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Christmas and divorced parents

(20 Posts)
StuckinTheMiddleWithYou2013 Sun 17-Nov-13 16:54:19

I'm the adult child of divorced parents. Every year, there is a weird psychological stand-off between my parents over who I spend Christmas with. This has been going on since I was 12.

My Dad has always won. I then spend Christmas, cooking Christmas dinner and everything else, and listening to how terrible my mother and her family are. I'm usually happy to then hide and do the washing up!

This upsets my mother.

I'm also getting a bit sick of it and would like to enjoy Christmas with relatives I actually like.

However, one person on my Dad's side is basically dying. This person is the leader in the constant remarks concerning my mother and my cooking (while scarfving down seconds I may add).

Help!

DismemberedDwerf Sun 17-Nov-13 17:00:22

You're an adult. Spend it with who you like. Don't get mad or be drawn into any conflict just say "this year I am spending Christmas with so-and-so."

You could tell your parents that you'll spend boxing day with one and new year's with the other if they like. Or sod them all and do your own thing.

Adulthood. When you get to make your own decisions.

EggsandBake Sun 17-Nov-13 17:03:58

What Dwerf said.

God I hope I don't do this to ds.

StuckinTheMiddleWithYou2013 Sun 17-Nov-13 17:04:14

If only it were that simple....

StuckinTheMiddleWithYou2013 Sun 17-Nov-13 17:05:36

New Year, I spend with friends. It's all planned and booked. It's blumin Christmas day, argh!

It is that simple. No one said it would be easy though smile

StuckinTheMiddleWithYou2013 Sun 17-Nov-13 17:13:03

It's the mounds of emotional blackmail I hate. I'm not religious, so it's mainly the food and a few drinks I enjoy. Though last time, I was in the kitchen and could over hear the complaining about how long the great, big sodding turkey was taking. Apparently it was being delayed because I had a glass of wine.... Erm no, I'm just not (seriously) considering poisoning you all with raw meat...

DismemberedDwerf Sun 17-Nov-13 17:20:14

I'm talking as a bit of a hypocrite here, because I managed to get roped into spending my birthday with my parents and In-laws (it's complicated and long and there's lots of history) but there's no damn way I'm doing it next year.

It's awful to be have things planned out for you though, and for the parents to still be at loggerheads. What are you, the prize?

Me and my ex have both invited ds for christmas day. Ds will just have to decide where he's spending it. The other will have to put up and shut up. If he goes to his dad's, I am not going to moan. I may cry a bit on my own though

EggsandBake Sun 17-Nov-13 17:20:42

It is not right to emotionally blackmail people who aren't doing what you want. It also isn't right to be an ungratful berk. You don't have to spend time with people who don't behave well to you, if you would rather not.

When was the last time you spent Christmas with your mother? Just say "I'm spending it with mum this year." "I appreciate that but I'm spending it with mum this year." Don't make excuses or elaborate, just stick to saying that, it is reasonable, whether they think it is or not.

I know it is hard. I just had to tell my mum I didn't want her to come over, I just wanted it to be me and ds (he'll go to his dad's part of it and I don't want the added drama of her making it harder). She sulked for a minute or two. But I actually find our relationship is better now I stand up to her a bit more.

FolkGirl Sun 17-Nov-13 17:22:47

It is that simple though.

We got sick years ago of managing the expectations of divorced parents at Christmas and so just spent it on our own.

Christmas Day became the ultimate pyjama day!

onesqueakywheel Sun 17-Nov-13 17:28:57

Just ask yourself two questions:
Is it you or your cooking and cleaning skills that are wanted there on the day?
If they loved you why would they spend the day making comments that they KNOW must hurt.
I would suggest that they might miss what you do for them rather than you as a person.

StuckinTheMiddleWithYou2013 Sun 17-Nov-13 17:29:33

I don't think I've spent Christmas with my mother since I was 11. It's the fact that one relative is dying that has thrown the spanner in it. That's a helluva chunk of guilt for me to carry around.

StuckinTheMiddleWithYou2013 Sun 17-Nov-13 17:34:08

Oh, and none of them can bloody cook either. Think dry, over cooked meat, packet gravy, packet roasties, veg boiled til grey... Herbs and spices being unheard of...

I'm a very good cook. Not boasting, just a fact. Do really think that's why I'm there sometimes. Yet I'll spend ages feeling guilty if I don't. If I do go, I may actually answer back to the comments though. Haven't had a proper Christmas barney in years...

Gay40 Sun 17-Nov-13 18:20:40

But feeling guilty is something you are also bringing on yourself. Who are you making happy here? Because it sounds like no-one is actually happy on the day.
Therefore, you might as well make one person happy by pleasing yourself.

kalidanger Sun 17-Nov-13 18:27:16

Why did your patents divorce? Was it because your dad was a controlling arsehole with a horrible rude family?

I'm pissed of that you've colluded with that and left your mother out in the cold for years hmm

thegreylady Sun 17-Nov-13 18:27:52

It has to be your mum's 'turn' if anyone's.If your dad's relative is 'dying' they won't be well enough to celebrate so a visit on a different day would be fine.

toffeesponge Sun 17-Nov-13 18:31:54

Go to your mum if that is what you want.

There isn't enough time to do all we want in life. Don't waste time doing things you don't. You haven't spent Christmas with you mum for decades, what if she died and you never had the chance again?

You deserve a good Christmas, not just your rotten father and his spiteful coven.

tumbletumble Sun 17-Nov-13 18:34:40

I don't understand why your dad always wins. Your poor mum!

Teeb Sun 17-Nov-13 18:37:16

Do you still have a relationship with your mother? I'm assuming she must have done something pretty awful to you that makes you choose to snub her for more than a decade.

starrystarryknut Sun 17-Nov-13 18:46:09

Gosh that's terrible. Your poor mother. How could YOU do that to HER? For all these years? Why does your father win? Why have you appeased him for ten years? Why don't you just have a nice day this year and spend it with your mum. Wow, it's not that hard - it's not even unfair!

So what if a relative is dying - and your post doesn't even suggest that you have a loving or sentimental attachment to that relative. It sounds more like a requirement or duty call. There are other days on the calendar - visit them in a meaningful way on a day when you're not spending 8 hours slaving over a hot stove.

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