The compromise from the family could be coming later or just for coffee and dessert or hosting a dinner themselves, instead all the accommodating has to be done by everyone else, from the hosting couple to the other guests, but nothing from the family of the OP. There are other options than move the meal to something that satisfies the needs of the child or be excluded. The compromise could be "we'll come later".
ETA: your child will be napping to varying degrees for years, the time is now to set yourself up to begin as you mean to go on and if you decide that the only "reasonable" response is everyone needs to work around your child's schedule - you are setting yourself up for years worth of hurt feelings. Next time talk to SIL or whoever is hosting yourself see what they say and decide how you want to proceed. Maybe you'll be surprised and they'll accommodate when they can, just know that for many, Easter will not be one of those times.
Yup, that's what we did. It was the best option since SMIL didn't want to change the time. We never asked her to change the time, just told her we couldn't get there on time. I was just wondering whether, for a small, informal family meal when only one of the invited parties has a restriction on their schedule, it would make sense to expect that restriction to be taken into account. In my family of origin, we would absolutely try to work with the invitees' schedules. Apparently SMIL does things differently, which is fine - just a culture clash, I guess. It seems the posters in this thread are also divided on how their families do things.
I was irritated by SMIL's unwillingness to move the meal in conjunction with her remark that we need to put DD on a strict schedule. Taken together, it seemed as if she was refusing to accommodate us because she didn't approve of our reason - which, in her mind, was lax parenting.
No one has disputed that the remarks about your parenting skills were uncalled for...they were. However etiquette-ly speaking the hostess sets the time for the event and the guests can accept or decline for whatever reason or no reason at all. You didn't need to tell her why you could not be there at 2:30 - you could have just said nothing but "we can't make it at this time, sorry. We will see you later." and left it at that.
Part of the problem here is the fact that many kids take daily naps til they go to school, so it's not a one off - this is going to be an issue for you for a couple of years yet at every holiday or family get together until your kids out grow naps. And yes some kids do shorten their naps but some don't or when they do adjust the kid's naptimes are later in the afternoon -so your DH's family is going to be expected to work around your kid's naptimes for years. That's a lot to ask, especially since you said that you don't have the space for the family gatherings.
Having been the person constantly expected to accommodate kid's schedules even tho I don't have any, it's gets tiresome to feel that you are always second in consideration, even in one's own home, when one is doing the work of hosting.
The SIL's fault is in her commnets about the OP's parenting - not her sticking to her schedule.
I don't think its a lot to ask at all when it comes to family. If family members cannot be accomodating to new parents for those first tough few years, then I think its a pretty sad family situation.
I have to agree with snowdragon. I think everyone has priorities and it's not fair to say that a child's nap is more important that another family member's priority. I have children and I love children, but I don't think it's fair to say that their comfort and preferences should take priority over other people's. For example, DH and I have been invited to several weddings this summer and the children are not invited. I don't think the childless bride and groom should accommodate my preferences. That's a tangent, and there are other conversations this could evolve into. But, another example would be, let's say that a person chooses not to have children. And she is very attached to her car. She chose not to have kids because she wanted to devote all her free time and attention to her car. And it's need of a wash. And the ideal time to wash the car outdoors is at 2:30pm because of the sun and weather, so she'd be late for a family event. Is that a lower priority than a child's nap? In whose eyes? Because the car isn't human? But what if she loves her car more than she'd love a human? If the hostess is doing the work and she wants to have all the fine china washed and back on the shelves by 9:30pm so she can relax and get a good night's sleep for work the next day, is that not as important as the child not being awakened from a nap? What if the hostess has a long drive to work and is likely to fall asleep while driving if she doesn't get a good night's sleep?
My point with that novel above that went off on tangents is that everyone has different priorities. And I think it's unfair (not of the OP, because she didn't ask the hostess to change the time), just unfair of people in general, to say "Accommodating family trumps something else, and children's comfort is more important in that family than the host or hostess or other guests' comfort."
That's why it's just best to say "We can't make it at X time. We can be there at Y time" and leave out the reasons. Because what's an important reason to you is not seen as high priority to someone else and it's not anyone else's place to make that judgement call. If they like to see you, they'll bend a bit and if you like to see them, you have to bend a bit.
I really don't understand this push to leave out the reasons why a time doesn't work for you. There's absolutely nothing etiquettely incorrect about saying *why* you can't make an invited time, and honestly, in some families/relationships
it would be a little weird or hurtful not to.
If I'm planning a family get together I try to plan around my relations, who I like and want to attend - which is why I'm inviting them. I try to plan around children's school schedules, nap schedules, people's varying work schedules, or church activities. It's not that children's nap schedules trump all and sundry, but rather that if I *can* plan around all the various issues, I do.
If I'm planning a family get together and someone can't make it because of church, or work, or their child's nap schedule, I'd like them to tell me. If I'm able to tweak things so that they can attend without difficulty, I want to do so. If they just 'sorry, that doesn't work for me, see you next time', then I figure they don't really want to come, and there's no way for me to make it better or easier. I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable asking them 'but why not?', nor do I think that would be appropriate.
I've said it before on this thread, and I'll say it again - the fact that this is about a child's nap schedule is a red herring, entirely. The OP had a scheduling difficulty that prevented her from attending at the original start time. If the start time were tweaked a bit, it wouldn't be so difficult. The hostess is not obligated to tweak the start time, but in a lot of families, refusing to do so for no apparent reason with a small gathering is bound to cause hurt feelings.