Almost daily diary!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What are you doing for Christmas?

"What are you going to do for Christmas" My mother asks for the umpteenth time.
"I have no idea" I reply truthfully, for I really don't. I live a week at a time right now. I cannot plan, so much is beyond my control, or so it seems.
"Well you know you are welcome" She says soothingly. Yet it does not sooth.

For as long as I have had children I have tried to avoid being at home for Christmas Day. It is all to do with my Step Father, I do not wish to spend it with him, especially with my children. He drinks, he becomes inappropriate, I do not wish to be there.

For years I have beaten around the bush. I have never really said outright that I don't want to spend Christmas at home. I have used the children as an excuse. They need to be in their own home, I would say, as indeed they do.

The consequence of this is that Mum has always come to me for Christmas, leaving my Step Father at home, because even if asked, he would never come. Doing so would mean my mother would make him drive and then he couldn't drink.

However this means she comes alone on Christmas Eve and goes home to cook dinner with him at about 3pm on Christmas Day. It has worked, in the past, but I know it is not her ideal Christmas. She has always wanted to do the Whole Family Celebration in her home. Part of me has always wanted to point out that she made her bed therefore has to lie in it! But I have not.

I can't believe she thinks I would rather be in her house. Even though there is a very real possibility that Husband and I may be here together, which is unthinkable in it's self, even so I still have no wish to run to her house. And anyway, I can't take the children away from their father on Christmas Day, unless we have negotiated it. Which we have not, yet.

I grab the bull by the horns "We won't be with you Christmas Morning" I say, assertively "But you know you are still welcome here"

I know she won't come here, we have already discussed it. She avoids Husband at all costs. "I don't like being anywhere where there is an atmosphere" She states
"I have to put up with it all the time" I say bitterly.
I feel unsupported by her. Perhaps I am being unfair.

She looks disappointed, she has always seen her grandchildren on Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning. I think about the alternative, I know I cannot do it. "Most Grandparents see their grandchildren in their own home some Christmases" She says petulantly.
I am reminded that we are, both of us, 'Only Children'.
I have to state my case "But what about Dad?" I say, I do call him that, funny really "He won't be able to cope with the children, there will be breakfast at a certain time, dinner at a certain time. We like to take the day as it comes, sometimes we're still in our pyjamas until lunchtime! I want to be able to relax" There, I've said it.

She is Hurt. I should make her feel better but I have no wish to. I feel selfish. Again. I know that if I do as she wants I will feel very, very lonely in her house on Christmas Day, it is all about self preservation, but I cannot say that, I cannot make her feel better. Sometimes I don't think she has any grasp of how I feel and what major stuff I need to deal with before I get to where I want to be; divorced and independent. Perhaps I am being too harsh?

When she has gone I ask the children if they want to spend Christmas with Granny, I thought that perhaps I should. "No" They chorus. At least I have done the right thing for them.


Furtheron said...

luckily we have had a working system for many years.... my sister is the eldist and was the first with kids therefore by default my Mum started going there... My Dad died when my neice (the eldist of the Grandkids) was very young.

Once we had kids we stuck to the "It's the kids day come to us" and my in-laws always have, although now it's only my mother-in-law. We always then go to my sisters on Boxing Day which was tradition and we used to see my Mum then. Now there is a poignant gap in the room unfortunately.

My brother struggled the first year apart from his ex... he went to Brussels for some reason. We phoned him and he seemed fine, but stuck there on his own. This year he'll be there with his finance and his to be step - daughter. I'm so glad it worked out for him... hopefully you'll find a way through it.

Steve said...

Your kid's answer says it all. You've dne the right thing by them certainly. But you also have the right to say no on your own account - after all, it's your Christmas too!

Letty - A Little Girl With A Curl said...

oh my, family stuff is so difficult isn't it? Particularly for you at the moment in your situation.

I actually think the whole "Christmas"/family thing is so over rated.

For a start the shops are already full of Christmas "cheer", and it is not even Halloween yet.

And I have no idea why it should be thought good to have a whole family together in one place on one day, when all family tensions may be played out in a confined place.

Luckily, living nearly 600 miles away from my in-laws I get off lightly, and being a fairly new Only Child Orphan, there are no pressures from my side of the family.

I feel your pain though.

To be honest, when I was younger, and we didn't have much money, and all the inlaws "used" to visit us, I used to actually dread Christmas.

Hey, Roll on the New Year eh? And spring, and your new life will await you. Think on, this time next year you will be able to look back on this whole situation, and be glad to be starting afresh.

Sorry I have gone on too long as usual.

Letty x ;0D

Maggie May said...

None of my business..... but......... I would have thought that she might have come & spent a few days with you & leave stepfather at home! Just for once.
I have had to stay with an in law that didn't like me before today. Irs surprising what you do for your children when push comes to shove.

Failing that....... how about a Christmas away...... somewhere else.....doing something completely new?

Nuts in May

Lindsay said...

I am a Christmas-Phobic and I know I am one of a growing number! I have already seen shopping aisles full of christmas stuff - does my head in!!!

Chic Mama said...

Really feel for you, I started to dread Christmas years ago....largest house, everyone would come to us. This year, I think you read, judge said the children should be at home. But....I'd like to batten down the hatches and just be here with my children. I won't be able to...dread parents looking at me checking I'm okay every five minutes. Roll on the new year. It's one day....unfortunately we're going to have to grin and bare it. No idea how for you but your feelings are pretty strong if you'd rather spend the day with ex than father. Maybe your mum will change her mind. Take care.

Carol said...

I don't think your being selfish..actually, I think she is by asking you to go there!! You can't please have done the right thing by you and by the kids and, at the end of the day, that's what's important!! She'll get over it!!


C x

Liz said...

No, of course you must not go there! Christmas will be difficult enough for you without that.

Why is christmas so awkward for so many people? And often so painful.

It is only another day. You and the children come first.

Akelamalu said...

You must do what is right for you and the children and, as the children don't want to go to grannys, that's staying at home.

Lakeland Jo said...

I am with Lindsay on this one!

Linda - Gold Coast said...

Bah humbug! It's not wonder everyone starts to dislike Christmas so much. I love Christmas but I detest all the family problems. Sorry Sub but I think your Mum should spend Christmas with you like she has in previous years. I know as Mums get older they are not easy to deal with and start getting strange attitudes. Having said this I believe she will just have to put on her "happy face" and get over your soon to be ex being there (hopefully he may not be there all the time). Christmas is for the children and you have to go above and beyond to make it magical for them. As for going to your Mum's with her husband there, no way - sorry that wouldn't be an option. I really feel for you but stand firm and hopefully perhaps ETB (ex to be) can make some alternative arrangements where he can go elsewhere but spend Christmas lunch for a few hours with his children. I know wishful thinking. We are taking the easy option and flying to UK for Christmas. Good Luck Sub♥ Linda

Rose said...

And that is all that matters! Good for you for standing up for yourself! I used to have to deal with my mother-in-law who always expected us at her house for every holiday, not thinking that we would like to visit my parents, too. It's not nearly the same situation as you, but it seems that holidays often provoke tension rather than the happiness they should. Neither of my daughters is going to be home for Christmas this year, which makes me sad, but life changes and they have their own lives, too. I hope that you and the children can find a happy alternative...certainly not spending the whole day with Husband!

nick said...

Christmas creates so many problems around visiting/not visiting relatives, it's a total headache. I think it's entirely up to you (and the kids) how you spend your Christmas and your mum has no right to demand anything at all. And the kids have expressed their preference loud and clear. Your mum will just have to make her own arrangements for enjoying the day.

Jennysmith said...

Good for you, Sub. Just go with your instincts. I'm not saying your mum is like this but my mum can be so unbelievably insensitive about this sort of thing sometimes.

Stick to your guns xx

family affairs said...

so hard...this Christmas thing. Especially when divorced. Why don't you do a Christmas morning thing with husband and then go away somewhere with the kids - to see friends? Abroad? Somewhere completely different....

I'm having all same issues at the moment "negotiating" the dreaded Christmas period. Nightmare. Lx

ps Word veri is "honest"!!! Think that's a sign?

the eternal worrier said...

Your post made me laugh as I was thinking about where to go for xmas lunch myself. When I was married we always went to the inlaws which I didnt mind (wont get asked this year LOL) but never went to my mums.

this is my patch said...

It's always such a problem at Christmas time. You don't see anyone all year, and then suddenly everyone wants a piece of you. I'd let the kids choose, Christmas is for them, and it should be a fun day. x

PS: I have read and caught up on your latest posts, and must say I like your writing style. It's great! x

Kitty said...

Sometimes being brave about one thing (the situation at home) makes us brave about another thing (telling your mum that you won't be going there).

I think you have to do what you can for yourself at the moment. Life is so hard, you can't take on 'extra' difficult bits. There will be time for that in the future.


French Fancy said...

Reading back now and have nothing to add but just wanted you to know that I'm playing catch up.

I think it is great your kids want to be in their own home at Christmas. I've got no kids but I think if I had I would always let them decide where to spend the major 'fete days'.