Author Topic: Feeling like our events are less important than others....  (Read 19499 times)

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despedina

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Feeling like our events are less important than others....
« on: February 23, 2014, 04:52:53 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?

lkdrymom

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Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2014, 04:58:46 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.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2014, 05:07:23 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.


TurtleDove

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Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2014, 05:23:26 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?

Venus193

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Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2014, 05:52:25 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.

despedina

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Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2014, 07:15:09 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.

TurtleDove

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Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2014, 07:20:59 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.

katycoo

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Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2014, 08:34:54 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?

purple

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Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2014, 08:45:27 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  :)

LadyR

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Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2014, 09:40:59 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.


SamiHami

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Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2014, 09:45:50 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?


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lollylegs

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Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2014, 09:47:05 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?

QuilaZen

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Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2014, 09:59:41 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.

mrs_deb

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Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2014, 10:01:26 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."


sammycat

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Re: Feeling like our events are less important than others....
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2014, 11:12:33 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.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2014, 11:15:00 PM by sammycat »