30 answers

Family Being Overbearing About Our Vacation & I Want to Cancel---Am I Crazy?

Our family lives on the other side of the country. We've planned a 10 day trip to the area where all of them lives. (FYI--Each set of Grands usually comes to our house 2x/year for at least a week, so they see us/our DD other times too.) We booked a condo a couple hours away in a resort area we live & planned to rotate the 3 sets of grandparents in so we could have 1 on 1 time with each & our 4.5 yo DD doing kid-oriented things in the resort area. (We have done this before & the Grands loved it & we were happy we weren't sitting around "visiting" at their homes & feeling obligated to shuttle from one place to another.) At the end of this trip, we were going to spend 3 days near all of them, so we could spend a bit more time together. Previously our families have always been understanding that this is our only vacation & they understand we need to have a vacation while visiting...Not this time.

First, my mom informed me that they (the first set of Grands to come to the condo), were going to stay for 1-2 nights & then take our DD back to their house for the next 4-6 nights & they would "share" her with the other Grands (who all live fairly close) & we could have a vacation. She had already discussed this with the other Grands & had the plan set., even though they know our girl has never spent a whole night w/o at least 1 of us. We have no interest in being away from our girl for that long (let alone how she would do at 4.5 yo with this scenario) & we had already made plans for kid-oriented activities to do with her that she was very excited about. We said no thank you, but my mom seems very offended & has regularly brought it up since & has been quite rude that we won't "allow" this.

Next, my FIL said sorry, but they can't come to the condo to see us at all. At most they can do is dinner, if we come to their house, one night.

Then, my MIL (they are divorced & re-married) said they are only coming to meet us near the condo for a partial day & then they are leaving to spend 2 nights about an hour away with their motorcycle group who will be vacationing nearby (& they didn't have these plans before we booked ours.) AND she planned a BBQ dinner at her house with a group of her friends & a few extended family we barely know so she can "show off" her grandchild. This isn't horrible, but we do mind being told this is the day/time & you WILL be there.

The final straw was last night when my favorite aunt who lives about 90 minutes from the condo we rented also called to tell me that she was not coming to the condo for a day as previously planned & that SHE planned a BBQ (different day/time) & again invited extended family we barely know. Again, this is the date/time & you WILL be there.

Previously none of these people have acted demanding & overbearing like this, so I'm floored at the whole thing. But the bottom line is that all of these things are leading to a not-so-great vacation for us. We are going to see far less of the family we wanted to see (the Grands), & when we do it's going to be in these "visiting" situations that will be less than ideal for a 4.5 yo & not give her quality time with her grands. Plus, it's not really a vacation for us & this is our only trip & break from work.

Honestly, I feel physically ill about all of this & don't want to go. I could cancel our trip with minimal financial loss & I'm thinking about doing that. Am I crazy?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow, everyone who has responded so far...Thanks for your responses, even those who said that I was the one who needed to look my carefully at things or criticized my plans in some way---you do have a point & I will look at that...There's also some great suggestions here on how to make everyone happy--thanks!...I DO WANT TO CLARIFY, that I proposed this plan to all of them BEFORE I booked anything & they all acted thrilled about it. I did not make the assumption that because they did this resort-trip thing before that they would be happy with it this time...In addition, for those of you who think I need to let the kid go to her grandparents alone, it's not that I'm opposed to that. I said no because a 4-6 night sleepover when we are hours away as a first try seems like a bad idea. Plus we've already planned kid-oriented activities in the resort area that she is very excited about.

Featured Answers

It seems like maybe the "grands" are over having their times booked FOR them and might like to spend time with their grandkids as THEY would like to.
I think there's a lot of control to be let go of here.
Perhaps adopting a more"roll with it" outlook might lead to a more enjoyable visit for everyone?
Have fun!

5 moms found this helpful

No, I do not think you are crazy. I would be tempted to cancel as well. However, I probably wouldn't, because then I know *I* would feel guilty for not having the little time I/my kids could have had with family. Not much help, I know ;)

More Answers

Sounds like family jsut wants to see you - but doesn't want to do it on your terms - but theirs. Sounds like you originally set it all up on your own terms - assuming that they'd be fine with that. Well apparently they're not - for whatever reason.

I'd suggest that you still go if it's a place you'd want to go anyway. Tell all the family that you'll be there for this period of time and let them respond as to when they want to be there. If they end up bumping into eachother then they have to figure out what will work for them - such as who will get a hotel room or sleep on the pull-out couch.

As for your mom wanting to take your DD back to her house and give you and your husband a mini-vacation - sounds like she had good intentions. Most young working mom would welcome this - but you don't - I never did either. My feeling was always that I didn't get to sepnd enough time with my DD anyway - so vacation time was precious time to be together. But consider letting your mom take your DD for one night so you and hubby can have a little alone time. Then you can drive to their house and spend a night there to minimize all the driving for you DD and you.

It's not awful - it just sounds like the family members that you assumed would do things the way y ou wanted it done are now assuming that you'll do things the way they want it done. Does that sound familiar?

6 moms found this helpful

I think it's nice that you want to visit family, and want your daughter to spend time with her grandparents.

However, a couple of things stood out:

1. You are basically booking/scheduling a vacation for your inlaws/parents. By choosing the resort, telling them which weeks to come, having them travel a couple hours away, you are arranging their schedules for them with no options.

2. You don't say how old they are, but they may be in middle age or older, and may feel more comfortable at their own homes. Leaving their homes to travel a few hours and stay at a hotel may be uncomfortable for them. And even if you pay everything for them, they may be uncomfortable with that much money being spent, with driving a couple hours (with gas being so expensive), etc.

Is there any possible way you could stay at a location much nearer to them? If they live in the middle of hundreds of miles of farmland with no hotels, then I guess the answer is no.

If your purpose is a vacation, take a vacation - go to Hawaii. If your purpose is to visit family, then go visit family. Don't just travel a little bit closer to them and set up a visitation schedule. Stay 5 days in the resort, and 5 days at the Holiday Inn Express in their area where you can have family meals, go to the park, throw a frisbee around. Your daughter will enjoy any sort of time with her grandparents, and even if it's not a huge planned activity but simply making cookies, memories will be made.

6 moms found this helpful

JustBeingMellow, please try to just be mellow. You are being far too upset by this.

This is a vacation at a resort. Enjoy it. Let them visit you at your home when they want to if they can only spend a little time with you. THe next time your mom brings up not being allowed to take your daughter, LAUGH at her and say "When are you going to give this tactic up, Mom? You KNOW I'm on vacation with my child and want to enjoy it with her! Why would I send her anywhere away from me during my vacation?" And change the subject.

Though you don't like being "summoned", that is exactly what you have previously done with your family. They are worked into your schedule. Now they want to work you into their schedule. Please try to accept at least some of this and stop feeling physically ill.

You might actually have a better time without all the family!

5 moms found this helpful

It seems like maybe the "grands" are over having their times booked FOR them and might like to spend time with their grandkids as THEY would like to.
I think there's a lot of control to be let go of here.
Perhaps adopting a more"roll with it" outlook might lead to a more enjoyable visit for everyone?
Have fun!

5 moms found this helpful

"Previously our families have always been understanding." Does this translate, that it's been your way and now maybe your family would like to do something their way?

I would suggest a compromise and if that doesn't work, no one could blame you for changing plans.

I suggest that you rent a place (for the first or second week) in the hometown of the grand parents on both sides...sounds like they all live in the same area. They can plan the events of the week and maybe your daughter can "try" to spend the night at your mom's house, freeing you and your husband up to go to dinner, visit others or just have a night alone. If your daughter can't do it and crys for mommy and daddy, you will be near by and can go pick her up or spend the night there with her.

Then take a week just with the three of you and do what EVER you want to do.

Have a great vacation.


4 moms found this helpful

Welcome to living away from your extended family. All of our vacations are like this. I don' think having your daughter stay with her grandparents is a big deal - heck - we left our 2 year old with his grandparents for a week when we took our second honeymoon - and I would LOVE the private time with my spouse.

That said - this is your trip - but it's centered around your family - which means it is NOT a vacation. Sorry to break that to you - it was a very hard lesson for us to learn - and we've come to see visiting family as just that - visiting family - and we plan real VACATIONS seperate and for us only.

Good luck...

3 moms found this helpful

I feel for you. Our relatives (one set of grands, aunts and uncles, and only cousin to our daughter) are also very distant (overseas) so we see them once a year and it's also our big family vacation time as well as family visiting time. It's a tough balance.

I disagree with posters that you were being presumptuous all these years to do the planning you did. I think what happened with this sudden rash of "I've planned a BBQ etc." is that one person did it, told the other relatives, and everyone suddenly loved the idea.

If you still want to go to this resort and not cancel, well, as someone said, the various BBQs are only a few nights out of a longer stay. It's too bad, though, because kids this age don't perform on command, and there's every chance that your child will be cranky, or turn shy, or refuse the food they've made, or run off into the house rather than be cooed over by strangers. That's the risk these adults take in showing her off like that. Unfortunately you'll be the one stressed by it as you say "Oh, I'm so sorry, she's not usually like that...." But they are courting it with their plans.

If you go, where you have to put your foot down firmly is on the overnights with grandma and grandpa. Our daughter still hasn't spent a night without one of us there and she's 10; she's just not comfortable with that yet, though she's an outgoing child. Why expect a 4-year-old to be ready? If she visited their home often and was very familiar with it, felt comfortable there, etc. that would be different. But grandma cannot just announce she is taking your child for FOUR TO SIX NIGHTS. One night, if you were close by in case of meltdown, would be OK, but you don't start a young kid on overnights with a four-day marathon and mom and dad hours away.

Grandma is clueless about what will happen the first night when your daughter wants mom NOW and wants to leave NOW and you and your husband are a couple of hours away.

I would just smile and gently tell her, "Sally hasn't spent a night away from us yet, and starting now, on a vacation where everything's new, just isnt' the right time to start. We'll be hours away if she wakes you up and says she wants to see us. It's so nice of you to want to give us this time off, and we appreciate it, but we'd really love for all of us to spend time with you." Don't fuss or fight over it, just smile and drop it and if she persists on the overnights or says "You're coddling her, you have to let her start sometime etc." just don't rise to that bait -- stay calm and say, yes, we will, but she's four. Most kids don't do sleepovers that young unless it's close to mom and dad and in a place they're very familiar with. Then switch the subject to some terrific outing you'd like them to join you for.

It may be that grandma sincerely sees it as her doing you a huge, huge favor and providing you and your husband with a big treat, for her to take your daughter for that long: She sees it as "I'm giving them a wonderful extended break! Can't they appreciate that? Aren't they grateful?" I think it would be wise, and kind, to acknowledge that and say, I know you meant well and it's such a generous offer; I'm sorry to say no; I know you meant to give us a treat and a break, etc. Let her know you understand that she really was excited about her idea. She may feel really deflated that what she thought was a terrific idea you'd just leap at was met with "No." I agree with the no, totally, but at least acknowledge with her the good intentions and be ready with lots of other things she can do with your daughter.

One last thing if you do go -- once you are there, the family members may likely come up with "Oh I thought I'd come to the resort today" or "I want you to come over here today." Be ready for that -- sudden interruptions of your plans. See if you can invite them along on some of the outings for your daughter but do stick to your plans to have some family time with just you, husband and child.

3 moms found this helpful

I may wind up being in the minority here but.... Here's my 2 cents worth...
#1 - My DD will be turning 5 this summer, to this day she has NEVER spent the night without one of us with the exception of when her sister was born. I personally can not relax or sleep if I can not hear or see my children safely sleeping. So I would not send my child home with anyone for several days. I would simply tell your mother that while you appreciate the offer you are just not ready to be without your child overnight. #2 - We would decline the bbq invitations by saying, I'm sorry but when we initially discussed our vacation plans with you all you all seemed to be in agreement. We've already made plans with our child during our only vacation that we are all looking forward to and did our best to include everyone in our arrangement. We're sorry that your plans have changed but ours has not. We will be at the condo from ____ thru ____ you all are more then welcome to join us in our activities. It sounds as if your FIL and MIL, and Aunt were well aware of the vacation plans but choose to make other arrangements, that's totally on them and not you. The only one I would be concerned with is your Mother whom from the sounds of it has her feelings hurt and may be thinking you do not trust her with your child. I'm sure that is not the case but you need to clarify with her. This is your family's ONLY vacation and you all would like to be together as a family to enjoy it. It is not a lack or love/trust in her, it's about spending quality time as a family. Good Luck and God Bless!

3 moms found this helpful

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