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falling out with my parents, how to handle high days and holidays now?

(15 Posts)
AFewGoodWomen Fri 30-Oct-15 18:59:53

Over the summer, we (DH and me) had a pretty severe falling out with my parents. We don't live in the same country so when they come to spray, they come for weeks rather than an afternoon. Usually, I operate as a buffer but this summer, I was away for longish periods for work (first time this has happened) so DH was alone with them. I think it is the first time he has seen the full measure of their judgey, controlling ways, which I am always at pains to smooth over / conceal / make the best of. My parents are pretty right wing, think Margaret Thatcher was brill, have made a lot of money in BTL property, classic baby boomers who have had a lot of things fall right for them, property-wise. Very materialistic. I would NEVER ask them their opinions on the refugee crisis, for fear world war 3 would break out between us. But they are caring grandparents, albeit a bit judgey.

Basically the opposite of DH and me. But I figure politics is one thing and we all try to get along for the grandchildren (mopey children) and to keep the peace.

So this summer it all came to a head. I got back from my work trip to find they were all barely speaking. My parents had been giving it plenty about the way we raise our kids. DH was keeping a lid on it for politeness but it was simmering away. They are not respectful of our choices (i.e. Undermine us in front of the children, make comments about everything, criticism our friends / other friends...)

Sorry, this is long. The point is, my birthday (not a landmark) is coming up. I always invite them to come and stay around my birthday, we usually have a party with friends, my parents are very sociable, then we have a nice family dinner out somewhere. Sounds a bit OTT but we also celebrate my parents' birthdays in a similar way.

But this year, I just don't want them to come. DH and I ended up having some terrible times over the summer because of their weird judginess, comments about him, his life choices (he is a SAHD), comments about cooking (!) etc.which out us under horrible pressure.

My first priority is my family. DH and our DC. DH and I have now sorted things out and decided that we need to keep our distance from them a little.

What would you do?
A)Call them and explain they will not be getting an invite for 10 days either side of my birthday, per usual

B)ignore it and hope they don't mention it

I am veering towards b) ....

CMOTDibbler Fri 30-Oct-15 19:07:42

I wouldn't say anything about it - as an adult, you get to make your own choices about how you celebrate your birthday and you don't need to inform others.

I think your dh did incredibly well not to commit mass murder btw - if I had the ILs in the house for 20 days I would.

SolsburyHell Fri 30-Oct-15 19:12:18

Don't mention anything to them and if they say anything to you just say that you are having a quiet one this year but can't wait to see them at some unspecified time in the future.

To be honest though, I can see you having to face the problem head on at some point.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Fri 30-Oct-15 19:13:51

I would go for b. Being a parent does not excuse rudeness towards another adult.

InvasionOfTheBodyShatners Fri 30-Oct-15 19:15:03

Don't do anything. I'm going through a sticky patch with one of my parents at the moment, and I'm finally learning that always being the one to facilitate bridge-building is getting me nowhere. It's humiliating.

QuintShhhhhh Fri 30-Oct-15 19:16:36


AFewGoodWomen Fri 30-Oct-15 19:21:15

Oh I am so relived.
I was pretty sure the consensus would be "be honest, tell them why they are not being invited".
They are pretty nice people, in a sort of small-minded suburban way. They like food the way they cook it, so anything (couscous! Lasagne!) way out causes problems. They like watching what they like on Telly and are not very tolerant of the fact that we like other Telly programmes,,.,not a big deal you would think, but cue lots of comments sotto voce. They think we should go "easier" on our kids re homework, despite the fact that we only chivvy them to do what has been set by the school, no more, no less. They are incredibly critical of all our friends. I don't think they have a good word to say about any of our friends. So what? But they don't keep it to themselves, they are constantly berating us for the perceived faults of our friends.....I could go on.

My DH has always got on with them, in a sort of distant, "live and let live way". But this year I just don't want the stress that comes with them.

PUGaLUGS Fri 30-Oct-15 19:21:17


AFewGoodWomen Fri 30-Oct-15 20:06:36

Total agreement on (B)
Is this an MN record?

Milkand2sugarsplease Sun 01-Nov-15 21:55:25

I think to do A would be to invite a full scale war to be honest.
I'm not saying B will avoid the war altogether and it may be a little uncomfortable waiting for whatever battle is coming but its defo the route I'd take.

For what it's worth, it would be nice if you could have some sort of dialogue about your feelings with them - I only say this as I have neither parent now after my dad passed away when I was a child and my mum passed away a couple of years ago - so I hate to see families who have parents in their lives at war.

Chottie Sat 28-Nov-15 04:08:04

I would do B too.

If they get in contact with you, be honest and say that you and DH have decided to just spend your birthday with your DCs.

If they press you, repeat.

Sansoora Sat 28-Nov-15 04:27:57

Sounds a bit OTT but we also celebrate my parents' birthdays in a similar way.

Its not OTT. Its very normal smile

I really don't know whether I'd go with A or B because the way we do birthdays means there would be loads of phone calls between the family about the upcoming birthday and there's no way it would/could be ignored and not mentioned.

I think however I'd be using their last visit, and the fallout, to say there's a new way of doing things and we're going to put it into practice on my birthday - so behave or it will be very different birthday next year.

I think they need a chance to sort things out and learn to play nicely.

OhBeloved Sun 06-Dec-15 08:36:25

say there's a new way of doing things and we're going to put it into practice on my birthday - so behave or it will be very different birthday next year.

I think using those words and that tone will escalate everything.

You need to tell your parents (when you are ready and it's a good time) how what they say makes you and DH feel. Be specific.

If you're anything like me write it down now while you remember or you'll forget.

mintoil Sun 06-Dec-15 18:14:49

Are you sure they won't just turn up?

celtictoast Wed 09-Dec-15 21:21:14


If you do (A) when they haven't asked, they could say you're accusing them of presuming they'll be invited.

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