HELP : Mother-in-Law at Xmas!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Marriage, Relationships & Families
136 replies 6.1K views
Lillibet_2Lillibet_2 Forumite
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I have a bit of a delicate problem. Last night my sister-in-law cornered me & suggested we have my mother-in-law to stay with us between Xmas & new year, Unfortunatley she had the good sense to get our Xmas schedule out of me first & so already knows we are fairly free on the dates in question. I didn't feel I could refuse. However, neither my husband, who only gets on well with his mother when she is at a distance (at least 100 miles!) & I don't really want her to come & stay for a number of reasons :
It is the first Xmas that we will both have time off work together & we are trying for a baby. We were looking forward to some quality time alone. We would usually see her, along with his sister & brother-in-law for a day or a dinner party just before Xmas & we have already said we will have her to stay with us for the 3 days of Xmas next year :-/.
Due to a BIG family rift within my husbands family his mother doesn't speak to most of the family that he is close too. If she is with us we won't be able to spend time with them. However, she firmly believes that as his mother she should be more important in our lives than other family, despite the fact that he is much closer to his aunt & uncle who pratically brough him up :-/.
Although we don't have firm arrangements for that time we have "pending" & unconfirmed arrangements with friends & distant family for dinner parties & get togethers. It seems so mean to say that friends & dinner parties are more important than his mother but our time is precious to all of us at this busy time of year & she, who has never gone out to work, doesn't make allowances for having to fit things around working life :-/.
She is actually very hard to entertain & we don't know what to do with her! We don't like watching too much tv over Xmas (actually none at all over the main 3 days), but may want to catch up on videoed films & dvd gifts before we go back to work. She doesn't like shopping & pretty much everything else is shut. We would usually spend the time reading, listening to music, going to plays & with friends, not to mention enjoying the luxury of an afternoon nap. She doesn't like reading as it makes her eyes hurt, she doesn't like our kind of music, (we are pop & classical, she is Daniel O'Donnel & Donny Osman, there is just no compromise!) She hates theatre & won't pay the price of theater tickets & will not expect to have to share us with friends (& we aren't too keen on inflicting her on them anyway!) She definately doesn't approve of afternoon naps! Playing cards & board games & even going for long country walks (if the weather is good) are all nice but for 4 days with someone you don't really want to be with? :-/

We don't want to upset her, she is a nice enough person & not malicious but somewhat overbearing & demanding & we really aren't as close to her as she thinks we should be. We don't want to be mean or spiteful, especially at Christmas but this really wasn't what we had planned for maybe (hopefully!) our last Christmas as just the 2 of us.
Please help, any & all advice appreciated.
Thanks
Post Natal Depression is the worst part of giving birth:p

In England we have Mothering Sunday & Father Christmas, Mothers day & Santa Clause are American merchandising tricks:mad: Demonstrate pride in your heirtage by getting it right please people!
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Replies

  • SarahsaverSarahsaver Forumite
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    Book a holiday! ;D
    Its a nightmare isnt it, Ive been in this situation before.
    You HAVE to put your foot down otherwise people like that will walk all over you. Dont worry about upsetting her - she is upsetting YOU at the moment by the sound of it. Good luck.
    Prague is nice at christmas! ;D
    Member no.1 of the 'I'm not in a clique' group :rotfl:
    I have done reading too!
    To avoid all evil, to do good,
    to purify the mind- that is the
    teaching of the Buddhas.
  • SpendlessSpendless Forumite
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    i don't know what to suggest about this xmas

    but you say she's coming to stay next year and you're trying for a baby

    so next xmas you might have a newborn and a visitor - you might find that too hard work - also if you have parents alive jealousy mayl kick in over when each of them sees the baby over christmas.

    i'd be tempted to grin and bear it this year so i could spend next year with the 2 or maybe 3 of you

    good luck :)
  • Lillibet_2Lillibet_2 Forumite
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    Unfortunalty budget prohibits the holiday idea, would be nice but wouldn't help us spend time with other family & friends though ???
    We always spend Xmas at my parents , I am an only child & would not consider not being with them on Xmas day, M-i-L understands this & actually came with us to my parents 2 years ago. That wasn't too bad as she was only with us 3 days & there were other people around to keep the conversation going. We were intending to do the same with her next year.
    Several years ago Hubby & I agreed that we would spend Xmas as I wanted, which is important to me, and New Year as he wanted, which is important to him. He has always chosen for us to spend it with his aunt & uncle though.
    I would anticipate continuing to spend Xmas at my parents if & when we have a baby, perhaps with M-i-L joining us again. However, the problem this year is the 4 days between Xmas & new year which have traditionally always been free for us to do as we wish.
    Does it sound really selfish to say we want to preseve this, at least for one more year? :-/ :-[
    Keep the advice comming please ::)
    Post Natal Depression is the worst part of giving birth:p

    In England we have Mothering Sunday & Father Christmas, Mothers day & Santa Clause are American merchandising tricks:mad: Demonstrate pride in your heirtage by getting it right please people!
  • robnyerobnye Forumite
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    how nice of your sister in law to volunteer you to have MIL.....!

    I have had my MIL stay with us every year for 17 years (since we got married), due to her being divorced from my FIL. As the years have gone on, it has reduced down to 2 nights, which is enough for all of us (we cant get rid of the kids though.... damn ;D)

    you could tell a little white lie...... say you would have loved to invite her this year, but you are booked up most days. Then formally invite her for next year!
    smile --- it makes people wonder what you are up to.... ;) :cool:
  • I agree, you are obviously very nice people which is why she is being put your way, trying for a baby is a very special thing and hopefully next year you will have a wonderful little baby for her to coo over.
    You both work and are entitled to a xmas how you want, it's not up to anyone to tell you who to have and what to do in your spare time, you are doing your bit by having her next year so don't feel guilty, I'm in a similar position and have always done the right thing and never had any thanks for it.
    It's not even MIL who asked but sister in law, if she's that bothered let her have her.
    Say when she asked you hadn't spoken to Hubby so didn't realise that you do actually have stuff that you are comitted to, ( you don't have to say it's going back to bed in the afternoon with left over mince pies and Champagne ;)) so you can't have her after all and leave it at that, and most of all don't feel guilty, I think you'll find she ends up somewhere nice, and next year you can go all out to spoil her.
    BTW, most births occur 9 months after Xmas so it's an ideal time to try, good luck!
    Waddle you do eh?
  • Um..But I thought Xmas was all about spending time doing things you don't want to do with people you don't want to be with.

    Or have I been doing it wrong all these years ??? ??? ???
    Nice to save.
  • robnyerobnye Forumite
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    Um..But I thought Xmas was all about spending time doing things you don't want to do with people you don't want to be with.

    Or have I been doing it wrong all these years  ??? ??? ???


    if i replied yes to all of the above.... would you be offended......  ;D
    smile --- it makes people wonder what you are up to.... ;) :cool:
  • margaretclaremargaretclare Forumite
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    Hi

    Here's a perspective from an older woman, who IS a mother-in-law! (Although widowed and now happily remarried.)

    I'd hate to think that any of the younger members of the family would feel obliged to 'have me' for Christmas, as an obligation and not because they'd like to have the pleasure of my company, my conversation, my involvement with their doings. However I'm different from your M-I-L in that I was always a working wife, and I've always valued my time off, therefore I respect others' wanting to have their time off to themselves!

    Your M-I-L should have made her own plans for Christmas and shouldn't depend on the younger members of the family putting themselves out for her. Her interests are completely different from yours, and you've described everything that she doesn't like - but she must have some interests, surely? Is she a churchgoer for instance?

    If your M-I-L is widowed, it's hard I know - been there. The Christmas of 1992 is remembered as one of the lowest and blackest periods in my life. All the younger members had made their own arrangements because they thought I was working in the Middle East - well, I was, only I jacked in the job and returned home the second week in December. I went to help out at a Homeless Shelter, which only depressed me even more, because I couldn't see how I would keep the roof above my head, and would likely be joining those homeless the following year. I've had a few terrible Christmases, but would still never dream of imposing myself on the younger family members 'just because it's Christmas'.

    No one seems to be clear in this scenario just what M-I-L wants and plans for herself for Christmas - it's your sister who raised this question? Instead of rehearsing all the reasons why you'd rather not do this, how about you just say 'no' politely but firmly, and keep on saying it. Don't give in to emotional blackmail. Bear in mind that Christmas this year is going to be a long stretch (sounds like a jail term put like that!!!) - but as Christmas Day is on Saturday the Bank Holidays are going to be Monday and Tuesday - it would be too easy to agree to have M-I-L and find that it was for a lot longer time than you'd bargained for!

    As an older woman, even if I was alone again, I'd still prefer my independence.

    Best wishes

    Margaret
    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Æ[/FONT]r ic wisdom funde, [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]æ[/FONT]r wear[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]ð[/FONT] ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
  • Some really good advice there.

    I'm just learning to say "no". It's hard but sometimes you just need to put yourself first.

    Next year you may have your baby so will you really want MIL there too?

    Could you compromise on the amount of nights she stays over this year, say 1 or 2?
    Just run, run and keep on running!

  • Lillibet_2Lillibet_2 Forumite
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    Thanks MargaretClare, this is exactly what I hoped for & need : comments frm "the other side".
    Sorry, this is getting really long winded, are you all bored yet?! But a bit more info..............!
    I think M-i-L is expecting to spend Xmas at Sister-i-L, which is OK but S-i-L has other arrangements from 27th onwards & wants to send M-i-L onto us. I don't think S-i-L has spoken to M-i-L about this yet.
    M-i-L does seem EXPECT her children to have a certain sense of responsiblity towards being with her, certinaly it is something my parents, who do not project the same attitude, and other family members have picked up on. We spend Xmas with my parents beacuse we very much want to & new year with Hubbys Aunt & Uncle & cousions because we want to be with them. We spend time with M-i-L out of a sense of obligation first and anything else second.
    She is lonely, mostly of her own making. She has very few interests, we have tried to encourage her to join various clubs & groups but she isn't interested. She broods a lot on the past & not being in contact with many family members anymore Too complicated ot expalin here but a reconcilation is out of the questions) She isn't a church goer, ( I took her to Xmas mass a coupl eof years ago with me, she left mid-way through loudly complaining that the incense was affecting her asthma. ), she enjoys gardening (not the most congenial hobby in December) & cooking (I come from a family of chefs so not much she can do for us there) & visiting her family......which brings us back to the original problem ::)
    I think, as many if you have suggested, we are just going to have to be firm & insist it isn't convenient. Typically hubby, who in my opinion really should be involved where his family are concerned, is refusing to get involved or to speak to his sister about it, so I am going to have to play the bad guy & be the big evil daughter-in-law who won't let her visit her son.
    Grrrrrr >:(
    Post Natal Depression is the worst part of giving birth:p

    In England we have Mothering Sunday & Father Christmas, Mothers day & Santa Clause are American merchandising tricks:mad: Demonstrate pride in your heirtage by getting it right please people!
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