Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: despedina on February 23, 2014, 03:52:53 PM

Title: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: despedina on February 23, 2014, 03:52:53 PM
The subject came up recently with my MIL about birthday parties.  I haven't had "formal" birthday parties for my 3 kids (meaning inviting everyone over to my house or another location for a meal, dessert and present opening) for about 2 years.  It always seems to go awry somehow and I come away feeling like our time would be better spent doing something the kids really would enjoy for their birthdays (movie, skating etc).

This is the event that made me realize I didn't want to invite several people over for a party:

2 years ago my daughter turned 14.  That same year, we bought a lot in a Lake community near our home specifically for the purpose of fishing, swimming and generally enjoying the 3 lakes they have.  We saw this as the perfect opportunity to hold DD's bday at the pavilion on the beach.  Her birthday is in July but we had to reserve the pavilion in early April in order to guarantee we'd have it.  Due to that, we issued invites to all family members and later, my daughter's friends.  Family members that could come told us and we started planning for the party arranging food, activities, etc.   We reminded everyone about a month before the party also.

About 3 weeks before the party, my DH's aunt decided to plan a anniversary party for herself and her husband (50 years), and also for her daughter (DH's cousin) and her husband (25 years).   Its probably worth saying that my IL's live about 45 min away from us, and that is also where my DH's aunt, uncle and cousins live.  We learned about a week before my DD's party that all my IL's were only going to come to DD's party for about an hour, then leave to spend the majority of the day at the Anniversary get together.  >:(  I took it all as graciously as I could but I was kind of irritated.  Here we were planning a party for DD and most of the attendees were going to leave shortly after arriving because something better came along!

After that party, we never had another party like that for the kids. Not only was I disappointed, but I felt the kids saw all my IL's leave and felt less important.  I'd like to say, also, that this was an isolated incident, but there have been other examples of the IL's doing similar things in past year, this example was just the worst and last straw.  My family (less people) has been guilty of some rude activity too so I just got tired of it.

So this year MIL asks if we're planning a party for DS who will be 10, and I simply stated that we didn't do big parties anymore, and just let the birthday child pick out what he or she wants to do for that entire weekend instead. 

Am I wrong to just feel like this? I just feel like when we invite family members to our house, they only agree to come unless something else more fun comes up, or only "drop by" for a few minutes after we've planned an afternoon of entertainment.  I just feel like our time is better spent elsewhere.   I think my MIL is disappointed, and I've told her she can call and come by anytime.  Thoughts? Were the actions of my IL's rude?
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: lkdrymom on February 23, 2014, 03:58:46 PM
No you are not rude. You are no longer setting yourself up for disappointment and I bet your kids probably prefer a weekend doing what they want and not having a family party.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Hmmmmm on February 23, 2014, 04:07:23 PM
Even if their entire family showed up with bells on and stayed till you were shoving then out the door, you are still not obligated to host a family bday party. Let your kids celebrate as they prefer.

Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on February 23, 2014, 04:23:26 PM
Celebrate how you and your kids best enjoy.

It did strike me though that the inlaws did in fact come to the party for an hour. To me that seems kinda normal length for a birthday party. Perhaps the inlaws didn't see your event as "less important" just thought they had celebrated all of the events that day. Did you ask them to stay longer?
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Venus193 on February 23, 2014, 04:52:25 PM
No, you're not being rude.  You are under no obligation to give a party that your inlaws dismiss as less important than some other event whose invitation arrived later (after they accepted yours).  You went to considerable expense and it went unappreciated.

Take your children skating, to the movies, or whatever they ask for and feel better.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: despedina on February 23, 2014, 06:15:09 PM
Celebrate how you and your kids best enjoy.

It did strike me though that the inlaws did in fact come to the party for an hour. To me that seems kinda normal length for a birthday party. Perhaps the inlaws didn't see your event as "less important" just thought they had celebrated all of the events that day. Did you ask them to stay longer?

Yes, the plan was that we were all going to go swimming in the lake, then take the boat out and drive around the lake.  It may not have been an hour even. Just enough time to eat lunch and we had to do dessert and presents earlier than planned since they were leaving.  They drive 45+ min to our house and they usually stay several hours (when they don't run off).   The kids were disappointed because they thought all their relatives on that side were going swimming with them and ride in the boat and then everything was rushed and didn't happen.   It was quite a let down.
MIL has this idea that she "has" to make an appearance to EVERYTHING she's invited to regardless of set plans, so if she had been invited to 10 things that day lord knows she would have driven and popped in to every single one and not spent any quality time at any. It drives me crazy honestly and is the reason many of our plans have been cut short last minute.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on February 23, 2014, 06:20:59 PM
In that case, I understand you and your kids were disappointed but this was not "personal." The inlaws tried (and in your perspective failed, but they tried) to make everyone happy. Just Shane firm doing what makes you and your kids happy going forward, but try not to internalize the title of this thread. I didn't get that vibe at all, just that the inlaws failed at pleasing everyone.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: katycoo on February 23, 2014, 07:34:54 PM
You are not rude and have no obligation to throw a party.

After that party, we never had another party like that for the kids. Not only was I disappointed, but I felt the kids saw all my IL's leave and felt less important.  I'd like to say, also, that this was an isolated incident, but there have been other examples of the IL's doing similar things in past year, this example was just the worst and last straw.  My family (less people) has been guilty of some rude activity too so I just got tired of it.

Just on this: These parties your taling about are for your kids, who are getting into teen years.  When I was that age, my parties consisted only of my friends.  My extended family wasn't there, and their attendance wasn't important to me.  Have you asked the kdis how they feel about it?  Do they still get a little party with their friends?
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: purple on February 23, 2014, 07:45:27 PM
If your kids want to have a party for their birthday, then let them have a party and send the invitations to whoever they want to - maybe it includes MIL and maybe it doesn't.

If your kids prefer to just spend a special weekend doing their favourite things, then that is what their birthday should be.

I don't think you should feel obligated to throw a party because of MIL, nor should you feel obligated not to throw a party because of any ill feelings about the birthday parties of the past.

Don't worry yourself about it  :)
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: LadyR on February 23, 2014, 08:40:59 PM
Celebrate how you and your kids best enjoy.

It did strike me though that the inlaws did in fact come to the party for an hour. To me that seems kinda normal length for a birthday party. Perhaps the inlaws didn't see your event as "less important" just thought they had celebrated all of the events that day. Did you ask them to stay longer?

Yes, the plan was that we were all going to go swimming in the lake, then take the boat out and drive around the lake.  It may not have been an hour even. Just enough time to eat lunch and we had to do dessert and presents earlier than planned since they were leaving.  They drive 45+ min to our house and they usually stay several hours (when they don't run off).   The kids were disappointed because they thought all their relatives on that side were going swimming with them and ride in the boat and then everything was rushed and didn't happen.   It was quite a let down.
MIL has this idea that she "has" to make an appearance to EVERYTHING she's invited to regardless of set plans, so if she had been invited to 10 things that day lord knows she would have driven and popped in to every single one and not spent any quality time at any. It drives me crazy honestly and is the reason many of our plans have been cut short last minute.

I can sympathise with your MIL a bit. I'm the same way, I hate not going to something I've invited to. I feel like if I can, I should make an effort and it some times leads to some crazy over-scheduling and DH getting mad at me. I've gotten much better in recent years, but its still hard to control the impulse.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: SamiHami on February 23, 2014, 08:45:50 PM
Oh, I fear I'm going to get beaten up for this response, but here goes...

It sounds like you had your party planned and the ILs decided to attend. Then they received an invitation to an anniversary party for not one but two other couples that they also consider to be important family members (I'm guessing that 1//2 of the couple celebrating their 50th is a sibling of one of the IL's). Instead of being angry, I kind f feel sorry for them. Here they have their GD's birthday that they committed to and wanted to attend, and then they get invited to another important family event for the same day that they feel they cant miss...so they figure that they can spend their day running from place to place and try to satisfy everyone.

It's easy to say they should have blown off the anniversary party, and maybe they should have. But reality is that 50 years of marriage is a huge deal and should be celebrated. Twenty five years is also worth celebrating (not at all influenced by my own 25th coming up in just a few short weeks!). The timing was awful but the IL's could have felt backed into a corner.

Obviously you know your ILs and know if I am completely off base. Maybe they are awful, thoughtless people and if that's the case then I'm 100% on your side. But is it possible that they were trying to figure out how to make everyone happy?

Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: lollylegs on February 23, 2014, 08:47:05 PM
Celebrate how you and your kids best enjoy.

It did strike me though that the inlaws did in fact come to the party for an hour. To me that seems kinda normal length for a birthday party. Perhaps the inlaws didn't see your event as "less important" just thought they had celebrated all of the events that day. Did you ask them to stay longer?

Yes, the plan was that we were all going to go swimming in the lake, then take the boat out and drive around the lake.  It may not have been an hour even. Just enough time to eat lunch and we had to do dessert and presents earlier than planned since they were leaving.  They drive 45+ min to our house and they usually stay several hours (when they don't run off).   The kids were disappointed because they thought all their relatives on that side were going swimming with them and ride in the boat and then everything was rushed and didn't happen.   It was quite a let down.
MIL has this idea that she "has" to make an appearance to EVERYTHING she's invited to regardless of set plans, so if she had been invited to 10 things that day lord knows she would have driven and popped in to every single one and not spent any quality time at any. It drives me crazy honestly and is the reason many of our plans have been cut short last minute.

Honest question OP, would you have preferred they didn't come at all?
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: QuilaZen on February 23, 2014, 08:59:41 PM
You have the right to do what you want with birthday parties and you have a right to feel disappointed.

 I don't think they were rude.  Personally, I would have expected my inlaws to attend a sibling's 50th wedding anniversary over a grandkid's birthday party.  It appears that they were trying to make the best out of a bad situation in attending your event for an hour.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: mrs_deb on February 23, 2014, 09:01:26 PM
Well, despedina, I've got to say you're a heck of a lot nicer person than I am.

After reading your message, my first thought was:

>So this year MIL asks if we're planning a party for DS who will be 10...

MY answer would have been, "No...2 years ago I invited you to DD's 14th birthday party 3 months in advance; you accepted, and yet you cut out after an hour to go to a different party you'd been invited to 3 weeks earlier.  DD was hurt, and I'm not interested in putting DS through that."

Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: sammycat on February 23, 2014, 10:12:33 PM
Well, despedina, I've got to say you're a heck of a lot nicer person than I am.

After reading your message, my first thought was:

>So this year MIL asks if we're planning a party for DS who will be 10...

MY answer would have been, "No...2 years ago I invited you to DD's 14th birthday party 3 months in advance; you accepted, and yet you cut out after an hour to go to a different party you'd been invited to 3 weeks earlier.  DD was hurt, and I'm not interested in putting DS through that."

Yeah, I've got to say that this would be my response too.

I think aunt was very rude to plan a party with basically the same guest list as OP's when she knew well in advance that she, and other family members, were already committed for that date. She knew when her own anniversary was. She had a chance back in April to say she might not be able to make it as they were thinking of doing something for their anniversary, or better yet, holding her own party on a different day.

If I got an invite to Cousin A's birthday party 3 months in advance and then Cousin Z comes along months later and invited me to her anniversary (or other) party on the same date I'd be declining the second invite (or only popping into her party for an hour if there was time after the first party) and asking Cousin Z if she'd forgotten that the family had already been invited to Cousin A's party on that day.

ETA: The other party goers were rude too, to basically back out of the original invitation.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: kudeebee on February 23, 2014, 10:22:43 PM
I don't blame you or your kids for being disappointed.  ILs knew about the party for their granddaughter 3 months in advance.  The anniversary party invitation was issued three weeks before the events both occurred.  ILs should have honored their original commitment and spent more time at their granddaughter's party and "dropped in" on the anniversary party. Instead they did the reverse--see OP original quote below.  They made a choice to put the anniversary party, whose invitation was received after they had rsvp'd for the birthday party, ahead of the birthday party.  I think it was inconsiderate of dh's aunt to plan her party on the same day as your dd, assuming that she knew it was going to happen.

We learned about a week before my DD's party that all my IL's were only going to come to DD's party for about an hour, then leave to spend the majority of the day at the Anniversary get together.  >:(  I took it all as graciously as I could but I was kind of irritated.  Here we were planning a party for DD and most of the attendees were going to leave shortly after arriving because something better came along!

Also, with the additional information about mil feeling like she has to attend everything that she is invited to--whenever you invite her in the future, do so with the knowledge that she probably won't honor the commitment.  Talk with the kids about it as well.  That way your family won't be disappointed.

Would it be tacky to set up a "how long will mil stay at this party" pool amongst your family? ;D
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on February 23, 2014, 11:50:47 PM
Well, despedina, I've got to say you're a heck of a lot nicer person than I am.

After reading your message, my first thought was:

>So this year MIL asks if we're planning a party for DS who will be 10...

MY answer would have been, "No...2 years ago I invited you to DD's 14th birthday party 3 months in advance; you accepted, and yet you cut out after an hour to go to a different party you'd been invited to 3 weeks earlier.  DD was hurt, and I'm not interested in putting DS through that."

To me this seems quite petty, and also seems to be punishing the DS. How many people were supposed to be (and, actually, were) at DD's party? How many people "cut out early" and therefore caused this potential forever ban on a party?
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: jedikaiti on February 24, 2014, 12:05:05 AM
Well, despedina, I've got to say you're a heck of a lot nicer person than I am.

After reading your message, my first thought was:

>So this year MIL asks if we're planning a party for DS who will be 10...

MY answer would have been, "No...2 years ago I invited you to DD's 14th birthday party 3 months in advance; you accepted, and yet you cut out after an hour to go to a different party you'd been invited to 3 weeks earlier.  DD was hurt, and I'm not interested in putting DS through that."

That's more nice (and more to the point) than what I would be thinking - something more like "What do you care? It's not like you stuck around for the last one we threw, and you ruined DD's b-day party for her to boot."
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: NyaChan on February 24, 2014, 12:14:28 AM
I'd probably go for "Well we tried once if you'll remember, but everyone left after only an hour and it left the kids really disappointed.  We've decided it isn't right to put them through that again."
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on February 24, 2014, 12:28:08 AM
I guess I am really confused. How many people were invited, and how many came for "only" an hour? If there were 10 people invited and 9 came for only am hour I can maybe see taking such a harsh stance. But if there were 45 people invited and 5 came for only an hour......I just don't see it!
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: lollylegs on February 24, 2014, 12:59:07 AM
Some posters seem really angry at the grandmother for 'only' staying for an hour which makes me wonder, are there any etiquette rules about how long one must stay at an event?

It seems to me that the grandmother did the best she could. She probably would have gotten into trouble if she hadn't gone to the anniversary party or if she hadn't gone to her granddaughter's birthday party, so she tried to make an appearance at both. And staying for an hour, having lunch and doing the presents and cake seems like a pretty adequate appearance to me. I'm just not seeing how the grandmother ruined the granddaughters birthday party with her rudeness, which makes me wonder if I'm missing some etiquette rule.

(I realise that people might argue that the grandmother RSVPed to the granddaughters party first but that's exactly my question - she RSVPed and she turned up, so why is it rude?)
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on February 24, 2014, 01:02:49 AM
I'm with you, lollylegs. I don't get it! I think the ILs were fine!
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Dindrane on February 24, 2014, 07:39:10 AM
I think that if a guest, by only staying for part of the party, substantially changes the dynamic of the party, then it's rude.

In this case, I think it depends on how many relatives were only dropping in for an hour, and how central their attendance was to the party as a whole. It kind of sounds like despedina ended up having to change around the order and timing of events so that her MIL could be there for the meal and present opening. If she did that on her own initiative, I'd say just don't bother making changes to the schedule the next time she invites MIL to something (and if the in-laws miss out, that's on them).

If she changed things around because the relatives who only dropped in insisted on it because they were only going to be there for a short time, I think despedina's response (not doing these types of parties anymore) is entirely reasonable. She could just refuse to change the schedule for people who don't stay for the whole party, but that would be much more stressful (and likely confrontational) than just letting the kids do something else to celebrate their birthdays.

In the end, despedina gave ample notice of her party to allow her guests to plan their schedules. Behaving the way her in-laws did (accepting her invitation well in advance, then accepting the anniversary party invitation 3 weeks before both parties and choosing to spend the bulk of their time at the anniversary party instead of at the birthday party) absolutely does communicate that the birthday party is less important. And maybe it's justifiably less important, but making it so painfully obvious to the hosts and perhaps the guest of honor is extremely hurtful and a little rude.

Plus, an anniversary celebration might be a bigger deal to a lot of people than a teenager's birthday party, but not if the anniversary party isn't even planned to the point of inviting people until 3 weeks in advance. If it matters so much to the people celebrating the anniversary, they ought to make their plans known quite a bit sooner. As someone else said upthread, it's not like they don't know the date. I would personally assume that my presence was much more sought after and valued at a birthday party I was invited to 3 months ago than at an anniversary party I was invited to 3 weeks ago. Even if I thought I needed to attend both, I'd do the drop-in-attendance at the anniversary party, not at the party I'd made plans to attend weeks before.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: secretrebel on February 24, 2014, 07:59:30 AM
Wow. I would give a party at least 4 hours + travel time. I gave that long to my 3 year old niece and my 70+ aunt. Skipping out after an hour sounds rude to me.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Magnet on February 24, 2014, 08:02:40 AM
I am shocked that a 14 year old girl would be "disappointed" that old relatives didn't swim and boat with her and her friends.

I was 14 once.  At that age, I tried to pretend that my parents didn't exist.  If I had to acknowledge them, I certainly wasn't going to pay any attention to some old aunt or grandma - especially when my friends were around. IMO, kid parties should be for kids.

Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: mj on February 24, 2014, 09:02:46 AM
Some posters seem really angry at the grandmother for 'only' staying for an hour which makes me wonder, are there any etiquette rules about how long one must stay at an event?

It seems to me that the grandmother did the best she could. She probably would have gotten into trouble if she hadn't gone to the anniversary party or if she hadn't gone to her granddaughter's birthday party, so she tried to make an appearance at both. And staying for an hour, having lunch and doing the presents and cake seems like a pretty adequate appearance to me. I'm just not seeing how the grandmother ruined the granddaughters birthday party with her rudeness, which makes me wonder if I'm missing some etiquette rule.

(I realise that people might argue that the grandmother RSVPed to the granddaughters party first but that's exactly my question - she RSVPed and she turned up, so why is it rude?)

If you agree to an event with activities, I think it is rude to rsvp yes and then decline the activities and only come for the food.  It's family, so they could have communicated that they would only be able to stop by for lunch, not swimming and boating - this is assuming they knew of the activities, which I take from the OP they did. 

An hour isn't the issue from my perspective, it's the way this Grandmother and family handled their schedule.  It was rude to others and possibly wasted the OPs money if she rented a larger boat to accommodate all of the affirmative rsvp's. 
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: suzieQ on February 24, 2014, 09:13:07 AM
I am shocked that a 14 year old girl would be "disappointed" that old relatives didn't swim and boat with her and her friends.

I was 14 once.  At that age, I tried to pretend that my parents didn't exist.  If I had to acknowledge them, I certainly wasn't going to pay any attention to some old aunt or grandma - especially when my friends were around. IMO, kid parties should be for kids.

I think the 14 year old was disappointed because her cousins had to leave with the "old people", so she couldn't swim and boat with family members her age.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: NyaChan on February 24, 2014, 09:25:26 AM
My issue came from:

 1) double booking - you already made a commitment, you should keep it, not sub in a better offer.  If the other party was so significant (like canceling going to the movies to attend an impromptu family wedding) in comparison, they could have talked to OP about it and apologized.
2) if they were invited to do X, Y, and Z and only intended to do X, they really should have told the host ahead of time which it sounds like they did not.  They raised expectations that they would be there for longer, and given the nature of the event, they had to know that. 

-I qualify the last one by agreeing that if they were 5 people out of 50, not as big of a deal.  If they were the majority and only left stragglers, then they essentially messed up the party.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: etiquettenut on February 24, 2014, 09:25:53 AM
Some posters seem really angry at the grandmother for 'only' staying for an hour which makes me wonder, are there any etiquette rules about how long one must stay at an event?

It seems to me that the grandmother did the best she could. She probably would have gotten into trouble if she hadn't gone to the anniversary party or if she hadn't gone to her granddaughter's birthday party, so she tried to make an appearance at both. And staying for an hour, having lunch and doing the presents and cake seems like a pretty adequate appearance to me. I'm just not seeing how the grandmother ruined the granddaughters birthday party with her rudeness, which makes me wonder if I'm missing some etiquette rule.

(I realise that people might argue that the grandmother RSVPed to the granddaughters party first but that's exactly my question - she RSVPed and she turned up, so why is it rude?)

I don't think that simply "turning up" for an hour is the only criteria required for not being rude. How you act after you show up is equally important. She/the rest of the in-laws changed the whole dynamic of the party. The OP was forced to change the plans and cram all the activities into an hour (which they barely participated in). The birthday girl was disappointed because of their lack of involvement and their actions that showed her her party was of secondary importance to the other party.

I agree that whomever planned this event shouldn't have planned it on the same day. They should have known, or someone should have spoken up and reminded the planner that the family was committed elsewhere that day. Frankly, if the 50th anniversary was so important it should have been planned more than 3 weeks prior.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Cherry91 on February 24, 2014, 09:33:28 AM
I think the biggest problem with this is how it could make DD feel - maybe I'm just sensitive, but if I were in her position I would feel a lot like the family see me as an obligation - "Ugh, we have to go to DD's thing before we can go and spend the day at the REAL event, let's give it an hour and then get out of there..."

People think an hour is an acceptable amount of time to spend at a birthday party? Really? At parties I've been to, there's always at least one person who's up to half an hour late, and then by the time you've made sure everyone has a drink and any specific needs are taken care of (eg, Nanna needs to always have a chair available in case her legs start to hurt) that's an hour all on its own.

Final point - The family committed to DD's birthday party. Including the ones who then arranged a party of their own for the exact same day! So. Not. Cool.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: tinkytinky on February 24, 2014, 12:01:12 PM
Were the anniversary couples invited to DD birthday? just curious, as I believe that would be fairly rude to plan a party on the same date/at the same time if they had already RSVP'd to DD birthday. If it was only the in-laws (MIL, FIL, SIL, BIL, kids, etc.) that had already RSVP'd and came as a group, then left as a group, then, yes that's rude. It is rude to create a situation that changes the timeline and agenda that has been planned for 4 months.

I don't buy the whole, "aww she's a teen, why would she want to spend time with older relatives anyway?" My teen kids had a great relationship with my mother and still do with my FIL. MIL was a different story, she would mail their birthday cards even though she lived next door. They always felt that she never thought that they were good enough to warrant a visit, phone call, or even personal acknowledgment on thier birthdays.

There is nothing wrong with not having "family" parties either. The kids are old enough to decide, so that should be your answer to inlaws. "no, we let the kids decide what they would like to do for their birthday. Usually it is with their friends doing x or y".
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: learningtofly on February 24, 2014, 12:18:09 PM
I find your ILs rude.  They committed to lunch, an afternoon of activities, and cake.  Even if you had had a heads up you could have broken the news of an early departure to your daughter.  Leaving her their without the family she thought she was spending the day with was mean.

That said, I'm putting an end to family parties as well.  Originally we had to have the family at the kid party and then host the family party right afterwards.  (DH insists that's how these things are done.)  This year only my parents came to the kids party.  Others had better things to do including resting for the family party.  (The uncle who was sick got a huge thank you for not sharing his germs)  The family party-The one I was too tired to socialize at.  The one it turned out I was getting sick at, but still got flack for taking a few minutes to get myself together. I was tired at this party and DH's relatives took offense.

So next year I am planning a kids party.  If the family wants to have time with DD they can come over on a different day.  Come over after the kid party and I'll be napping.  Have the weekend you son wants and if grandma wants to come by give her a list of activities to join in on.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: gen xer on February 24, 2014, 01:02:59 PM
 I think it was kind of rude considering the nature of the activities and planning that went into it.  If it was a come and go tea kind of event ( which I only ever see for older people but whatever ) then maybe it would be different.

I have no problem with doing more than one event in a day as long as you can give it the proper attention.  If you can't...then sorry, you decline.  You accepted an invitation and you need to honour it....and honour it nicely which doesn't mean a hasty, hurried "hey nice to see, gotta go....by the way can I take some cake to go" kind of drop in.  To me that smacks of "well we'll quickly grace them with our presence,  they will be grateful for whatever little scraps we give them...oh we are just so in demand!!!"
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: GrammarNerd on February 24, 2014, 02:50:46 PM
To me, it almost sounds like the equivalent of the sweet girl who plans a quaint little party for some friends.  Then the mean girl who is jealous of her plans a much more elaborate party later, for the same day, and tries to upstage the sweet girl.  And of course, the mean girl's party would be THE place to go that even sweet girl's friends don't want to miss it.  So they ditch sweet girl's party.

Was there a movie about this b/c it sounds really familiar?

Of course, OP is the sweet girl and the aunt is the mean girl.  Now, I'm not saying at all that there was any malice intended by the aunt, but the result was the same.  And aunt knew about the birthday party and went along with her plans, and she had to know it would upstage the birthday party.  I suppose people thought it was nice that they came to the birthday party, but really, their actions seemed like a snub when the OP had to change the schedule of the party around them to accommodate their sudden departure, they didn't get to participate in everything, and they left en masse after RSVPing that they would come (and presumably stay for the whole party).

And OP?  I totally think you should tell MIL that that experience turned you off from hosting any more big family parties for your kids.  I like the suggested wording from other posters. 
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: darkprincess on February 24, 2014, 02:56:58 PM
I have something similar happen, except the family in question came very late instead of leaving early. However other family members do overbook themselves and leave after a short period of time. But my child likes parties so we keep throwning them. To keep my sanity I do not rush activities or change the order of the events. If someone misses lunch because they are not there for that part of it, oh well. If they show up and the train ride that we are taking has already started, they can wait until we get back. If they cannot stay for cake, well we are not doing cake early because you have other plans. When they get here, there are not redos. I don't get lunch out after I have cleaned it up because it takes my attention away the party at hand. I dont' give them tickets to the train ride that they missed because the train ride was a group party activitiy. Because I know this is likely to happen I verbally tell the family in question that the party starts at X time, around Y time we are all heading out on the boat/train/petting farm/group activity, and we will eat when we get back around Z time. They are welcome to join us whenever they want. I don't count on their attendance and I don't worry about them missing something that they can't show up for.

What is weird is that when they throw a birthday party they say it starts at X but some people are going to group activity before if you want to join, and the party will end at Z. What actually happens is that if you show up to group activity (swimming, zoo, movie) they arrive late or not at all. Then you go to their house at X but they are not ready, one time they weren't even home yet. You end up helping them decorate, wrap presents, cook, whatever while one of them goes to the store, does laundry, etc. At quarter til Z they get the party started which eventually ends 3 hours after Z. Once I figured this out I decided that I would make a plan that we would go to activitiy if it sounded fun doing, even if they weren't there. We would eat a snack in the car between activity and X, and then we would make a plan when we would leave. The plan might be after cake no matter how long it took, once the birthday cake was served at 8pm for a 3yr bday party that was supposed to start at 2 and end at 6pm. We might also plan to leave at the time the party was announced to end, no matter what was going on.

Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: despedina on February 24, 2014, 07:10:08 PM
Well, despedina, I've got to say you're a heck of a lot nicer person than I am.

After reading your message, my first thought was:

>So this year MIL asks if we're planning a party for DS who will be 10...

MY answer would have been, "No...2 years ago I invited you to DD's 14th birthday party 3 months in advance; you accepted, and yet you cut out after an hour to go to a different party you'd been invited to 3 weeks earlier.  DD was hurt, and I'm not interested in putting DS through that."

Yeah, I've got to say that this would be my response too.

I think aunt was very rude to plan a party with basically the same guest list as OP's when she knew well in advance that she, and other family members, were already committed for that date. She knew when her own anniversary was. She had a chance back in April to say she might not be able to make it as they were thinking of doing something for their anniversary, or better yet, holding her own party on a different day.

If I got an invite to Cousin A's birthday party 3 months in advance and then Cousin Z comes along months later and invited me to her anniversary (or other) party on the same date I'd be declining the second invite (or only popping into her party for an hour if there was time after the first party) and asking Cousin Z if she'd forgotten that the family had already been invited to Cousin A's party on that day.

ETA: The other party goers were rude too, to basically back out of the original invitation.

This is my issue exactly. Oh and for the record, my kids are now 16, 10, and 6, so while my DD is over parties, my 2 boys are not.
And this aunt is NOTORIOUS for pulling stunts just like this. In fact, she sent the invite to my MIL only and noted that MIL should tell all of us we were invited also. She was ticked that we did not RSVP. But that is another matter.
 So for 7 people (out of about 12 who could come) to up and all leave really before we did anything, really put a kink in the plans. I know we knew earlier that week what the IL's plans were as far as leaving but we were kind of stuck with the pavilion rental at that point otherwise we would have switched the party to that Sunday.   

I will just continue to have my kids plan their own BD weekends from here on out to avoid anything like this.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: despedina on February 24, 2014, 07:40:19 PM
Oh and to answer a couple of questions:

No I would not rather have had my IL's not come, I would have liked them to "pop in" at DH's aunt's house on the way instead of doing it the other way around.

Yes my DD does enjoy "older relatives" company.

No, DH's aunt was not invited to our party. 


And finally, I've just decided, as I've said, that we are going to let the kids plan, and tell MIL she is invited if she wants to tag along (to movie theater, restaurant or whatever).
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: immadz on February 24, 2014, 09:43:43 PM
I like this plan OP.

Whether you like it or not, your actions are seen as reflections of your priorities. If you duck out of your grand daughter's 5 hour party in an hour, because a better invitation came along, she is going to see it as a reflection of your esteem for her. She is not going to be pleased. If this is a trend, your relationship with her will be adjusted accordingly. You don't get to then whine about it. Bed. made. lie.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Pumpkin Spice on February 26, 2014, 11:32:27 PM
To me, it almost sounds like the equivalent of the sweet girl who plans a quaint little party for some friends.  Then the mean girl who is jealous of her plans a much more elaborate party later, for the same day, and tries to upstage the sweet girl.  And of course, the mean girl's party would be THE place to go that even sweet girl's friends don't want to miss it.  So they ditch sweet girl's party.

Was there a movie about this b/c it sounds really familiar?

Of course, OP is the sweet girl and the aunt is the mean girl.  Now, I'm not saying at all that there was any malice intended by the aunt, but the result was the same.  And aunt knew about the birthday party and went along with her plans, and she had to know it would upstage the birthday party.  I suppose people thought it was nice that they came to the birthday party, but really, their actions seemed like a snub when the OP had to change the schedule of the party around them to accommodate their sudden departure, they didn't get to participate in everything, and they left en masse after RSVPing that they would come (and presumably stay for the whole party).

And OP?  I totally think you should tell MIL that that experience turned you off from hosting any more big family parties for your kids.  I like the suggested wording from other posters.

ITA.    IL's and especially Aunt were rude.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Wintergreen on February 28, 2014, 04:41:10 AM
I am shocked that a 14 year old girl would be "disappointed" that old relatives didn't swim and boat with her and her friends.

I was 14 once.  At that age, I tried to pretend that my parents didn't exist.  If I had to acknowledge them, I certainly wasn't going to pay any attention to some old aunt or grandma - especially when my friends were around. IMO, kid parties should be for kids.

I think the 14 year old was disappointed because her cousins had to leave with the "old people", so she couldn't swim and boat with family members her age.

Well not all kids are like that. I've never felt need to pretend my parents didn't exist. And I've always liked my grandparents and aunts, spending time with them was not chore. In our family it has been quite common to have a "family party" and then the "school friends party" if needed, though.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: sammycat on February 28, 2014, 05:01:43 AM
Well not all kids are like that. I've never felt need to pretend my parents didn't exist. And I've always liked my grandparents and aunts, spending time with them was not chore. In our family it has been quite common to have a "family party" and then the "school friends party" if needed, though.

Ditto. I have very happy memories of spending time with my extended family at all stages of my life, including the teen years.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Runningstar on February 28, 2014, 05:12:41 AM
Oh and to answer a couple of questions:

No I would not rather have had my IL's not come, I would have liked them to "pop in" at DH's aunt's house on the way instead of doing it the other way around.

Yes my DD does enjoy "older relatives" company.

No, DH's aunt was not invited to our party. 


And finally, I've just decided, as I've said, that we are going to let the kids plan, and tell MIL she is invited if she wants to tag along (to movie theater, restaurant or whatever).
I'm confused, DH's aunt, uncle and cousin were not invited?  If not, it changes the dynamics for me.  If that is the case, the ones who came to the party and then left, could they have been trying to support the uninvited aunt/uncle/cousin?  I would still be upset to have taken time to plan a party, and then see them leave.  Do what is best for you.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Magnet on February 28, 2014, 09:00:57 AM

Well not all kids are like that. I've never felt need to pretend my parents didn't exist. And I've always liked my grandparents and aunts, spending time with them was not chore. In our family it has been quite common to have a "family party" and then the "school friends party" if needed, though.
[/quote]

I love my family too, I did even as a kid.  But I did not expect grandma to swim and boat with me at a party with friends my age.  There is a time and place for everything, and to expect grandma to play chicken in the lake with a bunch of 14 year olds seems bizarre to me.  Kids parties should be for kids, IMO.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on February 28, 2014, 09:07:51 AM
I love my family too, I did even as a kid.  But I did not expect grandma to swim and boat with me at a party with friends my age.  There is a time and place for everything, and to expect grandma to play chicken in the lake with a bunch of 14 year olds seems bizarre to me.  Kids parties should be for kids, IMO.

This is how I viewed it too. Maybe I misunderstand the nature of the activities that were planned, but unless grandma and the older relatives are quite active I have a hard time envisioning them participating in waterskiing or tubing or water/sand volleyball or general splashing about.  To me, they participated in the portion of the party that would be expected (by me anyway) given the nature of the party, and it would have been weird for Grandma to take her turn on the tube behind the boat when there were lots of kids present.

As a caveat, my mother who is 69 years old will go tubing and even waterskiing (!!!!! my mom rocks!!!!), but this is when it is just our family and I don't think it would occur to her to take her turn behind the boat at a party for any of her grandkids.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: tinkytinky on February 28, 2014, 09:17:57 AM
I disagree. It sounds like this was a family type party as opposed to a kids party that family happened to be going. If it were a kids party with DD's friends there, and inlaws come for a while, that's different. But I envisioned it as "hey we have a really cool place to have DD's birthday this year! lets have grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins and have barbeque and go out in the boat. the kids can swim while the adults visit. It'll be a great time!"

More than half of the guests changed the dynamics by rushing things and leaving early. I am sure that isn't how DD wanted to remeber her birthday party. At that point, DD was not Guest of Honor, more like Guest of Obligation. and that hurts.

OP I think the way you have planned to handle this going forward is fine. 

Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on February 28, 2014, 09:24:37 AM
So for 7 people (out of about 12 who could come) to up and all leave really before we did anything, really put a kink in the plans.

Does this mean that 7 relatives and 5 friends came to the party total? How many were you expecting?

edited because I forgot the word relatives!
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: secretrebel on February 28, 2014, 09:50:14 AM
To me, it almost sounds like the equivalent of the sweet girl who plans a quaint little party for some friends.  Then the mean girl who is jealous of her plans a much more elaborate party later, for the same day, and tries to upstage the sweet girl.  And of course, the mean girl's party would be THE place to go that even sweet girl's friends don't want to miss it.  So they ditch sweet girl's party.

Was there a movie about this b/c it sounds really familiar?

It happened in Teen Witch. I'm sure it must have been used in other movies too.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Free Range Hippy Chick on February 28, 2014, 09:56:30 AM
I am shocked that a 14 year old girl would be "disappointed" that old relatives didn't swim and boat with her and her friends.

I was 14 once.  At that age, I tried to pretend that my parents didn't exist.  If I had to acknowledge them, I certainly wasn't going to pay any attention to some old aunt or grandma - especially when my friends were around. IMO, kid parties should be for kids.

I think the 14 year old was disappointed because her cousins had to leave with the "old people", so she couldn't swim and boat with family members her age.

Well not all kids are like that. I've never felt need to pretend my parents didn't exist. And I've always liked my grandparents and aunts, spending time with them was not chore. In our family it has been quite common to have a "family party" and then the "school friends party" if needed, though.

I don't think it would necessarily matter whether the 14yo wanted the relatives there or not. 14 is quite old enough to understand that they said they would come, and then bailed for a 'better' offer, that the structure of her party had to be rearranged to allow them to do that, and to grasp the inference that her birthday isn't important to them and that by extension she isn't important. That would be insulting even if she hadn't cared, to begin with, whether they came or not. It's actually more insulting than not coming at all, in my opinion.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on February 28, 2014, 10:01:28 AM
I think time of day and weather factors in as well.  Also what is typical for this particular family. 

As I said, it would be really weird for a birthday party to last longer than an hour or so in my family. A cocktail anniversary party would last 3-4 hours, but no one would really be expected to be there that entire time.  A family only dinner would probably last longer, but that would be in the evening at someone's house and for a small number of people and only family.  If it were me, and I were an older relative (as opposed to a similarly aged cousin), I would assume that if the birthday girl invited friends she would want to enjoy the activities with those friends.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: etiquettenut on February 28, 2014, 11:49:02 AM
I think time of day and weather factors in as well.  Also what is typical for this particular family. 

As I said, it would be really weird for a birthday party to last longer than an hour or so in my family. A cocktail anniversary party would last 3-4 hours, but no one would really be expected to be there that entire time.  A family only dinner would probably last longer, but that would be in the evening at someone's house and for a small number of people and only family.  If it were me, and I were an older relative (as opposed to a similarly aged cousin), I would assume that if the birthday girl invited friends she would want to enjoy the activities with those friends.

With no evidence other than experience, I would venture a guess that is abnormal rather than the norm for most people. It would be extremely strange to me to attend a birthday party that lasted less than an hour, family-party or friends-party. I've never really even heard of that, to be honest.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Kariachi on February 28, 2014, 11:50:08 AM
I think time of day and weather factors in as well.  Also what is typical for this particular family. 

As I said, it would be really weird for a birthday party to last longer than an hour or so in my family. A cocktail anniversary party would last 3-4 hours, but no one would really be expected to be there that entire time.  A family only dinner would probably last longer, but that would be in the evening at someone's house and for a small number of people and only family.  If it were me, and I were an older relative (as opposed to a similarly aged cousin), I would assume that if the birthday girl invited friends she would want to enjoy the activities with those friends.

While in my family parties, all parties, start between 2 and 5 in the afternoon and last until the last person goes home, generally around 11 for locals and 5 for relatives. So leaving after an hour? For a "better" event? You wouldn't be invited back to anything.

I'm also having a bit of trouble wrapping my mind around the idea that apparently swimming and a boat ride are expected to be overly strenuous? I mean, yeah, water skiing I can understand but a boat ride? That's like, the second least strenuous water activity I can think of just behind sitting on the beach with a drink, and just above swimming.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on February 28, 2014, 12:58:23 PM
I am shocked that a 14 year old girl would be "disappointed" that old relatives didn't swim and boat with her and her friends.

I was 14 once.  At that age, I tried to pretend that my parents didn't exist.  If I had to acknowledge them, I certainly wasn't going to pay any attention to some old aunt or grandma - especially when my friends were around. IMO, kid parties should be for kids.

When I was 14, while I didn't like spending time with my parents, I did enjoy being around extended family so I can buy that the daughter was disappointed.

We've stopped having big parties for our older two boys because we didn't get enough attendance, so we just started doing things like taking them to movies, or bowling as a family, or just something to celebrate. I felt bad for them when they'd invite a bunch of kids and either we'd get no rspvs but for one or no kids would show up at all.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on February 28, 2014, 01:12:56 PM
I'm also having a bit of trouble wrapping my mind around the idea that apparently swimming and a boat ride are expected to be overly strenuous? I mean, yeah, water skiing I can understand but a boat ride? That's like, the second least strenuous water activity I can think of just behind sitting on the beach with a drink, and just above swimming.

I don't personally think either are overly strenuous, but if the party consisted of 30 teenage kids and 5 people over age 60 I certainly would not expect the 60 year olds to be on the boat, assuming limited space.  That would be just weird to me.  But probably I am just envisioning a different type of party than the OP actually threw.

Regardless, like I said, I think it just depends how the family expects to interact and who specifically is at the party.  I haven't seen this confirmed, but I thought the OP has now said that there were 7 family members (who left after an hour) and 5 friends (who stayed), which already is a very different situation than I initially thought it would be.  I had envisioned a much larger party.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Runningstar on February 28, 2014, 01:32:33 PM
. At that point, DD was not Guest of Honor, more like Guest of Obligation. and that hurts.

 
Guest of Obligation - that really gets to the point of it for me.  Parties are a lot of work and planning.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Venus193 on February 28, 2014, 01:40:54 PM
Quote
While in my family parties, all parties, start between 2 and 5 in the afternoon and last until the last person goes home, generally around 11 for locals and 5 for relatives. So leaving after an hour? For a "better" event? You wouldn't be invited back to anything.

That says it for me. 

When one takes the trouble to plan a party, prepare food, and invite people in advance anyone who pulls this stunt for something planned after mine never gets invited again, especially if it has become a repeat behavior.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on February 28, 2014, 01:52:36 PM
I am a bit torn here because it seems that what the inlaws did is standard for their family.  It would be for mine too. I don't mean that it is standard to leave one event for another, but rather than it would be really weird to have a "long" birthday party and to get upset that someone didn't stay for several hours, especially when it was a friends party too and not just family. 

I think that is why even though I can understand the OP being hurt and upset I don't think I would take it personally or as a sign that DD's birthday party was "less important" than the other events.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: tinkytinky on February 28, 2014, 02:06:04 PM
I am a bit torn here because it seems that what the inlaws did is standard for their family.  It would be for mine too. I don't mean that it is standard to leave one event for another, but rather than it would be really weird to have a "long" birthday party and to get upset that someone didn't stay for several hours, especially when it was a friends party too and not just family. 

I think that is why even though I can understand the OP being hurt and upset I don't think I would take it personally or as a sign that DD's birthday party was "less important" than the other events.

I see where you are coming from, however, I DO see it as a sign that the birthday party was seen as less important. The party was planned 3 months in advance with confirmation reminders going out 1 month in advance. a week after the reminder went out, a better opportunity came along. While it was ok that the inlaws showed up, it was hurtful that they only stayed for an hour, rushed thing along so they could leave. They knew the plans for the party in advance, and were aware that it wasn't an hour long party because it was at the lake. Going to a party at the lake in July would probably be considered by most people an all day, or at least all afternoon event. They had committed to an event well in advance and either sent their regrets or shorted their time at the SECOND event (that they were spending the majority of the day at the second event means that it was possible to spend a while longer at the first event, they chose not to.)
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: etiquettenut on February 28, 2014, 02:18:41 PM
I am a bit torn here because it seems that what the inlaws did is standard for their family.  It would be for mine too. I don't mean that it is standard to leave one event for another, but rather than it would be really weird to have a "long" birthday party and to get upset that someone didn't stay for several hours, especially when it was a friends party too and not just family. 

I think that is why even though I can understand the OP being hurt and upset I don't think I would take it personally or as a sign that DD's birthday party was "less important" than the other events.

I see where you are coming from, however, I DO see it as a sign that the birthday party was seen as less important. The party was planned 3 months in advance with confirmation reminders going out 1 month in advance. a week after the reminder went out, a better opportunity came along. While it was ok that the inlaws showed up, it was hurtful that they only stayed for an hour, rushed thing along so they could leave. They knew the plans for the party in advance, and were aware that it wasn't an hour long party because it was at the lake. Going to a party at the lake in July would probably be considered by most people an all day, or at least all afternoon event. They had committed to an event well in advance and either sent their regrets or shorted their time at the SECOND event (that they were spending the majority of the day at the second event means that it was possible to spend a while longer at the first event, they chose not to.)

This has been bothering me too. I would think the anniversary party would be an evening event whereas a birthday party on a lake would be a day event. It really seems like they purposely chose to spend as much time as possible at the anniversary, while spending as little time as possible at the birthday. At least, it would seem like that to me.

I completely agree that if they really couldn't say no to the second event, THAT is the one that they should have sacrificed the time at. Not the event they committed to 3 months prior. Especially when I see both events as the same - a party.

Frankly, I think the in-law's actions were really distasteful.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: livluvlaf on February 28, 2014, 02:24:11 PM
We are often put into the double booked situation, so i can relate to Grandma's side.

DH's parent's have been divorced for +30yrs, although still a tad bitter.

MIL's birthday is one day apart from SIL's birthday (on FIL's side). As much as we try to avoid it, there have been years where the birthdays are hosted on the same day - and we try to accommodate both.  It doesn't matter how long we spend at the first party (all afternoon) as we are putting our coats on to attend the other function ... the first party is annoyed we are leaving them to visit with "the enemy". Doesn't matter how much we explain in advance. DH is an only child, and thus 50% of both celebrations.

Same thing with every holiday ... It's exhausting!

It was your Aunt who was rude to not send proper invites to your family, and she made it awkward by choosing the same date to host her party. OTOH - summer weekends book up quickly, so maybe it was the only weekend available for them also. Unless she has a history of deliberately trying to steal thunder from others, I wouldn't consider her malicious. And Grandma was merely trying to please both parties. Unless she makes a habit of double booking herself for your family's functions ... I wouldn't consider her rude.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: jedikaiti on February 28, 2014, 02:35:30 PM
I disagree. Grandma definitely WAS rude. She could very well have said "Oh, I'm sorry, I already committed to Grandkid's Birthday." Or she could have gone late (later?) to the anniversary party. Instead, she (well, they, since there were others involved) decided that not only were they not going to put in more than a token appearance at Birthday, but that the Birthday events (cake, gifts, etc) had to be rushed since they were taking most of the attendees with them. So in effect, they cut short Grandkid's birthday party because they got a better offer well after they committed to the first event.

Lack of a spine does not exempt or excuse rudeness.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: tinkytinky on February 28, 2014, 02:41:57 PM
I disagree. Grandma definitely WAS rude. She could very well have said "Oh, I'm sorry, I already committed to Grandkid's Birthday." Or she could have gone late (later?) to the anniversary party. Instead, she (well, they, since there were others involved) decided that not only were they not going to put in more than a token appearance at Birthday, but that the Birthday events (cake, gifts, etc) had to be rushed since they were taking most of the attendees with them. So in effect, they cut short Grandkid's birthday party because they got a better offer well after they committed to the first event.

Lack of a spine does not exempt or excuse rudeness.

I agree. I also think that inlaws were rude to the other guests that were there, they completely changed the tone of the party. Instead of say 3 hours swimming and boating, they were in a rushed 45 minutes - 1 hour because Inlaws insisted (which is rude in itself).
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Idlewildstudios on February 28, 2014, 04:05:51 PM
Oh and to answer a couple of questions:

No I would not rather have had my IL's not come, I would have liked them to "pop in" at DH's aunt's house on the way instead of doing it the other way around.

Yes my DD does enjoy "older relatives" company.

No, DH's aunt was not invited to our party. 


And finally, I've just decided, as I've said, that we are going to let the kids plan, and tell MIL she is invited if she wants to tag along (to movie theater, restaurant or whatever).
I'm confused, DH's aunt, uncle and cousin were not invited?  If not, it changes the dynamics for me.  If that is the case, the ones who came to the party and then left, could they have been trying to support the uninvited aunt/uncle/cousin?  I would still be upset to have taken time to plan a party, and then see them leave.  Do what is best for you.

As a show of support for what?  Not being invited to the birthday party?

We hold family parties for our DD every year, both sets of grandparents and DD's aunt and uncle invited.  We don't invite *DH's* aunt and uncle, even though they live very close.  If my IL's left DD's party early, after RSVPing so far in advance to attend another  event I would be angry and DD would be upset, even at 14.  I certainly wouldn't rush DD's party to accommodate their rudeness.  I also would also make mention before any other invites where issued to them that  their rushed departure was hurtful.

I see it as they made a token showing to get credit for showing up and then bailed for more adult, and possibly in their eyes, better offering.  Not cool at all.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Runningstar on March 01, 2014, 04:53:28 AM
Oh and to answer a couple of questions:

No I would not rather have had my IL's not come, I would have liked them to "pop in" at DH's aunt's house on the way instead of doing it the other way around.

Yes my DD does enjoy "older relatives" company.

No, DH's aunt was not invited to our party. 


And finally, I've just decided, as I've said, that we are going to let the kids plan, and tell MIL she is invited if she wants to tag along (to movie theater, restaurant or whatever).
I'm confused, DH's aunt, uncle and cousin were not invited?  If not, it changes the dynamics for me.  If that is the case, the ones who came to the party and then left, could they have been trying to support the uninvited aunt/uncle/cousin?  I would still be upset to have taken time to plan a party, and then see them leave.  Do what is best for you.

As a show of support for what?  Not being invited to the birthday party?

We hold family parties for our DD every year, both sets of grandparents and DD's aunt and uncle invited.  We don't invite *DH's* aunt and uncle, even though they live very close.  If my IL's left DD's party early, after RSVPing so far in advance to attend another  event I would be angry and DD would be upset, even at 14.  I certainly wouldn't rush DD's party to accommodate their rudeness.  I also would also make mention before any other invites where issued to them that  their rushed departure was hurtful.

I see it as they made a token showing to get credit for showing up and then bailed for more adult, and possibly in their eyes, better offering.  Not cool at all.
Yes - that is what I was thinking, that they didn't want to miss the other party as it was a show of their support - but not that it was right to do.  And, since Aunt/Uncle weren't invited, then they didn't know the date of the b-day party (?) and those who left early were more worried about family dynamics/hurting Aunt and Uncle, so decided to try to please everyone.  Here is where etiquette would have helped them, the first RSVP stands unless there is an emergency basically.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 01, 2014, 05:28:01 AM
OK, I guess I'm going to be the lone voice again.

I think a 50th wedding anniversary trumps a child's 14th birthday party.

Technically, they were rude to accept the invitation. However, real life often demands that people are more flexible than the rules of etiquette dictate we should be. The anniversary was a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. A child's birthday comes around every year, and unless there's some cultural thing that I'm not aware of, a 14th birthday isn't anything 'special', like turning 18 or 21 would be. By attending both events, I think MIL did the best she could in a difficult situation that she was placed into, and she didn't blow off the party to attend the anniversary party.

Your feelings are your feelings though, and if you don't want to throw any more parties off the back of that it's understandable, but I'd cut MIL some slack unless there's some kind of toxic history there.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Specky on March 01, 2014, 07:19:31 AM
Grandma was rude and hurtful, sending a big message to the granddaughter.  The only thing that trumps anything is that she ditched a previously accepted invitation for what she considered a better offer.  The birthday party had been planned well in advance and the invitation accepted before the anniversary party was planned.  Why would an anniversary be considered more important than a birthday?  They will have another anniversary the next year.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on March 01, 2014, 07:36:19 AM
perpetua, I agree.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 01, 2014, 07:46:46 AM
Grandma was rude and hurtful, sending a big message to the granddaughter.  The only thing that trumps anything is that she ditched a previously accepted invitation for what she considered a better offer.  The birthday party had been planned well in advance and the invitation accepted before the anniversary party was planned.  Why would an anniversary be considered more important than a birthday?  They will have another anniversary the next year.

They won't have another 50th anniversary, which is what the party was to celebrate - a milestone anniversary. It was MIL's sister's Golden Anniversary. Of *course* it should take priority. It wasn't MIL's fault the invitation didn't come till later.

Yes, she did technically 'ditch them for a better offer' - except she didn't, because she still made the effort to come - but that's because a 50th anniversary party is more important than a 14th birthday.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on March 01, 2014, 07:55:39 AM
Agree with perpetua. Unless there is some toxic back story we haven't heard about, grandma DID come to the birthday party and is sending no message of "you are less important" to her granddaughter. If anything, she is saying, all of my family is important to me.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: prock929 on March 01, 2014, 08:05:10 AM
About 3 weeks before the party, my DH's aunt decided to plan a anniversary party for herself and her husband (50 years), and also for her daughter (DH's cousin) and her husband (25 years).

I think that if the anniversary party was that important, it would have been planned more than 3 weeks in advance. 

Also it would have been one thing for MIL and company to need to leave OP's party early (expressing regrets all the while), but quite another thing to dictate the events of the birthday party to suit themselves.

She is sending the message that 'you are less important' to the Granddaughter as she forced the OP's family to rush through their event to accommodate herself and her entourage.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 01, 2014, 08:09:02 AM
About 3 weeks before the party, my DH's aunt decided to plan a anniversary party for herself and her husband (50 years), and also for her daughter (DH's cousin) and her husband (25 years).

I think that if the anniversary party was that important, it would have been planned more than 3 weeks in advance. 

Also it would have been one thing for MIL and company to need to leave OP's party early (expressing regrets all the while), but quite another thing to dictate the events of the birthday party to suit themselves.

She is sending the message that 'you are less important' to the Granddaughter as she forced the OP's family to rush through their event to accommodate herself and her entourage.

Sure, but I don't think in this instance that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, because I think a golden wedding anniversary *does* take precedence over a 14th birthday party. 14 isn't any kind of milestone.

And actually, the message she's sending is 'this *event* is more important, this time', not '*you* are less important'. There's nothing wrong with a teenager learning that other things are important too, sometimes more so.

She did also make the effort to be there, rather than blowing her off altogether to go to the party.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Runningstar on March 01, 2014, 08:12:56 AM
Grandma was rude and hurtful, sending a big message to the granddaughter.  The only thing that trumps anything is that she ditched a previously accepted invitation for what she considered a better offer.  The birthday party had been planned well in advance and the invitation accepted before the anniversary party was planned.  Why would an anniversary be considered more important than a birthday?  They will have another anniversary the next year.

They won't have another 50th anniversary, which is what the party was to celebrate - a milestone anniversary. It was MIL's sister's Golden Anniversary. Of *course* it should take priority. It wasn't MIL's fault the invitation didn't come till later.

Yes, she did technically 'ditch them for a better offer' - except she didn't, because she still made the effort to come - but that's because a 50th anniversary party is more important than a 14th birthday.
Part of what I was wondering was if the Aunt/Uncle timed their party knowing that the b-day party was already planned, but that they were not invited to.  Why would I wonder about that is because of my own family and extended family that have been known to actually try to usurp planned parties that they wanted to interfere with.   Were both parties on the actual dates of the celebrated events?   
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: prock929 on March 01, 2014, 08:22:06 AM

Part of what I was wondering was if the Aunt/Uncle timed their party knowing that the b-day party was already planned, but that they were not invited to.  Why would I wonder about that is because of my own family and extended family that have been known to actually try to usurp planned parties that they wanted to interfere with.   Were both parties on the actual dates of the celebrated events?   

I was wondering the same thing






Sure, but I don't think in this instance that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, because I think a golden wedding anniversary *does* take precedence over a 14th birthday party. 14 isn't any kind of milestone.

And actually, the message she's sending is 'this *event* is more important, this time', not '*you* are less important'. There's nothing wrong with a teenager learning that other things are important too, sometimes more so.

She did also make the effort to be there, rather than blowing her off altogether to go to the party.

Apparently the anniversary wasn't that important to the Aunt as she would have been planning it months in advance, not weeks.

Making the effort to be there would have been okay.  Completely commandeering the events (and the guest list) of the birthday party was not.


*edited because my response to Specky ended up in Perpetua's quote  :(


** edit 2: I really need to watch where the '/quote' is an where my response is :)





Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on March 01, 2014, 08:38:47 AM
How did the grandma "force" the OP to do these things?
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 01, 2014, 09:06:14 AM

Apparently the anniversary wasn't that important to the Aunt as she would have been planning it months in advance, not weeks.

Well, not all parties take months of planning. I've certainly never had one that was. Three weeks should be perfectly adequate to plan a simple 50th anniversary party.

I'm wondering if the OP and her family was invited to this anniversary party? It doesn't seem like they were since it hasn't been mentioned, so it'd be interesting to know if there is any backstory here that's clouding feelings.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: prock929 on March 01, 2014, 09:25:10 AM

Well, not all parties take months of planning. I've certainly never had one that was. Three weeks should be perfectly adequate to plan a simple 50th anniversary party.

I'm wondering if the OP and her family was invited to this anniversary party? It doesn't seem like they were since it hasn't been mentioned, so it'd be interesting to know if there is any backstory here that's clouding feelings.

Sure, but then you (generic 'you')  shouldn't expect everybody on your guest list to be available for your party.
 
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 01, 2014, 09:39:50 AM

Well, not all parties take months of planning. I've certainly never had one that was. Three weeks should be perfectly adequate to plan a simple 50th anniversary party.

I'm wondering if the OP and her family was invited to this anniversary party? It doesn't seem like they were since it hasn't been mentioned, so it'd be interesting to know if there is any backstory here that's clouding feelings.

Sure, but then you (generic 'you')  shouldn't expect everybody on your guest list to be available for your party.
 

Of course. But if the MIL wants to go (or feels like she has to, because it was her sister), and she wasn't given the invitation until late, I don't see anything wrong with prioritising in this instance. A 14th birthday is not a milestone. The child will have another birthday next year. There won't be another 50th. I think this was more important, and MIL *did* attend the child's party, so, I think she did the best she could in the circumstances. She could have blown it out altogether, but she did not.

Like I said, strictly speaking she gaffed by accepting the invitation, but real life sometimes requires us to be more flexible than the rigidity of etiquette allows.

(Of course, it could also be said that the OP was the one who was in the wrong for planning a party on the date of the Aunt's 50th anniversary, thereby forcing people to choose. Was the daughter's birthday on the same actual day as the anniversary, or did she just pick that date for the party? If so why? Just something to ponder).
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: prock929 on March 01, 2014, 10:05:11 AM

Of course. But if the MIL wants to go (or feels like she has to, because it was her sister), and she wasn't given the invitation until late, I don't see anything wrong with prioritising in this instance. A 14th birthday is not a milestone. The child will have another birthday next year. There won't be another 50th. I think this was more important, and MIL *did* attend the child's party, so, I think she did the best she could in the circumstances. She could have blown it out altogether, but she did not.

Like I said, strictly speaking she gaffed by accepting the invitation, but real life sometimes requires us to be more flexible than the rigidity of etiquette allows.

(Of course, it could also be said that the OP was the one who was in the wrong for planning a party on the date of the Aunt's 50th anniversary, thereby forcing people to choose. Was the daughter's birthday on the same actual day as the anniversary, or did she just pick that date for the party? If so why? Just something to ponder).


I assuming that it was at least close to the daughter's birthday since the OP did say that her daughter's birthday is in July (and that they had to reserve the park 3 months in advance (April))   Also was the anniversary party held on the actual anniversary or just the closest weekend?

Also, the OP (or her husband since I suspect it's his aunt) may not have been aware of when the anniversary was.  I know that I could not tell you when all of my aunts and uncles' anniversaries are.  (except one and even then I don't know the exact date, just a rough time period - end of April, for example)
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: BarensMom on March 01, 2014, 10:11:19 AM
(Of course, it could also be said that the OP was the one who was in the wrong for planning a party on the date of the Aunt's 50th anniversary, thereby forcing people to choose. Was the daughter's birthday on the same actual day as the anniversary, or did she just pick that date for the party? If so why? Just something to ponder).

Unless the OP has a phenomenal memory, how would she even know it's the Aunt's 50th?  OP obviously wasn't there, so unless the family consistently reminded her every year, there'd be no way.

In my case, my mother had 13 sibs and my father 7.  All their weddings took place before I was born.  Add in my DH's even larger number of aunts/uncles on both sides.  Neither one of us could tell you their birthday/anniversary dates if our lives depended on it.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Lady Snowdon on March 01, 2014, 10:16:51 AM
I'm not understanding why an anniversary, even one celebrating 50 years of marriage, is more important than a birthday.  Nobody in my family celebrates anniversaries (or, if they do, I'm never invited to the parties!).  Same with my in-laws.  I know my grandparents have been married for 50+ years, but as far as I know, there wasn't a big party for their 50th anniversary, and if there had been a party, it certainly wouldn't have been allowed to trump a grandchild's birthday. 

Birthday parties, for my family, are the big deal.  When my grandmother turned 80, I flew back to my HomeState to be there for the celebration, because she wanted as much of her family as possible to be there.  When I celebrated my 30th birthday, my parents came out to CurrentState to celebrate with me.  So I would be very upset if I was planning a birthday party for my hypothetical kids, and everyone deserted after an hour to go to an anniversary celebration that wasn't even announced for two months after the birthday plans were made. 
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: gen xer on March 01, 2014, 10:18:02 AM
Why should any one event trump another?  This shouldn't be about which event is more "important"...it's about what one you committed to first. 

To me this is pretty simple - if you accept an invitation you honour it....and you honour it properly. 

It doesn't mean that the in-laws can't go to the anniversary party or that they have to stay to the absolute bitter end of the birthday party.....it's just that they should be giving the birthday party precedence and stay long enough that befits the kind of party it is.  Some parties are much more casual in nature - drop by for a hot-dog, beer and cake!  Maybe those are the kind where you can stay for an hour or two and not be rude....but this one seemed to be a family event where only staying for an hour gives the impression of people merely condescending to go.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 01, 2014, 10:53:46 AM
Well, it's a one-off milestone event, for one thing. It's their Golden Wedding.

Lady Snowdon, the birthdays you speak of are milestones. That's different. Of course being there for someone's 80th birthday is important, but a 14th birthday is just a run of the mill birthday, there's nothing special about it. It'd be like me getting bent out of shape over my, say, 37th birthday not being celebrated 'properly'. If it was their 18th or 21st I would feel differently.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: BarensMom on March 01, 2014, 10:59:07 AM
However, the OP planned and sent invites to her daughter's party before anyone even knew that Aunt was going to have an anniversary party.  OP's invitations were accepted by the family, which gives precedence over any other event held on that date/time.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 01, 2014, 11:16:23 AM
Technically, yes. But like I say, sometimes people have to be a bit more flexible. This was the grandmother's sister's 50th wedding anniversary. I can well see the grandma prioritising that milestone event over a run of the mill child's birthday even if the invitation did come later.

Also, the aunt wasn't invited to the daughter's birthday, so it's likely she didn't even know about it when she issued the anniversary invitations. I don't think she's at all at fault here.  If the OP's husband isn't expected to remember when his aunt's milestone anniversary is when planning a birthday party, I think the reverse should also be true - that the aunt couldn't be expected to remember the girl's birthday.

I think it's just one of those unfortunate coincidences where really, everyone should be mature enough to bend a bit so everyone can have their day.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Venus193 on March 01, 2014, 11:17:37 AM
However, the OP planned and sent invites to her daughter's party before anyone even knew that Aunt was going to have an anniversary party.  OP's invitations were accepted by the family, which gives precedence over any other event held on that date/time.

This.

If a 50th anniversary party is that important it's planned farther in advance than this was. 
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 01, 2014, 11:21:10 AM
However, the OP planned and sent invites to her daughter's party before anyone even knew that Aunt was going to have an anniversary party.  OP's invitations were accepted by the family, which gives precedence over any other event held on that date/time.

This.

If a 50th anniversary party is that important it's planned farther in advance than this was.

Why? Why does it take months to plan a party, unless you're hiring caterers and venues etc?

This may just have been a simple party in someone's home or at a restaurant and *still* been just as important as one that took months to plan.

The grandness of a party does not dictate its importance. Three weeks is perfectly adequate to arrange most types of parties.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on March 01, 2014, 11:23:30 AM
Was the birthday party only supposed to have 12 guests and did the inlaws know that? Were paper invitations sent with a start and end time for the party?
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: lorelai on March 01, 2014, 11:24:18 AM
I think the MIL would have been less rude to tell the aunt that she had accepted an invitation to her granddaughter's bday party and that she'd come by as soon as it was over. That would have been the classy and kind way to handle this. That's bending too, and asking for flexibility too.

But to go to a bday party where going out on a boat ride was part of the planned activities, and bouncing early for a better offer thereby significantly changing the dynamics of the party, was unclassy, unkind, and just plain rude.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Venus193 on March 01, 2014, 11:26:18 AM
It's not the "grandness" but the relative importance.  If you're planning a 50th anniversary party shouldn't it be done adequately in advance that all the guests know to save the date?

As it was the anniversary party was planned after invitations went out for the one that required the logistical planning in advance and it sounds like it was also somewhat expensive.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Zizi-K on March 01, 2014, 11:47:18 AM
The offending event happened two years ago, and seems like only one data point. Do you see your ILs for Sunday dinners or at times other than birthdays? If the kids like doing things on their birthday with just immediate family or with their friends, I see no reason to change it. However, it would be nice if they could have a relationship with their grandparents. So, why not do things at other times? Or, could you schedule a special birthday dinner with grandma and grandpa on a day other than when they normally celebrate, say on a weeknight? (I can't imagine they would have competing plans on such a day.)
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: gen xer on March 01, 2014, 12:02:04 PM
However, the OP planned and sent invites to her daughter's party before anyone even knew that Aunt was going to have an anniversary party.  OP's invitations were accepted by the family, which gives precedence over any other event held on that date/time.

Yes....it really is that simple.  It's a pretty basic etiquette principal that you don't abandon plans because something else came along.  Saying "but it's a Golden Wedding Anniversary" doesn't cut it.  If we start making exceptions all the time it will never end:

"But this is my very best friend from Grade School - I just have to go to her shower!"
"But this is my favourite rock group and a friend of a friend is selling her tickets for half price - I can't turn that down!"
"But Grandma is 81 and we don't know how many years she has left so maybe we'd better go to this retirement home volunteer appreciation dinner".

The only acceptable reasons for bailing on plans is illness or something unavoidable or serious - say a blizzard making travel very dangerous.

Some posters have mentioned that if an event is "that" important then people will usually start floating dates around and checking people's availability.  If you just throw out a date and say "this is when it is" that's fine....but you have to be prepared that some people just won't be able to make it.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 01, 2014, 12:24:39 PM

The only acceptable reasons for bailing on plans is illness or something unavoidable or serious - say a blizzard making travel very dangerous.

I actually disagree with this. I think it's a judgement call. While obviously you don't do something like 'Hey, Joe, I know we have plans to hang out on Thursday but I'd rather hang out with Bob instead so I'm cancelling', I think sometimes an event *is* important enough to cancel prior plans for. Knowing which is which is just basic common sense.

Take it the other way around: if you have plans for lunch with a friend 3 weeks on Tuesday and then someone suddenly decides to throw a surprise 80th lunch for Grandma's birthday at the same time, are you *really* going to say 'Sorry, I committed to lunch with a friend', or are you going to ask your friend if she minds rescheduling because something really important came up?

In this case, the MIL didn't even cancel. She still attended. I think she did the best she could in a difficult circumstance.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Two Ravens on March 01, 2014, 12:42:02 PM
While I do think the MIL was a bit rude to cut out early, I don't think being a bit rude once, and especially for a 50 year anniversary party, is cause for calling her a rude person in general, or for giving her a social death sentence. Of course, if this were a long standing pattern of behavior, that would be something else.

I also think its ridiculous for people to be calling the anniversary-celebrating couple rude, for planning an anniversary party on the same day as a birthday party that they weren't even invited to... Or for declaring that their anniversary party was not important because it wasn't planned weeks in advance. I know a couple who planned their entire wedding in a week. Does that mean it wasn't important, and I should have skipped it to attend my book club meeting, that was planned a month in advance?
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 01, 2014, 12:51:35 PM

I also think its ridiculous for people to be calling the anniversary-celebrating couple rude, for planning an anniversary party on the same day as a birthday party that they weren't even invited too... Or for declaring that their anniversary party was not important because it wasn't planned weeks in advance. I know a couple who planned their entire wedding in a week. Does that mean it wasn't important, and in should have skipped it to attend my book club meeting, that was planned a month in advance?

Yeah, that's exactly my point. Common sense and discretion. Sometimes, things *are* more important than 'what's already in the calendar' and I think this was one of those situations, and that it was handled very fairly by MIL.

Also, it doesn't do a teenager harm to learn that sometimes things are more important than what's going on in their world.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: HoneyBee42 on March 01, 2014, 01:15:29 PM
Well, sure a teenager should know that there's more important things than what is going on in the teen's world--but, I don't think it's the teen's grandparents who should be teaching that lesson, and I'd absolutely be not inviting them to future parties for my children or any other event where their attendance or lack thereof would be obvious because I don't want my children being taught that it's ok to be treated like an afterthought or an obligation to be checked off a list. 

Honestly, I don't know why the MIL/grandmother couldn't have, upon receiving the birthday invitation & knowing the date of her sister's 50th, call up and say, "Sis, are you going to be planning a celebration for your 50th?" or otherwise checking for potential conflicts before RSVPing for the birthday party.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: nayberry on March 01, 2014, 01:20:23 PM

I also think its ridiculous for people to be calling the anniversary-celebrating couple rude, for planning an anniversary party on the same day as a birthday party that they weren't even invited too... Or for declaring that their anniversary party was not important because it wasn't planned weeks in advance. I know a couple who planned their entire wedding in a week. Does that mean it wasn't important, and in should have skipped it to attend my book club meeting, that was planned a month in advance?

Yeah, that's exactly my point. Common sense and discretion. Sometimes, things *are* more important than 'what's already in the calendar' and I think this was one of those situations, and that it was handled very fairly by MIL.

Also, it doesn't do a teenager harm to learn that sometimes things are more important than what's going on in their world.


i disagree entirely.  the birthday party was planned and invites sent & accepted well in advance of the anniversary party.  the year before my grandparents (both sides) reached their 50th anniversaries plans were already in motion for what was going to happen and where.

all this taught the DD was that she wasn't important to her grandparents.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: gen xer on March 01, 2014, 01:25:59 PM

I also think its ridiculous for people to be calling the anniversary-celebrating couple rude, for planning an anniversary party on the same day as a birthday party that they weren't even invited too... Or for declaring that their anniversary party was not important because it wasn't planned weeks in advance. I know a couple who planned their entire wedding in a week. Does that mean it wasn't important, and in should have skipped it to attend my book club meeting, that was planned a month in advance?

Yeah, that's exactly my point. Common sense and discretion. Sometimes, things *are* more important than 'what's already in the calendar' and I think this was one of those situations, and that it was handled very fairly by MIL.

Also, it doesn't do a teenager harm to learn that sometimes things are more important than what's going on in their world.

I can see your point about discretion in some cases....I mean I wouldn't hold casual plans for grabbing a drink after work sacrosanct....but this wasn't the case here.  This was a party - planned with some thought by the OP.

I also don't think the anniversary couple was rude for throwing their party on the same day....just that you can't expect people to drop everything in its favour.  It doesn't mean it's not important....just that if it means that much for you to have certain people there then it's probably a good idea to solicit workable dates in advance.  Like I said if you choose a fixed date there is nothing wrong with that - just don't be surprised if there are people that can't make it.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 01, 2014, 01:31:29 PM

I also think its ridiculous for people to be calling the anniversary-celebrating couple rude, for planning an anniversary party on the same day as a birthday party that they weren't even invited too... Or for declaring that their anniversary party was not important because it wasn't planned weeks in advance. I know a couple who planned their entire wedding in a week. Does that mean it wasn't important, and in should have skipped it to attend my book club meeting, that was planned a month in advance?

Yeah, that's exactly my point. Common sense and discretion. Sometimes, things *are* more important than 'what's already in the calendar' and I think this was one of those situations, and that it was handled very fairly by MIL.

Also, it doesn't do a teenager harm to learn that sometimes things are more important than what's going on in their world.


i disagree entirely.  the birthday party was planned and invites sent & accepted well in advance of the anniversary party.  the year before my grandparents (both sides) reached their 50th anniversaries plans were already in motion for what was going to happen and where.


Well, that seems fairly extreme, unless you're organising the kind of event that requires advance booking of a hall or some such.

Quote
all this taught the DD was that she wasn't important to her grandparents.

I disagree. I think it should have taught her that she *was* important enough to see on a day when an event that needed to take priority was also happening.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: gen xer on March 01, 2014, 01:45:13 PM
Also, it doesn't do a teenager harm to learn that sometimes things are more important than what's going on in their world.

I agree with this principle when it comes to kids....but rude is rude.  Children are as deserving of respect as their elders.  I get wanting to teach children that the world doesn't revolve around them....but I don't agree with being rude to do so. 

You don't teach kids manners and thoughtfulness with rude behaviour!
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Idlewildstudios on March 01, 2014, 01:45:25 PM
I guess I don't see an anniversary being more special than a birthday.  I don't expect my whole extended family to celebrate my milestone anniversaries with me, it's between me and my husband.

I hate the term "milestone" either used towards a birthday or an anniversary.  14 is just a number, as is 50.  You don't win a prize or get additional years for making it.

Grandparents accepted an invite.  They got a better/ different on the same date.  Instead if declining, citing a prior commitment, they accepted the second invite.  They then were rude to rush their first commitment.  They are trying to have their cake and eat it too.  They also made it clear why they were cutting out early.  Rude again.

I believe they were rude by not being mature enough to stand by their commitment and for letting everyone know why they were bailing.  If I was the granddaughter I would be hurt.  If I was her mother I would be angry.

Edited to add that the time to make a statement that maybe as a child your wants/ needs take second fiddle is *not* at her birthday party!  Having grandparents blow off a party last minute like this, I think, would actually damage that relationship.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Jones on March 01, 2014, 02:05:21 PM
Seems to me, if the kids were taught anything by their grandparents spending more time driving than visiting at a long-planned and promised event, it was that it's OK to leave an event to which they were committed if something better came up. I wouldn't want my kids to learn that lesson, especially in their teen years.

It's hard to say what is important and what isn't from an outsider's view. 14 is actually a somewhat important birthday in my religious culture. 14 is when we are bumped up in our teen Sunday school classes, allowed to attend mixed gender dances and events, and become role models to the younger girls. Generally it's also when we're allowed to start wearing makeup and get a little autonomy in other social situations. I knew people who didn't make it to 15th birthday, or 16, or 18. I find it admirable that a 14 year old wanted her family with her, and sad that they rushed through food and gifts and raced away to spend hours at a more adult event. I believe the common phrase for that on these boards is a "dine and dash"...we'll come for your food but not your company.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: nayberry on March 01, 2014, 02:51:03 PM

I also think its ridiculous for people to be calling the anniversary-celebrating couple rude, for planning an anniversary party on the same day as a birthday party that they weren't even invited too... Or for declaring that their anniversary party was not important because it wasn't planned weeks in advance. I know a couple who planned their entire wedding in a week. Does that mean it wasn't important, and in should have skipped it to attend my book club meeting, that was planned a month in advance?

Yeah, that's exactly my point. Common sense and discretion. Sometimes, things *are* more important than 'what's already in the calendar' and I think this was one of those situations, and that it was handled very fairly by MIL.

Also, it doesn't do a teenager harm to learn that sometimes things are more important than what's going on in their world.


i disagree entirely.  the birthday party was planned and invites sent & accepted well in advance of the anniversary party.  the year before my grandparents (both sides) reached their 50th anniversaries plans were already in motion for what was going to happen and where.


Well, that seems fairly extreme, unless you're organising the kind of event that requires advance booking of a hall or some such.

Quote
all this taught the DD was that she wasn't important to her grandparents.

I disagree. I think it should have taught her that she *was* important enough to see on a day when an event that needed to take priority was also happening.


not really extreme, needed to work around many adults who had to book time off and be able to guarantee it being available.  (paternal side 20 adults and numerous children, maternal 10 adults and less children)

the grandparents accepted an invitation to the birthday party first.  they should have made apologies to aunt and said they had a prior engagement.  they pretty much taught their DD  "invite us but if we get a better offer we're off!".

Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: LETitbe on March 01, 2014, 03:48:05 PM
I know it's a bummer that they left early, but it seems they did the best they could to make it to both events. I can see why it might be slightly annoying, but I don't think it's really egregious, especially if this is just a one time thing. It seems like there should be more focus on the people who did stay and celebrate the party and whatever memories your daughter made with them than her grandparents leaving early. Honestly, at 14, I can't imagine that I would've been thinking my grandparents didn't care about me (as long as my friends were there, that's probably all I cared about), unless someone else somehow implied that.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Idlewildstudios on March 01, 2014, 04:13:15 PM
I know my 13 DD has lost  repect for my IL's due to them constantly being late/ leaving early/ whatever to deal with Other Grandkids.  Most any thing we invite them to without Other Grandkids has them showing late or racing to leave early to go pick up the other girls.  My DD doesn't want to talk on the phone with them any more and I think would be okay with limited contact at this point.
A bit of a different deal, but still the same idea- grandparents ditching one event for something else.
So yeah, even at 13-14, a grandparents actions can matter, a lot.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Venus193 on March 01, 2014, 04:16:57 PM
The OP states that there were other, lesser examples in the past year.  I don't blame her for being fed up.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: LETitbe on March 01, 2014, 04:35:33 PM
I know my 13 DD has lost  repect for my IL's due to them constantly being late/ leaving early/ whatever to deal with Other Grandkids.  Most any thing we invite them to without Other Grandkids has them showing late or racing to leave early to go pick up the other girls.  My DD doesn't want to talk on the phone with them any more and I think would be okay with limited contact at this point.
A bit of a different deal, but still the same idea- grandparents ditching one event for something else.
So yeah, even at 13-14, a grandparents actions can matter, a lot.

Yeah, my grandma did the same thing. The thing is, I wouldn't have really picked up much until I was older, except that my mom constantly brought it up (not necessarily to me, but you hear things when you're 14), which made me feel bad. I really think it would've been a small blip on my radar if I hadn't heard my mom discussing it constantly. I know she didn't mean it, but that was more damaging than my grandma actually going to other events & I kind of resent it a bit. I hate to rehash my own issues, but my mom didn't have a great relationship with her MIL (not horrible or anything, just not close), and I think that it subconsciously affected how my grandmother prioritized her time. She still did the best she could to be a good grandma, and behave "fairly", but, ultimately, there were little things that weren't really fair. I think my mom cutting her some slack probably would have kept things from continuing on that way. I don't want to project my own experiences on the OP too much, but I just don't think such upset (and cancelling future birthday parties) over such a minor thing is really healthy for the daughter (even if there were a few other minor incidents, without knowing the details, it's really hard to assume the grandparents are so horrible to their granddaughter). That's just my perspective based on my experiences, and something for the OP to consider. It may not apply, but I think it's fair to bring up. I've seen it happen to other families, too. Best of luck to the OP, I know familial relationships can be difficult.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: lollylegs on March 01, 2014, 04:53:04 PM
While I do think the MIL was a bit rude to cut out early, I don't think being a bit rude once, and especially for a 50 year anniversary party, is cause for calling her a rude personal in general, or for giving her a social death sentence. Of course, if this were a long standing pattern of behavior, that would be something else.

I also think its ridiculous for people to be calling the anniversary-celebrating couple rude, for planning an anniversary party on the same day as a birthday party that they weren't even invited too... Or for declaring that their anniversary party was not important because it wasn't planned weeks in advance. I know a couple who planned their entire wedding in a week. Does that mean it wasn't important, and in should have skipped it to attend my book club meeting, that was planned a month in advance?

Very well said.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on March 01, 2014, 05:59:09 PM
Excellent posts, LETitbe and Two Ravens.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Queen of Clubs on March 01, 2014, 06:14:30 PM
The OP states that there were other, lesser examples in the past year.  I don't blame her for being fed up.

Me either.  The OP stated this was the straw that broke the camel's back and the in laws have a habit of doing this.

I'd like to say, also, that this was an isolated incident, but there have been other examples of the IL's doing similar things in past year, this example was just the worst and last straw.

Quote
Am I wrong to just feel like this? I just feel like when we invite family members to our house, they only agree to come unless something else more fun comes up, or only "drop by" for a few minutes after we've planned an afternoon of entertainment.  I just feel like our time is better spent elsewhere.   I think my MIL is disappointed, and I've told her she can call and come by anytime.  Thoughts? Were the actions of my IL's rude?

IMO, your in laws were rude, and I agree with other posters that this will have shown your kids that they are less important to your parents in law.

I don't think you're wrong at all.  You've told your MIL she can drop by any time.  I'd leave the ball in her court and let her find the time to spend with you and your family.  I wouldn't bother arranging anything involving them again.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: gen xer on March 01, 2014, 06:31:16 PM
Seems to me, if the kids were taught anything by their grandparents spending more time driving than visiting at a long-planned and promised event, it was that it's OK to leave an event to which they were committed if something better came up. I wouldn't want my kids to learn that lesson, especially in their teen years.

It's hard to say what is important and what isn't from an outsider's view. 14 is actually a somewhat important birthday in my religious culture. 14 is when we are bumped up in our teen Sunday school classes, allowed to attend mixed gender dances and events, and become role models to the younger girls. Generally it's also when we're allowed to start wearing makeup and get a little autonomy in other social situations. I knew people who didn't make it to 15th birthday, or 16, or 18. I find it admirable that a 14 year old wanted her family with her, and sad that they rushed through food and gifts and raced away to spend hours at a more adult event. I believe the common phrase for that on these boards is a "dine and dash"...we'll come for your food but not your company.

That's what I thought too...especially if their actions are excused  in some way.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: AnnaJ on March 01, 2014, 06:38:52 PM
While I do think the MIL was a bit rude to cut out early, I don't think being a bit rude once, and especially for a 50 year anniversary party, is cause for calling her a rude personal in general, or for giving her a social death sentence. Of course, if this were a long standing pattern of behavior, that would be something else.

I also think its ridiculous for people to be calling the anniversary-celebrating couple rude, for planning an anniversary party on the same day as a birthday party that they weren't even invited too... Or for declaring that their anniversary party was not important because it wasn't planned weeks in advance. I know a couple who planned their entire wedding in a week. Does that mean it wasn't important, and in should have skipped it to attend my book club meeting, that was planned a month in advance?

Very well said.

Yes, I agree.  My brothers and I planned our parent's 50th anniversary party in about a month, and I cannot see any connection between 'important' and 'take a year or more to plan'. 

It would have been nice for grandmother to have discussed this in advance with grand-daughter but I honestly can't imagine not attending a sibling's 50th anniversary just because they hadn't planned the event months in advance.  I will fully admit that I do think there are occasions where adhering to a prior engagement is the wrong decision - not often, but sometimes.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: sammycat on March 01, 2014, 06:42:20 PM
I guess I don't see an anniversary being more special than a birthday.  I don't expect my whole extended family to celebrate my milestone anniversaries with me, it's between me and my husband.

I hate the term "milestone" either used towards a birthday or an anniversary.  14 is just a number, as is 50.  You don't win a prize or get additional years for making it.

Grandparents accepted an invite.  They got a better/ different on the same date.  Instead if declining, citing a prior commitment, they accepted the second invite.  They then were rude to rush their first commitment.  They are trying to have their cake and eat it too.  They also made it clear why they were cutting out early.  Rude again.

I believe they were rude by not being mature enough to stand by their commitment and for letting everyone know why they were bailing.  If I was the granddaughter I would be hurt.  If I was her mother I would be angry.

Edited to add that the time to make a statement that maybe as a child your wants/ needs take second fiddle is *not* at her birthday party!  Having grandparents blow off a party last minute like this, I think, would actually damage that relationship.

I totally agree.

I don't think my 20th wedding anniversary this year is any more important or special than my niece's 33rd birthday the day before, or my MIL's 87th birthday the day after. I attended my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary a few years ago, but didn't consider it any more special than their grandson's 15th birthday a week later. Had I been invited to his party first and then found out the anniversary party was the same day I'd have honoured my commitment to the birthday party, not blown his off.

And as per the OP, the inlaws have a history of this rude behaviour, so it's not as if this was a one-off occurrence.
I'd like to say, also, that this was an isolated incident, but there have been other examples of the IL's doing similar things in past year, this example was just the worst and last straw. 
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TurtleDove on March 01, 2014, 06:50:51 PM
Seems to me, if the kids were taught anything by their grandparents spending more time driving than visiting at a long-planned and promised event, it was that it's OK to leave an event to which they were committed if something better came up. I wouldn't want my kids to learn that lesson, especially in their teen years.

It's hard to say what is important and what isn't from an outsider's view. 14 is actually a somewhat important birthday in my religious culture. 14 is when we are bumped up in our teen Sunday school classes, allowed to attend mixed gender dances and events, and become role models to the younger girls. Generally it's also when we're allowed to start wearing makeup and get a little autonomy in other social situations. I knew people who didn't make it to 15th birthday, or 16, or 18. I find it admirable that a 14 year old wanted her family with her, and sad that they rushed through food and gifts and raced away to spend hours at a more adult event. I believe the common phrase for that on these boards is a "dine and dash"...we'll come for your food but not your company.

That's what I thought too...especially if their actions are excused  in some way.

To me the fact they drove so far proves they DID think it was important. I think if one looks to be offended, one will be. If one looks for positives in a situation, one will be happier.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: JeanFromBNA on March 01, 2014, 07:02:42 PM
The OP states that there were other, lesser examples in the past year.  I don't blame her for being fed up.

The full quote is:  "I'd like to say, also, that this was an isolated incident, but there have been other examples of the IL's doing similar things in past year, this example was just the worst and last straw."  That statement is a bit contradictory. 

I don't blame the OP for being irritated, and there is no obligation to plan a birthday party with the whole family. It sounds like MIL is prone to over-commitment, and may be unreliable in that regard.  She really should have stayed at least through birthday cake. 

I just don't understand the level of indignation on this thread.  If ILs had ditched the party early to go to another non-milestone birthday party, I would feel sympathetic.  But I agree with Perpetua:  A 50th/25th (Aunt's daughter was celebrating too) anniversary party does outrank a 14-year old's birthday party.  I also agree with Two Ravens:  The party does not have to be planned months in advance to be important, nor should the Anniversary Aunt have checked with the OP to make sure that her guests didn't overlap, and her party plans were acceptable to the entire family.  AA is not rude so far.  If the ILs had had declined the Anniversary party because of the prior birthday party commitment, AA would have to accept that graciously. 

Also want to throw my hat in with Letitbe: 
I know it's a bummer that they left early, but it seems they did the best they could to make it to both events. I can see why it might be slightly annoying, but I don't think it's really egregious, especially if this is just a one time thing. It seems like there should be more focus on the people who did stay and celebrate the party and whatever memories your daughter made with them than her grandparents leaving early. Honestly, at 14, I can't imagine that I would've been thinking my grandparents didn't care about me . . .  unless someone else somehow implied that.
I really hope that the OP doesn't make a big deal out of this with her kids.  As long as there's a good relationship between the IL's and kids, just don't plan anything around them.  Invite them if it suits you, or don't.  Start events on time and progress through them as you normally would.  If Grandma misses out, well, that may (or may not) teach her something.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TheaterDiva1 on March 01, 2014, 07:24:41 PM
To me, it almost sounds like the equivalent of the sweet girl who plans a quaint little party for some friends.  Then the mean girl who is jealous of her plans a much more elaborate party later, for the same day, and tries to upstage the sweet girl.  And of course, the mean girl's party would be THE place to go that even sweet girl's friends don't want to miss it.  So they ditch sweet girl's party.

Was there a movie about this b/c it sounds really familiar?

OT - sounds like Bride Wars... The two friends were supposed to get married at the same hotel two weeks apart, but a scheduling glitch booked them the same day. The mean one (Kate Hudson) tried to get the sweet one (Anne Hathaway) to change her date and get married somewhere else, and when she refused, they sabotaged each other's weddings. Oh - and their friends (invited to both weddings) were caught in the middle.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: despedina on March 01, 2014, 08:14:53 PM

Well, not all parties take months of planning. I've certainly never had one that was. Three weeks should be perfectly adequate to plan a simple 50th anniversary party.

I'm wondering if the OP and her family was invited to this anniversary party? It doesn't seem like they were since it hasn't been mentioned, so it'd be interesting to know if there is any backstory here that's clouding feelings.

Sure, but then you (generic 'you')  shouldn't expect everybody on your guest list to be available for your party.
 

Of course. But if the MIL wants to go (or feels like she has to, because it was her sister), and she wasn't given the invitation until late, I don't see anything wrong with prioritising in this instance. A 14th birthday is not a milestone. The child will have another birthday next year. There won't be another 50th. I think this was more important, and MIL *did* attend the child's party, so, I think she did the best she could in the circumstances. She could have blown it out altogether, but she did not.

Like I said, strictly speaking she gaffed by accepting the invitation, but real life sometimes requires us to be more flexible than the rigidity of etiquette allows.

(Of course, it could also be said that the OP was the one who was in the wrong for planning a party on the date of the Aunt's 50th anniversary, thereby forcing people to choose. Was the daughter's birthday on the same actual day as the anniversary, or did she just pick that date for the party? If so why? Just something to ponder).

How was I supposed to know when DH's aunt and uncle got married or when their 50th anniversary was?  DH didn't even know (or remember) and no one had  mentioned it was coming up.

We were invited, but the invite was sent to my MIL and FIL and MIL was told that she should tell her children they were invited too.  I didn't find that out until much later, since MIL knew we had dd's bday day.

I know someone wondered why DH's aunt and uncle weren't invited to dd's bday.  We really didn't invite family that was THAT extended. We rarely see his aunts and uncles and this particular aunt and uncle was very unkind to DH growing up and has been unkind to me.   In their defense, I don't think they knew about dd's bday before planning their joint anniversary party with their daughter. 

This is FIL's brother and his wife btw.  FIL (who  is now deceased) was never close to his brother, which is why I still wonder why they gave such priority to the anniversary. 

I guess I may never know.

Oh and to those wondering why a grandma would boat/swim - those are some of her favorite things to do, so we planned everything knowing it would be great for all.  I mean, all she had to do was float around and sit in a boat. Not sure why some are thinking that's a strenuous activity :)
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: despedina on March 01, 2014, 08:43:00 PM
First I would like to thank everyone for their comments.

I'd like to say that although DH's aunt and uncle are not my favorite people, I'm not blaming them for the last minute anniversary party.
It was a BBQ in the back yard sort of thing, so not fancy not that that matters.

No, I have not told or made my kids aware of my irritation with my inlaws in regards to parties, and in general I still very much love my MIL.  I just know what priorities she puts on things.  Her and FIL (who passed away in 2012) have done things like this before.  Examples:

1) FIL wanted to hang out with DH, me and the kids one Sat, and invited us to their house (which is an hour away).   That morning, we got in the car and were about 20 min down the road and DH called to say we were on the way.  MIL said that FIL had gone to visit a friend instead, didn't know when he'd be back, and that she was also unavailable.  We  had to turn around and go home. HUGE disappointment for the kids.

2) IL's again invited us over for the day, and mentioned they needed help with the computer down at their shop (family business). We went down, FIL spent an hour washing his motorcycle not really talking to anyone, and MIL during that time was working on her online class in the computer room.  We went down to the shop and DH (who is an IT guy)  fixed their computer, and we thought we were all going back to their house, only at that moment the ILs said they were going to a friend's house for the rest of the day.  We drove home.

3) Last summer, MIL wanted to take a family vacation with herself, her 3 sons and their families as a way to remember FIL who had passed the previous year.  MIL paid for the rental houses but asked me to plan horseback riding, a guided fishing trip on the lake and other things.    MIL flaked out on the horseback riding last minute and sat in the boat and didn't fish on the guided trip either.   For most of the trip she stayed in her rental house.  This was not so bad, but just shows how she changes her mind last minute on certain things. I would not have planned horseback riding had she not asked me to. 


Also, I'm not at all saying I don't want or that my kids shouldn't have a relationship with my mother in law.  I'm only saying I'm not going to waste time planning formal events in advance for people who change their mind at the drop of a hat.   A casual dinner or lunch or us visiting MIL (she rarely comes to our house) will suffice at least when it comes to kids birthdays.  So when she asked about a party, that's why I said we were planning birthdays in a different way.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: kareng57 on March 01, 2014, 10:43:59 PM
First I would like to thank everyone for their comments.

I'd like to say that although DH's aunt and uncle are not my favorite people, I'm not blaming them for the last minute anniversary party.
It was a BBQ in the back yard sort of thing, so not fancy not that that matters.

No, I have not told or made my kids aware of my irritation with my inlaws in regards to parties, and in general I still very much love my MIL.  I just know what priorities she puts on things.  Her and FIL (who passed away in 2012) have done things like this before.  Examples:

1) FIL wanted to hang out with DH, me and the kids one Sat, and invited us to their house (which is an hour away).   That morning, we got in the car and were about 20 min down the road and DH called to say we were on the way.  MIL said that FIL had gone to visit a friend instead, didn't know when he'd be back, and that she was also unavailable.  We  had to turn around and go home. HUGE disappointment for the kids.

2) IL's again invited us over for the day, and mentioned they needed help with the computer down at their shop (family business). We went down, FIL spent an hour washing his motorcycle not really talking to anyone, and MIL during that time was working on her online class in the computer room.  We went down to the shop and DH (who is an IT guy)  fixed their computer, and we thought we were all going back to their house, only at that moment the ILs said they were going to a friend's house for the rest of the day.  We drove home.

3) Last summer, MIL wanted to take a family vacation with herself, her 3 sons and their families as a way to remember FIL who had passed the previous year.  MIL paid for the rental houses but asked me to plan horseback riding, a guided fishing trip on the lake and other things.    MIL flaked out on the horseback riding last minute and sat in the boat and didn't fish on the guided trip either.   For most of the trip she stayed in her rental house.  This was not so bad, but just shows how she changes her mind last minute on certain things. I would not have planned horseback riding had she not asked me to. 


Also, I'm not at all saying I don't want or that my kids shouldn't have a relationship with my mother in law.  I'm only saying I'm not going to waste time planning formal events in advance for people who change their mind at the drop of a hat.   A casual dinner or lunch or us visiting MIL (she rarely comes to our house) will suffice at least when it comes to kids birthdays.  So when she asked about a party, that's why I said we were planning birthdays in a different way.


Honestly, I would give her a pass on your #3 example.  I don't think it indicates a pattern of "changing her mind at the last minute" so much as that she didn't know how she would feel during her memorial vacation to honour her late husband.  I actually find you to be a bit insensitive in not recognizing this.

As for the birthday party, I have to side with PPs who figure that she felt caught between a rock and a hard place.  It's not as though she blew off your DD's party completely, she was doing the best that she could.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: lorelai on March 02, 2014, 12:16:05 AM
I don't really see it as doing the best she could when one event she has rsvp'd to first had planned activities and the other was a casual BBQ. She clearly could have sacrificed more time at the other event but prioritized it over her granddaughter.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: MariaE on March 02, 2014, 01:08:51 AM
I don't really see it as doing the best she could when one event she has rsvp'd to first had planned activities and the other was a casual BBQ. She clearly could have sacrificed more time at the other event but prioritized it over her granddaughter.

Agreed.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: sammycat on March 02, 2014, 01:40:18 AM
I don't really see it as doing the best she could when one event she has rsvp'd to first had planned activities and the other was a casual BBQ. She clearly could have sacrificed more time at the other event but prioritized it over her granddaughter.

I agree.

I have a very low opinion of people like MIL who are unable to say 'no' to subsequent invitations after RSVPing to the first thing. Maybe it feeds their ego or something to think they're so in demand that they must attend every single thing they're invited too, no matter if it hurts other people in the process by making them feel that they're only worth 5 minutes of their time.

If I extend an invitation to someone I'd prefer they just decline outright if it conflicts with something they've already RSVPed for in that timeframe rather than try and squeeze me in as well. I'd rather (re)schedule if possible for a mutually convenient time rather than feel as though I'm just something else to be ticked off on today's agenda. If it's a party that can't be rescheduled, then oh well I guess they can't attend mine if they're already RSVPed for something else. I'll get over it.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Twik on March 02, 2014, 01:59:41 AM
About 3 weeks before the party, my DH's aunt decided to plan a anniversary party for herself and her husband (50 years), and also for her daughter (DH's cousin) and her husband (25 years).

I think that if the anniversary party was that important, it would have been planned more than 3 weeks in advance. 

Also it would have been one thing for MIL and company to need to leave OP's party early (expressing regrets all the while), but quite another thing to dictate the events of the birthday party to suit themselves.

She is sending the message that 'you are less important' to the Granddaughter as she forced the OP's family to rush through their event to accommodate herself and her entourage.

Sure, but I don't think in this instance that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, because I think a golden wedding anniversary *does* take precedence over a 14th birthday party. 14 isn't any kind of milestone.

And actually, the message she's sending is 'this *event* is more important, this time', not '*you* are less important'. There's nothing wrong with a teenager learning that other things are important too, sometimes more so.

She did also make the effort to be there, rather than blowing her off altogether to go to the party.

Etiquette doesn't say attend the most important party, it says attend the one you accepted first.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: MariaE on March 02, 2014, 02:11:45 AM
Exactly, Twik. Just because it may be understandable to prioritise a second invitation over the first one doesn't mean it's not still rude.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 02, 2014, 02:21:43 AM
About 3 weeks before the party, my DH's aunt decided to plan a anniversary party for herself and her husband (50 years), and also for her daughter (DH's cousin) and her husband (25 years).

I think that if the anniversary party was that important, it would have been planned more than 3 weeks in advance. 

Also it would have been one thing for MIL and company to need to leave OP's party early (expressing regrets all the while), but quite another thing to dictate the events of the birthday party to suit themselves.

She is sending the message that 'you are less important' to the Granddaughter as she forced the OP's family to rush through their event to accommodate herself and her entourage.

Sure, but I don't think in this instance that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, because I think a golden wedding anniversary *does* take precedence over a 14th birthday party. 14 isn't any kind of milestone.

And actually, the message she's sending is 'this *event* is more important, this time', not '*you* are less important'. There's nothing wrong with a teenager learning that other things are important too, sometimes more so.

She did also make the effort to be there, rather than blowing her off altogether to go to the party.

Etiquette doesn't say attend the most important party, it says attend the one you accepted first.

I'm aware of that. But sometimes real life gets in the way and requires us to not stick so unbendingly to the rigid rules of etiquette.

I mean, take the following example: A couple you are close to are planning a wedding to be held a significant time in the future. They discover that one half of the couple is ill/is being posted abroad on service/something else that means the wedding must be brought forward unexpectedly. When the invitation arrives, you check your diary and find you already have a lunch date with a friend on the proposed date of the wedding. Do you *really* turn down the later invitation to such an important event because 'you have a prior engagement' ?

I would sincerely hope not.

Sometimes you have to make these decisions and sometimes they're the right decisions to make.

Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: MariaE on March 02, 2014, 03:47:11 AM
No, I probably wouldn't, since lunch-dates with local friends are easily rescheduled, but I would still be rude to do so. It might be understandable, but it would still be rude.

Besides, where do you draw the line? Does a wedding trump a reoccurring lunch-date? A once-in-a-blue-moon lunch-date? A visit from out of town/state/country? A "regular" birthday party? A milestone birthday party? An anniversary? A graduation?

This is why the rule is "attend the event you accepted first", because otherwise you'd constantly be weighing events against each other, deciding which is more "worthy" (for want of better word) of your attendance.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Dindrane on March 02, 2014, 03:58:09 AM
Etiquette doesn't have any flexibility on the rule about which social engagement takes priority. It's the one you committed to attending first. People, however, typically are more flexible in that respect.

So if you have an extraordinary circumstance that comes up where you feel you really must break a prior engagement, you don't just break it and assume everything will be okay. You acknowledge that you are, in fact, acting in a way that is contrary to good manners and apologize for doing so. You count on the fact that most people you'd want to set a casual lunch date with would understand that you felt you needed to break it to attend a wedding that was moved up for reasons that are both important and impossible to predict.

The point is not that you can't back out of invitations. The point is that a) you are backing out of one, no matter how understandable, and b) you will not always escape negative repercussions for doing so. Because it's not polite, and so it is a transgression of manners that requires a certain level of forgiveness, one which may not be extended if it is requested too often.

In addition, the way that a host treats his or her invitations is the thing that communicates to the guests how important the event is. I don't tend to plan casual lunch dates more than about a week in advance, if that. Because if it doesn't work out that week, it's no big deal to reschedule. There's no specific date or time that it needs to happen on in order to be successful. But at the same time, if it's important for me to have lunch with a specific person, I do typically have to give at least a few days notice, even though planning the lunch date rarely takes more than a 5 minute phone call.

On the other hand, birthdays, anniversaries, and other similar events do have specific dates that matter. They can't necessarily be rescheduled for a different week or a different month because of scheduling conflicts. More importantly, they involve gathering more than two people in one place at one time, which is statistically much more difficult to manage than just trying to find a time when two individuals have an hour to meet for lunch.

So for that type of social engagement, either the date and attendees are important enough that people would expect to set aside other things they'd rather do in order to be there, or they aren't. Saying that a party is important enough that people should back out of invitations they've already accepted, but not so important that anyone needed to be told the party was happening more than a few weeks in advance, is contradictory. Those two things are mutually exclusive.

I also think that the advance notification of guests is an element of party planning that is every bit as important as making sure those guests have food to eat. It isn't necessary to send formal or even particularly detailed invitations well in advance if you're planning a party. But if you want people to be able to plan for it, you do have to at least say, "Hey, my 50th anniversary is coming up this July, and we're planning to throw a party. We're still figuring out the details, but we'd like you to be able to attend, so we wanted to give you a heads up."

If you give that informal heads up 2 months in advance and then do nothing else at all until 2 weeks before the party, it still took you 2 months to plan it. It just didn't take you 2 months of doing nothing but planning.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 02, 2014, 03:58:18 AM
No, I probably wouldn't, since lunch-dates with local friends are easily rescheduled, but I would still be rude to do so. It might be understandable, but it would still be rude.

Besides, where do you draw the line? Does a wedding trump a reoccurring lunch-date? A once-in-a-blue-moon lunch-date? A visit from out of town/state/country? A "regular" birthday party? A milestone birthday party? An anniversary? A graduation?

This is why the rule is "attend the event you accepted first", because otherwise you'd constantly be weighing events against each other, deciding which is more "worthy" (for want of better word) of your attendance.

Well yes, but it's ridiculous not to be *able* to weigh up if necessary because you're sticking so rigidly to the 'rules', is what I'm saying. Life happens and sometimes it's necessary.

As for being rude, I tend to think it's only rude if someone is offended. So, if your friend with whom you've rescheduled your lunch to attend a hypothetical wedding isn't at all offended by your doing so, how is it rude? Who are you being rude to? If nobody is negatively affected by it, it's not rude just because someone who writes a book says it is.

Interesting that you bring up a graduation. Would you not attend your hypothetical child's graduation because there was 'something else already in the diary' that day?
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Dindrane on March 02, 2014, 04:15:42 AM
No, I probably wouldn't, since lunch-dates with local friends are easily rescheduled, but I would still be rude to do so. It might be understandable, but it would still be rude.

Besides, where do you draw the line? Does a wedding trump a reoccurring lunch-date? A once-in-a-blue-moon lunch-date? A visit from out of town/state/country? A "regular" birthday party? A milestone birthday party? An anniversary? A graduation?

This is why the rule is "attend the event you accepted first", because otherwise you'd constantly be weighing events against each other, deciding which is more "worthy" (for want of better word) of your attendance.

Well yes, but it's ridiculous not to be *able* to weigh up if necessary because you're sticking so rigidly to the 'rules', is what I'm saying. Life happens and sometimes it's necessary.

As for being rude, I tend to think it's only rude if someone is offended. So, if your friend with whom you've rescheduled your lunch to attend a hypothetical wedding isn't at all offended by your doing so, how is it rude? Who are you being rude to? If nobody is negatively affected by it, it's not rude just because someone who writes a book says it is.

Interesting that you bring up a graduation. Would you not attend your hypothetical child's graduation because there was 'something else already in the diary' that day?

Of course it's ridiculous to adhere too rigidly to the rules. But that doesn't mean that the rules themselves ought to be flexible. It means that your application of them needs to be flexible. Flexible rules don't do anyone any good, because there are no clear lines drawn about what is and is not appropriate. You can't take the rules themselves on a case-by-case basis, though you can (and should) take your response to them that way.

If someone steals something that I never liked anyway, is that still a theft? Even though I'm not actually sorry to lose it? The fact that it doesn't bother me means I likely wouldn't press charges or whatever in relation to that theft, but it doesn't mean that it stops being a theft subject to the enforcement of applicable rules.

I doubt most people would skip a graduation because they had something else planned that day, but the reason is not because the rules of etiquette are too rigid. The reason is that the date of graduation is usually fixed in stone 6 months to a year before it happens, and graduating students typically have to submit some sort of application to graduate at least a month or so before it happens. The event is important enough and inflexible enough that people are given a large amount of notice to maximize their ability to attend.

Case in point, my husband just graduated with his PhD and will be attending the commencement ceremony for it in June. The date itself was set by the university something like 4 years ago. I knew the approximate date of my husband's graduation a good 6 months before it happened. He had to apply to graduate about a month before the end of the term. And because he received his actual degree in the middle of the academic year but his school only has one commencement ceremony, we both knew that we could be unavailable on that day about a year in advance, and knew that we would be unavailable that day 7 months in advance. So even though I don't recall the exact date of the ceremony off the top of my head, I know there is a date in June that I am not available, and I wouldn't accept any invitations in that timeframe without first making sure there was not conflict.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: MariaE on March 02, 2014, 04:42:55 AM
No, I probably wouldn't, since lunch-dates with local friends are easily rescheduled, but I would still be rude to do so. It might be understandable, but it would still be rude.

Besides, where do you draw the line? Does a wedding trump a reoccurring lunch-date? A once-in-a-blue-moon lunch-date? A visit from out of town/state/country? A "regular" birthday party? A milestone birthday party? An anniversary? A graduation?

This is why the rule is "attend the event you accepted first", because otherwise you'd constantly be weighing events against each other, deciding which is more "worthy" (for want of better word) of your attendance.

Well yes, but it's ridiculous not to be *able* to weigh up if necessary because you're sticking so rigidly to the 'rules', is what I'm saying. Life happens and sometimes it's necessary.

As for being rude, I tend to think it's only rude if someone is offended. So, if your friend with whom you've rescheduled your lunch to attend a hypothetical wedding isn't at all offended by your doing so, how is it rude? Who are you being rude to? If nobody is negatively affected by it, it's not rude just because someone who writes a book says it is.

Interesting that you bring up a graduation. Would you not attend your hypothetical child's graduation because there was 'something else already in the diary' that day?
Instead of repeating Dindrane's reply re. graduation, I'll just POD her entire post.

To the bolded, this argument sits very badly with me, because it puts the onus on the "innocent party" (in this case the friend) to decide whether I'm rude or not. So suddenly she may feel pressured into not being offended, because if she's offended then I'm rude, and a good friend wouldn't want a friend to be rude.

No, I'm rude. Regardless of whether she understands me or not, I'm still rude. Our friendship may very well cover such cases - but from an etiquette POV I'm still rude.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 02, 2014, 04:54:01 AM

Of course it's ridiculous to adhere too rigidly to the rules. But that doesn't mean that the rules themselves ought to be flexible. It means that your application of them needs to be flexible. Flexible rules don't do anyone any good, because there are no clear lines drawn about what is and is not appropriate. You can't take the rules themselves on a case-by-case basis, though you can (and should) take your response to them that way.

Yes, I agree. That's exactly what I'm trying to say. The rules don't change, but life means occasionally we must be flexible with our adherence to the rules and be understanding of those who have to do this. Trotting out 'But that's rude!' just because a book that someone who claims expertise has written says it is, when it's so obviously the right thing to do is just too rigid.

The flexibility works both ways too; it allows me to see who among my circle is understanding that sometimes life gets in the way, and who aheres to the rules too ridigly for me to be comfortable having a friendship with them.

For example, I would not be keen to carry on socialising with a friend who was too rigid in her rule adherence to be understanding that the hypothetical short-notice wedding mentioned upthread was more important than a lunch date which can likely be rescehduled for another time. If said friend gave me a hard time over that, she wouldn't be a friend much longer, I don't think.

In this case, the OP's MIL was put in an awkward place after accepting an invitation. I think the proper thing to do in this case was to understand that MIL can not be in two places at once, that a 50th anniversay happens once in a lifetime and was probably more important for her to attend than a 14th birthday party, that the granddaughter will have another birthday next year, and that the MIL *did* attend for a portion of the day and did her best to please everyone. Disappointing, perhaps, but not worthy of a big drama.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: MariaE on March 02, 2014, 05:03:35 AM
I don't see that the OP is making a big drama out of it. She's just making sure the same thing doesn't happen again another time. Actions have consequences, that's all there is to it.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 02, 2014, 05:06:20 AM
The OP might not be, but to read some of the responses you'd be forgiven for thinking that MIL had kicked the granddaughter's kitten pr something :)

Too rigid adherence to the rules without allowing for situations like this just doesn't work in the real world, is what I'm saying. To take it to its extreme - do you refuse to eat a meal when you haven't got the correct fork because doing so would be 'rude', even if you're starving hungry?
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: MariaE on March 02, 2014, 05:17:40 AM
The OP might not be, but to read some of the responses you'd be forgiven for thinking that MIL had kicked the granddaughter's kitten pr something :)

Too rigid adherence to the rules without allowing for situations like this just doesn't work in the real world, is what I'm saying. To take it to its extreme - do you refuse to eat a meal when you haven't got the correct fork because doing so would be 'rude', even if you're starving hungry?

Actually, assuming I was a guest and not a host, not eating would be rude, because then I'd be drawing attention to a mistake my host made ;)

I do agree with your basic premise though. All I'm saying is that it is wrong to say that MIL wasn't rude, because according to etiquette - and this is ehell after all - she was. It's as simple as that. It might be an understandable rudeness, but some posters have argued (and you probably weren't one of those - after 8+ pages I've lost track) that she wasn't rude at all, and I simply just can't agree with that. According to etiquette, she was.

That it may have been understandable, reasonable even expected is a different matter entirely, and is up to the individual relationships to figure out :)

(And for me, personally, I would pick a 14th birthday party over a 50th wedding anniversary any day, because in my experience they tend to be a lot more fun! ;) )
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 02, 2014, 05:27:23 AM
The OP might not be, but to read some of the responses you'd be forgiven for thinking that MIL had kicked the granddaughter's kitten pr something :)

Too rigid adherence to the rules without allowing for situations like this just doesn't work in the real world, is what I'm saying. To take it to its extreme - do you refuse to eat a meal when you haven't got the correct fork because doing so would be 'rude', even if you're starving hungry?

Actually, assuming I was a guest and not a host, not eating would be rude, because then I'd be drawing attention to a mistake my host made ;)



Aha! So, etiquette is not infallible. Either you are rude yourself and eat with the wrong fork, or you draw attention to your host's fail, which is also rude, so, you have to pick one rule to adhere to and disregard the other... so technically you're rude either way :) Etiquette does not always allow for real-life situations, is the point. Sometimes you have to go with the 'lesser of two evils' and call it good, which I think is exactly what the MIL did here.

Quote
I do agree with your basic premise though. All I'm saying is that it is wrong to say that MIL wasn't rude, because according to etiquette - and this is ehell after all - she was. It's as simple as that. It might be an understandable rudeness, but some posters have argued (and you probably weren't one of those - after 8+ pages I've lost track) that she wasn't rude at all, and I simply just can't agree with that. According to etiquette, she was.

Indeed. That's why I've been prefacing it at all times with "Technically..."
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Runningstar on March 02, 2014, 05:38:17 AM
It is really interesting to see how very differently we all see what MIL did.  I still think that the first rsvp stands.  If MIL had declined the invite to the anniversary party, it would have avoided the double booking.  If Aunt/Uncle saw that so many could not make it to their anniv. party on Saturday(for example), they could have held it on Sunday.  After reading the OP's clarifications, I wonder if Aunt/Uncle would have preferred this also so as not to interfere with DD's birthday.   
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: nayberry on March 02, 2014, 06:38:58 AM
if i had a lunchdate planned and got an invite to a "we have to do this as we're being moved etc" close family/friend wedding, i'd call the lunch friend and ask if we could reschedule due to the sudden wedding.  and if i was having a lunch date its likely that person is a good enough friend that they'd understand and tell me not to worry about it.



none of the arguments anyone has put forward have convinced me that the grandma was anything but rude
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 02, 2014, 06:42:48 AM
if i had a lunchdate planned and got an invite to a "we have to do this as we're being moved etc" close family/friend wedding, i'd call the lunch friend and ask if we could reschedule due to the sudden wedding.  and if i was having a lunch date its likely that person is a good enough friend that they'd understand and tell me not to worry about it.



none of the arguments anyone has put forward have convinced me that the grandma was anything but rude

By the same token you could also say that if MIL is close enough to be invited to daughter's birthday party, she's close enough that the family should understand if something 'more important' comes up and tell her not to worry about it. Not seeing the difference.

Also, you can't reschedule someone else's party, like you could your own lunch date. So, what was MIL to do in that situation?
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: chigger on March 02, 2014, 06:50:09 AM
The OP said her MIL spent the majority of the day at the anniversary party.  If she truly felt she needed to attend both events, I think it should have been the other way around.  You know, spend the majority of the day at the party you commited to first.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: MariaE on March 02, 2014, 06:55:30 AM
The OP said her MIL spent the majority of the day at the anniversary party.  If she truly felt she needed to attend both events, I think it should have been the other way around.  You know, spend the majority of the day at the party you commited to first.

I definitely agree with this. I'm also uncertain as to how MIL presented the "double booking" to the OP. Was she apologetic and explained her dilemma, or did she just present it as a settled "This is how it's gonna be"?

As the OP I'd be a lot more understanding in the first situation than in the latter, and while both technically equally rude, I think the former more likely to 'soften' the rudeness.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: nayberry on March 02, 2014, 07:32:29 AM
if i had a lunchdate planned and got an invite to a "we have to do this as we're being moved etc" close family/friend wedding, i'd call the lunch friend and ask if we could reschedule due to the sudden wedding.  and if i was having a lunch date its likely that person is a good enough friend that they'd understand and tell me not to worry about it.



none of the arguments anyone has put forward have convinced me that the grandma was anything but rude

By the same token you could also say that if MIL is close enough to be invited to daughter's birthday party, she's close enough that the family should understand if something 'more important' comes up and tell her not to worry about it. Not seeing the difference.

Also, you can't reschedule someone else's party, like you could your own lunch date. So, what was MIL to do in that situation?


if i'm having lunch with a friend and tell them that i'm missing a wedding, that was pulled together last minute, then all of my friends would tell me i was daft and should have rescheduled the lunch.  a last minute wedding for emergency purposes trumps a chatty lunch in my circle.
i've told friends before that their emergency beats any plans we have so not to worry and to call me when things settle down and we'll catch up then, because thats what  friends do. 

one of my BF's is having a rough time with her father, terminal illness, and felt bad that she had to cancel coffee with me. i sent her flowers and told her i was thinking of her and if she needs anything to let me know & that we can have coffee anytime.

i also have had someone who was invited, 18 months prior, to my wedding, tell me 3 weeks out, that she's been invited on a trip that same weekend and so can't come to my wedding.  we haven't spoken since.


the problem with this is that it was a last minute invite(3 weeks for that sort of party is last minute in my opinion) but it wasn't an emergency situation. Mil double booked herself and should have had the brains to tell aunt that she was already booked and would have to see them another time to celebrate.
 
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 02, 2014, 07:49:03 AM
if i had a lunchdate planned and got an invite to a "we have to do this as we're being moved etc" close family/friend wedding, i'd call the lunch friend and ask if we could reschedule due to the sudden wedding.  and if i was having a lunch date its likely that person is a good enough friend that they'd understand and tell me not to worry about it.



none of the arguments anyone has put forward have convinced me that the grandma was anything but rude

By the same token you could also say that if MIL is close enough to be invited to daughter's birthday party, she's close enough that the family should understand if something 'more important' comes up and tell her not to worry about it. Not seeing the difference.

Also, you can't reschedule someone else's party, like you could your own lunch date. So, what was MIL to do in that situation?


if i'm having lunch with a friend and tell them that i'm missing a wedding, that was pulled together last minute, then all of my friends would tell me i was daft and should have rescheduled the lunch.  a last minute wedding for emergency purposes trumps a chatty lunch in my circle.
i've told friends before that their emergency beats any plans we have so not to worry and to call me when things settle down and we'll catch up then, because thats what  friends do. 

one of my BF's is having a rough time with her father, terminal illness, and felt bad that she had to cancel coffee with me. i sent her flowers and told her i was thinking of her and if she needs anything to let me know & that we can have coffee anytime.

i also have had someone who was invited, 18 months prior, to my wedding, tell me 3 weeks out, that she's been invited on a trip that same weekend and so can't come to my wedding.  we haven't spoken since.


the problem with this is that it was a last minute invite(3 weeks for that sort of party is last minute in my opinion) but it wasn't an emergency situation. Mil double booked herself and should have had the brains to tell aunt that she was already booked and would have to see them another time to celebrate.
 

I don't know that it always needs to be an 'emergency' though.

I mean, in the situation with the OP, it was the woman's sister. The OP isn't close to the Aunt, but it's the MIL's sister. Obviously the MIL is close to her. So, who on earth does she upset in that situation? Her sister, or her granddaughter?

I do think sometimes people need to be mature enough to say "This is an awkward situation and I can see you're doing your best to accommodate everyone and not upset anyone".

I think I'd be pissed off about your wedding situation, though, if it was just a run of the mill trip that could have been taken at any time and depending on the depth of the friendship; that's gotta hurt. But again, I think a wedding trumps a 'trip'.

Case in point: My best friend of many years had 'other plans' on the day of my mother's funeral. She'd already arranged to go away with her boyfriend that weekend and said she couldn't postpone her plans because he'd booked the time off work. That stung. Technically she was doing the right thing per etiquette and I didn't hold it against her, but, man. A great example of why etiquette isn't always the 'right thing to do'.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: rose red on March 02, 2014, 08:11:30 AM
I think this thread is just going in circles and I don't think anyone will change their minds in what they regard as rude or not rude.  The fact is the OP is tired of family members accepting invitations and then always being disappointed and she doesn't want her or her kids to keep feeling this way.  She said her MIL is disappointed they are not throwing a party this year and the OP ask if she was rude to feel the way she feels.  My answer is "no."  If MIL is disappointed, nobody is stopping her from throwing her grandkid a party. 
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: chigger on March 02, 2014, 08:12:24 AM
The aunt is not MIL's sister.  The aunt is married to FIL's brother.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 02, 2014, 08:18:49 AM
The aunt is not MIL's sister.  The aunt is married to FIL's brother.

OK, so, the husband upsets his brother by not going, and she has to go because she's his wife. Same level of relationship. In which case, if it's not the MIL making the decision, why is she getting slated for it? Why isn't FIL getting slated for it? It's his brother, after all.

I think there's probably a bit of backstory here we're not getting, because if it's FIL's relatives, I'm not seeing why MIL is at fault.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: chigger on March 02, 2014, 08:23:41 AM
OP has stated that MIL thinks she has to attend everything she is invited to and tends to overbook herself.  Again, I think the IL's should have spent the majority of their time at the party they commited to first.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Hmmmmm on March 02, 2014, 08:26:55 AM
First I would like to thank everyone for their comments.

I'd like to say that although DH's aunt and uncle are not my favorite people, I'm not blaming them for the last minute anniversary party.
It was a BBQ in the back yard sort of thing, so not fancy not that that matters.

No, I have not told or made my kids aware of my irritation with my inlaws in regards to parties, and in general I still very much love my MIL.  I just know what priorities she puts on things.  Her and FIL (who passed away in 2012) have done things like this before.  Examples:

1) FIL wanted to hang out with DH, me and the kids one Sat, and invited us to their house (which is an hour away).   That morning, we got in the car and were about 20 min down the road and DH called to say we were on the way.  MIL said that FIL had gone to visit a friend instead, didn't know when he'd be back, and that she was also unavailable.  We  had to turn around and go home. HUGE disappointment for the kids.

2) IL's again invited us over for the day, and mentioned they needed help with the computer down at their shop (family business). We went down, FIL spent an hour washing his motorcycle not really talking to anyone, and MIL during that time was working on her online class in the computer room.  We went down to the shop and DH (who is an IT guy)  fixed their computer, and we thought we were all going back to their house, only at that moment the ILs said they were going to a friend's house for the rest of the day.  We drove home.

3) Last summer, MIL wanted to take a family vacation with herself, her 3 sons and their families as a way to remember FIL who had passed the previous year.  MIL paid for the rental houses but asked me to plan horseback riding, a guided fishing trip on the lake and other things.    MIL flaked out on the horseback riding last minute and sat in the boat and didn't fish on the guided trip either.   For most of the trip she stayed in her rental house.  This was not so bad, but just shows how she changes her mind last minute on certain things. I would not have planned horseback riding had she not asked me to. 


Also, I'm not at all saying I don't want or that my kids shouldn't have a relationship with my mother in law.  I'm only saying I'm not going to waste time planning formal events in advance for people who change their mind at the drop of a hat.   A casual dinner or lunch or us visiting MIL (she rarely comes to our house) will suffice at least when it comes to kids birthdays.  So when she asked about a party, that's why I said we were planning birthdays in a different way.


Honestly, I would give her a pass on your #3 example.  I don't think it indicates a pattern of "changing her mind at the last minute" so much as that she didn't know how she would feel during her memorial vacation to honour her late husband.  I actually find you to be a bit insensitive in not recognizing this.

As for the birthday party, I have to side with PPs who figure that she felt caught between a rock and a hard place.  It's not as though she blew off your DD's party completely, she was doing the best that she could.

On item 3 I see it as her wanting to make sure their were activities the family would enjoy though she might not have an interest in them, which would be why she asked you to plan them instead of her doing so.

Overall it sounds like they have some very different ideas about social engagements. So I'd do as you already planned. Plan things your family would enjoy. Invite her when you want, but don't put much stock in her participation.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Queen of Clubs on March 02, 2014, 10:21:58 AM
The aunt is not MIL's sister.  The aunt is married to FIL's brother.

OK, so, the husband upsets his brother by not going, and she has to go because she's his wife. Same level of relationship. In which case, if it's not the MIL making the decision, why is she getting slated for it? Why isn't FIL getting slated for it? It's his brother, after all.

I think there's probably a bit of backstory here we're not getting, because if it's FIL's relatives, I'm not seeing why MIL is at fault.

Because the FIL is dead?  The OP stated he died in 2012.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Queen of Clubs on March 02, 2014, 10:26:00 AM
No, I have not told or made my kids aware of my irritation with my inlaws in regards to parties, and in general I still very much love my MIL.  I just know what priorities she puts on things.  Her and FIL (who passed away in 2012) have done things like this before.  Examples:

1) FIL wanted to hang out with DH, me and the kids one Sat, and invited us to their house (which is an hour away).   That morning, we got in the car and were about 20 min down the road and DH called to say we were on the way.  MIL said that FIL had gone to visit a friend instead, didn't know when he'd be back, and that she was also unavailable.  We  had to turn around and go home. HUGE disappointment for the kids.

2) IL's again invited us over for the day, and mentioned they needed help with the computer down at their shop (family business). We went down, FIL spent an hour washing his motorcycle not really talking to anyone, and MIL during that time was working on her online class in the computer room.  We went down to the shop and DH (who is an IT guy)  fixed their computer, and we thought we were all going back to their house, only at that moment the ILs said they were going to a friend's house for the rest of the day.  We drove home.

Given these two examples, I'd say your MIL doesn't regard your time or her spending time with you as being valuable in the slightest, and I don't blame you one bit for being tired of it.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 02, 2014, 10:28:42 AM
The aunt is not MIL's sister.  The aunt is married to FIL's brother.

OK, so, the husband upsets his brother by not going, and she has to go because she's his wife. Same level of relationship. In which case, if it's not the MIL making the decision, why is she getting slated for it? Why isn't FIL getting slated for it? It's his brother, after all.

I think there's probably a bit of backstory here we're not getting, because if it's FIL's relatives, I'm not seeing why MIL is at fault.

Because the FIL is dead?  The OP stated he died in 2012.

Well, that wasn't in the OP, which just stated the husband's aunt, and I don't have time to read through 10 pages for extra information.

Still - who does the woman upset? Her family who are hosting an important, one-off, never to be repeated, or her granddaughter, who will have another birthday the following year? Why is nobody understanding this? She was in an impossible position.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: nayberry on March 02, 2014, 10:30:58 AM
The aunt is not MIL's sister.  The aunt is married to FIL's brother.

OK, so, the husband upsets his brother by not going, and she has to go because she's his wife. Same level of relationship. In which case, if it's not the MIL making the decision, why is she getting slated for it? Why isn't FIL getting slated for it? It's his brother, after all.

I think there's probably a bit of backstory here we're not getting, because if it's FIL's relatives, I'm not seeing why MIL is at fault.

Because the FIL is dead?  The OP stated he died in 2012.

Well, that wasn't in the OP, which just stated the husband's aunt, and I don't have time to read through 10 pages for extra information.

Still - who does the woman upset? Her family who are hosting an important, one-off, never to be repeated, or her granddaughter, who will have another birthday the following year? Why is nobody understanding this? She was in an impossible position.


we all understand, she ran out on her granddaughter because she got a "better offer"
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 02, 2014, 10:34:10 AM
The aunt is not MIL's sister.  The aunt is married to FIL's brother.

OK, so, the husband upsets his brother by not going, and she has to go because she's his wife. Same level of relationship. In which case, if it's not the MIL making the decision, why is she getting slated for it? Why isn't FIL getting slated for it? It's his brother, after all.

I think there's probably a bit of backstory here we're not getting, because if it's FIL's relatives, I'm not seeing why MIL is at fault.

Because the FIL is dead?  The OP stated he died in 2012.

Well, that wasn't in the OP, which just stated the husband's aunt, and I don't have time to read through 10 pages for extra information.

Still - who does the woman upset? Her family who are hosting an important, one-off, never to be repeated, or her granddaughter, who will have another birthday the following year? Why is nobody understanding this? She was in an impossible position.


we all understand, she ran out on her granddaughter because she got a "better offer"

She did not get a 'better offer'. She had something to attend that she probably could not say no to - a one off event that can not be repeated - that was *more important* than a child's birthday party.  Personally I think that she attended at all was a bonus.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Allyson on March 02, 2014, 10:35:04 AM
I think we definitely do prioritize which event is "important", it's just that what's important to us may be different. I remember a thread a couple of years back where somebody had a friend bail on her because her teen's sport event got rescheduled. A *lot* of people were of the opinion that the friend was OK to bail because it was her kid's event, and that was more important. I didn't actually agree with that but I do remember a lot of discussion about when it's OK to bail because "something else came up".

I think that everybody has different rules for 'emergency', so what's a pretty clear 'well obviously I couldn't make it' to one person is really really not to another. 
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Queen of Clubs on March 02, 2014, 10:35:19 AM

Well, that wasn't in the OP, which just stated the husband's aunt, and I don't have time to read through 10 pages for extra information.

Still - who does the woman upset? Her family who are hosting an important, one-off, never to be repeated, or her granddaughter, who will have another birthday the following year? Why is nobody understanding this? She was in an impossible position.


we all understand, she ran out on her granddaughter because she got a "better offer"

Yeah, that's how I view it too, especially as the OP has said the MIL (and the FIL, when he was alive) has a habit of treating her family like this.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: chigger on March 02, 2014, 10:42:31 AM
The aunt is not MIL's sister.  The aunt is married to FIL's brother.

OK, so, the husband upsets his brother by not going, and she has to go because she's his wife. Same level of relationship. In which case, if it's not the MIL making the decision, why is she getting slated for it? Why isn't FIL getting slated for it? It's his brother, after all.

I think there's probably a bit of backstory here we're not getting, because if it's FIL's relatives, I'm not seeing why MIL is at fault.

Because the FIL is dead?  The OP stated he died in 2012.

Well, that wasn't in the OP, which just stated the husband's aunt, and I don't have time to read through 10 pages for extra information.

Still - who does the woman upset? Her family who are hosting an important, one-off, never to be repeated, or her granddaughter, who will have another birthday the following year? Why is nobody understanding this? She was in an impossible position.

And the aunt and uncle will have another anniversary.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: nayberry on March 02, 2014, 10:44:14 AM
The aunt is not MIL's sister.  The aunt is married to FIL's brother.

OK, so, the husband upsets his brother by not going, and she has to go because she's his wife. Same level of relationship. In which case, if it's not the MIL making the decision, why is she getting slated for it? Why isn't FIL getting slated for it? It's his brother, after all.

I think there's probably a bit of backstory here we're not getting, because if it's FIL's relatives, I'm not seeing why MIL is at fault.

Because the FIL is dead?  The OP stated he died in 2012.

Well, that wasn't in the OP, which just stated the husband's aunt, and I don't have time to read through 10 pages for extra information.

Still - who does the woman upset? Her family who are hosting an important, one-off, never to be repeated, or her granddaughter, who will have another birthday the following year? Why is nobody understanding this? She was in an impossible position.


we all understand, she ran out on her granddaughter because she got a "better offer"

She did not get a 'better offer'. She had something to attend that she probably could not say no to - a one off event that can not be repeated - that was *more important* than a child's birthday party.  Personally I think that she attended at all was a bonus.


tomayto/tomato,
she had accepted the invite and i bet if she'd said to aunt that she/the 7 of them couldn't go because they were already going to GD's party that aunt would have had her party on thew sunday not the saturday
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: chigger on March 02, 2014, 10:47:37 AM
The aunt is not MIL's sister.  The aunt is married to FIL's brother.

OK, so, the husband upsets his brother by not going, and she has to go because she's his wife. Same level of relationship. In which case, if it's not the MIL making the decision, why is she getting slated for it? Why isn't FIL getting slated for it? It's his brother, after all.

I think there's probably a bit of backstory here we're not getting, because if it's FIL's relatives, I'm not seeing why MIL is at fault.

Because the FIL is dead?  The OP stated he died in 2012.

Well, that wasn't in the OP, which just stated the husband's aunt, and I don't have time to read through 10 pages for extra information.

Still - who does the woman upset? Her family who are hosting an important, one-off, never to be repeated, or her granddaughter, who will have another birthday the following year? Why is nobody understanding this? She was in an impossible position.

Isn't her son, dil, and granddaughter family?
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: nayberry on March 02, 2014, 10:50:12 AM
The aunt is not MIL's sister.  The aunt is married to FIL's brother.

OK, so, the husband upsets his brother by not going, and she has to go because she's his wife. Same level of relationship. In which case, if it's not the MIL making the decision, why is she getting slated for it? Why isn't FIL getting slated for it? It's his brother, after all.

I think there's probably a bit of backstory here we're not getting, because if it's FIL's relatives, I'm not seeing why MIL is at fault.

Because the FIL is dead?  The OP stated he died in 2012.

Well, that wasn't in the OP, which just stated the husband's aunt, and I don't have time to read through 10 pages for extra information.

Still - who does the woman upset? Her family who are hosting an important, one-off, never to be repeated, or her granddaughter, who will have another birthday the following year? Why is nobody understanding this? She was in an impossible position.

Isn't her son, dil, and granddaughter family?

obviously not chigger :/
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: gramma dishes on March 02, 2014, 10:56:54 AM

I'm aware of that. But sometimes real life gets in the way and requires us to not stick so unbendingly to the rigid rules of etiquette.

I mean, take the following example: A couple you are close to are planning a wedding to be held a significant time in the future. They discover that one half of the couple is ill/is being posted abroad on service/something else that means the wedding must be brought forward unexpectedly. When the invitation arrives, you check your diary and find you already have a lunch date with a friend on the proposed date of the wedding. Do you *really* turn down the later invitation to such an important event because 'you have a prior engagement' ?

I would sincerely hope not.

Sometimes you have to make these decisions and sometimes they're the right decisions to make.

But that really is different.  And if you called your lunch friend and explained the situation, she would almost certainly be very understanding and the two of you could simply choose another date to get together for lunch.  To make a valid comparison requires that the two invitations be more or less equal in significance and the ability to change dates.

A more genuine analogy would be if someone you don't know well but who was someone you wanted to impress invited you to have lunch with them on the same day as the lunch you had scheduled with your long time friend.   OR if instead of having lunch with your friend you had agreed to attend her wedding and now had to make a choice between the two weddings.  In either case I think you should honor the first invitation you accepted.

That's what happened here.  The MIL and FIL had to choose between two equally important (to the GOHs) parties.  In that case you really should attend the one you RSVPd positively to in the first place and that could have been followed up by informing the parents of Birthday Girl that another 'important' situation had arisen that they felt a reasonable obligation to attend and let them know that they would definitely come to the birthday party, but might need to leave a little early to attend the other one -- if that is okay.  Followed up by informing the anniversary couples that they had a previous committment, but would stop by a little later -- again, if that would be okay with them.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: gen xer on March 02, 2014, 11:00:36 AM
I don't really see it as doing the best she could when one event she has rsvp'd to first had planned activities and the other was a casual BBQ. She clearly could have sacrificed more time at the other event but prioritized it over her granddaughter.

I agree.

I have a very low opinion of people like MIL who are unable to say 'no' to subsequent invitations after RSVPing to the first thing. Maybe it feeds their ego or something to think they're so in demand that they must attend every single thing they're invited too, no matter if it hurts other people in the process by making them feel that they're only worth 5 minutes of their time.
If I extend an invitation to someone I'd prefer they just decline outright if it conflicts with something they've already RSVPed for in that timeframe rather than try and squeeze me in as well. I'd rather (re)schedule if possible for a mutually convenient time rather than feel as though I'm just something else to be ticked off on today's agenda. If it's a party that can't be rescheduled, then oh well I guess they can't attend mine if they're already RSVPed for something else. I'll get over it.

I'm glad you said that because I was thinking the same thing.  I don't think it's about looking for offense...it's just that when you overbook yourself and rush through things it comes off as thought you're doing everyone a great favour to be there: "Must. attend. everything.....it's not an event if I'm not there"!!!  Maybe those types don't do it consciously.....but that's how it comes across.

My brother and SIL are coming to Ontario to attend my brothers best friend from childhoods ordination.  My daughters first Communion is the same weekend.  I would have loved for them to be here....and I know they would too....but the only way they could make it is by skipping out on the reception and some other churchy event....so they aren't coming.  They made plans for the Ordination before I had finalized the First Communion weekend ( there are different weekends / prep classes to choose from ).

C'est la vie.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Venus193 on March 02, 2014, 11:02:24 AM
First I would like to thank everyone for their comments.

I'd like to say that although DH's aunt and uncle are not my favorite people, I'm not blaming them for the last minute anniversary party.
It was a BBQ in the back yard sort of thing, so not fancy not that that matters.

No, I have not told or made my kids aware of my irritation with my inlaws in regards to parties, and in general I still very much love my MIL.  I just know what priorities she puts on things.  Her and FIL (who passed away in 2012) have done things like this before.  Examples:

1) FIL wanted to hang out with DH, me and the kids one Sat, and invited us to their house (which is an hour away).   That morning, we got in the car and were about 20 min down the road and DH called to say we were on the way.  MIL said that FIL had gone to visit a friend instead, didn't know when he'd be back, and that she was also unavailable.  We  had to turn around and go home. HUGE disappointment for the kids.

2) IL's again invited us over for the day, and mentioned they needed help with the computer down at their shop (family business). We went down, FIL spent an hour washing his motorcycle not really talking to anyone, and MIL during that time was working on her online class in the computer room.  We went down to the shop and DH (who is an IT guy)  fixed their computer, and we thought we were all going back to their house, only at that moment the ILs said they were going to a friend's house for the rest of the day.  We drove home.

3) Last summer, MIL wanted to take a family vacation with herself, her 3 sons and their families as a way to remember FIL who had passed the previous year.  MIL paid for the rental houses but asked me to plan horseback riding, a guided fishing trip on the lake and other things.    MIL flaked out on the horseback riding last minute and sat in the boat and didn't fish on the guided trip either.   For most of the trip she stayed in her rental house.  This was not so bad, but just shows how she changes her mind last minute on certain things. I would not have planned horseback riding had she not asked me to. 


Also, I'm not at all saying I don't want or that my kids shouldn't have a relationship with my mother in law.  I'm only saying I'm not going to waste time planning formal events in advance for people who change their mind at the drop of a hat.   A casual dinner or lunch or us visiting MIL (she rarely comes to our house) will suffice at least when it comes to kids birthdays.  So when she asked about a party, that's why I said we were planning birthdays in a different way.

If we look at the party choice situation in conjunction with the events described above, it's obvious that the OP's time and efforts are not being respected.  In the first example had the OP's husband not called they would have driven an hour to find an empty house and would have had to do a U-turn and drive home.  That wastes two hours of their lives and who knows how much money in gasoline.  Not cool.  In the second example the MIL is on her online class after the OP's family arrives, missing the first and only hour they are there before going to the office to fix a computer and then that's it.  It sounded like that's all they wanted them there for.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: rose red on March 02, 2014, 11:04:32 AM
Yes, I don't understand why a 50th anniversary BBQ is more important than a 14 year old's family party planned three months in advance.  14 year old comes once in a lifetime too.  But then, I never understand why "milestone" days and dates ending in "0" are so special. 

I don't think this issue is about age either.  The issue is family who keeps accepting invitations and bailing (yes, showing up but leaving early is bailing).  Even if granddaughter is 16, 18, 21, or 50, MIL would have still done what she did because that's her habit.  This time it was two events.  Next time it may be three, four, five, six, and it sounds like she will make it to all of them.  That's rude and hurtful to the people of all those events.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Jones on March 02, 2014, 11:18:23 AM
As FIL was dead by birthday 15, it seems a real shame that he didn't stay to make a last boating / laughing / conversational memory with his grandkids. Of course he may have made some good sit-in-the-yard-telling-stories-for-hours memories with his brother, but IMO a couple hours at the lake and a couple hours at the barbeque could have been divided a bit more evenly for the sake of all involved.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: LETitbe on March 02, 2014, 11:27:04 AM
Yes, those things all seem mildly annoying, and I know you're claiming you don't let your kids onto your frustration, but I feel like this is what is still really rubbing me the wrong way:

So this year MIL asks if we're planning a party for DS who will be 10, and I simply stated that we didn't do big parties anymore, and just let the birthday child pick out what he or she wants to do for that entire weekend instead. 

Do you really think a 14 year old isn't picking up on this? How many other people were at the party? Did you guys have fun after your MIL left, regardless?
Yes, your MIL seems a bit flaky. What she did was borderline rude (as were #2 & #3 on your other examples. #1 seems straight up rude, but I'm wondering what their situation was at the time...was FIL ill? What kind of illness? Were they like this before? Not that I need that info, but it could play into it), but your reaction to it doesn't seem to be "punishing" your MIL (not your job, anyway), but your kids. Plan what you'd like to plan, and just assume she may be flakey. Don't let that ruin your time, and don't let it ruin your kids' time.

Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: lorelai on March 02, 2014, 11:38:12 AM
I would see the opportunity to plan whatever I want to do for my birthday weekend as a gift, not a punishment.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: LETitbe on March 02, 2014, 12:04:40 PM
I would see the opportunity to plan whatever I want to do for my birthday weekend as a gift, not a punishment.

My reference to it punishing the kids is more along the lines of tipping them off to the issues with grandma.
I also think it's kind of contradictory to say that the kid prefers doing whatever she wants- except for a family party- while at the same time insisting she's crushed that one family member left early from said family party. If the family party isn't what the daughter likes to do for her birthday, I doubt a member of that party leaving really mattered to her, unless someone else was making an issue of it.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: LeveeWoman on March 02, 2014, 12:32:47 PM
I would see the opportunity to plan whatever I want to do for my birthday weekend as a gift, not a punishment.

My reference to it punishing the kids is more along the lines of tipping them off to the issues with grandma.
I also think it's kind of contradictory to say that the kid prefers doing whatever she wants- except for a family party- while at the same time insisting she's crushed that one family member left early from said family party. If the family party isn't what the daughter likes to do for her birthday, I doubt a member of that party leaving really mattered to her, unless someone else was making an issue of it.

Kids aren't blind. They can see their grandparents staying for just an hour.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: LETitbe on March 02, 2014, 12:44:44 PM
I would see the opportunity to plan whatever I want to do for my birthday weekend as a gift, not a punishment.

My reference to it punishing the kids is more along the lines of tipping them off to the issues with grandma.
I also think it's kind of contradictory to say that the kid prefers doing whatever she wants- except for a family party- while at the same time insisting she's crushed that one family member left early from said family party. If the family party isn't what the daughter likes to do for her birthday, I doubt a member of that party leaving really mattered to her, unless someone else was making an issue of it.

Kids aren't blind. They can see their grandparents staying for just an hour.

Yeah, I could keep going around in circles here with people, but I've already explained that I've had the same experience growing up, and I was more damaged by my mom's dealing of it than my grandmother's actions (and, no, I didn't notice the unfairness until it kept being brought up by my mom. I may have noticed when I got older, but then I would have no one to blame but grandma. As it stands, I have grandma & mom to blame, which I'm guessing OP would prefer to avoid). Furthermore, if grandma were OP, I'd be happy to tell her how her actions might be perceived (although, like I said, I don't think they're really egregious- I think it would be much more "unfair" if the grandma were bailing on grandkid As bday to go to grandkid Bs), but, since she's not, I can only ask the OP to reconsider how she may be making her children feel even worse.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: cass2591 on March 02, 2014, 02:47:48 PM
The aunt is not MIL's sister.  The aunt is married to FIL's brother.

OK, so, the husband upsets his brother by not going, and she has to go because she's his wife. Same level of relationship. In which case, if it's not the MIL making the decision, why is she getting slated for it? Why isn't FIL getting slated for it? It's his brother, after all.

I think there's probably a bit of backstory here we're not getting, because if it's FIL's relatives, I'm not seeing why MIL is at fault.

Because the FIL is dead?  The OP stated he died in 2012.

Well, that wasn't in the OP, which just stated the husband's aunt, and I don't have time to read through 10 pages for extra information.

Still - who does the woman upset? Her family who are hosting an important, one-off, never to be repeated, or her granddaughter, who will have another birthday the following year? Why is nobody understanding this? She was in an impossible position.

Seriously? If you don't want to bother taking the time to read the thread so you know of what you speak, then why take the time to post and be argumentative, unless the point is to be argumentative for its own sake. Only you know the answer to that.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: perpetua on March 02, 2014, 03:02:33 PM
I read the OP and the original problem, which is what I was offering my opinion on - the original question posed. I'm not being 'argumentative'. I have a different opinion. I thought that was the purpose of a discussion forum. Am I mistaken?
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: mj on March 02, 2014, 03:12:07 PM
Yes, those things all seem mildly annoying, and I know you're claiming you don't let your kids onto your frustration, but I feel like this is what is still really rubbing me the wrong way:

So this year MIL asks if we're planning a party for DS who will be 10, and I simply stated that we didn't do big parties anymore, and just let the birthday child pick out what he or she wants to do for that entire weekend instead. 

Do you really think a 14 year old isn't picking up on this? How many other people were at the party? Did you guys have fun after your MIL left, regardless?
Yes, your MIL seems a bit flaky. What she did was borderline rude (as were #2 & #3 on your other examples. #1 seems straight up rude, but I'm wondering what their situation was at the time...was FIL ill? What kind of illness? Were they like this before? Not that I need that info, but it could play into it), but your reaction to it doesn't seem to be "punishing" your MIL (not your job, anyway), but your kids. Plan what you'd like to plan, and just assume she may be flakey. Don't let that ruin your time, and don't let it ruin your kids' time.

There is a fine line here, and I think the OP stayed on the polite/good side when dealing with Grandma.  Kids will pick up on things, so you have 2 options.  OP can keep being a doormat and let her kids see/experience it too (which one already has, so there goes that) or put a stop to it, stand up for herself and family.  And she did it with grace too.  The amount of money (yes, she didn't cite it, but boat rides and all that add up) she has spent to host her MIL only to have it wasted is enough to drive most people batty, imo.

The OP didn't vent, gripe or unload on Grandma in front of the children, she simply stated her boundary.  I have a hard time viewing that as punishment of the children.  I see it as a good example for her children on how to deal with difficult people.  They will need those tools one day and Mom here did a good job without crossing the line, imho.  It would be very easy to get really upset over what happened here and show her hand, from her OP she did not.  But she's also not going back for more.  Good job, Mom!
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: chigger on March 02, 2014, 03:14:56 PM
I read the OP and the original problem, which is what I was offering my opinion on - the original question posed. I'm not being 'argumentative'. I have a different opinion. I thought that was the purpose of a discussion forum. Am I mistaken?

However, you have bothered to read and argue with people that posted after your original post; people that made the time to read the whole thread.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: kudeebee on March 02, 2014, 03:20:04 PM
I would see the opportunity to plan whatever I want to do for my birthday weekend as a gift, not a punishment.

My reference to it punishing the kids is more along the lines of tipping them off to the issues with grandma.
I also think it's kind of contradictory to say that the kid prefers doing whatever she wants- except for a family party- while at the same time insisting she's crushed that one family member left early from said family party. If the family party isn't what the daughter likes to do for her birthday, I doubt a member of that party leaving really mattered to her, unless someone else was making an issue of it.

I don't think it is contradictory. 
Her dd was crushed by what happened; she was old enough at the time to figure it out.  After that incident and other ways mil/fil acted, OP decided no more family parties and to let the kids pick something to do for their birthday celebration.

I am a grandmother and I would take a lot for me to not be at one of their parties, especially one I knew about 3 months in advance that had been planned with specific activities based around those attending.  I would have tried to make the bbq if at all possible, but would never have hurried along events at the grandchild's party so I could leave.  What a message that would send to my grandchild!  The grandchild is family, too, and in my mind her event which I knew about for 3 months takes precedence over a sibling's event. JMHO

I think the OP is doing the right thing.  MIL cannot be counted on to show up for events, even those to which she has done the inviting!  I would not plan anything around her or count on her to show up either.  I think OP is doing the right thing and as we say here, is living her boundaries.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: KenveeB on March 02, 2014, 03:57:11 PM
I honestly don't see why everyone is saying that Grandma was put into an "impossible situation." There was a perfectly acceptable solution here -- go to the birthday party, spend the majority of the party there, leave at an acceptably early time (ie, after the majority of the events have occurred), and then go to the anniversary party, arriving a bit late but able to stay later as well. This isn't impossible, this is normal time management. There was no reason to cut out so early on the birthday party that all the events had to be rescheduled. Just when you accept the last-minute invitation to the anniversary party, say, "Oh, we can't wait! GD's birthday party is earlier that day, so we'll be a little late, but we're looking forward to it!"

It only became drama because of Grandma's refusal to stick to plans that were already made and willingness to sacrifice her granddaughter's side of the family, something she apparently does regularly.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Paper Roses on March 02, 2014, 04:11:15 PM
I actually empathize with the OP.  I don't really think the nature of the events is relevant - the fact is, the ILs had already committed to attending the birthday party and being there for a significant portion if not all of it, and everyone was planning on it.  Then, a few weeks before, they decided something else was important enough to cut their attendance time down to just an hour - apparently a pretty small portion of the party; a "brief cameo." 

The OP is left wondering whether, if it were the other way around (if the anniversary party had been planned first), the ILs would have just not gone to the birthday party, or would they have told them they had to cut their attendance short because of the birthday party?  And the OP is thinking, probably not. 

It leaves you feeling like you don't want to plan on anything with them because you know they'll drop you at a moment's notice.  And I totally understand your feelings, OP.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: cass2591 on March 02, 2014, 04:26:30 PM
I read the OP and the original problem, which is what I was offering my opinion on - the original question posed. I'm not being 'argumentative'. I have a different opinion. I thought that was the purpose of a discussion forum. Am I mistaken?

It helps to be informed and saying you don't have time to read the last 10 pages does not help your credibility and I would strongly suggest you stop arguing with me.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: sammycat on March 02, 2014, 07:30:02 PM
I honestly don't see why everyone is saying that Grandma was put into an "impossible situation." There was a perfectly acceptable solution here -- go to the birthday party, spend the majority of the party there, leave at an acceptably early time (ie, after the majority of the events have occurred), and then go to the anniversary party, arriving a bit late but able to stay later as well. This isn't impossible, this is normal time management. There was no reason to cut out so early on the birthday party that all the events had to be rescheduled. Just when you accept the last-minute invitation to the anniversary party, say, "Oh, we can't wait! GD's birthday party is earlier that day, so we'll be a little late, but we're looking forward to it!"

It only became drama because of Grandma's refusal to stick to plans that were already made and willingness to sacrifice her granddaughter's side of the family, something she apparently does regularly.

Exactly.

I have a sister, but neither of us have grandchildren yet (and considering the ages of our chidlren that's just as well!). But when the time comes, I would certainly expect her to put her grandchild's event, especially her birthday, ahead of any party I'm throwing on the same date.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Paper Roses on March 02, 2014, 07:35:06 PM
Oh, and wait - isn't it considered rude to throw your own anniversary party anyway? 
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: lollylegs on March 02, 2014, 07:53:46 PM
I think we definitely do prioritize which event is "important", it's just that what's important to us may be different. I remember a thread a couple of years back where somebody had a friend bail on her because her teen's sport event got rescheduled. A *lot* of people were of the opinion that the friend was OK to bail because it was her kid's event, and that was more important. I didn't actually agree with that but I do remember a lot of discussion about when it's OK to bail because "something else came up".

That makes me think of another good question, and if it's too much of a thread derail I'll start a new one, but what is the etiquette when the event you RSVPed to is rescheduled and the new date clashes with a prior engagement? Is the original RSVP voided when the date is changed?
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: sammycat on March 02, 2014, 08:13:15 PM
That makes me think of another good question, and if it's too much of a thread derail I'll start a new one, but what is the etiquette when the event you RSVPed to is rescheduled and the new date clashes with a prior engagement? Is the original RSVP voided when the date is changed?

If the event is rescheduled through no fault of yours, then I think you're in the clear to attend the event that was originally scheduled for the new/second date and send your regrets to the rescheduled/original event. In other words, yes, the original RSVP is voided.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: sammycat on March 02, 2014, 08:22:47 PM
Yes, I don't understand why a 50th anniversary BBQ is more important than a 14 year old's family party planned three months in advance.  14 year old comes once in a lifetime too.  But then, I never understand why "milestone" days and dates ending in "0" are so special. 

I don't think this issue is about age either.  The issue is family who keeps accepting invitations and bailing (yes, showing up but leaving early is bailing).  Even if granddaughter is 16, 18, 21, or 50, MIL would have still done what she did because that's her habit.  This time it was two events.  Next time it may be three, four, five, six, and it sounds like she will make it to all of them.  That's rude and hurtful to the people of all those events.

POD.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: ladyknight1 on March 02, 2014, 08:58:12 PM
I too see MIL as taking a better offer instead of staying throughout the first event.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Tea Drinker on March 02, 2014, 09:08:41 PM
That makes me think of another good question, and if it's too much of a thread derail I'll start a new one, but what is the etiquette when the event you RSVPed to is rescheduled and the new date clashes with a prior engagement? Is the original RSVP voided when the date is changed?

If the event is rescheduled through no fault of yours, then I think you're in the clear to attend the event that was originally scheduled for the new/second date and send your regrets to the rescheduled/original event. In other words, yes, the original RSVP is voided.

Agreed. If the invitation is for "my wedding to Obi-wan, at the purple church on the first of May" and you have to move it to a different weekend, most people who said yes are going to try to make it--and I think it would be kind to get in touch with those who said "I'd love to but I'm busy" and ask if the new time works better. But be careful not to push: if the person declined because it's too far away, or they have to spend May studying for the bar exam, it's still too far away and one week later won't make a difference (though three months would).

But even though the people getting married see it as the same event, someone they invited may have accepted another invitation for the following weekend and say no because they've accepted something else. Depending on the something, well, if you were going to come over to hang out and drink tea, maybe we can move it to the weekend that the wedding had been going to be. If it's someone else's wedding or graduation, that's not going to be rescheduled.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: MariaE on March 02, 2014, 11:51:31 PM
Oh, and wait - isn't it considered rude to throw your own anniversary party anyway?

Not in my neck of the woods. I've never attended an anniversary that wasn't hosted by the couple themselves.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Eeep! on March 02, 2014, 11:52:41 PM
Yes, those things all seem mildly annoying, and I know you're claiming you don't let your kids onto your frustration, but I feel like this is what is still really rubbing me the wrong way:

So this year MIL asks if we're planning a party for DS who will be 10, and I simply stated that we didn't do big parties anymore, and just let the birthday child pick out what he or she wants to do for that entire weekend instead. 

Do you really think a 14 year old isn't picking up on this? How many other people were at the party? Did you guys have fun after your MIL left, regardless?
Yes, your MIL seems a bit flaky. What she did was borderline rude (as were #2 & #3 on your other examples. #1 seems straight up rude, but I'm wondering what their situation was at the time...was FIL ill? What kind of illness? Were they like this before? Not that I need that info, but it could play into it), but your reaction to it doesn't seem to be "punishing" your MIL (not your job, anyway), but your kids. Plan what you'd like to plan, and just assume she may be flakey. Don't let that ruin your time, and don't let it ruin your kids' time.

There is a fine line here, and I think the OP stayed on the polite/good side when dealing with Grandma.  Kids will pick up on things, so you have 2 options.  OP can keep being a doormat and let her kids see/experience it too (which one already has, so there goes that) or put a stop to it, stand up for herself and family.  And she did it with grace too.  The amount of money (yes, she didn't cite it, but boat rides and all that add up) she has spent to host her MIL only to have it wasted is enough to drive most people batty, imo.

The OP didn't vent, gripe or unload on Grandma in front of the children, she simply stated her boundary.  I have a hard time viewing that as punishment of the children.  I see it as a good example for her children on how to deal with difficult people.  They will need those tools one day and Mom here did a good job without crossing the line, imho.  It would be very easy to get really upset over what happened here and show her hand, from her OP she did not.  But she's also not going back for more.  Good job, Mom!

I agree that the decision is a good one. Making a decision to not continually put your children in a position where there is a good chance they will be hurt is a good one. And the daughter was 14. More than old enough to all on her own notice that her party - which was planned 3 months in advance - and had a whole set of activities around which it was planned, was cut short to an hour when more than half the invited guests went on to another party.  And once the older sibling has noticed a pattern of behavior, there is a high chance younger siblings will notice it even sooner.
It's not like the OP is - is instead of having the family parties - making her children sit around doing nothing on their birthdays while making jabs at the MIL and company. I would think that they are doing fun nuclear family celebrations or school friend celebrations. Which are a totally valid and fun way to celebrate a child's birthday and aren't punishing the child in any way.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: 123sandy on March 03, 2014, 12:02:28 AM
I think this thread is just going in circles and I don't think anyone will change their minds in what they regard as rude or not rude.  The fact is the OP is tired of family members accepting invitations and then always being disappointed and she doesn't want her or her kids to keep feeling this way.  She said her MIL is disappointed they are not throwing a party this year and the OP ask if she was rude to feel the way she feels.  My answer is "no."  If MIL is disappointed, nobody is stopping her from throwing her grandkid a party.

Best reply on this thread...
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: sammycat on March 03, 2014, 12:20:30 AM
Oh, and wait - isn't it considered rude to throw your own anniversary party anyway?

Not in my neck of the woods. I've never attended an anniversary that wasn't hosted by the couple themselves.

POD. I've actually only ever come across one anniversary party amongst my family and friends, and that was for my aunt and uncle's 50th anniversary - and after the year they'd had they needed something good to focus on.

I'm not sure why a couple would expect someone else to pay for or organise their anniversary party. Maybe their adult kids might chip in, but it's certainly not something I'd expect or consider necessary.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: lollylegs on March 03, 2014, 12:26:29 AM
Oh, and wait - isn't it considered rude to throw your own anniversary party anyway?

Not in my neck of the woods. I've never attended an anniversary that wasn't hosted by the couple themselves.

POD. I've actually only ever come across one anniversary party amongst my family and friends, and that was for my aunt and uncle's 50th anniversary - and after the year they'd had they needed something good to focus on.

I'm not sure why a couple would expect someone else to pay for or organise their anniversary party. Maybe their adult kids might chip in, but it's certainly not something I'd expect or consider necessary.

Not in my neck of the woods either. And since an anniversary party isn't a gift giving occasion, I would imagine that it wouldn't be a faux pas to organise your own even in cultures where throwing your own birthday party is considered rude.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Paper Roses on March 03, 2014, 12:58:37 AM
Ok.  I guess I was thinking of things like birthday parties and wedding/baby showers.  Sorry. 
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: etiquettenut on March 03, 2014, 06:47:06 AM
I reread the OP and found yet another thing that bothers me about MIL's actions. The OP reminded everyone a month before the event. Then, about a week after that, the anniversary party invitation is issued. However, the OP doesn't even find out until one week before the BD party that now MIL is only planning on staying 1 hour.

So, MIL couldn't even be bothered to talk to or ask the OP about anything at all. She just decided to sacrifice party #1 for party #2, and then didn't even tell the OP this until a week before. How rude!

Continue doing what you are doing OP. After the other incidents you related, combined with the BD party, I would never go out of my way for, or trust, MIL again. She wants a party; she can throw it herself. (And then you can grace it with your presence for a whole hour - kidding! ;-)


Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Pumpkin Spice on March 03, 2014, 08:42:54 AM
I reread the OP and found yet another thing that bothers me about MIL's actions. The OP reminded everyone a month before the event. Then, about a week after that, the anniversary party invitation is issued. However, the OP doesn't even find out until one week before the BD party that now MIL is only planning on staying 1 hour.

So, MIL couldn't even be bothered to talk to or ask the OP about anything at all. She just decided to sacrifice party #1 for party #2, and then didn't even tell the OP this until a week before. How rude!

Continue doing what you are doing OP. After the other incidents you related, combined with the BD party, I would never go out of my way for, or trust, MIL again. She wants a party; she can throw it herself. (And then you can grace it with your presence for a whole hour - kidding! ;-)

I agree with this.  I was also wondering why the MIL didn't inform OP (to be nice and helpful) that this other party may interfere with the attendance of her party, just as a heads-up.

As soon as she got the other invite she should have done a few things IMO. She should have informed the Aunt that she would be going to her granddaughter's bday party that was scheduled months ago for the same day but that if she wanted them to come by afterwards, she could do that and then she should have contacted OP immediately and said something like "Hey, daughter in law, just to warn you, Aunt is having this party and oh my goodness it's for the same afternoon as our sweet soon to be 14 year old's."  Something about Murphy's law, etc.. And then "I hope you understand that I do want to make an appearance to hers even though it is last minute compared to granddaughter's but I want to make sure I thoroughly enjoy DGD's party first."  She maybe could have gotten away with one dropped activity from the end to accommodate the Aunt's party but to stay for only an hour is not okay (to me).
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Kariachi on March 03, 2014, 08:44:15 AM
If we take the numbers out of it-

They cut extremely short their participation in their granddaughter's birthday party, including skipping out on presumably expensive activities that were planned with them in mind, so they could spend the day at the anniversary bbq of FIL's brother whom he wasn't close to.

So, uncle- and aunt-in-law get to have the ILs for most of the day despite short notice and a further relationship, while granddaughter gets to suck it up despite having had their promise from months ahead.

I've been that grandchild where they're gung-ho to spend time with you, until there's another offer, or they actually get the chance. It hurts, it seriously damages the relationship, and you notice. My parents managed to shield me for most of my life, mostly due to physical distance and my grandmothers' actions being normal to me ("oh, grandma just dropped the animals with me and left, big shocker"), but after a point you grow and realize that other people are more important to them.

OP, I think you're doing fine. If anything, you're handling things the way my parents did, and that worked pretty darn well.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Zizi-K on March 03, 2014, 09:31:52 AM
Ok.  I guess I was thinking of things like birthday parties and wedding/baby showers.  Sorry.

It is not rude to throw your own birthday party. In fact, as an adult, you should be throwing your own rather than expecting your friends to pony up for you. If I want people to gather for my birthday, I sure as heck am not going to try and make them pay for the pleasure - I will be treating them. And, as an adult, I will also not expect gifts.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: sammycat on March 03, 2014, 06:50:44 PM
I reread the OP and found yet another thing that bothers me about MIL's actions. The OP reminded everyone a month before the event. Then, about a week after that, the anniversary party invitation is issued. However, the OP doesn't even find out until one week before the BD party that now MIL is only planning on staying 1 hour.

So, MIL couldn't even be bothered to talk to or ask the OP about anything at all. She just decided to sacrifice party #1 for party #2, and then didn't even tell the OP this until a week before. How rude!

Continue doing what you are doing OP. After the other incidents you related, combined with the BD party, I would never go out of my way for, or trust, MIL again. She wants a party; she can throw it herself. (And then you can grace it with your presence for a whole hour - kidding! ;-)

I agree with this.  I was also wondering why the MIL didn't inform OP (to be nice and helpful) that this other party may interfere with the attendance of her party, just as a heads-up.

As soon as she got the other invite she should have done a few things IMO. She should have informed the Aunt that she would be going to her granddaughter's bday party that was scheduled months ago for the same day but that if she wanted them to come by afterwards, she could do that and then she should have contacted OP immediately and said something like "Hey, daughter in law, just to warn you, Aunt is having this party and oh my goodness it's for the same afternoon as our sweet soon to be 14 year old's."  Something about Murphy's law, etc.. And then "I hope you understand that I do want to make an appearance to hers even though it is last minute compared to granddaughter's but I want to make sure I thoroughly enjoy DGD's party first."  She maybe could have gotten away with one dropped activity from the end to accommodate the Aunt's party but to stay for only an hour is not okay (to me).

I agree with both of you. 

I can't think of a single way to spin this that make grandma look good.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on March 03, 2014, 08:30:40 PM
I'm reminded of a time when I was invited to a wedding of a friend, to which DH and I responded with a "yes" and then my aunt and uncle sent out invitations to my cousin's bar mitzvah that was on the same day and as there was just no way we could attend both, due to their respective locations, we sent our regrets for the bar mitzvah.

My mother thought this was the worst thing we could do! I pointed out our friend's wedding invitation came and was answered before we got the invitation to the bar mitzvah.  She said it didn't matter, that Bar Mitzvahs (and Bat Mitzvahs) are planned at least a year ahead and cost as much to the parents as a wedding does, I OWED it to my aunt and uncle to go because they're FAMILY!

Course my aunt and uncle understood and weren't even nearly as offended as my mother was.  ::)
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: TootsNYC on March 13, 2014, 11:36:45 AM
Yes, those things all seem mildly annoying, and I know you're claiming you don't let your kids onto your frustration, but I feel like this is what is still really rubbing me the wrong way:

So this year MIL asks if we're planning a party for DS who will be 10, and I simply stated that we didn't do big parties anymore, and just let the birthday child pick out what he or she wants to do for that entire weekend instead. 

Do you really think a 14 year old isn't picking up on this? ..... your reaction to it doesn't seem to be "punishing" your MIL (not your job, anyway), but your kids. Plan what you'd like to plan, and just assume she may be flakey. Don't let that ruin your time, and don't let it ruin your kids' time.

I disagree.

I think the OP's reaction is absolutely perfect. It sounds like the pressure to have a big gathering came from the MIL in the first place. So now they just don't ever give in to the pressure, and they indulge the b'day kid some other way. Some way that the b'day kid prefers.

Of course the kids have figured out that Grandma is flaky, and blows off their time/energy/events. They're probably relieved to not keep having parties that more than half the guest list disrespects.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: jfost on April 22, 2014, 09:25:32 PM
(Of course, it could also be said that the OP was the one who was in the wrong for planning a party on the date of the Aunt's 50th anniversary, thereby forcing people to choose. Was the daughter's birthday on the same actual day as the anniversary, or did she just pick that date for the party? If so why? Just something to ponder).

Unless the OP has a phenomenal memory, how would she even know it's the Aunt's 50th?  OP obviously wasn't there, so unless the family consistently reminded her every year, there'd be no way.

In my case, my mother had 13 sibs and my father 7.  All their weddings took place before I was born.  Add in my DH's even larger number of aunts/uncles on both sides.  Neither one of us could tell you their birthday/anniversary dates if our lives depended on it.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: LETitbe on April 24, 2014, 09:12:13 PM
Yes, those things all seem mildly annoying, and I know you're claiming you don't let your kids onto your frustration, but I feel like this is what is still really rubbing me the wrong way:

So this year MIL asks if we're planning a party for DS who will be 10, and I simply stated that we didn't do big parties anymore, and just let the birthday child pick out what he or she wants to do for that entire weekend instead. 

Do you really think a 14 year old isn't picking up on this? ..... your reaction to it doesn't seem to be "punishing" your MIL (not your job, anyway), but your kids. Plan what you'd like to plan, and just assume she may be flakey. Don't let that ruin your time, and don't let it ruin your kids' time.

I disagree.

I think the OP's reaction is absolutely perfect. It sounds like the pressure to have a big gathering came from the MIL in the first place. So now they just don't ever give in to the pressure, and they indulge the b'day kid some other way. Some way that the b'day kid prefers.

Of course the kids have figured out that Grandma is flaky, and blows off their time/energy/events. They're probably relieved to not keep having parties that more than half the guest list disrespects.

As I pointed out, I responded as the child of a mother who did this kind of thing in response to a grandmother who acted similar to the one in the OP. I just let the OP know how *I* felt, as the child in this scenario. People are free to disagree with me, if they'd like, and maybe I would even do as the OP is doing, but I'm finding it kind of annoying to keep repeating the fact that my responses are based on someone with actual experience as the child in this scenario, rather than just speculation. People seem to overwhelming disagree with my experience as to what a child *might* feel, but that doesn't discredit that that is the way *I* felt, and is likely the way many children feel in this scenario. Sure, it might not be entirely fair, but it's still a valid opinion, and something that definitely should be considered. No matter how much other people want to cheer on OP's actions, does she really want her child to end up being the one who feels bad in this scenario? Even if it's not entirely fair or logical (children rarely are), it's still something to keep in mind. Obviously, OP has her child's best interests at heart, and I definitely thought it was worth mentioning how it can often feel as the child in these situations.
Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: mime on April 25, 2014, 10:20:58 AM
Yes, those things all seem mildly annoying, and I know you're claiming you don't let your kids onto your frustration, but I feel like this is what is still really rubbing me the wrong way:

So this year MIL asks if we're planning a party for DS who will be 10, and I simply stated that we didn't do big parties anymore, and just let the birthday child pick out what he or she wants to do for that entire weekend instead. 

Do you really think a 14 year old isn't picking up on this? ..... your reaction to it doesn't seem to be "punishing" your MIL (not your job, anyway), but your kids. Plan what you'd like to plan, and just assume she may be flakey. Don't let that ruin your time, and don't let it ruin your kids' time.

I disagree.

I think the OP's reaction is absolutely perfect. It sounds like the pressure to have a big gathering came from the MIL in the first place. So now they just don't ever give in to the pressure, and they indulge the b'day kid some other way. Some way that the b'day kid prefers.

Of course the kids have figured out that Grandma is flaky, and blows off their time/energy/events. They're probably relieved to not keep having parties that more than half the guest list disrespects.

As I pointed out, I responded as the child of a mother who did this kind of thing in response to a grandmother who acted similar to the one in the OP. I just let the OP know how *I* felt, as the child in this scenario. People are free to disagree with me, if they'd like, and maybe I would even do as the OP is doing, but I'm finding it kind of annoying to keep repeating the fact that my responses are based on someone with actual experience as the child in this scenario, rather than just speculation. People seem to overwhelming disagree with my experience as to what a child *might* feel, but that doesn't discredit that that is the way *I* felt, and is likely the way many children feel in this scenario. Sure, it might not be entirely fair, but it's still a valid opinion, and something that definitely should be considered. No matter how much other people want to cheer on OP's actions, does she really want her child to end up being the one who feels bad in this scenario? Even if it's not entirely fair or logical (children rarely are), it's still something to keep in mind. Obviously, OP has her child's best interests at heart, and I definitely thought it was worth mentioning how it can often feel as the child in these situations.

I appreciate your response.

I was also a child in a similar situation-- my Grandmother always gave preference and priority to my cousins over my brother and me (which stemmed from priority to my uncle aka the Golden Child, over my mom aka the Daughter She Never Wanted). Her actions became more and more obvious to me as I grew, without any hints from my mom. When I was around 12 my mom finally addressed this behavior with me directly and it was a great relief. It validated my feelings and made me see that my brother and I weren't alone in this second-class treatment (because I hadn't really noticed that my mom was on the recieving end of it too). My mental approach to family gatherings changed: plans were now made with the understanding that Grandma may or may not be there, she may try to prevent our cousins from joining us, and we could not change her. It was empowering in a way, and I no longer had some subconscious sense that my mom was failing to make everything work out.

Over the years, this has been a source of bonding for me and my mom, and over more recent years we have been able to recognize the problems we have had with other relatives really weren't their fault, but Grandma's fault.

So my experience was different from yours. They are both valid. I guess that's what makes it so hard to know what's right, when you don't want to damage the relationships your kids have with other relatives.

Despite our different experiences I do agree with you that the OP should plan what she wants whether it is a trip to the amusement park with 3 buddies from school or whether it still is a big party. Do this with the knowledge that MIL will probably flake out. I hope the OP's kids will be able to share this mindset.

If the OP chooses no more big parties (and it really is what the kid prefers) I think the OP can deliver her message to MIL in a way that conveys "yep, this is just how our family events are evolving" rather than in a way that says "you're so unreliable we're doing this to spite you".

Title: Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
Post by: LETitbe on April 26, 2014, 07:37:14 PM
Mime, I'm sorry, I should have clarified. I don't feel like my experience is the only valid one. I was just a bit frustrated by comments that seemed to indicate my experience was wrong/invalid/people disagreed with my experience. I think it's definitely something that a parent should take into consideration.
Obviously, we don't know all the details about the OP's situation or how the children perceive said situation. It seems like OP is really upset with her in laws, and I hope OP doesn't do things out of spite, because kids will pick up on this. I just got the vibe that OP was upset, not that I blame her at all, but I just didn't want this upset to cloud her decision making. My mom always assumed I didn't really care for birthday parties, but I really just went along with that because I could tell it was easier on my mom. Hopefully that's not the case with OP's children.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope that's the case of the OP's children, too.