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My mother-in-law’s tough parenting style is forcing us to spend Christmas this year with her

My husband (29M) and I (26F) have spent every Christmas with my family since 2017 since our marriage, but this year we’re considering spending it elsewhere, and it’s caused some tension with my mother-in-law (MIL). Due to our nomadic lifestyle and the nature of our jobs, we tend to avoid planning too far ahead, and holidays with family aren’t a top priority for us. However, my MIL seems to be keeping score and expecting us to prioritize spending time with her.

During a recent conversation, my MIL expressed her disappointment with our Christmas plans not being set in stone yet and reminded us that we’re postponing having a baby. She then went on to use her nine months of carrying my husband as leverage, saying she’s entitled to more quality time with him. She complained that she hasn’t woken up on Christmas morning to open presents with her children in years, and asked us to promise to spend a week with them this Christmas.

My husband thinks it’s not a big deal and that it could be worse, but I think my MIL needs to adjust her expectations. We stay with them frequently and see them more often than my own parents, but my MIL still seems to think we’re intentionally avoiding them. I understand that she loves her son and wants to spend more time with him, but it seems like she takes our choices too personally and puts too much weight on holidays.

I come from a blended family, so I’m used to not having all of my siblings and their children in the same place for holidays and this type of parenting. This attitude from my MIL is completely foreign to me, and it’s causing me a lot of frustration. I don’t know if I should put my foot down more often, but I didn’t bring up the fact that we stay with them frequently during our recent conversation because I didn’t trust myself to stay civil.

Overall, I’m wondering if I’m overreacting or if anyone has any similar experiences. It’s tough because none of my friends can really relate. I’ve shared some of my MIL’s behavior in previous posts, including her wearing a near-white dress to our wedding, but I’m looking for some advice or support in navigating this particular issue.