Monday 19 February 2018

Dear Mary: My wife's raging over son's Christmas plans

Mary O'Conor

CHRISTMAS is coming and I am dreading it. We have a son who got married a few years ago. His wife decided that they would take it in turns to spend Christmas with the two sets of parents.

Last year was our turn and that was fine. But this year, they are going to her parents.

Two years ago it was the same – and a total misery for me.

My wife complained for weeks beforehand that they could at least come to us for drinks, and what sort of son would just ignore his mother on Christmas Day and what sort of bitch had he married, etc, etc.

It has started already this Christmas and frankly I want to go anywhere to get away from it.

All the Christmas spirit I want at present is a daily bottle of whiskey!

Can you advise me as to what I should do?

Mary replies:

CHRISTMAS is all about tradition, which is what makes it so very special. For many years, your son spent Christmas Day in your home and was part of the traditions that your family built up over the years.

Most people dislike change of any sort, so now that your son is no longer living with you, traditions are changing, and your wife is finding this difficult.

I think that the arrangement of taking it in turns is very fair, and this seems to work for most people, but unfortunately, not for your wife. However, the person that is suffering most is you. Your son and his wife are dividing themselves fairly between the two families and probably have no idea that your wife is unhappy, and as a result, is making your life miserable.

Your wife's idea of having a drink together before they go to your daughter-in-law's parents would work if her parents do not live too far away and if she and your son don't have any children. As a parent, you will remember how frantic it is on Christmas morning and how much children dislike having to leave home with all their Santa presents and go anywhere, let alone to two different houses. If they don't yet have a family then why not telephone your son and ask that he call to see you on Christmas morning – alone if necessary – and explain to him how upset his mother is?

An alternative suggestion would be for you and your wife to invite them both for a drink on Christmas Eve, exchange gifts at that time and establish that as a new tradition for every second year.

I hope that there is no hidden agenda going on for your wife in relation to her daughter-in-law. Her name calling is quite over the top and makes me wonder if something else has happened between them.

In any event, you are the one that is bearing the brunt of whatever is going on, so it is in your own interest to get things sorted out. As in all things – moderation with the whiskey is advised!

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