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to not want parents-in-law on xmas day

(135 Posts)
iluvchips Thu 13-Oct-11 20:26:54

this will be our first christmas as a family of four and am thinking what 'traditions' I'd like to establish for our family for the big day. The trouble is with my mother-in-law. She's great with our children-especially our 2yr old daughter-her only granddaughter- playing with her and everything. It's just that I always feel like I have to take a 'back-seat' when she's around because she kind of takes over and dominates my DD's play and attention. She's just in my DD's face and doesn't let anyone else 'in'. I know I'd feel a bit resentful for doing all the cooking and have hardly anytime myself to play with DD and her new toys on Christmas day. Am I being selfish to keep MIL away from her only grandchildren on Christmas day? Should I just grin and bare it, after all my DD loves her gran and my DS will too, though he's only a baby right now. Would it be selfish to just keep Christmas day for just the four of us and see them on boxing day every year, the same as my parents- who, I hasten to add, I don't have this problem with. Does anyone else have a similar problem?

nancy75 Thu 13-Oct-11 20:29:54

I think christmas is for the whole family, and I think it would be a shame to make your Mil miss christmas with her grandchildren.

It wouldn't be selfish to keep the day for yourselves if that's what you want.

Another alternative is to say that you want to be able to spend time with your children too, so you are asking guests to bring a course of the meal or a cooked dish for the main course with them, tell your DH he's sharing the work of cooking/washing up with you and then preparing as much as possible the day before (vegetables can be prepared in advance etc).

And set a time for them to arrive and leave, so you have all morning just the four of you and PILs after 1pm until 6pm etc.

belledechocchipcookie Thu 13-Oct-11 20:33:00

Just tell them no

StuntCubble Thu 13-Oct-11 20:33:43

Nope yanbu, be firm now otherwise you will always have her for christmas.

Arachnophobic Thu 13-Oct-11 20:34:55

Yes, my MIL is exactly the same. Totally dominates the children, and it was worse one year when a friend of hers came too - a complete show off with the kids. It drove me so mad I busied myself putting a load of washing otherwise I would lose my temper!

YANBU in my opinion, Christmas is a two day event and she could come on Boxing Day instead which is no hardship at all. Perhaps even alternate the days between the years.

ImperialBlether Thu 13-Oct-11 20:34:59

Have you already inadvertently set a tradition by having your MIL every Christmas?

Does she live alone? What would she do on Christmas Day if you didn't invite her?

nancy75 Thu 13-Oct-11 20:35:50

how is christmas any different to any other sunday if its just mum dad and the 2 kids? This really interests me, as a child we had family in & out of the house all day, and now we have DD it is the same, the more the merrier. As for doing "all the cooking" its just a roast dinner with a bigger than normal chicken!

usualsuspect Thu 13-Oct-11 20:36:36

poor grandma sad

PotterWatch Thu 13-Oct-11 20:37:57

YANBU.

Nip it in the bud now. Have xmas day for you 4 and visit MIL on boxing day.

marriedinwhite Thu 13-Oct-11 20:38:46

hmmm - we are 20 years on from where you are. I had the in-laws every year until 2007 and have had MIL every year since 2008 when PIL died. Don't let resentment take root now. Christmas day involves all the family as far as possible. Looking back I wish I had put my foot down and said Yr1 = ILs, Yr2 = my family (mine never minded - they have friends and step father never had children so things were a bit different), Yr3 family time. That would have been fair and I wouldn't have made a rod for my own back. I was always quite relieved that MIL woudl take the dc on when they were younger and gave me a break to potter in the kitchen and get the jobs done. The DC are grown up now and she still lets me skivvy like her personal servant potter in the kitchen and get the jobs done [hmmm]. She was a teacher and liked nothing better than playing with primary aged children.

squeakytoy Thu 13-Oct-11 20:40:04

sad I hate threads like this. It is ONE day.. have present opening in the morning, play with the kids, then invite Granny over for lunch and the afternoon.. She can entertain the kids so they are not under your feet, or you can delegate kitchen tasks to her so she is helping you.

My grandparents had all died by the time I was 7, so I never really had a big family christmas...

nancy75 Thu 13-Oct-11 20:42:54

marriedinwhite - if you had put your foot down would you really have left mil home alone at christmas for 2 out of 3 years?

Quenelle Thu 13-Oct-11 20:45:18

If this is the only reason you don't want her there YABU. Do the traditions bit on Christmas Eve instead, it's much more exciting and magical for DC anyway.

Quenelle Thu 13-Oct-11 20:45:18

If this is the only reason you don't want her there YABU. Do the traditions bit on Christmas Eve instead, it's much more exciting and magical for DC anyway.

handbagsatdawn Thu 13-Oct-11 20:47:55

This is a toughy and we are having conversations about exactly the same thing at the moment. I get really narked-off as DH works really hard in the run-up to Christmas Day and gets home at about 7pm on Christmas Eve. I work full time but obviously take lots of time off over the Christmas hols. So on Christmas day we would love a rest, i.e. just the four of us, free to loll around in our PJs, get pissed, eat cheese and chocolate, play with new toys, watch shite on the TV, light a fire......sigh. But no, we end up will the Ps and/or ILs every year, so I have all the prep, cooking, having to sit up at a table, look smartish (i.e. not PJs), and I find the day exhausting. Yet I would feel so guilty saying no to the Ps and ILs, in spite of DH and I both having siblings, we always seem to get last choice about how Xmas is going to work. Am really worried about how Ps and ILs will react this year when we discuss our plans for the day.

mousesma Thu 13-Oct-11 20:48:51

Get your DH to share the food prep in the morning so you both have a chance to play with DCs then have PIL over for lunch and the afternoon. That way everyone's happy and Granny can keep the DC entertained while you chill out after lunch.

LoveInAColdGrave Thu 13-Oct-11 20:55:13

I think this is sad and feel sorry for your MIL. I have such fond memories of family Christmases with grandparents there. They're all dead now but I'm so glad I had that time with them growing up. Do your own traditions on Christmas Eve and let Christmas Day be a big family event.

marriedinwhite Thu 13-Oct-11 20:57:46

Nancy75 - there is no way I would have let her be on her own since 2008 but I should have given us, as a family, a bit more Xmas space up until then. To have done so might have encouraged DS's sisters to pull their fingers out a bit more than one Christmas each on 20 years.

shineynewthings Thu 13-Oct-11 21:00:20

Allow her to come O.P. and let it ride, she only has one grandchild and time is percious. You can't guarantee that she'll always be there. Spend lots of time together on boxing day instead or do something special with DD another time. I think this is slightly petty, but I can understand why you feel the way you do. Rise above.

ENormaSnob Thu 13-Oct-11 21:02:48

I couldn't leave any loved one alone at christmas.

LiegeAndLief Thu 13-Oct-11 21:45:14

I know just how you feel, but it really has to depend on what she would do at Christmas otherwise.

I have a widowed MIL, dh is an only child, we are and will be responsible for her at Christmas for the rest of her life. She lives about a 3 hour train ride away (doesn't drive) so normally ends up staying about a week over Christmas to avoid busy times / BH when trains not running. She drives me completely insane. I could list all the bonkers things she's done/said to make me want to kill her but that would be a whole other thread... To make matters worse dh has no kind of relationship with her and she drives him mad too, so I don't even feel like I should make an effort for his sake.

But what can you do? We can't leave her alone at Christmas. So we just grit our teeth and bear it, and then dh tries to have a couple of days off after New Year so we can recover and crack open the champagne. Last year she rang the day after she got back to complain about how bored she'd been. Sadly it hasn't put her off.

Oh and she has managed to fall out with every other relative and quite a few of her friends, so no chance of any respite from them...

LiegeAndLief Thu 13-Oct-11 21:46:38

Sorry, just realised that you also have a FIL -in that case, I think you are fully entitled to leave them to it!

levantine Thu 13-Oct-11 21:50:15

Oh my gawd Liege, I would absolutely shorten those visits if you possibly can

OP invite her for lunch and not before so that you get to do most of the pressie opening/have a relaxed morning

And/or make it clear that it is on alternate years

I think you would be a bit mean to exclude her altogether

exoticfruits Thu 13-Oct-11 21:57:11

The more the merrier. Give her some jobs in the kitchen.

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