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How to handle SIL re cancelling on my 3year old

(54 Posts)
Francescgrace Mon 08-Jul-13 09:05:52

We had a family birthday barbecue at home yesterday for my 3 year old DS's bday. It had been planned for several weeks with everyone agreeing to the date. We have small families so it was just my mum, MIL and FIL, my bro and his wife and my husbands sister and her husband.

Two hours before I got a text from her saying that their barbecue the previous night had gone on longer than expected so their friends were still there and they weren't going to come. I replied just saying "DS will be very disappointed" and then got another one back saying she was sorry.

I think this is a) rude as you just don't cancel at that short notice when people have catered for you etc and b) a horrible thing to do to your three year old nephew. My husband is angry too and we don't know how to handle this for the best. We don't think they enjoy spending time with us which is fine, but I feel the need to protect my son from being treated badly. The family is generally pretty dysfunctional and my inlaws have defended my SIL and asked my husband not to fall out over it.

Any tips for how to handle this without blowing it out of proportion but at the same time giving the message that we will not be treated like that and just ignore it?

Thank you.

Ezio Wed 10-Jul-13 10:21:24

You DS probably wasnt bothered by them not being there, so i would just let it go.

jollygoose Tue 09-Jul-13 13:07:10

sorry I think you are totally over reacting. Barbec ues are casual affairs to most people. I very much doubt that your ds could care less. Its really not worth falling out over, its likely they had a late night and couldnt face it its not the worst crime.

PinkPlum Mon 08-Jul-13 22:03:08

Also next time u are organising a function do not consult with her but simply tell her when u r holding it. I wouldn't give her the air time tbh

PinkPlum Mon 08-Jul-13 22:00:42

Oops sorry!!
SiL was out of order and bad manners to cancel at the last minute when she had committed. Sounds like an inconsiderate piece of work BUT I wouldn't act bothered by it. Don't give her the importance of acting like it has affected you or your DC's birthday. The party still went ahead and was great should be your attitude next time u see her. Patronise her by making a light hearted joke about what she did so that she knows not to treat u like this again but then move on.

PinkPlum Mon 08-Jul-13 21:57:33

OP, your SIL was totally out of

Harryhairypig Mon 08-Jul-13 21:47:47

Me and my sister get on great, but I often don't promise her appearance to the kids as she often ends up cancelling/changing things last minute so if they don't know she's coming they can't be disappointed. Might be worth taking that approach in future to save your DS being dissapointed when he's old enough to notice.

Hissy Mon 08-Jul-13 18:58:30

Honesty, your 2yo will be delighted to see them another day. Your child won't know that today is more special to him than tomorrow. If someone rocks up with a gift in a month's time, he won't be fazed at all!

IF your SIL has ANY motive/agenda, you NOT reacting at all other than an "Oh well, never mind, can't be helped, let us know when you want to come see him" will be the best way forward.

Seriously, I don't see a massive slight here.

LIZS Mon 08-Jul-13 15:57:39

If SIL has no children and the family is fairly casual then I wouldn't take it personally. In her shoes I'd probably make more of a friend's visit than a bbq for a 3yo. Just ignore and don't make an effort to invite her again, if she asks say x had a great time , sorry you missed it.

PoppyAmex Mon 08-Jul-13 15:54:29

"I would'nt have wanted to attend either. Birthdays are good for their friends at three. dull for adults a nice sunny day in the garden with friends sounds much more appealing....sorry"

This is a strange argument - OP's SIL is perfectly entitled not to want to attend, but she presumably she knew it was a child's birthday party when she accepted the invitation?

cory, what an excellent post!

BerkshireMum Mon 08-Jul-13 14:35:34

Lots of good advice already. Only thing I'd add is to make sure you don't build up your DS's expectations.

My DC have a couple of family members and godparents who have turned out to be unreliable. As they get older, they do notice and can get upset. We now keep it light and say they "might" come or will "try to be there".

With one in particular we even joke about whether they will actually show up. It's not ideal, but the best way that we've found to avoid going to the extremes of either creating a rift or seeing DCs disappointed.

Lavenderloves Mon 08-Jul-13 14:08:23

I would'nt have wanted to attend either. Birthdays are good for their friends at three. dull for adults a nice sunny day in the garden with friends sounds much more appealing....sorry

nenevomito Mon 08-Jul-13 13:58:38

You can't make someone change the way they behave, you can only change your reaction to it. So either continue to invite her and be pleasantly surprised when she does turn up, or don't invite her.

cory Mon 08-Jul-13 13:56:18

I think you are perfectly entitled to be annoyed about the rudeness towards yourself as the organiser and hostess. It was rude.

But what you should not be doing is project your feelings onto your son and make it about him: that could easily grow into a habit that doesn't do him any good in later years. Often it's the nicest people who do that, the ones who don't feel justified to stand up for themselves so have to convince themselves that they are standing up for somebody else instead. It can be very unfair on the "somebody else", landing them with a totally undeserved reputation for being a PFB.

So nip it in the bud now. Be brave enough to tell yourself: "My feelings matter- this was rude to me". And then move on.

brilliantwhite Mon 08-Jul-13 11:32:55

i doubt your ds would of been that bothered , but it is rude as you will have got enough food and drink in for everyone , id be tempted to return the favour .

BeCool Mon 08-Jul-13 11:13:54

I wasn't quoting you Frances

Use of Quotation marks - from Wikipedia "Quotation marks can also be used to indicate a different meaning of a word or phrase than the one typically associated with it and are often used to express irony"

You posted asking how to handle the situation - and I think you've got good advice here. Don't let flaky SIL get to you, don't focus on her behaviour. You let her know you were disappointed at them time - which is honest and great. What more do you want?

JessicaBeatriceFletcher Mon 08-Jul-13 10:57:27

poppy - but a 2- or 3-year old child won't notice or remember that an auntie wasn't there in the way an older child or adult would. Their friends stayed over longer than planned - which is more rude, to tell them they have to leave or to tell the in-laws you won't be able to make it after all. No win situation, you've got to be rude to someone.

wishful - where does the OP say the in-laws were hungover?

PoppyAmex Mon 08-Jul-13 10:42:40

Frances I didn't think you sounded precious at all.

I think most of these answers are very strange; I wonder if people mocking your reaction would feel the same if a family member cancelled on the day of their birthday to hang out with more interesting people?

As far I as I can see it's an event you hosted and presumably involved some work/organisation/expense, it really doesn't matter what the occasion was, she was very rude.

Francescgrace Mon 08-Jul-13 10:39:22

Thank you all for helpful comments. Am leaving thread now as some of the replies are getting unpleasant- BeCool I never used the word "ruin" so I don't know why you've used quotation marks, and Chloe1989 I said upthread that my son wasn't bothered on the day so not quite sure why you felt the need to be so sarcastic.

I understand that not everyone likes children's parties and TBH I find them pretty dull myself. But I made it clear that it was the short notice cancellation that I objected to.

Many thanks to all who made helpful comments- they were really useful.

maja00 Mon 08-Jul-13 10:35:58

I'd find it rude and be really annoyed too. I wouldn't invite her to anything else.

ImNotBloody14 Mon 08-Jul-13 10:33:38

Really over reacting.

Tell your son nothinv unless he asks. If he does say " oh aunty X cant make it today- but uncle y and grandma are coming wont that be great.

As for sil- it has been dealt with- shes not coming- you old her ds will be disappointed. End of.

Some people are rude. Dont invite her next time. You are under no obligation. I really dont bother with family who piss me off and my life is so much happier for making that decision.

PoppyAmex Mon 08-Jul-13 10:30:39

I'm the type of parent who normally assumes that most people have a negligible (if any) interest in my child and it doesn't bother me at all.

Having said that, I think in this case it's irrelevant if it's a 3 yo birthday party /graduation/ dinner party - it's just terrible manners to cancel the same day and on top of that make it clear it's because they have some "better" to do or because they "can't be arsed with children's parties".

Still, I'd let it go and like someone said upthread just notch her down as a "maybe" in the future. If she's a repeat offender, just stop inviting her.

Oh and I have an agreement with my Dsis over family/DC based events. She is invited and hugely welcomed. She is also single, has a fabulous DC-free social life and sometimes the hangovers to match grin. So she has utterly the option to pull out if she is too hung over/a more exciting offer comes along. She is family. We are a dull option compared to some of her invitations. But sometimes our home is what she wants/needs. I would rather she was with us and wanting to be here rather than here wanting to be elsewhere.

I have said the odd occasion when I really need her to commit for numbers/catering reasons - and she obliges. And how I deal with DCs - Auntie Persphone is maybe coming - or just not mention her at all and her arrival is a lovely surprise.

Wishfulmakeupping Mon 08-Jul-13 10:24:16

Some harsh comments on here today bloody hell. I think most people would be annoyed if their child's auntie didn't turn up their birthday party because they were hungover.
Yes OP is very upset but most people would f be happy about this surely?
I would be pissed off in all honesty I wouldn't have sent that text more than likely I would of asked oh to have a word

Chloe1989 Mon 08-Jul-13 10:20:50

I think you should seek counselling for your son. His aunt not turning up to his 3rd birthday BBQ could lead to an emotional breakdown of catastrophic proportions.

BeCool Mon 08-Jul-13 10:20:05

YOU are hurt & upset, your DH is hurt and upset - but I very much doubt your DS cares at all about this at all. And if he does it will be a reaction to you and your feelings/reactions to SIL's absence.

Sounds like SIL etc had a heavy night the night before and couldn't drag themselves hungover or whatever to keep their date with you. Some people are like this and you really need to get over it.

Alternatively you can let the behaviour of flaky relatives "ruin" your celebrations forever.

It might help to remember it's not about you - SIL is hungover, tired, uncommitted, flaky or all of the above - it's not a plot to get at you. Focus on fun and enjoyment with the people who do turn up.

As for it being rude, well it may be. But in the scheme of things if she is not living up to your expectations - you may need to lower them of do away with them completely. Stick the extra sausages in the freezer!

And rudeness is all relative - on a hot sunny weekend she went with it and spontaneously had guests stay over/partied through the night. This is fine - I'd do the same (pre-DC). You could argue it would also have been rude to kick her hungover/perhaps still drunk guests out. She picked the "rudeness" that she preferred - as we all would in the circumstances.

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