Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: RegionMom on December 05, 2013, 09:12:53 PM

Title: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: RegionMom on December 05, 2013, 09:12:53 PM
bg-

Mom and I are not close.  My brothers are not close to her.  We are all married, two kids each, live in different states.  All planning to be at mom's house for two days at Christmas, then we all have "other plans."  (I am going to visit one brother, other brother is taking family on vacation, but mom thinks we all have a full work schedule.)

Mom called today with a few requests/demands-

1.  NO DOG. (.)

Our chihuahua mix dog is NOT allowed to visit, because their dog felt too dominated last time.

-- So we will do a combo of boarding and friends taking him.

2.  NO SHORTS.  (?)

 After building up to a "well, since this may be the last year we are all together at Christmas (my son is graduating HS) there is something I really want us to do."
me, "Oh, a group photo?"
"Oh, that would be a good idea.  But, no, I want us all to go to Christmas Eve service.  But, you have to have the kids dressed appropriately, no shorts."

--umm, my son does not even own shorts.  He wears dress pants when other teens wear jeans.  That is just how he is.  He always tucks in his shirt. 
And my daughter helped put on a skit at summer church camp, of her own volition, no adult leaders asked them to,  for the middle schools girls called, "Modest is Hottest" and explained that words on the butt are not cool, nor is showing underwear or tons of make-up. 

I used to be a church pianist.  She knows our church is conservative, so why did she feel I needed a reminder on clothing??  just because I have teens now?

Mom only sees my kids maybe once a year, so I guess she is assuming they are followers of the Twerk fashion scene only.

I tried to brush off a joke about how shorts would not work in the expected cold weather, but it felt like a lead balloon. 


3.  NO COOKIES.  (!?)

 This last one was the kicker-

"I know you have been making your Santa cookies since your kids were in preschool, as you made them when you were a kid.  But, I think it is time for sis-in-law T. to take over the tradition, and do what she chose to do with her young family- decorating a train cake.  her kids are younger (3 and 1) and you can simply make your Santa cookies at your house and bring them along for the 1000 mile day and half drive."

(other sis-in-law has a 6 year old, I think she would be the one with the grandchild most suited for Santa stuff.  But mom thinks less than highly of her, long story.  She and DB are HS sweethearts.  Married ten years before 1st kid, now have two, doing well and are happy.)

But, really?  I have been making these same Santa cookies, that we leave out for Santa and have the leftovers for breakfast, since longer than I can remember.  Dad always decorated them the best, and we stopped for a few years after he died when we were all young kids, but then I revived it before going away to college.

Perhaps it saddens her?   But why not tell me, oh, 20 or so years ago? 

The past two times we have been home for Christmas, we did both activities, Santa cookies and train car decorating, at the same time.  The kids and grand kids took pictures, that have been scrap booked, and I never realized mom was put out. 

I was always extra careful to clean up, since we were using her kitchen space.  She does not cook a big meal so we are not invading her cooking time.  We do deli sandwiches for Christmas Day, and order out BBQ.

I could play the, "It is my son's last Christmas at home, let's do the Santa cookie thing just once more!"  But a friend pointed out that my DD will be a senior next year, so do I play that twice? 

friend also suggested I should call sis-in-law T. to see if she cared if we could still do both.  Her train cakes are not ever eaten, it is just decor.  We all enjoy eating the candy she brings to decorate, and eating the Santa cookies we all make together.

So, the EH question is, I am pretty sure Aunt T will say it is ok to do both the trains and the cookies.  Do I even bother trying to run that past mom, though? 

If someone makes specific demands on their guests, that are uncomfortable, does the guest just suck it up?

Once my DD graduates, we may not go "home" ever again.  We will go hang with my brothers and their kids, no problem (except time and distance)  but mom's house is not home. 

Suggestions?

 

Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: bopper on December 05, 2013, 09:24:06 PM
The Dog I understand.

The Shorts is a moot point.

But the cookies... "Mom, we are traveling 1000 miles to be with you and the  family. Making Santa Cookies is part of our family tradition. If you don't want to eat any, let me know.  What is the real issue with them?"
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: ladymaureen on December 05, 2013, 09:29:06 PM
My sympathies. I know it can be irritating dealing with someone you're not close to. But:
Dog -- within her rights.
Photo commentary -- silliness you can rightfully roll your eyes over.
Cookies -- if it's her kitchen, it's her rules. Either make them at home or don't make them. Just because you always have been allowed to use her kitchen before doesn't mean it isn't her kitchen to do with as she pleases.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: bopper on December 05, 2013, 09:42:36 PM
My sympathies. I know it can be irritating dealing with someone you're not close to. But:
Dog -- within her rights.
Photo commentary -- silliness you can rightfully roll your eyes over.
Cookies -- if it's her kitchen, it's her rules. Either make them at home or don't make them. Just because you always have been allowed to use her kitchen before doesn't mean it isn't her kitchen to do with as she pleases.

True...but at some point if there are too many restrictions the OP won't want to bother coming.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: peaches on December 05, 2013, 09:55:00 PM
If someone makes specific demands on their guests, that are uncomfortable, does the guest just suck it up?


The short answer is Yes.

Of course, guests don't have to visit if they don't want to, or if the house rules seem too onerous.

I realize you are visiting your mother out of a sense of obligation, not because she's one of your favorite people to be around. Still, it's only for two days, so I would follow her guidelines as best you can.

When it comes to the cookies, I'd discuss this with your kids and see if they want to make them at your house before you leave. As a mother, I've sometimes held onto traditions even after the kids kind of lost interest in them. If they do love the cookies, bake them and take them. (Could you make them ahead of time and freeze them? Then they would taste fresher when you arrived.)

As a host, I'd never demand that guests attend a church service. I think it's nice as an option, but I wouldn't insist. I'd give my guests leeway on this issue; I hope your mother does the same.

Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: weeblewobble on December 05, 2013, 10:13:34 PM
If nothing else, she's proving that you've made the right decision by limiting contact with her.  ((((HUGS))))
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: m2kbug on December 05, 2013, 11:09:12 PM
Dog - Fine.

Clothing - I don't see anything wrong with passing along expected dress code.  Some churches are pretty casual. 

Cookies - I think if this is your mom's request, you just need to go with it.  Perhaps do them at home before you go if it's that important to your kids.  Going to Aunt T to see what she thinks is pretty much overriding what Mom asked of you.  I suppose you can still bake the cookies if there's a change in plans once you get there, maybe even pack the ingredients just in case, but I would just plan on skipping it.  Unless, of course, Aunt T is hosting the family in her home, in which case, she gets to say yes or no. 
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: sammycat on December 05, 2013, 11:18:48 PM
The dog - fully support her. Not unreasonable at all. I wouldn't allow a dog in my house either.

The shorts - I assume it's winter where you are, so that just seems weird and a moot point. Even if it shorts weather, she should trust that you/your kids know how to dress appropriately. In any event, where I live, neat shorts on males would be perfectly fine.

The cooking - not sure I fully follow this, but I think your mum is being a bit silly about it. Your SIL, who has a baby that has no idea what Christmas even is, will be allowed to cook something, but not you? Why can't you all bake whatever it is you prefer. The more the merrier as far as goodies to share!
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: wallaby on December 05, 2013, 11:40:46 PM

"I know you have been making your Santa cookies since your kids were in preschool, as you made them when you were a kid.  But, I think it is time for sis-in-law T. to take over the tradition, and do what she chose to do with her young family- decorating a train cake.  her kids are younger (3 and 1) and you can simply make your Santa cookies at your house and bring them along for the 1000 mile day and half drive."
 

I think your Mom is saying she doesn't want you to *make* the cookies at her house, but she would still like you to *bring* them? This is ok for her as the host to ask, I think? However, if making the cookies beforehand and bringing them is simply not possible for you, just tell her it's not possible. Then it is really up to her to say either - ok then, make them here, or ok, I guess we'll do without cookies this year.

You have my every sympathies! I hope it all works out ok.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: JoyinVirginia on December 06, 2013, 08:08:55 AM
Your friend who advised you to call sister in law directly had the right idea. Call sister in law and ask if your mother has called her, and what did she say. It would be interesting to hear if she had a similar communication. Maybe sister in law wants to make a gingerbread house instead. Maybe she wants the little kids to be able to make cookies. You don't know until you call.
Also ask your children what they think of the traditions, and what they want to do. If they really enjoy making the cookies, you could always stay at a hotel that has a kitchenette with oven. And then tell mom why you can't stay at her house. 
It is her house and she does get to decide some things about use of her kitchen. With the background that this is something you did since your childhood, I would be very confused by her desire to ban cookie making this year. Does she not want you messing up the kitchen, or does she not want you and your family to get praise for making the cookies, or does she just want to stop people from having fun, or does everyone else hate making cookies and is too polite to tell you?
Her ” rules” seem a little bizarre coming out of the blue like this. Almost like she had been obsessing about what things she needed to have the” perfect Christmas”  for the past year and finally got around to telling you.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: wildkitty on December 06, 2013, 08:15:30 AM
I would be calling up mom and saying "I respect your right to impose rules in your own home,  but these restrictions won't work for us. We'll be staying home for Christmas. ".

My dog is very much a part of my family. I'm with him every day of the year. I see my mother maybe 3 or 4 times a year for very brief visits. A lot of it having to do with their idea that the road only goes one way. If my mother were to suddenly decide that my dog can't come to her home than she would be seeing me even less. Yep, her house - her rules. I can respect that and she would have to respect my decision to decline to visit.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: NyaChan on December 06, 2013, 08:17:57 AM
This is a situation where I wonder how OP managed to get through the conversation without just asking "Why?" or "What's going on Mom?"  I don't think it is too late to call and ask those questions even now.  Why involve the SIL?  Deal directly with the person you have the issue with - in this case, you mom.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: bopper on December 06, 2013, 08:47:45 AM
I would be calling up mom and saying "I respect your right to impose rules in your own home,  but these restrictions won't work for us. We'll be staying home for Christmas. ".

My dog is very much a part of my family. I'm with him every day of the year. I see my mother maybe 3 or 4 times a year for very brief visits. A lot of it having to do with their idea that the road only goes one way. If my mother were to suddenly decide that my dog can't come to her home than she would be seeing me even less. Yep, her house - her rules. I can respect that and she would have to respect my decision to decline to visit.

But how would you feel if you had a guest who brought their dog that made your dog feel dominated?
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: wildkitty on December 06, 2013, 09:08:33 AM
I very clearly stated that I felt the OP's mother had every right to refuse the dog. However, I am saying that my Holiday hill to die on would be to spend said holiday without my dog. If that means I don't visit my mother for Christmas than we both made our choices.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: Twik on December 06, 2013, 09:17:40 AM
I very clearly stated that I felt the OP's mother had every right to refuse the dog. However, I am saying that my Holiday hill to die on would be to spend said holiday without my dog. If that means I don't visit my mother for Christmas than we both made our choices.

I think that your (hypothetical) mother has every right to protect *her* dog from being made uncomfortable in her own home. As an animal lover, you should have no resentment over that.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: LadyL on December 06, 2013, 09:21:28 AM
OP, my read of the 'no shorts' rule was indicating formality, not modesty. After all, knee length shorts are pretty modest in all but the most conservative dress codes.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: wildkitty on December 06, 2013, 09:24:53 AM
I very clearly stated that I felt the OP's mother had every right to refuse the dog. However, I am saying that my Holiday hill to die on would be to spend said holiday without my dog. If that means I don't visit my mother for Christmas than we both made our choices.

I think that your (hypothetical) mother has every right to protect *her* dog from being made uncomfortable in her own home. As an animal lover, you should have no resentment over that.

I not sure how I could be more clear. Where are you getting resentment? A choice that may make my mother unhappy does not mean there is resentment.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: Jones on December 06, 2013, 09:31:25 AM
I can see what Wildkitty is saying. When she has a holiday hill, and someone else has the opposite holiday hill, she has the choice to:
-leave the dog elsewhere (she stated she wouldn't)
-bring the dog anyway (Rude and snowflakey)
-not break the rules and not come at all (what she stated she would do)

OP I know that if I were planning to travel 1000 miles for Christmas and was told I couldn't fulfill a long term tradition I'd choose to stay home. Doesn't feel worth the hassle.

When DH, DD and I were living in a different state, we stayed home every Christmas. Not because of any potential host's rules, or anything, just didn't seem worth it to stress over travel, cram into a house with a large number of people, pack up our gifts and travel stress again. So, that's where I'm coming from in this situation. It may be worth it to you, in which case you need to follow the host's rules.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: Marisol on December 06, 2013, 09:47:55 AM
OP, my read of the 'no shorts' rule was indicating formality, not modesty. After all, knee length shorts are pretty modest in all but the most conservative dress codes.

That is how I read that too.  That she wanted to make sure the kids wore formal clothes, not that she was worried they would show up in "short-shorts". 
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: mimi_cat on December 06, 2013, 10:00:21 AM
It sounds like you are ok with leaving the dog at home.  And the shorts comment is kind of strange, but again, not really a big deal because that wasn't going to happen anyway.

In regards to the cookies - I agree with both suggestions about talking to your kids, and talking to the SIL as well.  It sounds like your best course of action may be to make them in advance and bring them along.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 06, 2013, 10:11:58 AM
Dog-Ok mom, we can get our friends to watch the dog/board the dog, not a problem.
Shorts-Ok mom, no one will wear shorts in December...not a problem. (feel free to roll eyes if on the phone)
Cookies-Oh, did SIL say she didn't feel we spent enough time on her thing last year? Mom I have to say, I really enjoy doing the Santa cookies and would love to get to do them with my niece/nephews as well as my own kids this year. Is there another reason you're asking we not do these?

I don't think there's anything wrong with telling your mom there's a tradition that you do and you like doing it and would like to continue to do this. She might think it's no big deal, or you just started doing because your kids were little. Now they're teenagers and she might think they aren't into anymore or you don't want to do it. Let her know you like doing it, your kids like doing it, and the little kids could find it enjoyable as well.

Also on the shorts, I'm 27 years old. I've held fairly professional jobs and have been to many "dressy" events. My mother still reminds me to wear clean clothes and nothing that says anything offensive to family gatherings/dressy events. I'm convinced that parents are forever sure we have no idea how to dress ourselves. Or our offspring. Just roll with it. (I've employed sarcasm myself, but that works in our relationship, we're close)
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: Julsie on December 06, 2013, 10:23:08 AM
I don't think the problem is with any of the rules, per se.  It's the overall micro-managing that feels so off-putting.  We lose the big picture when we argue the acceptability of banning dogs/shorts/cookies.

If nothing else, reading this forum teaches me how to be a good mother of adult children in the future.  Or rather, I learn how to avoid being a bad one.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: TootsNYC on December 06, 2013, 10:29:20 AM
W/ the dog thing, bummer, but you've got a plan. (Chihuahuas can be pretty fierce in terms of personality, so she could be right on that count.)


I think your mom just got a bee in her bonnet w/ the shorts thing. She doesn't see your children as true individuals; they are "my teenage grandkids," and someone in her circle has teenage grandkids that wore SHORTS TO CHURCH!! GASP!! And she can't differentiate between THOSE SHORTS-WEARING KIDS! and her own grandkids.
   My response would have probably been to laugh--one of those nose-centered snorts that's sort of embarrassing and hard to stop (and they hurt!).
   And then to say, "Oka-a-ay? I can promise you on their behalf; they'll dress nicely. Next?"


W/ the cookies, I'm a firm believer that traditions like this aren't really dictated.
Grandma may say she wants Santa cookies to happen differently, but my question would be: what do all the *kids* think?

It's their tradition, actually. And I know that I'd be unhappy at having it changed, were I a -kid- in that extended family.

So, my vote is to contact the other moms in the family and ask them to sound out the kids. And then you three decide what to do, and Sis-in-law T. can get back to Grandma and say, "We polled the children, and they really want to do X, so I hope you can accommodate that. Gotta go!"

(I do think you should seriously consider that one thing could be that one of the sis-in-laws feels a little shut out of holiday traditions related to the cookies, etc., etc. So be open to that, and see if you can tease it out. Me, I'd just say, "It occurred to me, maybe we should tweak that so it feels more involving of everyone. Maybe I'm monopolizing things. How can we make you be move involved here, instead of me hogging the limelight?")


Heck, OP, if I were *you* I wouldn't want to give up the making of the cookies w/ my nieces and nephews. It would be really, really fun for me, to have that time and that project with them. (As a niece, it would be important to me to have that be my aunt's project, too.)

Making them and bringing them would not be the point. The point isn't to -have- the cookies; it's to -make- them. Together.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: TootsNYC on December 06, 2013, 10:29:58 AM
I don't think the problem is with any of the rules, per se.  It's the overall micro-managing that feels so off-putting.  We lose the big picture when we argue the acceptability of banning dogs/shorts/cookies.

Nice point!

Quote
If nothing else, reading this forum teaches me how to be a good mother of adult children in the future.  Or rather, I learn how to avoid being a bad one.

Me too!
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: Kariachi on December 06, 2013, 10:32:55 AM
Here's what's bothering me.

The OP says that her family made these cookies when she was growing up, and then stopped for a few years when her father died. But she revived the tradition before she moved out of the house.

While her mother states that OP's been doing it since her kids were in preschool, with no mention of the fact that it's been a long-standing tradition.

It feels like the mom is trying to downplay the cookie tradition. Probably to make it seem like not a big deal when, really, it kinda is.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: pierrotlunaire0 on December 06, 2013, 10:35:30 AM
Part of it is the micro managing, like Julsie said.  Part of it though is the negativity: NO this, NO that, NO the other thing.  It would make me feel like adding: NO fun.

How much easier it would have been to say: I would love for the whole family to attend evening church service.  It would be such a thrill to see everyone, even the kids, all dressed up.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: wildkitty on December 06, 2013, 10:36:30 AM
I don't think the problem is with any of the rules, per se.  It's the overall micro-managing that feels so off-putting.  We lose the big picture when we argue the acceptability of banning dogs/shorts/cookies.

Nice point!

Quote
If nothing else, reading this forum teaches me how to be a good mother of adult children in the future.  Or rather, I learn how to avoid being a bad one.

Me too!

You both nailed it!

Yes, Chihuahuas do seem to epitomize the Napoleon complex. In the end the OP just needs to decide if her mother's restrictions will lessen her family's enjoyment of the holiday and make her decision based on that.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: whatsanenigma on December 06, 2013, 11:29:24 AM
Part of it is the micro managing, like Julsie said.  Part of it though is the negativity: NO this, NO that, NO the other thing.  It would make me feel like adding: NO fun.

How much easier it would have been to say: I would love for the whole family to attend evening church service.  It would be such a thrill to see everyone, even the kids, all dressed up.

That, or even "Just to remind you, this church's expectations for clothing are pretty much the same as the ones your church has, so don't worry about trying to dress differently, you can just wear whatever you usually wear to your own church and you will fit in just fine!".
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: whatsanenigma on December 06, 2013, 11:39:49 AM

1.  NO DOG. (.)

Our chihuahua mix dog is NOT allowed to visit, because their dog felt too dominated last time.

-- So we will do a combo of boarding and friends taking him.



What bothers me about this is not that she has asked the OP not to bring the dog.  It is her house and her dog and she has every absolute right to say what other animals, if any, visit, and under what circumstances.

However, if her dog really felt "too dominated" last time, it seems to me it should have been brought up then, if the concern really is for her dog.  If I had someone visiting with their pet and for some reason my cat was upset by this, I think I would try to address it at that time in order to minimize the distress of my own pet. 

Not, of course, in a "get that evil animal out of my house right this second and never bring it back!" way, but in a calm rational way in which I and the owner of the other animal could work out how to keep the animals separated or whatever.  And maybe or maybe not we would decide that the animal shouldn't visit any more, or whatever.

Bottom line to me: It is very possible that the other dog genuinely was distressed in some way by the OP's dog.  And the mom has the absolute right to ask that the OP's dog not return.  But given the fact that a dog cannot say, after the fact, "Oh, by the way, I felt really uncomfortably dominated by that other dog when it was here, I just didn't say anything at the time because I didn't want to be inhospitable", it strikes me as rather odd that this only comes up now, when if the dogs really were not getting along, nothing was done to soothe an upset dog in the actual moment.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: sparksals on December 06, 2013, 11:49:19 AM
There is nothing more I despise than when someone presumes rudeness before it has happened... as in the no shorts thing and the OP's son knowing to dress up.


When my dad died, long time family friends invited us all out for dinner at their country club.  Very hoity toity place.  My mother came to me and said Sally told her to tell my husband not to wear jeans.  She assumed dh would wear jeans.  Yes, he is a cowboy type, but he knows how to dress up and does it very well.  He was really offended.  I think it was actually  my mom 'suggesting' this, but blaming the hostess.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: pierrotlunaire0 on December 06, 2013, 12:10:45 PM
Bottom line to me: It is very possible that the other dog genuinely was distressed in some way by the OP's dog.  And the mom has the absolute right to ask that the OP's dog not return.  But given the fact that a dog cannot say, after the fact, "Oh, by the way, I felt really uncomfortably dominated by that other dog when it was here, I just didn't say anything at the time because I didn't want to be inhospitable", it strikes me as rather odd that this only comes up now, when if the dogs really were not getting along, nothing was done to soothe an upset dog in the actual moment.

Not to downplay your point, but I just had the funniest image of Mom stumbling upon the dog's diary months later and reading (in doggy handwriting, of course), "That chihuahua was so dominating!  Ruined my whole Christmas!"
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: whatsanenigma on December 06, 2013, 12:46:06 PM
Bottom line to me: It is very possible that the other dog genuinely was distressed in some way by the OP's dog.  And the mom has the absolute right to ask that the OP's dog not return.  But given the fact that a dog cannot say, after the fact, "Oh, by the way, I felt really uncomfortably dominated by that other dog when it was here, I just didn't say anything at the time because I didn't want to be inhospitable", it strikes me as rather odd that this only comes up now, when if the dogs really were not getting along, nothing was done to soothe an upset dog in the actual moment.

Not to downplay your point, but I just had the funniest image of Mom stumbling upon the dog's diary months later and reading (in doggy handwriting, of course), "That chihuahua was so dominating!  Ruined my whole Christmas!"

Ha, I hadn't even imagined that-I was thinking more of a "heart to heart" between mom and the dog about how to be polite to the OP while excluding her dog.  "I don't want to ask you to tell your daughter not to come, but honestly, her dog really really freaks me out."  It actually sounds like a good post for a dog version of e-hell.

But now that's a funny image too.  Poor dog, afraid to speak her mind, needing to learn not to be a doormat.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 06, 2013, 12:49:03 PM
Bottom line to me: It is very possible that the other dog genuinely was distressed in some way by the OP's dog.  And the mom has the absolute right to ask that the OP's dog not return.  But given the fact that a dog cannot say, after the fact, "Oh, by the way, I felt really uncomfortably dominated by that other dog when it was here, I just didn't say anything at the time because I didn't want to be inhospitable", it strikes me as rather odd that this only comes up now, when if the dogs really were not getting along, nothing was done to soothe an upset dog in the actual moment.

Not to downplay your point, but I just had the funniest image of Mom stumbling upon the dog's diary months later and reading (in doggy handwriting, of course), "That chihuahua was so dominating!  Ruined my whole Christmas!"

I was imaging Mom making up the guest list, doggy looking over her shoulder and going "Oh, you're inviting them", Mom responds "Well of course, it's my daughter and her family. Why, don't you like them?", and dog having to breakdown "Well, yes, I, I do like the humans. It's just...that little dog of their's, it, it's very mean to me!" and Mom having to comfort dog and explain that it was ok she just wouldn't invite the dog this year.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: Mikayla on December 06, 2013, 12:52:09 PM
The dog issue is kind of a red herring, since OP clearly has no problems with leaving hers at home.

But on the cookie thing, I'd like to know how that convo went.  If someone suddenly yanks a long standing family tradition, I wouldn't just say "ok then!" if it was one I enjoyed.  I'd want to know why and I'd ask until I fully understood it.  Then I'd offer up any compromise I could think of.  Region Mom gave a lot of detail in her OP, but how much of this was said to mom?

When it comes to the holidays and faaaammmily, I do think some rules get revised.  One of the biggest is the hostess/guest relationship. In some families (like mine) the hostess is the one who wins the sweepstakes and doesn't have to travel!  So other family members aren't quite as bound by what she wants as guests at a formal dinner party would be.  That's my take, anyway.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: Deetee on December 06, 2013, 12:55:34 PM
Part of it is the micro managing, like Julsie said.  Part of it though is the negativity: NO this, NO that, NO the other thing.  It would make me feel like adding: NO fun.

How much easier it would have been to say: I would love for the whole family to attend evening church service.  It would be such a thrill to see everyone, even the kids, all dressed up.

I agree. It just feels unwelcoming. I mean, who is against making cookies at Christmas?
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: esposita on December 06, 2013, 01:07:11 PM
The dog issue is kind of a red herring, since OP clearly has no problems with leaving hers at home.

But on the cookie thing, I'd like to know how that convo went.  If someone suddenly yanks a long standing family tradition, I wouldn't just say "ok then!" if it was one I enjoyed.  I'd want to know why and I'd ask until I fully understood it.  Then I'd offer up any compromise I could think of.  Region Mom gave a lot of detail in her OP, but how much of this was said to mom?

When it comes to the holidays and faaaammmily, I do think some rules get revised.  One of the biggest is the hostess/guest relationship. In some families (like mine) the hostess is the one who wins the sweepstakes and doesn't have to travel!  So other family members aren't quite as bound by what she wants as guests at a formal dinner party would be.  That's my take, anyway.

Sometimes when information is coming at you quickly, you don't really process the importance of it as its being said (especially when its jumbled in with several other bits of info that also need processing).

Its not til 3am that you go "I gotta pack that electric blanket...wait a minute. No baking cookies?! That's not cool, its really important to me...and the dog felt dominated? Well I didn't notice that last time at all...and WHEN has Ann ever worn anything inappropriate?!"

Also, sometimes I just don't have a reply to things that are just non-negotiable or non-important in my mind. I get taken aback when things are just dropped on me willy nilly and I need time to contemplate a reply so that I'm not over-emotional.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: whatsanenigma on December 06, 2013, 01:32:34 PM
The dog issue is kind of a red herring, since OP clearly has no problems with leaving hers at home.

Well, the reason I brought it up is that it seems to play into the micromanaging thing.  To me, it speaks to and sets the context of the whole message.

In other words, I highly suspect that there was no problem between the dogs (unless the mom actually managed to ignore her own dog being in obvious distress of some kind) and the mom is making this up out of whole cloth or blowing something out of proportion. 

And wouldn't the OP herself, as a dog owner, have noticed if the other dog was upset in some way? I have the impression that the OP is really a dog lover who is sensitive to their emotions, even when they are not her own dogs.  And that if she had seen excessive "domination" or whatever, she would have put a stop to it.

Anyway, to me it's just another red flag, an indication that the mom might be rewriting history or maybe she's letting the tension between her and her daughter get projected onto the dogs.  Or something, I don't know.  Something that would, in any case, affect how the rest of the email should be interpreted.

ETA: Just for the record, my parents have a 2 pound chihuahua and while she is very sweet and loving and all that and we all love her to pieces, she is, admittedly, really full of....attitude.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: JoyinVirginia on December 06, 2013, 02:29:31 PM
I'm with Wild Kitty, if I were in position of traveling for Christmas and could not include my dogs, I would either stay in a hotel that allows dogs, or stay home. I would of course sleep at the hotel and also leave every two or three hours to go back and walk or play with dogs.
But that's me, and I would not be traveling a really long way at Christmas in the first place. Because I despised having to leave home at Christmas to visit relatives, and promised I would never do that to my kids. Now they are adults and can decide what to do and who to visit and when we want to get together.
I do love the ” dog diary” conversation! Too funny!
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 06, 2013, 02:32:02 PM
OP, does everyone participate in the cookie making and decorating? How would you siblings and inlaws feel about loosing the tradition?

I'd hate for you to walk in with a plate load of cookies and your brother say "Why did you already make them? Aren't we going to get to decorate?" I know if I was used to that activity during Christmas I'd be bummed about it being cancelled on me without any notice.

Is it possible to compromise with your mom? You bake the cookies and then bring them and the decorations for everyone to do?

Honestly, I'd probably be sending an email out to my siblings with "Mom has decided she doesn't want me to do the Christmas Cookies at her house anymore so we need to come up with another group activity. What do you guys suggest? How about poker? I'll bring the cards."
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: RegionMom on December 06, 2013, 03:43:22 PM
OP here-

One brother always gives us a new game for us to play as a family of all three of us adult kids plus our kids (holding baby/toddler in various arms, or helping a small child follow along to play or help roll the dice.) Mom has never has participated in the new board or card game, nor the decorating cake trains or rolling out Santa cookies. 

The NO DOG is really just an expensive eye roll.  I thought the dogs were fine together.  My dog is relaxed and was impressively very good not to bother Mom's dog's food or toys.  Her dog is a nervous Nellie that is pretty spoiled.  I am fine leaving my dog with friends.  Our dog loves adventure and we have an excellent at-their-home dog sitter, who will paid quite handsomely. 

The NO SHORTS is more of a, "wow, I know you have only met my kids about 12-14 times ever (did not go home when DH got laid off, and twice when very pregnant or just gave birth days before to her first grandchild) but, really, in every photo you have ever seen they have been well attired, plus you know we go to a conservative school and church. 

Plus, why are you completely ignoring the idea of a family photo when you have this great opportunity? 

My DS asked a few years ago if you even went to church, since he has never seen your church, because you are so often in-between church-hopping in distant towns, that it is too much bother for you.  You sputtered that the dates did not fit, but he logically, as only an 8/9 year can, checked the calendar and realized that was just not so.  I really do not know why suddenly it is such a big deal for us to all go to church together.  And yes, both brothers and their wives share the same basic faith- just some use more candles than others.  :)

The NO COOKIES is the issue.  It is not that the cookies are so delicious.  When mom muttered to herself a few years back about the time and hassle, I assumed she meant the actual making of the dough, so I switched to store-bought cookie rolls.  And, I was always careful to leave the kitchen back in complete and clean order.

The special thing we have all done together has been to color the dough and make Santa shapes before the baking.  I have a lovely picture of grade school DS holding his toddler cousin and "helping" her roll the dough in her hand.  This cousin belongs to Aunt L. 

Both brothers have preschool children now, Aunt T. also has a baby, Aunt L. has the one grade schooler plus the same age preschooler, and mine are older teens. 

When we are working together, on the trains and the cookies, we are opening up to each other, getting re-acquainted in person and just chatting.  It is like a quilting bee of baked goods. 

So, mom is not taking away the cookies to eat, but the tradition of working on a family project.

She has not ever done them since I was a kid.  Aunt T. was inspired by our cookies to come up with her own tradition for her kids, so she started the trains two years ago.

I will call Aunt T. later today- time zone and work differences.  She is very diplomatic and calm and I doubt mom has spoken to her about this. 

So, that is my non-update, but maybe more info.

And, yes, my doggie keeps a diary buried on the back yard, I am sure!
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 06, 2013, 04:06:38 PM
So, mom is not taking away the cookies to eat, but the tradition of working on a family project.

And that's hitting the nail on the head right there. It's a family tradition it sounds like everyone has enjoyed (aside from Mom). Your big ones have helped the first group of little ones, and now there are new little ones to teach! It seems unfair for your mom to decide that this tradition is all done now, because she says so.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules p. 39 more info
Post by: immadz on December 06, 2013, 05:24:25 PM
I do not like the phrasing of the no shorts request at all. " I would really like for all of us to go to service at my church this time. We have a fairly strict code of no shorts, so please make sure the kids have something to wear. Can't wait to see you. " has a much nicer "just to remind you" ring to it rather than " I know you are going to mess up"

Also is there anyway you can all adjourn to someone else's home to make cookies. It sounds like such a lovely tradition. I still remember many of these little " time consuming" traditions from my childhood with great fondness and will definitely involve my future hypothetical children in similar ones. They bring families together. Perhaps your mom is miffed that she is no longer included in this tradition or it wasn't started by her. Perhaps you can go out of your way to include her this time. " We are going over to x's kitchen to make cookies. We would love for you to join?"
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules p. 39 more info
Post by: DavidH on December 06, 2013, 06:17:23 PM
I think there is a past history that may be part of this.  For the dog, since the OP is fine with it, and even says her mother's dog is a nervous Nellie, I'd just let it go. 

The shorts phrasing may have been rude, but if she hasn't seen your kids in a year and given the styles common now, I don't understand why the OP is upset.  She could even bond over this as in, I agree Mom, some kids these days wear much too revealing clothing.  You'll be thrilled to know your grand kids would never do that, in fact....

My mother has developed some new idea that although she always wants to host holidays, any cooking just makes too much of a mess.  This means that although others would host and make a home made holiday meal, she insists on hosting and then then stops everyone from cooking, so the majority of the meal is premade.  One year, she even planned on cooking Thanksgiving "a few days ahead" and then reheating it on the day until all of us revolted and insisted that either she cook on the day, allow others to cook on the day at her place, or give up hosting. 

My point is that if it's that important to make cookies, tell her and if it is truly important, make it a deal breaker, no cookies, no visit.  The first step though is to bring the subject up with her to understand her objections.

Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules p. 39 more info
Post by: *inviteseller on December 06, 2013, 10:05:11 PM
So mom doesn't want to join her kids in games and fun, is stopping a tradition of Santa cookies instead of continuing it for the little ones, and makes snarky comments about attire and an incident from a year ago that seems overblown...me thinks mom doesn't want these gatherings at all but feels as obligated to have them as OP and her siblings feel about attending.  Truthfully, if this was my family gathering, I wouldn't bother going because it just doesn't sound festive, but everyone being on eggshells so as not to get mom riled up.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules p. 39 more info
Post by: JoyinVirginia on December 06, 2013, 11:38:30 PM
I agree with you, invite seller. maybe the siblings should move the get together to their houses so they can have fun without mom raining on the parade.
here is my groundless speculation: the sister in laws will be all for the continuing cookie tradition, and when told this, mom will back pedal and blame one of the daughters in law.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules p. 39 more info
Post by: sammycat on December 07, 2013, 12:23:17 AM
I agree with you, invite seller. maybe the siblings should move the get together to their houses so they can have fun without mom raining on the parade.
here is my groundless speculation: the sister in laws will be all for the continuing cookie tradition, and when told this, mom will back pedal and blame one of the daughters in law.

So mom doesn't want to join her kids in games and fun, is stopping a tradition of Santa cookies instead of continuing it for the little ones, and makes snarky comments about attire and an incident from a year ago that seems overblown...me thinks mom doesn't want these gatherings at all but feels as obligated to have them as OP and her siblings feel about attending.  Truthfully, if this was my family gathering, I wouldn't bother going because it just doesn't sound festive, but everyone being on eggshells so as not to get mom riled up.

I think you might both be onto something.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules p. 39 more info
Post by: EllenS on December 07, 2013, 09:09:12 AM
My personal take, is that Mom feels like she is not the center of attention in the same way that she used to be.  There is a natural progression in families where Mom becomes Grandma and then gradually moves from the center of the festivities, to the periphery, while the next generation plans and organizes things with their kids and grandkids.  Princess becomes Queen, becomes Queen Mum.

I think Mom's random Rules are an attempt to make sure she is still in the center/in charge, to avoid becoming irrelevant.  It's kind of random and nonsensical, because it is driven by an emotional/irrational need. The healthy way to do this would be to invest more in the kids and what they enjoy doing.  But not everybody is willing/able to make the healthiest choice.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules p. 39 more info
Post by: Clockwork Banana on December 07, 2013, 12:26:15 PM
Is this level of micromanaging a new thing for your mother? If not, I am probably way off base in my assesment.

My constant thought through reading the OP and subsequent responses is that possibly the mother resents how well the siblings and spouses get along. Perhaps she feels a bit on the outside, looking in?

If you and your brothers are cool (as in the not super-loving definition of cool) in your feelings toward your mother, she may well have picked up on that, and this is her way of reacting to that.

Each of the separate three points have been appropriately addressed and disected by previous posters, but the overall feel I get is one of a rather resentful woman who does not appreciate or embrace the fact that she has three children who actually like each other and enjoy the traditions they have developed (like the board games, the cookies, the train cake etc.).

Oh, and totally off topic, but what is with hosting but not actually hosting, insomuch as deli sandwhiches for the holiday dinner?  I am (REALLY) not judging, I am just curious as to whether this is part of a pattern of begrudgedly having Christmas at her home?
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules p. 39 more info
Post by: Julsie on December 07, 2013, 03:55:14 PM
Clockwork Banana,  (I like bananas better than oranges, too.)

I'm a mom of eight children, ages young adult to infant.  ALL I want out of life is to have them grow up and get along.  And a trip to the Maldives.  But mostly, it would be to see them have genuine rel@tionships with each other.  I can't imagine feeling left out.

But I do understand the deli sandwiches.  I'm not a good cook.  I love people but not party prep.  So come on over, all of you and enjoy these sandwiches from Subway.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE # 49
Post by: RegionMom on December 07, 2013, 05:30:42 PM
OP here-

It is store bought meats and cheeses, assemble yourself sandwiches.  Mom buys fancy chips and pickles. 

For the BBQ, someone drives 45 mins. to the BBQ place. 

UPDATE-

I just spoke to Aunt T. and her DH, my brother.  He has not even heard from mom, and he was happily surprised about Christmas Eve service. 

As for the cookies, I asked, "with your two little ones, it may be too much to both the trains and the cookies.  What do you think?"

"Why not??  We have been doing the cookies for at least 35 years so we should still do that one.  And there is enough room for both, like we have done before."

I replied, "Sounds good to me!  Let's coordinate what candies we are bringing to decorate the trains."  (off-topic discussion of gummy bears getting run over by the engine car)

"Oh, DB, does our sis-in-law (Aunt L.) have any special traditions that we have been missing?"

"Not that I know of.  They have been married longer than me, and have a child a few years older than my oldest, plus her parents live 5 mins away from ours so if she does have a tradition, she does it there."

Chatted about travel plans back to their town and general chit chat, and the good-bye.

So, Aunt T. has no concerns about doing both the trains and the cookies. 

I might call the other DB, (Aunt L's DH, my baby brother)  but I cannot see any problems there, either.

Mom has never been one for fun.  (edited out two boring paragraphs of how dull she is, and really seems to have no friends.  I could not name ONE friend of hers.)

My kids like the cookies.  With the leftover dough after we have made the Santas, we make traditional Christmas cookie shapes like trees and bells and stars, but then we also make red trees and green stars and then on to maybe a martian or a snake done freehand.   We have years of pictures.  One year we made an entire army of minions.  They almost burnt because they were small, but we still ate them!

So, the cookies are on.   I will bring every last bit of supplies from my home, and I guess when I see mom, I will have some configuration of the kids ask Grandma when we can make cookies and decorate trains, like always.  And if she pitches a fit, well, I just do not know.  My in-laws live  in my town here, and I do not know sis-in-laws (Aunt L) parents to borrow their kitchen.  I have not lived there since age 17, and I am not on FaceBook to see if anyone is still around. 

I can see mom's fussing over the time with the church service, but we could do it the day before.  Or the morn of Christmas Eve.  We can, and have, worked around nap times and travel plans.  We jsut need to work around Grandma now, it seems.

So, come December 24, Santa WILL be getting his likeness made into cookies, as usual, somehow!   And the candy train will be on display for him to see, also. 

:)

Merry Christmas e-hellions! 
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules p. 39 more info
Post by: JoyinVirginia on December 07, 2013, 05:46:26 PM
Merry Christmas! Just do it!
The Grinch, oh I mean your mother, will either allow it or have to deal with disgruntled children and grandchildren presenting a united front.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules p. 39 more info
Post by: immadz on December 07, 2013, 06:22:19 PM
OP here-

It is store bought meats and cheeses, assemble yourself sandwiches.  Mom buys fancy chips and pickles. 

For the BBQ, someone drives 45 mins. to the BBQ place. 

UPDATE-

I just spoke to Aunt T. and her DH, my brother.  He has not even heard from mom, and he was happily surprised about Christmas Eve service. 

As for the cookies, I asked, "with your two little ones, it may be too much to both the trains and the cookies.  What do you think?"

"Why not??  We have been doing the cookies for at least 35 years so we should still do that one.  And there is enough room for both, like we have done before."

I replied, "Sounds good to me!  Let's coordinate what candies we are bringing to decorate the trains."  (off-topic discussion of gummy bears getting run over by the engine car)

"Oh, DB, does our sis-in-law (Aunt L.) have any special traditions that we have been missing?"

"Not that I know of.  They have been married longer than me, and have a child a few years older than my oldest, plus her parents live 5 mins away from ours so if she does have a tradition, she does it there."

Chatted about travel plans back to their town and general chit chat, and the good-bye.

So, Aunt T. has no concerns about doing both the trains and the cookies. 

I might call the other DB, (Aunt L's DH, my baby brother)  but I cannot see any problems there, either.

Mom has never been one for fun.  (edited out two boring paragraphs of how dull she is, and really seems to have no friends.  I could not name ONE friend of hers.)

My kids like the cookies.  With the leftover dough after we have made the Santas, we make traditional Christmas cookie shapes like trees and bells and stars, but then we also make red trees and green stars and then on to maybe a martian or a snake done freehand.   We have years of pictures.  One year we made an entire army of minions.  They almost burnt because they were small, but we still ate them!

So, the cookies are on.   I will bring every last bit of supplies from my home, and I guess when I see mom, I will have some configuration of the kids ask Grandma when we can make cookies and decorate trains, like always.  And if she pitches a fit, well, I just do not know.  My in-laws live  in my town here, and I do not know sis-in-laws (Aunt L) parents to borrow their kitchen.  I have not lived there since age 17, and I am not on FaceBook to see if anyone is still around. 

I can see mom's fussing over the time with the church service, but we could do it the day before.  Or the morn of Christmas Eve.  We can, and have, worked around nap times and travel plans.  We jsut need to work around Grandma now, it seems.

So, come December 24, Santa WILL be getting his likeness made into cookies, as usual, somehow!   And the candy train will be on display for him to see, also. 

:)

Merry Christmas e-hellions!

My only concern is that you are proposing to make cookies in her kitchen. That might not be too polite, since her house, her rules.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules p. 39 more info
Post by: SPuck on December 07, 2013, 06:48:04 PM
My only concern is that you are proposing to make cookies in her kitchen. That might not be too polite, since her house, her rules.

It also isn't polite to volunteer someone else for a cooking position without asking them first, which is what RegionMom's mother appeared to be doing in the first post. Either way I think there is a lot of wiggle room on both ends if RegionMom's mother is expecting other people to cook.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: JoyinVirginia on December 07, 2013, 06:53:44 PM
As backup, op can identify hotel that has kitchen facilities in room/ suite and then if mother still vetoes fun activity that all of the guests expect to do, have done in past, and enjoy doing, then the entire crew can leave mom alone in her house and go elsewhere to make cookies.
This is immediate family. Toss is much different situation than a party guest taking over the kitchen to make cheesecake or complicated meal.
Like op brother said, they have been doing this for thirty five years. Why stop now?

My latest groundless speculation, the Grinch grandmother was so distressed by the sound of children enjoying themselves, she has been plotting how to put a stop to it. The perfect plan! Tell the cookie chef she will not be allowed to do it! Then when other family ask ” when are we making cookies?” She can blame it all on op not bringing cookie things. A perfect GrinchY plan!
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
Post by: kareng57 on December 07, 2013, 10:51:25 PM
OP here-

One brother always gives us a new game for us to play as a family of all three of us adult kids plus our kids (holding baby/toddler in various arms, or helping a small child follow along to play or help roll the dice.) Mom has never has participated in the new board or card game, nor the decorating cake trains or rolling out Santa cookies. 

The NO DOG is really just an expensive eye roll.  I thought the dogs were fine together.  My dog is relaxed and was impressively very good not to bother Mom's dog's food or toys.  Her dog is a nervous Nellie that is pretty spoiled.  I am fine leaving my dog with friends.  Our dog loves adventure and we have an excellent at-their-home dog sitter, who will paid quite handsomely. 

The NO SHORTS is more of a, "wow, I know you have only met my kids about 12-14 times ever (did not go home when DH got laid off, and twice when very pregnant or just gave birth days before to her first grandchild) but, really, in every photo you have ever seen they have been well attired, plus you know we go to a conservative school and church. 

Plus, why are you completely ignoring the idea of a family photo when you have this great opportunity? 

My DS asked a few years ago if you even went to church, since he has never seen your church, because you are so often in-between church-hopping in distant towns, that it is too much bother for you.  You sputtered that the dates did not fit, but he logically, as only an 8/9 year can, checked the calendar and realized that was just not so.  I really do not know why suddenly it is such a big deal for us to all go to church together.  And yes, both brothers and their wives share the same basic faith- just some use more candles than others.  :)

The NO COOKIES is the issue.  It is not that the cookies are so delicious.  When mom muttered to herself a few years back about the time and hassle, I assumed she meant the actual making of the dough, so I switched to store-bought cookie rolls.  And, I was always careful to leave the kitchen back in complete and clean order.

The special thing we have all done together has been to color the dough and make Santa shapes before the baking.  I have a lovely picture of grade school DS holding his toddler cousin and "helping" her roll the dough in her hand.  This cousin belongs to Aunt L. 

Both brothers have preschool children now, Aunt T. also has a baby, Aunt L. has the one grade schooler plus the same age preschooler, and mine are older teens. 

When we are working together, on the trains and the cookies, we are opening up to each other, getting re-acquainted in person and just chatting.  It is like a quilting bee of baked goods. 

So, mom is not taking away the cookies to eat, but the tradition of working on a family project.

She has not ever done them since I was a kid.  Aunt T. was inspired by our cookies to come up with her own tradition for her kids, so she started the trains two years ago.

I will call Aunt T. later today- time zone and work differences.  She is very diplomatic and calm and I doubt mom has spoken to her about this. 

So, that is my non-update, but maybe more info.

And, yes, my doggie keeps a diary buried on the back yard, I am sure!


I think the micro-managing could be on both sides, to be honest.

I truly cannot imagine allowing either of my sons to interrogate their grandparents regarding church attendance.  I think that goes beyond the boundaries of respect.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: NyaChan on December 07, 2013, 11:06:30 PM
Gotta be honest - that really threw me for a loop as well.  I would have stopped it in the moment and done some admonishing afterwards.  I have to say again - it isn't the other guests' permission you need, it is your host's permission that you should get about the cookies.  I don't think it is right to just flout what she has specifically told you she doesn't want happening.  I would suggest calling her up and bring it up similar to: "You know, Aunt actually was excited to make the cookies this year with all the kids.  Since everyone else is okay with it, how about we continue the tradition?"
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: esposita on December 07, 2013, 11:25:31 PM
Asking one question and then being confused about the illogical answer is not an interrogation.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: nolechica on December 07, 2013, 11:55:33 PM
Is your mother's house the most geographically accessible place or not? Why doesn't a sibling host so mom can't make the rules?
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE # 49
Post by: wallaby on December 08, 2013, 06:02:00 AM
So, the cookies are on.   I will bring every last bit of supplies from my home, and I guess when I see mom, I will have some configuration of the kids ask Grandma when we can make cookies and decorate trains, like always. And if she pitches a fit, well, I just do not know.  My in-laws live  in my town here, and I do not know sis-in-laws (Aunt L) parents to borrow their kitchen.  I have not lived there since age 17, and I am not on FaceBook to see if anyone is still around. 

I can see mom's fussing over the time with the church service, but we could do it the day before.  Or the morn of Christmas Eve.  We can, and have, worked around nap times and travel plans.  We jsut need to work around Grandma now, it seems.

So, come December 24, Santa WILL be getting his likeness made into cookies, as usual, somehow!   And the candy train will be on display for him to see, also. 

You didn't like what you were told. As far as I can tell, you have not actually attempted to discuss this again with your Mom (e.g., "Mom, what is the real issue here? We really love and value that tradition and it would mean a lot to us to continue it."). From your update, you've gone behind her back and enlisted other relatives to get them "on side", and are plotting to strategically use your own children, to get your way? You say your Mom is difficult but this underhand/manipulative approach to getting your way does not exactly cover yourself in glory, either. Sorry. Not having toxic family dynamics I don't understand how you rationalize this. Honestly if you did this to me, I would be angry. I don't understand why you won't just have a follow-up conversation instead of all this plotting and scheming.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE # 49
Post by: cross_patch on December 08, 2013, 06:51:05 AM
So, the cookies are on.   I will bring every last bit of supplies from my home, and I guess when I see mom, I will have some configuration of the kids ask Grandma when we can make cookies and decorate trains, like always. And if she pitches a fit, well, I just do not know.  My in-laws live  in my town here, and I do not know sis-in-laws (Aunt L) parents to borrow their kitchen.  I have not lived there since age 17, and I am not on FaceBook to see if anyone is still around. 

I can see mom's fussing over the time with the church service, but we could do it the day before.  Or the morn of Christmas Eve.  We can, and have, worked around nap times and travel plans.  We jsut need to work around Grandma now, it seems.

So, come December 24, Santa WILL be getting his likeness made into cookies, as usual, somehow!   And the candy train will be on display for him to see, also. 

You didn't like what you were told. As far as I can tell, you have not actually attempted to discuss this again with your Mom (e.g., "Mom, what is the real issue here? We really love and value that tradition and it would mean a lot to us to continue it."). From your update, you've gone behind her back and enlisted other relatives to get them "on side", and are plotting to strategically use your own children, to get your way? You say your Mom is difficult but this underhand/manipulative approach to getting your way does not exactly cover yourself in glory, either. Sorry. Not having toxic family dynamics I don't understand how you rationalize this. Honestly if you did this to me, I would be angry. I don't understand why you won't just have a follow-up conversation instead of all this plotting and scheming.



You've absolutely summarised the problem that I have with this- it seems do underhanded and sneaky. It does seem from your posts that you are determined to ascribe the worst possible motives to your mother- the paragraph about how she has no friends etc sort of illustrates to me your mindset in regard to this. I acknowledge that family dynamics are tricky, but it might be worth a bit of reflection to your role in this.

I also agree with the other posters in regard to your son questioning his grandmother about her churgoing- hugely inappropriate.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: Julsie on December 08, 2013, 08:21:12 AM
Quote
Not having toxic family dynamics I don't understand how you rationalize this.

Therein may lie the issue.  If you don't have toxic family dynamics you aren't used to dealing with the irrational.  It can be very different.

You're used to working within a set of normal rules.  If you have a concern, address it with the person.  If someone brings a concern to you, listen and respond rationally.

In a toxic family, the rules can be:

Up is down.
5:00 is yellow.
It's 60 degrees so it's time for Breaking Bad.

I agree that OP should talk directly with her mother about this.  But I understand her desire not to let her mother steamroll over a beloved family tradition.  It may not be proper etiquette but I sympathize. 
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: TootsNYC on December 08, 2013, 08:33:46 AM
Gotta be honest - that really threw me for a loop as well.  I would have stopped it in the moment and done some admonishing afterwards.  I have to say again - it isn't the other guests' permission you need, it is your host's permission that you should get about the cookies.  I don't think it is right to just flout what she has specifically told you she doesn't want happening.  I would suggest calling her up and bring it up similar to: "You know, Aunt actually was excited to make the cookies this year with all the kids.  Since everyone else is okay with it, how about we continue the tradition?"

I would agree--let her know ahead of time that all the other members of the family really want to do this tradition.

As for "cooking in her kitchen"--I think that's what you get when you're a mother and want your children to be around. (Now, maybe the OP's mom really doesn't want them around that much.) I don't see "family gathering for Christmas" as -quite- the same thing as a dinner party. Even if it were a group of friends, I think that barring really big things, the host should allow the use of the kitchen. It's really more "volunteering your home as the gathering place for the group" (not completely, of course, but it's not the same kind of hosting).
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: RegionMom on December 08, 2013, 08:41:16 AM
 
OP here-

My son, at the time about age 8, asked one question to his grandmother  about attending her church.

I have spoken to mom 4 times in 2013.  The last time was when I crazily thought calling my mom after the death of a friend's child would be a good idea.  She briefly gave platitudes and then spend more than half the phone call time telling me the woes of her garden.

I do not know why I keep trying with her. 

As for my brothers, one lives 4 hours out further, and the other just moved back from way far away and does not have enough room.

Side story- his wife, Aunt L, revealed to me that she and my baby brother debated even telling mom before they moved to way far away place, to see how long it would take her to notice.

Yet, yes, I will still call mom before we drive 1000 miles to her house.  I will ask why no cookies, and I will not mention that I have spoken to one sis-in-law. 

I am the oldest, I should be the one to take the hit.  And next year, when DD is a senior, we are done.

Mom has only been to my state once, for the funeral of my third child.  She changed into street clothes at the funeral parlor and hit the road, because my family had taken too much time.

So, yeah, making cookies with my sane brothers and their families is worth the trip, but not mom, but her house is the only large enough place and cost effective.

I do not go for the gifts!!  Two years ago, I received a car trash bag and a clip for a pot to hold a stirrer.
Yay.

E-hell is where I go for ideas, to share thoughts.  The only actin I have taken was a phone call to assess if somehow Aunt T., wanted the change to trains only.  She is much easier to talk to.

Anyway, it is good to see so many families here able to happily go home each holiday.  We had a lovely and yummy Thanksgiving with an "adopted" family and a grandmother who hugs and compliments.  That us what I have done for my kids.  And DHs parents we see weekly.  So, ehell, I will let you know when I am ready to call mom and ask.  I have to prepare myself, first.

Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE # 49
Post by: Sophia on December 08, 2013, 09:18:23 AM
...Mom has never been one for fun.  (edited out two boring paragraphs of how dull she is, and really seems to have no friends.  I could not name ONE friend of hers.)...

I find this not surprising.  From the beginning she sounded like a party pooper, and the real problem was that you guys were having fun.  Not having fun without her, but having fun. 

I get the whole host sets the rules things.  But I don't think a mom can just squash long standing beloved traditions for no good reason.  Part of having the holiday at your house is that the traditions will continue. 
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: Julsie on December 08, 2013, 09:33:51 AM
(((RegionMom)))  I'm sorry, hon.  You (and I) got scr#*ed in the mom department.  Sadly, it happens.  The best thing that we can do is to build loving and respectful rel@tionships with our own children.  It doesn't end the pain of having a disordered mother but it is an enormous consolation.

I'm terribly sorry for the loss of your child and your mother's shocking insensitivity during the funeral time.  Just when you needed the love and strength from a caring mother...

You do what you need to in order to have a merry Christmas this year and all of the upcoming years.  May there be lots of cookies and laughter in your holidays.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: JoyinVirginia on December 08, 2013, 10:19:36 AM
Sharing my perspective: I am bewildered by some posters thinking questions about church attendance being disrespectful to grandma. That is how you communicate. Asking grandparents, aunts, uncles about things important to the child or them. That is how you start conversations.

my mother was one of thirteen children, so over the years we cousins witnessed lots of interactions of our parental units. Some functional, some dysfunctional. There was one aunt that, at every gathering she attended, at some point would burst into tears loudly, and leave her siblings and children trying to figure out what was wrong to fix it. Another aunt would start lecturing people whenever  the mood struck her, she couldn't resist showing off for an audience. So I have witnessed more than once, relatives who just could not stand someone else having fun, or not being center of attention, or both.

Frankly, op, I think you should just show up with cookie making stuff and do your own thing. With this dynamic, its the least stressful thing all around.

Edited to add: I am absolutely fascinated by this thread because I had one aunt who sounds like the twin of the op mother. We drove my mother to Other State for a visit when they were both too old to drive themselves. Aunt had this idea of fun, sit in the living room and stare at  each other so she could interrogate dh and I on our child rearing beliefs. Argue with my mother about something inconsequential that happened fifty years before. Critique our children on how her granddaughter was so much better in comparison. (her own granddaughter visited once a year maybe, wonder why?)  The dh and I and our kids escaped to a motel and left my mother and her sister to happily argue three rest of their visit. They had always argued about trivial things, they did kind of enjoy it! And aunt did not miss us at all.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: weeblewobble on December 08, 2013, 10:42:12 AM
Joy, for some people, causing scenes at family events IS their holiday tradition.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: JoyinVirginia on December 08, 2013, 11:53:02 AM
Joy, for some people, causing scenes at family events IS their holiday tradition.
Weeble wobble, this is so funny! And so true!

For folks from families who have never witnessed this, its hard to describe, because they can't believe it!
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: PastryGoddess on December 08, 2013, 12:42:57 PM
Joy, for some people, causing scenes at family events IS their holiday tradition.
Weeble wobble, this is so funny! And so true!

For folks from families who have never witnessed this, its hard to describe, because they can't believe it!

We have an inlaw that we can count on at least one "episode" per family gathering, whether it's a health crisis, a hissy fit or just storming off and hiding in the house somewhere. The point of course, is to make several members of the family stop their celebration to care for her or seek her out and ask what's wrong. 

The funny thing is now we're all so used to it, we pretty much ignore it, which means that she escalates every year. For people who aren't used to it, it's absolutely insane that we are ignoring someone having a total meltdown. My baby shower guests were dumbfounded as to why no one was going to check on someone who was sobbing louder and louder in a nearby powder room. And every time they suggested checking on her, someone would assure them it was fine. I'm sure we all seemed mental.

It's at that point the hysterical laughter bursts forth and cannot be contained.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: immadz on December 08, 2013, 03:15:36 PM
Joy, for some people, causing scenes at family events IS their holiday tradition.
Weeble wobble, this is so funny! And so true!

For folks from families who have never witnessed this, its hard to describe, because they can't believe it!

We have an inlaw that we can count on at least one "episode" per family gathering, whether it's a health crisis, a hissy fit or just storming off and hiding in the house somewhere. The point of course, is to make several members of the family stop their celebration to care for her or seek her out and ask what's wrong. 

The funny thing is now we're all so used to it, we pretty much ignore it, which means that she escalates every year. For people who aren't used to it, it's absolutely insane that we are ignoring someone having a total meltdown. My baby shower guests were dumbfounded as to why no one was going to check on someone who was sobbing louder and louder in a nearby powder room. And every time they suggested checking on her, someone would assure them it was fine. I'm sure we all seemed mental.

I have to ask, why does this person get invited any where?
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: weeblewobble on December 08, 2013, 03:27:13 PM
I ask myself the same thing.  But I don't issue the invitations.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: immadz on December 08, 2013, 03:28:42 PM
I ask myself the same thing.  But I don't issue the invitations.

Well, I guess free entertainment. Cheaper than a clown or magician.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: Minmom3 on December 08, 2013, 06:25:25 PM
Joy, for some people, causing scenes at family events IS their holiday tradition.
Weeble wobble, this is so funny! And so true!

For folks from families who have never witnessed this, its hard to describe, because they can't believe it!

And, not having been a part of that 'tradition', one wouldn't know the dreadful sinking of the stomach that thinking of spending yet another holiday with That Person causes in the forced attendees.  The nausea and dread and insomnia That Person can cause can make one gun shy the rest of one's life.  Resentment is huge too (at least in ME it is/was...), because it just boggled me that she couldn't be nice for one damned day.  She had to pick a fight, and needle people until she got a response.  It was a huge power play, and my only success in handling it was to withdraw from her company.

I don't remember a single holiday during my childhood where my mother did not cause somebody to cry - and our family was SMALL - Mom, her parents, and me.  My mother always got ugly about some stupid thing or other, and somebody always walked into my bedroom to cry (not just me).  It wasn't until I got married that my mother stopped getting her way, because my husband did not care if she pitched a fit about anything at any time, he'd just give her stoneface and tell her NO.  It was a really rude awakening for Mom, and yet, it didn't improve her behavior much at all.  Even my completely cutting her off for years didn't do much to improve her behavior.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: EllenS on December 08, 2013, 07:19:49 PM
I have no comment on the family dynamics, but I concur that an 8 year old asking "Grandma, do you go to church?" or "where do you go to church" is neither an interrogation nor disrespectful.

They are questions of fact, and perfectly appropriate (especially in the 'do you' form) for any acquaintance, much less from a child to a family member.  The only disrespect would be expressing disapproval of the answer.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE # 49
Post by: lollylegs on December 08, 2013, 11:32:27 PM
So, the cookies are on.   I will bring every last bit of supplies from my home, and I guess when I see mom, I will have some configuration of the kids ask Grandma when we can make cookies and decorate trains, like always.  And if she pitches a fit, well, I just do not know.  My in-laws live  in my town here, and I do not know sis-in-laws (Aunt L) parents to borrow their kitchen.  I have not lived there since age 17, and I am not on FaceBook to see if anyone is still around. 

So, yeah, making cookies with my sane brothers and their families is worth the trip, but not mom, but her house is the only large enough place and cost effective.

Honestly, I think you should skip it altogether.

I had a toxic grandmother and I did the toxic Christmas's. I understand the dynamics of toxic families. And I still think that overruling your mother's explicitly spoken requests because her house is the only one big enough to do the things that you want to do is rude.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: CrazyDaffodilLady on December 09, 2013, 12:33:30 AM
. . . If you don't have toxic family dynamics you aren't used to dealing with the irrational.  It can be very different.

You're used to working within a set of normal rules.  If you have a concern, address it with the person.  If someone brings a concern to you, listen and respond rationally.

In a toxic family, the rules can be:

Up is down.
5:00 is yellow.
It's 60 degrees so it's time for Breaking Bad.

. . .

A great description of what it's like.

My mother's purpose in life is to hurt her husband and children.  She's quite willing to be blatantly wrong, to look a fool, and even to hurt herself if it makes her family unhappy, creates drama, and makes her the center of attention. 

One thing I've learned is that she lashes out with whatever she can come up with at the moment.  Consistency is for the sane.  For that reason, in RegionMom's position, I'd behave as if the cookie issue had never been mentioned.  Drama Mama may have lit on it to diss RegionMom's tradition at that moment; tomorrow she may not even remember she said it.  Whether or not RegionMom makes the cookies, Mom is not going to be happy.

Attempting to rationally discuss things with these people is an unpleasant waste of time. 
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: cicero on December 09, 2013, 01:37:45 AM
RegionMom - can i ask "why"? why are you going? what is the difference between this year and next year (when you say you will stop going)?

My father has his toxic moments, but at this point in life (i'm 53, he's 83) i've made my peace with it and him (for the most part). He's annoying and he can be clueless/mean (still not sure which) but so far hasn't done anything at "cut off" level.

However, my DS's father (or sperm donor) has. and it took DS a looooong time, and it took *me* a long time to accept DS's choice, but DS does not consider him a father. and we tried for years to forge a relationship - there were one-sided phone calls and letters and invitations to birthday parties and first days at schools etc and he always promised to come and NEVER and I mean NEVER came (he did come for DS's bar mitsvah - late. he was so late that he missed the entire ceremony and came only to the reception.).  So a few years ago DS made one last attempt to talk with him, it backfired, and since then he says "I have no father". i think it takes a lot of guts to be able to do that and I know how hurtful it is. But sometimes that's what you need to do - at whatever level it is. So ask yourself if this christmas trip is something you really want to do (because honestly, it sounds like your mom doesn't even want this )

Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 09, 2013, 08:39:22 AM
RegionMom, I completely understand why you and your siblings continue to go. I wouldn't allow your mom's attitude to drive a wedge between the family which I what I feel like she is doing. It sounds like you guys are doing a great job of giving your kids the opportunity to have a extended family in spite of her.

And while I normally agree that "my house my rules" is the norm. But to me this isn't about a "house rule". This is one family member trying to break a family tradition that the rest of the family wanted to continue. And she is trying to use her position as home owner to break the tradition without getting input from the rest of the family.

If you want to keep the discussion on the guest/host basis, as the hostess, she should be trying to accomodate her guests wishes. And since this isn't a "house rule" but a out of the blue wish then the mother should forgo it for guest harmony.

I'd be calling her and saying "Mom, I spoke with Bro and Aunt about the cookie baking and they really want to continue the tradition. So I'll be bringing all the supplies."
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: DollyPond on December 09, 2013, 08:48:40 AM
And then there was my paternal grandmother....

She was extremely religious and thought that the only way to observe Christmas was to go to church several days in a row and have no celebrations whatsoever.  Anyone throwing or even attending a Christmas party was the equivalent of participating in a Satanic ritual.  And she'd lecture you about your sinfulness.

Easter was even worse - she expected full out mourning.

We soon determined that she was a whackaloon and excluded her from any activities - not that she would have attended anyway.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: Kaire on December 09, 2013, 09:18:19 AM
RegionMom -- where you the ONLY one told no cookies?  So everyone else was going to show up expecting to continue the tradition and you were going to be empty handed, no dough, no supplies?

This is just based on my toxic mother, but to me that sounds like you are being set up as the fall guy.  Everyone would get there and it would be "Oh well RegionMom didn't bring everything ..." and the blame would be deflected on you.  I'd suggest telling mom that you mentioned it to other family members and they were clueless and disappointed, so how does she want to proceed?  Throw it back on being her job to crush the holiday spirit.

Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: ladyknight1 on December 09, 2013, 01:00:34 PM
Region mom, this just seems so bizarre that you were the only one told "no cookies". Unfortunately, it does remind me of many conversations with my mom and the whole reasoning behind why I don't travel to see them any more.

Plans were for extended family to stay in very large house, booked and arranged by me. House is an hour from the closest grocery store. We divided meal responsibilities by couple/family in advance. My mother decided two days before that they would not buy any food in advance, but go each and every day to buy what they wanted from the store. All other plans that had been mutually arranged had to be changed to accommodate this sudden 3 hour trip each day.

Not worth the effort any more for me and I will not subject DH and DS to the insanity any longer.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: JoyinVirginia on December 09, 2013, 02:02:14 PM
Kaire, I agree completely. I will bet a virtual diet Coke that region mom is the ONLY one that dear old mom was going to tell her rules to. And yes, then it would be easy to blame it all on op ” misunderstanding” if anyone got upset.
Lady knight, that sounds absolutely ridiculous, to go shop for food daily when you will be staying at the same place for a set period of time.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: JeanFromBNA on December 09, 2013, 02:54:11 PM
(snip)
I'd suggest telling mom that you mentioned it to other family members and they were clueless and disappointed, so how does she want to proceed?  Throw it back on being her job to crush the holiday spirit.

Ding, ding, ding!  We have a winner!  That's the way I'd try to go.

I say try, because I had a mother like yours.  She was unable to relate to people IRL.  It took time and distance to realize that she had severe psychological issues.  Once I accepted who she was, I had much more peace. I stopped grieving for the mother that I never had and the chances that were gone forever.   As an adult, I treated her in a way so that when she died, I would have no regrets; and that eventually became the truth.  The end of her life was very sad (there was a diagnosis; PM me if you want to know what it was), but in the end, we were both at peace.

(((hugs))) Region Mom. 
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: mime on December 09, 2013, 03:10:46 PM
RegionMom -- where you the ONLY one told no cookies?  So everyone else was going to show up expecting to continue the tradition and you were going to be empty handed, no dough, no supplies?

This is just based on my toxic mother, but to me that sounds like you are being set up as the fall guy.  Everyone would get there and it would be "Oh well RegionMom didn't bring everything ..." and the blame would be deflected on you.  I'd suggest telling mom that you mentioned it to other family members and they were clueless and disappointed, so how does she want to proceed?  Throw it back on being her job to crush the holiday spirit.

I think Kaire is right-- if you change "baking cookies" to "playing board games", then that fall guy prediction is exactly what my grandmother liked to do to my mom.

Come prepared, and ready to please the majority of the family who have enjoyed the tradition.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: whatsanenigma on December 09, 2013, 03:27:31 PM
Gotta be honest - that really threw me for a loop as well.  I would have stopped it in the moment and done some admonishing afterwards.  I have to say again - it isn't the other guests' permission you need, it is your host's permission that you should get about the cookies.  I don't think it is right to just flout what she has specifically told you she doesn't want happening.  I would suggest calling her up and bring it up similar to: "You know, Aunt actually was excited to make the cookies this year with all the kids.  Since everyone else is okay with it, how about we continue the tradition?"

I would agree--let her know ahead of time that all the other members of the family really want to do this tradition.

As for "cooking in her kitchen"--I think that's what you get when you're a mother and want your children to be around. (Now, maybe the OP's mom really doesn't want them around that much.) I don't see "family gathering for Christmas" as -quite- the same thing as a dinner party. Even if it were a group of friends, I think that barring really big things, the host should allow the use of the kitchen. It's really more "volunteering your home as the gathering place for the group" (not completely, of course, but it's not the same kind of hosting).

Also, it seems to be okay with the mother if another kind of baking is done in her kitchen (the train cake) so I am not sure what the difference should be, especially if both projects are being done at the same time and everybody cleans up appropriately.

If the rule is a blanket "no baking/cooking in my house at all", well, I wouldn't quite understand it in this situation, but okay, that would be fair enough.  And if it were for some reason such as possible cross-contamination with an allergen, or the messing up of a kitchen that is being kept Kosher, things like that, again, that's another thing.

But to say it's okay for person A to bake food B during time C, but not okay for person D to bake food E during time C....no.  Unless person D has a reputation for setting kitchens on fire, but that doesn't sound like the case in the OP.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: Clockwork Banana on December 09, 2013, 03:29:13 PM
It both fascinates and saddens me that so many of us can relate to the underlying issue of this topic - that being of having up close and personal experience with toxicicity in our families.

The responses from posters who have luckily not experienced the nastiness seem to be the ones that address 'her house, her rules' issues, and ponder the etiquette of questioning a relative about seemingly innocuous things, like where she goes to church.  The responses of posters who know all too well how divisive and soul-crushing an unhappy family member can be; one who seems determined to rain upset and disharmony on all around,  are more along the lines of 'don't allow this person to ruin the holiday and traditions.

I know I am making possibly unfounded generalizations here.  Just a thought that I wanted to put out.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: tinkytinky on December 09, 2013, 03:53:33 PM
You could make the dough ahead of time and carry it in a cooler. When everyone asks about cookies, AH-HA! you have the cookie dough ready to color and shape. NO MESS in mom's kitchen (not that it sounds like that is the main issue, just one less thing for her to focus on). In fact, I would almost take everything....cookie sheets, supplies including coloring and frosting, plastic wrap, parchment paper, etc... make the clean up as easy as possible ($1 store bowls that you could throw away, no washing ANYTHING). Mostly just to make the only thing that you use is the oven. put everything in a tote to transport.

In the OP you stated that you did this as a tradition with your dad, could this be why she isn't wanting to do it any longer? it isn't HER tradition, does it make her sad? or mad? Or is this just kind of status pro quo for her?

{{{hugs}}} for you whatever the reason. This has to be hard.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: PastryGoddess on December 09, 2013, 03:58:25 PM
Also the OP's mother didn't want her to BAKE the cookies there because Mom decided the SIL's brand new train cake tradition was more important.  OP I think you should go back to your mother and let her know that SIL does want to continue the cookie tradition and was [flabbergasted/shocked/enter your hyperbole here] that Mom said no to cookies.

Evil me would set up a conference call between SIL, you and Mom so that she has to say it in front of another person.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: nolechica on December 09, 2013, 07:40:49 PM
This is probably way too logical, but I wonder if mom is also thinking Roe's kids are too old for Santa, why does she still do cookies? However, 3 and 1 aren't really old enough to be helpful with a cake either, so I don't know.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: TootsNYC on December 09, 2013, 08:55:38 PM
This is probably way too logical, but I wonder if mom is also thinking Roe's kids are too old for Santa, why does she still do cookies? However, 3 and 1 aren't really old enough to be helpful with a cake either, so I don't know.

I could be 30, I would still want to make Santa cookies with my mom and cousins and aunts (even if those cousins are 24 or something).
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: cabbagegirl28 on December 09, 2013, 09:46:57 PM
This is probably way too logical, but I wonder if mom is also thinking Roe's kids are too old for Santa, why does she still do cookies? However, 3 and 1 aren't really old enough to be helpful with a cake either, so I don't know.

I could be 30, I would still want to make Santa cookies with my mom and cousins and aunts (even if those cousins are 24 or something).

I still quietly leave a plate for Santa, and I'm in grad school.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: PastryGoddess on December 09, 2013, 09:48:14 PM
I AM 30 and I still like making santa cookies with the family.  Everyone knows that if they are Christmas cookies, they have no fat, no calories, and are extra super yummy so you should eat as many as you possibly can.  ;D

It's not up to Grandma to decide the kids are too old, it's up to the kids and their parents.  If she doesn't want to do the cookies, then she should own it.  Not make up excuses to try and make someone else look bad
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: LeveeWoman on December 09, 2013, 09:51:08 PM
It both fascinates and saddens me that so many of us can relate to the underlying issue of this topic - that being of having up close and personal experience with toxicicity in our families.

The responses from posters who have luckily not experienced the nastiness seem to be the ones that address 'her house, her rules' issues, and ponder the etiquette of questioning a relative about seemingly innocuous things, like where she goes to church.  The responses of posters who know all too well how divisive and soul-crushing an unhappy family member can be; one who seems determined to rain upset and disharmony on all around,  are more along the lines of 'don't allow this person to ruin the holiday and traditions.

I know I am making possibly unfounded generalizations here.  Just a thought that I wanted to put out.

And, for me, it's a well recieved thought.

Thank you.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: nolechica on December 09, 2013, 10:21:49 PM
This is probably way too logical, but I wonder if mom is also thinking Roe's kids are too old for Santa, why does she still do cookies? However, 3 and 1 aren't really old enough to be helpful with a cake either, so I don't know.

I could be 30, I would still want to make Santa cookies with my mom and cousins and aunts (even if those cousins are 24 or something).

I agree, just trying to figure out her reasoning.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: NyaChan on December 09, 2013, 10:25:38 PM
It both fascinates and saddens me that so many of us can relate to the underlying issue of this topic - that being of having up close and personal experience with toxicicity in our families.

The responses from posters who have luckily not experienced the nastiness seem to be the ones that address 'her house, her rules' issues, and ponder the etiquette of questioning a relative about seemingly innocuous things, like where she goes to church.  The responses of posters who know all too well how divisive and soul-crushing an unhappy family member can be; one who seems determined to rain upset and disharmony on all around,  are more along the lines of 'don't allow this person to ruin the holiday and traditions.

I know I am making possibly unfounded generalizations here.  Just a thought that I wanted to put out.

And, for me, it's a well recieved thought.

Thank you.

I'm one of the ones pointing out that etiquette gives the host certain privileges when it comes to deciding what happens in their homes and I also thought it was off for a child to question their grandmother about her attendance at church - I also come from an extremely stressful and difficult family with smattering of toxic people mixed in.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: gollymolly2 on December 09, 2013, 10:40:52 PM
It both fascinates and saddens me that so many of us can relate to the underlying issue of this topic - that being of having up close and personal experience with toxicicity in our families.

The responses from posters who have luckily not experienced the nastiness seem to be the ones that address 'her house, her rules' issues, and ponder the etiquette of questioning a relative about seemingly innocuous things, like where she goes to church.  The responses of posters who know all too well how divisive and soul-crushing an unhappy family member can be; one who seems determined to rain upset and disharmony on all around,  are more along the lines of 'don't allow this person to ruin the holiday and traditions.

I know I am making possibly unfounded generalizations here.  Just a thought that I wanted to put out.

That is a reasonable explanation. But at the same time, it is an etiquette forum, not a toxic moms support group. I absolutely think there are things that are more important than etiquette, like my personal sanity. So when I'm dealing with very difficut people and family dynamics, etiquette is not my number one concern.

But I do think on an etiquette discussion board it's perfectly reasonable to note that OP's plans are (to some) impolite.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: Tea Drinker on December 09, 2013, 10:51:58 PM
It both fascinates and saddens me that so many of us can relate to the underlying issue of this topic - that being of having up close and personal experience with toxicicity in our families.

The responses from posters who have luckily not experienced the nastiness seem to be the ones that address 'her house, her rules' issues, and ponder the etiquette of questioning a relative about seemingly innocuous things, like where she goes to church.  The responses of posters who know all too well how divisive and soul-crushing an unhappy family member can be; one who seems determined to rain upset and disharmony on all around,  are more along the lines of 'don't allow this person to ruin the holiday and traditions.

I know I am making possibly unfounded generalizations here.  Just a thought that I wanted to put out.

And, for me, it's a well recieved thought.

Thank you.

I'm one of the ones pointing out that etiquette gives the host certain privileges when it comes to deciding what happens in their homes and I also thought it was off for a child to question their grandmother about her attendance at church - I also come from an extremely stressful and difficult family with smattering of toxic people mixed in.

I think a lot depends on the specifics, there: I can imagine a child asking "what church do you go to, Grandma?" because she knows that there are different churches, but hasn't yet realized that not everyone goes at all, and it's like asking "what's your favorite kind of ice cream?" or whether Grandma likes dogs or cats better. Someone who is comfortable not going could just say "I don't go to church, sweetie" and possibly change the subject. It would get rude if the child started pressing for why his grandmother doesn't go to church; that's only inherently a problem if the parent didn't want to have to explain to their child that not everyone goes to church.

(I'm writing this from the viewpoint of someone who only goes for weddings and funerals, because I see no need; someone who feels they ought to go, but doesn't, might take it differently.)
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: Iris on December 09, 2013, 11:40:22 PM
Heck, I once asked my beloved and very respected Grandfather if he'd been alive when Jesus was around. I wanted to know.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: Goosey on December 10, 2013, 07:48:28 AM
I am going to add my voice to those saying your actions seem inappropriate.

I'm a big proponent of "if someone is so toxic that you don't talk to them, you don't use them for things you want."

If you can't talk to her about her requests, you shouldn't be using her home.

If you can't respect her enough to respect her rules, you shouldn't be using her home.

You definitely shouldn't say, "Mom, the owner of the house we're having our little get-together in, says we can't do something I want to do. Instead of talking to her, finding another space or respecting her wishes, I'm going to get all the relatives against her, use her house and stuff however I want and teach my children that this manipulation is perfectly okay."

The fact that she's toxic doesn't negate the OP's actions in a home that is not her own.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: m2kbug on December 10, 2013, 10:00:31 AM
I am going to add my voice to those saying your actions seem inappropriate.

I'm a big proponent of "if someone is so toxic that you don't talk to them, you don't use them for things you want."

If you can't talk to her about her requests, you shouldn't be using her home.

If you can't respect her enough to respect her rules, you shouldn't be using her home.

You definitely shouldn't say, "Mom, the owner of the house we're having our little get-together in, says we can't do something I want to do. Instead of talking to her, finding another space or respecting her wishes, I'm going to get all the relatives against her, use her house and stuff however I want and teach my children that this manipulation is perfectly okay."

The fact that she's toxic doesn't negate the OP's actions in a home that is not her own.

I'm going to agree.  As per the bolded, it did cross my mind that now everyone is going to gang up on gramma, and I don't see that ending well.  I do see other people's point that with a long-held tradition, that gramma probably needs to be more flexible, but it doesn't take away the fact that this is her home and she had made a request, whatever her reasons are. 
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: JoyinVirginia on December 10, 2013, 10:07:40 AM
Op you know your mom and the history behind these holiday gatherings and traditions. You do what you think is best for you and your family.

My perspective, as someone fascinated with this thread, is that the rules mom gave in her phone call to op are NOT NECESSARILY FIXED RULES. Especially as mom called the op but did not communicate same with op brother and sister in law. at the time of the visit, mom may very well act as if there was no phone call to op, or change her mind.
My original suggestion, that I still think op should consider, is to identify hotel that has kitchen facilities, or even find a place on air bnb or another site like that, where family can have access to kitchen facilities, just as a back up plan. That, or everyone should go to Nearby Brothers house to make cookies.

Just one more thought: toxic to me does not have a specific enough definition. Op mother is distant, doesn't enjoy the family fun activities, not warm and fuzzy, rarely communicates, apparently loves her dog. She does not sound actively destructive, but not really interested in her children or grandchildren. I am wondering why she hosts these holiday get togethers in the first place. 
Another speculation, based on my own experience of my mother as she got older getting fixated on one idea. It could be op mother just has some vision in her head of how things should be, and is fixated on ”too much noise making cookies= no cookie making = no noise disturbing my usually quiet house.” Not thinking about noise from cake decorating and board games and her house having extra people in it!
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: Sophia on December 10, 2013, 11:58:07 AM
For future reference, hotels are usually pretty empty during Thanksgiving and Christmas. 
You could rent a suite with a kitchen, and have everyone gather there. 
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 10, 2013, 12:36:22 PM
So if OP's mom is anything like my grandma (and I suspect she might be), here's how I see the scene playing out.

RegionMom and crew show up at the house sans cookie making goodies. At which point her brothers ask "Region, where are the cookie goodies?" to which Region responds "Well, mom said she only wanted us to do trains, not the cookies", so brothers look to mom and who says "What are you talking about Region? You do the cookies every year! Oh the little ones were so looking forward to it, how could you not bring the cookie stuff?", at which point Region blinks...didn't she? Wasn't there a conversation about? "Mom, you said in our talk about the rules, you didn't want Santa cookies this year. Remember, we couldn't bring our dog, we better not wear shorts, and no cookies?", which will get a "What are you talking about. I never said any such thing! You didn't bring the dog? But my little precious was so looking forward to playing with your dog! And now there are no cookies for Santa either?" at which point the toddlers begin to cry because there no cookies for Santa and he won't come if there are no cookies, everyone knows that. So Region feels guilty and crazy because she knows she had that conversation...right? And because she can't sleep over the guilt she ends up wandering around the only 24hr store in the area in her slippers mumbling about Santa cookies and no shorts and the next thing ya know the store is calling the cops and it becomes a whole thing.

Of course if she shows up with the cookie stuff without telling her mom about it, mom flies off the handle about how no one listens to her or respects her or loves her! She then locks herself in the bathroom, eventually she finds her way out, knocks back a couple of egg nogs and replays every second of how her children never appreciated her and blah, blah, blah martyr, and more sobbing, locking in the bathroom. And again...Region ends up feeling guilty.

I love my family very much. But we're nuts. Every last one of us. The key is learning to ride the crazy wave.

So my advice would be a phone call. Hi mom, Region here, how's the dog? Well I was just calling because I was talking with brother and mentioned how we're not doing Santa cookies this year and he seemed really confused as nothing had been mentioned to him and he was looking forward to do the cookies. Since he didn't seem to know what was going on I just wanted to double check with you that you don't want them done this year, right? I'm willing to put down money that mom's response will be "What are you talking about? Of course we're doing Santa cookies!", at which point you say "Oh, ok, I must have misunderstood. So I'll bring the stuff to make the cookies then. Great, thanks mom!" and hang up.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: JoyinVirginia on December 10, 2013, 12:44:00 PM
Glitter can I please come to your next family get together so I can observe everyone? Your crazy wave sounds infuriating but also highly entertaining, if you approach things in the right frame of mind.  I will bring cookies!
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: m2kbug on December 10, 2013, 01:16:57 PM
Glitter, I totally agree.  My mom loves to be the martyr and the victim, so I can totally see that scenario playing out.  This is why it's important to compare notes.  I never take anything at full face value without talking to my sister about it, so I totally get that part.  I think for the OP, if she's touching base with the siblings over the great cookie debate, there will be no mystery if this year there are no cookies.  The kids will still have treats for Santa.  A few times growing up, we didn't have any cookies so we left whatever else we could find with my parents telling us Santa will probably like to have a healthy snack after all those cookies, and he can share with the reindeer.  It worked.

In any case, there's some time to sort out the details, but it's still Mom's house, and I think everyone just has to try to work with it or find a reasonable compromise or solution.  Your wording is probably about what I would do.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: artk2002 on December 10, 2013, 01:25:09 PM
So if OP's mom is anything like my grandma (and I suspect she might be), here's how I see the scene playing out.
... mom and who says "What are you talking about Region? You do the cookies every year! Oh the little ones were so looking forward to it, how could you not bring the cookie stuff?", at which point Region blinks...didn't she? Wasn't there a conversation about? "Mom, you said in our talk about the rules, you didn't want Santa cookies this year. Remember, we couldn't bring our dog, we better not wear shorts, and no cookies?", which will get a "What are you talking about. I never said any such thing! You didn't bring the dog? But my little precious was so looking forward to playing with your dog! And now there are no cookies for Santa either?" ...

The technical term is "gaslighting". It's common in toxic people.

I see nothing wrong with contacting mom and clarifying the cookie situation, since there seem to be multiple sets of assumptions and instructions floating around. I recommend doing it with witnesses present (or on the phone) if gaslighting is a possibility.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: ladyknight1 on December 10, 2013, 01:28:19 PM
I think there needs to be a conference call between Region, her brothers and their mom to clear this up.

OTOH, it doesn't seem welcoming to invite someone to your home and then spring conditions on them later. The dog, I understand, the shorts seems pretty over the top, but the cookies rule just seems totally bizarre.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 10, 2013, 01:43:51 PM
This is what I would do:

I'd board the dog and make sure my kids have something other than shorts to wear to church.   ;)

On the cookie issue, I would bring a tube of Pillsbury sugar cookie dough (or similar).  I'd pack a box with the other things I needed - cookie cutters, rolling pin, sprinkles, baking sheets, etc.  When I arrived at Mom's, I'd leave the box in the trunk of the car.  The dough, having to be refrigerated, would go in the fridge in an out of the way spot.

So when the kids say, 'Can we make the Santa cookies?', you can ask your Mom the kids can make the cookies.  If she says, 'Yes', you can get your box from the car and the dough from the fridge.  If she says, 'No', I'd make her babysit the kids and go for a walk.  OK, maybe not that last part.   :)  But I would say, 'Sorry, kids, Grandma says 'no'.'  And if the kids never ask to make the cookies, you take your tube of dough home with you.  Or pitch it quietly.

BTW, when you were talking about Santa cookies, I had it in my head that these were Santa shaped cookies decorated to look like Santa.  NOT cookies made to leave out for Santa.  Not sure why that didn't click.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: whatsanenigma on December 10, 2013, 02:38:09 PM

BTW, when you were talking about Santa cookies, I had it in my head that these were Santa shaped cookies decorated to look like Santa.  NOT cookies made to leave out for Santa.  Not sure why that didn't click.

I actually thought they were both: Santa shaped cookies left out for Santa.

Though now that I think about it, if Santa actually stopped by for them, he might be a bit put off by that.   :)
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: JeanFromBNA on December 10, 2013, 03:14:00 PM

BTW, when you were talking about Santa cookies, I had it in my head that these were Santa shaped cookies decorated to look like Santa.  NOT cookies made to leave out for Santa.  Not sure why that didn't click.

I actually thought they were both: Santa shaped cookies left out for Santa.

Though now that I think about it, if Santa actually stopped by for them, he might be a bit put off by that.   :)

Especially if somebody bit off the heads.  OTOH, it hasn't offended the Easter Bunny yet.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: TootsNYC on December 10, 2013, 04:22:09 PM
and in fact, the Easter Bunny is usually the one -supplying- the choc. bunnies.

And in my house, Santa drops of a chocolate Santa, but then again, those are for us to eat, not him.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: lollylegs on December 10, 2013, 05:46:49 PM
I am going to add my voice to those saying your actions seem inappropriate.

I'm a big proponent of "if someone is so toxic that you don't talk to them, you don't use them for things you want."

If you can't talk to her about her requests, you shouldn't be using her home.

If you can't respect her enough to respect her rules, you shouldn't be using her home.

You definitely shouldn't say, "Mom, the owner of the house we're having our little get-together in, says we can't do something I want to do. Instead of talking to her, finding another space or respecting her wishes, I'm going to get all the relatives against her, use her house and stuff however I want and teach my children that this manipulation is perfectly okay."

The fact that she's toxic doesn't negate the OP's actions in a home that is not her own.

This. 'Her house, her rules' applies even if you don't like the person.

Honestly, if this woman is as toxic as everyone is making her out to be, why do you want to engage the crazy? If she's anything like my toxic grandmother, springing the cookies on her will give her a reason to complain for years about how awful it is that she's sacrificed so much for a family that doesn't respect her wishes.

I'll repeat my previous advice - I think you should skip it. Find a hall or function room or something that's big enough for your family and do your Christmas thing there.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: laughtermed on December 10, 2013, 08:54:46 PM
Dog- I can agree with no dog. One holiday MIL's dog passed gas beneath the dining room table and the smell was horrible. Not the perfect complement to the lovely meal I served. The next year, MIL pouted and whined when DH insisted that the dog stay in the guest room during meals. Another time she got upset when we requested that she not bring the dog to DS' HS graduation celebration at our house. The dog had recently bitten a small child in their home. My son's father, stepmother, and 1-yr old brother were coming. I would think family would be more important than a dog.

Shorts-Op said her family all lives in different states. Her mom does not get to see her grandkids enough during the year to be aware of how they actually dress for church. The request was reasonable. Older people just don't remember things as well as they used to either and repeat things a lot. I'd just bear with that one since the kids were planning to dress appropriately for the occasion anyway. OP can always praise the kids in front of Grandma before church; "I 'm so lucky that my kids know how to dress for any occasion".

Cookies: that's just bizarre.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: Clockwork Banana on December 11, 2013, 02:06:09 PM
It both fascinates and saddens me that so many of us can relate to the underlying issue of this topic - that being of having up close and personal experience with toxicicity in our families.

The responses from posters who have luckily not experienced the nastiness seem to be the ones that address 'her house, her rules' issues, and ponder the etiquette of questioning a relative about seemingly innocuous things, like where she goes to church.  The responses of posters who know all too well how divisive and soul-crushing an unhappy family member can be; one who seems determined to rain upset and disharmony on all around,  are more along the lines of 'don't allow this person to ruin the holiday and traditions.

I know I am making possibly unfounded generalizations here.  Just a thought that I wanted to put out.

That is a reasonable explanation. But at the same time, it is an etiquette forum, not a toxic moms support group. I absolutely think there are things that are more important than etiquette, like my personal sanity. So when I'm dealing with very difficut people and family dynamics, etiquette is not my number one concern.

But I do think on an etiquette discussion board it's perfectly reasonable to note that OP's plans are (to some) impolite.

Golly and Nyachan (who posted just above you):  I know I am late on responding to your posts, even though I read them a couple of days ago.  I needed to think them through.

Essentially, I believe you are both correct.  We should probably be responding to the etiquette angle and not focussing on the toxic/crazy.  It is just that that can be quite difficult when dealing with someone who's personal agenda eclipses both their and your (universal 'your') view of what is polite and acceptable as far as being either host or guest.

Many posters have put forth some good solid ideas as to how to circumvent the mother's absolute right to rule out the cookie preparation in her home (bringing pre-made dough, using another venue etc.).  Another possible solution I thought of was to actually make the cookies ahead of time and just bring them along with icing and decoration supplies.  That way, the mother cannot complain about it interfering with the baking time of the train cake; using her electricity, or whatever else she might come up with.

I know that it would not be quite the same - the actual mixing, rolling out and cutting the cookie shapes is a big part of the 'magic'. But from an etiquette angle, would it not be a reasonable compromise?

Other than that, I do very much agree that the other family members should be apprised of the situation and their opinions solicited.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: wildkitty on December 11, 2013, 04:31:59 PM
I would think family would be more important than a dog.

In this case, the OP has already resolved the problem regarding the dog and just so there is no continued confusion I will reiterate that I agree that the OP's mom has the right to disallow the dog from her home. As I said earlier, if my mother did the same I would no longer visit my mom at her home. I do have to say that it really bugs me when I see the above statement. Please realize that some of us consider our dogs as family. You may not, but that doesn't make my feelings wrong. Whenever I see that statement I just feel it is very dismissive.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: laughtermed on December 11, 2013, 04:59:04 PM
Sorry, Wildkitty,

I meant no offense. I love animals, but when you host a party, you have to balance everyone's interests as best as you can.  I was there when MIL's dog bit the child. The bite looked ugly. The child's parent were clearly upset. The dog was very old, mostly blind and deaf and just not able to handle multiple stimuli from a lot of strangers in a small space.  The party environment would have been unnecessarily stressful to that dog. I would think it would be more important to keep my son's 1-yr old brother from being bitten during a party at a small house with a lot of guests rather than provide dog accommodations for out of town relatives.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: wildkitty on December 11, 2013, 10:29:56 PM
No worries, I agree with you there. Pet owners also need to be aware of the comfort of the pet as well as the guests. It is as much my responsibility to protect my pet as it is to ensure others are safe from my pet. It's just a hot button for me when I hear the pets vs. family comparison.

Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: EllenS on December 12, 2013, 01:55:29 PM
No worries, I agree with you there. Pet owners also need to be aware of the comfort of the pet as well as the guests. It is as much my responsibility to protect my pet as it is to ensure others are safe from my pet. It's just a hot button for me when I hear the pets vs. family comparison.

Frankly, any family member who had been known to bite people, or pee on the floor, should probably have their visiting privileges restricted for everyone's benefit.

And yes, that includes small children. (though hopefully in that instance it is temporary)
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49, #118
Post by: RegionMom on December 16, 2013, 09:10:32 PM
small UPDATE-

Spoke to Aunt L (she called me) and I casually asked her about the cookies with her kids, because her schedule is a bit wonky at her job.  "Oh, the kids love doing the cookies!  And littlest is old enough now to really get into it!  It would give them something to do at your mom's house, and they need something to do besides sit around!  I would miss doing them myself, but your kids can help mine, and it is for the kids, anyway.  Just be sure there are enough for me to eat when I do get there!  :)  "

Have not called mom yet, because we were in a huge Christmas production at church and too late and tired to call. 

Did talk to my kids and my senior boy said, "Meh" about doing them, but when i said, "ok, we might not!"  he responded, "well, it is for kids, and I am not a kid anymore, but can I still do them?"

And DD asked, "Why not make them?  We always do them!  Did Grandma G say something??!"  And DH laughed and called her very astute. 

I replied that we would need to be sure to pack every single thing, from baking stones to rolling pins to food coloring and perhaps even dish soap for the cookie cutters, and pack the dough, which I already have from the grocery store.  (Hard to find sugar cookie dough already!)

So, now all I have to do is ask mom. 

Perhaps tomorrow.  I should call her to let her know that her eldest grandchild got into the college of his choice.  Early decision, found out today--yay!!!

(I texted/called/e-mailed most everyone else...but not her yet, because she would grill me about scholarships and finances and such...just want to enjoy the moment for a bit.)
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118
Post by: Lynda_34 on December 17, 2013, 02:28:04 AM
Following the thread. Wishing you luck.  My sister-in-law always had cookie making parties with the cousins which eventually evolved into she and my daughter making cookies. 

When this happened my sister and I got in on the act and did mass production cookies and wine.  We had a good time, stood around talking. I'm sorry I only had one oven but it was a good time.  Be flexible change as needed and enjoy.  During the year you and your relatives can talk up how much the cookie baking is enjoyed so maybe Mom gets into the act.

This year due to extenuating circumstances I bought and gave the cookie bakers chocolate covered Ritz crackers, and white chocolate covered Oreos.  (We used to spend an inordinate time trying to coat oreos.)

As I said, flexibility and perseverance. good luck.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49, #118
Post by: StarFaerie on December 17, 2013, 03:54:05 AM

Perhaps tomorrow.  I should call her to let her know that her eldest grandchild got into the college of his choice.  Early decision, found out today--yay!!!

(I texted/called/e-mailed most everyone else...but not her yet, because she would grill me about scholarships and finances and such...just want to enjoy the moment for a bit.)

Huge Congratulations. I can tell you are a very proud Mum :)
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49, #118
Post by: JoyinVirginia on December 17, 2013, 05:47:16 AM

Perhaps tomorrow.  I should call her to let her know that her eldest grandchild got into the college of his choice.  Early decision, found out today--yay!!!

(I texted/called/e-mailed most everyone else...but not her yet, because she would grill me about scholarships and finances and such...just want to enjoy the moment for a bit.)

Huge Congratulations. I can tell you are a very proud Mum :)
Congrats to your son!  You should be proud of him!

As for the grilling, tell mom you won't know anything until you get 2014 taxes done and complete the FAFSA sometime before March 2014, so you can't answer those questions now.
(that's the federal financial aid form, and its not even available to complete until after January 1 for next academic year. The first time you do it, its very tedious and complex, but the next years will just be updating prior years. just fyi from mom on second child in college.)  tell mom you won't get final info on scholarships, finances until about April or may at very earliest, so you can't answer those questions now. Practice saying ” we won't know until spring”, because honestly you won't know exact numbers until then.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules #49,#118, #122! :)
Post by: RegionMom on December 17, 2013, 04:28:58 PM
UPDATE---CALLED MOM!!!

Made it quick as I was in-between errands and let he know I only had a few moments. 

Told her DS got into his top choice school and she was ok with that.  She did not know what early decision meant, and sure enough, did ask about financials, but I brushed that off for next year.

I asked time of Christmas Eve service and she said we would need to plan a 30 minute drive since it is a town or two over, and she does not know how full it will be since she has not been before for Christmas Eve services. 

I then swallowed and aked, "Can I ask why no cookies?  is it a time factor?"

"Well, yes.  You would not start them until after the service, and then we would still do the presents since your brother has to leave Wed. 25th late morn to drive several hours to be on-call so we are doing ALL presents Christmas Eve.  Plus, they make a mess and so much bother!"

 We (brother 1 and Aunt T and kids) and my family are arriving Sun 22nd.  Brother 2 and his family (Aunt L and kids) are in same town.  If nothing else, we could do the cookies the morn of the 24th.  Also, we have the entire 23rd. 

"If I bring all the supplies and we all clean up, can we do the cookies and the trains, if there is time?"

Mom, "If you insist, I guess so.  The Christmas decorations are not even all up yet and I am not sure it will get done in time.  I just need to know the schedule.  The cookies take a long time and Aunt L has a crazy work schedule!"

"Yes, I know.  I spoke to her about that and we have (outlined idea to make it work) so it should be ok."

Mom, "well, if you move the car seats, and know where you are going and blah blah blah...I guess making the cookies could be ok."

SO THE COOKIES WIN!!!

NOM Nom nom......

And I will bring every last blasted piece of equipment from my home, including cleaning wipes and paper towels and wax paper, so she cannot fuss about my using her supplies and running up her laundry.  I have been known to travel to her house with my own bath towels!  lol

next year, will repeat same process.  Once DD graduates then, dunno.  bro 2 is near mom, but never visits her, and is in small place. bro 1 is 4 hours further out.  We are 18 hours away driving time. 

Argh.  Maybe I will finally join FaceBook.  Mom is not on FB.
 :-\



Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118
Post by: ladyknight1 on December 17, 2013, 05:22:20 PM
I am trying to understand her objections to the cookies. From what she told you, it is either time or the mess. Why would her putting out decorations conflict with the cookies?

Am I trying to be too reasonable?
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118
Post by: TootsNYC on December 17, 2013, 06:15:28 PM
Is she expecting her family to help decorate?


Your mother complains that you use her laundry machine when you are visiting her?
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118
Post by: immadz on December 17, 2013, 06:19:04 PM
Again, I have to ask. Why do you go and why do you stay? A guest from 18 hours a day using your laundry facilities is completely normal. Even more so, if it is your own daughter. Why is she allowed to treat you this way and be rewarded for it?
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118
Post by: RegionMom on December 18, 2013, 08:14:46 AM
OP here-

oh no, I have not done laundry at her house since the kids were preschool and we stayed longer than a couple of days.  But I have taken bath towels because with the four of us, well, that is four towels, and if we stay more than a few days, eight towels even if we re-use towels.  That is a full load of laundry for her machine.   So a couple of years ago, i tossed in a few of my own towels in the suitcase so she could not sigh over the extra laundry/soap/energy.

Why do I go?  Well, brothers have young families and jobs, and little travel time or money.  We are also staying with a few of dad's family before going to mom's, three hours away on the way, sort of.  Dad died when I was a teen and many have never left this small town- never been to a mall or flown on a plane, so I have to go to them. 

Mom is awful, but I can take it once a year. 

I really really really wanted the, "wow, you and your kids have done ok!"  at some point, but I realize now that will never happen.  I use the visit as a touchstone for how NOT to be a mom.  My DH and kids do understand mostly.  While 17 year old DS can be obnoxious, i think it is more of being a teen boy than of my being a bad mom.  At his same point in my high school career, I was ready to drop out, and if not for a caring teacher showing concern, would not have applied to college.  And then mom told me I chose the wrong school when I told her I had applied, because I had not spent three hours with the course catalouge. 

So I go out of obligation, to show my kids how I was raised, to see my brothers and their families, sometimes to also visit dad's family and maybe a college friend or two, and then to leave and be grateful that I got out and chose a better life for myself.

btw-
doggie got his shots updated, his nails trimmed, and a fun squeaker toy Christmas present from the vet in preparation for his vacation boarding. 

And in all our packing prep and lists, the only shorts I have found belong to pajamas, or Nike shorts that DS wears under her skirts. 

I have a box in the kitchen for packing every scrap of cookie supply.

Next year may be our last visit.
:)
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118
Post by: JenJay on December 18, 2013, 08:40:02 AM
It sounds like Christmas Eve is going to be crazy busy. I hope it ends up being crazy fun busy and not crazy I wanna rip my hair out and go screaming through the streets busy. At least now you can get drunk on cookies ;).
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 18, 2013, 08:59:42 AM
RegionMom, I hope you have a great holiday. Happy for you and the cookies.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118
Post by: NyaChan on December 18, 2013, 09:04:39 AM
I'm glad you worked things out.  I did want to point out, IMO your mom was fairly reasonable about the cookies in this conversation.  She had reasons why she didn't think it work and when you addressed her worries she allowed herself to be persuaded.  I get that she has and often is unreasonable, but I think you over-interpreted her in this case. 
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118
Post by: amylouky on December 18, 2013, 11:32:14 AM
I'm glad things worked out, too. And I am glad that you asked her about the cookies, instead of the plan to gang up and do them anyway. It does sound like she is very difficult to deal with and potentially toxic, but she still deserves that respect in her home.
This is going to sound odd, but I think that some mothers have the idea that criticism and negativity are a vital part of mothering. I think my MIL is like this.. her entire parenting strategy seems to be to point out what her kids are doing wrong. And she never let go of that, even though DH is 37 now. I can completely see her reminding DH to dress properly for church, even though that has never been a problem before. It's just weird.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118
Post by: peaches on December 18, 2013, 01:37:13 PM
I'm glad you and your mother were able to work things out.

It sounds like it was a matter of timing, and now she has been reassured. And the cookies are a GO! Everyone's happy.

Congratulations to your son!
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118
Post by: azleaneo on December 18, 2013, 01:47:29 PM
I can't believe that your mom tried to bring up Aunt L's work schedule as an excuse.
It does sound like your mom is a bit nervous about going to the Christmas' Eve service for the first time. Maybe that's what has her in overdrive mode?
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118
Post by: JeanFromBNA on December 18, 2013, 03:33:37 PM
Congratulations to you and your son!

Good to hear about the cookies. 

As a side note, work is something to be dreaded, and effort avoided, if at all possible, for some people. Does that sound familiar?
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules FINAL #134
Post by: RegionMom on January 09, 2014, 12:19:33 PM
POST CHRISTMAS UPDATE--

long drive, stopped at dad's relatives and they put us up for dinner and the night and it was so peaceful and accommodating!  We had planned to leave the next morn (Sunday) but were invited to the "old" church I had been to numerous times as a child, so we did go.  And it was warm and inviting, and even my kids commented how welcomed they felt. 

Time to drive a couple more hours to mom's house.
ding dong!
dog jumps on DD and gets nail caught in her skirt.  Yelp yelp yelp!
dog jumps and me and gets nail caught in my sweater.  Yelp yelp yelp!

dog gets removed to back bedroom. 

We all sit down, and sit...sit...sit...few pleasantries, and sit...

finally ding dong!
and brother and Aunt T and kids arrive.  fun!

other brother and Aunt L and kids arrive, fun!

Mom decides to start chili for dinner.  Brown the beef, no seasoning.  dump in pot, add beans.  add tomatoes.  One hour later, dinner is served!

Only a few ate.  (My family is from Texas, nuff said)

Aunt T and I run errands at the grocery store for milk, bananas, yogurt, kid cereal, carrots, etc...

Night.

Next day, slow morning, cold, take kids out to play, leftovers for lunch, till time to kill...let's do the trains!

And they were a HIT!!!  used kid colorful kid cereal for decorations, and it worked!

(one brother made a rather gruesome Reaver ship from Firefly, using gummie bears.  ugh)

kids went to play games with dads while moms cleaned up, and Aunt L said, "now what?  we still have nothing to do for a few hours?"

So I got out the cookie stuff. 

And they were a HIT!!!  Even the toddler played with the colored dough, and wound up with a Monet style impression of a cloudy Santa. 

we all took pictures, and the clean up was easy since I used lots of wax paper taped to the table and packed away all the stuff in my box that I had brought.

Aunt T asked later, "can we take a few cookies to leave for Santa?  We forgot about that with two preschoolers!" 
of course, and her kids "wrote" notes for Santa and DH and I had fun watching her and my brother lay out items for their kids, and then her "making" my brother eat the cookies.  :)

As for the service,

we DID do the family photo beforehand, even though mom had fussed the day before and the day of, that there would be no time.  We did it, with time to spare.  :)

At church, sat in the back, on time, ZERO introductions by mom to anyone.  Seriously, she did not speak to anyone except the door greeter.  we had 14 people! 

And then we left as soon as it was over, "to not get caught in (other church) traffic."

(we looked nice, too.  One brother forgot dress shoes, but his DD wore an adorable Christmas dress, other brother only wore a t-shirt, but his girls wore matching sweater dresses, and my family was very nicely dressed in tights and dresses or dress shirts and shoes.)  It was a very nice family photo. 
:)

The Christmas gifts were hit or miss.

ex) I received two large framed prints of a relatively famous childrens' author's illustrated book.  Apparently I loved one of her stories as a preschooler.  I did not even recognize the 2nd print, but was murmuring, "thanks mom!"  when she interrupted, "I was going to give them last year, but since you did not come then, just held on to them.  I needed them to go."

Meanwhile, one gift my teen kids put together for their young cousins was met with a smile that just got wider and wider, and then the exclamation, "It just makes me so happy!!!"

And that is why we went.  To see the little kids' joy and wonder of Christmas, once a year to see my family, once a year to see that even though I have left, some of my heart is still there.

My brothers stayed at mom's as little as possible, also, it is not just me.

But there is no where else to meet.   Mom does not know (I do not think, anyway) that we followed one brother home and hung with him for another day. 

Next year, DS will be in college.  Who knows what the future will hold.  But it was a good vist. 

We beat the freeze and rain coming home again and we will see what 2014 holds for us.

Happy New Year!!




 
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: heartmug on January 09, 2014, 12:37:27 PM
So glad you updated.  So your brother stayed there just a little while too. 

And I agree that a big BIG joy at Christmas time is watching the little ones open presents.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules FINAL #134
Post by: esposita on January 09, 2014, 12:51:37 PM
Meanwhile, one gift my teen kids put together for their young cousins was met with a smile that just got wider and wider, and then the exclamation, "It just makes me so happy!!!"

And that is why we went.  To see the little kids' joy and wonder of Christmas, once a year to see my family, once a year to see that even though I have left, some of my heart is still there.
 

How sweet! That alone would have made it all worth it for me. I'm glad you went too.   :)
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 09, 2014, 01:05:30 PM
So glad you had a nice holiday.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: ladyknight1 on January 09, 2014, 01:23:49 PM
Thanks for the update. I am glad things went as well as possible.  ;)
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: TootsNYC on January 09, 2014, 01:38:28 PM
You have *such* a good time with your brother's families, I want to encourage you to brave whatever travel distances and difficulties there are to meet at one another's houses, instead of only at your mom's.

Create a relationship outside of that traditional "parents/kids" model.

And I'm feeling sorry for your mom--it doesn't seem that she "sinks into" and enjoys any of that. Not the time at church, not the activities, etc. It's as if she sees only the -stereotype- of "work" and "scheduling things."
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: Twik on January 09, 2014, 03:27:40 PM
OK, how many others read this title as meaning "If you don't bring your dog while wearing shorts, you won't get a cookie"?
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: Marisol on January 09, 2014, 04:06:04 PM
Did you end up bringing the dog?  Or am I confused?
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: blue2000 on January 09, 2014, 05:57:06 PM
Did you end up bringing the dog?  Or am I confused?

Her mom has a dog. RegionMom's dog had a nice staycation at home.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: padua on January 10, 2014, 10:32:21 AM
did you not like the gift she gave to you? it seems thoughtful, especially if it was something she remembered you liked as a child.

i feel like i'm missing something-
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: Kariachi on January 10, 2014, 10:47:57 AM
did you not like the gift she gave to you? it seems thoughtful, especially if it was something she remembered you liked as a child.

i feel like i'm missing something-

From the sounds of it it's less that she didn't like it and more that she was confused. Her mother got her prints from a book whose author she enjoyed while she was in preschool. Given the OP has older teens now, I doubt she even remembers the book she had outside of a vague recollection of colors and maybe feelings, and she outright stated she didn't recognize one image at all. So less "oh my gods I loved this story! thanks mom!" and more 'I, sorta recognize this? Maybe? What is this...'
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: #borecore on January 10, 2014, 11:05:08 AM
did you not like the gift she gave to you? it seems thoughtful, especially if it was something she remembered you liked as a child.

i feel like i'm missing something-

From the sounds of it it's less that she didn't like it and more that she was confused. Her mother got her prints from a book whose author she enjoyed while she was in preschool. Given the OP has older teens now, I doubt she even remembers the book she had outside of a vague recollection of colors and maybe feelings, and she outright stated she didn't recognize one image at all. So less "oh my gods I loved this story! thanks mom!" and more 'I, sorta recognize this? Maybe? What is this...'

On the other hand,  my brother gave me a print from a children's book I don't remember loving. It was from a garage sale. It was big.

I hung it in my bathroom for years. Every time I saw it, I thought fondly of him.

This gift wasn't perfect, but it does sound quite thoughtful!
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: ladyknight1 on January 10, 2014, 12:27:17 PM
While the gift could have been purchased and given with good intentions, that the OP's mother said she just wanted it out of her house is more telling to me. I would rather not have a gift at all.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: Marisol on January 10, 2014, 04:08:42 PM
Did you end up bringing the dog?  Or am I confused?

Her mom has a dog. RegionMom's dog had a nice staycation at home.

Thank you!  I forgot that detail.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on January 10, 2014, 04:14:53 PM
OK, how many others read this title as meaning "If you don't bring your dog while wearing shorts, you won't get a cookie"?

I did. Like, no shirt, no shoes, no service.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on January 10, 2014, 04:35:07 PM
So if OP's mom is anything like my grandma (and I suspect she might be), here's how I see the scene playing out.
... mom and who says "What are you talking about Region? You do the cookies every year! Oh the little ones were so looking forward to it, how could you not bring the cookie stuff?", at which point Region blinks...didn't she? Wasn't there a conversation about? "Mom, you said in our talk about the rules, you didn't want Santa cookies this year. Remember, we couldn't bring our dog, we better not wear shorts, and no cookies?", which will get a "What are you talking about. I never said any such thing! You didn't bring the dog? But my little precious was so looking forward to playing with your dog! And now there are no cookies for Santa either?" ...

The technical term is "gaslighting". It's common in toxic people.


No kidding.  After my grandparents died my mother would make a big point that there were NO gifts being exchanged when we went to visit her sisters at her parents home.   It was because aunts just didn't make as much, there wasn't enough money.  I told her "Well I'm making earrings from what I have at home, it's no trouble or cost to me so it really wouldn't be an issue at all.

"WE'RE NOT EXCHANGING GIFTS!"

We get there and you guessed it, not only are they exchanging gifts but my mother clearly had knowledge of it because she's pulling out gifts for them that they've picked out for each other ahead of time.  DH, the boys and I even got gifts from my aunts and here we are with nothing to exchange for what we were given.  >:(   They weren't pricey gifts at all, but very nice ones, like one aunt took a beautiful picture of my grandparent's pier at sunset and framed it. Another year she gave us framed photos of our oldest two that were very nice.

Next year:
Me: Tell me what you bought for Aunts and I'll make something pretty to go with it.
Mom gave me a look like I had amnesia: What? I didn't buy them anything, we're not exchanging gifts!
Me:  Uh-huh. Seriously, what did you get them?* I'd like to give them something this year and I'm sure they'd like something to go with whatever you bought. *the gifts were always clothes and my aunts are jewelry wearers*
Mom: I did NOT buy them anything this year, we swore we weren't going to do it.

Yeah, stupid me, I fell for it...they exchanged gifts. The year after that was after the CD but I was SO relieved not to have to play that game again.

*Yeah, I know the response was rude, I was just that annoyed.

Oh and my mother's response? "Oh well those presents don't count! We went shopping together and as a joke we just grabbed something off each other's stack of purchases and bought it for them for Christmas!"

Yeah, Ma, that's a gift.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: padua on January 11, 2014, 02:24:23 AM
While the gift could have been purchased and given with good intentions, that the OP's mother said she just wanted it out of her house is more telling to me. I would rather not have a gift at all.

well, she did hold onto it for an entire year
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules FINAL #134
Post by: ms.bliss on January 12, 2014, 05:36:07 PM
Very glad that it all worked out and you had a nice visit home.  I agree the joy of kids at the holiday is a spirit lifter!

I am curious about what this means:


Only a few ate.  (My family is from Texas, nuff said)

Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: lollylegs on January 12, 2014, 05:48:15 PM
I'm going to have to disagree with the majority here.

Perhaps I'm missing some back story, and if so I apologise, but I don't see what the mother has done that is so bad it deserves accusations of toxicity and gaslighting.

Further, I found the OPs update a little ungracious. Was it necessary to point out that the food wasn't seasoned properly, and that very few ate? The gift your mother gave you sounded sweet and thoughtful and I don't think it's a 'miss' just because you can't remember it. And so what if your mother didn't talk to anyone at church? I know a lot of people go to church for the social aspect as much as the spirituality, but some of us just like to sit at the back, listen, and head home.

If you're worried that your mother is lonely then perhaps you could help her to reach out to other people, but I'm not getting that from your posts. I'm getting a sense, 'She has NO friends, what a weirdo!' and honestly, I feel a little sorry for her.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules FINAL #134
Post by: Harriet Jones on January 12, 2014, 05:51:18 PM
Very glad that it all worked out and you had a nice visit home.  I agree the joy of kids at the holiday is a spirit lifter!

I am curious about what this means:


Only a few ate.  (My family is from Texas, nuff said)


I think it was because the "chili" had no actual chili seasoning
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules FINAL #134
Post by: ms.bliss on January 12, 2014, 05:54:20 PM
Very glad that it all worked out and you had a nice visit home.  I agree the joy of kids at the holiday is a spirit lifter!

I am curious about what this means:


Only a few ate.  (My family is from Texas, nuff said)


I think it was because the "chili" had no actual chili seasoning

and that has to do with being from Texas how?
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules FINAL #134
Post by: Sophia on January 12, 2014, 05:55:59 PM
Very glad that it all worked out and you had a nice visit home.  I agree the joy of kids at the holiday is a spirit lifter!

I am curious about what this means:


Only a few ate.  (My family is from Texas, nuff said)


I think it was because the "chili" had no actual chili seasoning

It also had beans in it.  A generic beef stew is closer to chili, than Beef and Beans that the OP's mother served. 
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: ms.bliss on January 12, 2014, 06:02:13 PM
Interesting...a "generic beef stew" is nowhere near what I should consider chili. 
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: Harriet Jones on January 12, 2014, 06:56:01 PM
Interesting...a "generic beef stew" is nowhere near what I should consider chili.

Looking back at the post it was just beef+beans+tomatoes, nothing else.  While it doesn't sound like the worst thing ever, it's definitely not chili.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: ladyknight1 on January 12, 2014, 07:36:16 PM
Texas is famous for chili, particularly a "bowl of red" which is beef, onion and chiles.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: ms.bliss on January 12, 2014, 07:39:42 PM

Looking back at the post it was just beef+beans+tomatoes, nothing else.  While it doesn't sound like the worst thing ever, it's definitely not chili.
[/quote]

Yep, I couldn't agree more :)  It was the whole mom's from Texas 'nuff said comment I thought was off...Texas has some amazing chefs and some slap yo mama it's soooo good chili so yeah, 'nuff said lol!
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: cb140 on January 12, 2014, 09:25:14 PM

Looking back at the post it was just beef+beans+tomatoes, nothing else.  While it doesn't sound like the worst thing ever, it's definitely not chili.

Yep, I couldn't agree more :)  It was the whole mom's from Texas 'nuff said comment I thought was off...Texas has some amazing chefs and some slap yo mama it's soooo good chili so yeah, 'nuff said lol!
[/quote]

FWIW, I took the "family is from Texas, nuff said" to mean that *RegionMom's* family is from Texas, and therefore is used to much better chili (or at least more to her taste) than her mom was providing.  I don't think she was impugning Texan cuisine - quite the opposite.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: PastryGoddess on January 12, 2014, 09:26:00 PM

Looking back at the post it was just beef+beans+tomatoes, nothing else.  While it doesn't sound like the worst thing ever, it's definitely not chili.

Yep, I couldn't agree more :)  It was the whole mom's from Texas 'nuff said comment I thought was off...Texas has some amazing chefs and some slap yo mama it's soooo good chili so yeah, 'nuff said lol!


I think Region Mom was saying that the family was from TX and mom should have known better to give them the Beef+Beans and expect them to believe it's chili. 


cb140 I think we posted at the same time
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: RegionMom on January 13, 2014, 08:05:10 AM
RegionMom here-

I have lived in TX for many years, and DH and kids were born in TX.
Unseasoned ground beef, beans, and tomatoes in a pot for one hour does not equal chili.
 :-[ :P :( ???

As for the gift of two large framed prints of an artist from a preschool children's book I really do not remember, yeah, it was more of, "I was shopping an old store and came across this, and the price was cheap, so I got it.  It has been taking up space so it needs to get gone or I will pass it on to charity. 
Nevermind that you have been in your house for over 15 years and it is fully decorated, and that you have older teens, never mind that you have nieces and nephews that ARE preschoolers and might like a matching book to go with the print, nevermind that I am giving you glass over a print that may break as you drive home 18 hours, I myself, as mom of Christmas here, remember at some point in your life that I read to you one of the books related to this print, so therefore it will be your gift."

Think of any cute animal story  book for preschool- and give two framed prints related to one of those stories that are  too large to fit in a family sized suitcase.   Not collector's editions of signed prints, not a beloved book, not a book I have a copy of or have for my own kids, just a vague, "yes, you had this read to you and you liked it."

Since I am the oldest, and it was so loved, (and it is a unisex book) why was it not shared with my younger brothers?

Meh.

Two years ago I received from her a car trash bag and a clip on thingee for a pot to hold the stirring spoon, so I guess this year was better. 
:)
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: Outdoor Girl on January 13, 2014, 08:08:49 AM
Unseasoned ground beef, beans, and tomatoes in a pot for one hour does not equal chili.

I'm Canadian and even I don't think that's chili.   :D
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: ladyknight1 on January 13, 2014, 04:00:55 PM
Thanks for the update. One more year?
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: TootsNYC on January 13, 2014, 04:08:31 PM
Quote

I think Region Mom was saying that the family was from TX and mom should have known better to give them the Beef+Beans and expect them to believe it's chili. 

Or, that no one should be surprised that people didn't eat the "not really chili" chili.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: lollylegs on January 13, 2014, 06:37:43 PM
RegionMom here-

I have lived in TX for many years, and DH and kids were born in TX.
Unseasoned ground beef, beans, and tomatoes in a pot for one hour does not equal chili.
 :-[ :P :( ???

Not making chilli the way you like it isn't rude.

RegionMom here-
As for the gift of two large framed prints of an artist from a preschool children's book I really do not remember, yeah, it was more of, "I was shopping an old store and came across this, and the price was cheap, so I got it.  It has been taking up space so it needs to get gone or I will pass it on to charity. 
Nevermind that you have been in your house for over 15 years and it is fully decorated, and that you have older teens, never mind that you have nieces and nephews that ARE preschoolers and might like a matching book to go with the print, nevermind that I am giving you glass over a print that may break as you drive home 18 hours, I myself, as mom of Christmas here, remember at some point in your life that I read to you one of the books related to this print, so therefore it will be your gift."

Think of any cute animal story  book for preschool- and give two framed prints related to one of those stories that are  too large to fit in a family sized suitcase.   Not collector's editions of signed prints, not a beloved book, not a book I have a copy of or have for my own kids, just a vague, "yes, you had this read to you and you liked it."

Since I am the oldest, and it was so loved, (and it is a unisex book) why was it not shared with my younger brothers?

Meh.

Two years ago I received from her a car trash bag and a clip on thingee for a pot to hold the stirring spoon, so I guess this year was better. 
:)

Did she actually say any of this? If so, that changes the story completely. But if she didn't, then you're making a lot of inferences. You don't like the present, I get it, but again, getting someone a present they don't like isn't rude.

I think you're trying very hard to find fault with your mothers hospitality.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: JoyinVirginia on January 13, 2014, 10:31:09 PM
Lolly legs, I think when the op mother complained about having to wash extra towels the op family used during visits years before kinda gives you an idea of  mom's hospitality.  I get the picture of an older woman, living alone, who has a routine and really doesn't want anything or anyone to change that routine. But she has her children and grandchildren visit for Christmas because that is what is expected to happen. Not because she particularly enjoys it.
One of my deceased aunts was like this. She said she enjoyed visits but heaven forbid that one single knick knack was out of place and never visit when her ” stories” (soap operas) were on TV. You could almost hear her sign of relief when you walked out the door.
Op, glad that you enjoyed the time with your brothers and that your children had fun with their cousins.
Title: Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN
Post by: RegionMom on January 13, 2014, 10:36:03 PM
Oh, yes, some is speculation, but is rooted in reality.

One year she brought in a small box saying, "this was lying on a top shelf in the hall closet, if you do not want the junk inside, I will toss it."

And it had my original HS diploma plus several award certificates, and other mementos.  Not much else.  "Junk" she called it.

Another year she greeted me with, "I have been sorting my closet and I have a few things for you."
Well, she and I are not the same style, but I will wait and see...

And what she presented me was a fits a child inside sized box of tangled wire hangers.   Nothing but wire hangers.

I left the box and the hangers there. 

DH used to say, "lower your expectations."

A few years ago he changed it to," have NO expectations."

That way I will not be disappointed, and can kind of shrug off and laugh at the non-relationship. 

This is a long long story and I do not have to provide every jot and tittle of past details, but suffice it to say that mom has no interest in my family, and very little in my brothers' families.  I do not even know who she is "saving face" for at this point. 

Next year may be our last, since DD will be a senior. 

As for the "chili," (or as DH called it, ground beef and beans soup) yes, the hostess can serve whatever she wants, but when Aunt T. and I ran to the store, we HAD to buy milk, fruit, yogurt, carrots, etc... because mom had not prepped anything for kids.  Most of her food comes in cans.   Mobility and money are not issues, but we have learned to do a grocery store run over the years, as Aunt T. caught on to hersolf a few years ago. 
 
Sad maybe, but not my concern.   We had a good time with my bothers and their families. 
:)

Joy, you may have nailed it.  We disrupt her routine, though we do not know her routine- ex) had never been to Christmas Eve service with her since childhood, was now a Big Deal that we had to go, and be dressed appropriately. 

May all of you have wonderful memories of your family at Christmastime.  Mine will be of what I choose to remember, and to be pleasantly surprised as often as possible.
  :)