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to holiday with recently widowed MIL or not?

(27 Posts)
SaveMeTheWaltz Mon 04-Jul-16 20:44:18

I hope Relationships is the right place for this: DP and I can't decide what the best thing would be to do here.

MIL was widowed earlier this year, and we are now wondering whether to invite her on our family summer holiday with us (me, DP, and two DCs (aged 4 and newborn). We both feel that she would benefit from a proper holiday, and that it is important to feel loved and wanted by her family right now. In terms of practical considerations, we can afford to include her, we all get on well, etc.

However, DP and I have had a difficult few years and feel we may benefit from a holiday where we can focus on each other and on our relationship. We have just had a new baby, after having had a stillbirth a couple of years ago. His father was ill for several months before he passed, and DP and I saw very little of each other during that time (as PILs live around 3 hours drive away from us). We understandably feel a little disconnected from each other right now, and it would be nice to spend a holiday getting our spark back.

Anyone else been in this situation? What should we do? Prioritise MIL, or focus on our relationship?

(If it makes any difference, DP is slightly keener on us holidaying by ourselves, I am leaning more towards inviting MIL)

peppatax Mon 04-Jul-16 20:48:52

I'd normally go 100% for your family only but in this case, it sounds like it would be good for DP to spend time with her in a less stressful situation. You can always holiday together alone in future but it might be something that means a lot to MIL - she may even watch the DC so you can have dinner out together. If you get on, it's really thoughtful to include her flowers

Bottomchops Mon 04-Jul-16 20:52:18

Taking mil does equal more time together. You might be able to pop out for a meal or a few drinks once the kids are in bed. An extra pair of hands will take the stress out of it.

AddToBasket Mon 04-Jul-16 21:28:33

I'd take her. She can help out, feel useful and valued, and you can go for lunches by yourselves and get some time alone.

Also, we're all going to be widowed MILs one day. You'll feel good for having done it, especially if you really make a massive effort to make her feel included with the next generation. And building those family memories makes your family stronger.

Somerville Mon 04-Jul-16 21:31:38

Does she seem to genuinely like the kids and get pleasure from being with them?

If so then I would invite her. It'll be good for her, good for them and (hopefully) good for you to have another pair of willing hands around.

If not, then I wouldn't invite her, personally. And I say that as a widow.

Another bit of advice - thinking about including her in the short term is great, and you are clearly a loving DIL. But don't forget to keep up with involving her in your lives and giving her an outlet to be around other people. It's a huge thing to deal with, and having family support for the long haul really does help with keeping on keeping on.

Somerville Mon 04-Jul-16 21:32:49

I forgot to say, if your partner is ultimately unwilling, then don't invite her. She'll pick up on it and feel even worse. Nothing worse than a pity-invite, speaking from experience.

TamaraHiddlestoned Mon 04-Jul-16 21:35:24

Fully agree with the advice above - you will all benefit from it, in different ways. Take her & enjoy your time together.

Whistlejackets Mon 04-Jul-16 21:41:02

You sound like a lovely DIL! Would it be feasible to invite MIL for part of the holiday? That way you have some time alone and time with MIL. Obviously it depends where you're going and how long you're going for.

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Mon 04-Jul-16 21:41:53

You need to prioritise your relationship right now...any chance you can afford to take her away for a weekend with you all later on, even if its of the cheap and cheerful variety?

BeautifulMaudOHara Mon 04-Jul-16 21:43:26

Ah, invite her, let her enjoy her grandchildren, ask her to babysit one night, enjoy yourselves!

smileyhappypeople Mon 04-Jul-16 21:43:34

We have just got back from a holiday with my dad. We really could have done with a family holiday as we have had a shit time lately and like you feel disconnected.
He's not widowed but has been poorly. It wasn't the ideal holiday as he's still not 100% but he was so happy and still is! It's amazing what a holiday/act of kindness can do
We also took my gran to Blackpool for the weekend when she lost her husband. It was a last minute thing but again it got her away from everything that was crap and gave her 2 nights of happiness
There are always other holidays for just you and hubby

tribpot Mon 04-Jul-16 21:45:30

I would prioritise your MIL. It sounds like you both know you need to give some attention to your relationship, and you can work that in to your daily life, as well as plan another short holiday later in the year if need be. Not to mention as PP have said, it may be having your MIL around actually means you get more time as a couple, so it's win-win.

Sorry to hear you have had such a difficult few years.

Jeffjefftyjeff Mon 04-Jul-16 21:46:02

I have been in a similar situation and went with including the person. It felt like the right thing to do and I would recommend you do too; but would add that grief is obviously very difficult and holidays a time when things can come to the surface. We had a couple of quite desperate rows and crying incidents which in hindsight were understandable but at the time were awful. Talk to your h about how you might deal with any issues that come up and you'll feel better prepared emotionally.

In case this sounds dramatic it was mostly completely fine and we did get some time to ourselves with childcare taken care of!!

chipmonkey Mon 04-Jul-16 22:16:46

Mum came on holiday with us a month after my Dad died. Now, in our case the holiday had already been booked. But some nights Mum babysat while dh and I went out. Other nights dh minded the kids and Mum and I went out. Obviously, I was the one who benefited most from this arrangement but Mum and Dh going out while I minded the kids would have been odd! But if you get on with your MIL, you could do the odd girly evening with her and also child free evenings with your dh. It could be lovely.

HeddaGarbled Mon 04-Jul-16 22:21:59

TBH I don't think a holiday with a 4 year old and a newborn is going to help you get your "spark" back. You won't be able to focus on each other and your relationship because you will be busy being parents, though you may get to have furtive sex if your children are good sleepers and you have the energy after a day of parenting in a strange environment. If you see it as cementing the family, that's different.

I think, his mum, his choice. If he thinks having his mum there will impinge on the family dynamic, you need to listen to him. Perhaps you could do a long weekend with her at a different time.

danTDM Mon 04-Jul-16 22:23:14

crikey with a 4 yr old and newborn it's not going to be too much about you and DH, sounds like hard work!

I'd take MIL for reasons stated by others, you will actually GET some time in the evenings together this way and MIL will be happy too.

could work out perfectly as you say you all get on well.

janaus Mon 04-Jul-16 23:48:47

It would be great to ask MIL. She would love to help out with the children. It will be a lovely time and showing her you care and don't want her to be alone all the time. When my mum died, we took my father with us on a holiday. It was a lovely time for him.

KateInKorea Tue 05-Jul-16 02:35:01

Definitely go with her for all the reasons above. My husband went away for a Long weekend about 2 months after MIL. It was good for both of them, time to talk and relax and be somewhere "away from it all"

Jenijena Tue 05-Jul-16 03:30:22

I've just come back from a holiday with a 3 month old and a four year old. There is not much downtime - we had one evening when baby was sufficiently asleep and I wasn't so knackered I didn't go to sleep straight away whilst we chatted. If mil could eg facilitate long walks in the evening pushing the buggy, or even looking after both children for an hour whilst you both pop for a swim or whatever, you might find both goals achieved..

Lunar1 Tue 05-Jul-16 04:45:27

I'd take your mil, she will need to feel wanted right now and will be a help with the children as well.

DeathStare Tue 05-Jul-16 06:09:30

Take your MIL on holiday and also book a weekend away just you and your DH and ask MIL to babysit while you go.

reallywittyname Tue 05-Jul-16 08:54:03

I agree with the previous posters, unless you have brilliant sleepers you're unlikely to be able to focus much on your relationship with dh. I would invite MIL for sure - it does you care, she gets a week with family and you might get a night out if she'll babysit.

You are all adjusting to life changes, I would say that now is the time to cement family bonds. If you think you and dh can last until you're through the newborn fug, then plan to reconnect at a later date. Sometimes just knowing you want the same thing, but that it'll have to wait, and that essentially you're in the same page, is enough "for now". In a sort of "we have to get our heads down and get through it, and I'll see you on the other side" kind of thing. If that makes sense.

Joysmum Tue 05-Jul-16 09:18:30

I'll go against the grain here as this wouldn't have worked in our situation. All in-laws are very different to us and it wouldn't have worked.

Instead whoever's parent it is would be encouraged to invite the parent to our home for shorter bursts and spend as much time with their parent as possible in that way, or even go to visits them in their home for short stops.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Tue 05-Jul-16 09:30:00

I think you need to manage the invite carefully so it doesn't set unrealistic expectations that this will be a permanent and recurring summer event?

It's a great time to have another set of hands around but I find it tough having my parents/MIL around for too long. If she is a great guest and goes out of her way to help out, not be in the way, do a spot of babysitting/cooking/etc then if an invitation is not forthcoming next year she may be hurt by that. This may be why your husband is reluctant.

I would also favour an invite for part of the holiday if it's feasible. Logistically more challenging probably but possibly better in the long term.

Gaspard Tue 05-Jul-16 18:47:02

We took my MIL in very similar circumstances, down the recent loss of our newborn and all the turmoil leading up to it. Did her a world of good to feel supported at a very difficult time. If there's a time to show support and be a bit unselfish, it's now. It's a wonderful thing to do plus she can help a little with the children if she's up to it.

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