Anonymous

We JUST saw you: Family Boundaries

Anyone have any experience with setting boundaries with their families around the holidays? Before my daughter was born my husband and I used to split time between family members or just spend it together. However, now with a 1 year old (only grandchild) the grandparents expect us to invite and host them for all holidays going forward or worse—travel to them with a toddler. They mean well but they are a LOT and it always ends up being miserable. We celebrated my daughter’s 1st birthday and Thanksgiving back to back and the thought of doing this all again in a few weeks has me stress yelling into a pillow. Any advice?

  • Sara
    Dec 01

    That does sound like a lot! You should just be clear about what you’re able to do (and it can change year to year). You can say something like “this year we will see your for thanksgiving but doing Christmas as a small family” or whatever your plans are. You just have to be firm with what you’re willing to do otherwise they will keep asking for more. I also recommend that you are in charge of communicating this to your own parents and your partner communicates this to your in-laws (if both sets problematic). It always seems to go better if you don’t communicate with in-laws directly but instead have it come from their child.

  • Anonymous
    Dec 01

    Just tell them that you want to do Christmas with just your family? For us it’s not the holidays but the vacations. Everybody wants to go on vacation together as one big family which is nice... but some times we just want to do things with just the 3 of us and I just flat out tell them. No issues with that so far. They just get it. Try it out and see what happens.

  • Cathy
    Dec 01

    Remember, this is your family now. The one that you’ve created. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. You’re allowed to make your own traditions. Suggest alternating Thanksgiving and Christmas, or doing a mid-year trip to see them or them to you.

  • AM
    Thursday

    Not sure if this helps but I read a quote once that said when you have kids they and your husband become your family and your parents etc become your relatives. We’ve had issues with my in-laws overstepping boundaries as well but we try to do what works for us and not worry about anyone else’s feelings.

  • Lara
    Thursday

    I live with in-laws and have a newborn. They were offended that we went to see my family for thanksgiving..are you kidding me? We LIVE with you?! And that was the first time some of my family had seen him. Yeah..everyone wants to see you and pull you in a ton of directions, and if you don’t comply then they get offended. I’m down for setting boundaries and I think we’re going to relax on our own for christmas, even if we live with family. Shoot, we’ll sit in our room or go out. 😄

  • Anar
    Thursday

    I understand that it can be very chaotic, but as funny as it seems, take advantage of the situation by agreeing with them which responsibilities they are willing to take on, such as cooking, preparing the table, putting the baby to sleep or feed, even better one is to babysit the baby while you and your husband get a date night out or day going to the movies or in spa or smth like that! They get their time with a precious grandchild, you get your quality time!

  • Vonda
    Thursday

    Stay home for Christmas. Tell them it’s too much to do this year. Or that you’d like to have time with just the family this year. Have each person tell their respective family. Husband to his. You to yours. It’ll be easier. And if they don’t like it well; they can stuff a turkey.

  • Jaclyn
    Thursday

    We split holidays between my family and my in-laws so no one can argue and so it’s not overwhelming. And we switch each year. So for example this year my family came for Thanksgiving and his family will come for Christmas. Next year we will do Thanksgiving with his family and Xmas with mine. I typically host Thanksgiving since my family is smaller on the “on” years and may travel a bit for his families turn. However, when I had my kids and they were young I said I was not going to travel with a young kid so they could come to me if they wanted to do holidays together. I also made it clear I was not going to be that involved in actually hosting or making food since I had a small baby I was taking care of.