Not to want to go on holiday with dh's family again?

(47 Posts)
IfIonlyhadsomesleep Thu 01-Aug-13 20:43:47

I just feel that when we're away with them, I don't fit in with dh's brother and family nor with his parents and increasingly it's a fortnight of not saying what I think or doing what I think my children need in order to be respectful to dh's parents who take us away and not to cause controversy with dh's brother. I end up, as a consequence of treading in eggshells for so king, snappy and irritable with everyone.
If I could, I'd bin the whole thing it's become so stressful, but the dc love bring with their cousins. It's just that we have very different ways of doing nearly everything and the truth is, dh's brother's way of doing things is more closely aligned to his parents than ours is.
Tonight, it came to something of a head when I snapped at dh's mum when my toddler had refused a cup of a certain colour and I'd got cross with her (the toddler!) when she knocked it over. I wouldn't have got cross at home, just mopped it up and asked her if she wanted the drink (in the cup provided) or not. But the others all seem to just give in over stuff like this and it's not my style. Dh's mum asked if I was okay and I (in a raised voice) said no I was not. I apologised but of course I was rude. There's been an atmosphere since.
I feel I just don't want to be part of it but at the same time don't get why I can't just fit in for the sake of peace and harmony for a fortnight.
Do I just steel myself and grow up and fit in, or is it a sign that actually we should just admit it doesn't work with all of us going away together?

I genuinely can't think of anything worse than going away with my DHs family. Why not suggest going away on your own next time, or going to the same place but not together as such, so eg. all staying in ST. Ives but in your own holiday home. Less pressure, easier to get away from them and yet have plenty of time that you can meet up. YANBU, in my opinion anyway wink

ElsieOops Thu 01-Aug-13 20:49:48

Exactly what Justforlaughs said. Or why not say you'll do a few days with them but your main holiday is just for immediate family.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Thu 01-Aug-13 20:50:42

Thing is, iabu in many ways because they look after us brilliantly and are amazing with the children. I feel I can lack flexibility in things like food, bedtimes and screen time and because dh's brother is less strict, I feel (dh and I are a team but I use I because I know he feels less stressed with it all than I do) like a killjoy with our children. Half of me wants to unclench and let them do whatever they please, go to bed when they want and eat what they want and half of me can't-hence the struggle!

yummymumtobe Thu 01-Aug-13 20:57:04

You are within your rights not to go. If they are paying they may expect everything their way. Family holiday time is precious and it is fine to say, we work hard and want quality time with the kids and each other. I wouldn't even want to go on holiday with friends I don't think, I don't see dh enough and holiday is just for us. Agree with suggestion about overlapping for a few days only. We went camping for 10 days and overlapped with parents for half and they also stayed in a separate mobile, not next to ours.

Of course we all have different ideas of what a holiday should involve as we all relax in different ways. That's why goIng on holidays with others is so hard as holiday should be the time to chill, not fit in with everyone and be on best behaviour!

Doubtfuldaphne Thu 01-Aug-13 20:58:13

I know how you feel and its very very hard. You have grown up in a completely different family and the way you do things are going to be very different to how they do things and it can cause a lot of friction. My il's are a world away from my family and it has caused awful arguments in the past. I have in the past spoken up when ive felt upset, even if I thought they'd think I was being difficult and I have had huge rows with dh.
It comes down to this though: it's just a couple of weeks out of your life. Look how happy the dc's are. You do love your dh don't you? Do it for them. Count to ten before doing anything next time.
I've managed to get myself known as a bit of a diva now by my il's but at least they are better around me now as they know I won't take any rubbish. I know I'm a rational person and they're the awkward ones but at least it keeps the peace now.

Can you ask for one thread to be deleted, i know I'm sad, but I get really frustrated by more than one asking the same thing! grin

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Thu 01-Aug-13 21:04:01

It is such a different environment to the one I'm used to and in so many ways better and more loving. That's why I find it so hard. I'm very, very tired at the moment with a non sleeping toddler and that is making it so much harder. I feel I'm under the spotlight and not doing well. And I'm ashamed that I got cross today. The trouble is, it's not a family where things like this get talked about. Dmil will no doubt think I was wrong to get cross with the toddler and yet that won't be discussed. Nor will she be able to say any more to me about how I behaved today. Things don't get aired. Maybe that's good. Who knows. But I'm weighed down by it all. Dh and I talk about stuff.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Thu 01-Aug-13 21:05:57

I've reported myself, justforlaughs, really sorry, it is frustrating. Hopefully the other thread will be deleted. I put a note on the other thread warning that its a duplicate.

Hassled Thu 01-Aug-13 21:07:54

It just doesn't sound like any sort of a holiday for you at all - all that time being permanently stressy and tense must be exhausting. Just do your own thing next year, and then you can actually relax (which is meant to be the point).

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Thu 01-Aug-13 22:09:22

Okay-so after a couple of cooling down hours and the therapy of offloading on mumsnet I might have overreacted somewhat. I think I need to relax a bit and realise that I am absolutely as difficult as any of the others. Hopefully the others won't have decided that they don't want to go on holiday with me again. I am finding it hard but families are difficult sometimes. As a virtual only child I find it harder to fit in and although I'd like more open discussion, I perhaps might hear stuff I don't want to. Anyway. Going to have a glass of wine and relax a bit.

MovingForward0719 Thu 01-Aug-13 23:46:10

My mil has been trying to force get me to go on holiday with her for 20 odd years and I have held firm because I know I won't be able to maintain my normal polite exterior with her in that situation. Really it's for the best, I think the fall out would be major. We did a weekend once and that was enough.

WorrySighWorrySigh Fri 02-Aug-13 01:37:28

We went on holiday with family a few times and I always found it really stressful. I totally agree with what Doubtfuldaphne said. Not having grown up in the same family I found that almost every element of the micro-culture clashed and jarred with me. Even with DM I felt a huge clash.

It isnt compulsory to go on holiday with family. You would not be wrong to say never again.

bragmatic Fri 02-Aug-13 02:11:39

I get along with my family. But I'd never holiday with them. The only thing I might be talked into, is holidaying, but staying in different accommodation.

kickassangel Fri 02-Aug-13 03:18:26

Can you just say that you are sorry you snapped but lack of sleep is really getting o you?

What compromises could you make? E.g stick to bed times (specially with no sleeping toddler), but let them make other choices about food etc?

Does it help you to think that being on holiday means that some rules can be relaxed so you will go with the flow a bit for those, but know the ones that really affect you will be stuck to.

I would also suggest that you stay by yourself for a day and catch p on some sleep, that will help you a lot.

Kiwiinkits Fri 02-Aug-13 03:35:37

We have a family holiday every year. Every year, ten days. I feel your pain. I dread the fricking family holiday! My SIL is very lax with her kids and lets them stay up till REALLY late (like 10 or 11 o clock). So my dd wants to stay up too, making me look like mean mummy when I put her into bed at 7.

LadyFlumpalot Fri 02-Aug-13 03:46:30

oh god no. I went camping for a week once with PIL. Near on killed me. DH knows I will never do it again. Ever.

The snoring that could be heard from the toilet block was the icing on the cake.

thebody Fri 02-Aug-13 04:07:14

it is not the law that you holiday with family.

just say no.

Scrounger Fri 02-Aug-13 07:58:52

I have just got back from a holiday with my BIL, we were three days in and I was saying, 'We're never fucking doing this again" to DH. My BIL is very controlling and it was really stressful. BIL unilaterally deciding that there would be no TV all holiday for all the children as they should be playing with eachother. Controlling over food, where the children slept, where we go etc. It just gets tiring ignoring / challenging it. Never again.

My PILs are lovely however I wouldn't go away with them for more than a day or two. FIL in particular is very set in his ways, what TV to watch etc and there is a lot of fussing. I just find it very hard to deal with it and cannot relax, even though as I said before they are lovely. TBH whilst the cousins get on great and enjoy it I don't so it isn't a holiday for me. Don't feel guilty if you don't want to go again and maybe once you are through the haze of tiredness you may be able to take a more objective view and decide if it isn't for you.

Beautyatethebeast Fri 02-Aug-13 08:16:00

Jeez, bloody ell, I've explained about train. Yes of course there are ways of getting there. The nearest train is an hour away, it isn't even a direct train it has 1 change and it looks to cost £69 just for myself one way.

I suppose I could always walk

shewhowines Fri 02-Aug-13 08:25:33

It is a holiday. It doesn't really matter if they stay up late or eat a load of crap for a couple of weeks. Having said that, I feel your pain. It's not a good idea to go away with family or friends who have different expectations and ways of doing things.

pianodoodle Fri 02-Aug-13 08:26:14

Even if they're nice (and it sounds like they are) it still doesn't necessarily mean you all have to go away together smile

I know what you mean it's tricky if you're the only one who seems to do things differently but feel overwhelmed by the majority. In your position I'd have probably ended up feeling like the monster too.

My family are great but much more "no nonsense" than DH's. To me they seem a bit wishy-washy and not firm enough, but that's just because I'm more like my mum which is natural enough!

Example - MIL comes into the kitchen where I'm calmly doing dishes with a two year old lying on the floor behind me throwing a paddy because she wasn't allowed to play with knives and threw the offered wooden spoon across the room in disgust grin

MIL says "Oh baby what's wrong" and tries to go in to comfort her. I say "nothing's wrong - ignore that nonsense"

MIL hangs around the doorway wringing her hands and looking worried.

I don't care. I know she thinks I'm being a hard hearted villain though!

I can't imagine a whole fortnight of similar incidents with them all exchanging concerned looks while I cruelly "enforce" things like bed time or not eating a whole packet of biscuits while conversly they attempt to pander to her every whim lol

gintastic Fri 02-Aug-13 08:33:54

We go away 4 weeks a year with my MIL, 2 in summer and 2 at Easter. Me, DH, our 3 kids, my BIL/SIL (no kids and they usually only join us for a few days) and MIL/FIL. The first thing she does when we get there is organise the rota of who has to get up with the kids in the morning. She expects all adults in the house to share equally which means I only have to haul myself out of bed 1 day in 4. Means it really really is a holiday for me and I luffs her very much indeed.

Scrounger Fri 02-Aug-13 08:36:24

pianodoodle, that is precisely the position I'm in with my PILs. I find it a bit exasperating, plus I am a lot more stand back when they are playing etc and let them make mistakes and fall etc Obviously nothing that it is dangerous but I have a different mindset whilst they immediately swoop in if one of them falls over. If you left them to it they would just get up and keep on playing. I sound miserable as they are lovely.

ComtesseDeSpair Fri 02-Aug-13 08:45:47

Just say no. You've given it a go and don't need to feel guilty. I generally like my PILs well enough but holidays are personal things and my tastes differ from theirs. I don't see the point in spending hundreds of pounds on flights and accommodation just to spend a fortnight sitting about on the sofa in a rented villa with excursions out to eat at another country's version of Pizza Express or Nandos - which is my PIL's holiday routine.

I've done it twice and after the second time DP and I both (luckily) agreed that holidaying with PILs isn't much fun. So we don't do it and, as we've at least tried it, don't feel guilty about the decision.

Nanny0gg Fri 02-Aug-13 08:52:06

Thing is, iabu in many ways because they look after us brilliantly and are amazing with the children. I feel I can lack flexibility in things like food, bedtimes and screen time and because dh's brother is less strict, I feel (dh and I are a team but I use I because I know he feels less stressed with it all than I do) like a killjoy with our children. Half of me wants to unclench and let them do whatever they please, go to bed when they want and eat what they want and half of me can't-hence the struggle!

You're on holiday! Can't you try to relax? I'm actually struggling to see here what they're actually doing wrong. It is usually very difficult to keep home routines going when you're away. In fact, that is often the point!

SleepyFish Fri 02-Aug-13 08:54:59

Have to say i don't like going on holiday in big groups, too many people to please, so YANBU in that respect.
However why on earth don't you just let your toddler choose her own cup/bowl? Sounds like you're sweating the small stuff. Toddlers need to feel like they have a little control over their lives and choosing their own cup is a good starting point and makes no odds to anyone else.

pianodoodle Fri 02-Aug-13 08:55:28

scrounger yes I sometimes think they wanted to be in a position of "showing" me what to do with my first baby and are maybe a bit taken aback that I'm perfectly confident with my own ideas.

Trouble with DD is although she's 25 months she hasn't yet "stretched" into looking more like a little girl - she's still thin on top and really just looks like a gigantic chubby baby! I think it makes people forget she's actually pretty sharp and more than capable of exploiting weakness when she sees it smile

PIL are very tentative in general e.g "oh dear she doesn't want to go back in her buggy, she wouldn't let me put her in" etc... And look exhausted and sweaty.

I just think "she wouldn't let you? Ffs your bigger than her just bodge her in there and stop fannying about" grin

SummerHoliDidi Fri 02-Aug-13 08:59:39

We went on holiday with my sister and her family a couple of years ago, and spent time with other family as well. We won't do it again. Lovely as they all are, I felt like I did all the parenting of everybody else's children (6 of them in total) while they went off and did their own thing.

Parmarella Fri 02-Aug-13 09:05:36

It is really hard, my children needed a strict routine and bed time, boundaries etc. when they were little.

I remember going on holiday with friends, and everyone telling me I was so uptight and intense about kids, but mine were highly strung and prone to massive tantrums, which was just so hard and the only thing that worked was having lots of routine and predictability in their lives!

Going to a family wedding, kids were 3 and 5 so a bit older, and everyone said just relax, so I did. Uncles fed them cans of coke, they ran around, had 3 cans of coke each, and crashed into screaming heaps during speeches, at which time looking after them was suddenly my job again...

Still, I have learned to relax a bit and the kids are niw very relaxed themselves and happy with a laid back holiday routine.

You can only be who you are.

Scrounger Fri 02-Aug-13 09:21:06

Pianodoodle, I understand the stop fannying about bit so much. I'm smiling at some of the stories here in recognition, esp the looking after everyone's children and them become my problem when they hit the wall.

pianodoodle Fri 02-Aug-13 09:24:41

You can only be who you are

Yep. I guess the only alternative to not going on holiday with them is to be happy with how you do things and not give a rat's ass how it looks to anyone. That makes me relaxed.

I find that much easier than giving in to doing it their way - I wouldn't find that relaxing because I just wouldn't be happy about it!

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Fri 02-Aug-13 10:01:58

Thanks for all the sensible comments. I guess that a fortnight with them makes me question virtually everything I do. I don't think I'm a completely rubbish parent although my failing is probably a lack of flexibility on routine and principles. Being very, very truthful, I really wouldn't want to do things the way they do. Both children have a very limited diet - one main meal each really and are only polite to their parents while things go their way. Which they pretty much do so it seems peaceful. I can't bear the fact that nearly all morning is spent on screens of some kind or another.
So, whatever relaxing of routine I do makes me fearful that we'll end up like that. Which is ridiculous. But a real fear.

tumbletumble Fri 02-Aug-13 10:57:54

I can totally see why you find it stressful OP. How about just doing a week next year? A fortnight is a long time!

BackforGood Fri 02-Aug-13 11:14:04

I can totally sympathise with you. There is no way in a million years I could holiday with dh's Mum and Dad - not that I've ever fallen out with them, it's just that they are very different people with different values and different ways of doing things - all of which is fine for the odd family afternoon or meal out, but wouldn't work for a week away let alone two.
Nor could I holiday with my sister though - we tried once and it was very clear we wanted completely different things from a holiday.
We did holiday for many years though with my dbrother and dSiL. They have a very different lifestyle from us in lots of ways, but I think it worked so well because we always got 2 cottages on the same farm, so we could 'opt in' to spending time together, but weren't on top of each other all the time. We sorted own breakfasts, own bedtimes, own whatever was important to each family, and each had somewhere to go for a quiet hour if we needed it, but then actually spent most of each day together in a non stressed way. Would that work for you ?

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Fri 02-Aug-13 11:36:21

We've had a good morning. Things seem mended and I think there is a middle ground. I can not want to do things the way they do all the time, but give a bit. Some of the things we do differently are strengths which we can stick with, some are not which, little by little I can change. It would be a shame to throw the baby out with the bathwater so to speak. Pl can I still have permission to scream a little internally sometimes? I really took on board the poster up thread who talked about their controlling relative who spoilt the holiday. I think part of the reason it's got tough bits on this holiday is I'm fighting the urge to do that, and with good reason.
NannyOgg, you're right about the cup. I don't think yesterday's outburst was all to do with that-more feeling scrutinised with everything I'm doing. But small stuff like that is important and I need to let our toddler have a bit of autonomy. Funnily, I do usually. Perhaps I feel a bit out of control sharing space with everyone and I'm getting it back in some of the wrong ways.
Hey ho. Dh has also acknowledged that I'm very, very tired and is taking our children out this afternoon to give some space to nap. Nothing feels easy after a night where my toddlers been up between three and seven.
Bottom line is I'm very lucky to have a holiday with people who love me and I need to get over myself a bit. Whilst realising I also do lots of stuff very well.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Fri 02-Aug-13 11:40:04

Sorry-nannyOgg you're right about the routine, sleepyfish you're right about the cup!

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 02-Aug-13 16:34:45

We are just back from a week with SIL and their family. We have stayed in adjoining cottages, but never shared before.

First couple of days were not good as they have a much bigger family than ours and I quickly realised that SIL was the only one who did all of the work, despite some of the DCs being grown up. Fair enough, their family, their way of doing it, but by virtue of being female I somehow ended up doing a lot of additional grunt work, whereas we have only one DC and tend to eat out a lot more, plus DH does his fair share when we are on holiday.

I got to the stage of being really annoyed and then DH really stepped up to the plate and made his nephews do a bit more, plus I refused (quietly and to DH only) to eat in for a few meals as I was so fed up with having to do so much of the prep and tidy up.

Then it seemed to calm down and other people did a bit more and I felt a bit of a meany for having been so annoyed at the beginning. We had a fab time and I would do it again now that I know that a) I will only do my fair share - if others want to do more/less that is there problem and I don't care what they think about me and b) our family budget is a bit more therefore we will eat out a bit more giving us some valuable time to ourselves).

I think group holidays take a bit of easing into. We share every other year with two other families, the first holiday was a learning experience, now we have it down to pat and it's loads of fun.

You do what you feel is right, let the other parents do what they want. If anyone comments just say "Well that's what we do" and smile serenely. Enjoy the rest of your holiday - you probably will now you have it off your chest.

Weegiemum Fri 02-Aug-13 16:45:24

We've holidayed with family.

After dh's brother and his wife told dh they though I was an alcoholic (because I had wine every night for a week!) we'll never do it again.

Funny enough, sil and my dh also had wine every night. And bil had "headaches" that needed hours in bed and strong painkillers every day, just at the point that children were looking to go in the pool/to the park/needed to eat.

But you can't criticise Mr Perfect Dad.

Dh and I are clear - never again (and that includes the 2 holidays they've had staying in our house over the last 2 years).

EarlyIntheMorning Fri 02-Aug-13 17:19:37

2 weeks is a lot. Couldn't you just do 1 week? More bearable that way.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Fri 02-Aug-13 18:42:50

So, I have learnt today that two hours in bed helps with most things. Also that it is possible to switch rapidly from loving every minute of a holiday and wishing it would last indefinitely to wishing I were at home in a darkened room...

Ledkr Fri 02-Aug-13 18:48:21

I went with my pil a few months ago and consequently our already strained relationship is now pretty much over.
My holiday is just that, a holiday.
We are away in France at the moment and we are just enjoying being together and concentrating totally on each other and its bliss.
Go alone next time

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Thu 08-Aug-13 00:08:41

An update! Nearly a week on and we're having a great time. We've worked out how to make it work for our family, keeping some of our usual ways of doing things and considerably relaxing others. I realise I was very, very stressed before we came away and was getting over controlling about things. Throw me into an environment where, despite being lovely, the people I'm with are doing things really differently and it was bound to be difficult.
Do I still think some of the things bil and family do are completely, inexplicably bonkers? Yes. Do I know they love us? Yes. Are we lucky to be able to spend a fortnight without killing each other? Yes. Are we rebooking next year? Erm yes. I'm not convinced I am actually the op, but there you go. Thanks for the comments that got me through some days that genuinely felt unbearable and helping me not to get in the car and drive home!

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Thu 08-Aug-13 00:10:45

Oh, and on the beach the other day, I genuinely think I heard that song "the time of your life" or some such (not the "dirty dancing", the other one, playing on some kind of speaker in my head as I watched my children playing together with their cousins.

WafflyVersatile Thu 08-Aug-13 00:16:40

A fortnight is quite a long holiday. How about if it was a week? (the second week so the kids aren't upset at leaving) You could say you only have a week's holiday to spare for it because you want to use the other week for a holiday for yourselves.

Or you could see if they'd like to take the kids and you and DH have some holiday time just the two of you.

Or a combination.

WafflyVersatile Thu 08-Aug-13 00:17:24

[Always read page 2, waffly. Always read page 2]

SinisterBuggyMonth Thu 08-Aug-13 00:46:50

Op I feel your pain. We go on holiday with Pils and DPs brothers family to the same destination EVERY YEAR. they're fine enough but have very different families vibe to mine (they argue about road directions very heatedly and PILs tut ALL THROUGH FUCKING TIME,). There is always a big arguement (usually involving.SIL) and it freaks me out a bit because my family just chat and laugh and are really borringly polite to each other. But DP looks forward to it, the DCs love seeing there coussins, so I put up and put on a front. On the plus side theres always a babysitter around, but I'm a bit of and introvert at heart so donto finds it relaxing plus.I really do wanna go somewhere else

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now