t jobs etc. so we do sunday lunch once a month ish with each (giving us two sundays a month just us). Seems to work for all involved here...

MrsOakenshield Tue 19-Mar-13 19:50:07

sorry, that was me saying about the amount of activities - I read it as both DC each having activities 3 evenings a week plus weekends which does sound excessive - my mistake.

I can see that your own relationship with your parents isn't great, and they've alienated your DH, also not great, so the question now is - how important is it to you for your children to have and maintain a good relationship with their GPs? Do your DC love visiting them and spending time with them? Is it possible that you could drop them off and pick them up later? When they get a bit older will they be able to visit by public transport?

For me, relationships with GPs are really important. My dad died before either of his GDs were born, and my mum is getting on - she just won't be here for ever. My own GPs were older too, one died when my mum was a child, one when I was 7, other 2 when I was 19. And the GP we saw the most, as I got older I knew my parents didn't get on with her great but I loved going to her house and I wish I had made more of it now and not allowed their bad(ish, it wasn't awful, just an awareness they didn't get on or perhaps like each other much) relationship affect mine with her.

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