THIS is sure a touchy topic at our house! We have grandparents, siblings, uncles, cousins, and more on both my husband’s side and mine. There are always people who want to visit or be visited during the holiday season. It’s nearly impossible to see everyone and if we do we’ll be run ragged and miss the most important part of the season, focusing on Jesus’ birth.
So, my husband and I have decided to set boundaries for our family. We set boundaries on our time (i.e. naps have to happen daily, we have to adhere to a reasonable bedtime for the children, and we cannot expect them to sit for lengthy periods of time in the car or at Christmas events.)
We also set boundaries on the amount of time we give to visiting family. We’ve discovered that everything goes more smoothly if we pre-determine who is coming and how long they will be here. We like to schedule family coming and going. This is not something you want to address as your family is entering your house or calling you to tell you they are almost there. We started working on this aspect of book-ended visits a few years ago. We love our extended family very much and we are ecstatic to see them, but we are also realistic about how much time they can handle with our large family and our rambunctious children.
Even the sweetest grandmother has a limit, and we’ve found out what our family’s limits are and we pre-plan their stays based on our observation of their limits.
I’m sure some of you are wondering how we get this book-ended visit discussed without feelings being hurt. I can’t say for sure that sometimes, someone hasn’t gotten their feelings hurt, but over the years, as we’ve slowly moved into this position, our family has come to understand and (most importantly) respect our wishes.
My conversation with my mother usually goes something like this…”Here’s the plan, sweet cheeks and I have decided we want to spend some quality family time on blank, blank, and blank days with the girls, and so-and-so family members have invited us to spend blank, blank, and blank days with them, so we’d love it if you could come on this day and stay through until this day. Would you be able to come then?”
There’s no getting around that offer. It’s a set deal, take it or leave it. There’s room for a smaller visit, but not for a longer one. And, since we know that by the end of the bookend we’ve set up, they are going to be ready to go anyway, there’s no chance of any “time to go” weirdness.
I’m not saying this method is full proof or FOOL proof. Trust me, I’ve mucked it up more times than not. But, if you start small, stay positive, and plan your time before you make “the call” to the in-laws, you’ll come out happier and more satisfied with your results.
If you have a peace-keeping practice, please share it so we can all benefit!
|Sorry, I couldn’t resist!|