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Dilemma over family holiday(62 Posts)
NC for this one. A bit of background - DH doesn't love my family when we're all together. I'm one of 3 sisters and when we and my mum get together there is a lot of talking over/at each other, you sort of need to otherwise you don't get a word in! Mum and sister's partners sort of feel the same I think but are a bit more tolerant than DH. We can be a bit relentless, that's all. I'm v close to my sisters, my mum a bit less so but we get on fine and she lives 5 hours away so I want her to see DDs as much as possible. My mum and sisters also drink quite a lot and then get louder and more irritating than usual. I don't drink that much, and DH hardly at all.
We were at a family wedding the other day (DH and Mum's partners were the only ones who came, not my sister's partners). They all got quite drunk and lairy, and it just kind of makes DH sad I think as he feels he has absolutely nothing in common with them. He feels like he has nothing to talk to them about, he can't be bothered to make himself heard as he (probably rightly) thinks they're not interested in what he has to say. He does have quite a bit in common with 2 of the 3 partners though.
Anyway, we all have a family holiday booked for August, villa in Europe for a week. We went a few times when DDs were small and DH was ok although he didn't exactly love it. About 4 years ago he came for half the week (was v busy with work, or at least that was the excuse). 2 years ago he stayed at home as he just didn't want to come (fine by me, I don't have to worry about him having a horrible time putting up with my family and I can palm DDs (the only kids) off on everyone else and actually relax). BUT he missed DDs terribly, was really sad at home on his own for a week and hated it. So this time he's said he wants to come. Family are happy he's coming, they like him and the partners hardly ever see him so would love him to be there. It's a big villa (8 adults 2 kids) and I told him he could just take as much time as he wanted by himself listening to music or whatever. My family won't think he's antisocial, they'll be totally fine with him doing whatever makes him happy.
But after this wedding he just feels rubbish about the thought of spending a week trying to make conversation, watching them get drunk and telling him how to live his life (my mum's speciality!), and almost can't bear the thought of going. He wouldn't tell me not to go but the thought of being without DDs for a week (I know, we need to let go some time but not yet!!) is worse.
He's genuinely torn, not asking me for advice but I know he's really struggling to make a decision. Come and have a mostly rubbish time, but spend time with DDs, or stay at home miserable by himself? He's not the type to enjoy hanging out on his own (I'd probably jump at it) so will just be sad left here.
Sorry I really went on there, would be really interested in any thoughts...
I have this issue with my family v. my husband, to an extent, and also have a family holiday with them all this summer (though my DH can't stand one of my BILs, which makes it harder) - DH comes, but we make sure we have a couple of days out just as our family unit. Also I make sure DM and DH are never sitting next to each other at dinner, as DM - like yours - has a tendency to tell DH how he could live better. (Which in our case mainly comes down to 'get a job that pays more with fewer hours and in the countryside not London.' And then tells DH that she's sure it's possible 'if he just really puts his mind to it.) Good luck!
Would he be willing to go if you promise to go out with your own little family a lot so that he can get away from your mum and sisters (who do sound tiresome)? Plus the husbands and partners could all go out without the rest of you one evening. Then maybe your mum will babysit one night so you and your H can have a night out together? Also, when your mum starts telling him how to live his life, tell her to shut up.
I think it wouldn't be unreasonable of him to refuse to go so if he is good enough to do this in order to spend time with you and the children, you should think about how you can make it tolerable for him.
I think you are my sister not really but this must be a pretty common problem.
Maybe go but spend breakfast/mornings with your family. That way they are all sober and tolerable then do stuff as just your family in evenings, out for meals, strolls etc and retire to bed. Then one Eve they babysit while you and DH go out and one eve DH can take his DDs out. That way you get time with your family and DH is ok.
I agree with other posters that you could agree to spend time just you, he and DD. And maybe go out one evening as a couple.
It must be exhausting spending a whole week with a large group you feel little in common with.
I sympathise with your DH, I would hate it too. Next year maybe go away just with your DH and DDs for a change.
Too late now but you need separate accommodation so you can actually spend larger chunks of time in your little family. We have this issue too, shared accommodation is a disaster waiting to happen
I wouldn't want to go away with your family either.
I am in your DH's position. ILs are lovely but chaotic and overwhelming for me en masse. I agree that taking time out from it as a family would be good. I also value the fact that my DH recognises that his family can be a bit of a
nightmare handful, and doesn't defend them if I find something -such as comments about my parenting, which are plentiful- difficult. It helps to know that ultimately, he will back me up if needed.
Is this your only family holiday, or are you having another holiday with DH and your DDs?
Did you really book him a summer holiday, in the full knowledge it will be a shit holiday for him. Then tell him he should spend his holiday alone in his room reading a book if he hates it because no-one will care? This is a man who doesn't like being alone. Your other main alternative is him not having a holiday with his wife and children?
How are you still married?
Maybe he is testing you to see if you actually give a fuck about him.
Maybe his dilemma is whether to involve solicitors or not.
You don't go. It is that simple. You should never have booked the damn "holiday" in the first place.
Christ if this were reversed you'd be getting very different answers.
I'm with your DH. Your focus should be on him and your kids. Why do you have to go on holiday with them?
You grew up with this dynamic so regard it as normal.
This forthcoming holiday sounds like a DFS; disaster from the start frankly. I have to look at you though, why did you agree to this at all?
What are your own boundaries like when it comes to your family of origin? I think these need looking at a lot more carefully.
Do you really have your DHs back when it comes to these people or do you act like a bystander and not say anything to defend him when your mother starts telling him how to lead his life. Are you still really playing out the same role/s that was assigned to you by them from childhood?
Presumably you are very much in FOG with regards to your family of origin; fear, obligation and guilt. You feel very obligated to spend time with relations who you describe as relentless; why is that exactly?. Is it really to promote the family image of familial harmony that has been fostered within it. Are they really good role models to look after your children at all particularly after they have had a few?. Is a holiday with them a really relaxing one for you or do they really make you feel conflicted? I think you need to think about all of that very carefully and perhaps even through speaking to a therapist.
I feel very sorry for your DH in all this, why can't you all on holiday as a family yourselves and without your relatives in tow?.
"I'm v close to my sisters, my mum a bit less so but we get on fine and she lives 5 hours away so I want her to see DDs as much as possible".
Actually that is not a valid reason for her to be seeing your children.
Do you get on fine or is it a case of well you get on better when it is solely on her terms?
What sort of parent was she to you personally growing up?. Where were you in the family pecking order?
Yes, how come the annual villa thing is a "done deal" when your family are a PITA to your H? Is this in addition to another family holiday?
In his shoes I would go - one last time and would not want any future holidays to be agreed:booked at this time - but arrange several things for your (nuclear) family and perhaps also a night out as a couple, if your family can be trusted to babysit safely and not booze.
You also need to agree how you will (together) handle your M's unwanted interference in general.
Thanks for your replies. RunRabbit and Olivia I should say that we go away a lot with just the four of us (big 2 week holiday once a year, plus maybe 2 long weekends?), these are by no means our only holidays. My mum and big sister live too far away to see very often and it's incredibly important to me that the DDs get to spend quality time with them. DDs LOVE going away with my family as they don't see them much. Also at the moment I only work term time so have the holidays off (this is about to change), and since DDs are the only children on these trips there are loads of adults who love them to take care and play with them while I can properly switch off. It's a minor point too but my mum has paid for the villa so we're only paying for flights etc, rather than us having to splash out loads on a holiday he's less than keen on.
DH and I could probably go out every other day and evening and leave DDs with my family, but the thing is I like spending time with them and don't get much opportunity to do that either?!? And he wants to spend time with DDs which then takes them away from my family who want to see them too??
I think you're right that we can go out a couple of evenings by ourselves, and a couple of afternoons. He's never really taken the opportunity to go out with the partners (I don't know why not - they all get on and they could moan about the women for 10 mins and get it out of their systems! I'm sure if the gender roles were reversed I'd spend some time with the other wives/partners, complain about how annoying all the men were then go back to my lounger with a G&T). And I do try to keep my mum away from him but it can get exhausting...
Is there any way you could book your own accommodation close to where they're staying. I was in your DH's position last year and tbh I hated every minute of it and spent a month after having panic attacks after holding my shit together for a week. I was a bit resentful of DH for persuading me to go knowing that I wouldn't enjoy it.
Alcoholics are tiresome. Going on holiday with a bunch of alcoholics seems a pretty grim idea. Taking your children on holiday with a bunch of alcoholics even more so. Why would you do this?
Your second post makes it sound as though you are reluctant to compromise.
You want to spend time with YOUR family - stop forcing your husband to spend time with a load of drunks. do you feel under pressure from your sisters/mum to include your husband rather than just leaving him be?
Jeepers. So many assumptions.
"My mum and big sister live too far away to see very often and it's incredibly important to me that the DDs get to spend quality time with them"
Why is that, that is a question that you need to properly address. Its about more than you simply wanting to spend time with them. Define quality time; what do these people really do care wise with regards to your children?.
Re this comment:-
"He's never really taken the opportunity to go out with the partners (I don't know why not - they all get on and they could moan about the women for 10 mins and get it out of their systems!"
You do your DH down here by writing that about him. How do you know they get on well? He only goes I think for your sake after all and he has had enough. This all comes across as sexist as well, all this "moaning about the women and getting it out of their systems".
These people may be family but they are drinkers unlike your own self. What do you really have in common with them other than the fact you are related to them?. Would you want friends like this and if a friend treated you like this what would you reaction be?
You seem happy as well to leave your children with them whilst you properly switch off. There are also no other children for them to play with. Your mum and sisters become more drunk and then the family matriarch starts on at your H by telling him how to live his own life. You probably sit there and say nothing (because you also feel you can say nothing).
How else would you interpret "My mum and sisters also drink quite a lot and then get louder and more irritating than usual."
To use a mumsnet.com phrase, your DH doesn't have an inlaws problem. He has a problem with his wife.
Stop insisting he goes away with people who annoy him.
When your mother tells him how to live his life, tell her to stop, and stand up for him.
My family annoy me. I don't expect my DH to put up with more than the bare minimum
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