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Author Topic: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward? Nice update  (Read 14545 times)

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Alicia

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Re: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward?
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2014, 10:31:15 AM »
The way I read things you are wanted in many places. You are wanted at all your daughters plans. You don't want to join any of these plans. You say you have a husband. Which event would he like to attend?  Attend that one.

Also could you organize a family Christmas event for say the weekend after Christmas? 

m2kbug

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Re: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward?
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2014, 10:41:12 AM »
If you have a solid schedule where you know you have every-other-year, why not be straight with your daughters about what you would like to see happen, which is, "I don't want to go to your in-laws' home," and "I would like to spend time with your family alone, I don't care where" in addition to "I'm happy to cook and host."  I think your daughters need to be a bit more proactive in accommodating you and making time for you, and the in-laws will just have to deal with it.  I know my in-laws and husband were not pleased with skipping out on them every other year, but I have no desire to cram that many people into a single day when it's my day too.  If it's that important to them, they can spend hours driving to several different households.  I think you could have been more forceful on what you wanted to have happen on Cmas day.  Perhaps Cmas morning and then your daughters go to their in-laws in the evening, or perhaps they spend the morning at home, go to your house in the evening, or maybe one of your daughters could host, which could include the in-laws.  It sounds like you would be okay with the in-laws in your daughter's home? 

I have no idea how it's going to work once my kids spring from the nest and have their own in-laws to deal with, but for now, I'm divorced and work around my every-other-holiday around when I have my kids and I am vocal about it.  I don't demand, but this system is not a mystery.  I am grateful at what lengths my family go to in considering my parenting days and restrictions.  My ex's family doesn't seem to care and I have grown weary of accommodating them.  My ex needs to say to his family, "You know my days, you know my restrictions, you can plan better." 

I see you're trying to be flexible, but I think maybe you're being too flexible and not really forming a solid plan or saying what you would like to see happen.  They have to deal with their in-laws as well and maybe you can form something a little more solid for the future.  Some time in July, talk to your daughters about coming to your house for Thanksgiving since the in-laws got Thanksgiving last year, and see if you can form a plan.  The following year, form a plan around Christmas Day.  "The in-laws got you last year, I want  you this year.  I'll cook!"  Whether your home or one of their homes, be more forceful on what you want.

miranova

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Re: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward?
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2014, 10:43:10 AM »
If there is a plan vacuum...plans get made.

Yes, this is so true.

OP, you did tell them when you were free but you didn't make a plan.  To me, just saying "I'm not working Christmas Day" is not an actual plan and without a plan, someone somewhere is going to fill the gap and make one.  And the one they make may not be the one you really wanted. 

I think we are pretty much in consensus that next year you should take control and say "this is when I have off, I would like to host that day at my home". 

Idlewildstudios

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Re: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward?
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2014, 10:50:23 AM »
I read it as OP told MD at least that she had Christmas Day off and would like to spend it with family but may have Christmas Eve off as well.  The daughters then made plans for Christmas Day without confirming anything with OP.

I took it be that OP stated her wishes in general and was going to firm up plans once she knew for sure.  The daughter didn't wait to firm up plans and made different plans.

I feel bad for the OP and put some of the blame on the daughters for knowing mom had Christmas Day and wanted to see them but scheduling something different anyway.

I would say something to them, not in a blaming tone, but letting them know that you thought you had set up plans and it kind of hurt that they made alternate plans.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 10:52:58 AM by Idlewildstudios »

peaches

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Re: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward?
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2014, 10:52:21 AM »
If I were OP, knowing I only got Christmas Day off every other year, I would plan to host the family on those Christmases. I'd let the children know that DH and I would be home for that day - not traveling - and we'd love to see them for lunch/dinner (choose one). And they need to let me know a couple of weeks ahead of time whether they'll be there.

I don't think you can command grown children to be where you want them to be. They get to make their own decisions, and they have to juggle multiple demands/expectations. Hopefully they'll be fair and divide holidays visits more or less equally.

In OP's situation, I'd make definite plans for the only day I could - every other Christmas Day - and be flexible about the rest, including going to the in-laws if invited (or at least considering it).

EllenS

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Re: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward?
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2014, 11:17:56 AM »
It's unfortunate, but I do think you have lost the ability to make a big deal out of this, this year.

I think you should call this year a wash.  Movies and Chinese food with just you and your husband doesn't sound like an awful plan.

If your daughter(s) bring it up, if you can calmly say "I tried to be flexible and accommodating, and that seems to have made everyone unhappy; next year (or two years, based on your schedule), I'll be more decisive."  If they are open to you, you might mention to that it hurt that no-one was willing to accommodate you for the holiday, at all, even though you were trying to be accommodating of them and their multiple needs.


The next year you have Christmas off for sure, make definite plans that they can agree to or not, as soon as possible.  Lunch, Dinner, Supper, whatever (it might be nice to not do a 3pm Dinner, so they do have the opportunity to see both sets of family). 

For next year, when you won't have Christmas off, you might want to plan ahead for a different day, if possible.

This is perfect and will be using it. Thanks.

And Toots, et al, are right.  I do need to take the lead on these things. However, I have a long history of being very accommodating (too accommodating, probably) and will probably meet with some friction. So be it. The way things are is certainly not working, at least for me and dh.

Please, please, please don't say that. That is so incredibly guilt-trippy and martyrish. Who didn't accomodate you? They both did.

If you had Christmas Day off and wanted to host, you could have invited your daughters, but you chose not to.  It sounds to me like you wanted everyone to read your mind and make arrangements that you preferred, without saying any of it out loud. A failure of telepathy is not a failure of love.

By saying, "I'm not working Christmas Day and I may or may not be working the Eve, so if I'm not then we could get together then...." well, that just sounds like you are refusing to make a decision and open to anything.

Middle Daughter made sure you had somewhere warm and welcoming to go on Christmas, and when Older Daughter found out you were unhappy, she immediately extended you an invitation. Refusing their invitations and punishing them with guilt-trips is certainly not going to get you anywhere you want to go. It certainly isn't going to make them enthusiastic about inviting you next year.

miranova

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Re: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward?
« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2014, 11:19:06 AM »
I read it as OP told MD at least that she had Christmas Day off and would like to spend it with family but may have Christmas Eve off as well.  The daughters then made plans for Christmas Day without confirming anything with OP.

I took it be that OP stated her wishes in general and was going to firm up plans once she knew for sure.  The daughter didn't wait to firm up plans and made different plans.

I feel bad for the OP and put some of the blame on the daughters for knowing mom had Christmas Day and wanted to see them but scheduling something different anyway.

I would say something to them, not in a blaming tone, but letting them know that you thought you had set up plans and it kind of hurt that they made alternate plans.

But the daughters have other people to consider as well, not just mom.  I think inviting mom to a holiday gathering where in-laws will also be in attendance is not the same thing as excluding  her.

Girly

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Re: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward?
« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2014, 11:20:51 AM »
I read it as OP told MD at least that she had Christmas Day off and would like to spend it with family but may have Christmas Eve off as well.  The daughters then made plans for Christmas Day without confirming anything with OP.

I took it be that OP stated her wishes in general and was going to firm up plans once she knew for sure.  The daughter didn't wait to firm up plans and made different plans.

I feel bad for the OP and put some of the blame on the daughters for knowing mom had Christmas Day and wanted to see them but scheduling something different anyway.

I would say something to them, not in a blaming tone, but letting them know that you thought you had set up plans and it kind of hurt that they made alternate plans.

But the daughters have other people to consider as well, not just mom.  I think inviting mom to a holiday gathering where in-laws will also be in attendance is not the same thing as excluding  her.

I think that's why a switch off for all families of Thanksgiving / Christmas every year is a great compromise.

Goosey

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Re: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward?
« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2014, 11:21:03 AM »
Unfortunately, it sounds like you have one of those jobs that has difficult and largely unpredictable scheduling. One of the downsides is that people tend to make plans and invite you in rather than relying on your tentative schedule to base their plans on. I would not use greencat's wording because to me, this does not indicate that you are flexible but rather that you are tentatively available. No one wants to build a schedule around tentatively available.

I don't think your daughters did anything wrong. They have husbands who have family, too. There's no rule that says it has to be every other year, switching off with either side. Your daughters' actions do not indicate any kind of dysfunction to me. Rather, they just seem to have demands on their time and a need to schedule ahead of time.

If you want firmer plans and control, I think you're going to have to take it and make sure it's a dependable plan. 


Hmmmmm

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Re: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward?
« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2014, 11:38:15 AM »
I'm sorry your holiday plan isn't working out the way you had hoped. But I agree that you need to be more definitive in what you want.

"DD's, I have Xmas Day off this year and I would like you and your families to come here for Xmas Day. I'll be serving lunch/dinner at X time and we can exchange presents before or after. Please let me know if you can join us."

While you might feel that is what you communicated, when you implied you might be able to instead celebrate Xmas Eve with them you opened it up for interpretation.

I'd probably communicate something like this to them "DD, I had thought I'd been clear that I was hoping we could celebrate Xmas as a family at my home this year since I had it off. Obviously, I didn't make my wishes clear. I understand you've each already made commitments for Xmas Day. Can we instead plan a family get together on Friday or Saturday after Xmas (assuming you have one of those days off)?"

miranova

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Re: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward?
« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2014, 11:51:08 AM »
I read it as OP told MD at least that she had Christmas Day off and would like to spend it with family but may have Christmas Eve off as well.  The daughters then made plans for Christmas Day without confirming anything with OP.

I took it be that OP stated her wishes in general and was going to firm up plans once she knew for sure.  The daughter didn't wait to firm up plans and made different plans.

I feel bad for the OP and put some of the blame on the daughters for knowing mom had Christmas Day and wanted to see them but scheduling something different anyway.

I would say something to them, not in a blaming tone, but letting them know that you thought you had set up plans and it kind of hurt that they made alternate plans.

But the daughters have other people to consider as well, not just mom.  I think inviting mom to a holiday gathering where in-laws will also be in attendance is not the same thing as excluding  her.

I think that's why a switch off for all families of Thanksgiving / Christmas every year is a great compromise.

Sure, when that works out it's a good plan.  But then you have to get buy-in from both of the daughters, their husbands, AND their respective families.

Something like this would never work in my family.  My in-laws would never ever understand why, if everyone is local, that we need to take turns at all.  They would just say "include everyone every year!"  And honestly their perspective isn't wrong, it's just a different perspective from taking turns.

It can be very difficult to try to get both your parents and your spouse's parents to agree to the same plan.  Sometimes it's possible, sometimes it's not.  And don't forget that the daughter's in-laws may have other children as well!  There can be dozens of people and possibilities and it's probably just not possible to have a simple every other year plan that works for ALL people involved.

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward?
« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2014, 12:07:00 PM »
I was a little confused reading the OP, so I am inclined to wonder if your daughters just didn't know what you wanted.  Did you want Christmas Day or did you want Christmas Eve?  Did you not care which day it is as long as it is immediate family and no in-laws?

I think you would have been better served if you had said, "I don't know about Christmas Eve, but I know for sure that I am off on Christmas.  Shall we start planning for that?"
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Kiwipinball

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Re: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward?
« Reply #27 on: December 09, 2014, 12:48:07 PM »
I read it as OP told MD at least that she had Christmas Day off and would like to spend it with family but may have Christmas Eve off as well.  The daughters then made plans for Christmas Day without confirming anything with OP.

I took it be that OP stated her wishes in general and was going to firm up plans once she knew for sure.  The daughter didn't wait to firm up plans and made different plans.

I feel bad for the OP and put some of the blame on the daughters for knowing mom had Christmas Day and wanted to see them but scheduling something different anyway.

I would say something to them, not in a blaming tone, but letting them know that you thought you had set up plans and it kind of hurt that they made alternate plans.

But the daughters have other people to consider as well, not just mom.  I think inviting mom to a holiday gathering where in-laws will also be in attendance is not the same thing as excluding  her.

I think part of the problem might be OP and the daughters had different views on how firm the plans were.  It sounds like OP thought they were on for Christmas Day unless she was off on Christmas Eve and that worked better. I think her daughters thought plans were up in the air. I don't think either viewpoint is wrong, but clearly they were different and have led to hurt feelings, which is unfortunate. So perhaps in the future, clarifying language as to whether or not there are plans would be helpful. E.g. I definitely want to get together Christmas Day, so please pencil me in. Lunch or dinner doesn't matter to me, let me know which you prefer. And then firm up the plans, no matter whose house they're at. 

RubyCat

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Re: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward?
« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2014, 01:27:06 PM »
I read it as OP told MD at least that she had Christmas Day off and would like to spend it with family but may have Christmas Eve off as well.  The daughters then made plans for Christmas Day without confirming anything with OP.

I took it be that OP stated her wishes in general and was going to firm up plans once she knew for sure.  The daughter didn't wait to firm up plans and made different plans.

I feel bad for the OP and put some of the blame on the daughters for knowing mom had Christmas Day and wanted to see them but scheduling something different anyway.

I would say something to them, not in a blaming tone, but letting them know that you thought you had set up plans and it kind of hurt that they made alternate plans.

But the daughters have other people to consider as well, not just mom.  I think inviting mom to a holiday gathering where in-laws will also be in attendance is not the same thing as excluding  her.

I think part of the problem might be OP and the daughters had different views on how firm the plans were.  It sounds like OP thought they were on for Christmas Day unless she was off on Christmas Eve and that worked better. I think her daughters thought plans were up in the air. I don't think either viewpoint is wrong, but clearly they were different and have led to hurt feelings, which is unfortunate. So perhaps in the future, clarifying language as to whether or not there are plans would be helpful. E.g. I definitely want to get together Christmas Day, so please pencil me in. Lunch or dinner doesn't matter to me, let me know which you prefer. And then firm up the plans, no matter whose house they're at.

That is it exactly. And as far as Christmas Day goes, I would have been happy to have a brunch, a lunch or a dinner at my home or theirs if they didn't want to drive. I know that there are many demands on their time. I thought we had an understanding. I was wrong.

I doubt anyone is available the day after and I have to work that weekend. I work New Years Day, too. I guess the weekend after that might work but when you start getting that far out from the holiday, it's not the same.  (Unless you're like dh's family who used to plan to celebrate Chanukah in January after all the holiday craziness had died down)  I guess it's all about expectations.

lmyrs

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Re: Holiday dysfunction - how to go forward?
« Reply #29 on: December 09, 2014, 01:43:10 PM »
I understand that your schedule is unpredictable in a way, but then you have to plan for what you know. You knew you had December 25 off, you wanted December 25, so you plan December 25. If my mom said to me, "maybe we'll do something on the 24 or the 25 and I'll let you know for sure on the 10." Well that just doesn't work for most people. I have ILs to consider and they have ILs to consider and I'm not going to make everyone wait until 2 weeks before Xmas to make any plans.

I don't think that this the daughters' fault and I would avoid laying a guilt trip of any kind on them. This was poor communication by you and it's really too bad that you aren't getting what you want. But, you need to make plans, not assume that everyone will just work it out with 2 weeks notice.