To not want an annual "Family Day"

(366 Posts)
FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 05:18:15

I probably am...

MiL likes getting all her children and grandchildren together at her house for the day. I like it too, it's always good to catch up with the extended family and for the cousins to play together. But - and I know this is irrational - I can't abide the fact that she insists on calling them a Family Day. With capital letters. Grrrr.

I could live with this (just about) because I know it's my problem to deal with. But I am really struggling with the fact that she is trying to make it an annual fixture on the same weekend every year - and not linked to eg her birthday. A couple of years ago I (very politely) said that we have lots of other things going on, and didn't want to commit to an annual fixture, and I thought she had taken this on board. But the email summoning the clan has just come out, confirming that "the Family Day will be on X, as usual".

How do I respond? I don't want to say we aren't going, because our DC would miss out on seeing their family. But if we just go, then we are by default signing up to an annual Family Day. Which I really really don't want to do. I also don't want to cause a rift with a MiL I get along with really well.

DH would be quite happy not to go, BTW, and I talk to MiL far more than him.

Help me navigate this one, oh wise MNers!

PS is a Family Day a thing other families do, or something MiL has created?

CrackleMauve Mon 27-May-13 05:23:24

I don't get the problem. If it's the same day every year it is easy to plan round. If there is something you really can't miss just don't go. Surely it would be more likely to interfere with your other plans if the date kept changing? If you like the chance to catch up with everyone, just pretend your MIL is the Queen and has two birthdays. Job done.

wankerchief Mon 27-May-13 05:30:14

Really don't get the problem.
One day a year when everyone gets together, no different firm an birthday, anniversary- its a party everyones invited too. Sounds rather nice

Shes nit asked you shall to come along, pick three kids to ho in a ring to fight to the death for her entertainment once a year

wankerchief Mon 27-May-13 05:30:57

All not shall thank you phone hmm

scaevola Mon 27-May-13 05:35:31

I think it's a lovely idea.

I wish we had one.

I don;t see the issue either.
One day family party no gifts needed. I'd go eat, and drink all the wine and let the kids run riot.

VixZenFenchell Mon 27-May-13 05:40:38

I also don't see the problem.

One day, same every year. You can either work your other commitments around it or give it a miss if something more important happens one year.

And it's a day where the entire family gets together to catch up, not just because of a birthday, wedding or funeral. Family Day would seem to be the exact thing to call it.

You said you enjoy going, you like the chance to catch up - I think you're being unreasonable to object to it being called exactly what it is.

I wish we had one too - I might start the tradition!

Sudden thought - are you just irritated because you don't really see your inlaws as real family?

I can't see the problem.

The fixed date works in your favour, you can plan in advance and don't have to change plans last minute.

I really can't see the problem.

I have a large extended family, we have random get togethers a few times a year. Half the time several people don't make it as it's not convenient. The only date we all manage to make is the pre Christmas gathering which is the first weekend in Dec every year - we a keep the weekend free.

Calling it a Family Day is a bit cheesy but harmless.

SageMist Mon 27-May-13 05:46:44

My Mum does something similar. Every year between Xmas and New Year she organises a Family Meal ( yes with capitals).

I think that I feel the same way you do, enjoy it while it happening, but hate the way it's become an 'Event' in Mum's mind.

I don't have any answers I'm afraid, as I'm beginning to hate the idea of the Family Meal too. I think it's because its become an obligation, rather than a spontaneous(ish) gathering.

SageMist Mon 27-May-13 05:54:24

Oh btw, mum doesn't have a fixed day for our Family Meal. She spends ages ringing round the family trying to work out the best day. She gets very very stressed about it all.

This year she went into my DS's work place to try and get him to agree to a particular day and cried when he couldn't commit (he works shifts and doesn't know more than a week ahead which days he'll be working).

So I've got to the stage when I think that Family Meal is becoming a burden. But I don't know how to stop it.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 05:57:33

Thanks all. SageMist, I think you might have put your finger on it re it being an obligation.

Vix - I make more of an effort with DH's family than he does! Because he's not close to most of them we don't see them as often as we see my family, and I don't feel his siblings are like my siblings, but I definitely feel the nieces and nephews on his side are as important to our DC as the nieces and nephews on my side. And I do genuinely get on with my MiL.

Maybe it would be easier if we had more random events too, rather than just the set piece Day.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 05:59:22

If you find out, SageMist, let me know grin

While I think the day is a lovely idea, and having it on the same day each year gives everyone the most notice, therefore increasing the chances everyone can make it. I would be trying hard not to snigger at giving it a name with capitals. I'd make the most of it though, perhaps start calling it something a bit more OTT, "The Great Family Get Together of 2013" grin

alpinemeadow Mon 27-May-13 06:27:21

I'm getting ya fsg - by making it a fixed day you do create a bit of an obligation to be available, and with growing dc that can be surpisingly constraining. The Name of the Day is just one of those things - but i admit i find that usage annoying in other contexts - eg 'family house'! 'family changing room' is ok i suppose, but i'm going off at an irrational tangent here. Anyway, it does sound a lovely day. Could you reply something like 'great, we can make it this year' - just to make it clear it wasn't a foregone conclusion?
In fact, maybe she has taken your point on board - it's on the same date, but mil doesn't asume amd expect you'll be available?
Sagemist yes that has definitely become a problem - very difficult for you and your brother.

ThisWayForCrazy Mon 27-May-13 06:33:33

I don't get the issue. Even if it becomes an obligation, I still don't get the issue. It's 1 day out of 365 and as you say you get on with them, so it's not an awful full of hassle day, is it? And so what if its the same day each year? I don't see that it's more of an obligation as a set date than not. You'll still be expected to go.

FarBetterNow Mon 27-May-13 06:42:19

Maybe fast forward your life 30 years or thereabouts and think how lovely it would be to have all your children and grandchildren round to visit on the same day, so you can watch the little ones playing and the siblings can catch up with each other.

Please don't be a misery - just go to it.
Sorry - don't mean to be harsh.

Chottie Mon 27-May-13 06:48:50

It sounds lovely to me too. My DM used to do the same when I was a child, it gave me so many happy memories. Please go for your DC sake, your MiL does it from love and wanting to just enjoy seeing all her family together for one day........ I don't think she is asking for much....

BlackholesAndRevelations Mon 27-May-13 06:50:19

Yes I think YABU and a bit of a misery too. What's the harm in your mil (who you like and get on with) wanting to get all of her family together? Plus the fact that it's the same day each year surely makes things easier for you... Just don't plan something else on that day!

I love big family gatherings at my inlaws.

I think it sounds lovely too smile And agree that having it the same date is more helpful as you can plan around it more than a year in advance!

kelda Mon 27-May-13 06:53:12

YABU. We have a family day on the same day every year. It makes things very easy. And enjoyable as well as we don't have to organise anything.

That is until this year that is, the date has been changed twice and caused no end of trouble.

saggybaps Mon 27-May-13 06:55:50

I really don't understand your problem. Great idea, good to have it on the same day every year as it helps you to plan. If you have something else important to go to, don't go. What's the problem with Capitals?

I think the problem is with you, not your MIL.

oh here, have a grip. I wish I had your in law 'problems'.

cat Mon 27-May-13 07:01:08

You sound very mean.

So MIL wants to get her family all together for 1 day of the year. 1 day. And you don't want to commit to that?

Crikey. I dread ending up with DILs like you.

Think yourself lucky, my MIL does this, the only difference being she invites everyone to a family day at MY house. This is because I have 'more room' hmm. I'd happily go to one at her place. Hosting it? Not so keen...

exoticfruits Mon 27-May-13 07:02:06

It sounds a great idea to me and the same weekend makes it simple. I wish we had one.

DebsMorgan Mon 27-May-13 07:03:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lunar1 Mon 27-May-13 07:03:28

7 am and both my boys have crawled into our bed in the last hour, I love my family more than anything. It's a perfect morning.

Makes me so sad to think that one day they might not bother with dh and I or that they will marry someone who will begrudge us one family day a year. Hopefully we will raise them to have better family values. You are being nasty, get over yourself.

cozietoesie Mon 27-May-13 07:03:55

We have a Family Day every year. It's during the Festive Season and isn't actually called that (but who cares much about a name) and has become one of the points of our calendar.

I really don't mind. Particularly because what I've found is that as they've got older, the youngsters really like it, even though they 'officially' moan sometimes. They can catch up with their cousins, talk to all the relatives and I think it gives them a good feeling of security. It also requires little in the way of preparation - lots of hot or cold nibbles and soft drinks usually does it.

I'd relax about the whole thing if I were you. If your MIL enjoys it - then why not? There are plenty worse family duties that you could be subject to if you see it as such.

cozietoesie Mon 27-May-13 07:06:08

PS - that would be soft drinks for the youngsters. Harder liquor for the non-driving adults is usually arranged these days.


MeiMeiMeiMei Mon 27-May-13 07:06:49

OP - it won't be long before the professional MIL haters find this thread and start ranting on about what an entitled bitch your MIL is, how dare she want to impede on your time now you have Your Own Family and you should slap her down blah blah

So before this happens, please accept that YABU, obligation is not a bad thing once a year, throw yourself into the spirit of Family Day wink and make your MIL happy.

exoticfruits Mon 27-May-13 07:08:55

The fact that she hasn't linked it to her birthday - it just stands alone- makes her sound lovely. I'm sure that if something came up like a wedding and you had to miss she would understand- otherwise I can't see your problem at all.

perplexedpirate Mon 27-May-13 07:11:38

You're lucky it's only once a year. Mil is obsessed with 'getting the family together' and arranges days out and parties with astonishing regularity.
I absolutely can't abide forced fun, but used to attend as she has a way of issuing an invitation that feels like a summons. Thanks to good old MN, I am now confident enough to do the old 'no is a complete sentence' and let DH deal with the fall out.
Unfortunately there is an unavoidable one next Sunday. I'm hoping to snide off early whilst nobody is looking.

DontmindifIdo Mon 27-May-13 07:12:24

I think while it's a lovely idea, it does depend on your MIL's attitude, will it be ok if say, next year you want to go away that weekend or have another event, will she be happy to move her big day or just sulk that you aren't going?

If it's more of a movable event, then go along with it. However - I can see these making of traditions, while nice at the time, can be a problem if you want to ever break the mould - so while it's great when all the DCs are small,when they are older and have sports they'll have to miss, or are off at uni, or suddenly MIL isn't up for hosting it anymore but it can't be cancelled now because it's tradition and suddenly it becomes someone else's 'job' that they didn't want in the first place.

On the bright side, she's not picked mothers day or fathers day for her event or hopefully not a bank holiday weekend. And your DH is obviously not fussed enough so that if say next year it doesn't work for you, he'll be happy to back you up with not going.

seeker Mon 27-May-13 07:12:53

Oh I hate these annual obligations- so constraining!

That's why I have told my children that there is no way I am committing to celebrating their birthdays on the same day every year- we lead busy lives and there's a lot going on- how can I be sure I can be free on that day a whole year in advance?

exoticfruits Mon 27-May-13 07:18:03

I hope that you realise, perplexedpirate that your attitude rubs off on your DCs and once they have left home they are likely to feel the same way as you, especially when they have patprtners. Much better to have a free and easy attitude and accept an extended family and enjoy it- they will see it as the norm.

exoticfruits Mon 27-May-13 07:18:45

Don't know what happened there! partners

Jinsei Mon 27-May-13 07:21:56

We have a big family party every september. The date isn't fixed, but tbh it would be a l easier to plan around if we did fix it. I think it's a lovely idea.

ExcuseTypos Mon 27-May-13 07:25:34

My DH's side have a Family Party every year. We've been going for over 20 years and its means DDs keep in touch with lots of second cousins who they would probably never meet, unless this party was held.

Suck it up is my advise, its great for your dc and its one day a year.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Mon 27-May-13 07:27:50

MIL's family used to do this, until several key players had major rows over minor issues and stopped talking to one another

I rather miss it TBH - DH's extended family is huge, and we have struggled to keep in touch with them all since.

hermioneweasley Mon 27-May-13 07:27:54

Phew, was reading OP thinking I'd gone mad. Agree with the others, it's a lovely idea. I am sure you can give your DH's family one day a year.

Dilidali Mon 27-May-13 07:30:56

Ha, every Sunday is Family Day in my household. I have a very small family here and although this is a tradition where I come from, and I struggled for years to help them get over the 'shock', I would not let this one go. They thought I was odd in the begining, now is ingrained and goes without saying, they even get together if I am not there.
Yes, we have Sundays when we're seeing friends, when I take a day to myself with my best friend, when my DD goes to a party. But 90% of the time we get together on a Sunday even if it is just for a slice of shop bought cake and a coffee, a piece of cheese with some bread and olives, days out etc, my little family is there.
It might seem overbearing to some, but it works wonders, I promise. The elderly feel included and cared for, the kids roam about, the adults get to sit down around a table and talk. I honestly don't see what the problem is.

So one day a year is not much, it is fixed so everybody can book it .

cozietoesie Mon 27-May-13 07:34:29

You ought to get them back together again CharlotteBronteSaurus. A nice bit of drama (who has fallen out with whom) can be the making of a family!


WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 27-May-13 07:34:53

Ok the name is a bit cheesy. But we've been trying to get DH's family together for years, my DC have never met their 6 cousins and DD is 14. As frustrating as you perceive the obligation to be when you're on the opposite end of the spectrum it sucks a bit. No one has fallen out it's just his brothers and sister seem to have been indifferent for years until BIL rang last week to suggest a get together this summer (fingers crossed on that one)

Stick it in the diary . Yes as the DCs get older they will have more commitments but one day a year will not hurt.

perplexedpirate Mon 27-May-13 07:35:02

Exotic, I don't want an extended family. I don't really see the point of putting a load of people with nothing in common in a room and expecting them to enjoy it.
If DS didn't want to come to any functions I organise in future I would never be so rude as to kick up the kind of stink she does. He's not a passport to my future social life.
I must admit at this point that my side of the family is so small we could hold a reunion in a phone box, so all these cousins, aunts, uncles etc are a bit alien to me. From what I've seen though, they always seem to be falling out, moving in, moving out, making up and generally causing constant drama, which I just can't stand. Then there's the children running about, undisciplined and screaming. hmm
Nope, not for me. I do buy good presents though. I hope that makes up for it in some small way.

LaLaGordon Mon 27-May-13 07:36:47

I think I can see where you are coming from OP. Rather than get you all together and ask you if this is something you want to commit to, your MIL has simply tried to force this tradition as a fait accompli.

However, I think you should understand why she might want to do that. Like many grandparents she is probably worried about not having the chance to see all her grandchildren, especially as they get older, have various other commitments on weekends, etc.

I think you should get on board with Family Day and make sure she is reassured. The advantage of that over 'Grandma's birthday get-together' is that you can all have ownership, rather than the day be about only what she wants.

FredFredGeorge Mon 27-May-13 07:43:39

YABVU, You don't have to go, if you can't make it, don't go, if you can, go, I don't get why "the Family Day will be on X, as usual" is a summons, it's just a statement of when it is... specifically not chasing everyone to get a date when they can commit to being free is the relaxed, we don't care if you come but this is when it is way of inviting people.

Going once, you're not signing up for life at all...

PrincessOfChina Mon 27-May-13 07:44:53

I could understand if you had a wedding or holiday or some such event to attend on the same day. You're just so busy you can't possibly spend one day per year with your husband's extended family.

Get over yourself.

I understand your feelings about being railroaded into something that she is trying to make into a fixture, thereby committing you for the rest of her life.

1) It's only once a year. Many DILs have to do this once a month or once a week.
2) As someone pointed out above, it's not as though she's expecting you to host it.
3) The fixed weekend will actually lead to less stress and fewer arguments in the long run.

I didn't catch how old your DCs are, but once they are teenagers they might not always be able or willing to go anyway.

Peacocklady Mon 27-May-13 07:56:03

YABU. it makes sense to have a fixed date; prevents hours of ringing round. How on earth can things like this be spontaneous? I feel quite sorry and upset for your MIL who's put in a lot of effort to do this. It's clearly not important to you.

MulberryJane Mon 27-May-13 07:56:55

I think you're hoping (secretly) that you'll be able to be 'busy' when she tries to arrange it, that way you won't feel so guilty when your kids miss it too as they'll be busy doing something else. If its on the same weekend each year then there's no excuse not to go. I have a similar thought process and my initial reaction to most things is 'no', just because we're already so busy.

However, it's important to make time for family and MIL is asking for one weekend which she would like to give you lots of notice about. I think you're going to have to schedule it in, plaster on a smile and be nice smile.

ZacharyQuack Mon 27-May-13 08:03:56

Perhaps it will take the pressure off Christmas? Lots of families feel an obligation to get together with either/both sets of grandparents at Christmas time, but now you have an "out" with the ILs.

"Oh we're having Christmas with my parents/in the Maldives/at home by ourselves this year, but it's so lovely to be able to all get together every year on Family Day".

Or you could amuse yourself by going all Ned Flanders on their ass and call it FamDamDamily Day.

McKayz Mon 27-May-13 08:05:11

YABU, I see no problem with any of it. A fixed day is much better than just some random day. You can plan around it.

Sounds like a lovely day.

mrsscoob Mon 27-May-13 08:05:46

Wow you sound so lovely op hmm If you dislike the idea so much why not just send the kids and hubby along and just stay home. You get a day to yourself and your mil won't have to pick up your not wanting to be there vibes. That way everyone has a nicer day.

GrassIsntGreener Mon 27-May-13 08:12:39

It sounds fab! We have days when we congregate at mil's, we all eat loads, drink loads and the children have fantastic, memorable fun. Lovely days. Having it the same day every year does make it easy to plan around too.

changeforthebetter Mon 27-May-13 08:16:48

here's another grip in case you didn't get the previous one. get over yourself. what exactly is your problem - the name is cheesy but otherwise it sounds fine. MIL does the work. you just have to turn up? Im not a big fan of competitive misery but I bet there's a fair few of us on here who would swap "problems" with you.

NatashaBee Mon 27-May-13 08:21:51

I think it sounds like a lovely idea. Even if you hate it, it's a nice way for your kids to stay in touch with their cousins.

seeker Mon 27-May-13 08:22:29

Good to see that there are things that even the professional MIL haters can't support!

DoJo Mon 27-May-13 08:26:39

You sound a bit mean - just because you don't have a large family, don't deny your children the opportunity to be a part of one.

frustratedashell Mon 27-May-13 08:27:37

Sorry I can't see the problem. Sounds lovely.its only one day.

adeucalione Mon 27-May-13 08:28:17

She's doing it out of love.

She's doing it on the same day every year to maximise attendance.

Her enthusiasm suggests that other family members have told her they enjoy it.

She calls it Family Day as it's a shorthand reference that everyone understands.

She is not asking you to host, financially contribute or even attend if something else comes up.

You sound mean, childish and I bet anything you will look back and feel ashamed in 20 years when you start thinking how lovely it would be to have all your DCs visit on the same day.

MrsMook Mon 27-May-13 08:29:21

I get it about the sense of obligation even though you don't necessarliy mind.

I get the same feeling about my DN's birthday parties. I like my BiL/SiL (although we are very different) it's just somehow it feels like a Big Deal, and that we must conform, and be neatly scheduled in and be neatly punctual. (I think it comes from when their DCs were little and all meet-ups (including at ours) had to be done on their routine whether we liked it or not, and still seem to be now we have infants- our routines don't seem to be on the radar (although we do things at baby o'clock, but there doesn't seem like an allowence for that). They're the kind of people that can't cope with doing something different (like us wanting to take the DNs to the zoo for their birthday rather than buying yet another duplicate toy and being asked for the reciept on things like Lego kits). I know when their birthdays are a year in advance, but I don't want to fix that date in my diary ad infinatum as it's the time of year when other things come up, often Guiding events that I don't have an influence on timing.

So Family Day would give me the heebie jeebies, even though I would enjoy going once I was there and hadn't sacrificed something that mattered more to me to be there.

Snog Mon 27-May-13 08:31:01

Sounds great to me
If you have an unmissable calendar clash then you can miss a year

Awomansworth Mon 27-May-13 08:32:12

My mum hosted a family get together every year before she sadly died very suddenly... I have now taken over the tradition and we have it on mums birthday every year in the summer, so outside usually. Everyone looks forward to it and it's a great way to celebrate mums life and memory.

I really don't see the problem... it's once a year and surely if it's on the same day it's easier to plan for.

BarbarianMum Mon 27-May-13 08:38:04

Oh, be glad of the pre-set date. We have a similar arrangement to yours but other than that the day will be sometime in the summer, no fixed date. Cue weeks and weeks of faffing, negotiation and renegotiation when BiL suddenly 'discovers' a really interesting stream rally 30 miles away, so could we change to Saturday week instead.......

Honestly, a pre-set date is a huge blessing. And it is nice to all get together once a year, cheesy name regardless.

MadeOfStarDust Mon 27-May-13 08:40:30

we have a member of the family who does "Family Day" too - so I totally get where you are coming from OP....

it is another "control" issue in our family, an obligation, a duty - if you don't turn up - hissy fits for a year - "well of course you wouldn't know such and such -you didn't come to family day after all....." etc, etbloodycetera.

"ALL I'm asking for is one day when ALL the family get together" <even if you can't make it because you are IN LABOUR!!>

"You don't care about your family"
erm yes I do - I just don't want to spend a day with 35 people stuffed into a bungalow eating crap whilst you go on about everybody's faults and whinge that so and so isn't there this year (as they are sitting a driving test! or MAYBE just don't want to be there)

Some people have lovely families - some people don't. Some people like others to arrange stuff - some don't. Some people like to have arrangements year on year - some don't.

perplexedpirate Mon 27-May-13 08:41:27

ZacharyQuack that is a wonderful idea and I think you have just saved my Christmas!
FWIW, I quite like my PIL. We just have nothing in common, extended family even more so. Is it so scandalous to want to avoid spending time with people you have nothing to say to?
I'm assuming that Family Day isn't instead of a pre existing celebration but an addition
to an already crowded calendar. So birthdays, mothers' day, fathers' day, anniversaries, religious holidays, weddings, christenings, Christmas, etc will still all stand, and now Family Day as well!

Bobyan Mon 27-May-13 08:48:54

It would grate on me actually, but my mil is a bit of a cow.
If you get on with her, then just humour her.

MrsWolowitz Mon 27-May-13 08:51:00

Are you trying to make an issue out of a total non-issue to deliberately upset your MIL?

It sounds lovely.

You are coming across as ungrateful and selfish.

My MIL used to have a huge annual family day. It was the highlight of her year. She died suddenly 5 years ago and I miss those days so much. I'm so glad I never missed one.

Rindercella Mon 27-May-13 08:51:06

I think you are hellbent on creating a problem where there should be none. It's One Day A Year. Just one day a year that you can get together with your husband's extended family. What a lovely thing for your MIL to want to do. And how considerate of her not to attach it to someone's birthday (so it's about the whole family, not just one person) and to have it on the same day so people can arrange their hectic lives, knowing this is one date to keep free. And you can have the remaining 364 days of the year to yourselves.

YABU. And I have the feeling that you will only acknowledge the very few people who agree with you hmm

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 27-May-13 08:52:15

OP, if you said you'd rather not have a fixed date but everyone else said that would suit them better, what is MIL supposed to do?

Days like this in our family have the date set by the host and people can come or not as they choose - DBro was on holiday for the last one, no problem.

HomeEcoGnomist Mon 27-May-13 08:52:54

OP - on the whole, I think this does sound fairly innocuous, o would just suck it up.

MeiMeiMeiMei Mon 27-May-13 08:55:32

Oops they've arrived!

seeker Mon 27-May-13 08:55:50

"Add message | Report | Message poster seeker Mon 27-May-13 08:22:29
Good to see that there are things that even the professional MIL haters can't support!"

Oh, I was wrong. Here they come!

mrsjay Mon 27-May-13 08:55:52

I think it sounds lovely honestly it is no big deal I wish our family did it would be amazing fun, I don't get your gripe your mil wants her family around her for 1 day a year <shrug>

nkf Mon 27-May-13 08:56:46

I think it sounds wonderful and I envy you.

HomeEcoGnomist Mon 27-May-13 08:57:04

Sorry, posted too soon...

Suck it up...unless you start getting instructions to print up annual Family Day t shirts and wear them to the event
(Like the family on grey's anatomy, who were doing a family tug of war and a few people got their fingers severed - the uncle organising it did not get many thanks)

Then I may give it a swerve


MrsBungle Mon 27-May-13 08:58:02

Think yourself lucky. We have 'family holiday'. 3 days away in 3 big barns next to each other - around 30 family members. Costs us about about £400 in rental, food etc.

There's no obligation to go, though. We can just say we are not going this year.

We usually go, though, the kids absolutely love it.

You do sound like you're being a bit mean about one planned day in a whole year!

I think it sounds lovely. I really don't get the problem. Sounds a total non-issue.

Samu2 Mon 27-May-13 08:58:24

Do you not like her or something?

The issue must run deeper than this.

It's once a year and it sounds lovely.

loveinthemist Mon 27-May-13 08:59:42

You sound quite mean spirited. Would it really be so difficult to make this effort? A little bit of compromise needed perhaps? I think it's a lovely idea.

jacks365 Mon 27-May-13 08:59:55

Is it the only time your dc see their grandmother? If it is then grin and bear it but if this is just one of a whole host of events you have to attend then you may need to draw the line somewhere.

I get the obligation thing because my mother does this, you'd think I'm old enough to choose how I celebrate my birthday but no I have to spend it with dm after all if it wasn't for her I wouldn't be here.

Sirzy Mon 27-May-13 09:00:03

One day a year isn't really that much to ask is it? Like most others I can't see the problem.

CouthyMow Mon 27-May-13 09:00:46

I miss the Family Days that my Granny used to arrange when my Dad was alive. I may try to do something about it.

As the oldest cousin, I really enjoyed getting together with all my cousins at once, and we used to do massive rounders games, or cricket, or football.

And the fact that it was on the same weekend each year - the first weekend in August - meant that I could look forward to it.

I used to tick the days until 'Family Day' off on the calendar when I was a child...

mrsjay Mon 27-May-13 09:02:27

I think id be quite hurt if my adult dds didnt want to take part in something like this,

mrsjay Mon 27-May-13 09:03:53

I miss the Family Days that my Granny used to arrange when my Dad was alive. I may try to do something about it.

we used to have family saturdays my nanas house was an open house well I say house it was a tiny maisonette some days there would be 20 odd people there it was great all the adult cousins are really close even if we are spread far and wide,

MorrisZapp Mon 27-May-13 09:06:58

Don't get the problem, and it doesn't look like you're coming back to explain.

SprinkleLiberally Mon 27-May-13 09:09:18

I'm thinking of starting one now! A fixed date is genius with a large family !

MumnGran Mon 27-May-13 09:09:22

OP - Some names can just grate completely irrationally - "girlies" has always done it for me! You simply have to accept that it is your quirk. Did I cause a fuss when a very good friend used to organise "Girlie Gang" days. Nope. It was my weird reaction to the term (and the capitals) and I knew it.

I think you are just wound up by the fact that a set date means you can never get "off the hook". That's not the case. We can all be as selfish as we choose, and you can cheerfully announce that you won't be coming as a great holiday deal has turned up, or you have been invited to a wedding. Its called having the courage of your convictions. If you are not inclined to upset your MIL to that degree, then don't complain about it.

The most worrying thing about the post seems to have slipped by un-noticed......why do you talk to your MIL more than to your DH?

gummybear13 Mon 27-May-13 09:10:54

I think it is a bloody wonderful idea!!!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 27-May-13 09:15:41

Great username, loveinthemist.

Our family does this. It started because on my dad's side, we are a huge family and my grandparents started it as a way of bringing people together for an event that wasn't either a funeral or a wedding, which sadly for many families is the only time they get together as an extended group. The date is set well in advance and people come for various bits - there's a get together in a pub, a family slide show (unintentionally hilarious) and a BBQ hosted in one aunt's house. No pressure if you can't come but it's lovely. I'm one of a huge cadre of grandchildren and now many of my cousins have their own DC so it's a real inter generational party. We've now lost my grandparents, my dad and one of my uncles so it's even more precious. It's a great idea, and means that I regularly get to see cousins etc that in reality I wouldn't probably otherwise see, as we are geographically very scattered. Even family members in Canada and New Zealand make it some years.

OP, if you are still here, please rethink your approach to this. Is it really so bad that your DC will grow up having happy memories of get togethers with their extended family, cousins, GPs etc? Nobody is asking you for a present, or to cook, so what's the problem?

youarewinning Mon 27-May-13 09:21:39

I also get it's the obligation to be free that's annoying you, but it is 1 day out of 365!

We have the same sort of arrangement - my family all go to the same campsite and have done for 60 years - every summer. The Bank holiday Sunday is our 'family BBQ'. But no-one minds or is offended if someone doesn't make it.

Between having children, some in forces, some working etc its a everyone who can, will, event.

Jut make it clear to MIL you love the actual event but that if something else came up that weekend in a future year you would have to decline - eg childs swimming gala, birthday party etc.

MidniteScribbler Mon 27-May-13 09:21:46

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

emess Mon 27-May-13 09:22:11

OP, if you don't want to go, can I go in your place?

gummybear13 Mon 27-May-13 09:24:49

MidniteScribbler sad

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 09:25:19

Thanks for all the responses.

Those people who say I am being mean and childish seem to think that I don't want to go. To be clear, I do enjoy them (as I said upfront in my OP) especially as I completely see the value of the cousins getting to play together - it's DH you need to tell this to, he doesn't want to socialise with his family if he can ever help it. Left to him, we would never see his mum, and on other family occasions eg christenings it has been me taking our DC while he has played cricket or done other things. So this isn't about being a crap DiL.

I think people who have picked up on the obligation point have it right, so thanks for helping me understand that. Attendance isn't mandatory, but the last time DH didn't turn up to something MiL got his sister to call him and say how upset MiL was, so there is a strong pressure to go.

I acknowledged straight up that I am BU about the whole Family Day label. I will just grit my teeth - or try to throw myself into it, maybe I'll be the one to get the t shirts printed grin

I hadn't thought that in due course the DC will come to look forward to a fixed date. I'm thinking about proposing that we get together roughly the same time each year (ie same month), not necessarily the exact same weekend, so that there is a bit of flexibility around the date. DH's family isn't so huge that we couldn't agree the date a few months in advance rather than it being set in stone for ever.

DH simply isn't close to his DM- when he left for Uni at 18 he didn't go back home (almost literally - the fist Xmas he spent with her after he left home was after we had been together for a year, and I encouraged him to build that bridge again). No big falling out or argument, he just isn't close to her. I think there's a whole other thread there!

Irishchic Mon 27-May-13 09:25:37

The most worrying thing about the post seems to have slipped by un-noticed......why do you talk to your MIL more than to your DH?

I think OP means she talks more to her MIL than her dh talks to her MIL.

seeker Mon 27-May-13 09:26:26

"Jut make it clear to MIL you love the actual event but that if something else came up that weekend in a future year you would have to decline - eg childs swimming gala, birthday party etc."

Yep. Make it clear that it's a good idea, but absolutely anything else that happens will take precedence. Because she's a MiL, and therefore is the absolute bottom of the relationship pile. So her annual gathering is less important than your child's classmate' birthday party. sad

HerrenaHarridan Mon 27-May-13 09:26:38


Sorry but you are!

It's one day ffs, by making it the same day every year you know when you are expected to make yourself available and she doesn't have to spend months agonising over trying to balance an agreement.

Yes it's a obligation, family comes with some of them. Count yourself lucky to have family an keep 1 bloody day free for her.

mrsjay Mon 27-May-13 09:27:13

I think OP means she talks more to her MIL than her dh talks to her MIL.

^ ^ this is how I took it as well when they go to MIL is is the OP who talks to her the most the Husband seems just as apathetic about her day as the OP

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 09:29:19

Cheers for that Midnightscribbler...

Youarewinning, thanks, I think you're right about needing to be clear that we can't guarantee to keep the day free but we will always try to.

emess, sorry, but I do want to go so no, you can't go in my place smile

Sirzy Mon 27-May-13 09:34:01

Sounds like your MIL is trying to build bridges/make sure she has a better relationship with her grandchildren and now adult children.

One day a year together isn't a lot and surely a set date makes that easier to plan for unless something unavoidable comes up?

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 27-May-13 09:37:09

Having a set date makes it easier to avoid. grin let the date become fixed. Then, some years when you don't fancy it, you can body swerve. Sounds like a win win to me, given that you don't mind going this year, you just mind accepting an obligation. Well - it's not an obligation, only if you let it be. Take each year as it comes, go, don't go, act as the mood takes you.

MeiMeiMeiMei Mon 27-May-13 09:39:11

I don't like the sound of your DH, OP.

ENormaSnob Mon 27-May-13 09:39:23

I think it sounds nice.


DontmindifIdo Mon 27-May-13 09:39:31

Seeker - I see what you are saying, but if it's a made up event that's "nice to have" and MIL has just plucked the date out of thin air as one that best suits her, there's nothing wrong with saying that if she's going to stick to it, there might be other things going on in a busy family life that might take precident, when "family day" could quite easily be moved to the week before/after (if MIL is prepared to say, call round everyone a couple of months before hand and check which date works best for the bulk of the family). OP - it might be worth at least floating the idea to your MIL that some years the weekend before/after might be better if she wants a full house, rather than announcing a date and expecting everyone else to make it.

OP - it's also good she wants it away from the Christmas/new year season (I know too many families that have traditions for either Christmas eve or boxing day for both sides that just makes fitting everything in a nightmare of motorway driving in the snow).

MorrisZapp Mon 27-May-13 09:39:47

I still don't understand why the fact it's on a set day is a problem. Why is it a problem?

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 09:40:26

To be clear, I meant I talk to MiL eg on the phone to catch up more than DH speaks to his mum. The email she sent about this year's Family Day only came to me, DH wasn't on the copy list. We don't ignore her, either on the day or in between... hmm

Sirzy, you may well be right about her trying to build better relationships now

DontmindifIdo Mon 27-May-13 09:41:05

oh and I can't be doing with these families where the men just opt out of their relationship with their own mothers and then their DW feels she has to do all the running around. If MIL wanted a 'family day' I'd expect her to talk to DH about it, I'd give dates I can/can't do, but his family, his job.

mrsjay Mon 27-May-13 09:41:23

Op your children are still children imagine in a few years when they are adults off doing their own thing and they avoid visiting you and then they have their own children and yet more eye rolling and avoidance how would you feel, atm you think oh well I just want my children to be happy but in reality you will want to be in touch with your adult children and grandchildren ,

LEMisdisappointed Mon 27-May-13 09:43:31

I could be wrong, but i think it reads like you are jealous of your MIL. She gets to be the matriach for the day and bring everyone together. You feel like you are being told what to do and you don't like it.

Its a shame about your DHs relationship, but to be fair, its not about him is it, its about the wider family and grandchildren who are being given a lovely opportunity to build an extended family. I should have loved that.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 09:44:19

Dontmind, that sounds like a good idea, thanks.

Mei - fortunately, I do like DH and you don't have to! (I could set out various reasons why he is how is he with his family, but a) that's a whole other thread and it's irrelevant here; and b) I don't want to be accused of drip feeding. As well as being mean, childish and a cow.)

DontmindifIdo Mon 27-May-13 09:46:56

BTW - if say next year she picks a date you can't do, be sure to reply with "no, we can't do X date but we can do A, B or C" - that makes it clear you aren't rejecting the idea, puts ball back in her court.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 09:53:01

Dontmind, if I left it to DH, we simply wouldn't see his DM (believe me, I'm working on him being the one to maintain the relationship, as I agree that is healthier than it all coming through me!).

mrsjay, I desperately hope that my children and any grandchildren that may come along will want to come and visit us. My parents have a very relaxed attitude to getting together, so maybe it's just the different approach that makes this into more of a "thing" for me. Maybe I need to archive this thread for 30 years and see how I feel about it then and if I am busy organising a Family Day!

I'm pretty certain that I'm not jealous, LEM, though you have made me think whether MiL is (consciously or otherwise) trying to become a matriarchal figure in the way that her mother definitely was (Grandma died a few years ago, and was clearly the dominant force in the family). And maybe neither DH or I want that: we were both very close to Grandma and don't want her replaced. Some food for thought there.

kungfupannda Mon 27-May-13 09:53:57

I really don't see the problem. Surely it's better to have a fixed date that people can bear in mind, or not as the case may be, when making their own arrangements each year, than to have a million trillion emails every year trying to fix a date. With a big family, chances are that there won't be a date that everyone can make, so why not just take the arguing out of it and have a set date for people to work around?

DP has a massive extended family and they have a gathering twice a year - once on a fixed day during the Christmas holidays and once in the summer. The summer date is just decided several months in advance by his GPs and everyone else just works around it. There are usually a couple of people missing, but everyone comes if they can.

flipchart Mon 27-May-13 09:56:34

I really don't see the problem.

She is making an effort to keep the family in touch, not just with her but with each other. Sometimes it's easy to let things slip. You can have all the good intentions in the world about keeping in contact with each other but often life gets in the way. Our last family do was 18 months ago where 35 of us went out for a meal,great aunties, cousins,old and young. It was great seeing everyone and we all say we want to do it more often but it's so hard getting everyone together. A set day is ideal

It's also good for your kids, they will be mingling with their extended family.

I know you are moaning about it being an obligation, but hey, that's family life for you. It's one day out of 365.

You maybe a MIL yourself one day, wouldn't you like to keep your kids and their children in touch hin a sociable way.

maresedotes Mon 27-May-13 10:08:32

I don't see a problem with a fixed date. I would put it in the diary and stick to it. I know families are busy and children get invited to parties etc but I wouldn't cancel Family Day wink for a party that probably only one child would be invited to. Also most invitations are given out the week before. Would be mean not to turn up to FD.

Sounds like you've tried to help DH's relationship with his mum though.

seeker Mon 27-May-13 10:19:34

Whatever you do, don't get involved in negotiating dates- that way madness lies. Just have "first Sunday in July" or something like that. And put it in the calendar and if necessary organise other stuff round it. It will, I guarantee, become a key part of your children's year.

Cloverer Mon 27-May-13 10:21:30

One day a year! That's pretty low on the family obligation scale.

So, you don't mind having a family get together and you do want to go - your objection is just that the MIL gets to set the date?

That does make you sound very childish - you'll go on a day of your choosing, if you feel like it, but you won't go on a day the MIL choosing because she wants to see her family together. Do you feel a bit competitive with her?

seeker Mon 27-May-13 10:24:12

Not when it's a MIL, clloverer- when it's a MIL it's overbearing and controlling and unreasonable. But it still would be if it was one day every 10 years.....

DeckSwabber Mon 27-May-13 10:28:52

I think this Family Day will be of huge benefit to your children.

A similar Christmas gathering organised by my grandparents is the only time I got to meet my cousins. Without them, a large number of people I now meet only at weddings and funerals would be complete strangers to me.

If you husband isn't family minded, I'd be really grateful to your MiL for making this happen.

MrsWolowitz Mon 27-May-13 10:30:40

I don't like the sound of your DH, OP.

Me neither. He doesn't sound caring towards his mother at all. At least she is trying to build bridges.

bailo Mon 27-May-13 10:33:50

I would love to have your problem, unfortunately myself and OH were in the bathroom when god was handing out families so we have barely any family to spend time with. About the only family we have a half decent relationship with are my parents, and we can't even visit them due to my psychotic 35 year old dole scrounging brother who makes it too unsafe to risk bringing my children there. If you enjoy the day I think you are very ungrateful to be moaning about it.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 10:37:15

I don't feel in competition with MiL, Cloverer. I don't think we have anything to compete about.

Our DC do see their cousins on plenty of other occasions (some "set pieces" like birthday parties, some days when we just organise something random to see each other). I guess I just prefer this informal approach rather than the fixed date approach, though I take the point upthread that it can be easy for time to slip away and you suddenly realise that it's been too long since you got together.

PoppyWearer Mon 27-May-13 10:38:43

My MIL also tries to do this, so I do see your point, OP, although fortunately in recent years there have been enough weddings and Christenings to ensure such get-togethers occur anyway, without her needing to orchestrate one.

Also we don't have a fixed date. Our summer weekends get very very full with children's birthdays and seeing friends, as well as school fetes, etc, so all of that has to be negotiated.

Oh, and we still have to have another get-together at Christmas. And Easter.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 10:42:07

MrsW, good job I do like my DH. Believe me, he's one of the good guys. I'd like him to have a closer relationship with his family, but given where things were when I first met I'd say he's come a long way in building that bridge. He's an adult and can decide what relationship he has with his parents, the only thing I've ever insisted on is that our DC should have a consistent and good relationship with them.

mrsjay Mon 27-May-13 10:43:55

MY dds havn't seen their cousins for 7 years the brothers DH and BIl dont get on, it is the only cousins they have I think it is really sad for them bil preferred his Inlaws to us brothers company so the dds miss out , mil died 10 years ago so they have no family around on dads side , OP just go to the bloody family day

Wuldric Mon 27-May-13 10:45:09

This thread isn't going anywhere.

The OP asks AIBU. A resounding chorus of YABU with some people trying to show the OP how lucky she is to have a family and to explain quite how petty she is being.

The OP persists in believing that she is reasonable and that it is heinously unreasonable to have one fixed date a year, and would like to propose a floating date instead.

There is no rhyme or reason to why a floating day (which would surely be less convenient all round) would be preferable.

If there is no reasoning with someone it is generally better not to try.

rabbitlady Mon 27-May-13 10:48:16

it sounds like the controlling old besom wants to rule your lives. i can see why you wouldn't want a particular day or weekend monopolising by her 'family day'. who is she to tell you what you can or can't do on a particular date? tell her you've made other plans this year but you'd love to be invited again in future.

i cannot imagine why mn cannot see your point of view.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 10:48:24

That is sad, mrsjay. I didn't have any cousins when I was growing up and I do feel envious that my DC have cousins on both sides of the family that are roughly the same age as them, and I hope they will stay close as they get older.

We will go to the Family Day, but I will speak to MiL about the current date (because I think there will be too many clashes with it in the future and we could keep another date clear more easily, to avoid future problems)

youarewinning Mon 27-May-13 10:53:27

seeker Whoops -I didn't mean that it was more important blush Meant that by setting it in stone it doesn't allow for other events that may take place that same weekend in the coming years. That if it happens, but date is flexable and can be rearranged it's less pressure. I don't think a child who has worked and trained hard for eg a swimming gala, dance competition etc etc will be happier on a family get together.

My family is HUGE. Think - mum is 1 of 7, those 7 have 17 children between them, those 17 now have 9 and another on the way. Husband, partners and boyfriends etc. Sadly my nan passed away suddenly in February.
Sometimes, despite us knowing when our family BBQ is - someone/ a family just cannot make it.

seeker Mon 27-May-13 10:55:18

"We will go to the Family Day, but I will speak to MiL about the current date (because I think there will be too many clashes with it in the future and we could keep another date clear more easily, to avoid future problems)"

Wow-psychic as well! hmm

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 10:55:35

Wuldric, I agree the thread has run its course (to be honest, I didn't expect it to go on as long as it has). I have said that I've taken on board lots of the comments. I even said upfront in my OP that I thought I was probably BU, most people have said I am and lots have given me food for thought about it and how to handle it. I'm genuinely grateful for that. I'm not banging on about being right and everyone else is wrong, even though there have been a fair few posters who have said I am not BU, so not sure where that's come from.

I notice that those who thought I wasn't going to come back to the thread, and those who called me a cow, mean etc haven't engaged further, though. Guess that's just AIBU.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 10:58:45

seeker, no I'm not psychic - but, for example, the colts cricket league my son plays in doesn't have fixtures after a certain point in the summer, so it would seem sensible to put the date after that to avoid clashes.

alpinemeadow Mon 27-May-13 10:59:02

Well, i see fsg's point so will come back in for the defence! Fsg admitted she was being irrational and a bit tongue in cheek about the name. On the 'fixed day' i think it is accurate to forsee that floating may be better - after all mil did get sil to phone dh and say how upset she was that he couldn't go on one occasion, so the 'just don't go if you can't' may not turn out to be that simple. Not sugesting mil should be bottom of the pile at all, but there are lots of things that may clash as dcs grow older which aren't trivial - school events, out door club performances or competitions. In some cases a b'day party even - for instance if your dc has had issues making friends it may be reasonable to want to go to a particular party instead. though i can see the 'million trillion e mails' point as well - no perfect solution!
And i think the day sounds lovely!

PenelopeLane Mon 27-May-13 11:00:37

We have a family weekend a year where everyone stays in the same place, usually in tents/caravans. I always enjoy it BUT do understand why it could feel like a burden OP so why you feel the way you do. Half the reason why I enjoy it is every year DH and I make the decision to go, without pressure, knowing that if we didn't it would be OK. There are no dramas if someone can't make it, for example last year one sister didn't come and it didn't matter. I think that if I felt we HAD to go every year, I'd want to go much less <aware this is shamelessly childish!>

Sorry for adding my bit once it was agreed thread was done smile

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 27-May-13 11:03:38

<Ignores the thread monitors calling "time">

I read your OP and wonder if your disquiet is not because of the actual 'event' but because your MIL is behaving as the 'matriarch' of The Family (capitals wink) and that is what's grating on you? You have your own family now and it's hard to be 'summoned' even for something that is quite enjoyable.

I feel like this when my mum does it; I love her very much but her attempting to still 'gain control' by summoning us really irritates me and I seethe quietly. blush

alpinemeadow Mon 27-May-13 11:05:48

Ah - cross posted with everyone, almost! Suggesting not sugesting, obviously.

Horsemad Mon 27-May-13 11:16:29

Haven't read whole thread but would be interested to know what her reaction would be if you said you couldn't make it.

Joiningthegang Mon 27-May-13 11:19:44

Lovely idea - and I would prefer the same weekend as you can always plan
Mil sounds lovely

alpinemeadow Mon 27-May-13 11:24:08

Horsemad - ok i'm also ignoring the thread closed sign - op said that on one occasion mil got sil to phone dh and say she was vey upset he couldnt make it...

alpinemeadow Mon 27-May-13 11:24:56

Very not vey! Got to be more careful....

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 11:25:56

Horsemad - nothing would be said direct (she doesn't do confrontation) but on a previous occasion she got DH's sister to phone him to say how upset she was about non-attendance. So it is pretty much obligatory if we want to avoid a fuss

Horsemad Mon 27-May-13 11:26:21

Hmmm, thanks alpine smile

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 11:26:49


Horsemad Mon 27-May-13 11:29:48

Stand your ground OP - go if you want but not if there's something else you'd rather attend.

I don't like my social life being 'managed' by other people, so understand your concerns.

seeker Mon 27-May-13 11:34:32

"Stand you ground"

Oh, ffs!
Does it ruffle your feathers when people manage your social life by inviting you to their birthday parties on -gasp- their birthday?

alpinemeadow Mon 27-May-13 11:42:08

Though if someone said 'please can you and family be available for my birthday party on the second sunday in july for the next x years' i might say 'that's lovely to be invited, but not sure will be able to be make it every single year - will definitely try though!'

ChocsAwayInMyGob Mon 27-May-13 11:46:16

I don't like my social life being 'managed' by other people, so understand your concerns. it's ONE day! you can do what you want the other 364!

First of all, I think family day is a great idea and I have organised a few for my own massive family. Having lost a few relatives quite suddenly, it is even more important. DH and I find that although many of our relatives lives within an hour away, it can be three years between seeing them if we don't arrange a day.

Secondly, as the voice of experiences, if you let loads of people choose the day or have a say in the date, you will never, ever get a day when everyone can make it. In fact, even if you set it ins tone, there will be people who are ill on the day.

I feel very sad for the MIL trying to organise it. She has less time left in this world than the younger people who seem impatient with the idea. We will be old ourselves one day, and looking back it will be family that we cherish most, not jobs or cars or holidays.

Also, it's important for children to know their cousins as they are hopefully, some of the friends they will have when parents and uncles/aunts have long gone.

It's shame if the next funeral you got to is of a person you loved or liked but hadn't seen for four years because there hadn't been a wedding to meet up at.

Family day is one day out of a whole year and I think more people should do it.

Horsemad Mon 27-May-13 11:48:34

*seeker - I don't ruffle easily smile

My life is MINE and I don't live it to please others. If it suits me I attend and if not then I don't.

seeker Mon 27-May-13 11:52:52

"My life is MINE and I don't live it to please others. If it suits me I attend and if not then I don't."

And what about your children? What if they wanted to go to their grandma's family day? Would you say no if you didn't fancy it?

Horsemad Mon 27-May-13 11:56:23

Well luckily for us Grandma has given up arranging such days now so the issue never arises.

MrsWolowitz Mon 27-May-13 12:13:24

Horsemad you sound really selfish.

What is with these people who aren't willing to put themselves out for their families for one day a year?

I'm so glad there's noone like that in my family. How sad it must be.

merlincat Mon 27-May-13 12:14:59

'Family' is a broad term that may well include individuals who you never associate with otherwise. My SIL grandly pronounced that "Only those with children have a stake in society", thereby erasing my own best friend and many others whom I care about. My own family are all dead and Dh's are all as described above; he feels nothing in common with any of them. A Family day for us would be a pretty grim affair, I'll stick to my mates, thanks.

Horsemad Mon 27-May-13 12:18:19

MrsWolowitz I spend every Xmas Day with my inlaws so I feel no guilt at my non attendance at other events if I don't fancy going.

MrsWolowitz Mon 27-May-13 12:26:13

That's really sad.

I hope my children don't marry someone with your attitude towards family.

I often see my FIL. Not because I especially want to, there's lots more people I'd have more fun seeing, but because he's lonely. The DC love him and I want them to have a good relationship with him and families should make time for each other and make each other a priority.

Horsemad Mon 27-May-13 12:32:16

We live very very close to the inlaws so DH and DC can see them whenever they wish (and they do so).

My DC and DH are my immediate family and my first priority.

Horsemad Mon 27-May-13 12:35:54

Someone said upthread about the possibility of the OP not considering her inlaws as 'real' family.
I think maybe I'm like that, I have never gone along with the idea that his family is mine and vice versa.

elQuintoConyo Mon 27-May-13 12:36:13

Haven't read all 7 pages of the thread, so forgive me if I'm completely missing the point: you don't want to spend one single day a year with your in-laws and extended family, thus kerping really good contact with your dc's cousins, because your MiL CAPITALISED Family Day?
Have I summed it up?
I think you are mad, rude, selfish and I'm not sure your in-laws would be bothered if your DH and DC attend while you cry off sick!
My family organise a fantastic fancy dress-karaoke party every year (fd optional!) just to get family together for my DGM who is very old and has 9 kids, 12 grandkids - it's great we're all together. I was gutted I couldn't go this year, with my DS, but will go next year.
Sourpuss, OP sad

seeker Mon 27-May-13 12:43:08

His family might not be yours- but they are your children's family.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 12:48:04

Yup, you have missed the point elQuinto, but don't let that stop you calling me rude, mad and selfish...

If you'd bothered to read the thread, or even the full OP, you would have seen that it would be more likely for DH to try avoid going along.

Is the karaoke on exactly the same Sunday every year?

Horsemad Mon 27-May-13 12:48:59

Very true seeker and they are not denied access to their family so I feel happy with my decisions.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 27-May-13 12:57:17

YABU as pretty much everyone else as said.

Its just about control isn't it - mil picked the date but actually you really want to pick the date?

I reckon you could suck it up for one day a ye

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 27-May-13 12:57:39

One day a year I meant.

Wishiwasanheiress Mon 27-May-13 12:59:37

Op we had a massive family get together when I was a kid. I remember my mum resenting it madly. The eldest sister always organised it. She ran it like the mafia. U agreed to her choices, her plans, her dates, her food and woe betide those who attempted opinion, or missed it. It was extremely passive aggressive.

I used to dread them. I watched my mum batten down the hatches and mentally disappear. I hated the questions from idiot relatives what did I do in school, could I run fast, best subjects, interests etc and dreaded these events. And one uncle who 'enjoyed' the opportunity to be with children like me far too much.

So in conclusion, I thought I'd say yabu, but then I stopped and remembered and now all I say is run, run for the hills as fast as u can. Don't look back.

Wishiwasanheiress Mon 27-May-13 13:02:44

FYI family was dads not mums.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 13:04:03

Not control as such, I don't think, MrsCampbell. I think if there's an event with mandatory attendance it is helpful to consult people on what works / doesn't work, even if ultimately someone has to make a decision at some point that might not make everyone happy. Even more so if it is expected to be a regular fixture in the family calendar.

Though you're probably on the right lines that this isn't about me not wanting to see MiL or the wider family (for the umpteenth time, I get on great with MiL and make a lot of effort to ensure that our DC see their extended family on a regular basis), but something more fundamental.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 27-May-13 13:07:13

Look, I get irrationally irritated over stuff as most people do. But I talk it over usually with my sister and realise that it is me being irrational.

I think you're coming to that conclusion really. I also agree that if the whole family is consulted as to the best date - well it'll never happen.

Just go with it, its one day a year - nothing really smile

EarthtoMajorTom Mon 27-May-13 13:09:20

YANBU FamiliesShareGerms and ignore all the people upthread calling you selfish / ungrateful / whatever. 'Family Day' and all that it entails - yuk!

I am trying to see your point of view, but failing to understand why the date itself (or rather your MIL choosing the date) bothers you so much. If she says let's do it on July 17th and next year there is something unavoidable on that date (not a child's birthday or similar I mean something actually important) then you say, oh MIL we have to attend XYZ on the 17th can we change it this year... Problem solved, no?

I wish our wider - and immediate for that matter - families would enjoy each others company enough to ever do similar but we don't even get together on birthdays. I think that's a shame but no one else seems to.

Mutt Mon 27-May-13 13:12:31

It makes absolute sense to have such a day at the same time each year. If the date were left open until nearer the time it would be much more hassle to try and organise a date that suits all and there would always be somebody that couldn't make it.

As it is, you can all put it in the diary each year and work round it (apart from immovable events such as friends' weddings/christenings/etc)

I do think that, if there really aren't any other issues with your extended family, you are being petty about this.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 27-May-13 13:13:03

Its all very odd.

Your mil wishes to host an event she wishes to hold this event every year on the same weekend.

One would think she's sensible enough to try and pick a date that accommodates the majority of the invited guests.

Given the timing of the thread I'm guessing the event happens around the summer.

Is colts really that important that you would avoid anything else during that time?

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 27-May-13 13:19:13

I get what you mean OP. It isnt about having a family day when everyone gets together and has a nice time. It is about having a Family Day which is becoming a Tradition which must be observed.

When children are small I can see that having a fixed date can seem convenient but as children enter teenage years they have their own things to do.

Not everyone is into the big family thing so I can see where your DH is coming from. Not all families are close. My family isnt. Doesnt stop my DM wanting to try and force closeness and create similar traditions.


LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 27-May-13 13:22:00

wishIwasanheiress...yy. That is precisely why we stopped having 'Family Christmas Days'... it was horrendous. My mum is really sad about it but just can't stop being a martinet when it comes to events the whole family attend. sad

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 13:25:56

Sock, yes, it's a summer event.

DH and I take the view that if DC commit to doing something (cricket, football etc) then they should be properly committed and only miss things like matches and festivals for absolutely immovable things (eg weddings). Training sessions are different (though if they miss too much training they tend not to get picked to play in the matches!). At the moment it's only an issue for DS, as DD is too young for these sorts of things. For that matter, all the other cousins involved are also too young for sports clubs or whatever. I don't think it's fair to DS for him to work hard and get selected for the team but be told he can't play because we are going to granny's house instead.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 13:32:32

WorrySigh, yy, you've hit the nail on the head!

ExcuseTypos Mon 27-May-13 13:32:39

Oh for goodness sake. You wouldn't say he's going to granny's house. You'd say he's going to a family get together. And obviously if he'd missed lots of other training sessions, he might have to miss the family meal. If he hadnt missed any training then he can miss one for the annual family meal.

Just use some common sense.

PearlyWhites Mon 27-May-13 13:38:17

Yabu and selfish

PearlyWhites Mon 27-May-13 13:39:42

Also just think if it like Christmas that us actually on the same day every year too

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 13:39:51

Going to granny's house / family get together is the same thing, surely? confused

I think the cricket stuff is a bit diverting, tbh. It only came up because I was accused of being psychic when I said that some dates are more likely than others to clash with other events in the future. Having taken on board the majority view on here that a fixed date is easier to plan around, it would be good if we could have a fixed date that is less likely to cause a recurring problem.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 13:41:56

We don't have fixed plans for every Christmas, Pearly, we make plans from one year to the next depending on what is going on, what leave we are taking, who has just had a baby etc.

Horsemad Mon 27-May-13 13:42:44

WorrySigh has summed it up!

It's the 'Tradition' thing I dislike because then it becomes a chore and you get grief if you can't go.

When DH & I got together, we fell into a routine of having Sunday Dinner at the inlaws. When after a little while I expressed a preference to have my meal without his entourage, they were all horrified (I didn't actually use the word entourage to them, btw).

Needless to say, we never go for Sunday Dinner now - and that's fine by me.

alpinemeadow Mon 27-May-13 13:56:26

I don't think op is being selfish. She sees that in some years it may be in her dc's interests to play in the Colts cricket match on that date. Other events similarly - who knows, but lots of things go on at school and in out of school clubs in summer. I know nothing about cricket but assume that it can be difficult to miss a particular match - certainly to miss an end of term performance or something like that. Op would like to ensure that there is some flexibility about the date, so that her dc can do both the match and the Tradition.
Bearing in mind that 'sorry can't make it' will upset mil, i can't see how the desire for flexibility is selfish? This way both dc's and mil's interests (including dc's interests in going to the FD) are accommodated. Win win - except for the person who has to send a hundred e-mails, i do accept...

ArthurCucumber Mon 27-May-13 13:58:27

I married into a close-knit Scottish family. Great-Grandad, when alive, liked to host an annual "Gathering", which was what he wanted to call it despite it being just a big family meal in a function room, or a garden party.

I wasn't keen, not having been part of a large or close-knit family myself, and I find many members of dh's extended family very annoying (although I loved Great-Grandad). But I wouldn't have thought of keeping away, because I understood that it wasn't all about me and what I wanted. In fact, I used it a bit to my advantage because, having attended on a regular designated day, it got me out of having to go along on other visits. And we knew when it was coming so could plan in advance.

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 27-May-13 14:05:30

But isnt some of the problem of a fixed date is that it becomes a fixed 'thing'?

If it is in the summer then for many households it becomes fixed as a barbecue and before you know it Great Aunt Maud is doing her 'special salad' which no one eats and an annual swingball challenge is thrown down with hysterical consequences.

Varying it means that traditions dont form. Sometimes everyone is there, sometimes it is smaller. There are fewer expectations. It is also easier to keep going as boyfriends/girlfriends appear, relatives get older, new generations arrive.

Dare I mention the 'bum slap dance' if you ever want a warning from Hell about family traditions.

ArthurCucumber Mon 27-May-13 14:11:58

Bum Slap Dance?! <snort>

Seriously, I'm on the fence here, especially if it keeps my bum out of slapping range. I don't get the big family thing, but in my case the fact they had a regular "do" helped to contain things a bit. The tradition died with Great-Grandad anyway. I definitely missed him much more than his "Gathering" but hell, it kept him happy.

NeedToMoan Mon 27-May-13 14:12:48

Oh just go with it. Yes, it's annoying and possibly dull for you, but it keeps everyone happy and it's nice to look at the photos in years to come. If you make it into an issue, it becomes an issue, if you don't and keep your head down, then it's one out of 365 days of the year.

Horsemad Mon 27-May-13 14:17:06

Please please tell us about the 'Bum Slap Dance' grin

NeedToMoan Mon 27-May-13 14:20:37

We used to ride the kids bikes with trays and beer cans on our heads at our family bbqs. My dad's not here anymore but he was very much the ringleader. Even if you don't find these things funny at the time, they are years later.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 27-May-13 14:21:39

We need to know about the dance, WorrySigh!

NeedToMoan Mon 27-May-13 14:22:17

ps I think calling it Family Day is a little bit your mil's way of showing it's HER family but let it go. Mine has announced she wants to go away with HER family this year. ie her hub and two sons (one of which is my hub). lol. I have no words.

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 27-May-13 14:25:12

the bum slap dance thread

Proof that that the only difference between a tragedy and a farce is a pair of trousers.

prissyenglisharriviste Mon 27-May-13 14:28:57

I know lots of kids who miss fixtures and events for family reunions. It's pretty much accepted in the same way as some people (gasp) do book family holidays in the summer.

I did spend a few years believing that my children's activities should receive priority over that sort of frivolity (holidays, reunions, great aunt Bessie's birthday, my parent's diamond wedding party etc) but thankfully for all, I'm over that now.

Yes, I really did drive for three hours after a 7yos mid day dance performance to get to my parents' anniversary party. Now that all three are old enough to have such important clashes (!) I realise that, really, the kids' activities aren't that unmissable. It's about perspective. However much you instil into them about making a commitment and keeping your promises etc. and I run a whole shitload of youth activities and understand fully that not all the kids will be available for each of the activities that I spend hundreds of hours planning.

These days our family reunions cost us about £5000 to attend, as we emigrated. We did make it back last year for mil's 70th. We are still paying off the credit card that we put the flights on.

If I was in the UK, it would be a no-brainer.

A once a year family day? Bring it on.

Horsemad Mon 27-May-13 14:56:15

Well to be frank, I'd rather sit all day in pouring rain watching my DC playing footy than attend a Family Day at the inlaws!

No contest.

DontmindifIdo Mon 27-May-13 18:30:51

oh god I forgot all about the bumslapdance thread! Thank you thank you thank you for the reminder how wonderful in comparassion my PIL are!

OP - can you show the bum slap dance thread to your DH and make him promise Family Day will never get like that????

(Could you suggest Family Day is some time round October? It's a dull month without much interesting stuff happening. Maybe near the October half term?)

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 27-May-13 19:39:48

I can see how this thread could go:

OP - YABU Family Day is lovely. Lots of new traditions ..... rinse and repeat 150 times

Posters then read the bum slap dance thread:


no, no, no OP YANBU save yourselves, never, ever risk the bum slap dance

The horror! The horror!

FionaJT Mon 27-May-13 20:26:12

I love family get togethers, and indeed frequently organise them, but I am with the OP in not liking this idea. I'm not big on rigid Christmas traditions or any of that kind of stuff. Things change, what is appropriate for a couple of years won't always be right for everyone and setting things in stone is just laying the foundations for resentments and falling out. (And I do have a far flung extended family who manage to see each other regularly and enjoy it!)

I think the OP's idea of suggesting that the fixed date is shifted to avoid some potential clashes is a good one. If she and her DH are likely to get grief for non-attendance, than surely a date they are more likely to be able to attend is better?

FWIW, a family day involving mum's family would always have been fine for me, but a family day centered on dad's family would have been my idea of hell. We have absolutely nothing in common with them, and even my dad jokes that he's the "white sheep" of the family.

persimmon Mon 27-May-13 20:53:00

We do the same thing. It's nice. We all live far away from each other and don't see each other very much. Plus my parents are old..

Would it bother you if it was your mum arranging it?

elQuintoConyo Mon 27-May-13 21:18:27

Your DP, her son, doesn't want to go either. So... don't go. Easy peasey lemon squeezey

FariesDoExist Mon 27-May-13 22:15:18

Its nice to get family members together but naming the occasion and setting a date like that (for every year) just makes it so stuffy and formal and controlling. I don't know why your MIL needs to name it. It's almost like 'let's get family day over with' IYKWIM?

exoticfruits Tue 28-May-13 06:28:41

I think that being a MIL can be an impossible job in some families! Trying to arrange a family get together once a year somehow becomes 'controlling'confused. I assume that these are people who are just going to wave their own DCs off at 18 yrs and make no effort to get their family together, or is it different if it is you, or is it only something that mothers of DDs are allowed to do?

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 28-May-13 07:28:53

For the OP it sounds like there is no strong pull between her DH and his DM. There is greater pull between OP and her MiL. This isnt an anti MiL thread.

Many families live far from each other. IME absence doesnt make the heart grow fonder. For me family gatherings are having less and less meaning.

Minifingers Tue 28-May-13 07:43:01

One day a year?

Don't be so mean spirited.

You clearly don't value family in the way I do.

ll31 Tue 28-May-13 07:45:18

Think yabu to be so stressed about one day a year. Think your mil sounds lovely.

Anthracite Tue 28-May-13 07:49:49

We have a family reunion every year. We are in residence for up to a week. It is brilliant and so lovely that the DCs get to see their cousins.

bleedingheart Tue 28-May-13 07:53:02

One day out of a year and if you can't go then don't go!
People don't live forever.
Perhaps someone has told your MIL that people have busy lives do just choose one day a year when you can get everyone together and then they don't feel pressurised all year. If you think of your children, would you be happy to see them all together only once a year? I don't understand how parents of small children fail to empathise with parents of adult children.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 28-May-13 07:56:46

My initial reaction to OP is that you are reacting against the idea that she sees herself as matriarch, with power to 'go over your head' to summon your family. You see yourself as the leader of your family and would like to be asked not told.

BeckAndCall Tue 28-May-13 07:58:13

You should make the most of it while you can OP - you either won't have your PILs forever or the DCs will be teenagers with weekend commitments for sports, dance, riding whatever that they can't give up.

Enjoy it while you can - it'll all be over before you know it and your kids will have had the time of their lives with their cousins

If they are a lovely family, i don't see the problem tbh.

Jenny70 Tue 28-May-13 08:10:38

The only thing I wouldn't like about a fixed Family Day would be if it fell in school hols, meaning that set of holidays was always off limits for trips/travel.

If one year you have a wedding, christening etc to attend, you may find MIL will change date if everyone has notice.

My parents did an At Home for years on same date & had bulk invites printed without the year on them (first Sat in March) - all their friends put it in diary before invites were sent, to the point that the year they stopped about 20 people came anyway, assuming invite was lost!

exoticfruits Tue 28-May-13 08:32:07

Of course MIL could change the date!
OP has made no mention that it isn't suitable for her.
I agree with bleedingheart , I think that those of you with very young DCs may find that you hope to see them altogether once a year when they are adults. I can't think it is much to ask.
As I said earlier, those of you who think it is too much to ask will find that your DCs follow suit and won't want to see you. DCs do as you do, on the whole.

melika Tue 28-May-13 08:37:23

I suppose if it were MILs birthday and she had a party at her house every year it would be ok but to be told it is a 'Family Day' grinds you a little. Yes, you an adult and feel you don't want to be told. ~But at the end of the day, the bigger picture is, your DC will probably enjoy it immensely and your DH will thank you for being noble about it.

exoticfruits Tue 28-May-13 09:40:24

I very much hope that if I get to be a MIL that DIL will want to be part of the family and not feel 'noble' if she manages to pitch up once a year! My DSs are not foundlings- they come with parents, cousins, grandparents, uncles, aunts, great aunts, godparents etc etc etc who will still hope to see them!!

lottiegarbanzo Tue 28-May-13 10:24:07

and...having read all OP's posts, it seems the thing is you don't want her to declare an arbitrary date as Family Day forever but to keep it a bit flexible, which, with a small family, is perfectly possible.

Just mention that now and then and, when a dc does have a sports commitment or somesuch in future years, say to her at the beginning of the year (if you don't yet have match dates) 'DC1 is likely to have some matches in x month and this is important to him. They won't be every weekend though, so just to flag up that we may only available on certain dates that month this year. I'll let you have the match dates as soon as we do, in case it has an impact on your family day arrangements'. Very reasonable.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 28-May-13 10:26:48

I agree with exotic. Children have a right to know their extended family.

mrsjay Tue 28-May-13 10:40:50

I loved how a woman who wants her family together once a year is classed as controlling how is wanting to spend time with ALL your family controlling ?

mrsjay Tue 28-May-13 10:43:03

I agree with bleedingheart , I think that those of you with very young DCs may find that you hope to see them altogether once a year when they are adults.

I said something similar pages ago how would the mothers of young children feel if their adult children and spouses felt meh about spending time with them ,

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 28-May-13 10:48:25

That's right mrs jay. it would be controlling if the MIL was deciding how everyone spent their time all year round, but 1/365th of a year is not controlling.

Besides, if you're not firm about dates, nobody would be able to make it or you'd never get to settle on a date at all.

One example of this is when I worked in a big office and had to organise a social meal out. I asked everyone for dates they could do and got about 20 different dates. I asked again, sending out a poll of two dates. A lot more people made the effort to make it when only two dates were available. If you say, last Sunday in July every year is a Family Day, then it's much easier than asking everyone what dates they can do over the summer. Not controlling- just practical.

I can't emphasise enough how important these gatherings are. I started organsising an annual meal for DH's family. they loved it and we all took group photos etc. Sadly we missed a year, and his Uncle died. Next time we have a gathering we'll be one man down.

Hawkmoon269 Tue 28-May-13 10:50:54

Big sigh

I have read the entire thread. The op has been polite, explained herself well (repeatedly on some points) and she has updated regularly.

Some people have been so RUDE! I think the op has been pretty dignified in her responses.

For what it's worth, I would also struggle with a fixed date for all the reasons the op has said. But I'd probably just go with it and if a clash comes up then explain to mil and see if it can be changed. On balance, yanbu!

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 28-May-13 10:57:36

People do have a 'right' to know their extended family. They also have a right not to know them as well, if that's what they want. Not everyone is comfortable with huge family gatherings. What is so difficult for some people to understand about this? For some people these events are TORTURE.

xylem8 Tue 28-May-13 10:59:22

One day a year to make your MIL happy is not a big ask

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 28-May-13 11:17:22

Russians- they have to give it a chance.

What if children never meet their cousins and aunties and uncles because their mum or dad didn't fancy going? It's ONE day FGS, not every day!

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 28-May-13 11:19:43

I find this whole anti family day rather depressing. Family is so important, and I'm no Pollyanna, I could write a book on dysfunctional and horrible family members, but they're not all like that. Life is short and funerals are frequent.

In ten years I have lost four grandparents and three uncles. DH has lost two uncles in six years. Time is short. It's one day.

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 28-May-13 12:04:32

To all the people who are saying that having a compulsory fixed family gathering is by definition a good thing :

Not everyone feels the same way about family as you. You may hope that you will have a close relationship with D/SiLs in the future but they may not particularly want this.

Nuclear family and extended family people stare at each other over a chasm of complete incomprehension. Neither is right, neither is wrong, they are just different.

Issuing 3-line whips to attend a Family Day will not turn a nuclear family person into an extended family person.

mrsjay Tue 28-May-13 12:21:32

Life is short and funerals are frequent.

^ ^ this tbh the last time my extended family were together was for a funeral aunts and uncles are now at that age

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 28-May-13 13:47:48

WorrySigh, it's worth a try though. surely? it's hardly a three line whip. it's an optional family gathering. It's like a wedding. You can always say no or pretend to be ill.

Obviously some families will all hate each other in which case a gathering might be counter productive.

However, it is a sad fact that often families only see each other at funerals and it's too late for the poor sod who has died.

"Aw I feel really sad Uncle Jim's dead, even though I hadn't seen him for nine years because our lives are busy"

exoticfruits Tue 28-May-13 16:47:51

Not everyone feels the same way about family as you.

This is fine as long as you realise that your DCs may feel the same way about you as they become adults.
I preferred to keep close family ties and my adult DCs just assume that it is normal. I am pleased to say that their girlfriends so far have been very family orientated. Families are important. My DSs girlfriends are happy to spend time with us-even without my DSs being around. They don't feel 'noble' that they are making some supreme effort to have to deal with the horrors of actually talking to their boyfriend's grandmother or cousin!

The poor woman in OP is only suggesting a date for the entire family to meet-she hasn't even taken one like a birthday where you could exert emotional blackmail. What could be easier than settling on a date, well in advance-at no point has it been said that it is set in stone-had OP got a wedding, was going on holiday then I'm sure they could change it.

perplexedpirate Tue 28-May-13 17:14:19

Worry is right. Forcing people into a function room and laying on a bit of buffet will not suddenly mean everyone gets on like a house on fire.
Some people really aren't bothered about having to constantly check in with second-cousins-twice-removed. When people (I'm looking at you mil) ignore this it comes across as pushy and rude.

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 28-May-13 17:14:54

Problem for the OP is that it is a 3-line whip. OP mentioned up thread that non attendance at family events is chased up by a relative detailed to express how upset MiL is.

I dont think that the OP is wanting to cut her family off just not be forced into a fixed regular event. Even if only once a year these things can develop a life of their own and if one isnt keen to start with it quickly becomes a chore.

IME you have the first one. Everyone says 'wasnt it fun!'. Then instead of just letting it lie and seeing if it is possible to get together again at some point in the future there will be a few people who try to replicate the event. The following year isnt as much fun. Before you know it a duty event is born.

thebody Tue 28-May-13 17:19:15

Oh for gods sake!! It's once a year!! Bet you bitch about it but couldn't be arsed to organise one yourself.

Wish my lovely mil was alive so I could see her for a family fun day.

It's lovely for the cousins to get together as well.

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 28-May-13 17:25:09


This is fine as long as you realise that your DCs may feel the same way about you as they become adults.

That is fine by me. My DCs are growing into adulthood now. I dont expect to be inviting them to big family parties. We dont have them now so dont anticipate starting the habit in my dotage.


It's lovely for the cousins to get together as well.

Why? I wouldnt know mine if I tripped over them in the street. Not everyone grows up surrounded by extended family. Not everyone is that bothered.

TheresTheDoor Tue 28-May-13 17:37:02

That's very sad WorrySigh. i know my extended family from annual get togethers and knowing them has really enriched my life.

I've got some great cousins and become friends with their wives and now our kids play together.

It makes me feel sad when people don't even want to try.

thebody Tue 28-May-13 17:41:12

Of course not everyone is bothered but that's a bit sad isn't it?

The ops mil is arranging a once a year meet up not a six weeks family holiday.

It's not exactly a big ask is it really???

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 28-May-13 17:51:40

You might be sad, I'm not sad. For me this is no different from not knowing a random person in the street.

The OP's MiL isnt simply wanting to arrange a meet up at a mutually convenient time. She is wanting to create a fixed Family Day. Date non-negotiable, attendance non-negotiable. That does IMO make it a big ask. The longer it goes on the harder it is to say 'doesnt work for us'.

perplexedpirate Tue 28-May-13 18:00:09

What's sad about it?
A lot of people on this thread seen to have a problem understanding that what is important to them may mean nothing to others.
I choose to spend time with people I find funny, clever, interesting. Not people with whom I have nothing in common who are 'related' to me by a series of random chances.

badguider Tue 28-May-13 18:05:06

Once a year sounds reasonable to me for a fixed gathering - it would be impossible to consult everybody and find a mutually convenient date so just set it and try to make it, but if there's a wedding or holiday then make your apologies and ignore any guilt trips.

My DHs family do this one day between xmas and new year and it's nice to catch up with people I wouldn't see otherwise, we see his dsis, bil, mil etc but not the cousins, aunts and grandparents.

My family are more spread and only see each other at weddings and funerals which is sad.. particularly as it seems to be a lot more funerals than weddings these days.

Glimmerberry Tue 28-May-13 18:05:55

Once a year? Getting the whole family together? Sounds horrendous. What an evil creature she must be hmm .

OP, I think you've just defined 1st world problem for me (if noone has pointed this out already).

I think it sounds a lovely idea

daftdame Tue 28-May-13 18:09:27

OP I would say you will go if you want to / can. Don't go if you don't want to / can't.

If you don't even attempt to manage people's expectations, it makes things much simpler.

Crinkle77 Tue 28-May-13 18:24:19

It's one day out of 365 so surely not that big a deal

exoticfruits Tue 28-May-13 19:21:00

That is fine by me. My DCs are growing into adulthood now. I dont expect to be inviting them to big family parties. We dont have them now so dont anticipate starting the habit in my dotage.

That is not a problem for you then. Luckily mine are adults and we continue the way we always have and I would hate your way. We are all different-it is just sad if someone comes into the family with radically different views.

It's lovely for the cousins to get together as well.

I have cousins on my dad's side that I don't know. I don't even know all their names. His family is dysfunctional and I have no desire to meet them.

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 28-May-13 20:15:31

I agree exoticfruits that it can be difficult, nuclear and extended family people stare at each other over a chasm of incomprehension. DH & I are both nuclear family people but my DM & DH's DPs are all extended family people. They dont understand why we arent interested in the doings of cousins, aunts, uncles. We dont understand why they are! Forget politics, perhaps questions about this should be part of marriage preparation courses.

exoticfruits Tue 28-May-13 22:16:37

I can't understand how you can bring up your own DCs and then just expect them to cut you off when they find partners. I agree we are all different, but it must be very difficult when you get parents and children with such different ideas.

Horsemad Tue 28-May-13 22:59:09

I don't think anyone, esp the OP is suggesting cutting off parents once adulthood is reached.

It takes all sorts as my DGM used to say.

My DC have never met their first cousins - only ones they've got (my side - not my doing, I must add) and they have none on their father's side. It's not the end of the world.

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 06:44:16

OP is suggesting that MIL wanting one day a year to get her family together is 'controlling' rather than pleasurable.
This attitude is fine if you are not going to have any intention of being like her. Mine are all scattered and I absolutely love it to have them all together.

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 06:44:51

What goes around, comes around, in my experience.

seeker Wed 29-May-13 07:38:57

Worrysighworry- so do your children have nothing to do with the children of your and your partner's siblings?

springtide Wed 29-May-13 07:57:11

Is it such a hardship to commit to one day a year? I have such a small family - unfortunately my DF died 10 years ago and my MIL before we even married. Both my brothers live abroad and whilst we all get on famiy gatherings tend to be only for special occasions. I love the idea of an annual Family Day!

wordfactory Wed 29-May-13 08:05:10

I think extended family get togethers are fine provided they are not obligatory and no one is made to feel bad if they're a no show.

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 29-May-13 08:46:33

Seeker - no, there are big age differences plus actually not very many cousins

Horsemad Wed 29-May-13 09:31:23

exotic - it"s the 'fixed date' I think that rankles with the OP.

seeker Wed 29-May-13 09:41:17

That's just stupid. If the OP has a problem with a fixed date, just imagine how pissed off she would be about the email traffic necessary to organise a different date every year...

This is just another "Mils are Automatically in the Wrong" thread.

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 10:55:21

If you are trying to arrange a date with a lot of people it becomes impossible! It involves endless emails/phone calls. If I was doing it I would pick a date and then work around that-if people can't do it I would suggest another-much simpler. Nowhere has OP suggested that MIL isn't flexible-she appears to just want these things to be 'spontaneous' which I find is impossible with more than one family involved.

I think it very sad if people make no effort to get DCs together with cousins-because it 'isn't the end of the world' to them.
My mother didn't know a lot of her cousins-probably because her parents took the same view.
My DCs have cousins over 20 years older than them-I don't see why this rules out meeting them. When I was little I loved having cousins much older-they gave me a lot of attention. The more I read MN the more weird I think that some people are!

You just have to hope that people who are not family orientated meet like minded people and vice versa. I know that if my DSs get married their whole extended family is not going to fade away-we will still be there!

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 10:56:44

It would be interesting to know if the mothers of DDs have the same problem.

gwenniebee Wed 29-May-13 11:10:38

We have a "Happy Family Day" (used just to be Family Day but one of the littlies renamed it) once a year if there is no other cause for family reunion (like a wedding or similar). It varies as to date but is normally in the children's summer holidays and varies as to host but is usually one of three places owing to the number of people. This year we will have about 40 people ranging in age from 7 months to nearly 75 years. It's one of the best days of the year.

I do agree that if it is a three line whip it becomes a little more like enforced jollity - fortunately for us it isn't compulsory.

MadeOfStarDust Wed 29-May-13 11:18:42

exoticfruits Others such as myself think it is "weird" to want to meet up with extended family - my brothers and sister are living all over the world - they have married/divorced/remarried (add another divorced/remarried/divorced in one case) had children with different partners - as have my parents, 2 aunts and 3 uncles -so who exactly should be invited to these "happy" family get togethers

AaDB Wed 29-May-13 11:22:53


Family Day; set in stone as an annual event so you must attend (or fear a call from DSiL on behalf on MiL confused).

The choice is yours. If you have other things on, don't go and don't feel guilty.

I don't like to organise the fun out of getting together. My Dad does this and insists and photographs - just his family no partners or GC and it really gets on my baps. I'd rather get together separately as it means you get a more quality time to catch up.

Horsemad Wed 29-May-13 11:25:45

Yes, I bet my MIL wonders why my DH married me, because he's very family orientated whereas to me my DH & DC are my priority.

However, he knew this before marrying me and it's not like I'm all for my family and not his, so nobody can say I'm biased.

AaDB Wed 29-May-13 11:29:42

Not wanted to commit to an annual event does not mean that you won't see people throughout the year.

Sheesh, the OP is getting a hard time. My OH is responsible for making plans with his family. The OP is making sure her DC have a good relationship with her ILs; her OH can't be arsed.

JedwardScissorhands Wed 29-May-13 11:35:43

I think this has nothing to do with MIL bashing; I would object to anyone creating this forced family fun day. The fact that it is on the same day each year means there is a sense of obligation. However nice it may be to get together, I would start to resent this being done to me.

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 11:47:59

My OH is responsible for making plans with his family.
This is where we differ-it is now 'our' family. I often see PIL on my own, DH sees my mother on his own sometimes-he even sees DH1's parents on his own if he is in the area.
Luckily, so far DSs girlfriends have been the same-I would hate to have one who wants to isolate him into 'their own little family' and it beats me why you want your DCs to have 'their own little family' when they are adults. I know DS's girlfriend's mother, aunt, grandmother-DS certainly knows them all and she knows all DS's family.
I can't be doing with 'it is his mother-he has to deal with her and make arrangements with her'.
We are all nice reasonable people!!

* I would start to resent this being done to me.*
Why be so passive? Why not get in first and do it at your house one year, your way? Suggest a picnic somewhere. You don't have to have anything 'done to you'.

Suttonmum1 Wed 29-May-13 11:54:56

Set expectations about your attendance now. Plan something else that means you miss at least half of Family day this year. A fixed date is then to your advantage as you can plan other things in advance when you wish to miss the whole thing.

It is really not worth trying to get the date changed as people's (yours, cousins etc) commitments change so much as kids grow.

Providing you set up the expectation that you will not be there for the full thing every year then exactly when she holds it really doesn't matter.

seeker Wed 29-May-13 11:57:34

"Set expectations about your attendance now. Plan something else that means you miss at least half of Family day this year. A fixed date is then to your advantage as you can plan other things in advance when you wish to miss the whole thing."

Jesus wept- do people actually think like this???sad

AaDB Wed 29-May-13 12:00:40

I am 'nice and reasonable'. My OH should take responsibility for interacting his own family. We both work full time and I have no desire or time to be PA/social secretary for him.

I get on OK with my ILs however their rules of engagement are baffling to me. I someone upsets me, I either sort it out directly or agree to disagree. I have no fecking time for one adult calling me on behalf of another because someone is 'upset'.

I think it sounds lovely if you have inlaws like my friend. Or it sounds like a nightmare if you have inlaws like me. That said, I would do it once per year just for my children's sake.
But you say you get on well with mil and others in the extended family.
I think if you don't do it, you will regret it.

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 29-May-13 12:23:28

exoticfruits - what will you do if one of your DCs pairs off with someone who doesnt share your family view? Will you still be demanding family visits? Will you call on them mob-handed insisting that you are all family so they have to be pleased to see you?

I am curious because my DH's family are very much into the whole extended family thing. My DH isnt. DMiL has struggled for years with this, failing to understand why we dont drop everything to visit when some random from the family is visiting them. DH has two brothers. One is very much into the extended family thing the other is like my DH and seems to be very much meh about the whole thing.

AngelsWithSilverWings Wed 29-May-13 12:48:00

I love my MIL and also enjoy these types of family events but I kind of see where the OP is coming from here.

My MIL always likes to do something special with the family on her birthday. Unfortunately her birthday is slap bang in the middle of August. This means that we have to arrange our main summer holiday around her birthday every year. It does make it tricky , especially as DH has to book his time off taking his colleagues dates into consideration too.

We also have a similar situation with a group of friends. It has become a bit of a tradition now that we always get together for a day out on the August Bank Holiday weekend. If we decided to book to go away over that weekend I'd worry that they would be offended.

AaDB Wed 29-May-13 12:50:02

My DM/Dmil expect a female (DIL or DD) to act as Family Liaison. Fuck.that.shit.

I have independent relationships with some of my ILs, as does my DH. <shrug>

I don't want to attend forced days of Family Fun <bigger shrug>

Snazzywaitingforsummer Wed 29-May-13 12:53:46

It's once a year. Surely it can't be that much of an imposition?

MadeOfStarDust Wed 29-May-13 13:08:14

It's once a year. Surely it can't be that much of an imposition?

Yes - yes it can be - not everyone has a perfect family - or even a perfect "enough" family - and in our case travelling 700 miles to stay in a cramped and crappy B&B in the back of beyond to be whinged and moaned at for not going last year or whatever - it is not going to happen here...

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 16:04:39

exoticfruits - what will you do if one of your DCs pairs off with someone who doesnt share your family view? Will you still be demanding family visits? Will you call on them mob-handed insisting that you are all family so they have to be pleased to see you?

I can't imagine it happening-it isn't the way they were brought up. So far they have had lovely friends and lovely girlfriends, so I trust their judgement. I can't see it changing. They would be very upset to miss out on family occasions when they enjoy them. I would call it the first sign of a partner being emotionally abusive if they tried to isolate their partner from friends and family. I can't see it happening, but I expect we would just carry on as normal and in the end DS would see the problem.

It appears to me that the whole thing is impossible!

1. MIL approaches the DIL with a date: WRONG she is HIS mother so he should deal with her.
2. MIL approaches her DS with a date :WRONG he arranges it and he should have left it to DIL because she doesn't like the date.
3. MIL leaves it to right near the time to be spontaneous :WRONG how dare the woman give no notice?
4. MIL thinks it went well she will do it next year: WRONG this becomes a yearly event.
5. MIL tries it two years later-might get away with it but WRONG if she then does it 2 years after that because it becomes 'regular'.
6. MIL decides that she doesn't want to be thought controlling and so never tries to get her family together :WRONG -MIL shows no interest in the family.
7. MIL sticks to her DCs and families who she knows enjoy getting together and like each other's company: WRONG -why does MIL show such favouritism and not bother with them?
8. MIL decides to invite them to an event like her birthday : WRONG she is using emotional blackmail to get them there.

Best stick to weddings and funerals!

The whole thing is exhausting-I'm glad that as a family we can just get a date and those free are happy to attend without feeling 'noble' or 'manipulated'.
I also can't see much point in having children if you wave them off at 18yrs and only expect to see them if they are feeling dutiful-I am pleased that mine are over 18yrs and like our company!

AaDB Wed 29-May-13 16:27:21

Blimey exotic I would call it the first sign of a partner being emotionally abusive if they tried to isolate their partner from friends and family.

Your DS may have lovely girlfriends that have been brought up well AND that don't like the same things/interact as you do. My own experience has made me realise that one families 'bum slap dance' is someone else's version of hell on earth.

Your DS and his partner may be busy with jobs and bringing up children. Maybe it isn't about what you want?

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 16:30:27

Luckily DS lives with a girlfriend who actually likes spending time with us-even without DS.
I am actually very laid back-we suggest dates and generally we find something to suit us all-maybe because they are keen to find a date too. There is no 'three line whip'!

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 16:31:45

I think that you will find that emotionally abusive partners do try and stop normal contact with family and friends.

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 16:33:18

I know someone now (a perfectly pleasant woman) who has virtually lost contact with her DS because his partner makes it so difficult -and he is easy going and lets her.

MyShoofly Wed 29-May-13 16:34:55


Really? You resent the woman wanting to have a special day with family once a year. She is you husbands mother - would you want your DIL to resent such a request?

Suck it up and be a good sport.

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 16:35:02

I can see that Family Day might be a bit irritating. If you actually enjoy them OP, then why not have a word and ask her not to label them?

MyShoofly Wed 29-May-13 16:42:53

I pray my beautiful DS's don't have partners who can't wait to put me in my place every 5 min sad

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 16:48:25

I think it is all down to how they were brought up MyShoofly, if you have always had open house and enjoyed the company of extended family they are going to view it very differently from those who divide it into 'his and hers' and make it quite plain it is a nuisance, not pleasurable and done with bad grace because 'it is good for the DCs to have the relationship' and expect a badge for being 'noble' or send them off with DH and opt out themselves. DCs do on the whole as you do.

seeker Wed 29-May-13 16:50:46

Women positively hover to put their MIL's down, don't they?

I do hope my ds doesn't end up with a woman so insecure that she can't bear the though of him having a relationship with another woman- even the raddled old hag I will be by then!

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 29-May-13 17:25:58

I dont think you can claim it is simply how DCs have been brought up. There is also the experience of the extended family from the child's perspective.

My DH is the youngest of three but with fairly large age gaps. He and his siblings grew up with various cousins about plus grandparents close by. Problem for DH is that the cousins and siblings were teenage so didnt want to be bothered with a little hanger-on. For his siblings the grandparents were relatively young and fun. For DH they were infirm and in some cases curmudgeonly and downright unpleasant.

My DCs experience of their Grandparents (DH's parents) is very different from their cousins'. For the cousins the GPs were active and fun. For our DCs they are older and more infirm.

It is a different experience and changes the relationship.

Despite not being into the whole extended family thing DH actually does do an awful lot for his DPs. He may not give a squashed fly for the doings of his cousins but that doesnt mean he isnt the first person his DPs call when they need a hand with something.

Horsemad Wed 29-May-13 17:42:55

exotic - if the family have 'normal' contact with the extended family, then it is not emotionally abusive to not agree with/like/attend a 'Family Day' hmm

It could also be construed as the MIL being 'emotionally abusive' by her insistence on their attendance at such events if they do see each other 'normally'.

Honestly, get over yourself! Horses for courses and all that. Life is too short to spend in the company of those you'd prefer not to spend time with.

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 19:02:03

I may get a bit OTT but I don't understand the problems.
When I got married I didn't come alone-I came with family and friends. DH got my mother-he was going to have to spend a lot of time with her-he was going to have my siblings and families staying in our house and visit them-this was not optional! He got all the rest-great aunt Elsie etc etc. IN DH's case he got my ILs from my first marriage-this was not an option either.
I simply wouldn't have married a man who was going to get difficult about having them to stay, spending time with them-not seeing them unless he happened to be with me.
People are reading a lot into OP-she actually likes them and enjoys the occasions-she just doesn't like the name and the way the date is fixed in advance. I can't see the problem with either.At no point has she said that her MIL isn't flexible-my reading is that if they happened to be on holiday MIL would either change the date or run it without them-she is not expecting them to miss the holiday!

I hope to have secure, happy, DILs because I have no intention of airbrushing myself out of DSs lives because they find it too much of an imposition to be invited around once a year!!

daftdame Wed 29-May-13 19:11:57

exotic I think you may have to lay off a bit then...if you don't want to be airbrushed out. If you come across as too ... ahem... needy... then the DIL's may see fit too manage you. They may even move miles away to a very small house.

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 19:13:29

Quite honestly -if you knew me that sentence is laughable-it is so untrue!

daftdame Wed 29-May-13 19:15:42

Good smile

Hope you're not just laughing at the atrocious grammar though!

SimplyRedHead Wed 29-May-13 19:24:55

We had 'family daydream' every summer holidays for about 30 years.

They were organised by my dad's mum and my mum hated them. We went to every single one and they were the best days of my life.

I lost my beloved grandma a couple of years ago and would give anything I own to have just one more of them.

They will mean a lot to your family. Don't be so miserable and suck it up!

SimplyRedHead Wed 29-May-13 19:25:17

Family day not family daydream!

AaDB Wed 29-May-13 19:33:56

In the OP's case, her DH can't be bothered to keep in touch with his own DM. She is keen to foster a good relationship for her Dc and sounds like a lovely dil. She just doesn't want to be summoned to a forced day of Family Fun.

If my oh can't be arsed to make arrangements with his own parents, that's very sad but their problem. I'm not emotionally abusive because I don't want to make arrangements. If my ils want to blame me for keeping them apart from their child, oh well.

Our calendar is up to date and it's obvious when we are free. I'm happy to do what I can to be hospitable.

wordfactory Wed 29-May-13 20:20:05

exotic you seem unable to even imagine that your children might meet someone for whom extended family affairs are not enjoyable.

But it does happen. I am froma huge close extended family.

But I married an absolutely georgous man whio happens to be quite shy and reserved. Who can think of nothing worse than attending my family's noisy gatherings.

He suffers them from time to time for my sake, but I try to inflict it on him as little as possible...

It's nothing personal, and my Mother is sensible enough to know that!

seeker Wed 29-May-13 20:25:12

So if your partner doesn't like it, he/she doesn't go. There are another 364 days in the year!

wordfactory Wed 29-May-13 20:33:43

Of course seeker but some MILs get very shirty!!!

Exotic seems to be saying that her DC would never choose partners like that! That it's far too important that they love all those gatherings!

And I'm saying, that life doesn't always work out that way. You can fall in love with someone who treats you with the utmost respect, who wants to care for you, have babies with you, basically be your rock. The issue of whether they like a wet bank holiday BBQ en famille is a small one!

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 22:00:28

I am just saying that luckily they haven't so far-all the girlfriends have been extremely family orientated, with extended families of their own that they are very close to. It could change but I doubt it.
In my case I simply wouldn't have married a man who was going to resent/spoil/refuse to spend time with my family.

Horsemad Wed 29-May-13 22:08:55

It's all about compromise exotic smile Sometimes we have to make sacrifices when we marry - even your DC might have to one day!

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 22:11:32

There are some things you can't compromise on-my DH got my mother, I see a lot of her-I want to see a lot of her and she stays in our house.

AaDB Wed 29-May-13 22:15:56

I would not have married a man that made a big deal about this kind of thing. If you want to go, enjoy if not; fine too. Just because I don't want to get together for a Family Fun day does not mean that I am not family orientated. I love my family and friends and enjoy hosting.

I don't resent/spoil/refuse to spend time with my husband's family. They aren't the easiest people to be around and so DH doesn't spend much time with them.

I think it is important to foster the widest community for my DS. I grew up with a massive extended family and it was a pain in the arse. Quality over quantity is better in my experience.

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 22:19:42

I think that we just have to agree we are all different-and just hope that we match up with similar types.

seeker Wed 29-May-13 22:20:12

Even if I loathed all of my dp's extended family, as opposed to loathing some of them, I would put up with a family day every year. Because he loves his family, and our children belong to his family. And I HAVE no right to get between either of those relationships.

wordfactory Thu 30-May-13 08:56:04

Well exotic it might have been one of your non negotiable things in a relationships.

But it is highly unreasonable to expect/assume it is one of your DCs non negotiables.

Foisting our values upon our DCs is so very wrong.

exoticfruits Thu 30-May-13 09:04:55

I don't think we need to 'foist' our values on our DCs-they live with us from birth and they take them in subconsciously -they are likely to do as we do.

exoticfruits Thu 30-May-13 09:05:54

Or so I have found-knowing a lot of DCs from babies to adults.
You will get exceptions of course.

exoticfruits Thu 30-May-13 09:07:34

In my case I can't see that it was negotiable-I married having a family and I wasn't going to give them up.

Hullygully Thu 30-May-13 09:11:50

I think it's a nice idea and really quite simple. You go if you can, and if something trumps it, dinner with the Queen or a trip to the moon whatever, you just say soz can't make it this year.

Can't see a prob <scratches head>

wordfactory Thu 30-May-13 09:36:47

Exotic - yes indeed people pass along things thinkingly and unthinkingly. That is the default setting. But surely we want our DC to think for themselves. To find their own values and ways to live. The idea that you would consider it 'impossible' that your DC should choose to live differenyly to you is pretty narrow.

daftdame Thu 30-May-13 09:42:50

People don't like the feeling of being tied down Hully

Ultimately your advice is the only solution (apart from something much more mundane possibly 'trumping' the Family Day grin). There is also the emotionally 'can' (bring yourself to...).

So you grin and bare it...or don't and ignore any digs. I would suggest a mixture, all being fair and all that...

seeker Thu 30-May-13 09:44:32

Bloody Christmas. Same bloody day every year. I hate being tied down.

daftdame Thu 30-May-13 09:48:11

grin ScrOOOOOOOOOOOOge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

wordfactory Thu 30-May-13 09:49:19

Oh don't be daft seeker. Christmas is accepted on a macro level by schools and employers and everyone else, that we will be with our families. The rest of the year is trickier. There are work commitments (imagine that!) And school. And people live all over the place. Placing a random commitment elsewhwere is pretty intrusive.

daftdame Thu 30-May-13 09:55:25

There could be PIL Birthdays, Family day, Race Day, Annual Barbecue, Annual Trip To Seaside, PIL Wedding Anniversary, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Easter Sunday Lunch, DH's Birthday, Kid's Birthdays, Bonfire Night, Your Wedding Anniversary, Halloween...(te hee) etc etc. List goes on.

If you can't do it all en extended family don't s'what I say. Pick and choose tis the only way.

Snazzywaitingforsummer Thu 30-May-13 10:04:35

Yes, but of course if a work commitment or something comes up that clashes, you need to be able to choose to do that. It's the notion that it is on principle wrong to plan something to happen on the same day every year. That does just come across as 'can't do right for doing wrong'. If you get nagged to death for missing a year, then yes, that's not really on. But I don't see why it is inherently unreasonable to keep to the same date/weekend - surely that's helpful because you know when it is?

Hullygully Thu 30-May-13 10:05:31

It's just a nice thing to add on to the calendar: Xmas, birthdays, Easter, family day.

Not everyone can make everything, but it's there as a nice jolly thing to go to if poss.

Still not getting the problem.

DontmindifIdo Thu 30-May-13 10:07:58

I was thinking about this earlier, does anyone else remember the thread around Mothers day from a teacher who was going to cancel a boy's place in the school play because he couldn't come to dress rehersal because he had to go to his Grandparents' house for a big family day?

The thread was split between those who told her she was mean and it wasn't the boy's fault he had to go to his GPs and those who said that a family meet up wasn't important and he should have done the rehersal. (and from both side others - saying it was a bit mean putting it on mothers day because even those who did go might be missing family events and upsetting relatives/family traditions). It seemed unfair, that boy had worked hard but because his family did a 3 line whip on the Mother's day event he lost his place for something that mattered to him.

Be careful about a family traditional event you can't miss and can't move that might happen on the same date as something that your DCs care about. Try to get the date when it's unlikely to have clashes!

DontmindifIdo Thu 30-May-13 10:09:09

Hully - i think the problem is that missing it will not be tolerated by MIL and SIL. so the OP is reluctant to set it up in the first place. (that and a lot of people have a natural averson to "organised fun")

Hullygully Thu 30-May-13 10:16:40

"not be tolerated"

They can't SHOOT her, can they?

Just smile sweetly and say soz, can't make it. How could anyone mind??

If they do mind, they're raving barkers and who cares what they think anyway?

seeker Thu 30-May-13 10:22:04

Dd's bloody birthday. Same bloody day every year. I hate being tied down.....

mrsjay Thu 30-May-13 10:25:37

Bloody Christmas. Same bloody day every year. I hate being tied down.

such a bind grin

seeker Thu 30-May-13 10:31:43

Bloody Easter. Same day every year. I hate being.......... No, wait........

daftdame Thu 30-May-13 10:47:24

Some of us are just busy being freee!

wordfactory Thu 30-May-13 11:27:21

But neither Easter nor birthdays have to be celebrated in any particular way. You can do it en famille. Or with mates. Or go on holiday. There is no commitment or expectation.

wordfactory Thu 30-May-13 11:31:21

Hully I agree. If someone throws a party there should be no expectation of attendence. But that's not what the op is saying. And that's not the relaxed attitude being displyed by many MILs of the future on this thread!

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 30-May-13 13:04:46

The OP has said that non-attendance at other events has resulted in a relative being detailed to phone OP's DH to tell him just how upset his DM is.

The problem with fixing the date every year is that it does end up as yet another Christmas where it always has to be done the same way or someone gets upset.

Being more flexible and just sending out invitations (one year it's a summer barbecue, another year it's bonfire night or whatever) allows family to get together without the expectation of the event being written in tablets of stone.

Hullygully Thu 30-May-13 13:17:14

good lord

if someone phones to say your dm is very upset

you say

well that's because she is a stark staring nutcase. It can't be helped, there's always next year

and then just let them get on with it

daftdame Thu 30-May-13 13:40:27

I think Hully and Worry you would both agree go if you can / want to don't if you can't and ignore the fall-out.

The point Worry and OP is making is that it is little more difficult when a date is annual / set in stone, to say you can't do it. The expectation is that you've had a whole year to plan, never mind whether you actually want to or not.

I would feel obliged to actually break that expectation on purpose, just occasionally, otherwise I would be enabling the controlling behaviour.

The actually planning of the Extended Family Days should include all of the extended family. Otherwise they are just family 'Matriarch / Patriarch Days' referred to as 'The Summons'.

DontmindifIdo Thu 30-May-13 14:44:30

ooh, I found the thread about the boy who was going to lose his place in the school play for going to a family day thing on Mother's day:

I can see OP's DCs being in situations like this in the future when the rest of the world doesn't get that this 'family day' is the priority. All good and well saying "you can't just not go" but if you do have the sort of family where that would cause meltdown drama that goes on for months, you'd be tempted to put it first.

(I did feel sorry for the boy stuck in the middle of this)

daftdame Thu 30-May-13 15:15:20

Dontmind I saw that thread too...poor boy.

I also think schools can be a little too controlling also, regarding 'compulsory' after school events. Just because parental support is required for some events it should not be taken as a given, what I mean is parents should be genuinely consulted. Parents are as much part of the school community as school staff and if the school wants parental support they should consult their wishes on matters.

Some parents are literally caught in the middle of controlling extended families and controlling schools, but it is a sink or swim scenario, you have to develop a very thick skin.

'Nobody can please all of the people all of the time', as the saying goes.

MyShoofly Thu 30-May-13 15:37:43

Sorry but I think its more "controlling" to purposely not go to a family get together once a year to ensure one's MIL is not being "controlling".

daftdame Thu 30-May-13 15:53:23


I'm not talking about missing every event, just occasional ones. Only if you feel like your nuclear families wishes do not even figure in the planning.

If you know / have to deal with some controlling, albeit lovely people, and I have had to deal with a fair few in my time, you will find they would, perhaps even thank you for putting your foot down, once in a while. It can be a strain to have to be the one who is looked for, for all the decisions, but can become a habit. Sometimes you have to act, in order to forge a more genuine and equal relationship.

daftdame Thu 30-May-13 16:02:25

Then when they are very worried they have let you down when ^they have had to miss a family event, you can very easily be truly gracious about it. smile

Everyone should just give themselves a break in my opinion.

daftdame Thu 30-May-13 16:14:55

It is best in the long run. For example, one year you may spend Christmas abroad or see an old friend who has come over from overseas (on Family day!) or helping with a charity or have to miss something because you've horrible flu.

Thing is you will not be letting any one down, neither will they if they want to do any of these things.

Horsemad Thu 30-May-13 16:21:34

My MIL once told her nephew off because he was away on holiday when it was his mother's birthday! shock
This is what I'm up against - needless to say, she doesn't get her own way with me.

MadeOfStarDust Thu 30-May-13 16:37:26

I got told off by mine for "letting" my husband organise a holiday which included their 34th wedding anniversary..... wrong on SOOOOOOOOOOOOO many levels....

daftdame Thu 30-May-13 16:39:44

Clue is:

if they ask you = not controlling

if they tell you = controlling

seeker Thu 30-May-13 16:44:47

So how does this "asking" work? A million emails, a spread sheet? When does it happen? Arguments about whether a swimming gala trumps a cricket match..... give me strength!

One date. In the calendar. Attend if at all possible. Over til next year. A bloody sight less controlling than making up reasons not to be able to go so you can put MIL in her place.

daftdame Thu 30-May-13 16:52:05

Ask means it is OK if I say know

Tell means it is not.

So not a million emails, that would be harassment!

But the rest 'attend if possible' OK. ' all possible' is slightly over the top, the event should speak for itself.

I wouldn't make up any reason, I'd tell the truth and ignore any backlash. I'd remain on speaking terms unless they wouldn't speak to me, and I'd speak to them when they were ready.

daftdame Thu 30-May-13 16:52:29

^ that should be say no!

seeker Thu 30-May-13 17:02:42

Well of course it should be all right to say no. But also, I think that people should really go if they possibly can- there has to be a good reason not to. And "I want to show my MIL where she gets off" is not a good reason.

daftdame Thu 30-May-13 17:11:05

seeker it is not about 'showing MIL where she can get off' it is about making a genuine choice.

If MIL, or DM for that matter, is getting too controlling, that in itself is good reason.

Maybe you have not had to deal with these kind of people, I have and I still have good relationships with them. They should know though that emotional blackmail doesn't work and when this is off the table you find you actually want to go to events. Otherwise you find yourself being a martyr to them.

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 30-May-13 17:27:11

We are in the process of reducing the impact of family days especially around Christmas. DCs are growing and have their own social lives to lead. What worked when DCs were small has both grown and grown and also no longer works in a practical sense.

IME both DM and DMiL love the theory of the traditions but arent up to the practicality. It is all very well them saying that they love cooking a big meal for the whole family but botulism surprise isnt up there with my favourites!

wordfactory Thu 30-May-13 17:31:33

My Mum has been very good at undersatanding the extra demands placed on us as the children grow.

She is also very good at understanding the extra demands of work.

I do think some retired folks, or those who haven't had a job for many years forget about this!

IdealHomeHouseBeautifulLivinge Fri 31-May-13 08:42:14

I'm just amazed at how busy some of you claim to be every weekend. Don't you ever just relax and slob around with your family?

seeker Fri 31-May-13 08:59:20

Being "too busy" to go to an event organised by a MIL a year in advance is not the same as ordinary busy.

MadeOfStarDust Fri 31-May-13 09:11:08

family day gets organised by one of my relatives - we have to travel 700 miles and stay in the crappy B&B. It takes up more than a weekend with all the travelling - we went the first year - not the second - went the third year and were whinged at from start to finish for not going the previous year.

So we don't go at all now.

TheresTheDoor Fri 31-May-13 09:12:58

but wordfactory, it's ONE DAY! out of 365. Life is short.

My opinion is this: no good showing up at a relative's funeral and being all sad if you couldn't be bothered to make a day to see them when they were alive.

In a way "Family Day" makes it easier than arranging to visit people all year round. You get see everyone all in one day and can go back to your incredibly busy life until next year.

MadeOfStarDust Fri 31-May-13 09:17:21

(our family day would take 3 days- me and hubby both having to take holiday time - £800 flights - with a change of plane so it takes all day, £100 B&B - to spend time with folks who will whinge and moan for 4 hours, then we would go home - people's circumstances vary)

CruCru Fri 31-May-13 10:01:06

This is an interesting thread. I do see people's point about it being only one day a year - but so are Christmas and Easter and these cause lots of angst. I wonder whether the OP can't face yet another bunch of negotiations and bad feeling.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Fri 31-May-13 10:13:09

MadeofStardust, I think it's different if you live abroad. If I was arranging one, I would invite relatives from abroad, but I really wouldn't expect them to come.

daftdame Fri 31-May-13 10:13:14

TheresTheDoor You don't have to be 'incredibly busy' not to be free to go to an annual event, just normally busy. If you have to add distance into the mix, as MadeOfStardust says, it is not as easy as just 'popping in'. Extended families can be huge, you should take it on board when some people can't make an event.

I love it when there is a BIG family event, practically whole family(think Poliakoff's 'Perfect Strangers'). For us though, the logistics are too great to make it annually. When we do have them though, it is all the more exciting to catch up with cousins you haven't seen for years.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Fri 31-May-13 10:15:58

daftdame- The OP isn't from abroad, and she is not being expected to fly in from Oz or anything.

I think it would be a different thread of the MiL expected her to fly in with all the expense of that, and had a strop because they couldn't.

daftdame Fri 31-May-13 10:18:25

TheresTheDoor I would turn up to a funeral also of someone I hadn't seen for a long time. If you move away from family, this can be a reality. My extended family is very big and spread out all over the place, but I still have fond memories of people I saw more when I was a child.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Fri 31-May-13 10:20:16

daftdame- all the more reason to have a family day. Shame to only remember family from your childhood. Your kids will be you one day, IYSWIM.

daftdame Fri 31-May-13 10:32:15

What I'm saying Chocs is that you just have to be easy going about it. I like seeing my family but they can't really dictate my life because they don't know enough about the day to day running of it.

Sometimes boundaries have to be set, this can be different for different families. Some are very close to each other, have each other's house keys, pop in unannounced etc, some are more 'high days and holidays'. Both can work but for it to work it has to be mutual.

Think of the parable of the Prodigal Son. What would have happened if his father had a strop like the brother and refused to accept his son back? Wouldn't have had the happy ending.

daftdame Fri 31-May-13 11:09:35

By the way I think the OP should say they'll go if she wants to and not worry about 'signing up' to anything. If one year they can't/won't go then don't say yes.

When you spend too much time trying to manage people's expectations life can get really complicated.

MadeOfStarDust Fri 31-May-13 11:18:14

Chocs... I'm not from abroad either - just live in SW and family are from north Scotland.. logistical nightmare....

wordfactory Fri 31-May-13 12:05:11

A family day with my lot would not involve one day. It would require an overnight stay due to distance. Sometimes that's doable, sometimes its not.

fedupofnamechanging Fri 31-May-13 16:11:47

I don't understand why so many people find it so hard to say no.

A family get together is lovely, if you like that kind of thing. Personally a day with IL's and their extended family is something I find torturous - I have nothing in common with them beside dh and I literally have nothing to say to them. The events I have attended in the past have resulted in rudeness from dh's cousins and criticism for my decision to be a sahm (they are Danish and don't 'get' it, because the expectation in Denmark is that you will return to work, that you are failing society if you don't. Of course, they have lovely state subsidised childcare...)

Anyway, I digress. I have made a decision to not do this again. People can have as many objections to that as they like but I am saying no and that's that! life is too short to do things that you hate, out of duty.

I hope when my dc are older, that they want to visit me. I don't see why they wouldn't - I still like seeing my mum. But mostly, I just want them to do whatever makes them genuinely happy.

I hate being pinned down to a day and expected to conform. Fine if IL's are easy about whether you attend or not, but I hate being told to do anything and guilt trips would result in short shrift from me.

OP, my advice is to go if it fits in at the time or not if it doesn't and refuse to allow anyone to make you feel you 'have' to.

I also think that your dh should make more of an effort with his own mum - it's not your job. My mil comes round once a week and I am struggling because the dc are getting to an age where they are too old to play with their grandma - dh is working and I have little to say to her. She is nice, but she is not my mum. It's hard going.

exoticfruits Fri 31-May-13 17:11:43

Who would guess that a simple invitation to spend a day with family causes such problems, merely because it is asked in advance, has been done before and will probably be done again?
You can turn down invitations.

Snazzywaitingforsummer Fri 31-May-13 17:24:16

Exoticfruits - I know! To think merely issuing am invitation could be so insulting.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Fri 31-May-13 17:26:53

So go the years you can, and if you genuinely can't one year because something important crops up then I am sure you will be excused!

seeker Fri 31-May-13 17:29:27

It's because it's a MiL's invitation. They are always written in toxic ink.

daftdame Fri 31-May-13 17:32:20

exotic Things are not always as simple as they first seem.....wink

I think if you have come from a long line of bolshy ....ahem....assertive people you may sometimes have to set a few boundaries, otherwise life becomes about just doing as they want. Which conversely they don't want because it becomes boring.

I say yes go to extended family events but don't feel obliged, go because you want to. As you say you can turn down invitations.

Thing is OP feels in a tiz because she foresees trouble if this event becomes a truly 'not to be missed' event. I say sometimes you can't avoid that. When people start talking about 'obligations' in terms of extended family there is bound to be fallout, simply because of the logistics. The only way to avoid this is don't engage in 'obligation' type conversations.

daftdame Fri 31-May-13 17:38:01

snazzy I don't think it is about invites, more 'Summons'

Also people over-think sometimes to try to avoid trouble.

Sometimes MIL's can have a stash of the old 'toxic ink', you just need to make sure you're immune and enjoy yourself anyway. If the booze and food is flowing I would!

exoticfruits Fri 31-May-13 19:02:09

I bet the MIL in question would be amazed if she read this thread and think 'good grief, it is only an invitation-if you don't want to come just turn it down or make an excuse'.
(future note to self-'if ever you issue an family invitation make it plain it is merely an invitation and not to be interpreted as a summons')

exotic I doubt the MIL in question would be so laid back, given thst she got the DH's sister to ring up saying that the MIL was upset by their non-attendance on another occasion.

daftdame Fri 31-May-13 19:17:52

exotic I know a fair few people who would say 'Good grief...' but the mischievous twinkle in their eye would tell you how much they relished the hoo, hah! wink