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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?

iloveholidays Mon 18-Mar-13 19:13:14

Can't they come to you?

weewifey40 Mon 18-Mar-13 19:14:36

is there a reason they can't come to you? Is it always you travelling there?

CurtainsForNow Mon 18-Mar-13 19:17:44

They could come to us, yes. We tend to go to theirs more so I can keep them and DH apart (he works at home) plus they don't like to leave their dog ... But regardless of who comes to who that doesn't really solve the how often we see each other issue?

CloudsAndTrees Mon 18-Mar-13 19:19:17

If your mum has been rude to your DH, she hasn't got a leg to stand on.

CurtainsForNow Mon 18-Mar-13 19:20:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CurtainsForNow Mon 18-Mar-13 19:21:34

Doh! Wrong thread ...

iloveholidays Mon 18-Mar-13 19:24:34

The reason I ask is that you said about the visits after school being tiring... Thought it would be easier for your DCs if they came to you.

I tend to see my parents 1-2 times a week but I'm a SAHM and my mum is retired. DCs all preschoolers. PIL we generally see once a month on average and are about 45 minutes away so mostly happens at weekends.

I don't think every 5-6 weeks is unreasonable but at the same time can understand why they'd be disappointed.

Skygirls Mon 18-Mar-13 19:28:13

It's a hard position to put you in, but to be fair, they see your dcs quite often, in the scheme of things. You DM needs to understand that as the kids get older, their time will be taken up with more activities, and if they are to get their homework (which is always increasing) done too, it leaves little time to go and see them during the week.

Realistically, weekends are probably the only time left to see them.
How about, per month, you visit pils one w/e, your DM one w/e and the other 2 w/e for your family.
They probably won't be happy with visits cut down to about once a month, but its better than not seeing them at all.

Hope you find a solution that's workable. Just remember that you can't please everyone all of the time.

Happygirl77 Mon 18-Mar-13 19:28:48

Sounds reasonable. My mum and the PIL are both over an hour away so we see them every 4-6 weeks. DCs 6, 3, 1.

TidyDancer Mon 18-Mar-13 19:31:32

It depends greatly on the family dynamic, but for a really short distance that doesn't sound very often.

I live closer to both my DM and ILs than you do to yours, but for some comparison, I see both at least a couple of times a week.

BackforGood Mon 18-Mar-13 19:33:47

We see dh's parents about once a half term now, maybe once a month, but they come to us usually, as, like you say, when you work FT and your dcs start being involved in other things, it's not so easy to make the time to travel over as it is for them to come to us. If they are at ours, then it doesn't matter if one of the dcs is out when they arrive, or needs to go out while they are there - life still carries on as normal for us, and they get to see us. We can still nip out and get a load out the washing machine or get on with sewing the cub or swimming badges on or whatever else needs doing while they are here. Generally they will come over when it is one of our birthdays / Easter / Christmas... they kind of act as a 'prompt' as they like to deliver the present / Easter Egg.
They live about 25mins drive away, and are retired, but relatively young and healthy. (My parents have both died, hence me using his as our example)

ENormaSnob Mon 18-Mar-13 19:39:43

My parents are about 40 minutes away and we see them about 5/6 times per year!!

There's no bad feeling or anything, we are very busy and they are very busy.

CurtainsForNow Mon 18-Mar-13 20:02:22

Hmm, mixed views. TidyDancer appreciate there is a difference between twice a week and once every 5-6 weeks, but where do you fit that in? 30 minutes may be "close" in the scheme of things but it's too far to just quickly pop over?

soontobeburns Mon 18-Mar-13 20:26:27

My mum sees her parents twice a week, doesnt drive and works full time.

I work full time, have college 2 nights a week and volunteer 2 nights a week also and I still see my GPs once a week for around 3 hours. (I live with my DM)
Oh and they too live about 30 mins away.

IMHO you are BU and should be able to make time but it depends on your relationship with them. My uncle and cousins see them a couple times a year but I couldnt go more than 3 weeks without seeing them.

Maggie111 Mon 18-Mar-13 20:47:43

Doesn't sound like enough to me - but that's ignoring family dynamic. But as a general rule, it's low.

bigTillyMint Mon 18-Mar-13 20:54:04

DH's parents live 2 hours away so we see them about every couple of months, alternating, but it is much easier if they come to us as the DC have clubs which they do/matches/comps all weekend and lots of homework now they are 12 and 13. And they want to see their friends.

I think you need to have a chat with them about how life is now for your family and get them to come to you more often. Maybe they could pick the DC up from school when they come (and it could be your DH's night out!) so as to help you out a bit too.

PacificDogwood Mon 18-Mar-13 21:00:32

I don't think that there is a right or wrong frequency here.
I suppose in an ideal work it would be what makes/keeps both parties happy.

My family live abroad and my mum is unhappy about how often they see us, but they do make an effort to come to ours. We have 4 children, both work etc, my parents are retired. They have v busy lives, but are much more flexible than we can be.
DMiL lives 40 min away, we have never seen her very frequently because DH does not have a great relationship with her. She is now dementing rapidly which has actually made her much nicer. We see a lot more of her because she needs more support to allow her to stay in her own home.

Could you not take turns? Agree to meet, say, once every month or whatever and take turns making the trip.

WhispersOfWickedness Mon 18-Mar-13 21:01:13

My ILs live about 30 mins away and we see them about 3 times a month probably. I am a SAHM to toddlers and they are retired, although we often see them at weekends as well. We have a great relationship though, I think I'd miss seeing them before DH did grinblush

My mum lives around 3 hours away and tries to visit about every 6 weeks (we can't go there). My dad lives about two hours away and we see them a few times a year, as they have a busy teenager living with them!

It does depend on the relationship really, it's such a shame that your DH doesn't get on with your mum as it sounds like that would make it easier to see them more often sad

Eggsbon Mon 18-Mar-13 21:04:29

I don't think YABU, but can understand why your parents may feel like they are missing out.
Would it be possible for your parents to take your children to one of their weekend activities every few weeks? That would give them time to get involved with DC's more, plus give you and DH a bit of time together on your own....
I guess you'd have to be careful how you present it to them though, so they don't feel like you are just using expectations that they would have to continue to do this if it wasn't working or they didn't enjoy it.

TidyDancer Mon 18-Mar-13 21:23:02

Well two days of childcare account for some of it tbh. ILs have DD (and DS after school) one day, and my DM the other. Then they will stick around with us once they have brought the DCs home. The rest is variable. Sometimes it'll be for Sunday dinner, sometimes I'll go shopping with DM, or any one of them will pop over for an evening.

The thing is, we are a very close family and we like spending time together. If that's not the case in your family, then you will naturally spend less time together.

I just think when you consider that 30 minutes is a fairly standard daily commute for many people, if you do want to spend more time with people, the relatively small distance is not really a good enough reason not to make more effort.

Springsister Mon 18-Mar-13 21:34:27

My mum lived 350 miles away. A flight plus car hire and I visited every 10 weeks, so 5-6 times a year. She thought it wasn't enough but couldn't come to me. It was what I could manage at the time and seemed fair.

Do what is right for you and the children.

CurtainsForNow Mon 18-Mar-13 21:43:24

Those people who think it's low and/or see their own parents/in-laws much more - can I ask how and when you fit it in? I can't see how we can fit it in after school which only leaves weekends. And (for example) this weekend DD had a party to go to on Saturday and DS was at a sporting event on Sunday. Both drop and go activities so no benefit in my parents taking them - and they wouldn't want to come over and not see one GC (or only see them for a short time). Next weekend DH's parents have a significant wedding anniversary so that's one full day out. It would be too much to got to see my parents as well - and they are the sort of guests that expect to be waited on hand and foot and would be offended if we got on with "jobs" while they were there so doesn't really help to have them here.

myron Mon 18-Mar-13 21:49:31

When we lived 30 mins away from both sets of GP's, we basically spent every Sunday with either set. As we were both working full time, we basically spent Sat doing chores like laundry & grocery shopping and had little quality time to ourselves! Now, we live over 2hrs away and our DC (9 & 6) have weekend activities although we have drawn the line at Sat sports matches only to enable us to have at least a Sunday lie-in! We still see the GPs every 3/4 weeks - we just make the effort because we want to (lots of people choose otherwise but it's horses for courses) and yes, the kids skip their Sat activities once a month. If you are starting to view it as a chore/hard work, it's obviously too much. We've deliberately chosen to take a step back from the DCs' weekend activities because I refuse to let them take priority over maintaining close family relationships. 30 mins is nothing - at least you can visit for say lunch/half a day and be home and it's handy for impromptu babysitting which is not possible with a 2 hr drive! We basically visit for the whole weekend and stay the night - it's just a tad too far to do a day trip.

MrsOakenshield Mon 18-Mar-13 21:51:27

haven't read every response, but I think you could see them more. It sounds, to be honest, that your DCs have a ludicrous amount of activities - evenings AND weekends? Your parents won't be around, or mobile, for ever - make the most of the close distance. My mum is 90 minutes by public transport (hideous drive through or around central London), MIL soon to be similar by car, and pretty inaccessible by public transport, FIL 3 hours away.

Make time for your children to see their GPs - it's a really important relationship, one to be cherished.

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