to feel hurt that my Dparents don't want to see my DCS (or me!) at Christmas.

(58 Posts)
SeeYouNT Wed 06-Nov-13 09:50:26

since dbro and i were tiny, my parents have stayed at my aunt and uncles house in the cotswolds for the whole festive period (ie 23rd dec to 2nd january). they live 120 miles away from our (and my parents) home town. we always went with them as children of course and before dcs i would drive up on my own for 2 or 3 days so as to still see my family.

however since having DCs christmas has become difficult. we have other family we need to see, such as my ILs, and also my elder DC is from another relationship so he needs to see his dad and his dads family etc. plus DH doesn't get a massive amount of time off work.

so the last few years, JUST to see my parents and so they can see my DCS, we have driven up to the cotswolds boxing day morning, and stayed at a hotel (as no room at aunts house for us all), then come back on the 27th. it costs a couple of hundred quid ie petrol, the hotel, and also they all like to go for a meal. we are not poor but we can;t afford this extra expense really. we went last year but was very tiring for us and the DCs as well as expensive and we decided we probably couldn't carry on doing it

so earlier this year my parents mentioned they would maybe stay at home until boxing day so they can see us and the DCs then going to the cotwolds for the rest of the christmas period

well the other day we had the "christmas conversation" with dparents. and we said we are definitely not coming, for the reasons above plus i will be 21 weeks pg by then. and lo and behold, DM announced that they would be going away from the 23rd dec to 2nd january as per sad

obvs its up to them what they do, they are adults and so am i, but it makes me sad that they just seem completely not arsed about seeing not just me, but their OWN GRANDCHILDREN at christmas sad and next year they will have 3 DGC they will be missing out on.

sorry its long but AIBU? or are my dparents?

yonisareforever Wed 06-Nov-13 09:53:01

When else do they see the DGC, is it only once a year?
why cant they drive to you at other times of the year?

owlbegoing Wed 06-Nov-13 09:56:57

Bit of both I think. You're BU expecting them to change their routine they've had for 20 odd years. And they're BU not wanting to see their grandchildren over Christmas. Do you see much of them over the rest of the year?

WaitMonkey Wed 06-Nov-13 10:01:11

Depends on how much you see them the rest of the year. Some people just aren't bothered about Christmas.

SeeYouNT Wed 06-Nov-13 10:04:25

oh i know it would be U for me to expect them or ask them to change their routine, and i don't "expect" them to, but i just wonder why they don't want to

if / when i have grandchildren i absolutely know that i will want to see them at christmas, and i will always want to see my dcs as well (as long as they want to see me of course grin )

To be fair, they do see us and the DCS fairly regularly, as we live in the same town, but christmas is a special time isn't it es for small children

plus my dcs are now getting to the age where they want to see my parents, they are really disappointed we are not going to the farm this year and my eldest in particular is making me feel really bad about it

SaucyJack Wed 06-Nov-13 10:06:25


It's their Christmas too.

WholeNutt Wed 06-Nov-13 10:12:41

Your parents had their christmas is special for the children when they had you and any siblings you have. I think it's unreasonable to expect them to now want to share your christmas moments with your children when they have a long standing tradition.

Could you maybe have 2 Christmases might sound silly but maybe if they were to spend a day with you as your Christmas Day either just before they go away or just after they get back? If they're missing out that's down to them start your own family traditions and enjoy the festive season with them.

SavoyCabbage Wed 06-Nov-13 10:14:31

Yabu. They want to have the Christmas they have always had with the people that they have always had it with. Not wait until Christmas is over then go.

I totally understand why you don't want to go but I also understand why they don't.

I couldn't enjoy my Christmas knowing that my parents were waiting for my visit before they could go away.

Tuppenceinred Wed 06-Nov-13 10:14:59

Don't be daft, it will be nice for them to go away for a break and relax together.

Tuppenceinred Wed 06-Nov-13 10:16:54

p.s. You set the tone for how your children respond to this. Your reaction will influence theirs.

Aeroaddict Wed 06-Nov-13 10:19:56

YANBU to feel hurt. Unfortunately as you have said you can't do anything to chance their minds, so all you can do is try to make the best of it. Could you do something with them just before they go, exchange presents, and have dinner together? You could maybe start a new tradition along those lines to replace what you used to do on boxing day?

Chopchopbusybusy Wed 06-Nov-13 10:21:23

You live in the same town as your parents so presumably see them throughout the year. You can have a Christmassy get together a few days before Christmas surely. YABVU

MMcanny Wed 06-Nov-13 10:25:02

Oh dear, well I have an opposite AIBU to this in that my parents always want to see us/make a big deal out of Xmas and we can't be arsed. It's not that I don't like my parents and my children do adore them.

I think YABU to take this so personally. It would appear that this one day of the year 'being together' means more to you than them. It doesn't mean they don't utterly love you. Also I notice an interesting reverse in that you expect your parents to be MORE keen on seeing your kids than on yourself. I kind of expect my parents to be more interested in me than my rugrats.

Our reasons for not prioritising a family get together: DH and I like to be alone together and not be rushing around here there and everywhere generally. I also think Xmas is 'for kids' and think it makes for a much more enjoyable day for everyone if the kids get to stay home on that day playing with all the goodies they've coverted for a year and are finally allowed to indulge. Having to meet up with extended family there is the inevitable strained nerves, moaning at each other, rushing them to get shoes and coats on, share with cousins, come and sit at the table etc etc.

Perhaps your parents find the over excitedness of little ones on the day draining and would rather have indulgent uninterrupted adult time? Even if aunt has grandweans your folks are a step removed from that and don't need to be crawling on the floor with them. Don't take offence. Why not find some like-minded old dear on gransnet who's not allowed to see her extended family on Xmas day and hook up?

Sorry if I sound like I'm making light of it but it really sounds to me like you're making a big mountain out of a molehill and making it all about you. They don't share your ideal - simples. Have a nice relaxing day yourself, you're going to be very pregnant. Let DH do the cooking while you lie on the couch watching dc's.

Ragwort Wed 06-Nov-13 10:28:36

YABVVU. Your parents clearly want to enjoy an 'adult' break wink - Christmas with young children can be fun - but it can also be tiring, exhausting, stressful, messy and I can quite see the appeal of a civilised break with adults.

I know I will get flamed for this but I can't be the only parent who really doesn't enjoy Christmas day with a child that much, I look back on Christmasses before children - a quiet Church service, a long walk, an elegantly served meal, challenging game of Backgammon or similar etc and miss those days. I have horrible memories of watching my DH put 'Mousetrap' together one Christmas, took ages, I was bored stiff and the game was totally dull and tedious. grin

Just have a different 'special' day to get together with your parents.

bigbrick Wed 06-Nov-13 10:29:03

yanbu - your parents should be with their grandkids at christmas not with other family. I would just do your own thing and be happy you aren't treking to the Cotswolds and spending money unnecessary on a hotel etc

YABU - My folks visit other family, go on holiday etc. over the xmas period, so sometimes we see them, sometimes we don't. We live in the same town, they see their DGCs all year round.

Sure, Christmas is for family, but I cound DH, me and the DCs a family even without the grandparents around.

Why should grandparents be with the grandchildren on xmas? Its their lives and its a bit silly to expect otherwise.

Kamer Wed 06-Nov-13 10:45:47

The OP asked was she BU to be hurt that her parents didn't want to see her DC at Xmas and YANBU to be upset at their priorities. However it is their choice, do they perhaps feel obliged to go to the aunt and uncle as it is such a long standing tradition? Do aunt/uncle have their own DC/GDC there or would they be on own?

Spaulding Wed 06-Nov-13 10:48:34

YABU. They shouldn't break with their Christmas tradition and it's time you made your own with your own family.

I like it to be just me, DS and DP on Christmas Day, even though my parents are just 15 mins away. When I was little I stayed home with my parents. Now I have my own little family I want it to be just us too.

YABU - it's the way they always spend Christmas and just because it doesn't work well with your plans this year doesn't mean they should cancel. As you said, you live in the same town so see them regularly anyway.

Ragwort Wed 06-Nov-13 10:56:53

bigbrick - why 'should' the grandparents be with their grandchildren at Christmas? hmm

bigbrick Wed 06-Nov-13 10:59:48

Ragwort - why do you think they shouldn't?

headoverheels Wed 06-Nov-13 11:01:27

YANBU to feel hurt. Last year my PILs chose to spend Xmas day on their own, just the two of them, even though we invited them to come to us and see their DGCs. I don't understand it myself.

Ragwort Wed 06-Nov-13 11:05:43

I put my views in my earlier post (10.28) - I just don't think it is healthy to have expectations of what other people 'should' or 'shouldn't do' - it invariably leads to disappointment, as in this case here.

Everyone's family relationships are different, we have always made it a point not to have the same sort of Christmas every year, it results in certain expectations - I would hate my parents to think they 'had' to spend their Christmas with my family every year for example. Yes, if one of my parents was left on their own I would make sure they were included but whilst they are healthy they enjoy different things - sometimes they go abroad, sometimes they stay at home, sometimes they come to us or we go to them. smile. I don't 'expect' them to want to spend time with their grandchildren.

Ragwort Wed 06-Nov-13 11:08:05

head - I do grin.

My DPs are in their 80s and spent one Christmas with my DS and her family who are VERY lively - think huge pile of presents, no structure to the day, no sitting down to meals, complete chaos, tv on all day - they didn't enjoy it, probably DS & her family thought they were being old fogies and not getting into the spirit of things - but they were being honest (as I would be grin).

mitchsta Wed 06-Nov-13 11:09:39

YABU. They've done the same thing for years, I wouldn't be upset that they didn't want to change this just for my family. I think it's great that they aren't insisting on seeing you/forcing you to split Christmas Day between them and ILs and having to spend the day driving round visiting people - like many, many other families end up doing (and hating!)

You will have a blast and so will your kids. Christmas isn't about one day, it's about the whole festive season. Make time to see them before they go away - have them round for tea, visit garden centres, go to Santa's grotto, have a mooch around the Christmas markets, make Christmas decorations or do whatever else you like to do to get in the Christmas spirit. You can spend a whole flippin' month enjoying the festivities if you really want to.

You're being too precious/over-sensitive when there are so many ways you could be enjoying Christmas with them.

CaptainSweatPants Wed 06-Nov-13 11:13:25

Well the 22.dec is a Sunday so I'd invite them to yours that day op & have an early Xmas with them

diddl Wed 06-Nov-13 11:21:03

Am I confused?

Parents said they would stay at home?

OP said they weren't going to go to them.

Parents said that they would do what they usually do then?

bigbrick Wed 06-Nov-13 11:53:11

Ragwort - it's a difference of opinion. My Christmas time is a family time so therefore I think the op isn't being unreasonable

Quoteunquote Wed 06-Nov-13 11:58:51

How often do you see your parents?

girlywhirly Wed 06-Nov-13 12:04:11

I think it was U of your parents to suggest maybe staying at home until the 27th so that they could see you on Christmas day if they had no intention of doing so. When the DC are teens, it will come back to bite them on the bum when they can't be arsed to see their GP's. It could also be said that Aunt and Uncle are BU for never changing their plans and controlling where Christmas should happen.

However, under these circumstances I would invite your parents for a day at yours the weekend before Christmas with a festive meal and so on, exchange gifts, and make your mind up that you and your own family will have a lovely time on Christmas day itself. Say to the DC that it will be like having two Christmasses. Thank your lucky stars you aren't being made to fork out for travel and stay in a hotel, an expensive meal, and deal with all the exhaustion again. Spend the money on yourselves.

If they can't make time to see you before they go away, then they are being VU.

2rebecca Wed 06-Nov-13 12:18:07

It sounds as though your parents see lots of you and your kids most of the year and this time in the Cotswolds is a treasured tradition for them. I think it's sad you're wanting it to be all about you and your kids. I'd just be glad they will have an enjoyable Christmas and sort out your own Christmas.
As a parent of teenagers Christmas with young kids isn't necessarily better than Christmas with older ones or adults. There's alot to be said for being able to go to a midnight church service and not get woken at the crack of dawn by squawking and squealing. Christmas with young kids can seem very materialistic in an "it's all about the presents" way.
I don't understand bigbricks point as the OP's parents are spending xmas with family, just not with her, maybe they didn't want the Cotswold relatives to not have visitors and thought the OP had enough folk round about over xmas as it sounds as though the OP will have inlaws and other relatives around.

girlywhirly Wed 06-Nov-13 12:34:09

diddl, OP said they wouldn't travel to Aunts home for Christmas (as her parents do every year) due to time/money/annual leave/eldest seeing dad/pregnancy restraints. Her mum suggested months ago perhaps herself and OP's dad could stay at home/see OP and family, then travel after Christmas to Aunt.

Now the OP's parents are going before Christmas as always. What isn't clear is why they changed their minds. Had she hoped the OP would forget about it, or did they actually forget? Or did the Aunt kick off about it? Or had they no intention of changing their plans at all? I think they could offer an explanation for the change in arrangements.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 06-Nov-13 12:44:43

We have Christmas Day just me, DH and DS. We love it, it's our special day with our little family. We see parents (both sets live 3-4 hours away at opposite sides of the UK) either before or afterwards. That way you get an extended Christmas. My parents like a peaceful Christmas Day, everyone's happy.

I think there's too much emphasis on what people 'should' do at Christmas rather than what people want to do.

Pennyacrossthehall Wed 06-Nov-13 12:51:34

Christmas is just a day - pick another day/weekend that you can spend with your parents.

If your parents don't want to see you/your DCs at all, that is V unreasonable of them. If they see them regularly, what does it matter that they are visiting their friends ( = living their life) on one particular day?

CocktailQueen Wed 06-Nov-13 12:53:11

Can't you ask them to change their routine this year if it's important to you, and ask them to yours for Xmas? Then they can go to Cotswolds after that?

diddl Wed 06-Nov-13 12:56:41

Yes I wasn't sure who wasn't going wheregrin

So parents were going to stay at home until BD & have now decided not to.

Perhaps they were hoping for an invitation from OP or that OP would offer to go to them?

Yardarm Wed 06-Nov-13 13:02:11

Christmas can be rather full on with DCs around. I wouldn't be surprised if my parents wanted to spend it quietly and see the DCs another time instead. I can imagine it would me more relaxing for everybody (including you). Can you see them the weekend before they go away instead?

oscarwilde Wed 06-Nov-13 13:03:23

I don't get it as they live locally to you - I'd be thrilled in your shoes especially if I were 21 weeks pregnant. No pressure whatsoever to trail up there behind them and have your usual Christmas. See them the weekend before Christmas or the weekend after New years. You may well find that they miss you all this year and next year they change their minds on timetable.

See if you can wangle a trip to the farm in the summer for your DC with your grandparents and leave you with a few days peace and quiet with your newborn smile

wimblehorse Wed 06-Nov-13 14:04:23

Yes, maybe they were hoping from an invitation from you for Christmas Day? Then they would get to see you all on Christmas Day & go to the cotswolds on Boxing Day. Maybe they don't want to spend Christmas Day alone & so have decided rather than that, to do the "usual" thing.

Christmas. Days spend on the motorway trying to fit in seeing everyone. Nights spent uncomfortably on put up beds & sharing rooms with children. Family bickering & feeling resentful over who has had to put in the most work for it. Bloody nightmare. Bah humbug.

SeeYouNT Wed 06-Nov-13 15:59:10

Christmas. Days spend on the motorway trying to fit in seeing everyone. Nights spent uncomfortably on put up beds & sharing rooms with children. Family bickering & feeling resentful over who has had to put in the most work for it. Bloody nightmare. Bah humbug

LOL wimblehorse grin yep thats been my christmas's since having dcs

also re the confusion as to who is going where - earlier in the year, we told my dparents we probably wouldn't be able to come up to the cotswolds this time due to expense, lots of travel etc. so my parents then said that this year they would maybe go to the cotswolds later on so they could see us and dcs at christmas (they said it, we didnt suggest it) they have back tracked on it (which i have to say annoys me a bit)

but thanks everyone for posts so far all feedback appreciated ;)

SunshineMMum Wed 06-Nov-13 16:11:23

I can see both sides of the argument. Perhaps you could have a family get together before Christmas.

caramelwaffle Wed 06-Nov-13 16:17:08


DixonBainbridge Wed 06-Nov-13 16:36:46

I'd take advantage of it if I were you! Chocolate for breakfast & sitting around in PJs until midday on both days, no exhausting drive!

You may find your DC's will remember the Crimbos the spent with Mum & Dad more than the ones with all the faff!!

Ragwort Wed 06-Nov-13 16:42:52

But why do you have to trail up to the Cotswolds just to see them. different if you hardly ever see them but you said yourself that they live near you and you visit regularly confused.

Anyone else now dreaming of a child free Christmas in the Cotswolds? grin

LillianGish Wed 06-Nov-13 16:57:43

Christmas in the Cotswolds sounds lovely - and that is their Christmas tradition. Be grateful they are not expecting you to trail up there (that would be unreasonable) and make your own Christmas traditions with your dcs instead. Presumably you see them at other times so don't feel hurt - be glad that they are putting you in charge of your own Christmas arrangements, something many mumsnetters would kill for!

LtEveDallas Wed 06-Nov-13 17:03:09

I would be overjoyed if DPILs and DPs said they were doing something else over Xmas. It would mean I got to have a nice quiet Christmas at home and not so quiet NY away without feeling guilty.

Instead we have to travel 250 miles on 22nd, with a boot full of presents and a shed load of clothes. Stay there till Boxing Day then travel 220 miles on 27th with a boot full of presents, shed load of clothes and bin liner of dirty clothes. Stay there till 30th then travel 70 miles with more dirty clothes....Finally have a good time with just the 3 of us and no expectations... Then travel 150 miles home on 1st and I have to go back to work on 3rd.

It's bloody exhausting and makes me wish for a good old fashioned snowy winter so we can say 'sorry, snowed in, can't travel' without feeling guilty.

Holdthepage Wed 06-Nov-13 17:38:17

I have been having my DM & DF for Christmas Day for 28 years, yes 28 years! DM is on her own now & doesn't drive so needs picking up & taking home which means one of us can't even have a glass of wine with the meal. I would love it if just once we could spend the whole day in our own home with no other family commitments.

Just to add that I am not an only child but my DB never ever offers to have her.

Just be grateful OP that your parents are not dependant on you & make their own arrangements, which they are obviously happy with.

SeeYouNT Thu 07-Nov-13 08:12:18

i guess some of it as well is me feeling sad that christmas as i always knew it has changed. and i know thats normal and natural as i am an adult now but my family all carry on without me as normal doing exactly what they have always done, and are not bothered i am not around sad

i miss seeing MY mum and dad at christmas ffs there i have admitted it !!

we will probably end up going to the dreaded MIL's . its ok for DH he gets to see his kids, me AND his parents

i don't like christmas. esp this year as i cant even get pissed ffs

awaynboilyurheid Thu 07-Nov-13 08:34:20

Tried to do all of this too , driving 100 miles to let GP see children they always stayed at my Aunts house over Christmas new Year it was their tradition , but the year my second was born had to rush older daughter opening presents she just wanted to play with her toys but had to get them into car two hour journey got there everyone there fed up with us as they felt we were late arriving , my own daughters baby grumpy eldest fed up as she just wanted her toys realised we had left bag of presents behind for relatives we looked at each other and said enough! So next year we just stayed put and although we didnt see parents it was so relaxing for us all, no rush opening gifts ,dinner when we were ready etc. Parents were a bit sad, and I was too, but they loved going to see my Aunt in countryside so they continued with their tradition which they enjoyed but they always saw the girls a lot the rest of the year so yes in a perfect world it seems a great idea but the reality as you know is very different so just let your parents have their christmas and you have yours , what about a meal after a kind of mini christmas dinner when there is no rush and you can enjoy seeing your mum and dad without all the rest.

diddl Thu 07-Nov-13 09:12:31

When your parents said about not going away until BD-did you suggest seeing them CD?

Can't you stay at home-just you, husband & kids?

SeeYouNT Thu 07-Nov-13 09:42:13

yes we did diddl

and when they said it, we were talking about all going for a christmas day meal, but seems it has all been forgotten about my my parents

yes we could all stay at home (ie me dh and dcs) but i think it might be weird, as never done it before ever, think i would rather visit MIL than be stuck in all day lol confused

i wish we had some spare cash to just book a holiday in the sun and forget its even christmas sad

girlywhirly Thu 07-Nov-13 10:23:48

SeeYouNT, why not say to DH, we will not be going to either set of parents on Christmas day? Start your own traditions. Why should you have to fit in with anyone's parents? I was at a Christmas party where a woman confided that she had never in her life cooked a Christmas lunch. She was 50! I was really shocked, I've cooked them since I was 28 (although not every year.)

One day when your parents are too infirm/unable to drive/Aunt and Uncle no longer able to host they will be hoping you will entertain them. But they will then have to fit in with your family's traditions and preferences, and the tables will be turned.

Phone them on the day if you're missing them, but don't let this spoil Christmas for the DC. I admit if you've always spent Christmas with others it may seem strange, but it isn't essential to make a good day. Many mumsnetters have found the day on their own a revelation, and wondered why on earth they hadn't done it sooner.

2rebecca Thu 07-Nov-13 11:15:25

You could invite people to drop in during the day, or go for a walk, cook the xmas meal of your choice, spend an enjoyable day playing with the kids and drinking wine of your choice. My favourite xmases as a child were spent at home. You could invite the neighbours round for midmorning drinks if you're worried you'll get lonely.

WallyBantersJunkBox Thu 07-Nov-13 11:31:11

I think it's nice that your parents step back from your family Christmas, and don't dictate what you should be doing around their needs and wishes.

Why can't you conceive of having a private family Christmas with just your DH and DC's op? You are heads of your own household now, not your parents or 'ILs.

Time to start setting up your own traditions. Lots of ideas for this on the Christmas threads.

I used to have Christmas in the Cotwolds pre-DH and DS. It was bliss.

My grandparents didn't drive and as they had several grandchildren living in several towns it was impossible for them to see us Christmas day. Until I was eight we had New Years celebrations with them. We'd go to the pantomime, we'd exchange a couple of presents for each person, have the turkey dinner, the crackers, the pudding and sauce, eat the chocolate decs from the tree. Then we'd sleepover and wake to stockings the next morning. It was brilliant!

I have wonderful, wonderful memories of this extended Christmas. I know that my gps weren't with us Christmas day, but we'd phone them and chat, all the time knowing that a great treat was still to come.

My dc don't see their gps on Christmas day as it just isn't practicable, but we set aside a special day to spend with each of them over the Christmas period, each with their own traditions, and the dc and the gps look forward to it.

YANBU to feel hurt, but this way you get to do your Christmas your way and begin your own traditions. Let your parents have a little holiday and make plans to celebrate when they get back.

HolgerDanske Thu 07-Nov-13 17:40:39

I love having Christmas at home with just me and my partner and my girls. It's lovely and cosy and everything just happens when it happens, there's no pressure to be here there or everywhere on someone else's schedule. I honestly think you would love it. Yes, it'll be different, and maybe the first year it'll feel weird, but as the years go by you start to find your own traditions and little cosy things. It's actually really lovely to just be able to chill and relax.

Mim78 Thu 07-Nov-13 17:45:48

I'm afraid I'm in the opposite problem camp!

Can you look at it a different way and think it's nice that you are free to do what you want with DH and children, plus meeting the needs of DC from earlier relationship, without having to worry about the needs/wants of your parents?

If they get to see the children at other times, it doesn't really matter if they are seeing them at Christmas.

Just think about what you would like to do and put your mind to enjoying that.

Viviennemary Thu 07-Nov-13 17:53:00

I agree with all these expectations causing trouble. I don't think your parents sound unreasonable. Much worse is arguments about who sees who Christmas day and Boxing day and so on and how many hours spent with each. This causes endless trouble for people trying to please everyone. And then alternate years we do this that or the other. It's an endless fuss about nothing. IMHO.

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