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"cutting the apron strings"

(14 Posts)
Curtains81 Tue 12-Jul-16 15:04:58

Long and somewhat complicated situation which I'm sure has been discussed many times, but I can't find any similar threads:

Lately my parents have been inviting us (me, wife, son, SS, SD) up to their house. It used to be once every few weeks but has become more like every sunday now.

We used to go out as just a family but that soon tapered off because my wife finds walks boring, and my stepchildren are often off doing other things with their dads etc.

So basically my wife doesn't want to visit my parents, which I totally understand, but she doesn't want me to take my son either. I thought everyone was happy (son gets to run around the countryside having fun, my parents get to see their only grandchild, and my wife gets a break and some time to read/watch telly etc).

Now she has said I need to cut the apron strings, as I'm prioritising my parents over my own family. I understand where she's coming from, but I know that if I stay home on a Sunday we'll all just end up sitting around the house and not going out. This means that I get bored, and so does my son, and if I want to take him out for some fresh air then I'm told to "do that if you want", as no-one else likes going outdoors.

1) How would I explain to my parents that we won't be visiting so often?
2) How to we maintain family outings, even if the weather is bad, without it ending up as a day indoors watching TV?

RedMapleLeaf Tue 12-Jul-16 15:34:32

How does your wife want to spend Sundays?

I think you and your son visiting your grandparents alone sounds like a great idea, but I can see your wife's point if it's every Sunday.

MollyTwo Tue 12-Jul-16 15:53:34

Every Sunday sounds too much. Sometimes you just want to be doing absolutely nothing at home. Take your son and go just the two of you?

Darnmysocks Tue 12-Jul-16 15:58:08

I think you have to strike a balance, I can see your wife's point that she doesn't want to do the same thing week in week out and don't see anything wrong in the odd Sunday spent quietly at home, everyone needs some downtime and it can sometimes be hard to relax completely in someone else's house. Could you cut the visits to your parents to every other week with the option for your wife to stay at home if she chooses and then maybe plan some days out just the three of you for the weeks inbetween? I think it's natural to get bored with doing the same thing every weekend so I would mix it up a bit, some weeks with your parents, some days out with DW and DS and the odd day pottering at home. Think up some specific ideas for days out first, there are plenty of indoor places you can go/activities you can do on rainy days as well as outdoor stuff, and then tell your parents you want to do those things so will only be coming once a fortnight, I'm sure they won't take offence that you want to give your DS some different experiences. Hopefully a bit of variety and flexibility will stop your wife feeling you need to cut the apron strings, tbh I would go mad without the odd day where I can potter round the house in my PJ's so I can understand how she feels. There's sure to be a compromise where everyone can be happy but it does sound like a bit more variety is what's needed.

Curtains81 Tue 12-Jul-16 16:07:42

Good ideas, thanks. My only gripe is that my wife likes spending the weekend not doing very much, which is fine, but my son gets bored and ends up being naughty and getting told off. I feel like I'm always the one who has to take him out and entertain him. My parents won't mind fewer visits, but I just think this is my wife's way of saying "I want you to visit your parents less often, but I still want you to take DS out for some fresh air, but I don't want to come with you". It seems a bit one sided to me. I understand she doesn't like doing stuff outdoors, but that shouldn't mean that she chooses where I take my son.

She isn't close to her family so I know it's perhaps an alien concept to her, or dare I say it some jealousy.

Will see how this weekend goes!

Curtains81 Tue 12-Jul-16 16:08:30

she doesn't like me going, even if she's not going!

ReallyNoEyeDeer Tue 12-Jul-16 16:13:08

So basically my wife doesn't want to visit my parents, which I totally understand, but she doesn't want me to take my son either

I don't think you need to "cut the apron strings" at all. A good relationship with your parents is a healthy thing and your son is lucky to have the opportunity to get to know his grandparents. That is a privilege.

"Cut the aprons strings" is an unnecessarily nasty phrase to denigrate a relationship she is envious of.

Your wife is being unreasonable. You need to compromise - maybe by going every other Sunday or her just agreeing not to come with you.

Don't be bullied out of important relationships. You are lucky to have an interested, alive and loving extended family. Celebrate it.

ReallyNoEyeDeer Tue 12-Jul-16 16:15:17

Also when I was a child we as a family used to have lunch with my grandparents virtually every Sunday. It remains one of my happiest childhood memories of lovely roast dinners and happy families round the table.

They died when I was young - ish - when I was aged around 10 & 12 ish.

Your parents won't be alive forever!!!

eloelo Tue 12-Jul-16 16:28:55

She is being quite controlling.
I wonder what is behind this? How does she view your parents?
Is there something you do/your DS does at your parents that she disapproves of?
It seems a win-win for you and your DS and if she does not have to come I am not sure what she is complaining about.

Out2pasture Tue 12-Jul-16 16:40:01

I'm another one who sees nothing wrong or odd with Sunday dinner with family. Especially if the children enjoy it.

hellsbellsmelons Tue 12-Jul-16 16:40:20

I would tell her to put a plan together for the next Sundays with activities she wants to do as a family.
If she can't come up with anything then just go to your parents.
If she doesn't want you to take DS then one weekend, don't.
Leave him with your DW.
She'll soon get fed up of that if she likes to do nothing on a Sunday!

Thurlow Tue 12-Jul-16 16:44:57

I don't think it's too much either. A close relationship with your family is a good thing, and if you and your DS are happy with the arrangement then a compromise needs to be met.

It's not wrong of your wife to resent having to spend every Sunday doing something she's bored with or on her own, but equally it's not wrong for you to want to see your parents regularly.

In the spirit of compromising, if everything else in your relationship is fine, I would maybe drop one Sunday a month or find something/some place you can all go together every now and again to provide a change of scenery.

Curtains81 Tue 12-Jul-16 16:51:51

Yes I will try it this weekend, though she has already suggested something so that's great if it happens.

I think she disapproves of my closeness to my family. She does not have the same with hers, and claims she doesn't want it either.

There's also a trust issue; she doesn't trust anyone to look out for our DS other than me or her. She thinks both our parents will let DS get run over through inadequate supervision. Which is silly.

And yes I fully appreciate my parents won't be around for ever, and I have fond memories of both sets of grandparents. And of course the main thing is that DS has a great time every time he visits.

I can compromise on that though, maybe once every 2 weeks, but it must be beneficial for everyone and not just because she's jealous! That is my view anyway

Darnmysocks Tue 12-Jul-16 17:01:12

No that's not fair then OP, it shouldn't be down to you to amuse DS singlehanded and your wife would have to be willing to compromise too for my suggestions to work. When she says you need to cut the apron strings and see your parents less have you pointed out that an alternative activity would need to be organised to keep DS amused and that she would need to be involved in that instead? It's one thing wanting some variety to her weekends but not fair to expect everyone to just do nothing and you to pick up all the slack with DS.

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