My husband, my children and I live in East Texas while my mother still lives in my home state of New Jersey. It’s a wonderful place, right near the beach with boardwalks and amusement parks galore. Every summer we spend a good chunk of change to bring the kids out for a multi-week visit, at which time my poor, heart-broken mother attempts to cram every fun thing she can imagine into the short time we have.
Unfortunately we are homebodies. My eldest son, in particular is about to turn 13 and he has been constantly whining about every place we go. If we force him, he always has fun but it’s a nightmare getting him out there and my mother doesn’t help. Just today (for example), we had plans to do The Boardwalk tonight and go on rides. My eldest wasn’t all that into it but he agreed. Then plans changed; the cousins were coming for the night and we would be going the following day instead. I told him we’d be staying in and he was glad. Then the cousins arrive and decide they all want to go tonight instead.
My mother said don’t force my eldest so when he said he wanted to stay in, I said fine. Then, ten minutes before they go, my mother starts nagging that he HAS to go; it’s the last time he can go out with the cousins and her, we’re leaving in two days, and so on. So I FORCED him to go and he’s miserable, stomping all around. Then my mother says “Maybe we shouldn’t make him go if he doesn’t want to.” I am ready to scream!
On the one hand I feel we spend a lot to come here, it’s once a year, and he should go out with the family not sit home on the computer or games. On the other hand I feel like we spend a lot to bring the kids to visit her and I wish my mother wouldn’t guilt me over whether my eldest wants to spend time with her at the dang boardwalk he’s been to twice already this week. HELP!
I think there are three distinct issues here. The first is your mother’s insistence that you run, go, see, do everything while you visit. The second is handling a petulant child (I can say that because I have two; I feel you’re your pain). And the third deals with your mother again. Let me see if I can deconstruct and offer some advice.