*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Planning family trips can be quite a challenge when you want to include extended family, but when it's your in-laws that handle all the details, and you get left out, it can be very hard to stay calm and avoid unpleasant moments.
What would be the best idea in case you've been forgotten on vacation? Should you just go and not worry about it or try and see if your in-laws are upset with you for some reason?
My friend Gina has been married to her husband Nathan for five years. They have their own home after working hard to be able to afford the mortgage payments. They also wanted to be parents but had to wait for a while until they had better jobs so they could afford for Gina to stay home with their baby.
"I would've wanted to have a baby as soon as we got married, but it wasn't a responsible thing to do. We didn't have enough money for the bills back then and had to borrow from friends or ask our parents to support us. We weren't in a position to raise a family, even if we wanted to be parents. Waiting was the right choice for us," Gina said.
Three years after they tied the knot, Gina found out she was pregnant. At that time, they'd both gotten a promotion, and they could pay all expenses for their home.
"I was so excited, and my husband couldn't be happier. Having a baby was what we most wanted, and waiting only made us look forward to it even more," Gina said.
She gave up on her job after the sixth month of her pregnancy, and her husband worked to cover the bills. They soon had a son, and both their families came over to help the new mom with the baby so she wouldn't get too tired.
"His parents and mine were beaming. They'd wanted to be grandparents for a long time, and we're both only children, so the baby gave them all extra energy. It's been amazing since David was born, but there are some things that could be improved, particularly about Nathan's mom," Gina said.
While her mother-in-law does come over four times a week to help her with the baby, Gina isn't so pleased about her being there so often.
"It's not that I don't need someone to be around, but she's not nice or positive at all. She keeps pointing out my mistakes and makes it look like I can't ever be a good mom. And since she found out I'm staying home with the baby, she's been even more critical, like now I'm just someone running bills for her son to pay," Gina said.
She's told her husband about the way his mom behaves, but Nathan doesn't think she does it on purpose.
"I think it's more like giving advice. And Gina is very touchy now that she's a mom and only wants people to say good things. Sometimes it's ok to have your mistakes pointed out. My mom is there for her, and if she follows what she says, she'll be a great mom to our son," Nathan said.
Gina doesn't see things the same way, and she's started asking her own parents over more frequently and some friends too, and telling her mother-in-law she can only come during the weekends. This has caused some unpleasantness, and Nathan's mom felt rejected, but Gina feels it's better this way.
As plans went on for their next family vacation, which is usually with their in-laws, Gina got a surprise she didn't expect. Her mother-in-law apparently hasn't forgotten her decision and is trying to keep her out of their next trip.
"She only asked my husband and our baby to come on vacation; he says I should come anyway and not pay so much attention to things that don't matter. But she didn't invite me. It's like she took me out of the family. I can't let that pass," Gina said.
She hasn't decided yet if she should visit her in-laws to talk about it, and her husband already told her he wouldn't argue with his mom over the coming vacation.
What do you think about this situation? Should Gina not mind so much about the invitation and go with her baby and her husband and have fun regardless of what her mother-in-law meant by excluding her? Do things need to be spoken out to improve her relationship with her mother-in-law?
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