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Inlaw Get Togethers

Recently married, we have the fun tradition of splitting time for holidays and get togethers, which isn't really that much of an issue. We've tackled that pretty well. However, his family also celebrates every relative's birthday which is at least 1-2 dinners every month, sometimes more with the holidays. The real issue is that the kids (nieces and nephews) are ALWAYS SICK - either with a cough, throwing up, snotting all over the place etc. I'm not a germ-a-phobe, but I mean aren't they doing something wrong? And don't you stay home if you are sick, or if one of your kids are sick? I was brought up that if you are sick (or your kid) you stay home so you don't spread it. They also have the mindset that all their kids should be invited to attend a wedding, anything from a couple months old to a couple years old. It's like they will never ever leave their kids with a sitter or won't go to any type of functions without them. Thoughts, Advice?

Re: Inlaw Get Togethers

  • Yes, it does seem as though parents of sick children would stay home from family events. That said, why don't you and your H just limit the number of family things you go to? There's no rule that says you have to celebrate every event with your whole family.
  • All these birthday celebrations are excessive. Not to mention expensive; it all adds up, even if you limit the relative's gift to something like a CD or a $10 book from the clearance counter.

    I agree; sick kids belong home. They can infect other kids, or the elderly, or those with a weakened immune system...and nobody wants to or need to catch somebody else's bug.

     You need not attend every celebration -- unless it's for a milestone event/birthday. Send a card and your best wishes; it'll still be appreciated.

  • We only go to milestone birthdays - 50th, 80th, 16th.

  • Good for you, SueBear.

     My xH';s family was like this -- every birthday a celebration -- and it was with a cast of dozens! Does a kid or an adult need all these trinkets and doodads? A kid's not going to play with half the items he receives. Ditto adults -- how many more gift items do they need? Most will go untouched or unworn or whatever.

  • Thanks for the quick tips and advice! I totally agree. It's me vs. the 15 that have this mindset, and I just want to make sure I'm not being irrational. To be fair, do any of you that have replied have kids? I know this can change an opinion, and we don't have kids yet but I'm almost certain I'd still have the same feelings.

  • I have kids.  Getting sick often, especially if one or more of the kids just started school or daycare, is normal.  Taking them out and subjecting other people to the germs is not.  My son started VPK this year and we always have some type of cold going around, but I would not take them out if they're sick, they need rest & it's not fair to the rest of the group.

    The number of get-togethers sounds very excessive and his family thinking it's normal doesn't mean that you have to go every time.  What does your H think, does he want to go?  Even if he does, there's nothing to say that he can't go without you.

    image Grayson's side-eye
  • imagecidesign:

    Thanks for the quick tips and advice! I totally agree. It's me vs. the 15 that have this mindset, and I just want to make sure I'm not being irrational. To be fair, do any of you that have replied have kids? I know this can change an opinion, and we don't have kids yet but I'm almost certain I'd still have the same feelings.

    I don't think you should view it as a "Me v Them" thing. You and your H just need to agree that you're going to attend X Events. Whether that is "One per month not including major holidays," or "Only milestone birthdays," as long as the two of you are on the same page it's not an "us v them" thing it is a "This is what we're doing," thing. 

    I would go into this assuming that it is not a confrontational issue and if somebody turns it into that ask them to explain to you why you are obligated to attend every birthday, every anniversary, every holiday, every everything.  

  • You're right. It shouldn't be a me vs them thing, I guess the way everyone is brought up is different. Ultimately, it's an opinion and I don't have to agree. My husband could have went tonight to one of the birthday dinners, but I asked him not to because I am starting a new job and don't want him bringing home the stomach bug they all had last week. It's definitely not confrontational, but they enjoy us being there, and we like going too, aside from the "sick" issue and the number of events. Setting a # limit sounds like a fantastic idea. Thanks!
  • You and DH need to get on the same page about his family gatherings - kids aside.  It will be hard for him initially,m probably. But really- you all CAN say "sorry, we can't make it".

    As for the sick kid things- this drives me bonkers.  Just a runny nose - eh, as long as it's clear, I dont' care. It's winter. MY nose is constantly running.

    But truly sick?  I find it really selfish of the parents to make their kdis go out.  I know how I feel when I'm sick.  I realize kids don't have the same ability to know they need to rest - but still, I think parents need to do as much as they can to provide their child an environment that is good for them when sick.

    And subjecting other people (esp other kids!) to their germs  - again, selfish. 

    It sucks to have to miss out on stuff because your kid is sick, but.... that's a part of being a parent. 

    "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 agree with the idea of setting a limit and sticking to it- it's easier to have a policy (only milestone birthdays, only immediate family, only one or two a month) than it is to have to explain on a case-by-case basis whether you will or won't be there.  

    The sick kids thing gets to me- I teach very young kiddos and it's one thing if they come to class with a little sniffle or a little cough or are a little whiny and not quite themselves- especially in cold weather, that happens a lot.  But then there's straight up poor decisions- Just before Christmas one set of parents put their daughter (who is my student) on the bus when she was very sick.  And naturally when she got to school and we saw how sick she was getting off the bus, we took her to the nurse, who took her temperature and saw it was- get this- 102.  As it turns out, she had a very contagious virus, and not only did she end up in the hospital later that night, but another child who sat next to her on the bus caught it and ended up in the hospital as well, and since the kid climbed into my arms and cried all the way from the bus to the nurse's office, guess who else was sick over Christmas - yep, me too.  I'm thankful that everyone's recovered now, but I'm still pretty angry at the parents. So on that note- if you know they're sick sick, I would just politely decline.  

  • That does sound like a lot of events.  I think the idea of limiting the ones you go to is good idea. 

    As for inviting kids to weddings, I do believe they should be invited.  And for my wedding I did invite the children of all of the guests.  

    I think that if the kids are sick they should stay home so that the child can heal and so they don't keep spreading it around.  However, I know that some families put a ton of pressure on each other to bring children to events and say to bring them even if they are sick.  Could something like that being going on?  I don't think it's right but maybe some people have just decided to cave to the pressure.  

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Do you think that they'd be open to having one gathering for the people with a birthday in a month (or two?)  We did that growing up.  My birthday is in January and one of my cousins was in Feb.  We'd have a family get-together  and celebrate both.  We never really celebrated grown up people's birthdays and you never got a gift once you were 18.  DH's family is big on celebrating EVERYONE's birthdays but they're great about condensing them into a larger family gathering for lots of people.
  • Yes, I definitely believe his mother condones that even sick children to come to all of the events. I think in her mind she doesn't think kids germs are contagious, lol. The other thing I didn't mention is that they all live within a radius of 1-2 miles, on the outskirts of his parents home. We do not.  We still live very close, less than 4 miles. His parents also never come over to any of their kids homes. We invite them too, but they rarely leave their home. And these celebrations are always at his parents - even their kid's kids. I can understand tradition, but this is out of control and so one-way!

    I appreciate all of the responses!

  • I have kids.

    I should say - for my family, we do go to all birthdays, but there are only three people besides me who are local, so that's 3 events per year.  DH's family is the large one that we only attend milestones. 

    DH set the "only milestones" rule before I even met him.  His family is not close at all.

    I would assume that with kids, you have a built in excuse not to go - there are kids birthday parties, sports, school activities, etc.   In some ways, you want to make sure that the cousins get to know each other, so we do make an effort when my sisters kids (who are not local but are close to dd and ds in age) are going to be at a party.  But if you see them often enough, that's no reason to make it. 

    Also, when the kids have their own friendships (for example, dd and her cousin/my niece), we would travel for niece's birthday party even if it was a non-milestone.  But for a niece/nephew/cousin who was older and not close to our kids, we wouldn't go out of our way that trip (unless it was a milestone).

     

  • imagecidesign:

    Thanks for the quick tips and advice! I totally agree. It's me vs. the 15 that have this mindset, and I just want to make sure I'm not being irrational. To be fair, do any of you that have replied have kids? I know this can change an opinion, and we don't have kids yet but I'm almost certain I'd still have the same feelings.

    We don't have kids, but our siblings do.  We actually will avoid outings if we know they are going w/ their sick kids.  Do you go to as many events on both sides? I would try to make this more even, and limit the outings. 2 dinners a month is a little crazy.  Dh has a large family and they have dinners a few times a month- but we only go 2-3 times a year.  I would discuss it with your husband and find out what is priority to you.  For us DH and I had to put us first, everyone else second.

    image
  • Is the issue sickness, or the frequency? 

    If the issue is the frequency, you've just got to cut back.  Try to arrange it so that you make the kids parties, but not the adults (but not MIL/FILs).  Or only show up for the first, then "five year" parties for the kids and 10 year milestones for the adults. 

    As for all the parties being at MILs house - it really doesn't matter, but I would not throw my kids party at my ILS or my parents.  I once threw three different parties so that "everyone' who couldn't make one party could enjoy dd's birthday (yes, they wanted this).  I'm wondering if the children are all younger (because kids get to an age where they'd rather spend their bday with friends than with family parties), or are there TWO parties?  One for friends, one for family?

    Now, I throw dd/ds's birthday party (with kids) on a day that works for us, and my family (and dh's) is invited after for pizza.  If they want to come, great, if not, they can mail their gift. 

    FIL also would never go to a party that was not at his house.  Over time, it evolved that the kids would stop by on their birthday, but they would have their party, invite FIL, and if he didn't go, that was his loss.  He did go to one set of grandchildren's birthday, b/c his second wife favored her bio-kids, but that's another story...

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
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