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Family

Discussion in 'Personal' started by knickersinatwist, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. I have been awake most of the night after an almighty row with my mum last night. Today I am due to be travelling back to home town for 2 days to catch up with friends and sort a couple of bits out. Mum went mad at me because I hadn't factored in visiting every member of my family. I'll be honest, my family (other than a couple of close members - mum included) aren't that important to me. They probably sounds really mean but it is the way it is. We've never been close and I barely see them. You couldn't put my family in a room and have a great time like some families do, it would just be a painful experience.

    Don't get me wrong, I think it is great when families are close, and when I have children I want nothing more than for us all to be close, but mine just isn't. I'm not bothered that it isn't, I don't feel I have missed out. Mum is annoyed because it is embarrassing for her if I don't visit (as opposed to my cousins who see them because it is easy access to money!).

    Sorry just fancied a rant, instead of my nice two relaxing days catching up with friends I will be chasing here, there and everywhere and will return home exhausted in time for Christmas. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling like this, but my mum has made me feel like the most selfish person in the world who doesn't give a damn about anyone other than myself.
     
  2. I have been awake most of the night after an almighty row with my mum last night. Today I am due to be travelling back to home town for 2 days to catch up with friends and sort a couple of bits out. Mum went mad at me because I hadn't factored in visiting every member of my family. I'll be honest, my family (other than a couple of close members - mum included) aren't that important to me. They probably sounds really mean but it is the way it is. We've never been close and I barely see them. You couldn't put my family in a room and have a great time like some families do, it would just be a painful experience.

    Don't get me wrong, I think it is great when families are close, and when I have children I want nothing more than for us all to be close, but mine just isn't. I'm not bothered that it isn't, I don't feel I have missed out. Mum is annoyed because it is embarrassing for her if I don't visit (as opposed to my cousins who see them because it is easy access to money!).

    Sorry just fancied a rant, instead of my nice two relaxing days catching up with friends I will be chasing here, there and everywhere and will return home exhausted in time for Christmas. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling like this, but my mum has made me feel like the most selfish person in the world who doesn't give a damn about anyone other than myself.
     
  3. FollyFairy

    FollyFairy Occasional commenter

    I think the biggest problem here is your mother wanting you to live up to her expectations of what family should be like, without actually realising that there should be compromise. I am not close to my family either so can certainly empathise with the situation you find yourself in; my father never spent Christmas with us - too busy varnishing the kitchen floor, EVERY Christmas - I kid you not!, yet we were supposed to treat him with due respect.... (sorry, now I am ranting about my family!). Go home, but explain clearly to your mum that you are willing to see some members of the family (i.e the ones you are close to) but you are only back home for 2 days and Explain very clearly that you are not being selfish, you have sent xx relatives cards/presents/whatever, but you need some time with your friends too, especially as you have not seen them since X. If your mother continues to row with you, you are NOT being selfish - as a teacher you need time to refresh your batteries, this cannot be done if you are running around like a headless chicken - arrange to come down say Jan/Feb and say you will see xx relatives then... I wish you luck and a very relaxed and Merry Christmas!
     
  4. hazeymazey

    hazeymazey New commenter

    It's frustrating when mums and dads have these expectations. Mine is the same. I spent every Christmas when I was younger away from family, and friends were my number one priority, I often spent Christmas and Boxing day with friends quite far away. I knew mum hoped I'd be around more but it didn't interest me at all. Weirdly once I had my own children, family became much more important because as you say - that's what you want for your own children, a safe and supportive network really. My (new) o/h with whom I have the children, is also very family focused so I needed a bit of coaxing at the start but i'm very happy about spending family time at Christmas now. I guess I know after a bad time a few years ago that in my case, my family will always put me first and friends might not. Having said that they do say that friends are the family you would choose don't they? You say that you'd like a close family yourself...well they'll need that as an example from you and I might just gently say that I bet that's what your mum hoped for too?


     
  5. clear_air

    clear_air New commenter

    I do't live near my family, and these days, I can go and visit for a whole week and hardly see any friends who still live in the area - as my family has got bigger(more children) and more complicated (parents divorced). It's just the way it is. Maybe yoiu could go for longer (fit them all in), maybe you could stay with a friend? Maybe you could meet up with your friends at a mutually convenient place?
    It's hard, and sometime I feel as if I bend over backwards in order to please nobody...but in the end I want my children to have a relationship with their extended family, and I need to build bridges for them (as it were).
    Families, eh? Who'd have 'em?!
     
  6. Christmas,dark,your home town,family.......what a mix.

    Try to look after yourself.
     
  7. Tell mum you'll factor a couple hours at home when family can drop in to see you. Ask her to let them all know, then if they don't come. Tell mum the argument is over.
    They're obviously not that bothered.
     
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I remember about 8 years ago when we tried to do "family" at Christmas. Christmas Day my Dads on the South Coast, Boxing Day at my ex's sisters near London, up the road to my Grans on the fourth day, fifth day up to my ex's Dads in Teeside and then the 6th day visiting my ex's Mums house. Never, never again.
     
  9. How can you argue they aren't close if they want to see you?!
    To be completely honest, I think you should be grateful you have them. Many people don't.
     
  10. seakay

    seakay New commenter

    Quite easily I imagine. There are relatives I'm sure that would "like" to see me over Christmas, but like the OP, my priorities lie with my immediate family and much closer friends.
    To be completely honest, I don't think you should impose your own situation or circumstances on others. Many other people don't.

     
  11. My family have always been very big on family Christmases. Over the years, the people at each Christmas changed (my mum and both of her sisters got divorced within 5 years of each other and then remarried-in fact, both of my aunties are twice divorced) but they never got any smaller. This year, it is a small Christmas day with only my grandfather and his wife at our house. Boxing Day will be spent at my dad's house. I agree with the poster who mentioned making a trip sometime in the early months of next year and focusing on family then.
     
  12. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    I remember having this used to get me to see people I never saw other than at Christmas and didn't have anything to do with otherwise.
    When I saw these relatives I would be momentarily acknowledged and then ignored in favour of those they knew well and wanted to be with. As I became older I realised that I didn't make much effort myself and started to see the older relatives to whom it did make a difference.
    If you have family close by and can see them often and maintain a relationship that's fine, more often though it is the generation above you wanting you maintain relationships with people they grew up with and their children who you never get a chance to get to know as they moved away from these people for work, marriage etc. after their initial relationships were made.
    I went to a family funeral earlier this month and met numerous cousins and who-knows-what relatives who I could see that I could have got on with if the couple of generations above me hadn't all moved apart. It is a shame as we have little family that we keep in contact with, though realistically I am not now going to maintain much of a relationship with people who live at least 2 hours away from me. There is one relative I have came into renewed contact with a few years ago however who lives at a distance with whom I gelled quickly and make the effort to keep in touch with her.
    As for repeatedly seeing people who are virtual strangers for the sake of it, I've done too much of that and it has come to nothing.
     
  13. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Lead commenter

    As FollyFairy said: that is about your mothr's expectations. Her problem and nothing to do with you. I grew up with similar expectations and I wish I'd seen the light a lot earlier.
    Only if you choose to. If you look after your well being the answer is straighforward: no.
    I'm sure you aren't.
    No, your mum didn't "make you feel". You can only be made to feel like that if you allowed yourself to feel it. If you allow her to guilt trip you you will set yourself up for a lifetime of mental exhaustion and whatever you do will just never be quite good enough. Find a workable way of seeing these relatives at some point if you want to. Life is too short to spend your valuable spare time with people who drain you - and I don't subscribe to the view that you should be grateful to have relatives you simply wouldn't choose to spend a lot of time with except for accident of birth. After all we can choose our friends. Put your health and well being first as no one else will.
     
  14. There doesn't seem to be any question of passing up the free bed and board on offer and staying at a hotel. That would be the obvious solution for anyone who wanted to spend the holiday as they wish. Staying in someone's house brings obligations with it and the polite thing to do is keep them happy without having almighty rows. Otherwise you're treating their home as a hotel you don't have to pay for.
     
  15. marmot.morveux

    marmot.morveux New commenter

    It's strange how Christmas highlights all these 'family' expectations. I tend to visit my parents for Christmas Day every other year, and the year I don't go down, I feel guilty - even though I try to go down, as close to Christmas as possible. My brother, on the other hand, doesn't go down for the actual day at all, ...you should hear my conversations with our parents, to which I listen to.....oh my word! I quite like going down to visit, which seems in stark contrast to my brother. Why do we all do this to ourselves?
    MM
     
  16. grandelf

    grandelf New commenter

    As someone who travels back to the family home town often, i wouldn't dream of making time to see ALL the family.

    I will see
    • mum,
    • Nan,
    • dad,
    • brother (one of the 2),
    • nieces
    Thats about it. If I happen to bump into one of my other million relations it is nice but not expected.


     
  17. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Lead commenter

    Presumably it's her childhood home, so why is it to be thought of as "free bed and board"? I'm sure the OP will muck in with the housework, cooking etc.
    To see all manner of distant relatives? She mentions the expectation from her mother that she should see all of them.
    I don't see why she should spend her time away from teaching where she needs to unwind and relax pandering to her mother's unrealistic expectations. She can work on getting the visits in in a more relaxed way outside the Chritmas period - if she wants to see them at all. It doesn't sound as though she'd recognise half of them if she fell over them in the street. She mentions her mother being "embarrassed" if she doesn't visit them all. This is about convention: nothing else, and I reckon there are more important priorities when you have a couple of weeks' holiday after a long term, some of which will be spent travelling.


    f
     
  18. Just a quick aside - the house is not 'free board and lodging' as I do contribute financially to the running of the house every month as I do stay there regularly and feel it is only fair. I do also do a lot at the moment around the house as mum is not well and can't manage a lot of things.

    I did go and visit everyone she wanted me to. With mum the way she is at the moment (menopausal and frustrated at not being 100%) it was the easiest option. I am exhausted and have spent hours in my car eventually got back to my mum's after midnight following doing the Christmas food shop. The visiting wasn't unpleasant but does highlight the fact that I don't have a relationship with many of my family as conversation was somewhat awkward. I am off to meet a couple of friends later, hope I stay awake!
     
  19. 'Embarrassed' shows its not about convention but about hurt feelings.
     
  20. Its often the case that these things aren't worth the arguments.
    If you've done them, then it can't have taken long to get through them.
    You won't have the same topics of conversation with your relatives as you do with your friends. That's entirely normal. You might not be able to talk to them about your job or things on TV but you won't be able to talk to your friends as people who knew your late gran, great uncle Dave and so on either.
    That didn't come across in your opening post and I apologise for the implication that you didn't pay your way.
     

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