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To Cook Turkey or Eat Crow that is the question

Started by Smilesback@u, September 22, 2011, 01:57:13 pm

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I have read your concerns and fears and I just have one question for you.  When you were raising young children would you have appreciated any inlaws setting the rules in your household?   I think your feelings about your visit and Thanksgiving dinner has the potential to eliminate future gatherings with your DS and his family.  Please take this from a mom that has not had a family dinner, which I did every year and loved every minute; for five years.  When our children want to hurt us or let us know their anger they take away something that they know is very dear to your heart and that is what my DDs have done with mom for all holidays.  You are invited and you see your GC, I would take your place every day of the week instead of the past 5 years seeing neither of my GC or DD.  You  probably think, wow, this is one horrible mom?   No, that is not so.  I just wanted to be included in my DDs lives and pushed too hard so I was cut out entirely.  Please don't let this happen to you.  As parents they are figuring out their own rules and we need to take a back seat and let them figure it out.  Good luck


Oh my, I'm guilty of some of those things.  With the exception of my Mom, we have a deal with anyone we're going to invite / visit:  "You don't work in my house, I don't work in yours".  My SIL says that she LOVES it, because she KNOWS that she can clean her kitchen the way she wants to, and she can relax at our house without feeling guilty.

And I have had to pull back from doing all the work when the IL's come to visit too.  But for me, it's because I'm not given enough notice for their visits.  And, it's not really fair that I do all the work when MY family visits AND I do all the work when his family visits.  Even then, it might be worth it if I got anything out of a visit with my IL's.  It might even be worth it if I got a speck of appreciation from DH, for putting forth the extra effort.  So if you look at it, for me, the state of my relationship with my IL's is only partly responsible.  The biggest responsibility rests on the state of my relationship with my DH. 

Smiles - it sounds like you've got your hear pretty well wrapped around the situation.  I just have one more question?

What about your boys at home?  What are they doing for Thanksgiving?


Perhaps i confused you  somewhere but I have no boys.  My twins girls  are my only children.  I just wanted to make you were aware that rifts can happen with our children even when that is not our intent.  I don't pretend to understand my own situation;  I love and worship my own family and my former inlaws and would never exclude them from anything I do.  I have two  wonderful, successful and responsible daughters and I have to remind myself that I was at one point  a part  of that equation.   The holidays for me are still a struggle but I look to make someone else's holiday good, be it children in need or the elderly abandoned and I  will try to make  their holiday meaningful. 
Enjoy your Thanksgiving and while you enjoy a toast with the family, think of me because i was born on thanksgiving day and know that i will be sending you good wishes


Momof7, welcome. If you haven't already done so, please take a minute to read the Forum Agreement and How This Happened under the topic Open Me First on the home page. It's important for us all to know the policies here and for newbies to decide if the site is a good fit. Your post is fine, by the way. Glad to have you aboard!

I think going out for that big holiday meal is a great idea - not possible for me, but I'd do it in a heartbeat if I could work it out.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Thanks Momof7 for that!  When we get all together, we have 6 sons + 1DIL and 2 little DGC.  It is a lot of work - ALOT!  Before all the preparations and cooking are done, I too feel lower back pain, foot pain and plain old tired.  My DH helps a lot and I like doing what I do or I wouldn't do it.  We all have our limits at any age.  My DH helps round up help from our family to clear table and do dishes, and put away left overs.  This is new for me to not be in charge so a bit uncomfortable.  I would like the chance to get used to it.     


Smiles, I think this is a little like turning on the evening news and the leading story is what color Kate painted her toenails!    At least we can console ourselves that nothing catastrophic happened that day if this was the best the reporters could come up with!   Eat no crow, my friend.  It is bad for the digestion and could cause....I'm sorry but can't pass this up you left yourself wide open....CROWS FEET!


Twinsmom - thank you for your energy here.  I will keep looking for how to stay connected with my family.  It is a big worry to be cut off.  I am worried about pushing too hard from my POV too.  Kinda feel like damned if I do, and damned if I don't.   The inevitable is that we will not be able to see every one of our 6 sons every holiday - unless we all make that effort.  Time off from work and being on different coasts play a bit part of making that effort.  One son doesn't like to fly, so we will not have him for sure unless it is in his city.  The other 3 sons live in his city and don't want to pay the airfare otherwise they would attend.  The married with kids son (MWK) doesn't want to fly with little ones away from his home.  So this Thanksgiving we are going to fly to his house to celebrate with GC and build the bond with them.  Everybody has their POV, right?  I don't want to fly, watch GC overnight a couple nights AND be expected to do all the cooking.  I have limits too - buying a turkey dinner seemed reasonable and that didn't fly.  So I am not making the rules that MIL has to cook and watch GC.  I am willing to fly there and watch GC and give them something of what they want.  Thanks for your warning, it is a real danger of being cut off if they do not get what they want. Sad but true. I am trying to keep my relationship with my DS strong to withstand disappointments on both sides.         


Scoop - I could live with those hosting responsibilities because they are very straightforward, fair and comfortable.  I like your honesty that you and DH play a part in how you feel about hosting.  Might be the problem-o with DS/DIL?  Good Q about our other sons :)  Just yesterday we are firming up plans to drive 5 hrs, stay in a motel, over Veterans Weekend.  We would like to fix a thanksgiving-type dinner and enjoy the weekend together (We drove over last Christmas and that's how we did it then, and it was fun).  DS (33) said he wants to help fix the dinner but doesn't want to host at his apartment unless it is a last resort (gasp, get me a chair - how much does he want to do? I am going to have to let go of more control in the kitchen, but that's the future we are building here).  We will cook and eat at other DS's apartment (24 and 26) and other DS will come join us (24 - yup we have twins too).  Last Christmas DH and I did the planning, preparing, cooking, clean-up and saving of leftovers; but would like to do something easier for the dishes/ cleanup. It is not all about work, we played Wii, poker etc.).  We usually have lots of help for cleanup when we host at our house and I would like to see more cleanup help this year at our holiday get togethers.  So thanks for asking - they are important to us too.   


Quote from: Ruth on September 26, 2011, 09:41:32 am
Smiles, I think this is a little like turning on the evening news and the leading story is what color Kate painted her toenails!    At least we can console ourselves that nothing catastrophic happened that day if this was the best the reporters could come up with!   Eat no crow, my friend.  It is bad for the digestion and could cause....I'm sorry but can't pass this up you left yourself wide open....CROWS FEET!

Good one Ruth :) 


Just want to say one more thing and I appreciate your time here on this topic.  This is my first DS married with kids, and I am trying to get it right.  I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings and I don't want to get hurt either.   We all are changing our roles and there are bound to be misunderstandings and misinterpretations, upsets, unmet expectations etc.  We are dealing with our feelings, not life and death issues.  I don't want any cut-offs etc.  Just trying to learn how to let go of my expectations.  The devil is in the details.  Thanks,


I don't like Thanksgiving. I'm such a slug. I have cooked for years. My kids expect to come home and mom will just cook. I should be happy they want to come home, since I complain DD never comes home!

My MIL and FIL used to announce they were coming from Florida for a visit. She never asked if it was okay or if I had other plans. She assumed because I had young kids, I would be available to put them up and cook all meals. I used to give up our master bedroom, cook day and night and take care of two little kids plus a stepson.  My MIL never lifted a finger and played with the grand kids. She felt if she was spending the money to fly to me, she got to play. She never asked if I were free when she felt like visiting!

I was always upset with the whole thing. My dh never lifted a finger, because he doesn't cook. Yeah, nice excuse. One time, my in-laws called me up and said they were coming in a month. No holiday, just coming to see the kids. I said, "please book a hotel, as my kids are too old to share a room being a boy and a girl". I lose sleep and we don't have an extra bedroom. I offered to pay for the hotel and all. They got the hint that I wasn't giving up the master bedroom and stayed at hotels. They didn't like the one I booked, so I told them to book their own in the future.

I cooked some nights and other nights, I told DH... take us out for dinner, I'm not cooking. So, DH took us out for dinner every other night. My in-laws got the hint and paid for those dinners. So, my in-laws weren't coming on holidays and expected me, with two kids and a step kid to watch... to do everything and my DH sat by and let it happen. I put a stop to it. I told DH I wasn't giving up my sleep or room for them... or sleeping on the couch in the living room. I told him I couldn't cook for three extra people every night. I was tired. The other person being my stepson who came when his grandparents did.

Who was really to blame for this situation?  I think my DH was to blame. He didn't offer to help, cook or do anything. He sat and drank wine with his folks, yapped, etc. I ended feeling like a slave and I was also breast feeding my youngest son. It is super hard to do all of that. Your son needs to help his wife. He really does. You are the guest and I think should not be expected to cook. Clean up, yes, definitely imho. Offer to help cook, it depends on if DIL needs help or not.

I'm wondering how much your son is helping his wife in all of this. Just some thoughts. I don't know the answer. I only know that I was so ticked that my DH would act as if I was the cook, maid and nurse. I made my DH step up to the plate. I told my in-laws I'd pay for rooming them in a hotel. I put the whole thing on my DH, as it was his parents. So, your DIL needs to tell your DS what she wants, she needs to tell you what she expects, etc.

I would not expect you to cook as a guest. My in-laws got the idea like you did and stayed at a hotel. They also got the idea and took us out to dinner. Now, this was not Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving I went to my mother's house. I did none of the cooking. Now I do all of the cooking for Thanksgiving, but for all my belly aching, DD does help me cook the Thanksgiving meal. She loves to cook. I'd like reservations at a restaurant.

I would have loved a MIL that said to me, get it all at Safeway, don't worry about slaving over a stove! I would have slapped DH on the arm and said, "Go order Thanksgiving dinner for your parents!" LOL. I would have. I would have loved someone to tell me to order out, especially my husband's parents! I would have been kicking DH out the door to go order the food and then make him pick it up. I would not have expected my MIL to cook at my house.

Your DIL doesn't know when to say no and now she perhaps feels overwhelmed. I was exhausted nursing a kid and cooking for seven or more people. I finally did demand to go out!  I'm making reservations for Thanksgiving this year. When the AC come home, expecting a home cooked meal, I'll be telling them, I have reservations!

I realize my answer doesn't help you, but to me, I'm wondering too what your son is doing to help his wife. I think what is going on Smiles, is that no one is telling you what they really expect and they expect you to be a  mind reader. Perhaps asking them exactly what they expect out of you would be good... and then decide if you can handle it. Tell them to order at Safeway and you'll pay for it. That would have been my dream, but I'm not your DIL. I think you need to ask DS direct questions on expectations. Just lay it out on the table. They are having you guessing too much here. I'm with you thought... I'm sick of cooking for holidays!


SS you made me happy with your directness about a DIL POV.  I really will keep dealing directly with DS and appreciate it really is not all about me.  Thanks for your support on just buying a dinner and settle the issue that no one wants to cook ... this year.  And bring it up for discussion again next year...it is just not okay to EXPECT  ANYONE to cook.  (Sad maybe but true).         


Since we're having honest-DIL conversations here (when do we not?).  I have to say, there's NOTHING like your Mom's home-cooking.

Whenever my Mom comes for more than a few days, I make sure to ask her to make meatballs for us (to put in the freezer).  I *can* make them, and they're 'okay', but hers are DEE-LICIOUS!  And it's a lasting thing, because weeks later when we eat them, we talk about "Grandma's meatballs".

So maybe, you could consider it a compliment that they want YOUR cooking?


My family has tried to use this~~~"Oh, you make the best_______"   And I am a good cook.  I am just totally tired of 40 years of buying groceries, cooking, cleaning and then being left by myself with a ton of laundry, dirty dishes and leftover food.  Oftentimes while the family watches some football game on TV.  Call me a spoil-sport but I still work full-time, have nobody here except my cats to rely on (and they are not good at food prep or dishes) and I decided about 5 years ago that I will not put myself through that anymore.  Especially when DS and DD are "iffy" and the weather might get bad or a kid get sick, etc. 

I am always on pins and needles, never expecting them to show up (lots of different excuses) and often hours or a day late.  So, no more entertaining for me.  Perkins makes a really good pumpkin pie.   ;) ;) 
Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a gift (Eleanor Roosevelt)


begonia, your solution was there with you: Let the cats help!  A few cat hairs in your specialty dishes would have made everyone more than eager to do the cooking or go out. 

For the original thread, I offer a third solution to cook turkey or eat crow.  Become a vegetarian.  They want you to make the TG meal, fine.  A big bowl of cornflakes for everyone.