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Xmas presents

(76 Posts)
carol123 Sat 22-Dec-12 02:05:14

Ok am I being unreasonable or oversensitive about this? Our son and DIL have moved to the other side of town - they previously lived locally. Everyone in our extended family used to just drop in to each others homes - theirs included during the day or early evening and it was a nice easy visiting time at any time.
Since they moved they have shunned any ad hoc visits and its all appointments - even then the DIL does not really want most members of our family around and is conveniently busy when anyone wants to pop in.
We have lots of presents here for the grandchildren from us and our family aunts cousins etc. I text her today to ask when its ok for us to drop off the presents and cards. She has replied Xmas Day which is when we are being invited for lunch with them. I feel so sad that the kids will not get anything from us until the afternoon in this case. And the fact that she doesnt want us around for any time except for lunch. Is it me or do others see this as a snub.

Ana Sat 22-Dec-12 16:20:51

I'm exactly the same, crimson! How nice to know I'm not necessarily 'odd' or 'anti-social'

wisewoman Sat 22-Dec-12 16:30:38

Me too, me too. Only child. Like to know who is coming. Would never drop in to my children, with whom I get on very well, without a wee text first.

Granny23 Sat 22-Dec-12 17:30:24

The unwritten rule in our extended family is that children can drop in anytime unannounced as our house remains THEIR HOME. We do not 'drop in' at theirs, unless we are asked because their houses are not OUR HOME. (Except in dire emergency e.g. when we used our key to visit their loo while we were on a car cavalcade. DH found their back door unlocked, tut tutted and locked it, not realising they were in the back garden!).

Mamie Sat 22-Dec-12 18:08:13

There is a very funny thread on Mumsnet at the moment about the consequences of dropping in. Somebody has written about nipping downstairs naked to get something first thing in the morning and finding father-in-law sitting on the sofa, having let himself in with a key.
I would always text or phone to see if it was convenient, but then like Butty, I don't live in the same country as my children....

AlieOxon Sat 22-Dec-12 19:05:44

"....the only child thing makes me crave solitude but often feel lonely."
Crimson I know exactly what you mean. I've never been able to explain it...I was an only child for nine years.
Might also explain why my sister and I definitely have an ambivalent attitude to each other. (- is that the right word?)

I think the advent of the mobile phone has made 'dropping in' a thing of the past in my family. We just phone each other first.

carol123 Sat 22-Dec-12 19:47:00

Thanks for all who have replied really appreciate your support. No one in sons family has even received a Xmas card from them this year including us. She moved to just around the corner from her mum and 3 streets from her sister which is nice and I can understand this. But since the move only me OH DD and DS have been invited to visit - think we were invited twice in 10 months All his family aunts uncles cousins etc have tried popping in but if shes home she just doesnt answer the door. The only cousin thats gains entry is a hairdresser that cuts their hair for free. We (me n OH) have tried to arrange to visit but she is always busy or going out. They bring the grandkids here around every 3 weeks for an hour or two. Oh and DD is allowed over there as she takes out the 4year old every time.
This is not the way he was brought up or her. Her family go to tea every week and her mum pops in every day to see her. I think its great that she has support from her family as grandson is challenging to say the least but why allienate his whole family?
I feel really sad that it is this way now - its so obvious that they dont really want any of us anymore - and at Christmas time Im feeling really hurt and tearful. I dont even want to go there for Xmas Day or ever again and think for self preservation when I get the yearly invite to grandson and granddaughters birthday party Im going to be busy or away. If they dont really want us then there is no point pushing yourself where u are not wanted is there GTG cause Im crying now

crimson Sat 22-Dec-12 19:57:17

When I looked after my grandson in the afternoon at their house I used to use my key to get in. But later in the day I would go round the shops [it was a treat as a village dweller to just walk to a shopping centre]; however, when I got back, if my SIL's car was on the drive I would always ring the bell..I wouldn't just let myself in when he was home. The only exception would be if I did a very early morning sit for them and I'd let myself in in case they or the baby were still asleep or they might be in the shower [and they knew I was coming]. I'd expect my kids, however to just let themselves in to my house at any time. Mind you, now the S.O. comes over at weekends my daughter in particular doesn't feel at ease just turning up and I can understand why. My ex husband and his friend just came round to give me a Christmas card [it had been arranged] and I had to fight to get into the conversation; the S.O. not seeming to understand that they had, in fact come to say hello to me. In fact that happens on any rare occasion that anyone calls in [or even phones for that matter]. I find it very awkward sad. My daughter no longer regards it as the family home. However my son, who gets on much better with the S.O. doesn't have a problem.

POGS Sat 22-Dec-12 20:00:04


I can truly empathise with your situation and there is something about christmas time that probably is making the whole problem feel much worse. All you have done is simply buy gifts and want to be close to your family and you must feel like it is in a small way being chucked back at you. There are I assure you thousands of grandparents who would happily settle for the christmas day visit, so try to think that way, or this will eat you alive.

All I can say is make sure when you visit christmas day you don't allow this to cloud proceedings. You really don't want to upset the apple cart for fear of making things worse after all. I am sure you will be gagging to ask what is behind this but don't ask on christmas day, leave it a while. You might find that there has been a perfectly good reason for it all.

Keep telling the grandchildren you love them. Play the long game!!
If things don't change then you have every right to ask why things have changed since the move but for goodness sake tread carefully.

[hugs] flowers

crimson Sat 22-Dec-12 20:02:03

carol; I've just read your post and it makes it clearer why you're so upset about the situation. All I can say is be very very careful what you do and what you say, because a small amount of contact is better than none at all. Try to put up with the situation and bite your tongue. If you need to let off steam do it here because so many of us will understand. Big hug. Dry your eyes. Have a jolly good moan [like wot I have just done; see above]. It works wonders smile.

Ana Sat 22-Dec-12 20:08:24

I would never let myself in to DD's house when no one was there unless by express arrangement, or in an emergency, although I have a key. She wouldn't let herself into our house either, if we were out, because it would be us she came to see anyway. I know a lot of families have an open door policy, so to speak, but I've always been a very private person and like you, crimson, find it awkward if I have to 'entertain' any but close family members.

carol, now you've given us a bit more information I can see how you could feel excluded. If DIL's own family is welcome but your son's is not, that puts a different complexion on the problem. I would still say just enjoy the time you have with your grandchildren, though, and try not to show resentment towards your DIL. Feeling bitter will only make you feel worse.

Elegran Sat 22-Dec-12 20:31:06


When you hand over the presents yourself when you see them on Christmas Day, it will reinforce that they are from you and are not part of that mysterious manna which drops from elf-land at Christmas on small children.

You don't say whether you invite them round to your house on a certain day. If DIL is not a dropper-inner she might respond better to a more specific invitation. Keep asking them round even if they cannot make it on the first day you choose. Don't retreat into your shell believing that you are not wanted - that can so easily be interpreted as you being in a huff and you not wanting to see them.

crimson Sat 22-Dec-12 20:31:30

Mind you, when we had our tiff in the summer they took the keys off me. That still hurts more than anything as it said they didn't trust me, and I thought I'd been so careful not to intrude in any way sad. In fact I know I didn't intrude in any way, ever. carol; families are oh so complicated and when our children marry we get all these conflicting ideas on what a family is or should be. As if it isn't difficult enough bringing up our children it gets even harder I'm afraid.

Ana Sat 22-Dec-12 20:36:03

Well said, Elegran - your last paragraph rings true!

MiceElf Sat 22-Dec-12 21:05:36

Carol, I'm not at all sure that you're not wanted. It may well be that your DiL's family are very different from yours, and as we all know, it's mostly we women who keep the family and friends contacts going. You will know from reading threads on this forum that there are grans who are completely estranged from their grandchildren - and that is really heartbreaking. I'm wondering if when you do go over there you make a special effort to play with, or do do something very special with one of the grandchildren. That will make them very happy to see you and their parents pleased that some of the pressure is relieved. You say that grandson is challenging. Perhaps that's some part of why she or both of them are stressed and wish to keep a certain distance, but if you are non judgemental and occupy the little boy they will be very happy to see you. You say they bring the children round every three weeks. That's not bad you know! Lots of grans would be happy with that. So look on the positives and build on them. And please enjoy Christmas. Dwell on the happy things of the day and enjoy them, and don't forget to tell her what a good job she's doing (even if it's a bit tongue in cheek) and how lovely the children are and what a credit they are to both of their parents.

POGS Sat 22-Dec-12 21:10:14


I agree. smile

gracesmum Sun 23-Dec-12 18:14:22

crimson and carol I can sense a great deal of hurt simmering (just) beolw the surface. Some people can be so inconsiderate can't they? If only they realised that what goes around comes around and one day they will be grandparents themselves. Also, if I had had access to a loving grann(M or MIL) as a (unpaid) babysitter and help with the children, I would have thought I had died and gone to heaven. Ah well - as the French say "Autre temps, autres moeurs" which is sort of "different times, different habits"

gracesmum Sun 23-Dec-12 18:15:23

autres temps before French- living grans correct me!!! shock

carol123 Thu 27-Dec-12 02:15:53

Well the xmas lunch went well - we didnt bother arriving until 12.30 as didnt want to push in. Son rang to ask where we were!! In fairness she cooked a fantastic dinner it was lovely. Grandson was well behaved all day so we stayed until 4.30. I got chatting to her mum who was also there for lunch. Apparantly she pops in every day at 9.30 each morning as does her sister most afternoons. Her mum is lovely I have always liked her so I dont have a problem with her.
The grandchildren had lots of presents and when we took things over from here my daughter helped him open things and DH played with him all afternoon.
I used to have a key to their old house and babysit for them regularly - often at short notice but have not been offered this since the move and have not asked.
We had the whole family round here today, Boxing Day, on a drop in anytime after 12noon basis which was great. Son and DIL came over for a couple of hours with the kids.
Its was so nice to be home Xmas night and have my sister and nephew drop by for an hour or so for a chat - this is the way our family works and I love it. I know I am welcome in any of my sister's homes at any time if they are home and I cant get used to living any other way. And son and DIL do call in if they are passing with the kids without phoning but its a different story if any of the family try to visit them. My BIL has called over there on 2 occasions and got no answer but knew she was home. Anyway the bottom line is I made a point of telling them today that as we had been to theirs for 2 years running for Xmas lunch (and I said how lovely it was) that next year we will probably be going away for Xmas as I have always wanted to do this. But really this is self preservation as there is no way I am going to end up crying on a Xmas time again because of them.
Hope you all had a lovely Xmas and many thanks for all your replies xxx

Granny23 Thu 27-Dec-12 17:00:57

Carol I am sorry to say this but I really cannot understand where you are coming from on this. You say you were made welcome, had a lovely lunch and nice chat, saw DGS open presents and play with them - and yet - you deliberately turned up late, left early and made it plain you would not be repeating this lovely day (which most of us would give our eye teeth for) next year. You complain that you are not asked to babysit but there again you never offer - I just don't get it. It all brings back memories for me of my MIL who, no matter how hard we tried, was never pleased with arrangements, but could not, or would not articulate what she wanted and made every Christmas during our DD's childhood into a stressful nightmare. Please, please, while there is still time, to establish new traditions for this new family (DS, DIL & DGS) try to look at this from your son & DIL's point of view. I am sure that your priority is the happiness of the WHOLE family - by being a bit more flexible you can make a big contribution to that happiness.

Ana Thu 27-Dec-12 17:18:33

The phrase that I picked up on, carol, was "I cant get used to living any other way". It's lovely that the rest of your family casually drop into each others' houses as and when, without having to make prior arrangements, but surely you can accept that not all people are comfortable with that and your DIL is obviously one of those people.
If she wouldn't open the door to your BIL it's not that she has a problem with you, personally, and it does seem as though she just likes visits etc. to be on a more formal basis. In a way, I suppose she's just protecting her territory, and if you could try to accept her the way she is you wouldn't get so upset.

kittylester Thu 27-Dec-12 17:49:30

carol I think you have had some very good advice here and, as Ana said, it's probably just your DiL's way. We are all different. It has also been said that there are lots of grandparents who have no contact at all through fall outs and those who are too far away to see them much at all. We only get to see our youngest granddaughter every month or so because they live near London and we all have busy lives.

crimson you seem to have the same attitude as us. This will always be our children's home and they all have keys to come and go as they please. That would also be the case if we move. Although we have a key to all of DDs' homes too, I would only use them if I was 'working' eg babysitting, feeding the cats etc. If we know someone is in we ring the bell and then use the key.

We don't have a key to DS2's house but his partner's Mum does, so maybe it's a daughter/parent thing. We do have a key to DS1's flat for emergencies.

There are drawbacks to the children treating our home as their own - I have come home and found a note on the kitchen table saying 'too tired to cook so I've stolen one of your frozen chicken chasseurs' from pregnant DD3 who also has an 11 month old. She did pay us back with interest. When her husband next made a chicken casserole two portions for two appeared in our freezer! confused

Marelli Thu 27-Dec-12 18:13:24

We all live our lives differently. My eldest DD's in-laws are all very close and I think she found that quite hard to contend with in the early days of her marriage. Each day or so, it was expected that some sort of contact be made with some part of the family. They are expected all to go on holiday together, too.....something that would drive me completely mad! Sometimes there are about 18 of them - all away together! DD just gets on with it, but I do know that there have been times when she's felt quite overcome with it all, and also, often she has felt rather out on a limb and a bit lonely in the crowd of them.
My bunch know they can come whenever they want, but I'd always ask them if it was ok to visit them before I did so.
I have a friend whose family are there at her house every day. All of them.....shock.....!! We're all different, and what suits one family won't suit another. But please, carol123, step carefully. What you have there is so very precious, and not worth losing one minute of it by showing unnecessary displeasure if something doesn't suit you. It's their life and we're just on the outside looking in, now - hopefully with the door remaining open to us. flowers

JessM Thu 27-Dec-12 18:35:05

Carol123 I agree with Granny23. From where I am sitting, way out beyond the sidelines, you seem to be determined to fan the flames of your hurt and grievance here, just because you are not getting things all your own way. I think the words of warning above are wise and you should heed them.
Fraid that when a woman becomes a grandmother she is suddenly no longer the centre of the family. The "mother" is the mother of your grandchildren and she is the person with most control over what happens in the children's lives. Like it or lump it that is the reality and sooner or later we all have to slap ourselves around the face with a cold flannel and remind ourselves of this fact. We have to adapt. It is a bit of "growing up" that we have to do. Our emotional needs come a long way down the list of priorities in the "new family" scenario and if we think they should be high on the list we are headed for trouble.

On a lighter note my SIL had gone through a long period where she had been looking after her sick(( mother and her sex life had been disrupted. First time in ages they had the house to themselves and were having a lovely "lie in" shall we say. Until they heard a noise downstairs - her ILs had let themselves in. grin

soop Sat 29-Dec-12 12:17:04

carol123 I am as perplexed as Granny23. There appears to have been no good reason for you to be in any way disappointed with the Christmas festivities. In fact, I'm certain that a whole host of Gransnetters would congratulate your daughter-in-law for her sterling efforts on your behalf. smile

soop Sat 29-Dec-12 12:41:01

Our granddaughter organised a compilation photo for us. I thought that you might like to see a photo taken of Wee Man's six cousins. Very proud of them all.