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I know you will all have something to say on this subject! Is it awful, or is it tolerable? Do you have to see them this year or are you avoiding it? What's your worst or best story about the ILs and the holidays? Any tips on coping? Anything goes....
I love my in-laws, but the holidays are rough... DH and I go home for almost a week and usually end up sleeping at their house since there's a full size futon for us to crash on (otherwise it's the floor at my parents since my sisters take up the only guest bed). I think being around anyone that long can be grating... I usually cope by bringing lots of books, our laptop, and our Nintendo DS with us - that way whenever I've had enough I can just retreat to our little room and be by myself. This used to freak the hell out of them, but I think after all these years they've come to realize this is just how I am. I'm not trying to dis anyone, I just need some ME time! lol. Sometimes MIL will still pop her head in and ask if I'm okay. One of those things where I know she's just concerned, but at the same time I want to be a total brat and tell her I want to be alone. lol. My family and DH's family are VERY different! My family knows me, they know I like alone time. Heck, even DH doesn't get that I want alone time. If I ever try and go upstairs by myself he's calling up every half hour or so to see if I'm okay. I don't get it, but whatever. I digress. lol.
My worst holiday story: I've told this one on here before, but it was so horrifying I have to share again for those who may not have read it the first time... Three or four Christmases back DH and I were going through some marriage issues. We hadn't been married long and were just adjusting. Well he told his mom EVERYTHING, which absolutely horrified me. I don't talk to my family about that kind of stuff and I'd rather he not as well, at least not in the amount of detail he went into with his mother. Anyway, I got to spend the week listening to her lecture me about marriage and all that jazz... Then come Christmas morning I open a gift from the in-laws and it was a gift subscription to a marriage help magazine!! I was in total shock! I opened this in front of DH's entire family!! I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. Obviously MIL had told everyone and didn't think it was an issue to give me this in front of the family. It's one thing that she got it - she could've given it to me in private and I would've been okay with it. The fact that all these people were there staring at me is what pushed me over the edge. I know she meant well, but she'll never know how much she hurt me by doing that...
My best holiday story: My in-laws are very loving, involved people - they really are. Like all in-laws they have their moments, but I still consider myself pretty lucky to have them (esp after reading some of the horror stories here). Every year they collect milk jugs and candles and every Christmas Eve DH's entire family gets together and sets them out around the church and lights them. I'm talking hundreds and hundreds of luminaries! His family is literally the only family to do this (out of the entire church) and it takes me half the day! It's nice to be a part of that...
This year, I think we are actually getting out of spending any time with the ILs this holiday season. It's our year to be with my family for Christmas and I still haven't heard that they plan on coming to visit in Jan. or anything, probably because they are planning on coming in March when the baby is born. I'm totally celebrating that!
I can handle Christmas with the ILs. It's not that it's so horrible, it's just annoying. In my family you get up and open presents right away, and have a big meal at noonish, exactly at whatever time they told you it's going to happen. In DH's family, you get up, wait a really long time because my MIL still isn't done wrapping the presents, which to me will be totally unacceptable starting next year because we will have small children waiting, and they eat their big meal in the evening, which wouldn't be a big deal except that it's never ready when she said it will be and in the past has been 7 or 8 by the time we actually ate, which again will be unacceptable with small children. So I'm not looking forward to next year at all! She often buys wierd gifts, usually trying to make some joke which no one gets or finds funny. She also tries to invent new traditions or revive traditions that she invented a long time ago and no one else liked. For instance, she has this Christmas mailbox that at some point she decided that the family should send each other little notes at Christmas time, and well her 3 boys didn't care for that so much. The last 8 Christmases she tries in vain to get the family to write notes, she does it and then is like "Oh, look, the flag is up on the mailbox!" She even brought the dumb thing to our house one Christmas! So yeah, Christmas with them is just plain wierd sometimes.
I don't think that I really have a best Christmas story with them. I always just made it through.
The worst was definately last Christmas. I know that I've told this story here too. Samuel was 16 months, really the first Christmas that he understood anything. We went to DH's Grandparents for Christmas, we drove and they were flying in to be there too. We arrived the afternoon of Christmas eve and they were supposed to fly in that evening. Well, DH's two brothers show up but not my FIL or MIL. Apparently she decided she was soo sick on the plane that when they landed in St. Louis they took her to the hospital. This is totally her, she's always sick, always has to be the center of attention. So they don't come on Christmas Eve. And on Christmas morning, still not there. We get up with our son and decide that he will have some sort of Christmas so DH and I proceed to give him the presents we bought him, no one else is around. I can't remember what we even did at lunch time. We were supposed to eat the big meal then but still no ILs. Finally, it's Sam's dinner time so he gets squash from the baby food jar for Christmas dinner because still no ILs. Finally it's his bedtime. He's starting to melt down so off to bed with him. Finally around 9 the ILs show up and MIL is upset that he's in bed!! We're all starving because for some reason Grandma has insisted on waiting for them. It was the WORST Christmas I've ever had and I was so disappointed for my son as well. Thanks goodness we had a great early Christmas at my parents a few days before.