Every family needs their personal space. But what happens when you get none of it because your partner’s extended family is always around? An internet user asked, “Am I a jerk because I don’t want to attend all my in-laws’ holiday events?”. We need you to find out!
The holidays are coming, and the Original Poster (OP) is already stressed as they have an 11-month-old. OP and her husband have waited their whole lives for a happy marriage and children, and they’ve finally reached that stage.
“I had a bit of a bad childhood, and I’m very excited to make healthy memories for my children during the holidays. I love cooking and baking and planning things.”, says OP.
THE ISSUE AT HAND
The issue is that OP’s husband’s family takes charge of every holiday. Every single holiday and birthday, there is a party thrown by his aunt, then another by his dad’s mom, then another by his mom’s mom, and then another by his mom’s grandma.
WHAT USUALLY HAPPENS?
There are at least three to four events for each holiday or birthday, leaving no time for OP’s family to do their own thing at home. OP’s husband typically agrees to attend events his family throws because his mom guilts him into going.
“But, now that we have a child, I believe it’s our time to have our holiday together as a family of three!” says OP.
THE CHAOTIC DRIVES
OP and her husband also live about thirty/forty minutes away from these people, and they (her husband’s family) do not travel to them. The drive is expected to be made by OP and her husband with their infant.
“While doable, it’s a pain to travel around a baby’s nap schedule to a non-child-proofed home”, says OP.
She (OP) did not have family around when she was younger, so she’s unsure if this is normal. It just seems like so much to OP, and whenever she expresses that she doesn’t want to go to all these events, OP’s husband assumes she hates his family or his mom guilts them into going because they all want to see the baby.
“So either way, I look controlling or like I’m just ‘hogging’ my baby,” says OP.
IS THIS NORMAL?
“Is this a normal amount of trips for holidays? Am I right to assume that his extended family should give space to us and our family now that we have a family of our own?
I don’t want them out of the picture, and I don’t want the assumption to be that we will attend every event without question. Am I the jerk for wanting to stop attending so many events? Or should I just be going to them all?” asks OP.
YOU HAVE A HUSBAND ISSUE
“Not the jerk. You have a husband issue, and he needs to grow a spine and tell them that he needs to concentrate on you and the baby. That you will go to an occasional party but not all.”
MAKE YOUR OWN TRADITIONS
“Not the jerk. It’s time to make memories with your husband and child. There is no obligation to attend to everything. That is exhausting and prevents you from making your traditions.”
NO JERKS HERE
“No jerks here. But as a kid, I would have been bored to spend holidays just with my parents. To me, holidays are to spend with the whole family, but no one should guilt trip you if you can’t come.”
DISCUSS YOUR BOUNDARIES
“Not the jerk. Decide what traditions you want to start with your nuclear family. For me, I drew the line at going anywhere Christmas morning, and I wanted to have either Christmas Eve dinner or Christening dinner. Discuss your boundaries with your husband and make a plan for your family that includes both of your desires.”
MAKE A COMPROMISE
“The hard part is that families like this aren’t going to slow down for you. This means the only real happy medium or compromise is that you let it be known what your boundaries are and what your expectations are for where you fall in the hosting rotation. You’ll likely get some pushback at first, but if you stick to your guns, after some time, it will get normalized.”
THEY NEED TO STEP BACK
“Not the jerk. You, your husband, and your baby are a family. It’s time to make your traditions. The extended family can take a step back. Time to have family time with just you all.”
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This article was originally published on Mrs Daaku Studio.