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Struggling with differences between Irish and English families

(18 Posts)
wonderstuff99 Wed 19-Dec-18 22:50:54

I'm not sure if its me going mad,but I'm finding the way English families deal with cousins, in-laws,just any extended families so odd.
My family are Irish but I grew up here. My parents always made an effort to go and see their sisters/brothers/our cousins at least once a year. I also have a son with an Irish man but am now engaged to an English man.

I'm finding the "English" way of dealing with extended family so odd. They just don't seem fussed about getting the kids together in school holidays. The adults don't seem fussed about doing anything together with each other during the holidays. My mum dotes on my son and takes care of him as much as she can,a real Irish Granny. But my future mother in law asks my partner for £5 when she looks after his daughter! They're all just so very...distant!

Is this me? Or on a whole are Irish/Catholic families closer/make more of an effort to spend time together?

BlueJay1 Wed 19-Dec-18 23:24:46

My English family go to huge trouble to see each other often. We have a large family and are in touch with everyone we've seen since childhood.
We have 4 days over Christmas and new year spent with different segments of the family on MY side and then 2 big family parties for my DH family, one last weekend and one on NYday. It's a lot of people. I'm tired just thinking of it!

We see the children as much as possible. There's a few hours drive between everyone but most school holidays we'll arrange a day at someone's house or a attraction.

Additionally we're soon flying to the USA for 2nd cousin (once removed)wedding .. we try and go to all family weddings if invited 😊.

Inkspellme Wed 19-Dec-18 23:34:31

I think that’s just different families and not an Irish English divide. There are plenty of Irish families who don’t do the get together you describe and plenty of English who do.

As for the real Irish Granny remark - well My isn Irush granny wasn’t like that. Neither is my mom or MIL. They love their grandkids and I remember feeling loved by my grandmother but she didn’t mind me like that. All three of those grandmothers were very involved in retirement in local activities so didn’t have the time.

I see no relevance in the Catholic bit at all.

DonderandBlitzen Wed 19-Dec-18 23:36:47

That's just your in laws. Of course English families meet up with siblings/nieces/nephews/cousins regularly and i don't know any grandparents who charge for childcare.

flossietoot Wed 19-Dec-18 23:39:10

I disagree with the above- I have just moved back to Ireland from Scotland and working in a very working class, catholic area. There is definitely a difference that I have noticed with big catholic families! Many tend to want to live very close to siblings/ parents/ cousins (hence why you can stay in the hostels for up to four years as such a demand to stay in the area), and there is even a different approach to caring for elderly relatives.

flossietoot Wed 19-Dec-18 23:40:25

Obviously English families see family members too but I was shocked at just how insular and family focused many in the area I work in are.

DonderandBlitzen Wed 19-Dec-18 23:49:48

Have you started this thread because your in laws don't want to get together with you at xmas and you've decided English people don't see family at xmas?

PennyMordauntsLadyBrain Wed 19-Dec-18 23:50:48

Only anecdotal, but DH and I’s families are very close and we’re from NI and RoI- not in a suffocating way, but we just enjoy spending time together. I don’t think it’s a catholic thing- I’m protestant and feel just as strongly about it as DH.

My BIL is English and finds the closeness very strange- he works with a lot of other English lads who have settled with NI women and they have had group conversations where they’ve talked about how girls from here are very family orientated and they definitely don’t see it as a good thing. It seems very alien to them- obviously a tiiiiiiny sample of people, but it does seem like a different dynamic.

flossietoot Wed 19-Dec-18 23:54:13

I think it also goes back to the whole ‘matriarch mother’ type figures in Ireland- my friends in Scotland for example were shocked how much influence my mother had over me- wasn’t strange to me as all my NI friends mothers were the same!

Youngandfree Wed 19-Dec-18 23:55:10

Omg yes!! My oh is from U.K. and they have family get togethers once or twice a year and it’s all very formal. (Even when we lived over there this was the case!)Whereas we meet with my family all the time, we’re always arranging things to do with all the kids to create memories for them!!

Screamqueenz Wed 19-Dec-18 23:55:46

I'm English and have a very close knit but geographically distant family.
We love to spend time together over Christmas, and are fully booked from this Saturday right through.
Sometimes we have a15 minute journey, sometimes it's 4 hours.
I still want to spend time with them.

Hohocabbage Wed 19-Dec-18 23:55:59

Where is “here” OP?

Holidayshopping Wed 19-Dec-18 23:57:02

But my future mother in law asks my partner for £5 when she looks after his daughter!

I think she’s just rather odd. Not all English people are like that.

flossietoot Wed 19-Dec-18 23:59:14

Yip- as a child all my social life was based around doing stuff with my cousins. Trips to the panto every year, outings to portrush at Easter/ summer.

PlatypusPie Wed 19-Dec-18 23:59:51

Your future MIL asking for £5 to look after her own DD is odd and hardly representative of any nationality.

Loopytiles Thu 20-Dec-18 00:02:14

You’re generalising. Your DP’s family is different from yours.

How much time we spend with extended family often depends on relationships, resources (time, money) and wishes of people in the family.

As a DC I spent lots of time with extended family, but as a “nuclear” family we didn’t enjoy it.

MIL’s request for money when she sees her GC sounds unusual, unless perhaps you’ve asked her to provide regular childcare, or she’s very short on cash but wants to treat the GC.

OkPedro Thu 20-Dec-18 00:05:09

Nope. I'm Irish and my Irish family are shite. You're buying into the Irish granny stereotype. It's got nothing to do with your in laws being English

SoleBizzz Thu 20-Dec-18 00:16:56

My Irish Gran was definitely not bothered about her own children. She put them into an orphanage. Go figure

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