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Woman tells in-laws not to invite themselves on family vacation, 'it didn't go over well.' AITA? UPDATED

Woman tells in-laws not to invite themselves on family vacation, 'it didn't go over well.' AITA? UPDATED


"Am I wrong that I told my in-laws not to invite themselves on my family vacation?"

My husband (M36) and I (F36) have been together for 14 years, married for 10, and have always lived in Washington DC suburbs. Pretty much since we’ve been together, we’ve spent the first week of July with my side of the family at my parent’s beach house about a 3 hour drive away.

My two sisters also stay at the house, and my maternal cousins usually come by for the 4th fireworks. We now have two children elementary school age. My sister who lives on the West coast also has a child their age, so this has become special cousin bonding time. We also have two birthdays this week (not mine, husband, or our kids though) and it is just in general a lovely week of an annual family reunion for my mother’s side.

My parents live about 25 minutes from us. My husband’s parents used to live 40 minutes away before they retired two years ago and moved to Florida. My in-laws visit us very frequently, every few months, and usually stay with us for a week or so.

Now the reason for this post: My MIL recently texted my husband and I letting us know that she was flying to DC for a conference at the end of June, and wanted to confirm the dates we’d be at my parent’s beach house so she could extend her visit by renting an Airbnb “as close as possible” to my parents beach house to join in on our vacation.

She’s retired, so the conference must be related to a hobby. In any case, I found it a little strange that she was inviting herself on a vacation that she knows is an annual tradition for my side of the family. This reaction of mine is where I might be the ahole and I’m wondering if instead I should have felt “more the merrier.”

Some context: Since my in-laws move, I’ve picked up on some unspoken tension from my MIL against my mother. I believe that she thinks my mother should defer to her whenever she visits since my mother is able to see us more often. But, I don’t think my parents are less deserving of quality time with their grandchildren all together during birthday parties and one time school events, simply because they’ve chosen to continue to live nearby.

So back to the text convo with MIL - My wonderful husband sensed that I was feeling a little protective about our beach week. We replied and suggested to his mom that maybe we could plan another visit with MIL and FIL later in the summer. It didn’t go over well.

This was my MIL’s response: “Well, it’s not as simple as that. I am coming up to DC for a conference June 27-30, and with airfare already paid, we thought it would be perfect that you would be taking that following week off so we could stay and see you guys.

Seems silly to fly home from DC and then fly back up two weeks later. I’m a bit disappointed - they can see you guys anytime they want, any weekend, every weekend. We seem like we are always an imposition.” I don’t like that she’s now guilting us and I’m wondering if I was wrong not to have a “more the merrier attitude.” Am I wrong?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

bythebrook88 said:

But it's not any weekend - it's a week when you are on holiday with YOUR family. Any time your family spends with your MIL during this week is time taken from being with your sisters and cousins, who you only see occasionally.

MIL should not be guilting you about seeing your family less than your parents - it was MIL and FIL who decided to move away. NTA.

Chaoticgood790 said:

NTA stop over complicating it. “I’m sorry we will be with my family this week and will not have time to see you during that week. Hope you can find another week in the summer to come visit. The kids will be happy to spend time with you at a later date." Then stop the back and forth.

RNGinx3 said:

"Seems silly to fly home from DC and then fly back up two weeks later. I’m a bit disappointed - they can see you guys anytime they want, any weekend, every weekend. We seem like we are always an imposition.”

Response: "It doesn't have to be in two weeks. It can be a month or two later. You are welcome to come visit any time we don't have prior plans. Unfortunately, that week we have plans; and just as I would not crash your family functions with my parents, I can not spring surprise guests on my parents' family functions.

As for you feeling like you're always an imposition, I am sad to hear you feel that way. Husband, myself, and the kids have always enjoyed your visits and, prior to this occasion, have never turned you away. We look forward to seeing you again soon when you feel up to making another trip." NTA.

SlinkyMalinky20 said:

NTA. You and your family are not available the week your MIL wants to visit - you already have plans with your family. Your MIL is flexing, this is a weird power play. If she “wins” this one, she will just get worse with this.

She’s going to be petty and jealous about the time with your family no matter what. She’s the one who decided to move away - that’s on her. She doesn’t get to hijack your family’s plans just because she chose to move away. NTA.

Knittingfairy09113 said:

NTA. Tell her that regardless of where she stays, you, DH, and kids will not be available to see her the first week of July, and she shouldn't have booked anything without talking to you first as you all would have loved extra time with her, but that particular vacation is for your side only. Add on that the feeling of imposition comes entirely from her imagination and is her responsibility to manage.

Ok-Abbreviations4510 said:

NTA. You already said no. Stick to it or they’re going to keep doing it. You should also let your SIL know what the situation is.


Thank you to everyone who has replied - I want to give you some more details and ask for more advice. MIL text above was from Friday, and my husband immediately replied by setting a boundary. He said we might be able to find some time to see the in-laws but that this week was special to my family and not just about my parents.

He mentioned my other family members and the birthdays we celebrate. He said it wasn’t fair for him to prioritize his parents during this week just because they decided to move to Florida and make it harder for us to see each other regularly. My MIL never responded.

My sister in law (husband’s sister, their daughter) happened to be staying with us this weekend for a visit. She lives 2 hours away. As she was leaving, she mentioned how she had taken off work the first week of July so she and my 14 year old nephew could join my in-laws at their AirBNB.

So THAT is how my husband and I found out that MIL went through with the booking - and that more of his family is now expecting to spend time with us. How am I supposed to enforce the vacation boundary now and ignore my poor 14 year nephew? I am so sad my SIL and nephew have been dragged into this.

UPDATE #2. Thank you to everyone for the wonderful replies! For the sake of all the cousins, we are going to set aside a day with my in laws and probably a dinner with the entire family at the airbnb should my sisters and cousins like to join. This way no one feels slighted, but the in laws get the message that we aren’t fully available to them all week. What I needed from this post was 3rd party objective opinions and that’s what I received. Thank you!

Everyone was on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for this in-law drama?

Sources: Reddit
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