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special days cause so much trouble

(156 Posts)
etheltbags1 Thu 12-Mar-15 15:10:06

Mothers day is looming and in our family that brings trouble.
DD has been asked to go to her MIL and they are having a family party with lots of relatives, to celebrate mothers day. She wants to visit me with DGD, they want DGD there will be bitching and falling out. Last year dd visited me first and on the way back called at the in laws and they got a lecture about visiting them last.
It is the same with xmas, so last year DD said she would not go to anyones house and just stay at home. She allowed me to visit in the morning to see DGD open some presents and she kept some to open later when MIL called.
She tries to keep us exactly the same but her MIL is so bitchy, DD is becoming sick of special days.
We have Easter looming and with 4 days of celebration her MIL will be counting the hours I see DGd and wanting more than me. It is a competition.
Im ok with the MIL seeing DGD more than me, it is inevitable that some times she will see her more and other times I will see her more.

I had the same problem with my MIL who used to invite me as early as possible before my mother invited us, I used to feel bad as my mother is alone and always used to give her priority but that caused trouble until my MIL used to invite my mother too.

Why do families fight like this.I had hoped that DDs MIL would be my friend and we could visit each other but she has no friends, just her family.
If I babysit I have to sneak out after dark with DGD in case the other gran sees me and she wants to know why I have her.(she lives nearby).
Any comments

Soutra Thu 12-Mar-15 15:27:07

Oh the emotional baggage that comes with Christmas/Easter/Mothering Sunday.
There is no easy answer other than alternating, designating a Sunday or weekend just before or just after or (simplest all round) declaring "a plague on both your houses" and going away.
Some people count the "turns" and make themeslves and others miserable, others go with the flow.
In this case could you have a "Mothering Saturday" with your DD?

tanith Thu 12-Mar-15 15:30:29

I wouldn't be part of the other MIL's competition, I would just call in as and when it suited me and my DD, why worry what the MIL thinks?

Refuse to be drawn into it why should you feel bad at visiting/babysitting your own family. If she doesn't like it then that's her problem. Sorry but I don't 'play games', about who did what and when and for how long, life is too short.

soontobe Thu 12-Mar-15 15:36:34

Oh boy.

Before I answer, is your DDs mil happy in life generally, and is just a pain with this sort of thing?

etheltbags1 Thu 12-Mar-15 15:41:55

soontobe, the answer is no. We cant understand her, she has a good job is in her late 50s and her husband is well paid, they have lots of disposable income, holidays, 2 cars,a home that is full of lovely stuff but she seems discontented. If DD or myself buys something and tell her, she buys one herself, she buys designer stuff by the dozen and dresses like a teenager. She drinks like a fish and has been known to fight in bars.
She never seems to be happy, when she has dGD she buys her stuff that she doesn't need, fills her full of sweets despite being asked by DD and partner not to. I could go on forever.

Elegran Thu 12-Mar-15 15:48:56

Ignore her and get on with life with DD and DGD. If she wants to feel jealous, that is her problem, don't be nasty to her but don't rearrange your own lives to suit her either.

kittylester Thu 12-Mar-15 15:50:35

That's a sorry state of affairs Ethel. Usually we have the mother of the father (iyswim) complaining. Does your DD's MiL not have other children who want to share things out as well? My daughters (our sons don't have children) are very fair and share themselves out but I know one Sil's sister keeps tabs on who goes where when!

etheltbags1 Thu 12-Mar-15 15:56:24

the lady in question has 2 other grandchildren(step) belonging to her husbands son and she hates them, she goes out on the rare occasion they visit and doesn't speak to them. we can only assume this is because they are not her blood relatives.

Leticia Thu 12-Mar-15 16:19:52

I agree with tanith- refuse to pay games and just do your own thing.
If I was your DD I wouldn't play games either- just stay at home and invite both grandmothers- but that is up to her.

soontobe Thu 12-Mar-15 16:25:28

First off, your DD is never going to "win" with her mil. Nor anyone else either, so pointless bending over backwards all the time.

I think that your DD is being lovely.
On this occasion, because it is a big family party they are having, yes, if I were your DD, I would spend more time there on that day.

I am not sure I would do the sneaking out after dark thing that you are doing. It is very nice of you, but I would have thought that both you and your DGD lose out that way.

janeainsworth Thu 12-Mar-15 16:25:37

Fights in bars? confused

rosequartz Thu 12-Mar-15 16:54:34

I just think they could have invited you too!
Even if you didn't feel like going it would have been a nice gesture.

kittylester Thu 12-Mar-15 17:32:10

What is your SiL's take on all this Ethel?

FlicketyB Thu 12-Mar-15 18:18:24

For us Mother's Day is a low key event and always has been. Both children send me a card and we usually phone each other on Sundays anyway. No flowers, no presents, no meals out. I do not usually see DC on Mother's Day, or expect to as they both live some distance away. DD quite often works on Sundays and DS lives even further and anyway his DC want to make a fuss of DDiL

When I read all the problems above I sigh a sigh of relief.

loopylou Thu 12-Mar-15 18:29:32

My feelings too Flickety, it's very sad that so much unnecessary aggro is resulting in such grief.
I may get a card, and if I get flowers that's a delightful surprise. I won't see either DD or DS but will probably get a phone call. Certainly no meals out but that suits me fine.
I have a great relationship with them both.

harrigran Thu 12-Mar-15 19:04:48

I would hate to have family feuding on who goes where. Whatever makes DC happy is fine with me. DD is in Belgium and has left a card for me to open, she usually sends flowers too. I will visit DS and DIL as usual on Sunday but we will just have a coffee, no fuss as DIL is a mother too ad deserves some time off.

rosequartz Thu 12-Mar-15 20:16:16

We will all be together for another occasion; wonder if anyone will remember?

RedheadedMommy Thu 12-Mar-15 20:28:03

Your DD is forgetting she is now a mum aswell!
She is now the one who's recently had a newborn, has a toddler/child. She has every right to do what she wants to do Instead of worrying about everyone else and spending a special day driving around. It's her turn for breakfast in bed, gloopy cards and a bubble bath in peace.

This is a lot more than special days. Her MIL sounds like a pain In the ass.

Falconbird Fri 13-Mar-15 08:55:44

Just had to mention my Dil's mother who passed away over two years ago. Having read about the pain in the ass MIL reminded me of her.

My Dil's mother was a gift from heaven. She was so generous and likable. We were good friends unusual in this relationship I know.

We exchanged birthday cards and we were happy being grans together with absolutely no rivalry whatsoever.

Good I miss her so much. I got lucky- and then she died - c'est la vie. She was French and we had such fun trying to communicate and my Fench improved no end.

Elegran Fri 13-Mar-15 09:31:22

I must mention my mother-in-law too. We were good friends, and visiting was a joy. She never demanded that we pay more attention to her than to my mother - and neither did my mother resent any attention that we paid to MiL.

It is not automatic that there is jealousy between the two grandmothers. Many (maybe most) are happy to give and take. We hear more about the ones who cause trouble than we do about those who get on well with one another - just as we hear more about the fraught mother-daughter relationships and the neighbours from hell.

annsixty Fri 13-Mar-15 09:50:20

I don't know if I was lucky or unlucky in the MiL stakes. Neither of my DC's inlaws were particularly interested in the GC for different reasons.One was a much older couple whose life revolved around long haul holidays and weekends away and the other couple were just not nice. I had always hoped I would make friends and all be part of the GC's life but it never happened.On a positive (for me) side the GC always spent lots of time with me.When DD and family once travelled up ,to stay with us as usual, they called in to see the others and GS aged about 5 said "can we go to proper Nanna's now?" DD was mortified.

Anya Fri 13-Mar-15 09:56:04

I think that true Elegran most people are happy in their relationships with in-laws, etc, and if there is an occasional blip don't worry it to death. So they are, sadly, not as newsworthy as the ones who cause family splits and problems. Likewise good neighbours.

FlicketyB Sat 14-Mar-15 09:13:51

I just hate all this competitive gift giving. Some of the items included in Mother's Day adverts in newspapers cost hundreds of pounds. They are also so schmaltzy and play up to some mythical picture of mothers as only interested in talcum powder, chocolates and things domestic. DD was complaining this week that she couldn.t get a Mother's Day card that wasn't pink, over effusive and over sentimental.

Cynically I sometimes think the more that is spent and the more fuss people make of their mothers on Mother's day the more they ignore them the rest of the year. I am fortunate, both DH and I have a loving and close relationship with our children. I do not require them to prove it by showering me with attention and gifts on Mothering Sunday.

I am the Mother's Day equivalent of Scrooge.

etheltbags1 Sat 14-Mar-15 09:18:59

I just hoped that DD, MIL and I could be friends with dgd as something in common. I don't have any other family apart from my mother and a few distant cousins. My late DH had 3 siblings but since my in laws died there has been little contact. I would have thought that DDs MIL could have asked me too for the party, I tactfully would not have stayed long, just for a cuppa maybe and to wish them well. I have lots of faults but I do try to empathise with other peoples feelings.
I feel so unhappy that my DD has to face all the nastieness that I had over almost 30 years and I feel she deserves to have a happy time on Mothers day with who she chooses. I have told both of them that if they want to visit me they are welcome for as long or short a time as they wish-no pressure so they can visit the other parents too.
Sorry if this is confusing to readers, I am referring to my original opening message

Falconbird Sat 14-Mar-15 09:27:30

I'll be treading on eggshells tomorrow. 7 months after my DH passed away my son's mother-in -law died. They were both only 67. My Dil has mixed feelings about me because she misses her own mother.

Also my youngest son is estranged from his brothers.

When I was a child I wanted to be a nun. My mum used to say they had a wonderful life especially when they were ill or grew old, because the other nuns looked after them.

She did have a point - but despite all the tensions and fallings out I'm glad I didn't become a nun and had children and grandchildren.

The pressures of Mothers' Day are huge these days. Didn't used to be like that did it?

flowers for everyone tomorrow hope your day goes well.