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Do you ever get tired of the family obligations? How do you deal with them, especially if you are so not into it?!?”

6 replies so far...

  • I live on the other side of the earth from my relatives, so there is not much going on with that side. On my husbands side there are his parents, aunts and uncles. We have breakfast with his parents every third Sunday. Sometimes, if I have a lot of work to do, I can get out of it. The most difficult family obligation for me happens twice a year on the Festival of Ramadan and on the the Feast of the Sacrifice. Turkish tradition demands that we spend the first day in the car, driving in between my husband's relatives homes, visiting every single one of his elders. If you run into an aunt, say, at tea at an uncle's house, that doesn't count as a visit-- you have to go to the aunt's house. This takes all day. It's extraordinarily tedious. To lighten things up I make bets with our daughter about things like, "how many minutes until Aunt B. mentions my hair color..." or my weight, or anything impertinent (to me. These questions are normal for Turkish culture)....Early on in the our twenty year marriage we came up with The Scale from One to Ten. We rate things so we can understand how important tey are to the other person. This is very helpful in a bicultural marriage. If he says there is a tea at so-and-so's house, I have him rate it. If it is less than 7, it's not important, but if it is over 7 then without question I attend. This is very helpful because, as a foreigner, I can't always tell how important a particular event is (and I pretty much uniformly don't care).....Also, I started looking at visitations as a point system. You have to maintain your points at a certain level, let it get too low and people accuse you of all kinds of things. Occassionally, an opportunity will come along to rack up many points, like the time mym parents were visiting and I took them and my in-laws to visit my FIL's sisters in another city. Or when I suggested to my MIL that she take me and my 4 year old daughter to her city over on the Syrian border. Those points lasted me YEARS!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by KatieK on 6th September 2007

  • Ha! I thought this meant obligations within your nuclear family - and my answer was going to be "doesn't everyone?" My extended family obligations I don't mind at all, but that's probably only because they're singularly undemanding families!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 6th September 2007

  • That is now a question, I would need help answering. My father recently was hospitialized and I didn't realize that as of today it is lucky I am home. My sister wouldn't take the time to take off work as I would. I have been temping and always putting my family first. I am at a loss of where to turn now because I want a job and some kind of path for the next 10 years to develop something I could be good in.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Vicky from West Babylon on 5th September 2007

  • We moved 4 hours away from both families:) Kidding aside, living far away means we don't really have any family obligations except for holidays and sometimes actually wish we did...

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by StacyAnne on 4th September 2007

  • My husband and I made a pack when our son was born that we were starting our family and that family came first. So far, this packed as worked. We have no family obligations except for the ones we make with our families on our terms. We made ourselves clear to the rest of both families as soon as our son was born. Of course, there are times when there is pressure but we do not back down from requesting reasonable family gathering days and times. No more 8pm dinners! Our son sees his grandparents and cousins just about every week on our time schedule. Setting the families' expectation have helped us immensely in keeping family obligations under control.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lisa M. Nolan on 3rd September 2007

  • Do you mean familiy obligations like obligatory Sunday night dinners? That was always my least favorite thing to do because they always ran too late and that meant the kids were in bed late and then were cranky Monday morning. I, uh, divorced out of that family.

    However, I learned to set some boundaries. For example when my family invites us over for I explain that we need to head home at a certain time and we compromise by coming over earlier and helping make dinner.

    Now there are family events that I am "so not into" and when it comes to attending, I discuss it with my husband. Is it really an "obligation"?

    Sometimes I don't go and gauge the reaction. But I've found that if you do that too many times, they just stop inviting you... and then you end up feeling a little left out. At least that's how I felt after a few too many events occuring where family had just assumed that I wouldn't attend.

    It's a balancing act. You want to be invited, but you don't want to be obliged to go...

    I say treat your family like you would your friends. We rarely feel obliged to go somewhere with a friend like we do with family.

    Sorry that's a longish, rambling answer!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Heather Cook (Writeonmama) on 2nd September 2007