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AIBU about Christmas visiting arrangements?

(51 Posts)
forgetmeknot Fri 26-Dec-14 23:25:27

Hi all,

I hope you can give me some opinions on this because it has been driving me crazy for a while now.

I am an ex-teacher, now a full-time stay at home Dad, with a gorgeous 7 month old son. My wife (who is also gorgeous) is an accountant.

Every year I dread the organisation of where to spend christmas. My parents live in a different country, requiring a boat or plane journey to get there at a cost of perhaps £100 each return - about a day's travelling) whereas my wife's parents live just down the road, 2mins drive away.

My mum in particular feels like she misses out on getting to know her grandson despite lots of facetime calls etc. and she would love for us all to visit at Christmas.

My wife and my mum don't really get along that well - although they are both pleasant enough to each other... it's not a war or anything!

Whenever I suggest to my wife that we should visit my parents at Christmas, she has various reasons why she can't... She is very active at church at this time and puts on a crib service with Guides (she is a guide leader), so this is a problem. She also says she usually has deadlines with work clients wanting stuff done by Christmas or New Year. She has suggested that my parents could come and visit us instead, but we don't have room to accommodate them and this means my folks would have to buy plane ticket and accommodation which gets expensive. (especially if my sister and her family of 5 want to come too). It is far cheaper for us to go to them as my parents can accommodate us. She has point blank refused to do any kind of arrangement where we did alternating years at her parents, then at mine, because she feels it would be inflexible if we ever wanted to go away on holiday at christmas time, and there would always be the expectation of who would have us each year.

So we always end up with a lovely Christmas at Her parents, but I miss my folks and sister and my nieces and nephews who often do go to my parents for christmas or boxing day. I also feel that my parents are missing out on their grandson at christmas too.

My take on it is this- I think the bottom line is that she just doesn't want to be away from her own family and the Christmas traditions that she likes. Being with my family at christmas time is less within her comfort zone, so she finds ways of avoiding it.

What I want to ask is - Am I being unreasonable to ask her to:
1. consider a year on year off arrangement with each family
2. find a way to get time off work and arrange for someone else to cover her Guiding commitments (as there is another person who could do this at a push)

And thirdly - is it unreasonable for me to feel upset that her parents get to see their grandson regularly - often daily - throughout the year and then have us over for Christmas, but my parents - who might have only seen him once or twice in the year don't get to see him at Christmas because it's 'too difficult to organise at this time of year'.

I'd be grateful if you could let me know your thoughts.

Roseformeplease Fri 26-Dec-14 23:29:11

He is 7 months old so they have only missed one Christmas.

Plan the next one accordingly as you are right, it should be shared.

bloodyteenagers Fri 26-Dec-14 23:32:46

It should be shared.
Why is her family more important? They aren't.
Either it's shared, no parents have Christmas or the controversial she stays to deal with the commitments and her family and you take the child. Or why can she not go day before Christmas eve and return after Boxing Day?

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Fri 26-Dec-14 23:35:02

It sounds like you need to have a proper chat about this soon, so you can make plans in good time, so that she can plan her work and Guides/church commitments accordingly. I don't think you are being unreasonable to want to spend Christmas with your family.

BackforGood Fri 26-Dec-14 23:42:33

Of course YANBU.
Most people feel more comfortable with their own traditions, but being part of a couple, means that you have to compromise, and, even if not alternate years, at least acknowledge that you will go 1 in 4 years. (you to your in laws, your parents to you, your in laws to you, and you to your parents).

feelingunsupported Fri 26-Dec-14 23:42:42

Could you do: one year her parents, next year yours, 3rd year at home? That way if you want to go on holiday you can go in year 3.

WeAllHaveWings Fri 26-Dec-14 23:45:45

You and your parents are more important than guides.
Your parents are just as important as hers. Maybe even more so at holidays when you have time to visit if they don't get to see your family daily like your dw's family.

Work commitments are potentially an issue.

Alternative years don't need to be set in stone if you go on holiday.

Really sounds as if your dw can't be bothered making the effort as there are more important things to her than your feelings. You wanting to see your family should be important to her. Maybe she is just overwhelmed with work and a young baby and the thought of Xmas away from home is too much, but you need to talk it out as YANBU.

Brandysnapper Fri 26-Dec-14 23:48:37

Once we had dcs, I stopped travelling back home at Christmas, and we didn't go to the inlaws either, we stayed at home.
People can come visit us if they want. Do you live somewhere that have travelodges etc nearby, as these can be very cheap at Christmas.
I would separate the amount your parents see the lo from the whole Christmas thing. They don't have to see your ds in December in order to see lots of him. Especially now you're at home, and before school is an issue, can you take him over for some visits? I often go over to see family without dh, it's nice when he comes but if he's being a bit reluctant I'd rather go myself.

makingdoo Fri 26-Dec-14 23:49:49

I wouldn't want to get into a year about arrangement as it could store up trouble for the future if you wanted to do something else. I would however insist that you get to spend at least a Christmas or new year with your family. It's really not fair that your wife gets to dictate how you spend each Christmas.

Also, one of her reasons is that you might want to go on holiday one year. Surely if she can free herself up for a Christmas holiday then she can do the same to visit your family.

MomOfTwoGirls2 Fri 26-Dec-14 23:51:50

You might have more luck if you suggest every 3 years, ILs, your parents, and your own house/holiday.
Or better again just come to an agreement that it will only be every do often, and that you will set expectations with your parents accordingly.

I know I'd hate the hassle of traveling abroad over Christmas. It would be such a pain dragging all the santa stuff with us. Would after Christmas until New Year be an acceptable compromise?

ZenNudist Sat 27-Dec-14 00:17:42

Yanbu to want to alternate Christmas. With different family members.

I think one year at your DPs , another with hers, another at home maybe have your DPs to visit you sometime. Another year just see your dsis. Mix it up. I think it's reasonable for dps to travel to you some Christmases.

Your dw needs to realise she can't have everything her way. There is plenty of time for her to rearrange guiding and work commitments for next year.
I'm an accountant and yes year end is busy. Is she self employed? Or are there other people she can share the burden with? If she is in a firm she should be able to book Christmas off. I have 2 weeks between christmas and into new year, as do lots of people with families.

forgetmeknot Sat 27-Dec-14 00:18:36

Thank you so much for the responses so far.

At the moment, me going abroad on my own with ds is a bit tricky as he is still being breastfed, but this is something I will probably do in the future.

I have previously suggested a 3 year cycle to her, but this was rejected on the same grounds of inflexibility. I personally think that there is always room for flexibility as long as there is some kind of framework to work around but I don't think she feels the same.

Doing Boxing day to new year would be fine by me, and my parents probably, but dw usually says she can't get the time off at that time of year.

Brandysnapper - the idea of saying we aren't going anywhere and in-laws come to us if they want to is fine in principle, but in our case there are a couple of problems with that. Firstly there is no such thing as a cheap travelodge where we live... only normal hotels. Secondly - her parents could easily take us up on that offer as they could walk to our house from where they live, but for my parents it would be a day of travelling and probably £500 or more in flights and accommodation, so wouldn't really be treating them equally in our case.

forgetmeknot Sat 27-Dec-14 00:22:40

ZenNudist - she is at a firm, but in a small department of i think 7. I get the impression that the partners and managers have first dibs at the holiday booking system.

MomOfTwoGirls2 Sat 27-Dec-14 00:35:02

Would you consider paying for your parents flights and hotel?
When we lived abroad, we paid for our parents flights when they came to visit us.

MomOfTwoGirls2 Sat 27-Dec-14 00:38:24

And if your DW needs to work over Christmas period, then go visit your parents for a few days when she is working. BF won't be for ever...

ChasedByBees Sat 27-Dec-14 00:48:00

I think YANBU but you might have more luck not arguing for a specific cycle (so every two or three years). I'd discuss a specific year so as someone else said, if she wants a holiday one year, make it to your family.

Two years later it would be enough time to start discussing another one off visit (giving you your three year cycle).

At the moment, she is demanding an every year cycle with her parents which is just as inflexible as she's accusing you of being as her suggestion of bringing your family to you is clearly not feasible.

BabyDubsEverywhere Sat 27-Dec-14 01:00:40

Hang on, she cant agree to going to your parents for all the reasons she has (work, guides, church) but she can think about going away on a holiday at the same time without issue?? She's taking the piss! YANBU!

SorchaN Sat 27-Dec-14 02:04:07

We spend every Christmas with my mother (500 miles from us). We spend a lot of time during the rest of the year with my in-laws (5 miles from us). This works for us, but if anyone in the extended family wanted to do something different for a change, I'd be open to that. So far no one has suggested making any changes.

YANBU to want to spend the occasional Christmas with your family. Your partner's 'reasons' sound more like excuses. If your mother and wife are able to get along ok for a few days, then it shouldn't be too hard. (On the other hand, if it's really awful between then, maybe you could make efforts to take the kids there at other times of year.)

Keep negotiating; ask her to be more reasonable.

PorridgeBrain Sat 27-Dec-14 07:13:17

Rather than pushing for a regular arrangement just now, why not start with saying that next year you want to make sure that you all visit your parents and ask her to make sure she allows enough time to plan work/guides/prepping her parents so that she is able to accommodate it. As an accountant, can she not work from home (I.e your parents) if necessary?

If you agree to take each year at a time as long as Christmases with others are fair to both sets of parents then that will make it harder for her to push back with the inflexibility argument.

KnackeredMerrily Sat 27-Dec-14 08:59:35

Why make the one Christmas you want a battle ground of every 2 or 3 years?

Just tell your wife that you insist on next year at your parents and you can play it by ear every year after that.

PowderMum Sat 27-Dec-14 09:12:17

Sorry OP but your DW is controlling but she is not alone in this.
My PIL don't ever get to see their DS at Christmas as his DP refuses to do anything but go to her parents for the 3 main days this has nothing to do with cost or distance but is all about being a spoilt brat and controlling her DH. It really upsets them and it continues throughout the year as really they on,y get to see the DGC if the DIL needs childcare, not as a family and it is nearly impossible to have all the DGC together.
Fortunately PIL have 4 other DGC who happily want to see them at Christmas and work a rotation between Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Iggly Sat 27-Dec-14 09:16:32


She's making flimsy excuses tbh.

And you don't have to agree a cyclical arrangement - you can just do it year by year. These things are not written in blood.

Spadequeen Sat 27-Dec-14 09:21:52

I think your wife is being unreasonable. Very unreasonable, unless there are bigger issues your not telling us about (or she hasn't told you about)

You need to have a proper chat with her for future years.

Theorientcalf Sat 27-Dec-14 09:26:55

Her 'I can't do this because...' actually means 'I won't'. Hence the 101 excuses.

Her family is no more important than yours and she needs to compromise. She can't have Christmas only ever on her terms. She's married you knowing your parents were abroad, it's not like it's come as a surprise that maybe you want to visit them. She is being unreasonable.

ClashCityRocker Sat 27-Dec-14 09:31:09

I'm an accountant and specialise in personal tax so I do see where you wife is coming from - December and January can be very frantic, and there is no way I could've managed an overseas trip this year.

However, if DH had suggested it in March, April time I could have planned for it and made arrangements to facilitate it - probably by doing more hours in November and the run up to christmas, if she has that option, and letting clients know well in advance that I wouldn't be available over christmas.

Hi would drop it for now and suggest it after the January tax deadline for next Christmas.

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