Asking family to make a two hour journey for a party

(70 Posts)
ShabbyChic8 Mon 20-Jan-14 21:42:34

All my family: parents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents live within a few miles of each other. Me, my husband and my daughter live a two hour drive away. AIBU to think that they might travel that distance to come to my daughters first birthday party?

I genuinely don't know if it's a big ask. I do the journey all the time because if I didn't I wouldn't have seen any of them in years so for me it's nothing now but I wonder if it's too much to ask or expect.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 20-Jan-14 21:44:46

A babys first birthday party is really only for the parents, you can ask but state that you know the drive is long and they are under no obligation to attend.

Or to do the eco thing you could just take one car and visit with a cake etc.

Are any/all of them really old, suffering from mobility issues or very weak bladders or something? A two-hour journey is not that big a deal to a healthy adult - I regularly travel for a couple of hours on buses to go to a party (and three hours on night buses to get home).

CMOTDibbler Mon 20-Jan-14 21:47:33

If you want them to be together to mark your dds birthday, then I'd take her and a cake to them.

To me, childrens birthdays are about the child and any friends they have at that point, not something to travel 2 hours to though

Lulu1083 Mon 20-Jan-14 21:49:27

I think it depends if it would just be family attending. If you're having friends as well then have it at your house, invite them and if they can't make it you can still have the party, and do something else with them. If you don't ask you'll never know!

Could you meet them halfway at a zoo or similar attraction your dd may enjoy and do a picnic or similar?

Id travel two hours no probs to see my neice/nephew.on their first birthday.

IneedAwittierNickname Mon 20-Jan-14 21:52:25

I'd travel 2 hours to attend my nephews 1st birthday party, but me and db are close.

parakeet Mon 20-Jan-14 21:53:26

Just as long as you don't start giving it the old "I'm so hurt and sad on behalf of my daughter" if people don't want to come. First birthday parties are purely for the parents' benefit.

IloveJudgeJudy Mon 20-Jan-14 21:54:40

My family are also of the type to travel quite a distance for a party. All you can do is invite them and see what happens.

Greenoes Mon 20-Jan-14 21:56:36

We live 2.5 hours from all of DP's family (he had moved away before I met him). The reality is, that it's far easier for the four of us to visit them rather than 6/7 car loads of them coming to us. It's frustrating sometimes as I know I'll never host Christmas Day for them but they did all come here once for DP's 40th and it was stressful! They all arrived within minutes of each other and it was a little overwhelming!
For birthdays etc, we book a restaurant near them, we get to see everyone and no washing up! smile

SlightlyDampWellies Mon 20-Jan-14 21:57:09

I am of the 'invite and they can decide for themselves' variety.

But we live bleeding miles from everyone. I genuinely do not care if people feel they are unable, and am delighted if they can, and I leave it at that.

blackandwhiteandredallover Mon 20-Jan-14 21:57:24

I think 2 hours each way is quite a trek. Why not have a little tea party with friends at home, and a family do closer to where they live the following week?

BackforGood Mon 20-Jan-14 21:57:40

While she is still so easily transported it does seem sensible to hold the birthday tea whee e eyone else lives, tbh.

BadRoly Mon 20-Jan-14 21:58:47

I would invite them to yours. We made the mistake when dc1 was a baby of always being the ones who travelled to see dh's family.

Now it's expected - to the extent we get told it's such a long way for them to come to us but clearly only a long way in one direction then in the next breath are summoned to big family get togethers...

Hulababy Mon 20-Jan-14 21:59:22

Well, I have travelled further than that for birthday parties for my nieces, and would do for my nephew too. Have also done so for friend's and friends' DC's birthday parties.

However, haven't done it as a round trip in one day - have only done it when staying over, and generally at their house. So we make a weekend of it - staying Friday pm to Sunday lunch.

Not sure I'd do it for a relative I didn't know as well or see so often, unless it was a "proper" party/event tbh though.

We live too far away from relatives too so for DS' first birthday DH took the day off work and we went to an aquarium together. We've got some lovely photos and bought him a toy as a souvenir. The whole day felt really special.

BillyBanter Mon 20-Jan-14 22:00:22

I'm not sure they would if they don't bother any other time.

MeepMeepVrooooom Mon 20-Jan-14 22:01:34

YANBU My most of my family all live approx 1 1/2 - 2 hrs away and they all came for DDs birthday. First and second actually. We also travel for anything going on with them.

I'm sure people won't mind the travel.

5Foot5 Mon 20-Jan-14 22:01:57

Sorry but I wouldn't travel even half that distance for a first birthday party.

MeepMeepVrooooom Mon 20-Jan-14 22:04:01

Sorry I meant YANBU to ask. Obviously the decision is ultimately theirs.

Phineyj Mon 20-Jan-14 22:06:57

YANBU, we/DPs live this distance from my DSis and visit often for such events. You can give them the option and see.

Rosencrantz Mon 20-Jan-14 22:08:28

Have the party at your parents?

nelliesmum Mon 20-Jan-14 22:09:15

It's only two hours for heavens sake...

itispersonal Mon 20-Jan-14 22:10:22

Its my dd 1st birthday end of March and we are expecting them to come to us and they live 2 hours away.

We are a two hour drive from DH's family and we all drive to and from each other's homes for family events, anything really from spending the day with each other to weddings, christenings, birthday parties, etc.

If people want to be there they will.

DontmindifIdo Mon 20-Jan-14 22:13:22

YANBU to ask. Also, YANBU to want to hold a 1st birthday party at your home/near your home, but YABU if you get upset that they don't want to go.

Arrange the party, invite them and other people who are more local.

Do your parents and siblings never come to your house then? That's quite sad if they never make an effort to come to see you. It's going to be harder to maintain a good grandparent relationship if they won't make the effort to ever come to you.

WhenWhyWhere Mon 20-Jan-14 22:13:39

Mmm, I think it is a big ask. I think first birthdays are cute but they are more for the parents than the kid. You could always ask them and make it clear that you don't mind if they don't come. confused

We didn't do much for any of our kids first birthdays.

We travelled that distance to be with family for Dss first birthday. I will not do it again. If they want to see ds on his birthday they know where we are. He will be three in April, and we are having a party for him and his friends, if family want to come they are more than welcome.

Same goes for Christmas, we were expected to go to them. I said we were having Christmas at home, next thing I knew the whole lot of them were descending on us!!

MoreLifeInATrampsVest Mon 20-Jan-14 22:36:37

It's a tough one. We always travel about the same distance to see MIL and SIL (very small family only those two and DH, Dc is only child in the family and is likely to remain an only) in South Wales (we now live in England) and think nothing of it, DC is happy enough with the journey too. But they seem to have the notion that the Severn bridge only goes one way even though we always manage to get across on the way back hmm

They have never seen where we live or DC anywhere but their home.

I'm genuinely boggled at people whining that a two hour journey is a 'big ask' for (presumably, as no one's said otherwise) healthy, able-bodied adults.

Is it somehow related to mundane car-dependency ie anything other than round the block to school/Sainsburys is a dire challenge to your Chelsea tractor? Is it fear of the unknown ie going somewhere more than two miles from the street you were born in will expose you to People You Don't Know and Foreign Food?

MrsGarlic Mon 20-Jan-14 22:42:26

I think you can ask, but not be upset if they say no.

My family are the type to travel, and we would travel too (or we would have before we had a child who screams his head off in the car). But if people don't want to make the journey that's absolutely fine. We invited our grandparents for our son's first birthday party, travelling a similar distance, and made it clear that we'd be delighted if they wanted to attend but equally they were under no obligation as we know it's quite an undertaking for them (they are in their 70s and 80s). They didn't come and that's absolutely fine, a few of our aunts and uncles made trips down and that was lovely.

manicinsomniac Mon 20-Jan-14 22:44:43

huh? 2 hours?! That's hardly even an ask let alone a big one.

I travel 2 hours to meet friends for lunch/dinner, go to the theatre, see a sports event or even meet someone for coffee.

For a family occasion I wouldn't expect someone to even blink at 2 hours.

BobPatSamandIgglePiggle Mon 20-Jan-14 22:52:44

Of course it's not a big ask. My lovely pil travel 7 hours (each way) every 5 weeks to see dbil's kids and have done for 16 years!

SinglePringle Mon 20-Jan-14 23:16:21

I'm with the 'it not a big ask' crew.

I frequently travel that to see friends. No biggie.

I think 4 hours worth of driving in one day is a lot confused It would be easier if you could stay over.

123caughtaflea Mon 20-Jan-14 23:22:13

Well, we do that regularly to see family and they travel to us too. Occasionally someone says 'no thank you' to something and that's fine too.

So for us as a family, we invite and if people can't make it, no offence taken.

If invitations were not issued, now THAT would go down like a lead balloon.

But that's our family. You know yours best.

Viviennemary Mon 20-Jan-14 23:28:14

Why can't you go to them if you really want a get together for everyone. But I can't see the point for a first birthday.

TheDoctrineOf2014 Mon 20-Jan-14 23:36:05

I wouldn't do it for a 1-2 hour visit for a baby's party. I'd do it for an all day visit, or if incorporating an overnight stay and maybe family brunch out the next day.

CheerfulYank Mon 20-Jan-14 23:38:19

I think it's fine but am American and two hours is relatively "close" by our standards.

HappyTalking Mon 20-Jan-14 23:54:52

I travelled that far to see my nephew on his first birthday and every birthday since.

We are similar to you in that we and the rest of the family live in one city and DB etc live almost 2 hours away.

I enjoy visiting on his birthday so don't see it as a chore.

itispersonal Tue 21-Jan-14 09:30:08

Dont get people sayin it's too far for relatives to travel but it's not too far for a 1 yo to travel just to see relatives on their birthday!

Chocotrekkie Tue 21-Jan-14 09:34:22

Question really is how is the journey - do they all have cars or would it be a 3 trains then 2 buses type thing.

For people with cars on an straight forward journey no problem.

Grennie Tue 21-Jan-14 09:37:04

I travelled 7 hours one way for nephew's 1st birthday party - pfb. I didn't want to travel all that way for a party for a baby, but you do things to make those you love happy.

mercibucket Tue 21-Jan-14 09:37:08

i wouldnt ask and would just do the party next time i was over. its numbers - the smaller number travel to be with the bigger number. i would do it as an overnight thing though, 4 hours in a car seat is a lot

1st birthday is really your party for having survived the first year. get some friends over and get pissed

Scholes34 Tue 21-Jan-14 09:40:52

Bit pointless asking a question like this. Some people will do it and not bat an eyelid, others will not give the idea the time of day. It all depends on your family and their own attitude to travelling.

When the kids were younger, I would only have travelled for two hours if I was staying over, because it was the easiest thing to do. Now the children are older, I travel that distance and come back the same day because it's now the easiest thing to do.

zipzap Tue 21-Jan-14 10:04:09

I would ask them - but be prepared to put some of them up overnight or have cheap b&b lists to hand so those who don't want to do the trip in a day have got options.

I would go ahead and have it at home so that in the future if they moan at you for not wanting to go there for an event or complain they always do Christmas or whatever - you can remind them that you nearly always go to them. And if they didn't come (due to travel rather than previous commitment) or moan about the journey then it won't do any harm to be able to remind them that there's an expectation you do the journey lots!

Kamer Tue 21-Jan-14 11:00:32

I think as its your DSs birthday you should host and invite people to yours. If they don't want to come and fuss about the journey, that's up to them but they won't be in a position to complain next time you don't find it convenient to attend once of their get togethers.

NynaevesSister Tue 21-Jan-14 11:10:49

I would only really care about giving grandparents/great grandparents the chance to be there. So if there are health issues I would hire a little room near them and have a wee tea party with cake.

If no health problems then have at yours but invite them so they can make the choice themselves. Really the first birthday is for you so I would go with that, and who ever makes it for cake is a bonus.

randomAXEofkindness Tue 21-Jan-14 11:11:47

Posters keep pointing out that a 1st birthday party is more for the parents than the child. What of it? I'd go and make a fuss of a first birthday for the sake of the adults I care about, their feelings are important too, aren't they?

EverythingInMjiniature Tue 21-Jan-14 11:22:49

Some people commute 2 hours to work daily! I have. It's hardly a massive ask at a weekend.

firesidechat Tue 21-Jan-14 11:26:36

We live 2 hours from most of my family and would think nothing of a 4 hour round trip. Although I would think of it more as a chance for a family get together than to celebrate a first birthday because the child will be totally unaware.

My daughter also lives over 2 hours away and is having her first child any day now. If they invited us for a party I wouldn't hesitate to go.

Really 2 hours is nothing. I went to visit the said daughter for a few hours last week because time drags waiting for an overdue baby to make an appearance and she could do with the distraction. It was fine.

GirlWithTheDirtyShirt Tue 21-Jan-14 11:26:54

An invitation is not an expectation.

However, I'm also in the boat where I'm the one who lives away from family and friends that I grew up with. Family are pretty good, but friends are definitely of the opinion that the M1 does not go in two directions.

SlightlyDampWellies Tue 21-Jan-14 11:31:41

That is really true, Girl. (I always say 'invitation, not obligation')

My DParents live 5 hours away from our home town. They have friends who consistently refuse to visit for a weekend, as it is 'much too far for a weekend' yet invite them a few times a year for dinner only. Which my DParents often do go to. (They stay in a Premier Inn equivalent if they do go).

KellyElly Tue 21-Jan-14 11:57:26

Ask away. They can say yes or no.

I will be travelling 2 hours each way in a day for my niece's first birthday party.

TeenAndTween Tue 21-Jan-14 12:30:38

I think 2 hours each way is a big ask if they are only going to be at your house for eg 1 hour. (My reference points - 20min commute, children walk to school).

Not such a big asking if you are hosting for lunch, whole afternoon, and evening meal too.

Floggingmolly Tue 21-Jan-14 12:33:39

A four hour round trip for a first birthday party?? I wouldn't.

TheNumberfaker Tue 21-Jan-14 12:41:39

I'm with Badroly.

We live just over an hour from ILs. We travel to them once or twice a month. They come to us once or twice a year.

ShabbyChic8 Wed 22-Jan-14 17:59:08

Thank you for your responses. It's good to get alternative opinions. I did ask and I have had 'no's from all except parents, sister and brother. I'm sad but not surprised. Thanks again.

NewBeginings Wed 22-Jan-14 18:02:33

I think that's quite a good response tbh!

Joiningthegang Wed 22-Jan-14 18:03:38

Not as long as you don't get offended if they decide not to make a 4 hour round trip.

vestandknickers Wed 22-Jan-14 18:06:14

First birthdays are really only for the parents. Sounds like you've had a great response if your parents, Brother and Sister are coming. I don't think you can feel let down if more distant relatives don't want to spend four hours travelling when your baby won't even realise it is her birthday! Enjoy the day with the people who are there - don't fret about those who aren't.

happygirl87 Wed 22-Jan-14 18:18:47

I travelled 2 hours for my goddaughter's first bday, and 3 hours (with 8 year old DSD, by tube, train and cab!) to my cousin's baby's first bday. You can only ask.

SpookedMackerel Wed 22-Jan-14 18:27:57

I think two hours is nothing.
Dd and I travel an hour each way every week just to meet up with a friend for coffee.

And my dad used to drive a 2 hour round trip every Sunday to pick up his aunt for Sunday lunch at ours because her son had moved to America so she was on her own. And then he'd take her back again after lunch, another 2 hours.

BackforGood Wed 22-Jan-14 18:32:30

When my dc were little, we'd invite Grandparents, GreatGrandparents, Aunts, Uncles, etc over for a tea party around about their birthdays, not specifically because it was important for anyone other than parents as an event, per se, but it just acted as a prompt to get together as an extended family, otherwise, with people all having their own busy lives, you could turn round and realise it was a year since you last saw them all.
So I guess how depends how you see the 'occasion', and if there are lots of other times in the year you all get together.

DontmindifIdo Wed 22-Jan-14 18:53:51

I think that's a good response too, and probably they are the only people you will be able to stay close to if you live so far from extended family, given the time constraints little children bring to your lives.

If you do it for them it would be nice for them to do it for you. Just the first bday though.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Wed 22-Jan-14 21:00:41

I live 7 hours from my family 10 from middle brother and his family. I go up to see my mum 2 / 3 times a year and she used to come to me twice but she is quite elderly now and its more tricky for her. Neither DB's come to see us unless they are on holiday in my area yet I am expected to travel up for christenings, special birthday's and now a 25th wedding do. so no 2 hours is nothing, just invite them if you want them there but be prepared for a no and just shrug.

mercibucket Wed 22-Jan-14 21:23:13

thats a really good response!

Fruli Wed 22-Jan-14 21:26:24

A lot of our family live three hours away. I invited them all for DD's baptism and most of them came. I didn't them invite them all for her birthday as it was only a few months later and didn't want to burden them. We had a garden party with local friends and family.

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