We [F/26 & M/29] are expecting our first child and it's causing some tension with my family.
Chinyere Nkem Illo
Nov. 06, 2019
I just need some guidance from others who have been through a similar situation. For background, I'm currently 9 months pregnant, I'm an only child from a small family - married to a man who is from a large family and 1 of 4 children. My parents live a plane ride away and my husband's parents live 1.5 hours away. Our baby will be my parent's first grandchild and my husband's parent's 3rd.
Onto the issue - our families don't get along that well... on the surface, it's fine (no fighting, etc.), but my parents think that my husband's family is rude and unwelcoming (while I don't disagree from their perspective, my in laws are just a different family and aren't as engaging as my parents expect for hosts to be) so, they don't really enjoy being around them. On the other hand, my husband's family has said my parents are always welcome at their home for holidays and whatnot but 99% of the time, my parents are not interested in going when they come to visit us. Understandable though, they are coming to visit me and my husband - not the in laws.
With a new grandbaby on the way though, this is causing some problems. My parents are under the impression that because this is their 1st grandchild and I'm their only child, that my husband's family needs to understand and respect that and basically be less involved. However, I (and my husband) feel like - why should they be less involved? This is my husband's first child so he, of course, wants his family to be involved. For example, when I had one of my last ultrasound appointments, we invited both my mom and my MIL to attend. Apparently, my mom was a bit offended by this. She wanted a special moment between the 3 of us to see the baby and felt slighted that my MIL was there. My mom got to plan my baby shower with just me as well, so it's not like I've deprived her of that experience. However, my mom has told me that she feels "left out of my pregnancy" anyways because I haven't invited her to go baby clothes shopping, etc. But that feels weird to me! "Hey can you fly in and buy clothes for my baby?" Had she suggested it, I would have been all for it.
With the holidays approaching, I will be giving birth right around Thanksgiving. My parents will be coming into town the day before TG and leaving the day after and they've asked that we have a "private" TG at our house. Meaning, they do not want us to invite my husband's father (his mother will be out of town) and one of his sisters. They told us that they would rather we celebrate TG with his family once they leave. Of course, my husband is frustrated and said "so I don't get to see my family at my house on TG for our daughter's first holiday because they don't like my family??" And I agree with him. I think they need to "suck it up" and deal with the fact that this is a grandchild on both sides and the holidays are going to be a little more inclusive than normal this year because of that.
And then there's Christmas. Christmas will most certainly be at my in law's 1.5hrs away. They have plenty of space and we would probably be going for 2 days max. They have been invited by my in laws to go, but because it's going to be at my in law's, my parents have planned to go on a vacation out of the country literally during Christmas. They told us "Oh, well we can come into town either before or after Christmas to celebrate with you privately" but I'm really sad, actually. This is going to be our daughter's first Christmas and simply because my parents feel like my in laws aren't the type of hosts that they expect, they want to skip out. They keep trying to say that they've had this trip planned for years, etc. but I know that if we said Christmas would be at our place and my in laws won't be there - they would be there in a heartbeat. Also they've never mentioned this trip before we started discussing Christmas plans.
My husband and I are extremely frustrated. We are asking for 1 year to have the families together for 2 holidays and my parents are digging their heels in the dirt, saying that because they are the ones flying in and that they don't get to see us often (5-6x/year) - they should be able to get time alone with us (FYI - they fly for free. Not discrediting the fact that they have to still pay pet sitters and it can be a hassle to fly but just wanted to throw that out there). I'm looking for advice on how to best navigate/explain this since I'm planning on having a very frank conversation with them about this. Are we being totally unreasonable by expecting/wanting this? Is it completely abnormal for families to come together on both sides during the holidays when there is a new baby?
TL;DR: My parents are being overprotective of holiday time with us because I'm an only child and this is their first grandchild. It's making me and my husband very frustrated because we just everyone together and to deal with it for one year.