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Vacation fiasco because of mixed family..... please help

My husband and I have a daughter of our own who is 1. We also have a 7 year old son from a previous relationship of my husbands and a 17 year old daughter from my husband's previous marriage. We are struggling with how to do vacations because not only does our son live with us just part time, but all my family relatives live 2 states away. I have suggested to my husband that we split holidays. Each year we spend Thanksgiving with one set of parents and the Christmas day with the other. The following year it switches. Since we don't get to see my family that often we would still go there after Christmas to spend time with them too (on the years that we weren't with the on Christmas day).

NOTE - there is a court order but they have agreed not to follow it. That order had us splitting Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day. The courts don't care that the father is married to a woman whose family lives out of state. That is usually how it is done here unless the parents specify otherwise. As they are getting along (sort of) we didn't want to rock the boat and go back to court to revise orders to how things actually are.

My son's mother loves Christmas too and may not be willing to let our son go out of state every other Christmas. She doesn't let him travel with us for Thanksgiving either. The problem is my husband decides that he is not going to go out of state without our son so I end up going with our daughter alone.

I hate not being with my husband. I have told him that we are a family first. I have also told him that I feel he is putting our son first before the rest of the family. I love our son, but I don't like how this is being played out.

I could really use some advice on whether my recommendation for the holidays is sound and how to handle things if our son's mother won't let him travel out of state with us when we want the family to go.

NOTES - Yes I have told my husband exactly how I feel and he has even read this post so there are no secrets about my feelings. Also, I don't refer to our son as my stepson. He calls me Mom (whether he should or not is neither here nor there and for a different discussion) and I call him son. My husband takes it personally when I refer to him as my stepson even when trying to clarify to someone that doesn't know our situation so out of respect for him and deep love for MY son I do not refer to him as a step son unless absolutely necessary. Final note - Our son's mother is not accepting of me. She feels I'm to blame for their breakup even though he was split from her when I met him. It's her issue so there is no chance of the three of us chatting out it together. Although I have attended parent teacher conferences with them and she has not objected. I don't want to push it. Plus I think this is an issue best handled between my son's mom and my husband.

With great anticipation of your responses and great thanks for any input. I'm so sad.

Answer Question

Asked by steptonmom at 4:53 PM on Dec. 8, 2010 in Parenting Debate

Level 4 (33 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • Wow, I think you covered all the bases! I think you are going to have to give up going to see your family on some holidays. Mom wants to see her young son on christmas, and she should get to. Maybe just travel to your family on thanksgiving, or go a week late for new years and celebrate christmas then.

    Answer by Candi1024 at 4:57 PM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • Sounds like you are doing the best that you can. You're being really mature about the whole thing, but realize that with other (less mature) parties involved, your maturity can only go so far.
    How about instead of going to see your family every other Christmas, you pay for them to come see you? Tell them the situation and see if they would be willing.. if you are able. Thats the only thing I can think of...

    Answer by brandyj at 5:08 PM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • I got tired of doing all the traveling and the stress of trying to make everyone happy during the holidays. It was stressful, kids were tired, I was irritable. The holidays sucked at that time. I dreaded them. Finally one year my husband I said no more. It had nothing to do with wanting to see our families or not. We told all of our families that we were going to be staying home for Christmas. If anyone wanted to come over, we would welcome them with open arms. If anyone did not want to come over, we would arrange another time in the coming weeks to get together with them to celebrate (i.e. have dinner, exchange some presents, et cetera). Does it mean we're not flexible, no, but our holidays have improved ten fold I have to say. I hope that helps a little bit. Just sharing my journey through the holidays!! Good luck.

    Answer by amybaby_19 at 5:12 PM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • The best thing to do is alternate holidays. (Or celebrate at a different time) It's not the ideal solution because part of your family won't be there, but I don't see you have much of a choice. I'm sorry you're in this situation; I'm a step mom myself, and holidays can be a real challenge. There have been years when we ended up spending "Christmas" at our home a few days early, and other years we've celebrated at my moms the day after. What matters is that you spend the holidays together, not that you celebrate when everyone else does.

    Answer by Scuba at 5:20 PM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • Okay, What about going to see your family every other Christmas, and scheduling those for the years that your son spends Christmas with his mom? I'm sure you would like him to go with you too, but that seems out of the question. Can you and your parents trade off years? You, DH, DD go there one year and the next year they come to you? Even if you need to celebrate Christmas a weekend early or late, you'll still get to see your family, and not rock the boat with the ex.

    Answer by new_mom808 at 9:25 PM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • I am wondering why the court order should be changed to make you happy. Listen, I know this can be hard but arrangement is between your husband and his ex wife so that the child can spend a fair amount of time with each of them (and only THEY can say what that is, not you). Yes, your husband should put his son before you, his son was there first, he didnt choose to have a step mother or even for his parents not to be togther but you did choose to marry a man who already had a child. Maybe you could go see your family when he does not have his son but on holidays that he does, say in the state. And you are right not to want to rock the boat, things in this situation can turn very bad, very quickly. You are lucky that things are a least kind of civil. I don't mean to sound harsh, I am saying this as someone who grew up around all this crap and almost all my holidays, until I could decide where I wanted to go were miserable.

    Answer by JLS2388 at 10:40 PM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • I also wanted to ask, how does his mother feel about you calling him your son and him calling you mom? I ask cause if she wanted to she could push that in court (unless you can prove that it is natural like if you were the one always taking care of him). A friend on mine went through that and went to court and her ex's wife was not allowed to be there for visitation for 6 months because the court said she was "alienating the mother"

    Answer by JLS2388 at 10:45 PM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • This boy is growing up in a broken home, without the constant presenscence of his own, seemingly devoted father, and you have the gall to say to your husband that he basically has to choose between his "visitation" child and his current wife and child? I am sorry that you are sad, but YOU chose to marry a man with strings attached. Leave it alone, and let him be the best father that he can be. Celebrate holidays on different days with your family as a whole. Don't resent this boy, or his father for the unfortunate situation. What more can he do? If you are happy his son is sad, and vice versa. He is a child, you are the adult.

    Answer by squish at 1:24 AM on Dec. 9, 2010

  • I wouldn't be any different in this moms case. Honestly I wouldn't let my son spend a single night outside of my home. My husband knows this. And my husband would be the same way, he wouldn't leave the state during a holiday without his son. You do put your children first its normal and okay. My advice is spend more holidays at your own home, its better that way. maybe do a holiday get together in early december or even early november.

    In our home, holidays are done at home. I'm not big on taking my son out of the comfort of his home on those days, so everyone is always welcomed in my home but holidays we dont leave.

    Answer by whoreallycares at 5:27 AM on Dec. 9, 2010

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