Author Topic: s/o Inviting the Live-In Girlfriend - When Your Son/Daughter Is a Bad Planner  (Read 3582 times)

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StuffedGrapeLeaves

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There are some discussions in the Inviting the Live-In Girlfriend thread about how if your own son or daughter doesn't want to bother arranging anything with his/her own family, then the family is pretty much out of luck. 

I don't mean in a toxic situation or when the son/daughter doesn't want to spend time with his/her own family, but in situations where the SO finds it easier to do things with his/her own family, and doesn't take the son/daughter's family into consideration or doesn't think they care, and the son/daughter just goes along with whatever his/her SO does.

I see this a lot, and unfortunately I see it a lot with sons.  The sons' families don't want to complain or to do guilt trips, but the result of them not saying anything is that they never get to see their sons during holidays.  Is there really nothing that the family can do? 

WillyNilly

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Well they can take reality into account and contact the daughter-in-law.  The family should also make a point to be very welcoming and warm to the In Law to make IL want to spend time with them.

In my case I am an anomaly as is my DF.  He's the planner, keeper of the calendar, organizer person.  And I straightup tell people so "oooh sounds fun but I have no idea whats going on now.  Please make sure to  tell/email DF - he's the planner between us!"  I trust him to be fair and reasonable in making plans and committing us and that's that.  Every weekend I sit with him and ask "so what do we have going on this week?"

It also helps we both have 'Droid phones and use Google Calendar, which we've merged, so we each can always see if the other is busy and also when we have commitments together.  It also helps my dad adores DF and literally will pull him off to the side often to show him stuff or chat with him and tell him jokes etc, as well as stock up on DF's favorite beverage, so DF feels welcomed and liked and wants to spend time with my family.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 05:25:02 PM by WillyNilly »

Snooks

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I think the old saying of "A daughter's a daughter all your life, a son's a son until he finds him a wife" is true in a lot of cases.  As the other half of a non-planner (who comes from a non-planning family) it gets exhausting always being the one who is aware that certain things are coming up and having to think about them.  I strongly believe that if parents feel they aren't seeing their child enough they need to reach out and not sit at home grumbling.

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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I think the old saying of "A daughter's a daughter all your life, a son's a son until he finds him a wife" is true in a lot of cases.  As the other half of a non-planner (who comes from a non-planning family) it gets exhausting always being the one who is aware that certain things are coming up and having to think about them.  I strongly believe that if parents feel they aren't seeing their child enough they need to reach out and not sit at home grumbling.

I agree with this, but how you can reach out without seeming guilt-trippy?

ETA: This is assuming that the parents do have good relationship with the daughter or son-in-law.   

SPuck

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Agreed, you can be as friendly and inviting as possible, but if your own children don't make the effort (and the one invite and reminder to their partner doesn't work) then the parent with the lazy child is stuck. Guilting, pressure, blaming the partner, all of these are no nos if you don't have a child that does not stand up and say "I want to see my family on X holiday, lets work something out."

I think another thing people need to consider is that dynamics change, and just seeing your children should be good enough. My parents never wen't any where on Christmas day because they didn't want to haul kids around. Their parents adjusted. We always did Christmas eve with my dad's mom because she did themed parties (the magician we had one year was the best and most memorable) and there were less people involved because it was easier to coordinate. With my mom and her siblings, they planned an alternate party not on Christmas break itself which worked for everyone. As we got older, Christmas eve with dad's side of the family continues (sadly no themes) because the family is smaller and it is easier to coordinate. We had to drop mom's siblings because one of my aunts has six granddaughters and there is an age and party difference gap. We still try to see each other at other times during the year, and everyone seems happy.

Moray

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I always really appreciated when the ex's family reached out to say "Hey, we're getting together on [x day] for [y event]. I left Ex a voicemail but wanted you to know you're welcome, as always! Let us know by Wednesday if you guys can make it". I think it helped a lot that his family and I got on well to begin with, but their invitations never sounded guilt-trippy, just warm and inclusive.
Utah

Snooks

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I think the old saying of "A daughter's a daughter all your life, a son's a son until he finds him a wife" is true in a lot of cases.  As the other half of a non-planner (who comes from a non-planning family) it gets exhausting always being the one who is aware that certain things are coming up and having to think about them.  I strongly believe that if parents feel they aren't seeing their child enough they need to reach out and not sit at home grumbling.

I agree with this, but how you can reach out without seeming guilt-trippy?

ETA: This is assuming that the parents do have good relationship with the daughter or son-in-law.

Just keeping an open dialogue with your kids, issuing invites, never mentioning the dreaded words "We never see you".  My own personal experience is that you need to make an effort when your kids bring a partner home, not just sit and stare at the TV (even if that is what you normally do in your family), this is true especially if your kids live far away from you and have had an expensive trip to see you (I count expensive as anything that requires filling the car up more than once).  I'm coming from the position of not wanting to see my ILs, my partner getting on well with my parents.

ETA: Remember roads go both ways so don't always expect your kids to come to you.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 05:52:26 PM by Snooks »

gemma156

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The other side could be the inlaws aren't as welcoming as they want people to believe.  My MIL is as sweet as pie to your face, but it always gets back to me the nasty stories that she makes up, after we had been visiting - it always leans towards the poor me routine, look at what I have to put up with.  When we go to their functions I am usually sitting by myself as she finds jobs that she needs my dh to do for her, and I don't know anyone else at the gathering.  When they show their family pictures to the gathering, it involves them, their son and daughter and the grand children - but not the married spouses. 
So it mostly comes down to just how genuine they are with their SIL's or DIL's.  I don't wish my MIL any ill feeling, but I don't go out of my way to spoil my special days by spending them with her, when she obviously has these issues.  It's not how I wanted it to go, I actually looked forward to embracing my dh's family and involving them in our lives - its just I choose not to be treated poorly by the people around me.

Ginya

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I think it's worth saying that sometimes the son/daughter you view as a bad planner/lazy for not coming to holidays simply doesn't hold the same value on family visits as you may. I say this as my husband values family a lot more than I do and as such we generally see more of his dad's side for holidays. He is active in calling and such with his family members, I grew up in a nice loving family but I'm just not particularly family oriented beyond the two of us. Keeping ties with my family isn't much of a priority for me, the first time I moved out of the house I didn't see my parents for 6 months and it never bothered me at all. Now it did bother my mum but she was kind enough to not mention it, in the last few years or so I have gotten better with prodding from DH but my point is that even though I love my family I'm just not naturally inclined to visit all that often.

I guess my point is that your children are adults with their own set of priorities and values and families, you can invite them but if they choose not to come then you just have to accept that. Pressuring them or guilt-tripping them isn't going to help anything.

paintpots

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I would say reasonable notice helps a lot. I actively enjoy spending time with my family so I regularly talk to my parents and invite myself over/get us invited over when I know we're both free (with BF's agreement). Similarly, I know that there are certain weekends of the year (birthdays etc.) when we are likely to get together and plan my mental calendar accordingly. I let BF know about this and there aren't any surprises.

BF's family are lovely and welcoming - but frankly, they're just not as much fun (to me) as my own family. His father is absolutely lovely, but mother can be a bit possessive and seems to delight in disagreeing with every vaguely subjective opinion I have, and his brother is overly competitive. So while they are nice.. they're just not as much fun to be around as my own family (3 of us kids and lots of lively banter). That said, I do know they like having us around (and it's not fair on BF for me to want to spend all family time with my own family), and I do regularly suggest to BF that he ring them and invite ourselves over/suggest dinner etc. That's all fine, and when we have a free evening, it's nice to see them.

Unfortunately that doesn't appear to be enough for his mother, who has been known to turn up at our door to drop something (totally unasked for) off, and announce 'so we're seeing you at supper this evening then.' If we do have concrete other plans, then it's easy enough to say so, but if we had vague plans that involved just the two of us, I hate being put on the spot - as does BF. BF however isn't very good at saying what he wants to do, so I end up being the one to say no/not sure, and getting the stinkeye from his mother. It would make life so much easier if they just rang him up, said 'we'd love to see you x time to do y', but you talk to jammytoast about it and let us know whether you can make it'. That way we can discuss it, and get back to them without any pressure/guilt tripping.

Angel B.

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Re: s/o Inviting the Live-In Girlfriend - When Your Son/Daughter Is a Bad Planner
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2012, 06:23:03 AM »
I would say reasonable notice helps a lot. I actively enjoy spending time with my family so I regularly talk to my parents and invite myself over/get us invited over when I know we're both free (with BF's agreement). Similarly, I know that there are certain weekends of the year (birthdays etc.) when we are likely to get together and plan my mental calendar accordingly. I let BF know about this and there aren't any surprises.

BF's family are lovely and welcoming - but frankly, they're just not as much fun (to me) as my own family. His father is absolutely lovely, but mother can be a bit possessive and seems to delight in disagreeing with every vaguely subjective opinion I have, and his brother is overly competitive. So while they are nice.. they're just not as much fun to be around as my own family (3 of us kids and lots of lively banter). That said, I do know they like having us around (and it's not fair on BF for me to want to spend all family time with my own family), and I do regularly suggest to BF that he ring them and invite ourselves over/suggest dinner etc. That's all fine, and when we have a free evening, it's nice to see them.

Unfortunately that doesn't appear to be enough for his mother, who has been known to turn up at our door to drop something (totally unasked for) off, and announce 'so we're seeing you at supper this evening then.' If we do have concrete other plans, then it's easy enough to say so, but if we had vague plans that involved just the two of us, I hate being put on the spot - as does BF. BF however isn't very good at saying what he wants to do, so I end up being the one to say no/not sure, and getting the stinkeye from his mother. It would make life so much easier if they just rang him up, said 'we'd love to see you x time to do y', but you talk to jammytoast about it and let us know whether you can make it'. That way we can discuss it, and get back to them without any pressure/guilt tripping.

I agree with this! It can be really hard if a parent of your SO is less than pleasant but wants to spend time with SO and you.

My X was awful at planning so his mom eventually just started calling me and I would have to arrange to see them. My X was great about it, he wanted to he just wasn't a good planner, so it was easier for me to ask him if he was free and then make the arrangements. His mom started becoming pretty nasty to me as we got more serious and that lead to us not spending as much time with them and was one of the factors(didn't stand up for me) in our relationship crumbling.

But it can really depend on both parties. My brother and his GF are pretty good at splitting their time between families, but they also are good at planning.
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QueenofAllThings

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Re: s/o Inviting the Live-In Girlfriend - When Your Son/Daughter Is a Bad Planner
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2012, 07:35:21 AM »
I think it's also important to pick your battles. Occasionally, we have a 'command performance' - as in, 'you must attend' - the in-laws 60th anniversary party comes to mind.  I am upfront with my son about which events are 'required', and which are not.


Bethalize

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Re: s/o Inviting the Live-In Girlfriend - When Your Son/Daughter Is a Bad Planner
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2012, 08:14:34 AM »
You know that book "He's just not that into you?" I think they should do a rewrite for parents.

DH's mother learnt. She was sniffy with me once when I said "You must come and stay with us in the Spring". She said (in a put-down kind of way, you'll have to trust me on this): "Yes, DH is going to invite me." I thought: "Oh, is he? Okay then." Three years later when I invited her she was delighted to accept my invitation :-) It wasn't like I didn't prompt him to invite his mother every quarter either.

Snooks

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Re: s/o Inviting the Live-In Girlfriend - When Your Son/Daughter Is a Bad Planner
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2012, 09:00:33 AM »
I think it's also important to pick your battles. Occasionally, we have a 'command performance' - as in, 'you must attend' - the in-laws 60th anniversary party comes to mind.  I am upfront with my son about which events are 'required', and which are not.

I agree entirely and I'm sure most kids know which occasions these are.

MindsEye

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Re: s/o Inviting the Live-In Girlfriend - When Your Son/Daughter Is a Bad Planner
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2012, 09:30:51 AM »
There are some discussions in the Inviting the Live-In Girlfriend thread about how if your own son or daughter doesn't want to bother arranging anything with his/her own family, then the family is pretty much out of luck. 

I don't mean in a toxic situation or when the son/daughter doesn't want to spend time with his/her own family, but in situations where the SO finds it easier to do things with his/her own family, and doesn't take the son/daughter's family into consideration or doesn't think they care, and the son/daughter just goes along with whatever his/her SO does.

I see this a lot, and unfortunately I see it a lot with sons.  The sons' families don't want to complain or to do guilt trips, but the result of them not saying anything is that they never get to see their sons during holidays.  Is there really nothing that the family can do?

I will be honest... I am coming to this from the position of a daughter-in-law who does not want to be assigned the role of "social secretary" and who has repeatedly told my DH that I will not act in that role.  I handle arrangements for my family, and I expect my DH to handle arrangements with his.  It is not that my in-laws are toxic or otherwise horrible... I actually really like them and enjoy spending time with them.  But the fact that I like and get along with them does not mean that I will accept being point person for communications with them.  (There are a lot of reasons for this, but to keep it short I think that it is a horrible s3xist assumption that because I am female that I have to take the planner and arranger role.  Sorry, but no.)

I would say to the question of "Is there nothing that the family can do?" that you need to be proactive... plan early and plan often and reach out to your son and issue the invitations yourself.  By all means, keep me (and other daughters-in-law like me) in the loop (e.g. Cc me on emails and texts) but your son should be your primary point of contact.