Parental Time Share

(From RealSimple.com)We don’t live in the same city as either of our parents…so we haven’t had to navigate the world of how to split the time evenly between respective in-laws. Maybe “lucky us” for now….but I would like to hear how some people deal with it. Is it really split equally…maybe between number of meals or hours in spent in a week? Or is it more based on what “feels” equal to the parents?

My view is that it’s a non issue until someone makes it an issue. It’s more about what “feels” equal to the respective parents. If one set of in-laws is more needy about seeing their grown son/daughter more often, and the other set is pretty chill about it….then we may see the “needier” parents more. If both sides are pretty chill, then easy….share a meal on alternating weeks. If both sides are equally needy….then move out of the city. JK. I promise this isn’t why we’re not in the same city as our parents. PROMISE. Though, I have heard of parents who’ve made it such a battle that their kids really did move across the country. But yeah, if both sides are equally needy, then I think first, we have to draw some clear boundaries around ourselves so that our primary family is protected and that no one feels over-imposed on. Then we communicate those boundaries to both parents. “We’ll have dinner together on alternating weeks.” And then really watch that special occasions are done in a way such that it can be duplicated relatively easily. What I mean is that we wouldn’t take one set of parents on a four day cruise and then take the other set of parents on a four day land tour. (Well, unless it was the same price or value and we could afford both.)

And parents could really just make it easier for your kids by not comparing and competing against “the other side”. Just express what’s truly meaningful to you. Your kids would want to do their best to give that time or experience to you. If you start counting and comparing and complaining about “inequalities” then it just makes it harder on everyone….and would maybe make them just draw a hard and fast boundary that NO ONE gets anything more than the bare minimum. Well, it would make ME do that anyways. But again, I’m really thankful our parents are pretty chill. =) Praise God!

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