Christmas and divorced parents of grown up children(3 Posts)
Both dh and my parents are divorced and remarried - so that's four sets of grandparents in total! which makes Christmas a bit complicated.
My mum and her husband live abroad and mil and her husband have youngish kids of their own, so that's them out the picture. Which leaves my dad and his wife,
who is a bit of a witch and fil and his other half, who don't really do Christmas and if the do then it's separate stuff with her kids and his etc. Still with me?!
Which all makes the big extended family Christmas of my childhood an impossibility and leaves me feeling a bit sad when friends disappear off 'home' for Christmas.
Obviously divorced parents are not exactly uncommon these days and I wondered how it works in other families? My parents divorced when I was an adult so any subsequent step family has always bbeen a distant relationship, which probably makes a big difference.
My parents divorced when I was a kid. I didn't really enjoy Christmas as a kid as it was all a great rush, I woke up at my Mum's but had to rush presents and dinner to go to my Dad's in the afternoon, where I felt like an add-on as he and his wife had opened their gifts in the morning.
Now as an adult I am guilt tripped by each of them every year without fail. Now I have dd I refuse to engage in any of it; Christmas is about her and we spend the day at home as a family (no extended family are invited). We see my Mum and stepdad, Dad and stepmum, and FIL on a day each over the Christmas period and that is quite enough for me
On DD's birthday I make them all actually sit in the same room and have a conversation, horror of horrors. There is loads of histrionics about that too but I refuse to engage with that either, I simply tell them that dd would love them to attend her birthday party but if they have a problem with it they are welcome to post her present instead. They want to see her so however much they grumble about me when we put down the phone they all turn up and plaster smiles on their faces as they know how unimpressed I would be if dd had to put up with any of their crap.
I take it that you see all your parents and their new partners at other times of the year? I don't think that not seeing them at Christmas is such a big deal if that's the case. I understand that it can make you feel left out as they celebrate with their new families, and especially if you don't really like or get on with the new partners.
However, you do have the advantage of being adults and therefore have control over what you wish to do; you don't have to go anywhere or do anything that you don't want to do, and that kind of freedom can be great. Every year on MN people are disappointed that they have to spend their Christmas with relatives they don't like, they have to travel long distances, there are rows, they are always the ones who have to cook, the list is endless.
You have lots of options, a Christmas break at a hotel, go abroad for a holiday, stay at home but lunch out on the day, stay at home in pyjamas and eat chocolate and watch DVD's etc. Some people insist on having Christmas day as their nuclear family day, and see other family either side of it. I think if you can change your way of thinking and see the opportunities you have that others are gagging for, you would feel happier with the situation. I used to feel after FIL died, as our last living parent, and having no siblings that we were unusual in spending Christmas day alone just DH and I, but MN changed my perception to a positive one.
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