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to not bother with extended family again at Christmas

(19 Posts)
StrictlyMumDancing Sun 27-Dec-15 08:45:40

Compared to some of the other posts on here this is a real non problem I'm sure!

For background: My parents are disabled and I have spent this year spiralling into chronic illness. DH has a hoarding problem which lead to me kicking him out for a while until he realised his problems and got some help (he did, and things are majorly improved), but this means relationships with ILs have been strained.

For the first time in 3 years, Christmas wasn't cancelled due to hospitalisation at the last minute and we went to my parents. We knew this meant the DC would be largely trapped inside for 2 days, but my parents are very accepting of kids being kids and for all their boisterousness the extended time meant my DF got to spend a lot of one on one time with them - which he's been desperate for since their birth. Sounds great, except DH came down with a cold and was a complete non social arse and very angry and shouty at the DC.

We left yesterday and MIL had invited us round for dinner at theirs which DH accepted even though we're seeing his larger family today. So we're now into 3 days with the kids trapped in a car/house. Dinner was late. Fine DH said, as long as you don't mind the kids being up late. Fine they said. But it wasn't. Clearly we weren't welcome at all, let alone late. BIL and FIL spent all evening flinging them about and having fun but it made them all the more boisterous. MIL was awful about me and the kids after dinner. She's very good to us normally but has always preferred SIL to me anyway. SIL clearly didn't want us around either. Both them and BIL were bitching about us before we even left the house.

I can't get DH to realise that sometimes we're invited out of politeness, that maybe he needs to think about the DCs and their behaviour and that late meals are not appropriate. He just wants to spend time with his family and doesn't think it through. TBH I just want to tell my MIL not to bloody bother inviting us when she doesn't want us there because she knows DH will accept.

This should have been a nice Christmas without the stress of a near death for a family member. But in fact its been anything but. And I'm exhausted. I can't stop crying. I don't have the energy to go to the wider family today and paint a smile on, I can't deal with a 4th late night/trapped inside day with the DC.

Can we just not do Christmas next year? Can someone tell me to put my big girl pants on?

PurpleWithRed Sun 27-Dec-15 08:52:04

You poor thing, nightmare Christmas. Of course it doesn't have to be like this - your own kids are the priority at Christmas, next year plan a lovely Christmas at your own home with your children.

NynaevesSister Sun 27-Dec-15 08:55:00

Can you pretend illness and not go? Oh look you have DHs cold?

Alternatively if you have to be there the whole day can you not just say right we are taking the kids out for an hour to the nearest park/playground? It's been four days now and little ones just aren't made for this. They have to have fresh air and a good run about?

noeffingidea Sun 27-Dec-15 08:56:03

Why are the kids trapped in the house for 3 days? Put their coats on and take them out for a walk. Is there a park near to your MIL's?. If so, take them there and let them run around for a couple of hours.

noeffingidea Sun 27-Dec-15 08:57:27

Sorry , cross posted with the previous poster. fsmile

MigGril Sun 27-Dec-15 09:02:28

Couldn't you even escape for an hours walk with the DC's, I don't see why you have to spend the whole day inside and can't say they need a bit of fresh air. Even when visiting family.

Could you also not do it once day after the other like this. We had Christmas day on our own. Boxing day with in-laws and are going to extend families on Tuesday which breaks it up nicely for the kids.

Chopz Sun 27-Dec-15 09:07:29

Fake illness

Chopz Sun 27-Dec-15 09:08:35

Don't people walk the children? Take them to the park or for a scoot somewhere?

StrictlyMumDancing Sun 27-Dec-15 09:10:50

Thank you all flowers

DH has said enough is enough and we're now not going to the wider family event. Its a shame as we don't see them often and if I'd had a say in it, I would have preferred to not go to ILs yesterday and attend the wider thing today. Which is clearly what MIL and SIL wanted to so god knows why they bothered extending the invite. DH still isn't feeling great either and I think he'd rather I wasn't grumpy around his family like he was with mine angry

The trapped inside thing was because of travel to my parents, then family dropping in left right and centre (because my parents can't easily get out to them) so both days at my parents were pretty people packed but home oriented, plus the weather was horrendous so the garden wasn't an option like usual. Travel back yesterday was a nightmare, so the run to the park we had planned went out the window. Today would have be another day of long travel and then an inside lots of family affair.

It is all too much for the DCs, let alone me!

Chopz Sun 27-Dec-15 09:12:37

In regards to yesterday, you know your children's limits. You need to put your foot down. You need to learn to say no. Tell DH he can go but stand firm about what you and the kids really need to have a balanced happy Christmas. It's would have been perfectly acceptable for you to have rung your MIL back after DH had accepted the invite and changed arrangements.

CakeNinja Sun 27-Dec-15 09:14:26

Just walk them outside anyway! My dc would be awful without fresh air daily, you probably would have done everyone a favour if you'd just shoved their coats on and taken them out. Doesn't need to be a park or a playground, just get them out, walking.
People in the house would have had a break from the 'excitement' and you and the Dc would benefit from the lovely fresh air.
No one melts in the rain, it's okay to go out when it's wet too.
No way would I not take them out for days on end, it's horrible being couped up.
Put your big girl pants on, you didn't enjoy it this year, dp can take the Dc to do his family stuff next year if you really can't cope.
No point sitting in tears and then not changing anything. You're a grown up now, take some responsibility flowers

Chopz Sun 27-Dec-15 09:18:39

Wellies and waterproofs - get out even if it's very poor weather. Hot chocolate after and get warm by the fire. Try to put your kids needs above seeing relatives. They can always wait around till your family get back.

Good you can rest today. Early night, long baths, long walk/park, books, films, easy meals.

StrictlyMumDancing Sun 27-Dec-15 09:27:39

Cake thanks for the slap!

This year was a monumental mistake. I wasn't expecting DH to behave like he has, its not him. So I hit firefighting mode - as in, if the kids are happy with someone and they're happy with them then not inflicting any tantrums by trying to get them away, even for their own benefit.

Lesson 1. Tell DH loudly to stop being a twat, and if he doesn't make him take the kids out wink.

Lesson 2. I'm not going to win these situations with MIL. If I say no, I'm being an arse. If I tell DH fine, but we leave at decent time, I'm an arse. If I let DH make the decisions, I'm an arse. If I go with, I'm an arse. If I don't go, I'm an arse. May as well just be an arse and do what makes me happy.

Lesson 3: DH is being told in no uncertain terms that there will never be a 4 day christmas until the kids are teenagers and they won't talk to anyone or do anything but play on whatever devices are cool then.

Anything else I need to learn. This is making me feel a lot better!

StrictlyMumDancing Tue 29-Dec-15 17:02:36

Update here.

Thought I'd had the last laugh when we found out late on Sunday that BIL and SIL had decided to cut their visit short, much to the upset of MIL. Karma's a bitch I thought.

Well Karma bit me in the arse for thinking that it would seem. MIL had declared she wasn't seeing the DC this week as she wanted a break and to spend time with BIL and DIL. Not an issue for us. But now MILs better offer has dumped her she suddenly wants to be around us and is engineering visits round.

Today she complained how awful the wider family gathering was - apparently she didn't like the fact they all wanted to see our boisterous DCs nor the fact that they seemed to accept the fact they're kids and if you give them presents and throw them around they'll get boisterous! God forbid my kids own family may talk about them in a positive way. Then apparently BIL had been ill and had gone off for a rest during the gathering - this was all the fault of my DC's behaviour. Yep, the BIL who had been throwing them about and egging them on the day before found their behaviour so awful he needed to lie down the next day.

Now we're getting complaints that the DC, who were told by her they weren't seeing her this week, haven't requested to go to hers like normal.

Definitely Christmas next year the only time we are interacting with ILs is at the wider family gathering where we can have some safety in numbers. We can largely avoid BIL and SIL until then.

OTOH DM called and told me not to be so harsh about DH being an arse, she's had worse from DF down the years and the kids gave them both exactly the christmas they've been wanting for years.

mintoil Tue 29-Dec-15 17:07:51

Oh God, just tell her the DC have a D&V bug and then snuggle up on the sofa and give yourself a break fgrin

Hissy Tue 29-Dec-15 17:14:20

Your mil slags off your dc and expects an invitation round seeing as she's been dumped by golden balls bil?

Tell her you are busy spending time with family who like your dc and that after the performance the other day it'll be quite some time until your daft enough to accept an invitation.

Hissy Tue 29-Dec-15 17:15:02

And I LOVED your DM message! fgrin

idiuntno57 Tue 29-Dec-15 17:28:16

Couple of things:

We went away to remote cottage this year and HAVENT VISITED ANYONE been the best Christmas ever.

DC (x4 6-10yrs) have been outside every day with waterproofs and boots so are not too fractious and for the first time DH and I have actually relaxed.

The series of extended claustrophobic family gatherings that represent Christmas are always stressful no matter how much we try to improve them

I propose we all arrange a mass house/flat swap for next year so we can be in different bits of the country and therefore unable to see extended family

NB I realise this doesn't resolve OP's current issue but might help prevent it in the future.

StrictlyMumDancing Tue 29-Dec-15 18:42:45

In fairness to MIL she normally gushes about the DC and is very good to them. But since DH and I's near split the veil got totally lifted for me with regards to how poorly they view him compared with BIL.

I'd love to blame SIL too because she doesn't even bother hiding her contempt for us anymore but then she isn't asking or prompting MIL to act like this. She's fairly well to do but a complete snob and I think her presence feeds MIL's delusions of grandeur. What MIL misses is SIL completely looks down on her too. However now she has her scapegoats for it and that has to stop.

idiunt I love that idea, as long as I don't accidentally get a house near the ILs!!!!

hissy DM is of good stoic stock and thankfully enjoyed the kids so much she ignored the two men being idiots in the house grin

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