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To think having lots of children doesn't necessarily mean you'll get a 'big family christmas'

(52 Posts)
Whowillsaveyoursoul Thu 25-Dec-14 23:09:18

Went to pil today, dh is one of four, they each have two children and there are also some great grandchildren.
Consequently mil's house is heaving at christmas, always someone there until late in the evening from early in the morning.
We've had repeated ivf failure this year (mil knows) but she said several about how lovely it was to have such a big family especially at christmas as it meant you were never alone.

It made me think. Ok yes, if you have four children statistically you are more likely to have someone around at christmas. However I think dh's family are quite rare in that all dh's siblings live in the village they grew up in and can walk to pil's house. Same for the grandchildren, three of them are now married themselves but all live in the same village and pop into each other's houses all the time.
Dh is the only one to have moved out of the village (we are about 20 miles away). I think that's pretty unusual. Plenty of my friends now live nowhere near their parents and nor do their siblings. They've met someone who lives elsewhere / gone travelling / moved away when they went to university and never went back.

So Aibu to think that yes it would be lovely to have lots of children (god knows Id be thrilled) but it doesn't necessarily = huge family occasions.
Dh's family often have huge family occasions just randomly.

Galvanized Thu 25-Dec-14 23:12:47

I don't think you're thinking straight, sorry - people don't have kids in order to have a big Christmas! It was a just a throwaway remark by mil about how much she likes people getting together at Christmas. It doesn't make sense as an AIBU question...

Whowillsaveyoursoul Thu 25-Dec-14 23:15:08

I suppose what I mean is Aibu to think even if you have a large family it doesn't necessarily mean they'll always close by - geographically or otherwise.

I don't think it was innocent on mil's part btw.

bobbyjoe Thu 25-Dec-14 23:16:40

No, it doesn't mean anything. Your MIL has this as no one has moved out the village as you say. These days your kids could end up anywhere for work so you might not see them every month let alone every week. I would say that's more likely.

scousadelic Thu 25-Dec-14 23:19:44

I grew up in a situation like that. My Mum's 3 siblings all lived within a couple of miles and Dad's sister about half an hour away. Christmas and other holidays were always big family get-togethers.

All of my generation have moved on though as there were not enough jobs locally. We are all scattered and only get to catch up at weddings and funerals sad

There are no guarantees

alteredimages Thu 25-Dec-14 23:22:32

I can see why your MIL's comment upset you.

I also think you are right that having a lot of children is no guarantee of a full house but of course it does make it statistically more likely.

I am one of five and also have two step siblings. I am married with kids as is one of my brothers. DF and DSM usually have just the unmarried ones for christmas because I live abroad and can't afford to come back for christmas every year and DB has to work over the festive period. I am sure the number will further decrease with time. Perhaps it is a case of diluted responsibility? I would love to see DF at Christmas anyway but I know I would make even more of an effort to get back if I were an only child.

BackforGood Thu 25-Dec-14 23:24:51

Well, not sure how this is an 'AIBU', but, statistically, your MiL is right. The odds are, the more of you there are in the first place, the more likely it is that at least some will be around at special times such as Christmas.
You do know you can come home for Christmas, even if you've moved away, don't you?
Of course there will be people who have 3 or 4 children and then no grandchildren, and there will be people who have dc emigrate and there will be people who have sadly lost one or more of their dc through illness, or accident, but statistically, the larger your family, the more likely you are to still have family to spend time with.

Whowillsaveyoursoul Thu 25-Dec-14 23:27:41

Yeah I guess - but I think it's pretty unusual for every single person to be in the same geographical area two or three generations down the line.

BackforGood Thu 25-Dec-14 23:32:25

but that's not what you asked.
You asked about being together at Christmas.

Whowillsaveyoursoul Thu 25-Dec-14 23:33:46

No I asked about a 'big family christmas.'
To me that means more than one or two family members coming for christmas, it means everyone showing up!
Apologies if my wording was incorrect confused

LuckyCharms Thu 25-Dec-14 23:35:26

My mum has 4 kids and 6 grandchildren and spends xmas day at work.

And yes we all live scattered around the country so big family gatherings are difficult due to the travel involved and no one having the space to accommodate everyone overnight.

My DH's family are closer (emotionally). My PIL have 2 children and 2 grandchildren so get togethers are smaller but much, much easier to arrange and manage grin

poocatcherchampion Thu 25-Dec-14 23:43:06

None of us live close by but we all rock up at the same time every Christmas. Christmas day one year and boxjbg day the other cos we spend it with our respective in laws. Journeys between 1-4 hours. And all in law events are large too.

But crucially we do like each other. And take turns to sleep in the worst room.

But I'm sorry you are struggling with ivf

Italiangreyhound Thu 25-Dec-14 23:45:15

Whowillsaveyoursoul I'm sorry your mother in law's comment upset you. We had years and years of fertility treatment and now have two kids, one by IUI and one by adoption. I always took comments by people who had lots of kids quite personally (I am not saying you are).

Feel free to pm me if you want to chat.

And you are not being unreasonable. Statistically, I guess the more kids you have the more likely they will all be around at Christmas but this is only true all things being equal. And things rarely are equal. If you end up not getting on with your kids, or who they marry, or if they emigrate or move far away then you are less likely to see them at Christmas.

If you think MIL said this on purpose to be hurtful, that is sad (sad if she did). As i say, I often felt sensitive about people's comments, it might well be in my case the comments were not said to hurt but were just insensitive.

BackforGood Thu 25-Dec-14 23:51:19

Nothing to do with your wording, but you are asking about a big family Christmas, and people are pointing out, you don't need to live locally to have a big family Christmas.

If you are asking if it's not that usual to have that many of the family all living in the same village they grew up in, and even the one who moved away only being 20miles away, then, yes, I'd think that was unusual.

However, if you are asking if it's unusual for families to spend Christmas together, then I'd say no, that's pretty normal.

Obv., IME. I live where I grew up, and I love Christmas, amongst other reasons, because you do get lots of people you grew up with, coming "home" for a few days over Christmas.

unclerory Thu 25-Dec-14 23:53:09

I'm one of 4, DH is one of 3, we have 3DC. We don't have big family Christmases because our families are widely scattered and no-one has enough room for everyone in their house, we've not gone 'home' since we had DC and the grandparents don't come to us because we don't have room for them and siblings to visit sad. Admittedly the grandparents usually have childless children visiting them but I think we'd be more likely to see them if there weren't so many competing siblings who still go 'home' for Christmas. I guess the parents have guaranteed themselves a big Christmas but we haven't. DH grew up with just a small family Christmas but I always had Christmas with all my grandparents and cousins and have promised myself that we will spend Christmas with the kids when they have families of their own even if it means staying in holiday cottages so there's room for everyone.

Whowillsaveyoursoul Thu 25-Dec-14 23:57:22

No I agree you don't need to live locally as long as you aren't so far away that you can't travel there and back in a day or have somewhere to stop.

I guess with the kind of family occasion / christmas I mean I was thinking more where people just constantly pop in and out - they don't prearrange necessarily or give notice, they just show up, might go home for a bit and then pop back later. Because there's 20+ of them there's always someone just popping in to drop a gift or have a drink etc.

jimmycrackcornbutidontcare Fri 26-Dec-14 00:23:31

I think she was just happy you were all there. She is including you in the big family. You are part of a big family and therefore have a big family. Not having children does not mean you necessarily won't have a big family.

PicaK Fri 26-Dec-14 07:15:15

Big hugs. She was stupid and thoughtless in her comments and will have no idea how mych this has hurt you. Been there - the xmas when my mil, my sil etc all went on and on about how xmas is all about chidren. It hurt so much. It made us both feel that we didn't count as much as siblings with kids.
You'll never get people who haven't stood in your shoes to understand how hurtful it is. I think your comments about family size are a red herring here to be honest - talk to dh about how you feel. (Butcyeah that village, happy family thing is v unusual)

Chottie Fri 26-Dec-14 07:31:55

A hug from me too, I do think your MiL was being a bit tactless too.

I agree with you, no guarantees that everyone can get together even if you have a big family. Don't all your MiL's children have the other ILs to visit too?

sebsmummy1 Fri 26-Dec-14 07:38:54

I think your MIL could have been a lot more sensitive but having had 18 months of infertility myself I am shocked at just how insensitive my own Mother has been, so this doesn't surprise me!!

I think you can definitely have children and feel lonely at Christmas and no children and lonely, lots of children and feel wonderful, no children and feel wonderful. It is totally a state of mind.

I imagine you are feeling very sad right now and it's always easy to take comments to heart that otherwise you would just brush off.

Massive hugs xx

bananas123 Fri 26-Dec-14 07:48:38

Only on mn do I here of families scattered all over the place. In rl it would be a really rare thing to do. I would say most families I know live within a 5 mile radius of gps, parents, siblings etc

carlywurly Fri 26-Dec-14 07:49:36

Yanbu. I understand your point (and your Aibu!) - to summarise, your mil is unusual, lucky and bloody tactless all at the same time.

I know someone who lives down the road from her parents and a village away from her in laws and has never visited either set, or let them visit her on Christmas Day. As someone who travels hundreds of miles to see my family, I can't get my head around that.

I hope things work out for you in 2015 thanks

MultipleMama Fri 26-Dec-14 07:51:01

I'm one of two but I have 7 children so our family occassions got larger by default. However before my DC came along family occassions were still sometimes big get togethers but they eventually faded out to small gatherings. Most live abroad - in fact only my parents and some of mum's family lived in UK but everyone used to fly in every other year. Aside from Christmas, gatherings will just be small by my standards; just parents, DBs and children.

So yeah, YANU, big families don't always mean large gatherings. But I suspect your MIL meant it's nice that everyone lives close so there're more big gatherings smile

But considering your situation her comments were insensitive and offhanded not realising or not caring that it would hurt you which is pretty shitty.

carlywurly Fri 26-Dec-14 07:51:14

Bananas, it's not rare in rl at all in my experience. I barely know anyone who lives where they grew up. Maybe it's a regional thing.

bananas123 Fri 26-Dec-14 07:53:53

Here if a family moves away or arrives they usually do it a group, so people still move but would't go with just their nuclear family.

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