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Christmas, newborn, MIL...

(59 Posts)
gilson Fri 10-Nov-17 21:57:19

A very boring Christmas + newborn one! I'm getting upset, in my current hormonal state. I'll try to keep it short.

I am due to have DC4 mid-December. DCs1 to 3 are all under 6 (hmm I know...). For the last few Christmases we have alternated except last year we spent what should have been my parents' turn with my PILs as last year we moved 'away' (= from around the corner from them to 45 minutes away) and, at my suggestion, I felt MIL would like us there and would like the gesture of an extra year with her at Christmas. I don't know if she ever realised this but felt we should offer and we did it. Have always done what she would like and put her first.

Christmas is a big deal for my MIL in that she has never worked but always cooked and hosted and comes from a Mediterranean culture that places great importance on family get-togethers and on top of which is very anxious about family harmony (not for any factual reason, she just dreads things not being harmonious and her biggest fear, self-confessed, is that her children or family won't see each other once she is dead... confused she is only 69).

So in my opinion for all of these reasons any kind of home hosting situation takes on a hugely disproportionate importance to her.
That sounds mean but don't know how else to put it.

She has even referred to Christmas Day and Boxing Day as "my day": when some rare tension emerged a couple of years ago over something tiny she said "don't ruin my day"...shock

So this year it is definitely my parents' 'turn'. They live near us. My MIL gets that it is their turn. But wants us to visit her at her house "within the few days" after Christmas so that her brother and his family (3 sons in their 20s, all still living at home) can meet the baby.
And so that she can cook big meal etc. I've suggested they come to us, 45 minutes away. I've been told "but you know they don't like to leave XXXXXX (sleepy suburb of Hertfordshire/north London)". I know this is true. They are all lively professionals but in many ways quite insular. They too come from a particular background with regard to family and so forth. I have to say I don't even think the sons would care, it is all projection from my MIL because she is so desperately worried about causing offence, always and at every turn.

So... they won't leave but I am expected to? Dragging three young children, newborn and that's even if I am not sore/having other postnatal issues etc etc.

The problem too that she won't let my FIL drive - he has been diagnosed with mild memory loss and is still allowed to drive but she won't let him - yet does not like driving herself (hates motorways). So all of this makes it difficult for them to come to see us. They could afford a taxi ten times over but won't take one.

The only thing that is making me ask this question and hesitate about whether IABU is that she is on ongoing treatment that gives her pain and fatigue and I do understand that it makes her more tired than usual, I really do.

The funny thing is that several of my friends think I should be much more My Way or the Highway and not even let people visit us much but I am not even considering that! I do want to keep her happy but need to put myself and my baby/family first this time.

(My parents on the other hand while definitely not perfect are completely cool about Christmas and wouldn't even mind if we said we were off to cocktail in the Caribbean (if only!) and weren't seeing them until January.)

Ttbb Fri 10-Nov-17 22:02:20

I think that given how young the baby it is won't hurt them to make the very short trip for once.

KeepItAsItIs Fri 10-Nov-17 22:04:34


"No, sorry MIL, Christmas holidays at home for us this year, with 3 young children and a newborn, I'm sure you understand. You are welcome to come to us but we shan't be going anywhere."

NovemberBlues Fri 10-Nov-17 22:05:00

Op this is a tough one. However with a new born your dh needs to let her down gently and say it may not be possible to see them over Xmas at all this year. It's too stressful for you all and the relatives will live without seeing the new baby. Let her down gently and let dh do it. You and baby and family come first this year!!

Sierra259 Fri 10-Nov-17 22:07:47

I don't think YABU to refuse to travel this year. If family want to meet the baby that much, they can come to you. Just say you're not sure how you'll be feeling a couple of weeks after the birth and don't want to be traipsing around all over the shop.

Kraggle Fri 10-Nov-17 22:08:39

Do mil's brother or nephews drive? They could bring everyone up.

confusedlittleone Fri 10-Nov-17 22:08:39

I'm on the fence with this- do you actually want to deal with people coming to your house? At least if you go somewhere it's 100% on your times and you don't have to do any hosting stuff

Pancakeflipper Fri 10-Nov-17 22:14:50

I'm not on the fence for totally selfish reasons.
I'd prefer to go to their house and reserve myself the most comfortable chair and let everyone else entertain my children, feed me and let me cuddle my baby once they've all coo'd over how beautiful my baby is.
And also ask that I can go to their bedroom to rest/feed when needed.

SWtobe Fri 10-Nov-17 22:16:51

So your well enough to go your parents for Christmas Day and that’s fine to bring everyone out then

But you can’t do it for mil a few days after hmm

Crabbo Fri 10-Nov-17 22:23:47

I don’t think you’d be unreasonable in not going if you don’t want to, but I do think it might be easier for you to go than to host everyone at your house. If you go to them there’s no cooking or cleanup for you and you can leave when you get tired and feel like going home. Given that it’s only 45 minutes away personally I’d see it as the easier option.

Inertia Fri 10-Nov-17 22:25:35

Are your parents coming to you? In your shoes, I wouldn't want to be travelling at Christmas.

I think it's perfectly reasonable for the new parents to stay put and the families to visit.

Maelstrop Fri 10-Nov-17 22:26:18

How come all the adult blokes can't bring her for a visit? There's no way I'd be dragging myself soon post birth plus 4 dc under 6 almost an hour away. She can come to you, let's not be silly here.

NovemberBlues Fri 10-Nov-17 22:26:35

I hope I don't ask my dd if they grace me with babies to travel to me!

Blondephantom Fri 10-Nov-17 22:27:15

Could you maybe offer an alternative? Think about when you would be happy to make the journey and get it pencilled in the diary. Maybe reassuring her she will get the big family get together and meal will help x

firawla Fri 10-Nov-17 22:27:24

It’s only 45 mins away though, I’d say you’re probably better to just go to them (a few days after not on Christmas Day, as mentioned) save yourself having to host, and you can leave when you need to rather than them all coming to you and then maybe staying late when you’re tired? If they’re not expecting you to stay over I don’t see the issue really. If they did want you to stay over, then I would tell them no as you’re only 45 minutes and it’s pointless hassle. I wouldn’t say mil is bu particulately, as she hasn’t insisted on having Christmas Day so she’s trying to find a good solution?

gilson Fri 10-Nov-17 22:33:40

Thank you everyone. I'm also just a bit exhausted after a month of exams which probably isn't helping.

I wouldn't be hosting anyone at home on Christmas Day. It is our 'turn' to go to my parents. We would go to my parents who live 15 minutes away and are much less demanding than MIL. I feel comfortable there. Whereas MIL queries baby feeding, sleeping, etc etc - usual stuff. Last time she didn't even understand lochia post birth and said it was "unusual", whatever, I guess just something she has forgotten.

Usually I would agree that going elsewhere is more relaxing but I'm talking about a few days after Christmas for mince pies, etc. I can do that or rather DH can! I can also go upstairs to feed or whatever.

Whereas going to MIL means a full day (she likes us to arrive for drinks by 11am, we leave at 8pm so children sleep, usually no problem), 20-30 people, fussing, etc

gilson Fri 10-Nov-17 22:37:00

Inertia, thanks, my parents have offered to come to us (they live 15 minutes walk away) but realistically more relaxing to go there and let my DM cook (she is happy to, which I really appreciate)

NovemberBlues Fri 10-Nov-17 22:39:36


Justbookedasummmerholiday Fri 10-Nov-17 22:39:41

Your dps turn this year. Simple surely?

NamasteNiki Fri 10-Nov-17 22:53:42

Last time she didn't even understand lochia post birth and said it was "unusual", whatever, I guess just something she has forgotten.

Why are you discussing that with MIL? TMI!

gilson Fri 10-Nov-17 23:08:15

Namaste I didn't. Come on, who would... she asked why I needed to buy maternity pads when staying there.

Sugarpiehoneyeye Fri 10-Nov-17 23:09:42

It's a no brainer. This year, under the circumstances, they come to you, by taxi, for mince pies, or you'll see them in the New Year.
Life is not, all about treading on egg shells around MIL to keep her happy. Be kind to yourself.

Splinterz Fri 10-Nov-17 23:13:10

Ok, so MIL wants to show of new grandchild to extended family yes?
Mil wants to cook, yes?
Or you have everyone at your house.

No brainer, go to MILS
Added benefit - you can leave when you want, where as its more difficult to turf out visitors.

But equally importantly, would your husband like to see his family with his children at any time over the festivities?

gilson Fri 10-Nov-17 23:13:16

Thanks Sugarpie, perfectly put. Thanks to all.

PickAChew Fri 10-Nov-17 23:15:03

Even with a 4th baby, due mid december could be born at Christmas. Definitely put your foot down. You'd be perfectly entitled to say you're having Christmas just your immediate family - you two and the kids, but hopefully, your mum will look after you with minimal fuss.

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