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...not to invite DM at Christmas? [long, sorry, you may have better things to do!]

(30 Posts)
stinkingbishop Wed 09-Oct-13 12:41:15

Really not sure on this one, so please help me weigh this up.

1. DM has spent every Xmas bar two with me since I had DS 19 years ago. I now have DTDs, so potentially another 18 years of this...unless DB hurries up and reproduces, which is unlikely ATM, given his chronic inability to find a DP who isn't a tequila girl/webcam girl/someone after a visa/etc/miaow...

2. DM got divorced 18 years ago. She currently has an on-off partner. She is 300 miles from us but is surrounded by siblings and their families. However there are various tensions (mostly of her own making). The upshot is whenever I have tentatively suggested not doing Xmas in the past she's passive aggressively sighed and gone 'well, I could always help at a soup kitchen I suppose.' And I have folded.

3. We had DM, DB and PILs last year. Couldn't accommodate them all as DS was back too, so they stayed in a hotel. DM is very 'chatty' (ie completely dominates all conversation and makes it about her) and also not a very easy house guest eg she'd actually finished most of her Xmas main course before I had served everyone/sat down myself. The PILs get a bit left out and seem to feel a bit intimidated. Miaow again.

4. PILs are very aged (DM only in 60s, they're in 80s) and not in good health. DP's suggestion is we split Xmas so PILs get Xmas Eve/Day/Boxing (rationale being this may be their last) and DM gets NY with my DB here. That way everyone can stay in the house too so no hotel bills for them. And everyone gets quality time with us and the DGCs.

5. That sounds v sensible, doesn't it? BUT am anticipating DM's wounded reaction. She will point out, with some justification, that she recently dropped everything to stay for a month helping with the DTDs while I was in hospital. So it's OK for her to come when I need her, but she's NFI at Xmas? HOWEVER when she was 'helping' it transpires (DS has just let slip) that she was in bed several days till lunch, she never went out (with the twins or him, for an entire month, just sat on the sofa watching Doctors), was 'laid up with wind' (WTAF? is that an actual medical condition?) for several days etc etc...upshot is my DS did a lot of the twin care. Which is not on.

6. And then judging by the text I just got from a gobby (but very dear!) cousin saying 'FUCK! Have you been in the PRIORY????!!!!' has then gone and blabbed to everyone about exactly which hospital I was in. Treating her own DD as gossip fodder.


Counsel, o wisdom of crowds? Is the proposed arrangement sensible and fair, or do you think (I worry about this) that I am confusing the issue and 'punishing' her by only giving her NY because of my issues with her? Tbh if she just SHUT HER MOUTH WHEN SHE WAS EATING she wouldn't swallow so much bloody air. For example...

Triple miaow wink.

greenfolder Wed 09-Oct-13 12:45:12

do it this year, put up with the moaning- get to dictate every christmas from now on.

CaptainSweatPants Wed 09-Oct-13 12:50:27

Have you been in the priory?!!

TarkaTheOtter Wed 09-Oct-13 12:52:53

Could you go abroad instead (that's how we hide at Christmas)?
Why can't she spend Christmas with your db?

Ragwort Wed 09-Oct-13 12:57:10

I would just be blunt with your mother, remind her that your ILs are elderly and that you just can't accommodate everyone at Christmas.

For goodness sake, she is only in her 60s a few years older than me - she can find something else to do at Christmas, why doesn't she see her on-off partner? FWIW the best Christmasses I have ever had were spent helping in a soup kitchen. grin.

stinkingbishop Wed 09-Oct-13 12:57:52

captain yes!!! Oh the tales I could tell...well, not very many actually. Though I have kept the branded slippers as a souvenir/reminder not to get too mental again, and the certificate I got for winning the general knowledge quiz has gone up in the Toilet of Achievement wink.

tarka yes, will suggest that. He's only got a one bed flat though so a bit pokey. Plus it means he has to put up with her for a v long time on his own! We usually double up with her to share the problem!

Pigsmummy Wed 09-Oct-13 13:00:48

Where will she have Christmas if not with you?

PurplePidjin Wed 09-Oct-13 13:05:24

"Well i could always volunteer in a soup kitchen" should be met with

"What an incredibly kind thing to do, mother, I'm sure they'll be exceptionally grateful to have someone of your skills and expertise on the team"

TarkaTheOtter Wed 09-Oct-13 13:21:33

YES ^^

I've always found the best way to deal with emotional blackmail is to be completely oblivious to it.

WipsGlitter Wed 09-Oct-13 13:34:57


The thing is your DPiLs might keep going for another few years so using 'it's their last' isn't the best reason as they may - hopefully! - still be here next year so what do you do then?

Could you have neither sets and just do your own thing?

I think as ragwort says you may have to toughen up!

GladbagsGold Wed 09-Oct-13 13:40:53

Tell her you have been invited to PIL and that's what you are doing.

(If, nearer the time, PIL's boiler breaks and they end up coming to you instead, well that's just one of those things...)

Hope you are on the up and have a marvellous Christmas. You have clearly had a shitty time and you don't need emotional blackmail from someone who is meant to be helpful and supportive.

girlywhirly Wed 09-Oct-13 14:42:57

See, I think people who emotionally blackmail in order to get their own way shouldn't be indulged, because they do all the more. Although it would be interesting to note your DM's reaction when you say 'I'm not doing Christmas this year, I've not been well' Then as Tarka says, be oblivious, perhaps make the odd 'that's a shame' 'never mind, you'll cope' type comments now and again as appropriate if she moans. She's not alone without any relatives at all where she lives.

Could you see PIL at N.Y. after a quiet Christmas at home with DP and DC?

To answer your question about wind. Wind in itself isn't a condition, even trapped wind shifts eventually. It's more of a problem related to a bowel disease if it's that disabling DM had to stay in bed while you were in hospital. But you'd have to be sure she doesn't have irritable bowel, Crohns, ulcerative colitis, or diverticular disease before tackling her about skiving. All these are very painful though, and some necessitate running to and from the loo frequently which doesn't quite fit DS's description of events. Ordinary wind is easily treated with over the counter wind reducing tablets. I can see a way of getting your own back by broadcasting DM's 'wind' problem back to gobby cousin and the rest of the relatives. 'Do you know, she was so bad she had to stay in bed for days and DS had to care for the twins with no help!' said in incredulous tones. Gossip works two ways, and everyone thinks farts are funny.

Ragwort Wed 09-Oct-13 14:54:07

I hope to goodness I don't become one of those parents who expects to be invited to my adult DS's home every Christmas - let this thread be a lesson to us all grin.

PurplePidjin Wed 09-Oct-13 14:54:40

'Do you know, she was so bad she had to stay in bed for days and DS had to care for the twins with no help!' said in incredulous tones. Gossip works two ways, and everyone thinks farts are funny.

Girly, i bow down in awe at your tactics grin

stinkingbishop Wed 09-Oct-13 14:58:14

girly do not tempt me. Her youngest sister is staying with us next week. Mwahahahahaha......................

girlywhirly Wed 09-Oct-13 15:08:18

And send her a little Christmas stocking full of packs of the wind medication! After all, troughing her Christmas dinner at speed and all those sprouts, she's bound to need them!

claudedebussy Wed 09-Oct-13 15:12:23

i agree with your plan and putting up with the emotional blackmail. tough shit. she does have other options. just for one year you'd like it to be about your family.

JustinBsMum Wed 09-Oct-13 15:18:56

Just tell her.
It's prob part laziness on her part that if she comes to you she doesn't need to do anything herself.
Also would be a bit different if pfb DGC is having his first Xmas but that was 19 years ago!!, you deserve a break.

MrsHoratioNelson Wed 09-Oct-13 15:31:03

Any adult indulging in childish emotional blackmail should be called on it. Why shouldn't it be your PILs' turn this year. Enough is enough, I think.

girlywhirly Thu 10-Oct-13 08:26:47

stinkingbishop, I have just read your post again, and nowhere does it mention why your DM has to come to you. If she is so desperate to have Christmas with you, why does she not invite you to her home to celebrate it? Allow you to recuperate and hand over the reins to her for one year, so that she has to deal with the planning, shopping and cooking. Regardless of whether you'd actually go if asked, the idea is something you could raise in response to passive aggressive self pity. 'Yes you could help in a soup kitchen, or you could host Christmas yourself instead of expecting me to do it every year.'

I bet she would back down.

I have to say that I don't think you should feel obliged to consider whether it might be the PIL last Christmas. However you could keep Christmas day for yourselves and PIL could come on Boxing day perhaps. You could still have photo's with the DGC and they could open their presents from the PIL then.

boardcreche Thu 10-Oct-13 08:41:49

She's your DM, it's not just about your relationship with her but also with her grandchildren. I would suck it up and have her to stay.

shewhowines Thu 10-Oct-13 08:47:02

I think you solution is a perfectly reasonable one. You may have to alternate christmas and new year though, for her to really have no grounds to complain.

stinkingbishop Thu 10-Oct-13 08:49:16

board I know, it's not about me, it's them...but a) DS doesn't get on with her that well (witness when she was here for a month, didn't do a thing with him, and left him to do a lot of the childcare) and b) does that mean I need to do it every year, just because I have children? It's a bit 'poor me' but the fact I had DS young, and the DTDs are only 18 months whereas he's 19, and she's been almost every year since DS was born, means I potentially will have catered 34 Xmases by the time the twins are his age, if I just keep folding...

girly we went to her ONCE and she - no joke - served up turkey dinosaurs wink.

Beccagain Thu 10-Oct-13 08:52:38

You are clearly very proud of having been in The Priory (and why not?) so why shouldn't she be? Are you sure you didn't ask her to tell everyone?

Saying boo to a goose doesn't seem to be too much of a problem to you, so as others have suggested you can either turn her blackmail on its head, or insist on your plan B of splitting it. And yes, it does sound like she has some favours she can call in with you: staying for a month is no small ask...a couple of lie-ins and expecting a 19 year old to pitch in does not sound unacceptable, and the 'never going out' sounds like a bit of 19 year old hyperbole to me.

Miaow yourself.

MidniteScribbler Thu 10-Oct-13 08:52:51

I hope to goodness I don't become one of those parents who expects to be invited to my adult DS's home every Christmas

I hope to goodness that my son doesn't grow up to be so self absorbed that he thinks I should be alone instead of with family at christmas.

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