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How to handle SIL re cancelling on my 3year old

(54 Posts)
Francescgrace Mon 08-Jul-13 09:05:52

We had a family birthday barbecue at home yesterday for my 3 year old DS's bday. It had been planned for several weeks with everyone agreeing to the date. We have small families so it was just my mum, MIL and FIL, my bro and his wife and my husbands sister and her husband.

Two hours before I got a text from her saying that their barbecue the previous night had gone on longer than expected so their friends were still there and they weren't going to come. I replied just saying "DS will be very disappointed" and then got another one back saying she was sorry.

I think this is a) rude as you just don't cancel at that short notice when people have catered for you etc and b) a horrible thing to do to your three year old nephew. My husband is angry too and we don't know how to handle this for the best. We don't think they enjoy spending time with us which is fine, but I feel the need to protect my son from being treated badly. The family is generally pretty dysfunctional and my inlaws have defended my SIL and asked my husband not to fall out over it.

Any tips for how to handle this without blowing it out of proportion but at the same time giving the message that we will not be treated like that and just ignore it?

Thank you.

cornypony Mon 08-Jul-13 09:08:13

was your ds really that bothered about them not coming?
I think you're overreacting a bit TBH

deliakate Mon 08-Jul-13 09:08:20

There's nowt you can do in my opinion. Sorry for your ds, but do not let it spoil the day.

Pagwatch Mon 08-Jul-13 09:11:04

It's an odd time when parties are about uncles and aunts. Parties ime become about friends as soon as nursery/school starts. So given that he is three and bh probably couldn't care less, I would let it go.

Francescgrace Mon 08-Jul-13 09:15:29

Thanks for replies. I know it's not a massive issue but I still think it's really rude to cancel at two hours even on adults just because you basically don't fancy it. I don't like being treated like that! He had his friends round on Saturday for a party with them so this was just family.

JessicaBeatriceFletcher Mon 08-Jul-13 09:16:41

I really don't think your three-year old is going to be emotionally scared by this, do you?

I can understand your desire to "protect [your] son from being treated badly" but his auntie not coming to a family barbecue because they are still having to entertain friends really doesn't fall under that category.

Francescgrace Mon 08-Jul-13 09:18:03

I guess the other thing is that there's a bit of a history of only wanting to see us when she wants something so I guess it's that which annoys me really and not just the party thing. I guess my overreaction is prob due to that so I do need to separate the two issues.

TakingTheStairs Mon 08-Jul-13 09:19:15

I think you're overreacting.
I know that you're disappointed she's not coming but she was honest with you and told you in advance of the party. Yes that was still rude of her to cancel, but you just have to get on with it.
Your 3 year old would have been fine. Plenty of other people to make a fuss of him at the BBQ.

Don't make a mountain out of a molehill.

TakingTheStairs Mon 08-Jul-13 09:20:44

Crossed -posts

If there is that kind of history then I can understand you being annoyed. Don't let her bad behavior upset you, you have no control over it.

fuckwittery Mon 08-Jul-13 09:20:55

I think she is pretty damn rude, as she should have told her friends that she had a family party to go to, but if she had perhaps thought that the friends would be long gone, and not mentioned it, and the friends had ended up staying later she might felt it was rude to kick them out so she could come over. Pretty poor handling by her though and she definitely should have prioritised the family commitment.

However YABU to think that your 3 year old is going to care much, you just breezily tell a 3 year old that they will see Aunty Debbie next week instead and don't let your feelings come into it, most 3 year olds I know might ask a couple of times about it, but pretty much accept it. They just care about singing happy birthday and opening a couple of presents at this age.

JessicaBeatriceFletcher Mon 08-Jul-13 09:21:07

In which case you should be used to this sort of behaviour and not let it get to you any more by inviting them out of courtesy but expecting them not to show. Or you simply stop inviting them to things. But it's not about your DS being disappointed or hurt, though.

Francescgrace Mon 08-Jul-13 09:21:28

No I don't think he'll be emotionally scarred by this- as I say I don't want to blow it out of proportion. I still think it would have been rude to cancel even if it was just a general get together- they could have come later, could have asked their friends to let themselves out or she could have come and left husband with friends. I guess I'm upset for my H too as she never wants to see him unless she needs to borrow something!

Pagwatch Mon 08-Jul-13 09:22:41

Yes. It's rude. No one has said it isn't.
But you have asked how to handle it without blowing it all out of proportion, and the fact that your in laws have asked your husband not o fall out about it suggests that you have already expressed your strong feelings about it. The answer from me is - you are in danger of blowing it out proportion unless you just let it go.

He is three. It's rude but it's not a heinous disrespect from which he needs protecting. It's rudeness from people who are probably privately a bit <shrug> about a toddlers party.

If the family is 'generally pretty dysfunctional' I would regard their non appearance as a fortuitous swerve. And your son already had a party with his friends. You need to let it go. Whatever the history you are overreacting.

Francescgrace Mon 08-Jul-13 09:23:51

Thanks- yes he was fine just with the other family. Thinking about it further I think it's the history which makes me so annoyed and this is just another thing. If I'm honest I probably wouldn't be so cross if she was usually fine.

Pagwatch Mon 08-Jul-13 09:26:46

Yes, it's not about your son at all but about your irritation with her.
Honestly, it will be kinder to you and DH if you stop expecting her to change. It's hurtful but it's who she is. Don't invite her or just invite her the night before ....'we know you don't tend to be able to make these get togethers but ds is having a party tomorrow. Drop in if you fancy it'

Francescgrace Mon 08-Jul-13 09:28:40

Thanks- we don't intend to make a big fuss over it as, as you've said, it's only a birthday party. I can see the protecting thing appears OTT but TBH I already feel like I have to protect him from the dysfunctional family so that comment wasn't just a result of this issue.

Thank you all for helpful comments.

StupidFlanders Mon 08-Jul-13 09:29:16

I agree with pagwatch, just get over it and expect it next time.

deliakate Mon 08-Jul-13 09:30:00

We could all spend our lives being offended if we looked at things in a certain way. Grace and forgiveness (give and take) are what makes the world go around.

Wishfulmakeupping Mon 08-Jul-13 09:33:37

I'd be upset too but think like others say maybe expect less, it's just a shame she puts spending time with her friends over her family sad sil is the one missing out

Francescgrace Mon 08-Jul-13 09:33:54

Thanks- yes I agree re give and take but there does come a point where some people do all the giving and some all the taking!

TNETENNBA Mon 08-Jul-13 09:34:18

This is my advice based on a crap SIL/BIL

You shouldn't worry about it. Always treat her as a 'maybe' for any invites and don't bother getting cross about it.

Some families are more relaxed about family event than others. In your DH's family it may be more OK to do this type of thing.

Your text back was quite stroppy. It's the type of thing to start family wars. Why did you send it and not your DH? You should try not to get involved. Try to leave your DH to deal with his family and take the 'smile and nod' method of dealing with them. (This is what I do)

Three year old parties are not everyone's cup of tea not that that is a excuse for your SIL not going.

TNETENNBA Mon 08-Jul-13 09:38:37

BTW. You really don't need to protect your DS from his dysfunctional family. I am very honest with my DCs and they all grew up understanding how their family works. If you get all upset and indignant then your kids will grow up that way too.
My kids are happy when they see their various 'useless' relatives but aren't 'hurt' by them if they don't remember birthdays or whatever.

Damnautocorrect Mon 08-Jul-13 09:50:39

I had and have this, I've adopted the approach of not telling him until we are practically at the door or surprising him with the guests, its the only way to stop him getting heartbroken.

QuintessentialOldDear Mon 08-Jul-13 09:54:18

I think you are overreacting. Adults do generally not want to spend a day celebrating the birthday of small children. Especially if they dont have kids themselves. Stop "bigging" up the aunt and uncle in front of your child and dont build up expectations!

For a three year old, I think a little tea party with nursery / baby group friends would be perfect.

QuintessentialOldDear Mon 08-Jul-13 09:56:14

I think the best way to protect a child from a dysfunctional family is to stop trying to have family celebrations, and look elsewhere. NOT cause a fall out over a small thing.

You mention giving and taking. Maybe this particular couple feel they are doing all the giving by attending?

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