Wanting to Do Our Own Thing Without the Rest of the Family

Updated on August 06, 2013
M.W. asks from Flushing, NY
25 answers

This weekend, my sister-in-law's parents will be in the area. They are flying in from Chicago and my husband's grandmother is preparing a huge meal for the family this weekend. We are with my in-laws almost every weekend. My husband is going on a business trip next week for 2 days and I really wanted time alone with him and my daughter this weekend. I ran into my husband's grandmother earlier while shopping and she says to me, "It's going to be a big weekend, huh?" So I responded that we are probably going to stay at home. She did not seem happy. She now just thinks that I am rigid and will refuse to do anything. There are many times that we have attended many family dinners. I don't think we need to attend all. Plus I want my alone time with my husband. I think I am entitled. I hate having to do things to please others or do things out of obligation. I try to make people happy but when the table is turned, there is no reciprocation. Sorry, I just needed to vent!

I would like to clarify that my husband's family does not like my mother very much. At my daughter's birthday parties, they barely even give my mother a smile. But when my sister-in-laws family comes in, they make a whole big stink and a huge dinner. To me, that is a little insulting.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you all for your responses. I spoke to my husband over what to do and he does not particularly care to go either. When I mentioned that his grandmother seemed pretty upset, his response was "she'll get over it." And I am making a big deal over my husband being away next week because I barely get to see him during the week as it is. He has a very intense work schedule and comes home pretty late. My daughter is usually already asleep by the time he comes home, so the only family time we have together is on the weekends.

Featured Answers



answers from Tampa on

No way would I want to get together with extended family every weekend. The older I get, the more introverted I get. I need solitude and time with my nuclear family to recharge after a long work week. I would totally skip this weekend and I would pull back a bit. I would start planning activities with my DH and DD so that we wouldn't be available every weekend.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Portland on

I think you need to pick and choose. If it were me in your position, I'd tell my husband "Sweetie, you know, I'd really like some family time with you..just our family. I was wondering how important this coming weekend was to you and when you think we could have a weekend 'off' from extended family." I think this is a more progressive way to state that you have a need (family time) that you understand he *may* feel some obligation to his own family AND that you would like him to figure out when the family time will be.

That said, I am not sure why you are projecting onto your husband's grandmother that "She now just thinks that I am rigid and will refuse to do anything." I mean, did she say that directly or is that your fear? Those are two entirely separate things.

I do think that such a statement about a gathering which is so important to her would have been better coming from her grandson, esp. since you hadn't actually had that conversation with him. It does put him in an awkward position of possibly having to put out a fire that he has no idea about.

I will say this, and I will try to say it nicely: being married and having a family is, if it is anything at all, ALL about obligation. What we must do is strive to have balance so that those obligations don't do us in. Obligations are not convenient, but if we go into those situations with our best intentions, if we make an effort to connect, if we see what's hard ahead of us and still do it, sometimes it can make us a better person. So talk with your husband about finding balance on the weekends, get some feedback from him. Start small (just skipping one weekend a month) and let him get used to it. When you go, go gracefully. If it is really horrible for you, then maybe talk to a counselor about helping you and he find reasonable balance.

Perhaps you could also consider that you are going to support your husband with his family, and that he would love to have you there because he loves you too.

FWIW-- I go to my husband's office party every year. Believe me, I'd rather be home in my pajamas than pay for a babysitter and have to listen to some of the most boring people I've ever met blather on about their vacations around the world... but my husband wants me there, so I put on my best smile, fancy myself up a bit, and go make small talk for three hours. Because it means something to my guy. Just some perspective.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

This really should not be about what you want, it should be about what your husband wants (its his family). Of course you would rather spend time with just him, you don't love these people the way he does. You have to see his side, this would be like him deciding he did not want to attend a function your mother was putting together. Ask him what HE would like to do and then support him.

You have to understand that this is not just about the inlaws you see all the time, but about a chance to visit with family that is flying in as well.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Your husband is going to be gone for 2 day - not 2 weeks.

Did the grandmother SAY she thinks you are rigid or is this what YOU THINK she thinks?

Go to the dinner and leave early. It's really simple and a compromise. You are not a doormat. If people say NO to you - that's their prerogative. Just as it is YOUR prerogative to say NO to others. It's NOT your job to make others happy. You are NOT responsible for anyone's happiness but your own. When you accept and act on that - your life will be happier.

Keep the lines of communication open.
Also know there are people like me - who would LOVE the opportunity to have dinner at least once a month with my family. And we no longer have my husband's parents - so we appreciate the family time and count our blessings when we do get it.

Hope this helps!

What does your husband want?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Sorry but I think you're being petty. Go to the larger family function for a couple of hours and then do something else that you want to do. A two-day business trip is hardly something to have a "we need to spend time together" weekend over - it's not like he's shipping out for 6 weeks, he'll be home a few days later.

Perhaps stop spending nearly every weekend with your ILs when there is nothing special going on, and then you'll be more available when there is something bigger going on? Personally I wouldn't consider spending time with my SIL's parents to be a command performance (and in reality I don't spend anytime with my SIL at all and certainly wouldn't give her family a moment's thought because we're estranged) but it's something that is important to your grandmother-in-law and I tend to like to make people who have been around for many, many decades happy. So assuming there is no animosity, do a graceful drive-by visit. Say hello, put in your appearance, and then move on to your other plans.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

His grandmother is not happy you won't be there.... And?

It would be better if she were happy you weren't there?


- You dont need to completely change your plans just because someone will be unhappy you aren't there.

- You don't need to come up with extra reasons not to go (I'm insulted that they're treating your family better than they treat mine) to compensate.

Just don't go, because you had other plans.

Easy peasy.

"Why weren't you at the family dinner???"
"We had other long standing plans that weekend. So sorry to have missued your parents! I hope their visit was fun?"

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Both of our families live in town. A blessing and a curse.

We are about 20 minutes of each other.

We used to all get together once a week. So fridays, saturdays and sundays could easily be spent driving from one event to the other. My husbands grand parents lived right up the street from us.

Once our daughter stared school, there were just too much going on.. We cut back a lot and there was some balking that went on. Mostly because WE had been the ones expected to drive to other homes, but they were not so keen on driving over to our house or our neighborhood for our events.

We just continued to try our best to join when we could and WANTED to join them..

Sure it was tough at first, but we learned to say, sorry, we are going ot miss all of you this time, but have a great time. Sometimes we told them what we were doing, most times, we did not feel we needed to explain ourselves.

You are allowed time to just be with your little family. You do not need to be ugly about it. They will have to learn to accept it.

Here is the deal. Once our daughter graduated from High School, I had put up with a lot of Bunk from my MIL and her treatment of our daughter. .. and so I was done with MIL. I told my husband and daughter to feel free to see her , go and spend time with her, call her, whatever, but I would no longer be joining them.

So keep in mind, you are a couple. If your husband wants to spend time with his family, that is great, If you do not mind him taking the kids and going that is also great. BUT, he is a grown man and if HE wants to go over and be with the family, the two of you need to figure out a compromise or schedule these weekend as if nothing is allowed to interfere with your family time. Maybe he could take the kids for a few hours and then come home and spend the rest of the time at home.

Maybe all of you could go for a couple of hours and then all split.. Or, just do not go this time and send your regrets.. They will survive, but your husband needs to be on board with this.

Either way, it takes the two of you to agree to this, or else it is not fair.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

So these are not your in-laws correct? They are your sister in laws so the in laws of your husband sister? I would skip it. They are not your family they are your sister in laws family. Just say you already had plans

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I'd take the cues from your hubby and let him make the decision since its his side of the family. But, frankly, I would skip it if he was okay with it. These are his brother's wife's parents, right? They really aren't family to you or your husband. You see your in-laws all the time, so one weekend shouldn't matter.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

If husbands grandmother is making a big dinner, I would go for 2 hours and leave. Seems rude to not go at all.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I would go to eat, and make an excuse to leave right after dinner to do something fun with my family. I never pass up a free meal I don't have to cook myself! Alone time with your husband and daughter will be even better if you don't have to cook and clean up after! Maybe after you do that a few times they will stop bugging you to come.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Have you ever told them how you feel about the way they treat your mother? I don't understand why you go over there every weekend, but because other family members are showing up, you want to boycott this weekend. Your mother isn't coming, is she?

Your mother has nothing to do with this. Your mom is a separate issue. Your husband should have had a discussion with your inlaws a long time ago, and you should not have been going over every weekend with this grudge you're carrying. It's funny that they call you rigid, when you've done and done for them. It seems that they are the rigid ones.

You and your husband need to get on the same page. You two need to have a real discussion about the insult that you feel about how they treat your mom. You also should stop going over there every weekend. The passive/aggressiveness you are showing by picking THIS weekend to not go is not going to make any point of yours because you and your husband haven't told them that neither of you like how they are acting towards your mom.

Time to sit down with your husband and have a REAL talk.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

You can do what you want.
This is your SIL's... parents. Not even a direct relation etc.
What does your Husband think?
I say, stay home.
You seem to have to be around the In-Laws a ton.
But they don't reciprocate, with "your" family.

You are entitled to your alone time. As you see fit.
I have done things like that, too.
I have a right to.
Ya know?

I say, spend more time with your Mom.
I mean, you are with your in-laws every weekend.
OMG, I would go nuts!
You have your own family and your own Mom.
Make your own plans.
Hubby SHOULD understand that.
It can't be all his-side of the family all the time.
What a monopoly.

You did not mention, what your Husband... thinks about all of this????

No matter what you do, it seems the in-laws will never like it.

And no, you do NOT have to attend EVERY single family dinner the in-laws have.
Again, what does your Husband think of their demands? Its all on you, it seems.
Not fair.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

What does your H want. That's what I would do.

But no, if I saw my inlaws all the time, I'd not feel obligated to go there this weekend.
You have an emeshed family. It has it's pluses and minuses. You decide on how to spend your time. But there maybe repercussions. Are you strong enough to weather it? Maybe not, if you can't take your grand-inlaw's stink eye! Me? No biggie.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

You are entitled to that alone time, but i would suggest a compromise,

At this point it's too late to have had your family time a weekend ahead, but it isn't too late to have it the weekend after,

I think it's much better for you to duck out plans with his in town family next week than to Skip visiting with the whole extended family and sis in laws out of town family.

because it's a big event for her and them, next weekend won't be so that's when you can celebrate daddy being home.

you could even do something special together with your hubs the night before he leaves. even if it means ducking out early. not sure when he was leaving.

i get what you are saying, but this isn't the weekend to dig in your heels, regular weekends would be the time to do that. maybe you need to tell hubs that you want one family free weekend per month, from my experience as your kids get older the juggling gets harder.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

It's your SIL's mother. She is not related to you and you should feel no obligation to attend. This is not a big weekend for you, your husband and daughter. Grandma will need to get over it. You are entitled to spend family time when you are going to be separated from your husband for a business trip. I would look at it differently if it was his grandma's 90th birthday party or something, but this is a dinner in honor of someone who is not part of your family.
We had to set some limits early on with my husband's family too, like the year that after we had Christmas at my house, my MIL decided to make a post-Christmas dinner for all the same relatives at her house a few days later, and then the next weekend, Dh's grandma made a holiday dinner at her house again with the same exact guest list. We went to the one at his mom's but declined to go to grandma's and when she asked what other plans we had, we told her honestly that we did not have other plans, but just saw no need to attend three Christmases within 6 days with all the same people. Heck, if I knew they wanted to host Christmas dinner, I could have skipped the effort and expense on my part.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

So, you can't spend the other 6 days and nights of the week with hubby and the time before and after the dinner on that day?

I understand just how frustrating that is, you don't want to go, that's obvious, but make it for the right reason. You spend every day with hubby and daughter so that's not really a valid reason. He's only going to be gone 2 days, not 2 weeks or 2 months. You'll see him in a couple of days.

So if you don't want to go this weekend for any reason then just say "I don't want to go to your house that day". This is sil's parents right? Are you close to them? Will people you don't normally see be there? Perhaps your hubby wants to be there and visit with his family, did you ask him? Stay home and let him go and take the kiddo if you want a quiet weekend.

He may want to go spend time with his family.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

be persistently sweet and upbeat with grandma so her out-of-joint nose moves back into place, but stick to your guns.
you are absolutely entitled to time with just your gang.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

Your sister-in-laws parents... So I'm guessing your brother's wife's parents? (But then I don't get why your husband's grandma would be doing a family dinner...) Or are they your husband's sister's parents, so your in-laws as well (the ones you see almost every weekend... but then i would assume you would refer to them as your in-laws...) I'm a bit confused about the relationship here...

Either way, if it someone you see rarely I would attend the dinner. Your husband is only going to be gone for two days next week, so its not like going to a family dinner this weekend is stealing much quality time with him. You can always put in an appearance, then excuse yourself early.

How does your husband feel? Does HE want to go? If not, then I probably wouldn't worry about it too much.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

This is why we moved a few hours away from family. Every weekend someone wanted us to be somewhere. Take the cue from your husband since its his family. Dinner can be just a couple hours so you have the rest of the weekend to spend with him or better yet, drop off your daughter so she can see everyone and have some time alone - win win

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Do what you feel is best. Give me a break. People can be so dramatic. Sheesh.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It's one dinner. The people you will be dissing if you don't go are the visitors, not your MIL.

It sounds as if the real issue here is NOT this one dinner or this one weekend or your needing time with your husband before this one trip he's making. The real issue is spending time practically every weekend with your in-laws. Unless you adore them, that sounds like too much and your post is dripping with resentment that is unspoken and unresolved -- they don't treat your mother like you want them to; you're jealous that they are making "a big stink" over these other relatives but don't make one over your mother; you feel that you constantly must please others but never yourself; and so on. All those are legitimate reasons to be mad, but--have you ever done anything to change the situation?

Don't take out your frustration on the visitors. They are not responsible for the "big stink." I'd go -- but only for a limited time. Have somewhere else you absolutely have to be at a specific time and say, "We need to be at X at 3:00" and leave with big hugs and smiles for the visitors.

Then start having enough to do on weekends that your family is not with the in-laws so much. As your kid(s) get older this will get "old" too because your kids will have more and more activities that will take up your time, so you'll naturally spend less time with the in-laws. Also consider why you feel your in-laws treat your mother poorly but you haven't said anything to call them out on it -- have you? Have you talked with your husband about it, asked him if there is a real reason, asked him to stick up for your mom with his family? Because that's his role here. If your husband is the one pushing for every-single-weekend visits with his parents, and you have issues with it, you need to talk with him about it rather than being angry and seething over it, and then insulting the guests who have nothing to do with the issues between you and your husband's parents. If you dislike the frequency of your contact with the in-laws, and feel you want more family time with your husband and kids, then make that happen.



answers from Columbia on

I guess I'm not sure if you're talking about a big dinner with everyone.... or an entire weekend of mandatory activities? To me, that makes a difference.

My daughter's dad's family have "sunday dinner". Sunday. at 4pm. E.V.E.R.Y. SUNDAY. every week. all year long.

But... it's JUST Sunday dinner. so, we showed up at 4, ate around 5 and we were gone by 6:30 or 7. I married into that family knowing that was how they did things.

This is something your husband needs to weigh in on.... if you don't share the same perspective you are going to be putting him in an awkward position with his family and loyalties. So, tread carefully, would be my advice.

Does your mother live in the same city as you? Do they not like her because the feel the same feelings they get from you... which is that you don't particularly like them? Or maybe you get the same "I hate having to do things to please others" attitude from your mom? That's a really poor attitude to have, by the way. LIFE is about interacting with others. One day you might need them. But if you are making it known that you aren't all about that with your "I feel entitled" attitude, then they probably DON'T like your mom..... apple from the tree and all that. Yes, you married your husband, but that GAINED you a family. HIS family. If you wanted someone who didn't have an involved family, then you should have married someone who was alone and didn't have that family obligation.

My opinion is that you COULD schedule "alone time with your husband" AND go see his family. You just don't want to. Which is fine, but you need to make sure hubby is on board with that. So, my suggestion is to talk to hubby and go from there.



answers from Salinas on

It really sounds like you don't want to go because of the difference in how they treat SIL's parents and how they treat your mother. That is the REAL reason. I really can't see your husband's TWO day trip being a reason to have to spend all weekend with him.

Whatever your reason, obviously it's your choice, but don't expect anything to change if you don't communicate your feelings.



answers from Roanoke on

I think I'd just buckle down and go, and try to make the most of the alone time that we get. But, perhaps after your husband gets back, maybe you could skip the next few in-law family weekends and enjoy time with your husband and daughter?

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions