half MIL rant, half need advice about starting new family traditions for baby

posted 3 months ago in Relationships
Post # 32
1107 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I think it is fair to reorganize some traditions and heavy lifting of travel when you have a baby. I’m looking forward to also requesting that family come to us at that point, given how difficult it is to travel with a little one and the sheer number of family members we each have to include in every visit.

Do you have specific traditions you have from your childhood that you’d like to incorporate, or new ones you’d like to introduce? Why not start talking about what you envision now? 

Have you asked your Mother-In-Law (or your husband) why they don’t visit you at your home? 

Other bees are making reasonable points about coming at this from a place of wanting to compromise or negotiate, the only concern I have is that your husband doesn’t seem to be on a team with you about presenting a united front. You should really get on the same page about how you’re going to handle disagreements as a couple to the best of your ability before the baby comes.

Post # 34
9636 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Post # 35
665 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

pontihatesperiods :  

Been there with my husband. Granted we don’t have children yet, we had to work through this when we got married and wanted to make our own married “family” traditions. Christmas in particular, too!

Does your husband express any desire to start any new family traditions with you and your family? You only mention that you know he will be hesitant to change anything almost for fear of how his mother will react. I’ve read some of the updates and you say he sometimes just side-eyes your comments about new traditions the 3 of you…. But has he ever himself suggested any traditions or is it just all you?  

When you calm down a little bit from this rant, have a casual conversation to see if he would want to do some new Christmas Eve/Christmas Day traditions with your new family and go from there. Make suggestions and come up with ideas on how you could get what you want (like staying home Christmas Day), but how you can also make his mom happy and of course see what he wants. As cheesy as it sounds, I really encourage you to use the words “I understand” and “I feel” .

“I understand you want to spend more time with your family, and I understand that Christmas is a big deal to your mom. However, it would make me feel really happy if we could do XYZ Christmas morning/day. Since that would make me feel really happy, what if we do XYZ with your family for Christmas instead. I understand how important it is to you, but XYZ is important to me too, so can we compromise on this a little bit?”

I knew my husband would be hesitant to change up the traditions we previously had with his family once we got married, but it wasn’t because he didn’t want to put their needs/wants over ours or mine. He wanted us to do our own thing too. Yes, essentially he was “scared” or he feared disappointing or upsetting her or making her feel unwanted, which is totally normal to feel. Maybe your husband feels like that? Have you asked him?  

Changing traditions is a huge change for all parties for a variety of reasons. I definitely had my “tough shit, this is what I want to do this year, screw everyone else” attitude but I talked to my husband and quickly changed my attitude once I knew how he felt and where those feelings came from. I went from “tough shit” to “oh, okay. I get it, so I’m okay doing this and that so we both get a little bit of what we want.”

ETA: based on your updates, if your in-laws truly are the “i’m not compromising. this has been tradition for 1000 years” type of people, then thats when you and your husband need to have a good talk and put your foot down. it isn’t fair you are the ones compromising with them all the time. trust me, we stopped compromising and used the “sorry, no that won’t work for us” line a few times and its amazing how much more flexible my ILs are now. 

Post # 38
6857 posts
Busy Beekeeper

pontihatesperiods :  It doesn’t sound as if you’ve been in your house for every long. When is your baby due? Do you really think they won’t visit their grandchild? Because you are completely within reason to want anyone who wants to see your newborn to travel to you. Let it start there. 

Post # 40
1012 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

pontihatesperiods :  so it sounds like your best bet is to generally talk to your husband about equal traveling to see baby. Once baby comes you won’t be running over to his parents every time they want to see the baby. Let him know that if they want to see the baby more they will be welcome to come over but they will be expected to do 50% of the traveling if they want time with the baby. And if they choose to not visit you at your home that you won’t tollerate comments about not being able to see the baby. It is a two way street period. 
second part that sounds helpful is starting your own traditions by hosting your own holiday event. Maybe send out invites for a New Years Day bbq? Or a Christmas Eve Party. That is your compromise for this Christmas. You aren’t going there but you do invite them over the day before for your own event. I’d go that route.

Post # 43
665 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

pontihatesperiods :  I’ve been there, so I get where you are coming from. I had the “no, tough shit your parents can deal with us starting our own traditions” attitude BAD. It wasn’t until I put myself in their shoes and realized how hard it was for them to change traditions as well when I softened a lot and was a lot more flexible. 

I agree with other PPs though, go into that conversation with concrete ideas you have though. Write it down if it helps you remember and make the ideas feel more concrete to you. There’s a lot of compromising to be had here with you, your husband and with your in-laws. 


Post # 44
295 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I understand a lot of what you are saying and think you have some valid points.

Have you actually invited your inlaws over and they repeatedly decline? Like, have you actually made a repeat effort to host them for dinner or a picnic, even if not for a holiday? If so, I think you have more ground to stand on. They can’t come visit if they aren’t invited.

I’m not trying to minimize, really. I have a different situation that also deals with similar struggles. No baby, but my husband and I are well into our 30s and have owned our home for 7 years. My relatives on one side will never come to us because we live “too far.” We live 45 minutes away. But it is expected that we come to family events at their homes. I recently hosted a picnic over labor day and they all declined in favor of a smaller gathering at one of their homes. Labor day is not an “owned” holiday in our family, people do different things, so I hadn’t stolen it or anything.  It was sort of my first “stand” where I said [to myself and husband] “We are hosting. They are invited. They can come, or not. The end.” It split the family for the day, which I feared and expected. In the end I just accepted it and give myself permission to not go to their events when they are inconvenient for me. 


I think it is hard for elders to see their adult children as “real” adults sometimes, and I think having a baby will help you with that. 


I also think that if you deliberately make an effort to see them at other times, holidays can be less important. Right now it’s the holiday or bust, so you don’t have much wiggle room.

Thanks for letting me vent a little too, and good luck. 

Post # 45
3442 posts
Sugar bee

What do you mean they helped you buy a home and don’t visit? Are you saying they gave you money for a house? And they don’t visit? Damn. This sounds ideal.


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