Aibu to think being asked to host Christmas dinner would actually involve me being the host(22 Posts)
DH and I have been asked to host Christmas dinner this year because MIL and family have recently moved and no longer have adequate space to host. I have asked to host many times but MIL has always quietly rebuffed the idea. So even though I know it was only the change in circumstances that led to her asking us to host, I was thrilled and started planning right away.
However last week she called DH to "discuss Christmas", she asked whether she should come round on the 23rd to prep Christmas dinner or are we okay with her doing it on Christmas Eve, she wanted to sort out what day she would need to do all her shopping. DH was as was I, but as he was rushing to go out told her he would have to call her back.
He spoke to her and its seems that she had assumed that she would be cooking the entire meal in our home ... he told her that we planned on making all the food to which she requested a run down of what we would be making, he told her he'd send a list to which I objected... We've hosted many successful parties without any issues and not once has she ever been this involved. As DH did not send a list she took it upon herself to send one yesterday, which has made me really angry! Not only is the list quite patronising, it's also almost identical to one I drew up weeks ago! I am now beyond livid as I've taken it quite personally, DH spoke to her today and asked why she sent the list, to which she responded "we were just deciding what we would like to have on Christmas day so decided to make a list and send it to you". Never have I heard of a list being sent to a host! I have always assumed that you simply ate what you were given...
I am also quite upset with DH because he believes I'm making much too big a deal out of the situation... that his mother is just trying to hold on to some semblance of control/power with no vindictive edge. I disagree as this is not the only incident involving my MIL that has left me with the distinct feeling that my feelings do not matter.
Aibu to believe that being asked to host Christmas dinner would involve planning the menu and actually making dinner? Aibu to find it weird that I would be expected to give up my kitchen so my MIL can make Christmas dinner?
How very odd of your MIL. Definitely if you are hosting you call the shots the least she can do is an offer of help generally and the most she can do is "I'll bring the x, y or z". I would deal with it by ignoring her email and any lists and any further conversations with your DH replying breezily "well lovenaps has it all in hand" and on the day I would reinforce the guest status by very much leading the dinner and timings and the run of the day. The idea of list like you are a restaurant
Was it their choice to downsize? Just wondering that, if it was not, maybe this is you MIL'S way of regaining control?
What kind of Christmas do you want - and how can you get that Christmas?
The first thing is you and DH need exactly EXACTLY the same vision before you can communicate it to anyone else. Once you've decided who is doing what - just tell them.
I'd be very wary of getting drawn in to the emotional politics so close to Christmas. Ignore the list MIL sent (really hard to do, but you've got to) and just bash on.
One thing: Christmas is quite expensive and it does sound as though she was expecting to pay for the food...?
Your dh needs to step up and tell her firmly that everything is sorted and she will just need to turn up on the day. She's obviously not got the message loud and clear.
Yes, YANBU to feel angry about this. It's almost like she can't let go of being the alpha female, something that was always her role. Could feel for her but as you mention there have been other issues, maybe not.
Wow, madness! Your dh needs to keep her out of the kitchen on the day, this is YOU hosting, not her. This is YOUR house, YOUR dinner. I'm amazed that she would think she could just take over in your house, very weird.
Take Control! Say something Woman!
Just straight up say "But I am hosting- you are the guest and we have it all under control"
Just a breezy, "don't worry, it's under control. We'd already planned all the things on your list anyway." I'd be tempted to deviate a little from the list to distinguish your own menu (maybe not massively though - the shock may be too much).
If she doesn't approve of you hosting, she doesn't have to come. It's not on to assume that you'll be the chef in someone else's home.
I would prepare as much in advance as possible so that on the day when she starts trying to do stuff, you can say, "it's done". Repeatedly.
You may need to tell her that you are cooking in your own home and maybe gently but directly that it's a bit insulting to imply that you are unable to do this. As you say, you have hosted before.
Your DH needs to tell her to back down, your house your Christmas. Just rep,y that's nice but I've already ordered the food. I'd also be tempted to say jog on!
Personally, I always welcome help - especially if you are not used to cooking on Christmas Day - so maybe don't go all out telling her she isn't to lift a finger unless that really is what you want.
Can you ask her to make certain things in her own kitchen and bring them with her? Really surprised she hasn't thought of that herself but it does sound like there are other issues.
I think bright and breezy is the way to go. Ignore any lists etc, make sure your dh tells mil that you have everything under control and be assertive on the day that you know what you are doing and if she offers to help put her in charge of drinks or something.
For your own piece of mind try to get your head round the fact that it is probably very difficult for her as it underlines the fact that she has moved from matriarch of the family to the mil being catered for. Try and be a little understanding and don't take it personally.
Just keep saying, as you are my guest put your feet up and relax! But tbh there are worse things than having a bit of help in the kitchen on Christmas Day.
Nooo, I would hate someone 'helping' in my kitchen unless I was directing them, and it doesn't sound as if OP's MIL sees herself in a subservient role.
If she asked you to host then it's not unreasonable for her to want to help out. I'd suggest talking to her directly as going through your husband sounds like it might cause more confusion. Ask her to buy and cook starters and dessert (or whatever) and tell her you would love a hand with the washing up (or whatever) don't worry about it anymore and enjoy Christmas.
It all sounds a bit foot stamp'y at the moment. If your DH is happy for her to do stuff and doesn't think she is being mean then perhaps you could go along with a bit.
I bet no one apart from you and her would care who made or bought the food.
Id like to think most families all just pitch in and help each other without being territorial.
Ouch! Difficult one. I would perhaps go over her list ticking all the things you had already listed, cross off the things that you don't intend and say you noted her list and these were the items you had already arranged off it. Maybe add some extra stuff that might seem crazy to her, and just to double pee her off, make some element of the meal different, do say mash instead of roasties or something petty like that 🐱
Just ignore her, don't explain and don't justify.
Respond to the the list and say don't worry it's all under control (definitely don't thank her for it)
What can she really do, turn up with a full Christmas feast in her car boot? If she goes in the kitchen just steer her out and say just relax mil you're our guest, enjoy the break and have a top up.
I think your husband is right, it's not about you and mil trying to be vindictive it's about mil not thinking through her plan and inadvertently passing over the "matriarch" mantle and not really thinking through her passing over the hostess crown so trying to cling on
I bet she finds a way to host next year
I would let her cook the dinner. How lovely. Sounds great to me.
But of course, it is clear, this is not your idea of ideal.
I will never understand why people feel it is their DH's responsibility to communicate with their MIL. Why not do the communicating yourself. Especially as so often, it seems, men find it very hard to tell their mothers things that their mothers will not want to hear!
So you tell MIL...
"Thanks for the list but I had already drawn up one (attached) and it is remarkably similar to your life. Great minds think alike.
We don't need any help preparing the meal so just come along on XX date at XX time and we will all have a lovely day."
I think in your shoes I would welcome my MIL's help so she would be welcome to come and help prep, if necessary, but if this is going to be stressful then stand your ground.
Tricky. She seems to think that she's asked you both to provide the physical location but not be the host. How is she usually? How is you partner when you have previously entertained other people, does he get involved? I was wondering if he doesn't want to rock the boat with well meaning mother, or he dosent care as long as the women cook and sort it out without bothering him.
I would probably reply saying thank you but WE have it all under control but say it would be a real help if she could bring extra cakes, home made chutneys, or whatever she is good at.
It took my mil a while to get the hang that dp and me were functioning adults. The first family bbq we held she brought meat that she had cooked at home and handed it out, of course everyone was full by the time ours was done. We had spent days planning and marinading meat, she even brought bread rolls! For my sons first birthday she brought a birthday cake with her and loads of party food. Both occasions I was gobsmacked and my husband felt insulted, it's one thing to offer to help but another to just turn up with it all as if we didn't have the mental powers to think about sausage rolls.
She is a kind, generous person who wouldn't want to step on toes on purpose, it just didn't cross her mind! To her my husband was still a slightly helpless child who she felt needed help, she is still surprised that he can cook and likes cooking. I was an an eldest child who had changed nappies and prepared baby milk since aged 10. I had grown up baking cakes, cooking family meals and helping in party preperations, so did my siblings. It was outside my comprehension why her first thoughts were that I couldn't do it.
She caught on quickly though because she is a good person
What a cheeky mare (her, not you!).
Having said that, if you don't want her, can you send her round to me??
does she do washing up?
Thanks everyone, really appreciate the responses! Glad it's not all in my head!
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