My husband and I have been married for 5 years and I don't want to host his family events anymore. I've done Thanksgivings, Christmas's, some BBQs, and some other various events over the years.
Once in awhile his daughter may bring a plate of deviled eggs or a dish of baked beans, but when it comes time to clean up, everyone goes into the living room to socialize and watch TV. My husband doesn't help with anything (cleaning the house, cooking, dishes, etc.).
Part of me feels guilty cause I don't want to be the catalyst preventing him from spending time with his family in his (our) own home. I am not saying, he can't spend time with his family. I just don't want to be the one who always gets stuck doing all the work. His argument is, if I don't do it, then it won't happen.
(Oh, well) He says neither of his kids will step up and volunteer to host. Naturally, his first wife did all the family events, up until she got sick and passed away 7-8 years ago.
He says his kids are just used to their mom doing all the work. My argument is they will never step up if I keep doing it. They aren't kids! They are in their 50's with their own kids who are in their 20's.
I really don't want to keep putting myself in a position of doing all this work for people who basically ignore me the entire time they are there while they visit with their dad, eat the food I prepare (which has to be cooked the way they like it), swap stories and joke amongst themselves and leave. It's not just 1 or 2 hrs. It's usually 4+ hrs.
I try to interact when an opportunity arises, but I'm literally sitting in the kitchen the entire time because someone is always sitting in my chair and all the seats are filled. I often think about just walking out of the house to go for a walk, but then the food would burn. I don't want to be the center of attention, but just basic good manners would be nice. Most of the grandkids behave better than their parents.
His son and daughter were not very pleasant towards me when their father and I started dating. His daughter was down right rude to me on a few occasions and his son, to this day doesn't acknowledge I'm in the room. His daughter has gotten better, but it's still not what I would call great.
He figured she behaved badly because she lost her free meal ticket because he used to pay several of her bills. There has been absolutely no issues with the rest of his family; i.e. his brother, SIL, nieces, cousins, etc. They've all been great! His brother and his wife have been awesome.
His son told his dad privately he has an issue with our age difference. Nothing I can do about that. I have tried to initiate conversations with him to be cordial, but it's a 50/50 chance if he will even respond. He has never reciprocated. I finally decided I tried and after 5 years, I can wipe that slate clean with good conscience. I'm done.
Last year I tried to get out of doing Thanksgiving by not inviting anyone and cooking for just the 2 of us. His daughter ended up inviting herself and her family over with 1-2 days notice. I was shocked.
Who does that? I told my husband well that didn't work. Of course he didn't correct her when he had the chance on the phone either. He hates confrontation, especially with his kids. Plus it worked out in his favor by not speaking up. I'm not stupid. He got what he wanted. A home cooked meal with his family.
I tried the same thing again (not inviting anyone) for Christmas since I ended up having to do Thanksgiving, but again no one volunteered to host at their place. He offered to buy a smoked ham and some sides from a local venue to help alleviate my stress. So I caved in and tried it. Honestly, it still ended up being almost just as much work and again I spent 4 hrs in the kitchen being ignored. Not to mention all the time spent cleaning before, during and after. No, he doesn't help.
When I finally came to terms my husband was never going to speak up, I hinted around his daughter perhaps she could host the next one. She said she didn't want to have to clean.
She's already had her youngest son call his grandpa yesterday (same thing she did last year) to find out what our plans were for Thanksgiving this year. Again, they were told we weren't making plans this year. Does this mean she is going to invite herself over again this year?
Hosting events have never been in my comfort zone. I've been alone almost my entire life. I can feel my anxiety levels rising already. AITAH for not wanting to continue or should I just keep sucking it up so he can spend time with his family?
I would be perfectly fine if he took his family out to dinner at a restaurant instead. Better yet take them out and leave me at home. I'd be totally fine with that too. If they don't want to interact with me, then so be it, but don't treat me that way in my own home, especially when I go through all the work and stress involved. Just isn't worth the aggrevation.
NTA. Book yourself a lovely vacation and rest. By your own admission they’d only miss the free catering, bar and cleaning services anyway. They don’t treat you like family, stop giving them family back. Have a happy thanksgiving yourself somewhere lovely.
NTA but don’t do it. Literally don’t cook, don’t go buy food, don’t do anything. Will it suck to miss the turkey, probably, but your husband will learn quick that you aren’t going to be manipulated and a slave to him and his kids anymore. Stay in bed and then take yourself out to eat. You deserve better. Your husband is primarily the problem here and until that is addressed nothing will change.
NTA make reservations at a restaurant or make plans to visit your family. If you do want to attempt hosting again start a group chat with a spreadsheet. You’ll cook the main dish, assign side dishes & put hubby & spouses in charge of clean up. Hand hubby a dish towel at the end of the meal & plop yourself down in the family room with a glass of wine.
NTA why are you married to this man? Just stop hosting. This whole marriage sounds awful. You don’t have a backbone and everyone around you takes advantage of that. You deserve better.
NTA. Stand your ground and don't do it. Let them figure it out going forward.
NTA, but you've let this go on way too long. The first time he wanted to host, he should have been the one to prep the house, buy the groceries, cook, clean up, etc. They're not even your kids. Your suggestion of a restaurant sounds like the way to go if he's unwilling to even help. Good luck to you.
NTA. Just. Stop. You're almost there by not inviting anyone, but now take it a step further. If they invite themselves and your husband doesn't shut it down make sure he knows you're not cooking. And then don't. They're all grown and can figure something out on their own but as long as you keep doing it for them they don't have to. Just stop.
I am truly overwhelmed by all the response. I wish I could thank you all for taking the time to give me some feedback.
Due to all your awesome support, I have decided I will no longer host any more of his family holiday dinners. Trust me, I've had my fill. I just wanted to make sure I did enough on my part to try and make things work with his family. I tried and failed, and that's not my fault. I have a clear conscience. Thank you.