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AIBU about birthday - need some perspective.

(43 Posts)
MyRealNamesBernard Mon 01-Dec-14 19:10:12

It's my niece's first birthday party in a few weeks time - just before Christmas - and we have decided not to go, and I appear to have royally pissed off my family as a result.

We have six nieces and nephews between us, and three young DCs, and we have never, ever missed a bash. But I have had to decline this one because the DCs are frazzled after their first terms at school (two are in infants), I am frazzled after starting new job and I just want them all to chill before the all the Christmas Craziness. My brother and his family live two hours drive away, so it'll be a four-hour round trip and we cannot stay as they have no room.

We visited them two weeks ago, and will be seeing them again at Christmas. We have a lot of family commitments as both my DH and I have seven siblings between us and, tbh, we just need a weekend to ourselves!

Still, I feel like a total cow. My mum is making me feel very guilty and my brother is not talking to me.....


Boomtownsurprise Mon 01-Dec-14 19:11:45

No. Your family comes first. People often act like not coming means you hate them.

I usually only hate them if they behave like brats. And this is bratty behaviour.

OwlinaTree Mon 01-Dec-14 19:17:10

Did your brother and partner come to your 3 children's first birthday parties?

rockybalboa Mon 01-Dec-14 19:24:48

Sorry, I think YABU. Two hours each way is perfectly do-able. It's one day out of your weekend, use the other day to chill out and de-frazzle. To be honest I think your brother is also BU by not speaking to you because of it. But to be fair you don't really have a good reason not to go so I can see why he would be a bit pissy.

confusedandemployed Mon 01-Dec-14 19:28:19

I think the OP has a perfectly good reason not to go!! She's just outlined several, as well as the fact that they will have seen them all twice within 6 weeks anyway.

MyRealNamesBernard Mon 01-Dec-14 19:54:04

Thanks all! Very interested to hear everyone else's views and perspectives. Yes, my brother and his partner both came to all my children's first birthday parties. They did not have any children at the time and lived very close, they were just up the road from us in those days. Recently, since the birth of their daughter, they have stopped coming to a lot of family parties, blaming the fact it doesn't fit in with feeding times and the journey's tough on Baby. Everyone has been really understanding about this, including us.

Rocky - yes we do have Sunday to recover. And yes, four hours round trip is not the end of the world. However, if we go, because of all the events we are attending before and after Christmas it will be one of about six long car journeys on six consecutive weeks that we'll be doing. My youngest is two and is quite difficult in the car. In fact, three kids under the age of six in a car is quite testing for us...

Leeds2 Mon 01-Dec-14 19:57:52

I can understand why your family are disappointed that you won't be there. I think in similar circumstances, I would've been. But I don't think YABU.

Could you go by yourself, and leave OH and DC at home?

Arlagirl Mon 01-Dec-14 19:58:25

Stay at home.

Trills Mon 01-Dec-14 20:00:47

She's ONE, it's not like she'll notice.

Two weeks ago and again at Christmas is plenty.

Arlagirl Mon 01-Dec-14 20:06:31

I would feel stifled by family demanding compulsory attendance at occasions.

WyrdByrd Mon 01-Dec-14 20:14:00

Hmmm, I can see where you're coming from but I'm not surprised your family are giving you short shrift tbh.

Your bro & SIL have come to all your kid's birthday celebrations, and you've been to them for all the other nieces & nephews then suddenly decide you won't do this particular one.

If your DC's are such a challenge on car journeys why on earth arrange all the other trips you give as a reason for not being able to face this one?

Dressingdown1 Mon 01-Dec-14 20:21:02

Your db is probably very aware that dn's birthday is always likely to be overshadowed by Christmas. At the moment she is too young to mind, but her parents may care very much on her behalf and are trying to compensate.

I quite see why you don't really want to go, though.

MyRealNamesBernard Mon 01-Dec-14 20:29:08

Thanks all. Leeds2 - that would be the perfect solution. Sadly, I cannot go alone as DH is working.

Chamade - think you might have hit the nail on the head, there. I feel very stifled, and maybe my non-attendance at The Party is my own little mini-rebellion against five years of doing the dutiful thing....

Boomtownsurprise Mon 01-Dec-14 20:35:14

Why do you understand? It's one thing to say "I'm disappointed you won't be there" but this stroppy behaviour is usually ott and ridiculous. It doesn't mean sister doesn't love neice. It doesn't mean she won't celebrate Xmas, buy gifts, and doesn't mean she dislikes anyone. Just this one event doesn't fit with her family.

Why is it ok or understandable to act like a 2yr old as if you're never going to speak again? I don't get why people do that. It seems generational.

My mum has friends since she was young. She's mid 60's now. She's got people who she hadn't seen for years but considers them good friends because over years they have been there for each other. When did it become ok to treat relationships so transiently? It seems so much more confrontational now. Your missing my kids 1st birthday?! Don't bother coming to the other 76 she might have. Or all the events in between because you missed one. It's weird.

whois Mon 01-Dec-14 20:38:33

I can see why your brother is a little bit sad you can't go, but I think he is being really U to get stroppy about it.

Lucked Mon 01-Dec-14 20:54:14

I feel a little sorry for your niece, Christmas is overshadowing her birthday as it will for the rest of her life. Consider that there will be years where genuine other commitments stop you seeing her because December is always a busy month.

MyRealNamesBernard Mon 01-Dec-14 21:01:56

Bit of cross posting there.

WyrdByrd, yes that is exactly one of the reasons I am feeling so bad. There I am, enthusiastically attending everyone's party, then I go and tell my bro, his lovely wife and his gorgeous little girl to effectively F-off.

As for the car journey, my husband is working on the day of The Party so I will be on my own in the car with them. If DH were in the passenger seat he would be able to entertain them, deal with mishaps etc. I am a bit of a nervous driver on the motorway - silly thing really, I am fine on my own, but a bag of nerves as soon as the kids are in there. The journey home will be in the dark so not sure how successful Eye Spy will be for two hours!

Why on earth did we arrange the other trips? Because our parents/grandparents/sisters/brothers require our attendance at Christmas! Hence, the reason we need one weekend off. I'd feel bad, for example, not visiting our DH's 96-year-old grandma over Christmas, who would get much more pleasure from seeing our three little monkeys than their one-year-old cousin, who we will be seeing over Christmas anyway.

MyRealNamesBernard Mon 01-Dec-14 21:13:25

Yes, the Christmas overshadowing birthday thing is not good for my poor little niece. I do feel bad for that too. But fear not, my huuuuuuge guilt over my shambolic decision this year will ensure we'll never, ever miss her birthday again! She'll probably be mortified to find me doing embarrassing "Dad Dancing" at her 18th.

I just called my brother to grovel and he is coming round. Still very huffy, but he is at least speaking to me now.

PiperIsTerrysChoclateOrange Mon 01-Dec-14 21:21:01

I hate my birthday, it's the same date every year but Christmas means my birthday has always been overlooked.

I don't care now, I have my own money and will get a bottle of wine and order chinese.

As a child it sucked.

OwlinaTree Mon 01-Dec-14 21:38:33

Well I can see why you don't want to go, but I would be upset if I'd made the effort to go to my 3 niece/nephew 1st birthday parties and then their parent said they were not prioritising coming to my child's.

YANBU as it's an invitation, you don't have to go. But I would be upset if I was your brother, it's not treating as you wish to be treated is it?

ChillySundays Mon 01-Dec-14 21:39:34

If you are busy for six weekends I can't see the problem with adding another weekend. Ever since the DCs were babies we always had to do the four hour round trip on a Sunday so no chance to a relax the next day once they started school. I also on many occasions had to drive two children when my DH got called out just as we were leaving!

MyRealNamesBernard Mon 01-Dec-14 21:41:43

Oh, Piper, I am sorry to hear that. My cousin has a Christmas birthday and had to put up with the whole 'joint' present thing, which annoyed her no end. I expect you had the same.

If it cushions the blow a little, literally everyone else in my family and my SIL's family is going to my niece's party. It is going to be a huge success. At the last count there were nearly 50 guests. Her big day will not be overlooked in the slightest! We got her a smashing present, and we saw her the other week when we visited, made a huge fuss of her and got a chance to give her cuddles and play games with her without having to elbow lots of great auntie's and second cousins out of the way to get a look in. I am not a bad, auntie... honestly. I am just trying to be a good parent too.

PiperIsTerrysChoclateOrange Mon 01-Dec-14 21:50:36

That party sounds crazy for a 1st birthday.

Poor baby is going to overwhelmed

MyRealNamesBernard Mon 01-Dec-14 22:03:28

Indeed, Piper. My family is crazy. So is DH's. That's why I need a break...! There are going to 12 children there and loads of Haribo.

Noellefielding Mon 01-Dec-14 22:15:09

oh have mercyYANBU
Just be assertive and then leave them to it. Put your head down.

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