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(69 Posts)
Annali Sun 29-Dec-19 00:27:34

Hello ladies. I am in need of wise counsel, opinion, advice etc. please. Myself and husband have just spent week with my beloved 2 yr old grandchild, and my son and his wife. We had fabulous Christmas- I don’t like my DIL but I do my best for her and am always kind and giving. I spent most of Christmas looking after my grandchild and being helpful to give her and my son a break ( nights out, long lie ins, housework etc). I felt wonderful and happy on leaving, thought we had all had lovely time, although I was a frustrated at how moody my DIL was throughout our stay. 2 days after I got home, my son text me to to tell me next Christmas would be different, they had actually just booked a 14 day trip away for just 3 of them and I wouldn’t see my grandchild at all. I was so shocked and felt like I’d been slapped in the face. My son told me they wanted to do things their way next year. My DIL doesn’t have any family - and she resents the closeness we have, our son (daughter too) and me and my husband. My DIL has actually admitted she feels jealous sometimes as she hasn’t ever had the secure and loving family we have created with our children. I truly, hand in heart, have done my best for her and made her feel welcome and included. She had told me she feels lucky to have me and my husband as in laws. She also knows how we are totally and completely besotted with our grandchild, who is our absolute world. It seems so cruel and such a snub to exclude us from their Christmas next year, and to leave us in no doubt we don’t figure in their plans - on 28th December, 2 days after we left their house after a fun and love filled Christmas.
I am very tearful and hurt. Can anybody please offer me some wise words?
Thank you

FarNorth Sun 29-Dec-19 01:07:10

Did your DS say anything that made you think it was a snub?

You may be right that your DiL felt she was outside of your family togetherness and so has chosen a different type of Christmas with her own little family, for next year.

Even if so, I'm sure it wasn't meant as a snub.

You will be able to see them at other times, so try not to be upset that they have chosen to go away next Christmas.

SueDonim Sun 29-Dec-19 01:07:24

I’m sorry you’ve had this shock. However, I think that if you really are ‘besotted’ with your grandson and he is your ‘absolute world’, you are laying a very heavy burden on your son and his wife to be responsible for your happiness. If I were them, I would feel suffocated by that demand, unwritten and unspoken as it may be. That may especially be the case for your dil, who you say isn’t used to such a relationship. Their child does not exist to make you happy and in fact, I don’t think it’s very healthy to be dependent on a 2yo for happiness. Your dil may also suspect that you don’t like her, even though you try to not show it.

I really can’t see why your son and his wife shouldn’t go away if they want to. It’s their marriage and family, not yours, and there’s nothing wrong with ringing the changes. I have four dc and I certainly don’t expect them to be running round me, making me happy. I am grateful for the years when we do all manage to get together but accept that often they want to do different things. At the moment, my oldest two GC are having a whale of a time with their parents in New York - lucky them, and I’m glad they’re having fun!

I’d suggest that you broaden your own world, find things that you enjoy and become less reliant on your son & his family for your own happiness. Perhaps you could work on your relationship with your dil, too, trying to understand her and getting to like her.

Bibbity Sun 29-Dec-19 01:19:53

it is very common to rotate hosting / Private Christmas each year.
Hosting can be completely different to being able to be alone with just your nuclear little family.
You’ve had how many years of Christmas’ your way. Now it is their turn.

Starblaze Sun 29-Dec-19 01:24:41

I think your daughter in law has picked up on the fact you don't like her, people can sense these things, and that is why this news has come now. The jealousy that she hasn't had a loving family herself is very normal and understandable and she is big enough and open enough to admit it which is a good character trait and means she knows to work on it.

You don't really say why you don't like her? Maybe whatever the reason you should remember that she hasn't had a nice family and any defensiveness or inability to get closer on her part is probably not her fault. Maybe you should be a bigger person and make more effort to find ways to like her. Either that or risk a strained relationship further down the line.

If she makes your son and grandchild happy, that should be reason enough.

Whatever happens though, if they want a Christmas to themselves as a family then yi have to respect that. They are grown adults and are allowed to spend their holidays as they please. You have a whole 2 years now to make the relationship better for the Christmas after and hopefully they will want to spend it with you.

Lyndiloo Sun 29-Dec-19 02:14:19

I know it may be upsetting for you, knowing that Christmas 2020, is going to be different, but there's no reason why your son and daughter-in-law should not go away whenever they want to. I'm sure that it's not a 'snub' to you (though perhaps the timing was wrong in telling you).

You say that your daughter-in-law was 'moody' throughout your stay with them - yet you all had a fun and love filled Christmas.

Why don't you like her? She sounds very sensible to me, and has obviously thought through her relationship with your family, and has enough self-knowledge to admit where her feelings come from. She has also said that she appreciates you as in-laws. I don't think you could ask any more of her. And, no matter what you say or do, she will know of your feelings towards her, which will be hurtful. I would suggest that you have a 'look inside' too! You sound like a loving person - try to include her in that love.

And as someone who often has guests to stay over, may I suggest that a whole week is a long time to be 'playing host', no matter how helpful you are.

Try to think of an alternative Christmas for next year. Perhaps your son and his family could come to visit you for a couple of days - either before their holiday, or after - and you could have your own 'little Christmas' then.

Be positive! Be happy for them! And don't do or say anything that could harm the relationship.

Annali Sun 29-Dec-19 02:19:40

Wow! Thanks so much for your sensible and kind advice. I have started to look the situation a bit differently since reading your advice. I think the timing has thrown me the most; if this had come in 6 months, I wouldn’t have felt so hurt but 2 days after this Christmas? I feel the DIL was rude to ensure we knew her plans and firm dates for next year, just in case we were in any doubt! Insensitive I feel.
SueDonim your words particularly struck a chord, thank you

welbeck Sun 29-Dec-19 02:34:15

I don't think she was rude at all. guess the conversation went something like, DIL to her DH, right I'm not having to go through that again next year. they were here a whole week. either we establish our own xmas traditions with our own nuclear family, just you , me and the baby, or the future of this marriage is looking wonky. lets get away, so there's no question of who where we spend next xmas. and your M is so obviously only interested in the child, just tolerates me to get access to him, it feels suffocating. I cant live like this, I don't want to and I wont. I married you not your mother, and we are entitled to be ourselves, by ourselves. he says, well that's a bit strong, but overall I agree with you. my wife and child always come first and foremost. lets make a booking. i'll let mother know asap so as to manage expectations.

dragonfly46 Sun 29-Dec-19 03:07:41

Personally I think a week is too long to stay with someone however well you get on.

grannyactivist Sun 29-Dec-19 03:15:15

Annali if it’s the timing that’s particularly bothering you then perhaps you’ll be reassured by knowing that holidays are frequently booked a full year ahead for Christmas. In fact I’m already planning for next year and have decided to stay at home again as the large houses that could accommodate our numbers are already booked for Christmas 2020.

Naty Sun 29-Dec-19 03:18:40

I think DIL and son gave you a clear message that you overstepped somehow. They should have waited a few months to tell you, but they probably felt a bit smothered. DIL probably felt isolated and lonely.

There is such a thing as too close and too helpful. It may have come across as over bearing. They may have slept in and gone out to get away from you.

A 2 year old is not in charge of your happiness. This is not your baby.

There is too much of an expectation to keep you happy. Sorry. You've raised your kids. Let son and DIL do what they like and be happy they fit you in where it works for them.

Starlady Sun 29-Dec-19 03:57:48

I feel for you, Annali. I can totally see where the timing of DS's message felt like a slap in the face. It must have felt as if he were saying, "We didn't have a good time, so next year we're going away instead." That's not what he meant, I'm sure, but I understand that it might have felt that way.

As others have said, though, he might not have felt he was being "rude," but rather giving you and DH a chance to make your plans for next year. I still think he should have waited a while to tell you their plans. They could have booked their trip but told you about it later on.

I'm not sure why you're blaming DIL, however, since it was DS who sent you the message. It may have been her wish to make different plans next year. But wasn't it his choice to decide when to tell you?

"I felt wonderful and happy on leaving, thought we had all had lovely time, although I was a frustrated at how moody my DIL was throughout our stay. "

So clearly, DIL wasn't entirely happy despite all you did for them during your stay. Maybe it's b/c of her admitted jealousy of your family. Or perhaps she just doesn't like having a guest for a week. Either way, it doesn't surprise me that she and DS decided to do things differently next year. Nor is it unusual for families to go away during the Xmas season. I'm sorry it will mean you don't get to see your beloved GS next Xmas. But, hopefully, you can FaceTime w/ them and, as others have said, see them at other times during the year. Meanwhile, as time passes, I'm sure you'll adjust to the idea (as you already seem to be doing). Hope you and DH make some great plans for yourselves for next Xmas!

Annali Sun 29-Dec-19 04:40:54

Blown away by your advice ladies - thanks very much. Agree with you all. I have certainly got something to reflect on.
dragonfly46 we were asked to stay a week then we could be there for grandson birthday and Christmas.
starlady I know without doubt DIL is driver in this but my son had to pass message on to me. My son is in the middle and I feel guilty I’ve put him in this position.
naty you are so right to remember that my GC is not my baby. I guess I have been totally overwhelmed with the love I’ve felt since GC been born: we are his only grandparents and have felt sense of responsibility to be the best etc etc and be there for all of them. I need step back. Whilst I respect your view that we may have been overbearing etc, that honestly wasn’t the case. Both my son and DIL have no day to support; they have struggled with juggling work/childcare etc and truly enjoy the break it gives them when we visit. But thank you,

suzied Sun 29-Dec-19 05:35:25

Book yourselves a lovely holiday for next Christmas.

mumofmadboys Sun 29-Dec-19 06:03:37

A lot of GNs not sleeping well tonight!
Nothing to add Annali but try not to take it to heart. Perhaps they don't want to set a tradition of being together each Christmas.

MawB Sun 29-Dec-19 06:28:54

Lots of good advice here and I cannot really add to it. The timing was tactless and unfortunate though and I can fully understand how you are feeling.
The sad thing is once you start “always” spending Christmas a certain way, any change can be hurtful.
You have time now to get used to the idea, to plan an alternative, to pin a smile on your face and say “How lovely” even if it breaks your heart, but to be glad for them. Most of all, time to look at this relationship with your DIL and see how you can improve it.
Perhaps a pre-Christmas weekend. at yours before they go - bearing in mind for the future the old cliché about fish and houseguests “going off” after three days.
Good luck, many here know exactly where you are coming from flowers

Juliet27 Sun 29-Dec-19 07:09:55

There’s some wonderful advice given here and lovely to see how you are understanding and accepting it and moving forward with a different viewpoint.

EI4G Sun 29-Dec-19 07:30:32

Sadly, there is nothing quite so hurtful as feeling excluded from this 'nuclear family', which seems to be what lots of DIL's want, when it suits them of course. The fact that you stay for a week implies that you live quite a distance away. But next time you are invited, stay for a shorter period and just concentrate on building a relationship with your grandson and enjoy the time you have with him. Your DIL sounds as if she has little or no experience of sharing family Christmases and obviously finds sharing difficult, so why not invite them to your home for Christmas the following year and give them all a lovely welcoming Family Christmas.

Madgran77 Sun 29-Dec-19 07:30:56

How about responding something like "That sounds lovely, how exciting for you. Can we maybe arrange a mini get together soon after you get back to hear all about it and exchange presents? I'll do us a meal or shall we go out somewhere. What do you think?"

Calendargirl Sun 29-Dec-19 08:08:57

I think they have told you straightaway after this Christmas so you have plenty of time to get used to the idea, and ‘striking while the iron is hot’ comes to mind.
We see so many threads here on Gransnet about upsets over Christmas plans. Also makes you realise how many people spend years doing what they don’t really want to. I think you should be gracious about it and hopefully in future years Christmas will be ‘shared’.

Sara65 Sun 29-Dec-19 08:31:50

Nothing really to add, don’t be sad, be happy for them. I feel for your daughter in law, I certainly wouldn’t want my in-laws for a week.

As someone said previously, she probably put her foot down and said she wasn’t going through that again.

On the plus side, now she knows she’s not going to have to deal with you for a whole week at Christmas, she’ll feel more kindly toward you, and you may see more of them throughout the year.

wildswan16 Sun 29-Dec-19 08:49:31

Can't you just be happy for your family? There is no law to say that we have to spend every Christmas break with a certain set of people.

Your DIL is no doubt imagining the next 20 years of having to spend Christmas in her own home, doing all the preparation and work etc. It is absolutely right that they get to choose how they spend the holiday.

You are able to see your GD fairly often I presume. Why take offence at your son and DIL wanting some family time together?

Daisymae Sun 29-Dec-19 09:08:24

While you had a good time, it does seem that your Dil and son didn't share your experiences. They are doing something different next year which is their decision to make. It's probably for the best all around, they have told you early so that you have time to adjust and before you start making plans. I can see this feels like a real let down but don't take it to heart. There will be other opportunities to build a relationship. However do take a step back and let them parent while you are there.

ninathenana Sun 29-Dec-19 09:25:30

This Christmas day was the first I've ever spent with my two GSs who are 7 and 10 for various reasons including geography. Although we have occasionally seen them Boxing day.
It was lovely to see them open presents etc. but although I've always been sad to miss Christmas day with them, I don't feel snubbed.
We raise our children to make decisions for themselves and if that means wanting to spend time as a close family unit, then so be it.

Luckygirl Sun 29-Dec-19 10:06:32

Did your son really phone up to say you "wouldn’t see my grandchild at all" next Christmas. Hello Mum, you won't see your GC at all next Christmas.

I doubt that - he rang to say that he and his family have made some lovely plans for next year. I think he was right to do it straight after Christmas to prevent you building up hopes that Christmas would always follow the same pattern as this year. You know where you are now and can make plans.

If you do not like your DIL, then it is not surprising that she finds it hard to spend time with you, especially as here are so few magic Christmases when childen are little - she wants to enjoy these without spending them with someone who does not like her - makes a lot of sense if you think about it!

And, maybe you could stop assuming that a phone call is DIL-generated when your son rings up and says something that does not meet with your approval. They are a couple - you do not know who initiated the idea of Christmas away next year. Presumably it was a joint decision and it made sense for him to phone as he is your son.

You have an important task ahead of you: to find things to like about your DIL and concentrate on these things. As long as you do not like her, relationships will be strained and you will place negative interpretations on their actions that may be wholly unjustified.

If you want to have a relationship with your GS, you need to have one with his Mum, and not just dismiss her as someone not to like.