Soliciting Opinions Re Family Gatherings!
(Sorry this is so long)
Hey y'all! Long time no post here!! No matter how long its been since I've been to the KT, I still think of you as a fantastic resource. Ron and I have an issue and would love your wise feedback!! Here goes!
Background: We have 5 children, ages 19 to 31. Three are married and we have two grandchildren. Ron and I live on the farm he grew up on. His parents live a few miles away and his brother and sister-in-law live across the road.
The dilemma: For every holiday and family gathering we meet at our house because it's the most centrally located and the biggest place. What this means is, I get to do 90% of all the work. I spend days organizing, shopping, cleaning and getting ready. The day of I spend all morning cooking and getting the house ready. Everyone else shows up (sometimes after having told us that they weren't going to make it) minutes before we are going to eat with one dinky dish and ask "what can I do to help?"
After the meal then we play cards or games or goof around. The dishes sit piled up with not one single person offering to wash them. So, at the end of the day again I get to work my rear off to get the house back together.
I have tried everything I can think of to make these kids understand how much work it is and how fantastic it would be if they would help but they completely ignore it. If I ask outright, "can you please do such and such" I get attitude.
Yesterday was the same old deal on a different day. One by one they left throughout the afternoon. Ron's brother and sister-in-law showed up empty handed 5 minutes before we ate after telling us they weren't going to be here. One son and his wife informed me the day before that they couldn't be here for lunch but would be here for supper (huh? now I'm supposed to cook two dinners?) And our daughter invited a friend!
In true fashion, they all went about their merry ways as it suited them and our 19 year old son (the only one still at home) disappeared in the early evening. It was father's day and I really wanted Ron to have a break (he really needed it) and I was left again with a huge pile of dirty dishes (we don't have a dishwasher).
Today I'm exhausted and really angry and it's hard to focus on my own work. I keep thinking about how everyone was describing their leisurely mornings yesterday and just getting even more steamed!!! Ron (usually my biggest helper) felt terrible that he suggested we spend Father's Day here, but honestly, we love our family so much and I love having things here and being with our family, but it's too much. I don't like how much time it all takes and how physically demanding it all is. We have tried all kinds of things (I won't go into it here because this thread already too long!!) Is this really what being middle aged is about? Do I have to say goodbye to having fun on holidays until I'm too old to do anything? Sheesh!!!
Any ideas at all for us? I'm at the end of my rope!!!
(I just read through this and realized how grateful I am to all of you for being here. It is so incredibly helpful just writing this all out and imagining someone reading this with the heart of understanding!)