Peaceful & relaxed holidays? Not likely!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2006
Peaceful & relaxed holidays? Not likely!
9
Sun, 01-08-2012 - 2:19am

I actually thought that after a relatively incdient free year that we would be able to enjoy a peaceful, relaxed holiday season for the first time, but thanks to the ILs that didn't happen. I feel way more stressed than before!

DH managed to get some leave in December, so we went on vacation in mid December. DH wanted to stay away over Christmas and come back just before he returned to work. When he told the ILs this, they spent the 2 weeks before our vacation chewing him out over Skype about missing holidays with the family. We cut short our vacation and returned to spend Christmas day with my family, then flew over to BIL's (about 2 hours flying time from us) to spend some holiday time over several days there with our 18 month old DD, BIL and his wife and their little girl (our niece, same age as DD) and (unfortunately) the ILs.

What made me angry about the whole thing was the ILs attitude and behavior during this time.

1. They kept pressuring DH and BIL to keep the 2 toddlers up way beyond their afternoon nap times, leading to tired, cranky little kids. Once the children had finished eating and opened their gifts, there was nothing to keep them up, even if the adults hadn't finished their meals. The ILs couldn't seem to read the girls' tired signs until both moms finally laid down the law and the girls were put to bed for a sleep. The ILs kept repeating "oh just keep them up for another hour it doesn't matter". It does matter - the ILs weren't playing with the kids or anything like that, and they didn't have to put up with the cranky kid later. The kids were just expected to sit there. They're one year old, they can't do that yet!!

2. Despite the huge fuss made over the holiday celebration, both girls got nothing under the tree from their grandparents (way to go ILs !) According to MIL, they had bought clothes for the girls (DH and I haven't seen any evidence of these "gifts" yet), but they were supposedly too small (they didn't try them on our DD) so they were supposedly taken back to the store to be exchanged for a larger size. They could have asked DH or BIL what size to buy, but that would have been too easy.

After the fuss they made about the holiday celebration it really annoyed me that the girls had no gifts under the tree that day except what they had for each other and from their respective uncle and aunt. The ILs could have come up with something to put under the tree. It didn't have to be expensive, it was the thought: they could have gone to a dime store and bought a pack of crayons and a coloring book or a ball, just something small so that the girls had a gift that they could open.

3. This is what really, really made me upset: on the last day of "holiday time" we went to the mall to have lunch. There were also stores along the street outside the mall, so while we were having lunch, the ILs finished theirs early and offered to take DD for a walk, which was nice. They took her stroller as they wanted to look at some of the stores in the mall, and outside, and I gave them her coat, and she was wearing shoes and socks. When we had finished our lunch and managed to track the ILs and DD down, she was barefoot! Clearly it takes a "special" person (especially stupid) to not notice that an 18 month old child whom you are looking after and transferring into and out of a stroller has no shoes or socks on. OK, so the weather wasn't great, and DH told them off. WE looked for her shoes and socks along the street, in the mall and in the stores they had been to but couldn't find them. How on earth could a person not notice such a young child was barefoot in that weather?? I guess DH and I should have stopped it, since they took her outside last winter without a coat when it was freezing, and they both had coats on, so we know what they're like.

What really set my teeth on edge was the car trip home from the mall: they didn't apologize for losing DD's shoes and socks, or for not noticing that she was barefoot, instead they spent the whole drive back blaming DD for the loss. They are the adults,they are supposed to keep track of these things she is a child! I told them to stop talking but they just ignored me until a later fight with DH shut them up.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Tue, 01-10-2012 - 4:07pm

Star,

OMGoodness - that would have been very upsetting.

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Tue, 01-10-2012 - 7:21pm

Star,

Keep this post handy for next year. Read it if you have any thoughts of including your in-laws in your holiday vacation plans.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2001
Tue, 01-10-2012 - 7:39pm

OMgosh!!

This is just too weird!

I can't believe they guilted you into coming for xmas and then didn't have any presents for the children.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2006
Thu, 01-12-2012 - 12:52am

Summer, Wisdomtooth, Bumbling - thanks for taking the time to read and reply.

Summer - I'd be quite happy to reduce my expectations about holidays to none at all (ie not to see the ILs at all) and I did do this for a couple of years, before DD was born. It seems to be the only way to get through to FIL that certain things just aren't acceptable. Not having them around was also the most peaceful 2 years, just like the 6 months FIL stopped talking to me after I got into grad school.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2001
Thu, 01-12-2012 - 9:27pm

O.k.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-20-2008
Sun, 01-22-2012 - 8:32pm
That would be it for me and my child as far as holidays go. She will be very aware of no gifts from now on and no way would I put my kid through that. I spent my childhood as not the favorite in my own family and I wouldn't wish it on my worse enemy.

What does your dh think about all of it?
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2006
Mon, 01-23-2012 - 8:56pm

Thanks for the replies. Thankfully I don't have to see the ILs for even longer, since they started up a fight with DH a couple weekends ago, now DH doesn't want to talk to them either.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Tue, 01-24-2012 - 11:03am

Star - that's so sad that the grandparents would insult their grandchild and their own child.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2006
Tue, 01-24-2012 - 10:03pm

DH has been particularly unimpressed with the ILs behavior over the past couple of months.

The whole point of their most recent little hissy fit seems to be about trying to wrestle back some power in the relationship from DH. They know we hold the cards - I don't call, email or otherwise talk to them (that started at their own request about 10 years ago, now I'm relieved that we don't have anything much to do with each other), so it's all up to DH. If he gets too angry at them, he just doesn't call, and they very very rarely (maybe 2-3 times a year) will call him. They occasionally email, but seem to want him to be the one knocking at their door to talk or interact, so they feel powerful

I think that they believe that if they withhold their "approval" of DD, DH will be scrambling to get back their good opinion, but it doesn't work like that.

Before DD was born they tried to keep some control over DH and BIL by making them feel guilty, but since DD and niece were born, DH and BIL have power over when they get to see the grandkids. BILs wife doesn't like them and doesn't want much to do with them (don't blame her one bit!!), so she doesn't call or email them much either.