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Christmas - balancing act!!!

(42 Posts)
daisybel1 Wed 26-Mar-14 11:22:57

I know its a long way off but its already causing anxiety!
I am an only child of 81 year old widowed mother who lives 200 miles away. We were always expected to go to her at Xmas and she is adept at emotional blackmail. Last year she came to us and will expect to do the same again this year.
However, my daughter has recently had second baby and needs a lot of practical help as her husband is disabled. In addition there are 3 older children from his former marriage who visit regularly. They would love to take all 5 children to Disneyworld next Xmas as a special treat for all. They have asked us to go too as they really need assistance.
How do I even broach this with my mother? Instead of this being an exciting and special event, I'm feeling riddled with guilt as she'll be "on her own" - yes she has friends and I know they'd invite her but that won't stop the guilt trip because she'll feel left out. She could come but has some health problems and can't walk far so I really don't know how we'd manage with so many physical and practical demands. I'm not sure she'd really want to make the trip but that won't stop her being difficult about it.
I thought about booking her a holiday in Uk or a hotel for Xmas to make it special but I'm not sure she'd go on her own. Does anyone know of any good places?
I know this sounds selfish but I can only support my daughter and family or my mother on this occasion. Quite honestly I'm getting a bit tired of feeling pulled at both ends!

TOOBIGFORTHEIRBOOTS Thu 27-Mar-14 17:05:20

Also just to add that I'm lucky in that my family step up to the mark and make it possible for me to get my holidays. I get away with my husband for 4 or 5 days at a time business permitting. Two weeks away with my dad/brother/friends, and two weeks away every summer with one of my daughters and all of the grandchildren I have. There are always people left behind but that's just how it is, and besides we have loads of time together on other days. We have had 3 birthdays this week and tomorrow it will be a full house for their birthday tea.

It really is possible to be a full time carer without becoming a prisoner or a martyr - unless you actually want to be those things.

rockgran Thu 27-Mar-14 17:27:37

Why is it that so often elderly people become so selfish? Is it inevitable - will we all be like that? It is such a common story among all my friends. I've already told my son to put me in a home when the time comes, even if I object as I really want him to have his life. He said "Is now too soon?" I think he was joking (I'm 64). shock

Nonu Thu 27-Mar-14 18:03:03

Goes with the territory , self preservation maybe ?


NfkDumpling Thu 27-Mar-14 18:19:40

Oh, The Guilt, The Guilt! I also was an only child and spent weeks before every break, holiday, visit to DD and DGDs living 200 miles away, in agonies of Guilt gearing myself up to tell my beloved, manipulative DM we were going. I can only advise, as the others have done, go in with a full plan of campaign - "We are going to Disneyland with your granddaughter to help her with the children, and we're really looking forward to it. I know it's not your cup of tea, perhaps you can spend Christmas with * and we'll have a lovely family weekend when we get back". And stick to it. We'll back you up!

Ashmore32 Fri 28-Mar-14 14:41:40

What Elegran and NfkDumpling and others in a similar vein said, that's what I would do, both my Mothers I love to bits, but unfortunately for one year .... And it's not like you haven't given her some notice, or get her down a week early or even put her in a cosy resi home for a week.... Unfortunately I am too much ,like my 'real' Mum and I am sure she would have done this to hers....As for Sheila, she would want to go to Disney....

My only fear is you will be 'exhausted' from your Disney week.... Good luck xx

grannyisland Fri 28-Mar-14 15:36:12

Could you just say "This year we're having Christmas on December ...." A date perhaps a few days or a week before you go. No argument, take it or leave it. Then she could have two Christmases, one with family and one with friends.

Leticia Sat 29-Mar-14 16:20:28

Good idea 'do' Christmas early for her and then she gets two. Announce it as a done deal.

Soutra Sat 29-Mar-14 18:43:58

Do we get more selfish as we get older? I wonder. It seems to me that from the minute we become parents we have to put others first. Without loving them one smidgeon less, my 3 children - consciously or otherwise, more or less dominated most of my free time when they were small and teenagers. I remember being "volunteered" most weekends to collect from whatever social occasion there was on a Saturday night - OK I volunteered mostly so that I could be sure they were home safely, but it also put paid to entertaining or even having a couple of glasses of wine in the evening. I was the one who ran them to sports activities on a Saturday morning or to their Sunday job. I was not a helicopter Mum but living in the country, transport is a problem. Now that I have 2 lovely grandsons - I drop everything to do a Granny dash if one is ill, or if DD is poorly (as last year when she had pneumonia and a 1 year-old) The others impinge less on my time - so far but it gets me thinking, why shouldn't I put myself first - * if I ever get the chance*?? Will it ever be my turn?

Nonu Sat 29-Mar-14 18:55:07

Soutra if wishes were horses !
You Will have your turn !
Mind you lots of excitement , with the darling new baby arriving in the not too distant future !

Soutra Sat 29-Mar-14 19:00:18

And I move yet another place down the pecking order.....(only jpking)grin

Soutra Sat 29-Mar-14 19:01:01

"joking* even, FF sydrome!

Faye Sat 29-Mar-14 21:35:02

Not in a million years could I have left my mother sitting home on her own on Christmas Day. If you can't arrange for her to spend the day with family or friends Sue would you enjoy Christmas with her on spending it on her own.

If you took her on the trip she could stay at the hotel, relaxing, reading etc the day(s) you are spending at Disneyworld. I imagine you won't be spending every day there, especially Christmas Day. She might love the trip and time to spend with her great grandchildren.

My mother flew with me to spend time at my son's house. I was helping out while my DIL was doing a placement for her teaching degree. We took my very frail mother sightseeing and to places and it was inconvenient at times but she got to spend time with her great grandsons. She was always helpful and would fold the washing for me or sometimes do the dishes. Six months later she died.

My mother wasn't always easy either but my regrets now Mum has gone is I wish I had spent more time with her and been more patient. Reading many of the previous posts, I wonder what we are teaching our children on how to treat us when we are elderly.

Grannyknot Sat 29-Mar-14 22:36:23

Sue, I'm with those who say tell your Mum that this year has to be an exception, and that you can't spend Christmas with her and why. I can't for the life of me understand why she wouldn't feel for her only daughter being pulled in all directions, and give you her blessing. You certainly have very good reasons for wanting to help your daughter.

If she used it as an opportunity to emotionally blackmail you, if I were you, if anything, that would help to make me feel less guilty.

BTW if you are using your real name, you do know that these forums are open - can be read by anyone?

TOOBIGFORTHEIRBOOTS Sun 30-Mar-14 06:00:26

Faye, I have absolutely no worries regarding how my children will treat me when I'm older. We're a family who keep the older members with us, and my daughter and her husband are currently building a new family home that has all the facilities any older person will need. I think her MIL will be moving in with them as soon as its ready. Then there's one of my sons who also has a house that was deliberately bought big enough so people who need looked after can be. Its just the way we do it, we look after the elderly and those who cant look after themselves.

You wish you had spent more time with your mum and been a bit more patient, and it appears to be what is shaping your opinion on the OP's situation. Not everyone has the regrets you do, perhaps because they did spend enough time with their loved ones and managed to be patient. Its probably why they can encourage the OP to help her daughter and children have what sounds like a much needed and deserved holiday.

I would love to have more time with my mum but not because I didn't give her enough of my time when she was alive. We were always together, and I would just like time with her again to catch up on who's doing what, introduce her to my youngest who she never knew, introduce her to her great grandchildren, show her how far we've come since we last saw her, and if we could swing a night in front of the TV with a bar of chocolate and cuppa it would be just grand.

I've no regrets and no ulterior motives.

As for Christmas Day at Disney, in the actual park, or one of the water parks, it would be really crowded but great fun. There comes a time in life when granny has to be mature enough and wise enough to say, off you go and have a great time, I will be fine, this is for the greater good. This is one of those times and all the more-so because this particular granny is able to have a social life and can put other plans in place. I doubt the idea of the holiday would be under consideration if this wasn't the case.

Faye Sun 30-Mar-14 08:24:13

I have to admit I never imagined people go to Disney World on Christmas Day. I just never knew it would be open. I thought people may go for a holiday, spend some time at DW and have Christmas lunch at a restaurant.

TooBig I think it is natural to have regrets when our parents have died and you miss them. My mother and I had a great relationship, I know I was very fortunate. We spent a lot of time together, we just got on. I still have regrets as she got older and I was busy with working and grandchildren and she moved further away, so it wasn't easy to just pop in anytime.

I am sure your mother will be fine Sue if arrangements are made for her and she knows what she is doing over Christmas, before you go on your trip. I hope it turns out well for you. flowers

JessM Sun 30-Mar-14 08:47:55

Going away for Xmas and lugging all the kids presents without giving away the santa thing confused. Along with all the winter clothes. I'd prefer to go for just a few days in the summer if it was on my list... but there you are, that's what they want to do. I think your daughter has to recognise that you are feeling torn and upset about this and you need to talk to her adult-to-adult about your dilemma. You are, if you don't mind me saying, coming across as someone who feels as if they are the only grown up in the family who has to support everyone and keep everyone happy. Hard habit to break I know.
Soutra you hit that particular nail on the head - maybe we need to start putting ourselves first in small ways, every day, and get back in the habit.