Inlaw Visits…How to Please Everyone?

My husband and I live about 4 hours away from both our parents, which puts us close enough to visit for a weekend but not close enough that it’s an easy trip.  One issue that constantly arises is how frequently the inlaws should be visited or visit us.

Right now between birthdays, observances like Mother’s and Father’s Day and national holidays we are making visits at least every other month and sometimes more than one visit in that month. We feel a lot of pressure to keep the visits equitable…so if we visit my parents, it is followed shortly after by a visit to Hubby’s parents.

While I like visiting, I will admit that it can get completely exhausting. I often feel like I’m never in my own home.

And, as I’m writing this, it’s not gone unnoticed that the holiday season is fast approaching…which means that we need to figure out the next round of schedules and duration of visits again.

For the past two years we tried to adopt an every other holiday visit policy to try to cut back on the frenetic pace necessary for us to get in person with both families. I wish I could say that our strategy was successful. Much complaining resulted when both sides realized that “every other” meant that we weren’t going to make an appearance for every holiday. So while we now alternate who we are physically with on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day…we still have to go and see both families for those holidays….kinda like our own personal Cannonball Run.

So…how do you please everyone? I’m coming to the conclusion that you just can’t.

The tough part is that in pleasing everyone else, we are not pleasing ourselves at all. All these road trips mean that we are never in our own home for the holidays. We haven’t built any of our own traditions yet. We have to plot our schedule, map our path and get the timing right so that we can get to everyone….and God forbid we hit traffic.  It’s seriously exhausting.

So, unfortunately there is no easy solution to this dilemma. We continue to take it one holiday, birthday, observance or occasion at a time…and we probably should buy some stock in gasoline.

Do you have challenges with your inlaws? Tell us about it…

Photo credit: -= Bruce Berrien =-‘s Flickr photostream


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Categories: Marriage


I'm a married publicist who holds a Master's degree in psychology, with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. I'd like to make the world a better relationship at a time.

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3 Comments on “Inlaw Visits…How to Please Everyone?”

  1. October 25, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    Yes yes yes 🙂 I go round and round with my inlaws about one very important issue to us both. This has been going on for at least 10 years. Recently I was telling a friend about this saga and at the end I said, “Am I crazy?”

    She said “Yes. You are. They are. We are ALL a little crazy.” She then gave me a new mantra for my time with them: not wrong, just different.

  2. October 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    Great mantra! And, so true!
    It’s hard blending families together. A lot of people forget to be inclusive and empathetic with one another….which is important.

  3. December 5, 2011 at 4:43 am #

    After several years of making the rounds to both families on all the holidays, I started with Christmas and said that we would visit on Christmas eve, but that Christmas day was just for us. It was too exhuasting for the kids to be hauled around, and they didn’t get to enjoy playing with their new stuff. Now, we stay in our pajamas all day and relax. Over the years, I’ve made all the holidays “ours” and we visit my family for birthdays and such. Since my husband’s family is in another state, we usually go on vacation up that way every other year, and either meet up with his dad in the family vacation spot (Estes Park, CO), or race through Nebraska afterwards and all meet at his grandmother’s.

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