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DN christening, financial nightmare, but how to say No?

(27 Posts)
twinklingfairy Mon 10-Oct-11 15:06:26

DH and I have skrimped and saved all year long to afford to go to a family wedding at the other end of the country, last month.
It was a fantastic road trip holiday but it has floored us financially (not sure how we are going to manage christmas)
As soon as we get back my brother tells us he is throwing a christening bash for his 3 month old, in November.
My brother lives about 250 miles away.

He initially said that we could stay with him but, as he stays in my grandfathers house that my parents now own (my granddad past away a few years ago). They have taken the only spare room. My DB said that we could have the front room as long as we (DH, DD-5 and DS-3) were happy with the floor and a blow up bed or two.
We were.
But when I tried to speak to my parents, they immediately became defensive 'We will not be pushed out of our own house'
When I spoke to my dad, he brought it up again, after my mums previous statement, I had not. My dad didn't realise that my DB had offered us the floor but suggested that we 'look for a hotel'. When I said, we cannot afford a hotel he simply repeated himself.
During the call he also said that he and mum had discussed paying for it, as our christmas pressie, but had forgotten that they had already so amazingly kindly bought us a new washing machine. Once that had been said and my thanks given again ( I really am so grateful!) the offer for the hotel bill was not offered again. I am too proud to ask for more. heavens they have given so much.
But, seriously, we Cannot afford a hotel room, let alone the petrol costs.
But dad seemed to make it plain that he did not think we should take to the dining room floor.
DB has also gone back on it a little saying that if we could get a hotel it would be easier, but if we were stuck we were always welcome..
He got so incredibly stressed with the last christening that I really do not want to add to this by insisting that we be given room.
But, if we were not to come, he would be upset.

My gut says, sorry we cannot afford it, we cannot attend.
But my knowledge of my family says this is not an option.
They would prob ferry us down between my parents and my sister, pos even pay the hotel bill. But then we would be stuck in a roadside travel lodge with our independence stripped from us, at the mercy of my 'but we simply must be together' family. Though I know my DB is going to go crazy if his house is over run with people, my sis and mum believe that is precisely where they need to be, therefore where we will be taken with little choice.
TBH I just think it is so stressful before we have even got there that I would rather remain here. As kind as it may be that they would ferry us and, pos, pay for our hotel.

Do I sound like an ungrateful wretch. Probably sad

yippeekaiyay Mon 10-Oct-11 15:24:47

If you can't afford it then you can't go. Its really that simple. Tell your DB and parents that this is the situation as it stands and you have no leverage whatsoever

verlainechasedrimbauds Mon 10-Oct-11 15:29:59

Families are tough aren't they? It sounds very stressful but, honestly, if you can't afford it then you just can't and your family SHOULD understand that. If they don't understand it, then they are the ones being unreasonable - not you.

We have these dilemmas in our family (because we are scattered) quite often. Fortunately we are all fairly honest with one another. We would also accept the necessity of sleeping on floors etc sometimes. I have occasionally offered to pay for accommodation or travel - but only rarely, because I can't usually afford to do it. If a family member can't afford to come and join in a family celebration or holiday then I might feel sad, but I certainly wouldn't blame them. If I invited someone I would feel that I had some responsibility for trying to help them stay somewhere if I really wanted them to come.

You are not being unreasonable - except in worrying so much about saying "we'd love to, but I'm afraid we just can't afford it".

AnnetteProfit Mon 10-Oct-11 15:30:34

why dont you go alone?

Trifle Mon 10-Oct-11 15:32:58

I just don't get why you are stressing over it. You obviously can't afford to go so don't. Christenings are shite tedious pointless affairs,defiantly not worth trekking 250 miles for to sleep on the floor. Why are you putting yourselves under so much pressure to please everyone. You say you scrimped for a whole year to afford to go to a wedding yet are financially stuck as a result so obviously that jaunt screwed you so where's the money coming from for this one. Just don't go,easy.

I'm a bit confused by it all. Who lives in the house?

If your parents own it, but only your brother lives in it, have they just assumed they have every right to stay in it themselves without an invitation?

And at the same time dictate to him that he cannot invite anyone else, including his sister, to stay with him while they are there?

They sound like very hard work.

Tell them all you are sorry but you cannot afford to go and stick to your guns about it.

Your brother sounds like he will understand and be happy with your explanation.

Your parents sound like they will never understand or be happy about anything, so either way they will be annoyed.

Twattingcuntybollocks Mon 10-Oct-11 15:33:51

I agree with yippeekaiyay,also if you don't feel comfortable accepting your parents/family paying for your hotel room, then really don't accept.

Send a nice present and card and wish them all a fantastic time.

Your parents, although they sound nice, do sound very stressful and hard work.

mumofbumblebea Mon 10-Oct-11 15:37:25

sorry but i'm one of these people who doesn't get why christenings need to be followed by parties etc but everyones different. i don't get the big deal in not going, it's for the child, who will not remember. weddings are different because it's for the couple who will remember. i would say you can't afford to go and don't accept any offer of financial help as it sounds like it will be held against you. accepting help for a new washing machine is different because that is a necessity, a big christening do is not. just send a lovely present and card and no one can say a word.

FreeButtonBee Mon 10-Oct-11 15:37:30

I would be tempted to get the train on my own and ask if it would be okay for just you to stay in the dining room. Might be less overwhelming for your DPs.

LydiaWickham Mon 10-Oct-11 15:39:00

You can't afford it - your parents need to be made clear that when you say "we can't afford it" you don't mean "we could if we cut something else" but "there is nothing else to cut, we'd have to get into debt to do this".

Something has to give, the easiest is for you to miss the christening. Tell your DB you can't afford it so you can't come, you aren't looking for chariety, you won't be going. End of.

Tell your DParents they have to accept you don't have as much disposible income as others and you can't do everything.

You are an adult - you're allowed to say no to stuff.

GypsyMoth Mon 10-Oct-11 15:46:04

Just don't go!! I would not let myself or a dp/dh be made to feel at the mercy of family like that. No way!

Either go and pay for hotel/petrol/present/outfits yourselves...... Or tell them no!

Peachy Mon 10-Oct-11 15:51:19

I think I get teh Christening more so whens cattered- becuase chances to be together a sd a family are raer and need grabbing.

But your dad sounds really quite aggressive- that would put me off. It's not good form to buy someone something then bring it up again, not to offer then withdraw immediately. OTOH your DB soudns a good sort who probably gets it and migt be saddened but will understand when you inevitably say 'look we are really sorry but with Christmas etc we just can't make it'

tigermoll Mon 10-Oct-11 15:51:29

God, it sounds like a total nightmare.

Parents, IME, are past masters at the emotional double bind, to whit:

a) It would be such a shame if you couldn't come (ie didn't love us enough to make the effort = your presence is mandatory)
b) You can't expect everyone to run around after you, making sure you're taken care of (ie don't expect any help to make it possible for you to come.)

(For example, my mother will moan about how little she sees me, then huff and puff about having to pick me up from the station. This makes me feel instantly guilty, as if I am imposing myself on her hospitality, as well as feeling guilty for not seeing her more often)

I think you need to talk honestly to your brother, - he should be your ally in this situation, and presumably has prior experience of your parents.

ImperialBlether Mon 10-Oct-11 15:53:28

I don't think you should go and I don't think it should be a big deal that you're not going.

As for your DB getting upset because you're not there, that's ridiculous. Tell him you will have the room he is having and everything will be fine. See how he likes paying for a hotel.

WoeIsMeAgain Mon 10-Oct-11 15:54:48

as soon as he mentioned it you should have said, oh that sounds lovely but unfortunately we are skint and wont be able to make it

end of

just say that now, before you end up tying yourself up in knots with daft excuses. No shame in it.

sue52 Mon 10-Oct-11 15:55:03

If you can't afford it then don't go. A loving family should understand and not put under this pressure. Be firm now, it gets easier after the first time.

hocuspontas Mon 10-Oct-11 15:58:41

Are you sure he understood you meant the floor and not the spare room? It's not clear from your post. I can't see how the 'being pushed out of our own house' sentence makes sense otherwise.

Adversecamber Mon 10-Oct-11 15:58:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fionathepink Mon 10-Oct-11 16:23:44

This sounds all too familiar. It seems as thought your family are used to having things exactly the way they want them. If you bend to their needs every time, they will expect it every time and the next time you cannot afford something it will be harder to say no.

There is nothing harder in life than saying no to family and feeling like you have let them down but it can work for a more even relationship.

Explain to your brother that when he offered a space to stay you could only just afford it but without that space you really cannot justify the cost. Then tell your parents just how they have made you feel by taking over plans that you have made with your brother. Their sense of ownership should not cloud the day.

My mother did something similar when I offered to go visit a few days earlier than planned on the train and could she please come meet me to get the bus back to hers. She called me the next day and said she had been awake all night worrying about how I would travel there on my own with DS and how could I be so selfish as to not consider that. After a 20 minute lecture I told her that I was hurt she did not appreciate my gesture to let her spend more time with DS and had called me selfish. I will not make the offer again. I also told her that DS was not her son and she had not right to worry in my place as his mother, that I was offended she had done so. As a result, she understood how she had upset me and we have a better respect for each other as a result.

Sometimes cutting the discussion dead with a firm no can work out for the better.

twinklingfairy Mon 10-Oct-11 17:38:07

Have called my mum and told her that we just cannot afford it. Hotel costs or petrol costs.
We talked it all through and have decided that I will go with her and Dad, with my DD and DS (no petrol costs) leaving DH behind (overtime city)
She said that we would be staying with DB, would always have been. So not sure what my dad was trying to say or where that was coming from, it is not like him.
Trouble is, I booked our hotel last night, in a bit of panic that if I didn't grab the good price, it would be lost (figuring I would just have to beg it from mum). Cancelled it today, now I am having to fill out forms and send them off to claim my money back. What an absolute $ugger! angry

shubiedoo Mon 10-Oct-11 17:50:13

Do you have to bring both kids because your dh is working overtime?

twinklingfairy Mon 10-Oct-11 18:56:31

He will be on call. He could easily be called out, or not.
Hopefully he will be.

skybluepearl Mon 10-Oct-11 19:03:53

you don't want to go and can't afford it - just let them know.

shebird Mon 10-Oct-11 19:21:47

Seems like an awful lot of bother but I understand the position families put us in. What is it with christenings and weddings that bring out the worst in people(families). What should be a joyful event often causes so much stress.

Stay home save the cash for Christmas!

twinklingfairy Mon 10-Oct-11 19:23:33

Well, it won't cost me a penny now and I won't have to do any of the driving.
[shrug] I give in.
DD is DNieces favourite cousin, so they will have a great time. DS kinda follows in DD wake, so he will be happy too.

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