I wouldn't phone tonight. Get yourself over to the Stately Homes thread, I think you may be surprised at how many other people are dealing with difficult parents through the Fear, Obligation and Guilt (FOG) combination.
Now that you've opened the can of worms, I wouldn't try and cram the lid back on entirely, it won't do you any good in the long run. Obviously you want things to be polite for Christmas, but really that's up to her.
Actually, it's not unpaid. She's also said previously they wouldn't be able to manage on her pension without the bit I pay her. I admit, it's not much but I give her the dcs child benefit every month. I know I would pay a massive amount more for a childminder. I've just spoken to dcs & they would both be upset if she didn't come for Xmas so I know I should be sensible to try & fix this. Shes been looking after my dcs practically since birth & is a huge part of their lives. Might have to sleep on it tonight & see if she comes tomorrow. If I try & speak to her now I will probably make things worse. Kind of hoping my dad will talk to her. He is very reserved and rational & although didn't say much earlier, he appeared to be agreeing with me.
I think there's any number of reasons why she may not be reacting to providing unpaid family childcare in the same way she did to nannying. Not least simply age, but she also doesn't seem like the sort of person who would be able to do this without finding a problem.
Will the kids be that bothered if they see her at some point over Xmas but not actually on the day?
Very sensible tribpot. I really do agree with everything youve said but still difficult. Coping without the child care is a real problem as my ds is still only in pre-school until September. Don't want to upset kids by them not being here at Xmas but don't want it being ruined by tension. I am worried about the way my mum is reacting to pretty typical childhood behaviour but she used to be a nanny before she retired so have always trusted her judgement with kids.
To be honest, it doesn't sound like a very good idea for your mum to look after your kids. It's a fairly huge commitment and it leaves you very beholden to her, assuming you don't pay her to do it. It also sounds like she's going to struggle as your 8 year old enters the pre-teen years.
Based solely on the problem today your response seems like an overreaction, but it sounds as if you have been bottling up feelings for too long and now they've all come out in one go. This tends to be a side-effect of trying to keep the peace, of course. You've put yourself on the back foot by appearing to go ape about one comment.
It sounds like you need to take a step back. What other childcare options do you have? It's up to them whether they miss the play tomorrow to make a point (bloody stupid if they do) but I think you should assume things are going to be strained at best over Christmas, and should focus on reducing the amount of obligation between you and your mum to try and take some of the heat out of your relationship.
My mum looks after my kids 2 days a week while I work. A couple of weeks ago, she said my Dd (8) had an attitude problem & had been rude, stomping off to her room. My DH was home working & he explained that dd had been watching tv and had gone upstairs to watch it when it was too noisy downstairs. My mum took offence as she we were disagreeing with her & said (about my dd) I don't know what's going on but you're going wrong there somewhere. I took this to mean she is saying my parenting is shite & although we didn't argue,there was massive tension & she left abruptly. I should add that my dd is far from angelic but is generally well behaved, well mannered & responsible. Today, I lost it. I'd just taken dd to docs where she was given cream for impetigo she has in the corner of her mouth. She'd just put some cream on & my mum shouted at her saying she had stuck her tongue out. I didn't see it & quite frankly I doubt she did, other than to stick her tongue at the sore in her mouth. Sticking her tongue out to be rude is just not something she would do. She'd be more likely to stomp off and have a tantrum. Anyway, it all blew up. I didn't punish dd (because I think it was a misunderstanding) & my mum said it wasn't & it's things like this that cause the problems! I accused her of saying I'm a crap parent & reminded her that dd was just 8 & that is a good, well behaved child most of the time. I was then accused of being childish for starting a row that both children could hear (I was shouting I admit). It ended with me asking my parents to leave. Bollocks! They're supposed to be coming over tomorrow to see dd in her school play & also have been invited for Xmas day. I've no idea if they're coming now or whether they'll be looking after the kids so I can go back to work on 2nd Jan. I feel utterly shit & still so angry I'm shaking & this happened 2 hours ago. I might add that mums always been very narrow minded & opinionated. she often gets very stressed and upset by over-analysing things & taking things the wrong way but I've always overlooked it for the sake of keeping the peace. Struggle to ignore it when it's directed at me & my family though. Sorry for lengthy post & any typos. Am on my phone so typing a bit rubbish & I'm upset so ranting a bit.