45 answers

Mother-In-Law Pushing for Family Vacation

Good afternoon, ladies!

I've been married for 15 years (in April), and have one child (son) who is almost 9. My husband and I have not had any type of vacation since our honeymoon, 15 years ago. While we (I) try to plan for a vacation every year, something always seems to happen... no money, not enough time off from work, husband seems generally disinterested, etc.

I've even had several years, where I had both the time and the money set aside, but unforeseen circumstances always seem to arise that require the need to use the vacation money for other purposes.

This year, we have both the time and the money, and I have VOWED that the funds WILL NOT be used for anything other than our long overdue vacation. I feel like a horrible parent, never having taken our son on a vacation!

Now, my MIL told us a little over a month ago that she has been planning a family vacation at Disney World since before she retired (5 years ago). She’s had the money set aside since then, and would like to take my husband and I, and our son to Disney World this summer.

My husband and I discussed this briefly, and I was completely against doing the whole family vacation thing (with extended family), until we’ve taken our own family vacation. Since we have not yet taken a vacation with our son, I do not want to compete with my MIL and FIL for his attention. While my husband agreed with me, I suspect he only did so because I was so against it.

He discussed it with my MIL and explained that while we appreciated the offer, we did not want to do it until we had a chance to take our own family vacation. All seemed to go well, and it appeared to be the end of the discussion, until… she brings ups the subject again a few days ago.

My husband tells me that she wants to discuss the issue with both of us… “just to state her peace”. At this point, I was angry and refused to discuss the matter with her further. I felt like I was being pressured and backed in to a corner… we had already stated our reason why we did not want to participate in a family vacation this year, and she should respect our decision.

While I generally get along well with my MIL, there are definitely occasions when she grates on my last nerve, and in recent years it has become apparent to me that she is quite passive-aggressive. My husband is an only child, and I truly feel that she still coddles and caters to him, which absolutely aggravates me! But that’s a whole other story…

We did not refuse the family vacation completely, just to postpone it until next year or the year after. She indicated that she’s been planning this since before she retired, yet she waits over 5 years to mention it to us… and she’s insisting to do it this year.

We were concerned with her “urgency”, so my husband confirmed that neither of his parents have any underlying health issues they were not telling us about, or would prevent them from doing it next year. And, I know we have a history of our own vacation plans falling through , but I still feel our very first family vacation should be private… without any of the in-laws (his family OR mine).

Am I completely over-reacting? Or, should I graciously accept her offer and do the big family vacation this year, knowing there’s always a possibly that our own plans will fall through yet again?

Sorry for the very long, rambling post…. it felt good to vent, though.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the advice so far... but I feel the need to clarify a few issues.

1) This is in NO WAY a personal issue with my MIL.
2) TWO vacations this year will never happen... neither I or my husband get enough time off work for that.
3) The importance of family is not the issue - my son gets plenty of quality time with his grandparents every week... they visit us for 5+ hours EVERY Sunday (since he was born).
4) I know my son best... given a choice of who to hang out with (mom & dad vs. grandparents) he will choose his grandparents every time. Would be a rather disappointing "family" vacation if you didn't get to spend any significant amount of quality time with your own child.

Featured Answers

I vote go with the inlaws. Like the others said you can plan for a little private time... that is a great compromise...

My husband lost his dad last year, he was only 66... you never know how long you are going to have them. This is a wonderful memory for you son :) Fortunately we took a few vacations with my inlaws so my kids have those memories. I will be honest, i never really wanted to go... but... it was very important to my husband and his family...in the end i am glad that we did.

3 moms found this helpful

I feel the same as you. I would rather go with just my family. Although I would rather stick needles in my eyes before going on any vacation with my MIL.........oh no did i really say that!!!!!

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers

you want to wait until when? until your son is 18? you've had 15 years to take that vacation and something has always prevented you from going on vacation (not to say any of it was your fault) ..But usually, the way it goes is..you wait for the right opportunity/time..and usually the opportunity never comes. Before you know it, another 5 and then 10 years past. Then you neither have your own family vacation nor any vacation for that matter..and your son's already in college. And your in-laws aren't getting any younger. They're not trying to infringe on your family vacation. They're trying to build memories with their you guys (their family) and especially their grandson before it's too late. But they're here, stuck waiting until WHEN you guys are ready.. And who knows when that'll be? How long can two, retired grandparents wait?

Does it look like you'll be able to take a vacation anytime soon? I mean, you say you have the money and time...but...do you really have a plan? If not, do the selfless thing and give your family a vacation, ANY vacation. You've got the resources (even if it's not your own money). It's not a competition. It's a family vacation to be with your loved ones.

6 moms found this helpful

To answer your question---I think you should graciously accept the offer and do the big family vacation this year. You have put off a family trip for 15 years-what is one more year gonna hurt? Your in-laws won't be around forever. I don't 100% believe this has nothing to do with your personal feelings with your MIL--if It didn't, you wouldn't have even mentioned that you have some issues with her and your husband. You may not even realize you are harboring these feelings and inadvertently punishing your MIL by trying to exert control over the situation. Honestly--you guys haven't had a vacation in 15 years---maybe you forget that a vacation is supposed to be about having fun and enjoying each other's company, not arguing over who is deciding where you go. Go and have a great time....you and hubby can probably go off a bit by yourselves even since you have the grandparents there to occupy the kids once in awhile. You see your son everyday and have the rest of your life to take trips and do fun stuff---GO TO DISNEY WORLD!

4 moms found this helpful

I understand you have your heart set on a private family vacation.
But, your son is 9. What if something happens, God forbid, and you still haven't taken a vacation with him when he's 13?
It just sounds to me like you're more worried about who gets to do what first. It's a little disconcerting that you are worried about competing with your MIL and FIL for your son's attention.
It's a vacation, not a competition.
As for quality time with your child, getting to see how much fun he has IS quality time. Surely there will be opportunities to go on rides with him and do things Gran and Gramps don't want to do. I doubt you'd all stay in the same hotel room so you'd have evenings to walk or spend in the pool with your son.
If someone offered a vacation like that for me, I'd already be packing.
I do totally understand the importance you place on wanting your first vacation to be just the three of you, but think of it from you son's perspective.
Ten years from now, your son isn't going to be pining away about how he can't believe his first vacation wasn't with his mom and dad alone, he's going to remember the awesome time he got to go to Disney World with mom, dad, and his grandparents. He's a kid. He would enjoy it and remember it for the rest of his life on those kid terms.
It's my hope that ten years from now, you wouldn't be pining away about it either. You'd be glad he got to experience it.
I think you should graciously accept the offer. Talk about brownie points! Your son will be so thrilled!
If someone offered something like this for me and my kids and I said no, I'm afraid I'd have a mutiny on my hands.
Be prepared for your son's reaction if you tell him you thinks it's best for Disney World to wait.
In his life, vacations get talked about. They don't happen. (No offense).
Try to look at this not as a means for your MIL to get her way, but for your son to experience something most kids can only dream about.
Your son clearly loves his grandparents and he won't have them around forever.
I just hope you consider your decision very carefully.

3 moms found this helpful

You are overreacting albeit I DO understand. You had your heart set on something and now plans change AGAIN. And, now you will have to share your vacation time, but it will be fun as long you allow it to be. Shoot, if she's paying - I would already be packing :) You have your little ones all of the time, as a family, you have cherished moments on a daily, weekly basis. The first family vacation with or without extended family - the kids will not care - they just want to have fun. I agree with Laurie A. What's wrong with two vacations?

3 moms found this helpful

I feel the same as you. I would rather go with just my family. Although I would rather stick needles in my eyes before going on any vacation with my MIL.........oh no did i really say that!!!!!

3 moms found this helpful

I'm not sure why it would be 'better' for a vacation to include fewer people who love your son... I'm not sure I even understand your objection.

I mean, I don't have any interest in going to Florida under pretty much any circumstances, and I'd rather have all my teeth pulled than go anywhere with my mother-in-law (she met my 2nd/youngest after she turned 13, my husband is an only child and, yes, she travels a lot and lives in the same country) but why not piggy back the whole thing, if you don't mind them?

You could 'meet' in Florida after you've had a week, or you could stay an extra week after they leave.

We used to camp, when the kids were little, but otherwise we *never* had a 'family vacation' the way people think of them. I certainly don't feel guilty about it.

We were taken to Disneyland by my parents when the kids were 11 and 9, and it was FANTASTIC! We had no 'agenda' apart from hanging out at the hotel pool and Disneyland for the whole 7 days we were there... it was relaxing, fun and with 5 adults (my sister came, too, before she had her daughter), both the kids got to do what they wanted, whenever they wanted because someone was always willing to go with them: shopping, on another ride, on the same ride again, to get something to eat, to the washroom, or whatever.

I don't think you *should* do anything, but I wonder about your comment about 'competing' for your son's attention... it's a strange objection. You'r his mom. She's his grandma. I think he is probably capable of seeing the difference between the two of you --he's unlikely to accidentally call her 'mom' right? So, he gets a vacation being doted on by 4 people who love him... how is that a competition between you and anyone?

3 moms found this helpful

I vote go with the inlaws. Like the others said you can plan for a little private time... that is a great compromise...

My husband lost his dad last year, he was only 66... you never know how long you are going to have them. This is a wonderful memory for you son :) Fortunately we took a few vacations with my inlaws so my kids have those memories. I will be honest, i never really wanted to go... but... it was very important to my husband and his family...in the end i am glad that we did.

3 moms found this helpful

I think you should go on the extended family vacation and be gracious about it. You can take your son on an immediate family only vacation next time. Really, you've waited this long, you can wait another year.

As some others have said, make sure you carve out some private family time during the vacation. Shouldn't be a problem at all. Just make sure you get separate hotel rooms.

So yes, I think you are being a little silly. If you had taken a vacation last year or the year before, this wouldn't be an issue. His parents aren't going to be around or this generous forever. Might as well take advantage.

3 moms found this helpful

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