Author Topic: Who picks the birthday plans? - update p50  (Read 6564 times)

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LadyL

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Who picks the birthday plans? - update p50
« on: March 05, 2014, 09:12:13 PM »
I need some feedback over whether I should be more flexible about this situation.

Some background: my mother is very close to her sister and BIL, they are also my godparents. They are very nice and supportive people, but they also keep an unusual schedule of waking up around 4:30 AM and going to bed at 8 PM, which means they eat their dinner between 2:30-3:30 PM. Meals with my mother's side of the family nearly always accommodate their scheduling preferences - so informal family dinners, holiday dinners, dinner for both of their birthdays are all held at the time I normally eat lunch. It is a very minor inconvienence, added to a bit by the fact that they prefer to eat at restaurants that have a buffet of mostly very salty, heavy food, which is not what I would normally eat for lunch, but again in the name of family harmony I deal with it.

The thing is that my mother called me to schedule dinner for my birthday with her and my aunt and uncle, and when I suggested the slightly later time of 4 PM she balked and I agreed to move it back to 3:30. Then when discussing where to go I suggested one of my preferred restaurants in her area. Although I think there is a much better range of restaurants in my city (15 min. away), she will be driving Aunt and Uncle and they tend to want to get home as soon as dinner is finished and the extra 15-20 minutes to get home inconveniences them. It is also harder to park in my city, and sometimes you have to park a few blocks away, and my uncle has some mobility issues that make this an additional inconvenience. So I agreed to choose a restaurant in Their City, but when I suggested the one I prefer most, my mother said "that probably won't work for Aunt and Uncle. We'll probably have to go to one of their usual places. The other place you like won't work either, it's too congested in there for them."

At this point I said we could work out the restaurant later and got off the phone. But I felt like my entire birthday dinner is revolving around the preferences of aunt and uncle, when it is literally the one dinner a year I would like my preferences to be accommodated. I've compromised on the time and location but I really won't enjoy a late birthday lunch at what we call the Buffet O'Salt. The places I suggested are standard Italian restaurants that serve everything from spaghetti and meatballs to more traditional Italian seafood dishes - this is standard fare for our area, not exotic or unusual, and they have a very extensive menu that I imagine must have *something* aunt and uncle can eat.

Is there a polite way to say no thank you to the insistence on having my birthday at the Buffet O'Salt? How much input is the guest of honor supposed to have in these situations?
« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 09:58:04 AM by LadyL »

camlan

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Re: Who picks the birthday plans?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 09:27:30 PM »
In my family, the birthday person gets to pick the restaurant. Time and date--that's sort of a committee decision, as there are six of us to coordinate.

In your shoes, I'd be a bit upset that nothing, not the time or the city or the restaurant, about my birthday celebration is what I want, but instead is chosen for what some relatives want.

There really ought to be some compromise here. You eat at what is an odd time for you at restaurants of their choosing. Why can't they eat at a restaurant of your choosing for once?

And that's what I think you should tell your mother. I'd put it bluntly. You want to have your birthday dinner with food you can enjoy. Give her a choice of two or three restaurants. Remind her that you have already given in to Aunt and Uncle's choice of time and city. But this is your birthday and you'd like to have a meal that you can enjoy. If Aunt and Uncle truly cannot eat anything, and point her to on-line menus if you can, then, sadly, you will be celebrating without them.

It's odd that people can expect others to make massive accommodations for them, but aren't willing to budge an inch for others.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


TootsNYC

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Re: Who picks the birthday plans?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 09:31:20 PM »
Tell her, "Mom, this is getting to be too much trouble. I don't need to celebrate my birthday with all of you. I mean, I guess it's nice that they want to, but I have one every year. And if it's going to be this much trouble, and every single decisions is going to be something I don't much love but they like, then it's just not that special. And I'll just be annoyed. So I'd rather not.
    "Tell you what--I'll stop by their house sometime close to my b'day to say hello. That'll have to do."


or you could say, "Aunt and Uncle couldn't adjust themselves to make me happy, this once? For my birthday? Put it to them like that, Mom, and see what they say. And if they won't, well, let's just skip the whole dinner thing completely. It's not like I never see them."

sammycat

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Re: Who picks the birthday plans?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 09:43:49 PM »
Aunt and uncle are being completely and utterly unreasonable. They need to just suck it up for once. They need to realise that your birthday is not about them.

I'm not sure why your mother is more interested in appeasing your aunt and uncle thatn her own child on her child's birthday?

My FIL had a very similar sleep pattern as aunt and uncle (as does DH now I think about it). However, he would never, ever try and dictate a gathering based on this. He either had a daytime nap, or just went to bed later.

I have a SIL who has worked permanent night shift for at least 20 years. This means she usually goes to sleep at about 3-4pm Sunday-Thursday. However, for a special occasion, like a family birthday, she will suck it up and delay her bedtime, which we all appreciate. It usually only happens once or twice a year as most gatherings are on a Friday or Saturday night when she has a more  normal bedtime. But those other few times? She realises it's not all about her.

Am I recalling correctly that your mother more often than not gives into these people, which is probably why they think they can dictate this situation? Apologies if I've mixed you up with another poster.

ETA: If all 3 insist on having this early meal at their choice of restaurant I'd just refuse to go. I'd be too cranky by that point to want to even bother with the whole thing.

Do aunt and uncle think they're the only people who've had to eat a restaurant that's not of their particular choosing at a time that's not 100% convenient to them? Grown ups make these concessions from time to time.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 09:49:53 PM by sammycat »

Maude

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Re: Who picks the birthday plans?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 10:11:22 PM »
This won't be your ONLY birthday dinner, right? Surely you'll be dining with Hubs
on THE DAY? When he will splash out with The Most Romantic Dinner Ever?

Would a brunch-type meal suit everyone better re food and time of day?

GrammarNerd

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Re: Who picks the birthday plans?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 10:14:00 PM »
"I've decided to just skip the birthday dinner with Aunt and Uncle this year."
(insert mom's shocked gasp of incredulity and 'whyyyyyy?' questions)
"Mom, this is my birthday dinner, right?  (She agrees.)  Okay, if it's MY birthday dinner, supposedly to honor ME, then why do we have to go at a time that's too early for me to really enjoy it, to a city that isn't my own, and to a restaurant that I don't enjoy?"
(insert yada yada about Aunt, Uncle and their 'needs')
"Yes, I know that, and that's fine when we're celebrating Aunt's birthday or Uncle's birthday.  But this dinner is supposedly for my birthday, and I'm not out of line in expecting that as the guest of honor, I get to choose what I want within reason.  I already compromised to accommodate their unusual schedule, and I also agreed to travel to YourCity.  But seriously, I really shouldn't have to compromise any more.  Otherwise, don't call it MY birthday dinner when nothing is really about ME.  (And depending on the climate, you might want to add the following, just to get it out there: "And really, we ALWAYS succumb to their wishes about everything.  That's not fair.  When do they ever compromise for other people?")

And just hold politely firm.  Plan something with your DH.  And for your mom, just state what you want or are willing to accept, and then if they keep trying to change things, just say cheerily, "Oh, I guess it won't work out then.  Maybe another time.  Hey, did you hear about that great bean dip recipe?"

weeblewobble

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Re: Who picks the birthday plans?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 10:16:28 PM »
Your day. Your preferences. Your restaurant.  Your time.

If your mom can't bend to accommodate YOUR wishes on YOUR birthday, tell her, "Sorry, I guess we're not going to be able to meet for my birthday.  I'll see you some other time."

Personally, i think that is one of the saddest things I have ever heard.  She can't maybe LEAVE THEM AT HOME so she can celebrate her own daughter's birthday? Why are their preferences so much more important than everyone else's? If they're that inconvenienced, they don't have to go.




weeblewobble

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Re: Who picks the birthday plans?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2014, 10:19:52 PM »


The thing is that my mother called me to schedule dinner for my birthday with her and my aunt and uncle, and when I suggested the slightly later time of 4 PM she balked and I agreed to move it back to 3:30. Then when discussing where to go I suggested one of my preferred restaurants in her area. Although I think there is a much better range of restaurants in my city (15 min. away), she will be driving Aunt and Uncle and they tend to want to get home as soon as dinner is finished and the extra 15-20 minutes to get home inconveniences them. It is also harder to park in my city, and sometimes you have to park a few blocks away, and my uncle has some mobility issues that make this an additional inconvenience. So I agreed to choose a restaurant in Their City, but when I suggested the one I prefer most, my mother said "that probably won't work for Aunt and Uncle. We'll probably have to go to one of their usual places. The other place you like won't work either, it's too congested in there for them."


By the way, that is utter bull.  Mom doesn't HAVE to go to one of their usual places.  She is choosing this pattern of behavior.  Over and over.

sammycat

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Re: Who picks the birthday plans?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2014, 10:28:11 PM »
By the way, that is utter bull.  Mom doesn't HAVE to go to one of their usual places.  She is choosing this pattern of behavior.  Over and over.

Exactly.+

TootsNYC

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Re: Who picks the birthday plans?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2014, 10:29:30 PM »
Well, if they're hosting (mom and aunt and uncle), then they do get to pick what hospitality they will offer.

But, they should then just flippin' pick, right?, instead of asking you and then nixing everything you say.

And you could say, "I'm sorry, I won't be able to be there at that time."


citadelle

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Re: Who picks the birthday plans?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2014, 10:31:51 PM »
This won't be your ONLY birthday dinner, right? Surely you'll be dining with Hubs
on THE DAY? When he will splash out with The Most Romantic Dinner Ever?

Would a brunch-type meal suit everyone better re food and time of day?
This is where I land. Do a special, LadyL style meal with the Lord. This meal is for the older generation, who eat notoriously early, to wish you happy birthday.

Zizi-K

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Re: Who picks the birthday plans?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2014, 10:41:45 PM »
Instead of your mom hosting and organizing your birthday dinner, why don't you organize and host it? I really like the idea of an adult birthday as an opportunity for the birthday person to treat others as opposed to the other way around. This would be the case if you were organizing it with friends, so why not family? That way you get to dictate the hospitality you're willing to provide and you're not put in the position of going along with what the hostess wants?

PastryGoddess

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Re: Who picks the birthday plans?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2014, 11:02:24 PM »
I think you need to sweetly and enthusiastically thank you mother and godparents for wanting to celebrate your birthday with you.  And then plan your birthday, the way that YOU want.  Just because your mother offered you hospitality (dinner) doesn't mean that you have to accept it.  You shouldn't be mean, but it's not rude to say that "I'm sorry, these plans don't work for me" 

Also, unless it's a shower type situation (bridal, baby, etc), I'm extremely uncomfortable with other people planning things on my behalf.  That may just be the control freak in me :P

misha412

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Re: Who picks the birthday plans?
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2014, 11:04:58 PM »
LadyL, you have been so flexible in this situation you might as well call yourself a pretzel.

Why did your Mom even ask your opinion? She should have just asked Aunt and Uncle and then told you when and where to show up. That is in effect what she is doing by not allowing you, the guest of honor, to have any say in the decision, even though she was asking you.

You have to decide how important this is to you and what you want the result to be. If it is that important, you need to push back on your mother's demands to always give in to Aunt and Uncle. You already compromised on time and location. Make your stand on restaurant choice.

You may find your Mother will not compromise, at which time you need to be ready to make a decision. Are you going to stand firm, or give in? If you stand firm, you may find that the entire plan gets cancelled.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Who picks the birthday plans?
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2014, 11:06:07 PM »
LadyL, you have been so flexible in this situation you might as well call yourself a pretzel.

Why did your Mom even ask your opinion? She should have just asked Aunt and Uncle and then told you when and where to show up. That is in effect what she is doing by not allowing you, the guest of honor, to have any say in the decision, even though she was asking you.

You have to decide how important this is to you and what you want the result to be. If it is that important, you need to push back on your mother's demands to always give in to Aunt and Uncle. You already compromised on time and location. Make your stand on restaurant choice.

You may find your Mother will not compromise, at which time you need to be ready to make a decision. Are you going to stand firm, or give in? If you stand firm, you may find that the entire plan gets cancelled.


And that's OK