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Holidays: Am I handling this wrong?

I am a non-denominational Christian, my husband is an athiest.  We have mutually agreed to bring DS to church each week, because of the sound teachings of how to be a good person is found there (in addition to daily respect of treating people at home/school).

My mother is evangical.  She has parties during the christian holidays, where she invites her church friends to.   My issue I have is, over the past several events where her friends have been, to paint a picture for you, they sit in a common area room (den, living room) with a bible and pray and discuss biblical teachings.  If anyone is around them, they recite the bible passages to them.  They cant seem to hold conversations outside of christian teachings.  It makes many (including myself) uncomfortable.  I have discussed this with my mother, while respecting her beliefs.  She stonewalls me, she doesn't think what they are doing is making people uncomfortable...and I'm the crazy one.  Fine, moving on.

My mother is having an easter party, and like we planned last christmas, DH, DS and I went to my family's home about 1-2 hours earlier, so we could have a small family gathering (without her friends).  DH thinks its important for DS to see his grandparents during the holidays - even if he doesn't believe the same thing as them...he enjoys the spirit of the season.  

I explained to my mother how we would like to come an hour or so earlier, one, my Dad's birthday is the day before - so I'd like to give a gift, etc. and (two) we could hang out and DS could see his easter basket.  My mother has an issue with this...she is giving me guilt trips.  Over and over again she keeps asking me if I'm coming at 4p (the time the party starts), and I keep giving her the same answer.  I tell her, that I have to do whats right by my family, and ask her why she is badgering me with the same question as if I'm going to change my mind.

She thinks what we are doing is silly, and we should still go at the time she says...like I'm 3yo or something.  

 Am I handling this wrong?  How should I have handled this different?

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Re: Holidays: Am I handling this wrong?

  • Honestly, I don't know what to tell you other than what you're doing.  Her choices really are agree to see you earlier before her friends arrive, or not see you at all.  I really enjoy most of my parents friends but I certainly wouldn't sit around while they did their scripture stuff.  That'd make me very uncomfortable too.  I'm sorry that she can't see the situation from your perspective but I don't blame you for feeling the way you do.  As much as I hate ultimatums, I think you need to make it very clear to her that she only has 2 options.  See you and your family alone, or not see you at all. 
  • Oy.  On one hand, it's her party and it's up to her to set the start time.  If it starts at 4, it starts at 4.

    BUT she knows that you don't like the actual party aspect of it, and it actually makes you uncomfortable.  You want to spend time w/ her and your dad as a family, not as party hosts.

    Which I think is the approach I'd take.  Stop going to the actual party.  You don't like them (and I dont' blame you) so - don't go.  I realize this means taking a stand w/ your mom, but in the end - if you don't want to go, don't go.

    Tell her you want to spend time w/ her and your dad and ask her what would work for them.  If she says "at the party that starts at 4", you then say "oh, well, that's too bad.  We aren't going to be able to come for the party.  Well, we'll miss you.". 

    And this time, it might result in you not seeing them at all.  But the next time it happens, or the time after that - if you stand strong that you're not going to attend a party that makes you uncomfortable, she'll realize that in order to see you, she's going to have to make other plans.

    Another suggestion is that instead of waiting for her invitation to a party, invite them to your house the day before or the day after, perhaps, for a family get together. 

    Bottom line- stop arguing w/ her why you don't enjoy the party.  You're not going to win her over.  Just dont' attend the party and if she wants to see you - work something else out.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • skip the party and make plans to see her another weekend.
    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
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  • I wanted to amend what I wrote above because I feel it's a bit too strongly worded.  Specifically:

    if you stand strong that you're not going to attend a party that makes you uncomfortable, she'll realize that in order to see you, she's going to have to make other plans.

    She has the right to throw a party the way she wants.  You have the right to not go.  It's not about telling her "We dont' like your parties and aren't going to come. If you want to see us, find another time.".

    It's more about trying to get her focus on "let's spend time together as a family".  As I said - you're not going to convince her about how her parties are uncomfortable and it's pointless to try and argue this with her.

    So just bring the focus on "Oh, sorry, we can't attend the party, but we really want to spend some family time w/ you and dad".  It might take a little time for her to realize the two are actually seperate issues, and that's why I think that at first, she might be like "Well, if you can't come to the party, then we don't have time to see you" at first.  But when you actually dont' come - she'll realize that she can't force you all to come to an event you don't enjoy (just like you can't force her to throw a different kind of party!). 

    At this point, she knows you don't like the parties.  So don't make that the issue.  Make the issue that you want some quality family time.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Yes, I do think you are. Handling this wrong.  If the invite is for 4pm, then you need to go out 4pm.  Your mom may need that last hour to run the  vacuum, finish making food, get herself ready or maybe she just needs an hour of quiet before a house full of people shows up.  Expecting her to drop everything to visit wit you is asking a lot of her.  It is perfectly fine to decline an invitation but it is rude of you to demand that your mother changes the terms of her invitation to suit you.

    I have a feeling that if you simply decline the invitation for the next holiday or two, your mom will come back the third time and suggest you come before the party.  I suspect she will be a lot more accommodating when it's "her" idea that you come early. 

  • So, I just called her.

    Its true that may be a little difficult to come by 1-2 hours before due to her getting ready for her own party.  Thanks for pointing that out ladies!  I told her this, and said that we still want to see them for the holidays.

    I offered to maybe have a gtg the day before or the day after so they could see DS for easter.  Her response?  She took a HARD guilt laced line with me, and explained that she isn't going to do two seperate events!  Of course its an over reaction, but still this is her line she wants to draw.  Not going to react to it, and won't take it personally either.

     

    image EastCoastBride:
    So just bring the focus on "Oh, sorry, we can't attend the party, but we really want to spend some family time w/ you and dad".  It might take a little time for her to realize the two are actually seperate issues, and that's why I think that at first, she might be like "Well, if you can't come to the party, then we don't have time to see you" at first.  But when you actually dont' come - she'll realize that she can't force you all to come to an event you don't enjoy (just like you can't force her to throw a different kind of party!).

     

    Its funny ECB how you posted this, and she reacted exactly how you said.

     

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  • image EastCoastBride:

    At this point, she knows you don't like the parties.  So don't make that the issue.  Make the issue that you want some quality family time.

    Agreed.

    Edit: Stick to your guns. She will come around. Maybe invite her to your house if she finds it hard to host two "events". Or offer to bring food, beverages, whatever.

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  • image Princess_Lily:
    but still this is her line she wants to draw.  Not going to react to it, and won't take it personally either.

    But what was your ultimate response?  Are you going to go to the party, or did you say "I understand.  Hopefully we'll see you soon."? 
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Just invite her over to celebrate a religious holiday on another day, at your place, so she doesn't have to host twice.  This isn't as hard as you're making it.  By trying to force the get-together you want, your way, on the actual holiday, you're trying to control her and force her to go along with your beliefs every bit as much as she's trying to control you.
    image
  • Our Response: Not to see family for Easter.

     

    She won?t allow us to come earlier, and she is too prideful to come to our house for a gtg (hosted by us).  I told her how I wanted DS to see his grandparents for Easter, and her continued response is that we should then come to her house.  She says that for the past month her faith has been attacked?I don?t think I?m the only one who has talked to her in recent weeks over her friends.

     

    She is also known to manipulate people when life doesn?t go the way she wants it do.  She will do this only when she is on an emotional ?crazy-train,? like right now.  Her response when she is in that zone is: ?Well if you want to do X, you have to do X for me.?  If you don?t do what she wants, she takes away anything that she promises, even if its what she promised three weeks ago, which is:

     

    She promised she would watch DS overnight so DH & I could go OOT for our anniversary.

     

     Sadly I wouldn?t be surprised if she revokes this promise.

     

    On a side note, my mother lost her mother 4 months ago, and since then, I have noticed that talking to my mother about topics that  are contradictory to her own are like playing russian roulette.  You just don't know the response your going to get...sometimes she is the happy-go-lucky woman she used to be, and laugh about it, guilt trip and move on, and sometimes she is like this.

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  • WahooWahoo member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker

    I agree with ECB.  Tell her that you really wanted some "family time," and you don't want to attend a party because you don't want to compete for her time/attention with her friends.

    I don't think it's especially "important" to spend holidays with grandparents.  You can spend special time with your grandparents any day, any time.  People MAKE PLANS to do this over the holidays, but spending April 15th with grandma is not any less special than spending April 8th with her.

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • I would not be going to anything like that and if my mom couldn't respect that she'd quickly become a small part of her grandkids lives.
  • image Princess_Lily:


     She says that for the past month her faith has been attacked?I don?t think I?m the only one who has talked to her in recent weeks over her friends.

     


    And this, right here, is the heart of the issue. It's not that it's an inconvenience to host more than one party (it doesn't seem like it would be that much trouble just to let you and your family come a little early, or for her to go to you). The problem is that she thinks you are "attacking" her beliefs by not going to the religious party. And frankly, I think she's being very unfair. She's entitled to her beliefs, but it doesn't sound as though she thinks you and your DH are entitled to yours. 

    If it truly bothers you and DH to go to that kind of gathering, don't go. (You could also compromise and just go to every other gathering, or something, but that's up to you). However, don't relent just because your mom is guilt tripping you. Do just what you're probably already doing. Say, "I don't think we prefer to come to the party. Is there some other time we can get together for Easter? We'd be happy to go to you, or have you come here." If that is not good enough for her, than don't see her. After that happens a few times, I imagine she might start to relax her position a little. 

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  • image 4Speedy:

    Yes, I do think you are. Handling this wrong.  If the invite is for 4pm, then you need to go out 4pm.  Your mom may need that last hour to run the  vacuum, finish making food, get herself ready or maybe she just needs an hour of quiet before a house full of people shows up.  Expecting her to drop everything to visit wit you is asking a lot of her.  It is perfectly fine to decline an invitation but it is rude of you to demand that your mother changes the terms of her invitation to suit you.

    I have a feeling that if you simply decline the invitation for the next holiday or two, your mom will come back the third time and suggest you come before the party.  I suspect she will be a lot more accommodating when it's "her" idea that you come early. 

    This...also, that day for her is a religious celebration, and you don't want anything to do with the religious celebration. You also don't seem to want anything to do with her friends. It seems like what you want, for DH and for your child, is family time. So I would approach it as, we don't celebrate Easter AND it's hard to spend family time during a larger party with your friends...Can we pick a date to get together around that time so we don't miss out a chance to have family together

  • I would skip the party but plan something to celebrate Dad's birthday.

    I am a Christian but have no desire to go to a party and sit in a circle discussing biblical teachings.  Being a Christian doesnt mean you cant enjoy fellowship with others.  I;ve been to parties at fellow parishners homes and we never once mentioned anything about church!!!

  • I think you are absolutely doing the right thing to gently decline, even if it means you don't spend time with them on this holiday (or miss babysitting on your anniversary). My mother and father are wonderful people but are completely entrenched in being the host for every single holiday. My mother has no sense that I am a grown woman with a child and want to host holiday traditions in my own home. She begrundgingly 'gets' that I have to rotate holidays with DH's family, but in her mind, if I am not with the ILs I must be at her house. They've refused invitations to my home, been awful guests when they do come and have been relentless with guilt trips when I decline.

    I get that she framed this as a religious issue ... but I see it as a matriarch issue as well. She doesn't want to respect YOU and your family. She doesn't want two parties. She said it. She wants it her way and only her way. Its' best if you decline now and in the future until she understands that YOU are a parent now, not a 3 yo child. It's hard, but I am glad I set aside the guilt attacks and held my ground. IMO my resentments are much worse and more toxic to our relationship than her being mad at not getting her way.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • Do you realize easter is a holiday to celebrate Christ rising from the dead? It is a Christian"holiday" And if bible teaching makes you so uncomfortable I'd suggest you talk with your pastor about what it means to be a Christian. It is not just a label. If you'd like me to elaborate pm me
    My little girl is growing up! (born 12/09) Little brother is here! (born 5/2012) Thank you Lord for my precious family!
  • Not handling it wrong at all! You have the right to be present which ever part of the day you wish. If you feel uncomfortable being around them then that is fine! Your mother needs to respect you and your family's wishes. If she doesn't want you to come early because it's an inconvenience for her then plan for another time if possible! Otherwise she seems as though she's being stubborn.
    Trying to Conceive Ticker
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