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Sad in AZ posted 6/3/2014 17:46 PM

*sigh* Leaving Vegas now after spending almost 9 days with the kids and beautiful baby grandson. I also had to drive back and forth to Phoenix four times so my 83-yr old mom could meet him for the first time. It was not a relaxing trip, especially because of mom. I didn't get to do anything 'fun' other than cuddling baby Hudson, which was wonderful.

My conundrum is that I'm free of encumbrances in my life now and would love to travel to my dream destinations, but I feel guilty if I don't go see family. I work full time (and don't see that stopping anytime soon) so I'm limited to a set number of vacation days. I'm not wealthy, but I can comfortably do a trip or two a year. The kids are moving again. They are going back to New Mexico to be near DDIL's family--this was always the plan. I currently live in the Capital District of New York.

Does anyone else have this 'problem'? How do you handle it? Short of moving close to the kids (which would seriously impact my income at this point-southern NM/El Paso TX is not a hotbed of high income)

I think I'll ultimately end up in New Mexico--I do like it there--but I'm enjoying where I am now. I've even been thinking about buying a house.

I am currently planning a trip to Costa Rica next year. I don't know if it will help or hurt my guilt feelings yet. Ugh.

fireproof posted 6/3/2014 17:54 PM

I think your family and loved ones are happiest when you are the happiest

Quality vs Quantity.

lieshurt posted 6/3/2014 18:07 PM

I feel guilty if I don't go see family.

Skype with them as much as possible and go ahead and take your trips. You deserve to enjoy yourself

misskirby posted 6/3/2014 20:36 PM

We are in a similar situation. Since my husband is in the military, we're stationed pretty far away from families. Both of our families are from the same area, so when we go back to visit it's pretty convenient. However, many times WH's family seems to think that we should spend all of his leave time there. They honestly get upset if we decide to do other vacations. I love to travel and see new things, and there's no way I want to spend all of our off time in the small town where we grew up! Love family, really do, but no thanks.

They are, however, certainly welcome to visit us at any time!

jrc1963 posted 6/3/2014 20:58 PM

Would you be feeling quite this guilty if you didn't have a grandchild?

I live far away from all my family... And even tho I get enough time, I rarely have enough money to travel.

I think that if you have the time and money to travel to a destination that doesn't include your family every time, then you should go.

They are busy living their lives the way they want to live it... why shouldn't you get the same consideration in your own life?

And... it will make the visits even more special if they are spread out. And the way we have of keeping in touch (email, texting, video chats) the distances really aren't as far anymore.

Sad in AZ posted 6/4/2014 02:35 AM

Yes, JRC, I would still feel guilty. I'm a little jealous about the grandson since they'll be living near DDIL's family and that's playing into it. Bleh. Also, mom isn't going to be around forever, but she makes me nuts, so there's that too.

TheRealDeal posted 6/4/2014 07:52 AM

My family is scattered all around the states...NY, FL, CA

They've assumed for years that all my vacation days should be spent traveling to their homes. And I let the guilt get to me if I didn't do that, even if I didn't want to, or have the money to book the flight.

In the past I'd feel guilty as heck and ashamed of myself that I didn't really want to go. I'd go because I didn't want them mad at me for not going, or as they'd say to me 'for not wanting to see them'. I spent money I didn't have in order for them not to be mad at me. They never gave it a thought that family visits would be any other way...I'd plan it, make arrangements, fly to the destination, use my vacation days and everyone would be happy....except me. I began to resent it but did it anyway out of that guilt I placed on myself...a slow spiral into a bad place.

but things have changed because I created new boundaries for myself.

They are all getting together in FL this summer and have repeatedly asked when I'm coming down. I've replied each time that I won't be able to make it due to other plans,perhaps next time.

The difference is I do not feel guilty(thanks to IC)for saying no.

Do I want to see them? Sure. But on my terms and not out a sense of obligation or guilt.

I continue to offer for my family to come visit me at any time but it's been 7+ years and no one has shown up yet so I don't hold my breath.

I guess what I'm trying to say is if you really want to visit them then plan a trip to visit. But don't do it out of guilt or obligation; you deserve to use your vacation days the way you prefer. Guilt will prevent a person from practicing self-care. Only you can decide what is best for you. Your trip to Costa Rica sounds awesome as well as something you really want to do. So do it!

I'm more wordy, but JRC summed it up nicely...

They are busy living their lives the way they want to live it... why shouldn't you get the same consideration in your own life?

tushnurse posted 6/4/2014 08:26 AM

I had to move from St. Louis to Dallas when my oldest was 8 months old. It was awful. I had no one other than me and H when we went.

My folks were close to retirement, and got a fair amount of vacation time. They still did their trips to Mexico and central America. They only came to see us when DD was born, and that was in a 2 year time span.

We went home a lot too.

I say you do what you want. If you have an opportunity to do the Costa Rica thing, that's a once in a lifetime event. Do it. Enjoy it.

Deeply Scared posted 6/4/2014 08:46 AM


I really think you should do what makes you the happiest.

When I moved to Houston, I missed my mom like crazy and went home to San Francisco ALOT. I was very lucky that my mom also treated us (MH and myself) to some incredible vacations that we all took we never were really apart for huge gaps in time.

Go! Enjoy your life and the trips you're planning...we're only here once

FaithFool posted 6/4/2014 08:47 AM

There'll come a time when you're too old to travel. If you don't do it now you may live to regret this time when you still could but you didn't.

I would just go, have a nice vacay and recharge your batteries. You deserve it!

Sad in AZ posted 6/4/2014 09:00 AM

Thanks; I'm definitely taking the Costa Rica trip. It's run by one of my oldest and dearest friends.

I know what you mean about family not coming to see you. My siblings never reach out, even to mom. Hell; one of my brothers lives 15 minutes away and I think I've seen her more in the past year than he has.

I guess at this point I'm worried about losing connection with my grandson. He's going to be living with his other grandparents for a while, then close by. I think this is on DS's mind too. I'll try to get them to Skype. The time difference and my work hours make it difficult.

gahurts posted 6/4/2014 09:13 AM

My entire family is in NJ and I have been in the south for the past 26 years. In the beginning I made a lot of trips back up there and when I M'ed 1st W we went but once my daughter came along it got less just because of life getting in the way. Now we hardly get up there even though it really hurts me that we don't.

Some things that we've done that help are:

Defining a set visit time. My parents always come for the week between Christmas and New Years. That is a given and the kids look forward to it every year.

Don't cut the weekly visit short. My parents have whittled the week away so that they are only here for 5 days now and we feel gypped. So try to work to make it 7 - 10 days. Long enough to enjoy each other but short enough that you don't get on each others' nerves too much.

Honestly, when my parents started staying in a hotel it lessened the stress because at the end of the night they went "home" so we could all relax.

Having regular phone calls does help. When I first moved to Texas my Dad insisted on calling every Sunday night. We kept that up for quite a few years before it dropped away but I don't think we go more than 2-3 weeks without talking. And of course FB helps but Mom doesn't do FB. (I know you do all of this stuff already).

If I had my druthers, I'd have my parents here for the Christmas week and we'd go up there every summer and then do some other vacation in the summer also separate from them. You might want to see if you can do something like this.

If your son/DIL move to New Mexico them maybe you can pick up your mom on the way to their house and make a trip out of it - or maybe not. Don't know how that would work.

I know how hard it is. From the viewpoint of the faraway son I wish we were up there but I also am glad I raised my kids in the south most of the time. I look at family activities that we are not a part of and it is hard. The important thing is to find something that works for you all and then stick to it even when you might not feel like it.

lost_in_toronto posted 6/4/2014 10:08 AM

We live far away from my parents and have family scattered across Canada. All our vacations are to visit family, and they rarely come here. I get it. I don't really have any answers, I've been living like this for almost twenty years.

As for your grandson - my parents spend a couple days a week taking care of my nephew. It makes me sad that they don't get to spend that kind of time with my daughter. But from the time she was sitting in her highchair, my mom would talk to her on Skype while she ate dinner. It was great, because I could clean the kitchen or bake while my mom entertained her. She sees their faces two or three times a week and gets really excited to call them. They have a great bond, even though it's long distance. My MIL loves in our province, but she only sees my kid five or six times a year. So in the balance, she actually sounds more time with my parents. I'm grateful for Skype. It truly changes the challenges of long distance!

Crescita posted 6/4/2014 11:23 AM

I guess at this point I'm worried about losing connection with my grandson. He's going to be living with his other grandparents for a while, then close by.

I wouldn’t worry too much. You will play the roles a little differently but the love will be the same.

Growing up I had a local uncle and a long distance uncle, we saw the local uncle more and it was always great, but then the long distance uncle traveled and wrote letters, and we got to go visit him in Florida and that was fantastic too. At times I might have felt closer to one over the other, but the fond memories of both are pretty even. Now I’m the one feeling guilty for not making more of an effort.

Skype, write, send him postcards, you will be the fun exotic grandma and he is going to love you no matter what.

EvenKeel posted 6/4/2014 12:12 PM

Is this your first grandbaby? My friends who are grandmothers say they have to go see those baby after a certain period of time or they feel like their hearts might burst?

IDK - don't have any grandbabies yet.

I would strike a balance of both. A trip for family....a trip for you!

TrustedHer posted 6/4/2014 12:42 PM

I'm still figuring this one out myself.

I just moved 2 weeks ago, away from my 3 boys and my granddaughter.

I miss them all. But they have their own lives to live, and so do I. Here, I have My Lady and a brand-new job, doing something rewarding, that I'm good at.

The job is good, the weather is ok, and the traffic is bearable, barely.

I'm planning on celebrating GD's 10th birthday a couple weeks early in mid-July, and Southwest is having a sale today and tomorrow, so I might schedule another trip in the Fall.

But I want to do some fun travel, too. I have a lot to plan, I suppose.

painpaingoaway posted 6/4/2014 13:38 PM

((((Sad)))). I say travel guilt free as much as you can now while he is still an infant. I think it will be more important to spend more time with him as he gets older...those times are when memories are made. Think about it, how far back does your memory go? My earliest memory was at about 4 yrs old. I know you still want to be there with him, and I know you want to be there for your son especially, but the real fun begins when they are a little older. Is it possible that they could join you on one of your dream vacations?

purplejacket4 posted 6/4/2014 16:52 PM

My sister is in Seattle and the other one is in the Dallas area along with my parents. We do a once a year WA trip and then once a year she comes (kids in tow) to Dallas (which is just one non stop flight away for me). This works well for us. Then I feel free to vacation wherever else I want.

Sad in AZ posted 6/4/2014 23:16 PM

IDK; my consistent memories start around age 5, but I have memories of my grandfather's beach and boat. I can see myself as a baby sitting on the beach. He sold the property and the boat when I was 18 months old.

DS grew up (until age 6) with my parents. They were an integral part of his life (MIL wasn't interested in being part of his life, and FIL died long before he was born.) I grew up with my paternal grandparents. I guess that's my point of reference.

This is a work in progress. I'll figure it out.

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