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to suggest my mum cancels/or adapts her weekend away with my children?

(23 Posts)
onthepier Mon 29-Jun-09 10:03:38

My mum, much earlier in the year got wind of a special offer at a nearby holiday camp, lovely looking place, children's entertainment on site, lovely swimming pool etc. She said she'd really like to take our two children, just by herself in their summer holidays as a treat from her. (My dad will be spending a lot of the three day break with them but return home each night, as it's a small caravan and they're so local).

Back in February we agreed to it, sounded a lovely idea but as the months have passed I'm not so sure. My mum instantly seems to put the children on edge, if she comes with me to a school event she's irritable straight away if the children don't look at her immediately and wave, if we all go out to eat she's on at them constantly, "Sit up straighter, why aren't you eating that?, don't talk with your mouth full, and if they ask me for anything extra, ie an ice cream and I say yes, she'll then have a go at me (in front of them), for giving in too easily!!

Our children are 7 and 11, my eldest is due to start secondary school. At the moment she gets very tense when she knows we're seeing her grandma, which leads her to be irritable when they arrive, prompting yet more comments. Some friends called round for my dd last time she was here, and my mum just couldn't believe the transformation, smiling, bounding around, laughing and joking!grin Was pleased that mum could see her in that environment but she just seemed offended, "Hmm, she's not like that with me!"

The children seem a bit anxious about this trip rather than looking forward to it. Do you think I'd be unreasonable to suggest mum calls it off, or suggesting I sleep in the caravan instead of mum, and she just joins us in the daytime? It looks a lovely place and I know the dc's would have a great time there with me and/or dh. Don't want to seem ungrateful but it'd just be a waste of money if it went badly.

Mum always looks forward to having the grandchildren but just doesn't seem to be on their wavelength, which causes tension at the time, (and afterwards for me)hmm

mrsjammi Mon 29-Jun-09 10:06:54

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CurryMaid Mon 29-Jun-09 10:07:37

I don't know really? Is she likely to be a bit mnore relaxed on holiday than she normally is?

posieparker Mon 29-Jun-09 10:09:58

Gosh, can't you ask your Mother to enjoy her grandchildren?
Talk to your children and ask them about their feelings, they are old enough. Explain that it will hurt GMs feelings if they don't go.

paranoidmother Mon 29-Jun-09 10:12:09

Is there any way that you could have a word with you mum to say that as it's a holiday she needs to back off a bit. Is she taking them just her because she wants to try and bond with them without you and try to find a middle ground with them.

My DC's are much younger but what I did for my mum and my in-laws was to give them a list of rules and what time they were use to things.
Like what type of thing they liked to eat and at what time - so that if they started to get grumpy at 6pm and hadn't been fed that was the answer. Would something like that help?

Things like eating rules - no eating with mouth open or no talking whilst food in your mouth.
Must try some of everything on plate but doesn't have to eat it all.
As it's holidays ice-creams are a yes apart from 30 minutes before a meal.

Perhaps something like this that you hand over and say' this is so that you have an day to day idea of what we do just to refer to. It also has what we're up to for your time away in case you need anyone. Dr's numbers, what type of medicine, how to clam down Dc's etc.

Good luck and perhaps if you explain to you 11 year old you are doing this and give her a copy or let her help you. It might ease her mind. Remind her it's only a few days and it'll be fine. See if you can find something that they both like as a subject to talk about. Might help.

I'm sure it'll all work out fine.

GuessWhatIAmANameChanger Mon 29-Jun-09 10:17:14

You seem to have a good handle on what makes your mother tense about their behaviour. Why don't you sit the dc down and give them a few pointers on things they can easily do to make things flow (sit nice and quiet at dinner as there will be plenty of time to run round afterwards - say please and thank you at every opportunity - the usual grandma pleasers). Also talk to your mum and tell her that your dc are used to a more relaxed approach and that her approach makes them feeltense and nervous so could she try to be relaxed with the rules over the holiday.

Hopefully if both parties ar trying their best they should be albe to meet in the middle and have a good tie together. If they manage it then it will be a great start to the rest of the relationship andthey can all relax with each other more in the future.

I think YABU to want to change/cancel, I think you need to be doing some ground work with them all to help it go well rather than trying to over-control the situation. They have to work it out between them at some point!

mumeeee Mon 29-Jun-09 15:41:36

YABU to want to change or cancel the weekend away. Would it be possible to speak to your mother about your concerns?

Blu Mon 29-Jun-09 15:49:11

If they were 3 and 5 I would perhaps say 'reconsider' - but they will be FINE, and you never know, left alone with them, she may relax more and develop a closer relationship than is posible when you and she have a little tension about how it should all be done.

Children have to learn to make independent relationships with different people - and i bet they'll have a GREAT time.

She'll wnat to spoil them a bit anyway, as it's her treat and she'll want to see them enjoying themselves.

And if it makes everyone grumpy - well, it isn't for long.

Whatever you do don't let your children get wind you have doubts, or they will play you like mad over it.

MummyDragon Mon 29-Jun-09 18:56:05

I don't agree with the other posters. At 7 and 11 your children are still children. Why should they have to go on holiday with a grumpy grandma? They might have a horrible time. Go with your gut instincts.

PeachyTheRiverParrettHarlot Mon 29-Jun-09 19:03:42

If she's paying then it's massively U to suggezst that you and your dh have the holiday! Seriously not on IMO

of course if you are paying you ahve more room to negotiate but OP said was a treat?

I'd let her have a go at it, it's only 3 days and well worth a shot at bonding them.

piscesmoon Mon 29-Jun-09 19:07:21

I would let them go-they may get on much better with grandma without you there-at least it gives them chance to get to know each other.

PeachyTheRiverParrettHarlot Mon 29-Jun-09 19:08:48

Also OTP- it's normal for kids to be nervous before a break like this; ds2 is off to his first cub camp on Friday and though desperate to go (he's 8) is also a little bit scared. but that's something we all have to learn to deal with isn't it?

piscesmoon Mon 29-Jun-09 19:31:51

It is a shame that she hasn't had them to stay since they were babies-or perhaps she has? I think it is much better for both sides to get to know each other if the parent isn't around.

Horton Mon 29-Jun-09 19:33:10

Yep, I'd let them go. But give them a way of contacting you if they are really miserable. Lend the older one your mobile phone with strict instructions not to use it for anything else if you think she can be trusted? Or get a cheapie PAYG one which you could call them on each evening? Or just a purse of 20p pieces for a pay phone? Presumably you could drive to get them if there was a problem. But probably your mother will be a bit more relaxed on holiday, at least I hope so.

katiestar Mon 29-Jun-09 19:34:44

Too late to cancel now.Its only a weekend they'll be fine

Podrick Mon 29-Jun-09 19:59:46

Will probably really improve the relationship smile

5Foot5 Mon 29-Jun-09 20:10:56

It's only for 3 days and it might do their relationship a world of good.

onthepier Mon 29-Jun-09 22:11:19

Thanks for all your posts, I must point out that if myself or dh were going on this trip instead of my mum, we would insist on paying! However, received an e-mail today from another family member re. arrangements for this coming weekend, and she added on, "Hope you're all well, how lovely to hear your mum is taking the children on a mini-break, called in on her yesterday and can tell she just can't wait!"

Hearing from someone else how much she's looking forward to it, I just can't ask her to cancel now or even suggest I go instead.
I'm going to leave it as it is, but have a chat with mum beforehand. Holidays should be fun! Last time we all went to a theme park together she was as tense as anything, just couldn't seem to cope with the children's excitement,sad. I know manners and everything are important, but surely so is fun!!

She's had them to stay many times before, sometimes it's been OK, other times when she's brought them back she's seemed stressed out. Their bickering also seems to bother her, (to us normal sibling disagreements, but then I suppose we're used to it).

My dd has a mobile phone which she'll take with her. It shouldn't be like this as my mum actually thinks the world of her grandchildren, it's just that she seems to look forward to spending time with them, more than she actually enjoys it at the time. Their grandad is more laid back, (people say I'm like him myself), and they do gravitate towards him more.

RumourOfAHurricane Mon 29-Jun-09 22:18:10

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RumourOfAHurricane Mon 29-Jun-09 22:19:34

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cory Mon 29-Jun-09 22:22:01

I find dcs and GPs cope much better when I'm not hovering around anxiously monitoring everybody else so they are not judging each other. A couple of years ago, my Mum sent me off to eat in the kitchen. Apparently ds's table manners improved no end. blush

Hulababy Mon 29-Jun-09 22:26:44

It is only 3 days and you may find that 3 days away with just Grandma and not you or DH will do their relationship a whole lot of good, een if the first half day is a bit tense. Give it a chance.

And make sure that your children are prepared for it too - at 7 and 11 they are old enough to kno that things might be a bit different than normal, but to be polite and well mannered to Grandma no matter what.

TBH though - let them go. It might be a great thing for all.

Hulababy Mon 29-Jun-09 22:28:58

x posts with you - serves me right for not posting straight away, etc.

Have a quiet word but nothing too heavy with your mum. She sounds like she is really looking forward to it. Talk tot he children. Explain that Grandma is older and likes things to be a certain way, but with a bit of compromise they;ll all rub along fine.

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