Family Matters
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How much is too much?

I would like to take a poll - I am new to this so I hope that I am doing it correctly.

 How much time on average as an adult do you and your family/signifigant other spend with your parents over a weeks time? Months time? How many phone calls?

 My husband and I have different opinions on how much time to spend with family but all that I have to base my opinion on is my personal view and looking at the time that friends spend with their families.

 Thanks!

Re: How much is too much?

  • Our families live 1,000 miles away in PA. Each week, I talk to my parents (usually my mom, my dad emails) about 3-4 times for maybe 15 min. each time. He calls his parents on Friday evenings and talks to them for about 45-60 minutes. 

    Together, we see our families maybe once or twice a year for Christmas and some other holiday. I usually go up 1-2 times myself since I'm a teacher and have more vacation time. 

    When we lived 2 hours from them, we saw our families about once a month for a weekend. 

  • Maybe, ahh, 4 hours a month?
    image
  • I should also add that this works for us. I'm closer to my family than he is to his. When we first moved to FL, I talked to my mom every day for about 8 months. It was a hard time for me and she could help me through that in a different way than he could.

    I think if you guys find something that works for both of you, it doesn't have to be equal on both sides. As long as you're both okay with it and happy, nothing else should matter.

  • It doesn't matter what anyone here does. The two of you need to compromise and find a balance that works for both of you.
  • I don't think you can assign a specific amount of time to something like this.  It's not a black and white issue.

    The way I see it- if the calls/ seeing family, etc, doesn't get in the way of your own time together and your own lives, then why does it matter "how much" it is?

    As in, if you talk to your mom daily but it's when you aren't w/ your DH, or he's doing something on his own, then why does it matter to him if you talk to her daily or not?

    But, if talking to your mom interferes w/ dinner every night, or he wants to see friends on Sunday but you say "but we HAVE to spend every Sunday w/ my family", then it's "too much". 

     

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • We see my parents maybe twice a month for dinner.  We see my husbands parents several times a year because they live 12 hours away.  When they lived an hour away, we limited the amount of time we spent with them because they are awful.

    It really doesn't matter what other people do, though.  Every family is different and you and your husband just need to figure out what works for you.

  • Here is the deal in our situation- I am going to try to 'nut shell' this as much as possible.

     I came from a small family who didn't spend a lot of time with extended family, work before play, on the wealthier side than his, more city like. He came from a HUGE family- I'm talking Christmas is 70+ people. Almost all of them live within about five miles of us, get together for everything, go to church together and so on. His mother has dinner for the immediate family (husband and I, brother and sister in law, out daughter, sil's son, and fil's parents) every Tuesday night. I already see this as PLENTY of time together considering they live less than five minutes away and for one reason or another usually see them around once a week anyways. His sister spends what I consider to be a ridiculous amount of time with their parents- Tuesday dinner, church, weekend outings, other dinners about once or twice a month, walks in the evenings, plus some. That is no care or concern of mine, as much as I love my mom and we are friends she isn't my bff and I am a grown woman with my own life and my sil can do what she wants with hers. The thing that gets me is that I have had an increased feeling of being judged by them because I don't feel the need to see them that much, or go to every 2nd or 3rd cousins birthday party. I find it out right ridiculous but since it is just how things work in their world I am just being rude/snotty for feeling overwhelmed by them and wanting my own life and time. Then there is his dad who is rude, lazy and arrogant among other things and throws things at me like that 'I have to eat sometime' or that 'my household duties can just wait' or whatever he decides to pull out of his ! that day. I am getting very frustrated and I don't feel like I am being unreasonable by any means but it is like they think that is just how everyone in the world works. And the big thing is I don't want my husband to think that I don't like his family or make us the odd couple out from everyone but I refuse to change how I feel and be fake to accomodate their views. OR ultimately lose my mind trying to go to the five million functions that they have each year.

    Do I just need to say f it and do my own thing and if they don't like it then too bad? Put my husband in a compramising place with this family and how they function?

  • I think that the weekly dinner is even too much. 

    What does your husband say when you tell him that you're sick of his family, that while you like them in smaller, less-frequent doses, seeing them that much makes you like them less?

    image
  • O.k. - with your update you're leaving out a VERY important piece of information.  Where is your DH on this?  Does he agree with you?  The time you do spend is enough?  Or does he get pissed at you too when you dont' want to do "everything"? or because you don't want to be buddy buddy w/ his mom, does he get upset?

    His being on the same page as you or not plays a VERY important role here.

    ETA: I realize you said you have differing opinions, but HOW differing?  How "against" you on this is he?   For example, I really don't like to see my IL's if DH isn't there too.  They are just difficult to be around and hold a conversation with for an extended period of time, among other things.

    I know he would LIKE it if I were up to seeing them w/o him (so that they could see DS more), but he understands why I don't want to and he fully supports me. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • On the dad's behavior I would say f it and do what you want because he seems like he is hard to deal with anyway. And any move or word you say will have the same effect: Grumpy FIL.

    But on the functions situation there has to be a middle ground. There has to be an area of an amount of functions that you could do while containing your alone time that still will make your husband and his family happy. If there isn't and it is an all or nothing situation, do what you want, and go to what you want. But is it also and issue if you don't go to these, because your husband will attend and you won't get any time together?


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  • He occasionally gets irked when I skip Tuesday night dinners but after explaining my reasoning to him he has slowly accepted it and on some level understands. He agrees that a lot of the 2nd and 3rd cousins birthday parties are not reasonable but if I were on the same super family band wagon as the in laws I think the would go to a lot more of the get togethers without much thought. I am the more put my foot down person in our relationship and he is a very laid back and passive person so even when things bother him it doesn't really 'get' to him and he gets over things faster than I get worked up over them. I don't want to be the reason that he slowly becomes more distant (in my eyes more normal) with his family but I still see the amount of time that they all spend together to be over the top.
  • image EastCoastBride:

    His being on the same page as you or not plays a VERY important role here.

    Ditto.  Also, does your husband actually enjoy spending so much time with his family, or does he just do it out of a sense of obligation (either self-imposed or because his family guilt trips him)?

    Why do you live so close to them?

    It sounds like some major compromising needs to happen here.  Your husband should be understanding if you want to skip some of the family get-togethers, and maybe he needs to cut down a bit on the amount of time he spends with them.  At the same time, it sounds like this has been the dynamic in his family his whole life, and it's not reasonable for you to expect that to change completely now.

    Maybe you just need to set some ground rules- you'll go to two dinners a month, and he can go as often as he wants to (as long as that's not a problem for you, of course).  Or maybe the two of you take one night a month that you're currently spending with his family and have a date night instead.  There's a lot of room to figure out an arrangement that makes you both maybe-not-completely-happy, but not miserable.

     

  • I agree about the FIL. I just seriously want to tell him how much of an ! he can be so I dwell on it. ;)

     We do go to a fair share of the functions and my husband and I do get to spend plenty of time together. It just seems to be a never ending thing. Once I think we have gotten past a load of parties, get togethers etc it seems like five more get scheduled and I see myself just burning out after a while. Perhaps I am just being a worry wort over what they think about it but unfortunately I try to be a people pleaser. This is just too much sometimes though.

  • Yeah, being a people pleaser always gets folks into trouble, because they're always seething with resentment that no one is trying to please them.  And that really is a valid point.
    image
  • He does enjoy the time with them. They have been doing this his whole life so it is just how things work to him. And I guess that is why I stress over it in part- because I don't expect him to change but I don't want to be expected to change either.

     They all just happen to live in the same suburb that they all grew up in, and their kids and so on. We were in a long distance relationship and had to pick between our two cities. I chose to move back to the city where he was living and I grew up. After getting engaged we decided to build a house and the suburb that his family lives in was booming in growth and is on the safer/better education side so that is where we built. In one way it is nice knowing that there are so many people so close that we can turn to but I just have to have my own life and am having a hard time adjusting to things like going to Target and seeing three people you know or family members versus when I lived in KC- being able to stroll out of my apt downtown, wander around and just exist in my own little world.

  • Wow - you attend second and third cousin's birthday parties? Along with weekly dinners, that seems excessive.
  • I'm going to caution you on one thing:

    image AllSmiles1024:

    I have had an increased feeling of being judged by them ....  I am just being rude/snotty for feeling overwhelmed by them and wanting my own life and time. .... it is like they think that is just how everyone in the world works. .....but I refuse to change how I feel and be fake to accomodate their views.

    ALl of this is you assigning feelings and motives to them.  Has anyone ever actually told you that you were rude or snotty?  Has anyone said that you have to accomodate their views?

    Be careful about getting pissy and reacting to things that YOU are assigning to them.  I'm not saying that they may not feel this way, but unless they've said this stuff to you, it's still you making assumptions.

    Deal w/ the FACTS.  Which can be as easy as you have a busy life w/ work and friends and other commitments (and perhaps your own family) that you literally don't have the TIME for all of their events.  Even wanting a night or weekend at home alone IS a "plan" that you're allowed to say you're busy. 

    Deal w/ the facts.  And even as much as your DH may be passive and perhaps wishes you'd spend more time w/ his family, I also hope that he does back you up.  If he goes to Tues night dinner w/o you, I hope he's saying "She was busy tonight and unfortunately couldn't come" and leaving it at that. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • I'm always amazed that people are so squeamish about telling family that they need some space.  My family and ILs tend to be overly close, too, and I've had to tell them that I need some absence to make my heart grow fonder.
    image
  • Good point and well said. And yes this does hold true sometimes but not really in this situation. I don't have any negative feelings toward the family (except maybe his dad at times) and want to be part of the family as much as the next newly married-in girl or guy. I just don't feel that I should have to make them my world to do it. I don't resent them for anything, especially being so tight knit. In a way it is cool to see families that are still that way and I admire that they can do it. I just don't want to be looked down upon for not being like them or feel that I am expected to be so involved to be an equal part to the family.
  • His father has said something on several occasions. I had to finally tell my husband that if he didn't say something to his dad about the comments and snide remarks that I would and it might not be pretty considering we both will speak our minds. I just hold off in his regard as a matter of respect.  I am on some level assuming some of these things based on comments made here and there, and from seeing what a now ex to the family went through because she didn't go to hardly any functions. (She was a huge B though) I am also going off of things that my husband said himself in the beginning of our relationship when I would opt out of certain get togethers or have a fit because there was yet another party planned. Seriously folks- I am talking sometimes two in one day. Luckily my husband does kind of get it now.

    I do tend to be a worrier and maybe some of this is feeling not up to par with what they expect out of the family. Like, his cousins just come over and leave cookies on our door step and stuff like that. I am not that kind of person nor do I have a desire to be. I admire and appreciate them for doing it but don't want to be expected to because I married into a family that does that kind of thing.

     Here is a good example: Has anyone seen the episode of How I Met Your Mother where Lily goes to Minnesota with Marshall's family for Christmas ~ The one where they get her the matching apron and have her make the family's 17 layer salad recipe that has everything from gummy worms to layers of chips? That would be a good starting poing for getting the picutre of what is going on with us.

  • Oh, lord, I was so with Lily on that one.

    Why don't you speak your mind when his father is being a jerk?  You say it's out of respect, but really, is he earning your respect?  Is he being respectful of you?

    image
  • Good point on the earning respect. I do this naturally from being raised that way but why back down and respect someone who is being disrespectful to me?
  • We are at my parents' house 3 times a week because they watch our kids the three days my husband works (I work all week).  I usually wait at my parents' house until husband gets home from work and we have dinner here.  My mom makes dinner from scratch those three nights.  

    Is that too much?  I don't know.  Husband doesn't seem to mind.  He enjoys spending time with my parents.  We only see his mom and sister (and her family) a few times a month because they live further away.   

  • srgwsrgw member
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    My family all live 2.5 hours away. How much we see them varies on what the weather's like and what functions are going on. (There have been so many weddings, bridal showers and baby showers in the past few years. Not counting just going to see them.) I talk to my mom weekly and four sisters monthy or so. We facebook a lot too.

    His family are OOS. We're lucky if we see the ILs once a year (they have business in our state yearly but live in AK.). SIL, nieces and his extended family live in AZ so we've only seen them once since we married. H talks to his family at least once or twice a month usually.

  • We see my parents every Sat & Sun because we go over for dinner. 

    DH's dad passed but we try to take him flowers every couple of months.  He doesn't have a relationship with his mom becuase she gave him up at birth.

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  • First of all I just want to say I am going through the exact same thing as you :)  I realize this post is old....maybe you could update me on how it has been going with your in-laws.  I complained to my husband that we see our IL's way too much and he agreed and we stopped seeing them as much.  My MIL would call him or I atleast 2 a day!  It was bad....and she expected us to spend EVERY free moment with her and her friends and was always planning something.  She completely took over my bridal shower and there are a million more little stories I could tell you about.  Anyway, she recently has been sending my husband emails saying "she wishes we would want to hang out with her more"....and "she is in counseling because she feels like she is losing a son"....(please keep in mind my husband still talks to her and emails her on a weekly basis and we have dinner with her and my FIL once a month).  So....I am dealing with the all to invasive MIL.  She is a nutcase!  She doesn't have a job...she has 3 homes and her life revolves around planning parties for family, friends, etc.  She just isn't busy enough in my opinion.  My husband is starting to resent his own mother because of all this.  Just because she is becoming almost like this insecure ex-girlfriend in his life.  Everything would be fine if the "feel sorry for me" emails would stop and the random text messages....we have also seen her drive by our house a few different times.....HELP?!  Should I just learn to deal with this and laugh it off?  I know that addressing this to her would not help either....she just has too much time on her hands to gossip about it and to sit and ponder about it with her friends....it would just blow up.

     

  • We see my parents about 8-10 times a year and its a minimum 2 day visit.  They live 5 hours away.

    Dh's mom is an hour away, we see her less

    Dh's Dad is 6 hours away, we see him 1-2 times a year.

    I talk to my parents 3-4 times per week.  DH talks to his mom maybe 1 time per week and his Dad maybe 1 time per month.  I'm not sure, he usually talks to them while he is commuting.

  • We see my family either once or twice a year (we live in NJ they live in NE), I go back to Nebraska a lot with out DH though 

    We probably see DH's family 4 times a year and they only live 2 hours away.  DH does make some trips down there with out me too.  

    I call my parents a few times a week and he talks to his family weekly. 

  • I email my stepmom about once a month (she lives about 400 miles away) and go see her and other family about twice a year.

    We see the inlaws (who live about a mile away) less than four times a year; I never call her, she seldom calls here. An occasional email is all.

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  • It all depends.

     

    If we lived by my family, it would probably be sunday night dinner most weeks, and then the occasional get together during the week if something was going on (but that wouldn't be the norm).

     

    If he lived by His family, it would be sunday night plus probably something during the day saturday, plus a couple of times during the week. They see each other a lot.

     

    Right now we don't live near either family.

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