Friday, October 21, 2011

The Smug Mummy Plays the Nuclear Option

It's that special time of year when adult children everywhere begin the intricate dance of deciding the who/what/where of spending the upcoming holidays. There are sunshine & rainbows reasons aplenty in favor of having a kid, but what I've only just realized is the enormous power to manipulate bargaining power it brings to this annual holiday tradition too. (Hi, Mom!)

Since we began dating lo these one hundred (or seven) years ago, the Anonymous Husband and I have bounced around for the holidays, so much so that I can hardly tell you where we spent Thanksgiving or Christmas last year, let alone five years ago. These past few holidays have been a happy, if expensive blur of plane tickets and going along with our respective parents' plans which, with a lone exception, haven't included coming to our house.

Enter one Master P, the wee CEO who fancies himself beholden to no plans, be they holiday related or otherwise. Enter his mother *finally* just now realizing the power that this brings to, in the immortal (if slightly out of context) words of Nancy Reagan, to Just Say No to expensive, logistically nightmarish holiday travel with toddler.

Let's all extend a hand towards the emergency red phone while we chant together, "Retired parents - you there with the time & resources to travel sans toddler - I love you, but this year you're coming to us for Christmas. If you'd like to plan ahead, the next 17 years are looking similar. XOXO."

I'm happy to report that this flawless guilt trip line of reasoning appears to have worked. Apparently the Pretty Parents are no longer able to blame such outbursts on puberty; I'll count this as a "win" and enjoy this brief window before they start blaming my proclamations on menopause.

There - I feel much better already. And I need that, given the morning I just had chasing a certain someone around a pumpkin patch trying & failing to get one of those festive fall photos we parents are obligated to obtain:

My personal favorite & the shot most representative of our pumpkin patch trip - Master P attempting to hurl himself off the hayride wagon.

Have any of you pulled off the holiday nuclear option on your parents? Care to share your success stories?


Lisa @ Trapped In North Jersey said...

Haha, I WISH. My parents live about 2 hours south of us, the inlaws about an hour north. For the first five years we spent every holiday driving to both places, with no one being happy--"oh, you're leaving so early??" and "oh, we thought you'd be here much sooner." After having children I went to a holiday schedule of Easter at my side, Thanksgiving his side, Xmas Eve his side, Xmas Day my side. Christmas still sort of sucks, we do a lot of driving, but at least its not all in the same day. As my kids have gotten older I"ve also really pushed back the time we show up--my parents used to expect us at 9 so we could all open presents together, and now I want to have that tradition with my own kids, so we show up at my moms around noon for a bit, then head over to my grandmothers.

I have dreams of making everyone come to us, but I actually kind of like the fact that we control the exit time, and we both have siblings, who also have kids, so its not that feasible to have everyone come to us.

Plus the amount of food that the Italians put out for Christmas is INSANE, and if xmas were at my house I would have to cook all that. No thanks.

Lilly said...

I love this. Every time my husband and I are trying to gear up for another four Thanksgivings in two days, we tell ourselves "In less than 10 years we will have a child. And we will be able to blame our refusal to attend all of these holidays on the baby." You make me want to keep the faith and stay strong through the "You're leaving already?" mentions.

Danielle said...

Thankfully, my parents live here but my husband's parents live about 3 1/2 hours away. Although we do bite the bullet and go there for Thanksgiving, the trade-off is that we get to spend Christmas at our home. My husband says the same thing you did though, it's easier for them to come to us than us to pack our entire house to go to them. So good for you!

Jessica Hudson said...

I'm in a bit of a pickle... Stay here and be with the in-laws or endure the nightmare of travel with a toddler and be with my family. Sort of a lose/lose if you as me! Nice work by you :)

Erin said...

You go momma! This year we now live in my hometown with my family, so the in-laws are having to accept that they aren't the ones we're seeing at Christmas this year. Oh and I told my MIL she can't spend the night with us Christmas eve because I want our first Christmas in our first house just the three of us. I thought the world would end. And surprisingly she didn't care!

The power of a grandchild is amazing!

Chas said...

Haha, looks like your pumpkin photos went about like mine did!

We have an annual family Christmas thing at a cabin out in the country with my extended family, the weekend before Christmas usually. It's a five-six hour trip without an infant. I'm not sure how we're planning on handling that this year...

D's parents come here for actual Christmas. So that solves that.

I'm cool with just staying put and letting everybody come to us but I have a sister with two kids and one in the oven so I guess her wishes will trump mine. Bah humbug on her getting KO again; I thought that for AT LEAST one year I would have the upper hand at where we hold holiday festivities.

Amy @ Forever 29 said...

Awesome win.

Having a newborn we got to have Christmas at our house last year by default. Unfortunately my attempt to "call their bluff" this year didn't work. But we're taking a stand and will be at our house for Christmas Eve & day...we'll be traveling the week before for a visit. The easy part is our parents all live in the same place, the weird part is my parents don't travel and could care less about the holidays. I was hoping I could just win over the inlaws to come to us...they really need to retire!

Perfectly Imperfect said...

Last year everyone came to us because I refused to celebrate E's first Christmas anywhere but here. So far this year... no plans. Although I'm currently getting the guilt trip on making the trek up North before she's "too old to want to leave all her big toys". Do what?! Whatever.

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