Author Topic: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules UPDATE #49,#118 134 FIN  (Read 30360 times)

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RegionMom

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

Mom called today with a few requests/demands-

1.  NO DOG. (.)

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

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

2.  NO SHORTS.  (?)

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

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

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

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

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


3.  NO COOKIES.  (!?)

 This last one was the kicker-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suggestions?

 

« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 01:20:58 PM by RegionMom »
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bopper

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Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2013, 10:24:06 PM »
The Dog I understand.

The Shorts is a moot point.

But the cookies... "Mom, we are traveling 1000 miles to be with you and the  family. Making Santa Cookies is part of our family tradition. If you don't want to eat any, let me know.  What is the real issue with them?"

ladymaureen

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Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2013, 10:29:06 PM »
My sympathies. I know it can be irritating dealing with someone you're not close to. But:
Dog -- within her rights.
Photo commentary -- silliness you can rightfully roll your eyes over.
Cookies -- if it's her kitchen, it's her rules. Either make them at home or don't make them. Just because you always have been allowed to use her kitchen before doesn't mean it isn't her kitchen to do with as she pleases.

bopper

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Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2013, 10:42:36 PM »
My sympathies. I know it can be irritating dealing with someone you're not close to. But:
Dog -- within her rights.
Photo commentary -- silliness you can rightfully roll your eyes over.
Cookies -- if it's her kitchen, it's her rules. Either make them at home or don't make them. Just because you always have been allowed to use her kitchen before doesn't mean it isn't her kitchen to do with as she pleases.

True...but at some point if there are too many restrictions the OP won't want to bother coming.

peaches

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Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2013, 10:55:00 PM »
If someone makes specific demands on their guests, that are uncomfortable, does the guest just suck it up?


The short answer is Yes.

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

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

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

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

« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 10:57:17 PM by peaches »

weeblewobble

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Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2013, 11:13:34 PM »
If nothing else, she's proving that you've made the right decision by limiting contact with her.  ((((HUGS))))

m2kbug

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Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2013, 12:09:12 AM »
Dog - Fine.

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

Cookies - I think if this is your mom's request, you just need to go with it.  Perhaps do them at home before you go if it's that important to your kids.  Going to Aunt T to see what she thinks is pretty much overriding what Mom asked of you.  I suppose you can still bake the cookies if there's a change in plans once you get there, maybe even pack the ingredients just in case, but I would just plan on skipping it.  Unless, of course, Aunt T is hosting the family in her home, in which case, she gets to say yes or no. 

sammycat

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Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2013, 12:18:48 AM »
The dog - fully support her. Not unreasonable at all. I wouldn't allow a dog in my house either.

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

The cooking - not sure I fully follow this, but I think your mum is being a bit silly about it. Your SIL, who has a baby that has no idea what Christmas even is, will be allowed to cook something, but not you? Why can't you all bake whatever it is you prefer. The more the merrier as far as goodies to share!

wallaby

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Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2013, 12:40:46 AM »

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

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

You have my every sympathies! I hope it all works out ok.

JoyinVirginia

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Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2013, 09:08:55 AM »
Your friend who advised you to call sister in law directly had the right idea. Call sister in law and ask if your mother has called her, and what did she say. It would be interesting to hear if she had a similar communication. Maybe sister in law wants to make a gingerbread house instead. Maybe she wants the little kids to be able to make cookies. You don't know until you call.
Also ask your children what they think of the traditions, and what they want to do. If they really enjoy making the cookies, you could always stay at a hotel that has a kitchenette with oven. And then tell mom why you can't stay at her house. 
It is her house and she does get to decide some things about use of her kitchen. With the background that this is something you did since your childhood, I would be very confused by her desire to ban cookie making this year. Does she not want you messing up the kitchen, or does she not want you and your family to get praise for making the cookies, or does she just want to stop people from having fun, or does everyone else hate making cookies and is too polite to tell you?
Her ” rules” seem a little bizarre coming out of the blue like this. Almost like she had been obsessing about what things she needed to have the” perfect Christmas”  for the past year and finally got around to telling you.

wildkitty

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Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2013, 09:15:30 AM »
I would be calling up mom and saying "I respect your right to impose rules in your own home,  but these restrictions won't work for us. We'll be staying home for Christmas. ".

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

NyaChan

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Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2013, 09:17:57 AM »
This is a situation where I wonder how OP managed to get through the conversation without just asking "Why?" or "What's going on Mom?"  I don't think it is too late to call and ask those questions even now.  Why involve the SIL?  Deal directly with the person you have the issue with - in this case, you mom.

bopper

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Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2013, 09:47:45 AM »
I would be calling up mom and saying "I respect your right to impose rules in your own home,  but these restrictions won't work for us. We'll be staying home for Christmas. ".

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

But how would you feel if you had a guest who brought their dog that made your dog feel dominated?

wildkitty

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Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2013, 10:08:33 AM »
I very clearly stated that I felt the OP's mother had every right to refuse the dog. However, I am saying that my Holiday hill to die on would be to spend said holiday without my dog. If that means I don't visit my mother for Christmas than we both made our choices.

Twik

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Re: "No dog, no shorts, no cookies." Mom's Christmas rules
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2013, 10:17:40 AM »
I very clearly stated that I felt the OP's mother had every right to refuse the dog. However, I am saying that my Holiday hill to die on would be to spend said holiday without my dog. If that means I don't visit my mother for Christmas than we both made our choices.

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