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SOB!! MIL doesn't want to spent christmas with us!!!

(14 Posts)
purpleduck Thu 30-Oct-08 23:26:23

OK, my family is overseas, dh's family is about 3.5 hrs away.

For the past 4 years, we have not spent christmas together. About September of each year, I tell DH "ask your Mum what they are doing for Christmas" (she is married again). The usual reply is "we are just having a quiet Christmas, and UncleXX is coming over".
There have not been invitations, and invitations to our house have been refused as MIL generally has to work, and can't get time off then.

So this year, I told DH just to ASK if we could come up. MIL said "yes" and we were delighted.
Then she said that she was worried that the kids wouldn't like not being in their own environment (or somesuch) for christmas. hmm We are not sure, but it really feels like we are being uninvited.

These are the other facts:

-MIL doesn't like to cook

-last time we were there for christmas, we fell out mildly over the veg blush I was homesick, and have taken no end of ribbing about it We have been fine since then, but I don't think that's the problem
- MIL has been poorly for awhile which causes her to have low energy.

I would be delighted to cook, and don't want usto be a pain or a bother to her.

The thing is, we have had more than a few christmasses where we are on our own sad. I feel so sad that my children won't have memories of Christmasses with the only Grandparents/ extended family that they have in this country.

Added to this: DH's family often have impromptu dinners out, get togethers for birthdays etc that we don't find out about until after. There was even a family christening that we didn't get invited to. I honestly, honestly don't think that they are being mean to exclude us, just that they don't think we would like to travel up.

The thing is, my children have almost no events with extended family.sad sad sad

SO, do I talk to MIL (or dh can), or start our own traditions so we don't feel left out?

God that was long!!!!

Joolyjoolyjoo Thu 30-Oct-08 23:37:12

I get where you are coming from here. My MIL is widowed and always saying she wishes she could see more of the kids. She lives about 1 3/4 hours away by car. She drives, but won't drive "such a long way". In the past she has come on the bus, which stops outside her door, and we have travelled into town to pick her up. Come boxing day she starts on about getting home, and how she can't face the bus, so DH usually ends up driving her home (very ungraciously!)

Last year DH was away in the Gulf, and I invited her, as usual. She said "we'll see.." and then phoned the week before with silly excuses (actually lies!) about the buses and trains, so sadly I left her to it. She has always been made very very welcome in our house, and her and I get on fine, so it seemed that it was just too much hassle to be with her grandkids at Christmas. She didn't even phone them on Christmas day (she went out with friends), even though they left her a lovely message on her answering machine wishing her a happy Christmas. DH was upset and said we weren't inviting her again sad

So it's coming round again, and I'm almost scared to mention it to her! I'd rather she just told me she didn't want to come than give me all these silly lies about having to change buses and the trains "don't know when they will be running" (???) My kids only have one granny and one papa (my dad), and I always wanted big family Christmases. I cook for days, she has a lovely room to herself and the kids only see her a couple of times a year, although I am always stressing that she is more than welcome whenever she would choose to come. I think this year I am going to say "of course, you know you are more than welcome to come to us, but if you would prefer we could visit you on boxing day.." and see what she says.

It does feel a bit insulting, though, doesn't it? sad

ghosty Thu 30-Oct-08 23:37:23

You poor thing ... it is hard with no family around isn't it?
Look, FWIW, my MIL loves us dearly but hates having us to stay - she finds it uncomfortable, doesn't like to cook, feels put out etc etc.
I have had a few Christmasses there and the last one was a "Never AGAIN!" event. In fact it was DH who said, "Never AGAIN!" as we waved goodbye to her from the car ... There is nothing worse than being made to feel unwelcome in someone's home - MIL hates to cook or cater but mumbles and murmurs the whole time if I use her kitchen to feed the children - It got to a point where I asked her exactly HOW did she expect me to feed them if she won't cook and she doesn't want me in her kitchen ....
Sigh. It hurts. It's alien to me (my Mother is the nice nurturing type grandma who won't let you move without shoving food down your throat but she lives 10,000 miles away sad)
What we are doing now is building our own traditions ... we LOVE Christmas just the 4 of us. From now on it will be just us unless someone wants to come and stay here ... unless we can work out one UK christmas in the next few years ...
Plan something lovely for the day with you and your children. But do let your MIL know that you are worried about the lack of contact with extended family if you think it would help (it didn't with my MIL but that's just her)

purpleduck Thu 30-Oct-08 23:46:43


Ghosty, I do think that my MIL is like yours in that she just doesn't like the hassle of it all.
Its sad because there are aunts and uncles (some step-aunts etc) up there, and it could be so fun.
Also, MIL has other grandchildren up there and she sees them tons - goes to school plays - that sort of thing, but mine totally miss out.

Do you guys do anything specific, or are you still working on it??

purpleduck Thu 30-Oct-08 23:48:31

Sorry Joolyjoo, pressed "post" before I got to you blush

My mother is a bit like your MIL, and its soo perplexing! Just be honest and get it over with!!!!!!

Joolyjoolyjoo Fri 31-Oct-08 00:03:10

Ouch! It's worse for you that your MIL has other grandkids- at least my MILs other grandkids live even further away, and she can't seem to be bothered to go see them either! (although if she raves on about the woman across-the-road's little grandson one more time I swear I will scream! the woman across the road seems to have become the family she never had...)

ghosty Fri 31-Oct-08 08:09:26

Well, it is still a work in progress but it involves lots of food and lots of wine grin
We live in Australia though, and Christmas is more outdoorsy than back home. I expect DS and DH will play a lot of cricket grin

purpleduck Fri 31-Oct-08 10:21:21

dh said he will talk to her...(a first I'm sure!) in a non-confrontational way

I don't want to force an invitation, just want our small family to feel a part of the bigger family

ForeverOptimistic Fri 31-Oct-08 10:25:23

She obviously wants a small christmas, I think you have to accept that. Most children I know don't spend christmas day with their grandparents anyway.

cuttingmeownthroatdibblaaaargh Fri 31-Oct-08 10:37:44

Hope Dh's conversation goes well - I think its best to be honest and say 'we'd like the kids to enjoy a family christmas with you. What can we do to make that happen ?' and see what she says.

We used to feel very excluded from family events as no one would invite us, or they would casually mention it on the Wednesday for a Saturday event - when we lived 200 miles away this wasn't that easy. We now live a little closer and they still do this, but we take a proactive approach and book things for people to come to us.

My parents will only come to us if we go and fetch them (their house is very toddler unfriendly so its rather stressfull to visit for any length of time) - so DH will go an get them Christmas Eve and I'll take them back Boxing Day morniing before we go to the in laws.

Perhaps its the travel that worries your MIL ? My parents both drive, but can't go very far, or out of their normal range as they find it too stressfull - and public transport over Christmas is a nightmare.

numptysmummy Fri 31-Oct-08 10:46:03

I would forget about it and focous on making your small familys day a big day for them. Tbh i'd give anything to have a yr with just me,dh and the children instead of worrying if the in-laws will get pissed off if we don't have turkey etc. It's her loss.

numptysmummy Fri 31-Oct-08 10:47:49

Sorry - sounded a bit harsh. Just a topic that's a bit of a sore one for me as well.

purpleduck Fri 31-Oct-08 12:33:05

The travel doesn't worry them too much, but MIL works on christmas eve (can't get out of it)
They also don't like to leave UncleXXX on his own. He is LOVELY, isn't married, and is generally on his own. MIL's is the only place he generally goes to, but I'm pretty sure one of his neices would have him.
We have said that he is more than welcome to come to ours.

Numpty - didn't sound harsh - I think its just hard, either way it goes to feel forced into something that you don 't want - especially at christmas

mumeeee Fri 31-Oct-08 22:14:19

We always have Christmas day just for us. we prefer it this way as we can just relax and have a good time with our small family. we see MIL on cChistmas eve and my parents and brothers and sisters on boxing day or 27th December for a big family Christmas party.

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