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To dread another Christmas at my Mum's

(23 Posts)
midsummabreak Fri 23-Dec-16 21:21:21

My Mum is 84 and has always refused to go to any of her 4 children's homes for Christmas. She insists that we must all visit her, and it must be on Christmas Day. This year, I suggested we could all meet at hers Christmas Eve, as it takes an hour to travel there for dinner and an hour home late Christmas night. Also I thought my 16 year old niece and my sister would prefer Christmas Eve to allow my niece to catch up with her cousins similar age who don't get to see her as she has to go to her Dad's family just after Christmas lunch.
My Mum yelled
" I am not changing it to Christmas Eve, What would I do on Christmas Day? I am NOT going to one of your houses for Christmas Day."
She is inflexible and stubborn and demands that Christmas be on her terms
She stated
"Everyone else is happy to go along with my plans for Christmas, so why can't I fit in too. "
I said but my niece must think we all don't want to meet her for Christmas. sad
My niece is there at my Mums when we are all still home with our families opening presents and we don't arrive until after she has left for her Dad's Christmas afternoon.
My Mum stated
"I will get to see my niece on the Christmas morning, so it is fine. "
I said
"What about everyone else seeing my niece. they all would like to see her too"

My mum has attempted for years prior when grandchildren were younger to allocate visiting times throughout Christmas Day to each visiting family rather than all meeting up as a family.
We now have Chistmas with our families first, then meet up together at hers for dinner, but I have just realised she sees my neice all Christmas Eve from 3pm, and all Christmas morning as my sister told me my niece and her will be staying over Christmas Eve.
My Mum orchestrates the food we all must eat at Christmas at a set time we are told to eat. Everyone has had plenty for Christmas lunch but she insists we must all try her purchased food that she feels is particularly special. She insists we don't bring food as she states
"No-one wants what they've already been eating for lunch, I want the food to be different to what you have with your families..
She asked me
"What meat are you having for your Christmas lunch? Don't eat any ham as I am having ham with lots of special unusual treats and I want it to be special."
She was upset as my sister-in-law was cooking beef brisket for her family and she had been planning beef something or other as part of what she was purchasing. She tries to stretch the purchased treats around as she really can't afford it.
We have all tried to make it more relaxed,. We have offered to take turns having Christmas (one year about 10 years ago, I had Christmas lunch and everyone came but she refused to come, so we all had to meet at hers for Christmas dinner) We offer to all bring food but she strongly discourages this. It is always such an ordeal, and I wish it was more fun. I miss my Dad at Christmas but no-one talks about him unless I bring it up. I can't believe she carries on like this still and does not see that it's just family getting together that is important. Irony is I dread seeing her, yet I do care about her and want her to be happy.

midsummabreak Fri 23-Dec-16 21:33:21

My Dad died a year and a half ago. He was a true English gentleman, though we live in Australia. God only knows how he was so patient with My Mum over the years. He always did as he was told with my Mum though, which I realised as an adult, was more than slightly dysfunctional.. Thank-you for reading if you had a chance at this busy time.

Pineapplemilkshake Fri 23-Dec-16 21:38:58

I wouldn't go along with this if you don't want to. Maybe she'll agree to visit one of you if she realises it's either that or spending it on her own.

diddl Fri 23-Dec-16 21:45:29

If she is hosting then she gets to say when & people she invites get to accept or decline as they wish.

Presumably she could travel if she wished?

But surely driving for an hr is no big thing for you?

DangerousBeanz Fri 23-Dec-16 21:50:49

She's 84. My mum died this year aged 84. She may be an old sod over Christmas but you aren't going to get many more with her so I'd just suck it up and put up with it.
You'll miss the old bugger more than you can possibly imagine when she's gone.

Underthemoonlight Fri 23-Dec-16 21:51:11

I couldn't be dictated to in this way what if you wanted to see your dh family on Christmas. Maybe next year tell her you have other arrangements. Not me has a right to demand what they want without considering others.

maldini Fri 23-Dec-16 21:55:29

Going against the grain but I think you lot have been enabling her to become like this by (or at least it sounds like you have been) pandering to it. If you don't want to go, don't go, if you want to do something else then do something else. I would not put up with this shit, it boggles my mind why anyone would.

midsummabreak Fri 23-Dec-16 21:57:17

Hi Pineapple, thanks for your reply fsmile] She has everyone wrapped around her finger, they all go along with her as she puts on the tears and they feel dreadful, as she is elderly now and has a bad heart. You can never win, and she never apologises for yelling ( I was at work when she blasted me on the phone recently and I couldn't believe she was so nasty).
I have told my sister and my sister-in-law what's happening and they end up backing her Going to finish wrapping pressies now for my children, but back in an hour.

JayDot500 Fri 23-Dec-16 21:58:12

I was like 'aww but she's 84' until the food bit angry. She's very controlling it seems. Old age aside, if she insists on having it at hers, it should still be the Christmas that everyone can enjoy.

midsummabreak Fri 23-Dec-16 22:06:25

Thanks all for your replies
Hi Underthemoonlight I do see my DH sister-in-law, she stays with us for a few days over Christmas and the seven of us (three tall teen sons and daughter, S-I-L Dh, myself) all drive an hour there and an hour back . It is not the drive really, though, I'm realising more clearly it is her controlling the whole night and needing us to say over and over how delightful every new bite is.. TBH she reminds my DH of Mrs Bucket ('Mrs Bouquet') at times . Maldini It boggles my mind too, but I do in the end love my family but hate the dysfunctional shite that goes on

Fairylea Fri 23-Dec-16 22:07:03

I'm sorry but I would just say no and you're having Christmas at yours this year and she's welcome to come and you'll come and pick her up etc if it helps. She may be 84 but this is ridiculous, controlling behaviour and all the tears are nothing short of a tantrum because she isn't getting her own way.

Yes 84 is very old and I get what other posters are saying about time being limited, but I don't see why op should have to be bullied every year. It's not fair on op.

harderandharder2breathe Fri 23-Dec-16 22:11:30

You've all enabled her by going along and letting her dictate to you for so long, and now you are at the "aw but she's 84" stage

Either go and accept that this is what she's like, or don't go. she's really not going to change now when everyone has always let her have her own way.

NigellasGuest Fri 23-Dec-16 22:13:22

I agree, old age is no excuse for bad behaviour. What if she lives well into her nineties - should OP have to put up with this for another ten years or so just because the mother is old?

midsummabreak Fri 23-Dec-16 22:14:31

thanks DangerousBeanz Wink: fwink I will remind myself I will miss the old bugger throughout and do best to be particularly delighted with each 'special and unusual' bite of Christmas treats Will think of something fun we can do to break the tension.
Sending you strength and hugs as you have your Christmas with loved ones, without your dear Mum xxoo Thnkyou all so much for reading & replying, back in a bit

EweAreHere Fri 23-Dec-16 22:17:00

Out of curiosity, where did you spend Christmas growing up? At home, or did she bow down to her mother and go to her's until she died?

I imagine she did what she wanted.

You have that right, too.

ALongTimeComing Sat 24-Dec-16 10:10:24

Stop accepting this shit. Do your own thing. She's an adult, you are an adult. Do what makes you happy too rather than pandering to her as well. Might be best to bring it up after Christmas but make it clear you are sick of pandering to her.

LindyHemming Sat 24-Dec-16 10:13:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cherrysoup Sat 24-Dec-16 10:17:27

I'm afraid I'd be brutal and start refusing to go. I couldn't justify dragging everyone over and spending so long travelling. One person shouldn't be dictating what others are doing every single year.

OliviaBensonOnAGoodDay Sat 24-Dec-16 10:20:07

I think it sounds awful, poor you. Another one saying I couldn't put up with this. It's not loving, it's not kind, it's controlling and selfish. I would have to stand up to her. Sorry if that's not helpful, I know it's easy for me to say.

TheFuckitBuckit Sat 24-Dec-16 10:38:42

Let me get this right you have your main Christmas meal at home before going to your mums in the afternoon for dinner, but she tries to dictate what you can eat at home because she wants to offer something different.

Also is your mums dinner a full on sit down meal or buffet type thing?

TBH from what you've said I'd just refuse to go, it sounds controlling and stressful especially factoring in the travel. I'd stay at home and offer her either a Christmas Eve or Boxing Day visit.

JustSpeakSense Sat 24-Dec-16 12:42:21

If I were you, next year, I would host a huge family Christmas party on Christmas Eve, relaxed and fun atmosphere, everybody bringing a plate of food, cousins all able too socialise with each other.

And then dutifully visit your mum on Christmas Day as normal.

midsummabreak Sat 24-Dec-16 13:31:02

Hi Ewearehere and Euphemia, when we were kids we never visited either grandparents at Christmas. We never tracvelled as a family overseas to see her parents ln England My Mum rarely visited my Dad's parents as she fell out with his Mum shortly after she arrived in Australia with Dad. So you are right, she always did what she wanted with who she wanted.
Yes Youfuckitbucket, we always have our own Christmas breakfast & lunch at home yet she gets antsy just prior to Christmas asking what food we are all eating as she wants to offer something different for Christmas night -it is a buffet style dinner and she wants kids sit separate from adults.
Justspeaksense it's funny you say that, I decided to not answer her phone call today as her tone sounds competing/maybe not best intentions so will dutifully visit her tomorrow and enjoy my time to relax here and now with who I want. I have cooked a turkey (from supermarket) with all trimmings( I know it's too hot to cook, but we all love a yummy roast) and then kids had ice-creams and cold drinks, and have enjoyed sitting around chilling out with pear cider/cold drinks. We enjoyed having my friend over for Christmas Eve as she lost both parents 5 months apart this Christmas so we met earlier to chat (usually Boxing Day). My sister-in-law also here (she always stays over Christmas ). My younger sister and niece came after dinner for a swim (37 degrees Celsius=-98.6 F here)
Alongtimecoming, Cherrysoup & OliviaBenson & others I here you, and will definitely take on board all that everyone is saying. As others are pandering to her wants most of the time, I do end up being the scapegoat whenever I have had a different point of view.
Thank-you all of you, I really appreciate the feedback, it has really helped clarify. I agree with maidini the key is we are all enabling her over the years, and that stems from my dear Dad who ended up doing as he was told to an unhealthy ridiculous degree so as kids we tended to emulate

Scaredycat3000 Sat 24-Dec-16 14:12:06

I need to remind myself sometimes when FIL is suffering badly, degenerative condition, and MIL is treating him awfully that he has had over 50 years to stop the toddler tantrums and selfishness. He chose not to. It does not mean I have to suck it up or that my DC should ether. As for she's old and you'll miss her, really not a given, relief may be a more dominant feeling.

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