Bah Humbug 2

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by katya02, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Having trouble this year as I wrap gifts and decorate. I was blindsided by daughter at Thanksgiving, when she took me aside for a private talk just before going back to school and told me she felt taken for granted and unappreciated for the decorating she does each year, and said no one seems to acknowledge or notice that, and burst into tears. I was in shock. daughter has always adored (so I thought) decorating, baking, and gift wrapping. She's the artist of the family and has always pushed the point that she has great artistic taste and decorates/wraps best! I've always encouraged her to express herself and joined in the decorating etc. but given her the role of 'foreman' for all things artistic.
    I had no idea she felt that way.

    This was in the context of her being angry with me, in that I asked her to stay home for just one evening in the holiday to have a family night - decorate the tree, have eggnog, play a board game. She had been invited to her boyfriend's parents' house to meet his relatives from out of town; they'd been visiting the entire week, but the invitation was for one evening only. She had been out every evening the entire holiday except this one that I asked her to stay in for. She is totally smitten with her boyfriend and fully expects to marry him after college; she doesn't appear to notice that she arranges her life around him, while he does exactly as he pleases and expects her to fit in. Huge red flags to me and to husband, but daughter is deaf.

    So ... I thought I could hear echoes of the boyfriend in daughter's very unusual dramatic accusations, but I didn't want to discount her feelings. I assured her I'd had no idea of taking her for granted, loved her decorating, but if she doesn't want to do it she doesn't have to. Period.

    So I've done all the decorating and wrapped all the gifts, and I'm going to do all the baking, and I feel very down. I don't know if I was pigheaded and just oblivious to her feelings, or if her boyfriend is now speaking out of her mouth, or if she's becoming a little difficult child-ish. I hate Christmas, usually, because of painful family memories, and have found solace in the religious services and traditions we have. Now that my kids have all openly or discreetly, depending on the kid, abandoned the church, I don't have that either. I still go but it's a small, tight parish we've attended for almost twenty years and my kids not being there feels miserable.

    And now daughter wants to go to boyfriend's house on Christmas Eve for a 'family tradition' special evening that HIS family does. If she goes, she'll come home bubbling about their great traditions (which I happen to know will be exactly ours, since his cultural background is almost identical); if she stays home she'll sulk and flip out if the evening isn't 'perfect' in her estimation, and she'll text her boyfriend incessantly all night and fight with her brothers.

    I feel like skipping it all. I feel like Scrooge. :bah-humbug:
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Aww katya that hoovers to the max. :consoling:

    Sounds like daughter has a serious case of the Love Bug going on. She'll come to her senses eventually, love doesn't blind forever thank god. Sorry it's got you feeling hum buggie this year.

  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry. The Bah Humbug Bug has bitten me this year too.

    PLEASE do NOT read too much into what your daughter is saying and doing. Looking back at that age, most of the women I know did something similarly out of character and uncalled for. Not always about the holidays, but at some point - usually at a point that had meaning for the family. It is a way of asserting her independence while KNOWING, deep down on a soul deep level, that you will love her no matter how she behaves. She is at an age when a boyfriend becomes very influential and often the boyfriend's family is given a LOT more "good" behavior than the family is because she doesn't know quite how to create whatever it is that she needs at this stage, and she knows that if she isn't on best behavior with boyfriend's family it could have a LOT of impact on the later relationship. I hope that makes sense.

    I am quite sure you did NOT pressure her into doing too much in past years. She likely put a great deal of pressure on herself, and still feels that personal pressure though she wants to spend all her time with boyfriend and not her family. Your request for an evening was NOT out of line. in my humble opinion she may need a reminder that you are NOT running a boarding house or hotel, that she is part of the family, receives many benefits as part of the family AND has responsibilities to the family. Setting healthy boundaries is important, esp if she is reaping all the bennies of family and not contributing.

    I hope you can work out something that will let you both enjoy the holidays. Surely there is a way to schedule things so she can see her boyfriend's family and your family. Maybe letting her bring the boyfriend to the family gathering would be good.

    Don't worry too much about her future with this guy. Most of the people I know dated someone at around her age that our parents did NOT like. My family HATED the guy I was dating, esp my mother. In time your daughter will wise up. Until then, hold your tongue when you want to criticize him, make nice (as much as you can - it will take away the "forbidden" allure), and try to work out a compromise.

    If your daughter refuses to spend any time with you over the holidays, you may want to limit some of the benefits she gets as a member of the family. Whether it is car use, paying for something, even locking the doors after a set hour and not opening them for her if that is your choice, she likely does need to see that there are responsibilities that go with privileges.

    If you haven't read Parenting Teens with love and logic, it might be helpful as you figure out logical, natural consequences to help you through this stressful time.

    Lots of hugs - she is lucky to have a mom like you - and in a couple of years she will know it!
  4. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I've decided that I just really don't like "adult" teenagers.

    I'm sorry she's being such a...hmmm....selfish brat. Maybe those of us whose "adult" teenagers are being jerks should get together and have our own Christmas celebration.

  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Hugs, Katya. I agree that your daughter probably put a lot of pressure on herself to make things"perfect," and I wonder too how much the boyfriend's influence has to do with her feelings this year.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Oh sweetheart... I feel you... And you're right to see the red flags there.

    If she feels unappreciated now, wait till he makes some comment about the gift she gives him... And you KNOW it will happen.

    I used to take the whole decorating thing for granted. I never realized my family just wasn't interested in it. Once I got that? They got interested. Sigh... difficult children.

    Let her go her own way. Eventually (did not take me long - one Christmas!) she will long for her OWN traditions. Hopefully they won't be tucked away in a box forever by then.
  7. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I'm really sorry this is a tough time for you.:consoling:

    I really don't have anything that's greatly paining me during this season--I'm just not a holiday-ish sort of person and for some reason this year I'm dragging behind so it's stressing me more. Plus I was overly ambitious in cleaning last week and dug into too many places. Housekeeping ADD is NOT good the week before Christmas.

    My expectations for the holidays are so minimal that I've probably done my kids a disservice. If any of them marry into families with high expectations they're going to be navigating foreign waters. I did just encourage my frugal teen that it would be appropriate for him to buy a thoughtful but not pricey gift for his girlfriend. Just because I don't need gifts doesn't mean that's how it is in the rest of the world.

    What is helping me is to take my mind out of these four walls, and away from just us. Today I'm making a dinner for a new mom and this afternoon going to help decorate for a church event. Last week I shopped for a family in need along with my own kids. It's not going to fix anything that's wrong in my life but it is helping.

    Hang in there, and you can always vent here.

    So, what's the appropriate for a gift that a teen guy should get a girlfriend. Something not too expensive, and not too serious. I don't think she'd like the Star Trek DVD that's on my list. :bigsmile:
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member old are the kids? How long have they been dating?
  9. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    16-17 and only dating a few months.

    Sorry, didn't mean to hijack this thread.
  10. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    The holidays are hard to begin with. I'm sorry your daughter is being like this. And I understand the red flags. Yet, when I was that age, I had no clue what I was doing to my parents when I decided to do whatever the boyfriend and his family did for Christmas. Then....I had kids. I love how understanding my parents were back then. They smiled and opened their arms whenever I showed up. They never said anything. They acted like it was normal. They did Christmas when I showed up. And by doing that, when I came to my senses, the family was still intact. And I've worked hard to make it up to them. And I appreciate their love for me through my moron years.
  11. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Thanks, everyone, I really, really appreciate it. I have a horror of being oblivious to others; when I look at my own mother and how much damage she did to all of us over many years, and know that she's still oblivious, it makes me afraid that I could be that way. But I do see red flags with daughter's boyfriend - very much a drama king, very self-preoccupied, everything goes according to his schedule and daughter fits in, yet he will keep her dangling until an hour past a date and then call it off without an apology, and SHE ACCEPTS IT. This is not what I taught her about relationships. We had lots of talks and read books together when she was a younger teen, without any boyfriend in sight,
    precisely because, as we discussed, it's easier to get your priorities and principles in order before you get into a relationship, than to ad lib once you've fallen for someone. Yet, the moment she fell for him, everything went out the window. Of course she's not the first, nor the last! But it doesn't stop me worrying.

    I'm going to carry on and have a nice family Christmas Eve; I've ordered some new games and big jigsaw puzzles, which we love to do, and I'll have a special menu and snacks that night, etc. And when she comes home I'll give her a hug and a kiss. I'll just have to put on my game face and not let her see how I feel.

    I'm fuming tonight because difficult child 2 informed me (he admittedly tattles on his sister regularly) that daughter has gone to her boyfriend's for the night and is planning on driving home straight from there with him tomorrow, in spite of the arrangement being that we will talk with daughter in the morning and, depending on the weather and roads, either she will be allowed to come home with him (he doesn't have snow tires) or WE will go and pick her up with our 4WD and snow tires.

    Her boyfriend goes to college in the same city, but not at the same school. She apparently spends every weekend at his place. At Thanksgiving I talked with her about how she has a limited window of time right now - four short years - to be at university and get everything out of it that she can. And that she's shortchanging herself by leaving campus every weekend and not participating in activities and making friends there. She's on a special arts floor that has mandatory activities and I don't imagine she can be attending them all. I told her she has a LONG time to be a wife and mother (her plans post-college) and this is HER time. I'm not comfortable at all with her spending weekends at his place but I focused on the other points. It doesn't seem to have made any impression.

    I appreciate the support and the reinforcement that it's ok to expect her to contribute while she's home, not just treat us as a hotel. That sounds silly, but honestly I'm at a loss. She's been the 'perfect' teen up until this boyfriend and now I'm at sea, and don't want to make the mistakes my mother did. So the reality check is much appreciated.
    Hugs to all!