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SIL and Christmas

(25 Posts)
MyOwnAdventCalendar Fri 27-Nov-15 18:06:46

Every year my SIL comes to stay with us over Christmas with my MIL. I am beginning to feel a bit resentful about this for a few reasons. During the year my SIL pays my DC absolutely no attention whatsoever. They see her twice a year at most. She is not busy and she actually lives and works very close to my DCs school. I don't expect her to do anything for them, but she has never taken my DC to the park, cinema or for a bite to eat in 8 years.

When they are both here I am pretty much pushed out. MIL says that SIL hardly sees them and she insists that SIL reads them their Christmas story on Christmas Eve and gets them ready for bed. I miss that special bit of getting ready for Santa. In the past I have arranged for us all to do nice things on Christmas Eve e.g. go to a show and I am the one who ends up sitting on the end of the aisle whilst they all have a great time with my DC. I know this sounds petty and uncharitable but it is getting to the point where my Christmas memories with my DC are me on the outside looking in. Whilst here MIL comments on how SIL is a beloved Aunty and how my DC adore her.

I have told my DH that I don't see why I have to host them every year and why can't SIL host MIL sometimes since she has her own house and own life. My DH says that they want to spent Christmas with family and around children. However, I need a break from this.

Do you think it is awful of me to say that SIL has to start and alternate Christmas hosting MIL? I want to have some Christmases on our own as I am really not enjoying this. Also, her monopolising my DC at Christmas is really irritating me. If she wants to sit next to my DC at a musical then why can't she go book her own and take them? How can I deal with this this year without blowing a fuse?

DrGoogleWillSeeYouNow Fri 27-Nov-15 18:15:03

Well, here's what I'd do.

I'd start by ensuring there is no room for SIL to stay overnight - make your spare room out of order, fill it with junk, say the bed has broken, whatever. If she only lives nearby then I don't see why she needs to sleep at yours.

Have a chat with DH. Explain calmly that you'd like the occasional Christmas just you, him and the kids. Explain as you have here that you feel pushed out, you don't enjoy it and you need a break.

If that falls on deaf ears, and DH insists on hosting them, then he can start hosting them this year. He can clean the house, make up the beds, organise all of the food shopping, he can do all of the cooking, wrap presents, etc. That way you get a hopefully get a break and can concentrate on your DC.

I don't know how effective that'll be long term, but it's a start.

AddictedtoGreys Fri 27-Nov-15 18:26:11

It's only once a year a special magical time for children, I think it's perfectly reasonable for you to want to spend that time with your children. And I would certainly put my foot down about Christmas Eve. I think Alternating Christmases is fair, your not saying they can't spend time with family just not sleeping over every time.

Imbroglio Fri 27-Nov-15 18:30:34

I wonder if your MiL is trying to get your SiL interested in your children because she thinks that will be a good thing for everybody, and is too absorbed in this project to notice that you feel left out?

VagueIdeas Fri 27-Nov-15 18:33:09

It's not uncharitable to be pissed off that they waltz in and actively block you from spending quality time like Christmas Eve stories and theatre shows. It made me sad to read that because I would be heartbroken if I was never allowed to do those things with my children at Christmas.

Nydj Fri 27-Nov-15 18:40:34

You could try avoiding feeling pushed out by either speaking to your mil directly and explaining how you find the experience and set out what you want to do in future e.g. tell your children a bedtime story on Christmas Eve, play with your children or watch them play with their toys etc and what needs to happen to make it happen. You could ask them to make/bring certain dishes for everyone to eat on Christmas Day so that you have less to do on the day itself.

Xenadog Fri 27-Nov-15 18:47:36

So your DH says what his mother and sister want trumps what his wife wants? Nice.

I think you need to very firmly tell him that this year he has to put you first. He may be in a difficult position because a precedent has been set but actually it's not set in stone that what has happened in the past has to happen again and again. I would tell him everything you have written down here and see what he says.

If he doesn't agree to change the way Christmas goes this year then as they say on here you don't have a MiL problem you have a DH problem.

Flyonthewindscreen Fri 27-Nov-15 20:13:53

If they live locally, why are they staying the night with you on Christmas Eve? A compromise might be that you have Christmas Eve to yourselves and Christmas morning breakfast, with them invited to come late over late morning. It sounds infuriating that SIL swoops in once a year expecting "the best bits'.

glentherednosedbattleostrich Fri 27-Nov-15 20:19:41

Oh hell no. I work my arse off doing the grunt work every day for my DD, so I'll be damned if I'm going to hand over the special bits to someone who can't be arsed for the rest of the year. Put your foot down, it is totally unreasonable that your DH and his family are pushing you aside.

MIL 'SIL can get the children ready for bed'
You 'No thanks, MIL, DH and I will do it@
MIL 'but she enjoys it so much and hardly see's them'
You 'oh well, she can come do it another night, perhaps she'd like to babysit NYE?'
MIL 'oh no, SIL will do it'
You 'no MIL, I will do it, DH why don't you and SIL sort out drinks / dinner / nibbles whilst I do this' big smile, walk away.

tomatotoad Fri 27-Nov-15 20:44:15

How did the 'getting them ready for bed' routine begin? I'm amazed that she does this!

mintoil Fri 27-Nov-15 21:16:19

Another case for "No is a complete sentence."

Seriously OP just say no, this isn't working for you to host every year. If DH would rather spend Christmas with his mum and sister that's fine, you will be spending it with DC at your family/friends. Hopefully that will make him see where his priorities should lie?

It sounds like you are being walked all over - time to put a stop to it.

coconutpie Fri 27-Nov-15 21:25:13

YANBU. You put in the hard work all year and then your SIL pushes you out? No. Just no.

bjrce Fri 27-Nov-15 22:05:35

Hi op,
I would imagine it hasn't even occurred to either your mil or sil, that you might be remotely upset about the Christmas set up. I would you imagine your mil is including the sil in the bedtime routine because she realises she doesn't have children and is trying to make her feel included.
I think you are very kind to have them year after year. I have 4 dc and I can only imagine how stressful it is to have guests every year. I have one DS whom I am very close to, she has no children. Sometimes she is so far removed as to what is needed it's daunting. So I wouldn't judge your sil too harshly she won't be on the same wavelength as you. If the main issue is the Christmas eve/ night routine, I would suggest you think about exactly what you want the evening to map out and that's the way it will go. Let your sil do a story for the dc, but ensure you did what you want with the dc. Our routine is baths, pjs, ensuring Santa and the reindeers are sorted, story then off to bed. Include them by all means but don't allow anyone to push you out. Best of luck

MyOwnAdventCalendar Sat 28-Nov-15 15:44:01

From what I have seen of my MIL and SIL I doubt very much they would take my feelings into consideration as they really do think the universe revolves around them.

I have had massive arguments with my DH over this including another one this morning. I told him that this is all his fault because he doesn't come up with a solution where we are all happy as in they get to see the DC on Christmas or Boxing Day and I get to have a Christmas too by inviting them over for half the day. He says that they will be very upset if they don't stay over because they want to drink and not drive home. I told him that he is more concerned with keeping them happy than me which he denies.

tribpot Sat 28-Nov-15 15:55:02

Oh well if they want to drink then that really is the main priority, isn't it? Sheesh. Not you getting to spend time with your own children, far more important some random woman they barely know reads them their bedtime story, what a load of bollocks. I'm amazed you've put up with this for as long as you have.

What about your parents, are they not around MyOwnAdventCalendar?

It sounds like the main issue isn't really Christmas Day (is there some reason they can't come over on Christmas morning? Presumably they don't need to start boozing at 8 a.m., right?) but Christmas Eve. If you could guarantee to get that alone with your dc would it be a reasonable compromise for you?

I honestly think if you get no traction on this issue with your DH then you absolutely do as DrGoogle suggests. Absolutely nothing towards hosting Christmas at all. Get presents for the kids and put the tree up (those are the bits they care about) and nothing else. No presents, no beds get made, no Christmas dinner. (Obviously ensure you have something in to feed the kids, they won't care if it's not roast dinner). On Christmas Eve you take the kids out before they arrive so you can go to the panto just you and the kids (DH has chosen his side and it's not yours) and bring them back at bedtime and still insist on reading their story to them.

VagueIdeas Sat 28-Nov-15 16:11:17

He says that they will be very upset if they don't stay over because they want to drink and not drive home

And they've never heard of this novel little service called a taxi? They stay over at tor house just to avoid paying for one? Fuck that.

mintoil Sat 28-Nov-15 16:12:47

The taxi fare could be your Christmas present to them OP grin

AddToBasket Sat 28-Nov-15 16:50:26

Oh, this would really upset me. I love to host but this would be too much.

Where is your family? If they aren't around I wouldn't be beyond saying to DH something like 'I am overwhelmed by your family' (that might be easier for him to process than 'pushed out'.

I think just say no, this year.

TooSassy Sat 28-Nov-15 19:38:36

Why don't you have this convo with your SIL directly?

The fact that she doesn't do much during the rest of the year indicates that she isn't overly interested in your DC. It's a possibility that she is posting on AIBU about the pressure her DM puts on her every Christmas to go to her Brothers house and entertain his kids. Kidding obviously, but you see my point.

I'd just directly say (before Christmas Eve) that this year there's going to be a change and that you're doing these things with your own DC.

coconutpie Sat 28-Nov-15 20:08:40

Tell DH then that if he wants them there that HE can not drink for the day so HE can drive them home.

tribpot Sat 28-Nov-15 21:42:14

That's a good idea coconutpie.

WhereYouLeftIt Sat 28-Nov-15 22:20:44

"He says that they will be very upset if they don't stay over because they want to drink and not drive home. "
So he stays sober and drives them home. Simples. I await his next objection and look forward to shooting it down.

scarlets Sat 28-Nov-15 22:35:16

I think that a fair compromise would be for them to arrive at 10-11am on Christmas Day and leave at some point on Boxinb Day. That way, you have Christmas Eve to yourselves.

patienceisvirtuous Sat 28-Nov-15 22:38:32

Some good suggestions. I would just communicate directly with MIL and SIL and tell them you want to sit next to your dc at the panto and do the xmas eve routine because it's important to you.

earlgreycat Sat 28-Nov-15 22:56:11

Does SIL have kids? Maybe it doesn't occur to her that you would want this stuff - have you asked her to do it?

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