difficult child says I ruined Christmas

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Californiablonde, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I posted last week about being a day late for rent. The manager charged me a $50 late fee that had to be paid now. I asked if it could wait till after Christmas but she said no. That and the fact that our water bill was higher than average this month means I am unable to afford a Christmas tree this year. Instead I went to the .99 cent store and bought two very small fake trees, some ornaments, some tinsel to put around the coffee table, and some holiday stickers to put on the sliding glass doors. When I got home with the stuff and explained that I couldn't get a tree this year but I bought some decorations instead, difficult child was furious. She told me I ruined Christmas. She then called me out on the fact that I don't have the money to buy one this year. She insists that I must have the money somewhere but I'm just too damn cheap to get one. Then she told me I ruined our cat's first Christmas, since she won't have a tree to play with. easy child took it all in stride. He took the two trees I bought and decorated them. difficult child did not participate.

    I don't know how to to tell her this yet, but all I can afford to get for them is one gift each this year. difficult child's birthday is on the 31st and that makes it even harder. I always make sure to get her something nice each year, because she gets ripped off every year by several of my relatives, who don't get her a birthday gift. They get my son birthday gifts every year, but since she was born in December she gets none. I feel bad for her every year. So this year, like all the others, I am going to make sure I get her an extra special birthday gift. She is going to be mad at me when I tell her she's only getting one Christmas gift this year. I usually get her and easy child 3 gifts each. Before anybody starts feeling bad for my kids, let me just say that my mom gets them several gifts each and other relatives get them gifts as well. So technically they will have more than one Christmas gift this year. They are not suffering. But difficult child will not be so understanding. She is going to get mad at me again. So do I tell her now about the gift thing, or do I wait and let her find only one gift on Christmas morning? I am really not looking forward to her finding out, but there's not much else I can do.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    CB... it's time to get creative.
    Why don't you celebrate Christmas on the Orthodox calendar instead? It's based on a different calendar, which means the date moves around a bit, but it's always later than Dec 25 (more like Jan 7).
    It is a REAL Christmas - not a made-up date.
  3. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Won't be able to afford anything else till I get my taxes back at the end of next month. I'm sure difficult child won't be happy with me delaying our Christmas for a whole month. easy child would take it all in stride. difficult child? Not so much.
  4. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    You said your relatives give the kids gifts. Would it be possible to let them know of your situation and see if there is some way they can help? Also, since difficult child is slighted by everyone on her birthday- plan a birthday for her. Invite the relatives who normally honor easy child with gifts and some other friends. This way, she can be sure her birthday will be fun for her and there will be plenty of gifts. Also, that idea may take her mind off her slightly smaller than normal Christmas this year, plus she'll have something to look forward to and to plan.

    You could do something so easily that would be awesome for a 14 year old. We can come up with great ideas.

    Or you could say something like....."OMG! I left your Christmas gifts at work!!!!" Then when everything is on sale and you have the $50 back- buy gifts and pretend you just left them there.

    Borrow money from a relative.

    Are they seeing your ex? Will he help, even with the birthday? Does he have relatives who acknowledge them on holidays? Tell them your situation and see if they can help.

    Another idea is to look in the paper there are great sales and coupons. Go to the website hip2save, great deals are constantly posted- for stores and on-line sites, plus you can print out coupons, and they post discount codes. I just bought my niece a $59 Fisher-Price pirate ship for $17 based on advice from that site. It came from Kohls. I had 2 codes. I think Star or Hound turned me on to that site.
  5. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Ex's relatives are useless. Mine aren't of any help either, as far as lending me money goes. They are retired and on a fixed income. I feel bad for difficult child with regards to her birthday. With Christmas, not so much. She gets more than enough from my mom and other relatives. I do feel bad about the birthday though. I would absolutely hate to have a birthday on New Year's Eve. She got stuck with a bad one that's for sure.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    With all due respect to difficult child, it sounds as though she's behaving as an entitled brat. Maybe she should do some volunteer work where she'll get a glimpse of the truly needy. She has no right to speak to you that way.
  7. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I agree, tiredmommy. She is an entitled spoiled brat. She gets plenty and should be grateful. Oh, and I just found out ex isn't getting the kids gifts this year for Christmas at all. He told the kids last weekend that he's broke and can't afford anything. Boy, difficult child is going to be super thrilled when she finds out I'm only getting her one gift.
  8. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Well I told her by text and she said ok. We'll see how okay she really is with it when I see her in person, though.
  9. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Do you have Goodwill stores near you? Sometimes, they have totally brand new clothes, really nice ones with the tags still on them, and they are SO inexpensive. difficult child is probably too big for toys, but they have guitars, costume jewelry, books, DVDs, all kinds of things for just a few dollars. I don't think she's too young to have a talk with about Christmas not being all about gifts, either. Christmas is about love and gratitude and someone else's birthday, Know what I mean?! You could start a tradition of baking a cake (nothing expensive...a cake mix is great) and bringing it to the local firehouse to thank them for their service, tie it in to how they have to work on Christmas night and sacrifice time with family...you could also make it a fun night by making popcorn and watching a Christmas themed movie and have hot chocolate, you get the idea. Remind her that Santa knows when we've been bad or good!
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Goodwill, Salvation Army, Second Time Around stores, other thrift stores. Check and see if there are any fb groups that sell used items in your area. We have like 10, maybe more. lol

    I think you got rather creative with the tree. :) The prices of real trees are outrageous anyway. I'm glad I have my pretty little 4 footer that was purchased on sale several years back.

    difficult child might be bummed, but it's not the end of the world. Nor is it that you're not planning anything at all for either the holiday or her birthday. The birthday thing wouldn't even phase either my kids or grandkids. We like to celebrate in some way, but it doesn't have to be the exact day. I've been shuffling around bdays to fit schedules since my kids were tiny. They're used to it. They've done the same for the grands. No one ever seemed to care as long as the day was recognized and celebrated in some way to make it special. Shoot, when I was growing up you were lucky to get a cake, my first store bought cake was for my 16th birthday and that is because I asked specifically for it. I can think of only 2 bdays in which I actually got a present. But my mom didn't forget completely. Regardless of how much money there was we always had a free pass day (couldn't be yelled at or get into trouble) and got to pick our favorite dinner which she'd cook for us.

    I'd enjoy the holidays the best you can and not worry about it. It's difficult child's choice to join you or not. As for the birthday? You're not forgetting her birthday, you're postponing it in order to make it a special day. It's not been cancelled or ignored. She has no reason to be angry really.
  11. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Well my mom wanted to confront my ex on him not getting the kids any Christmas gifts this year. I put a stop to that real fast. It's none of her business why he's not getting gifts this year, nor is it my business. I will have to say, I'm not buying his being broke story one bit cause thanks to child support I know he makes way more money than I do. Still, it's not my business and the kids are hardly suffering. My mom gets them several gifts every year plus stocking stuffers, and my aunt and grandmother get them gifts as well. I feel bad for difficult child about the birthday thing only cause it's really not fair for her brother to get gifts and not her. Kinda a sucky birthday to have, in my opinion, although I think that once she gets older a New Year's Eve birthday will be a lot of fun. But in no way do I feel sorry about Christmas. difficult child is spoiled and she is just gonna have to learn that Christmas is more than just presents anyway.
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Good Post, CM. Good thought process. DDD
  13. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    My S/O is newly out of work again. New Year;s Eve was to be our wedding, also our 8 year anniversary. It is cancelled. easy child's dad walked out of her life, so no gifts from him or his side of the family this year. None of our family is coming for what is our annual Christmas dinner we usually host, so this year we are all alone the three of us (easy child, S/O and myself). She has one gift from S/O and I. Plus we will give her new pj's on Christmas eve as is tradition. That's it. And she has nobody to gift to her on my side, nobody has finances or the contact. I know she is disappointed probably on some level, but she has flung herself into the spirit I am forcing myself to display. Festive family things like baking and decorating cookies, doing our gingerbread houses, Christmas movies on television, etc. We don't have a choice, we can't locate a magic money tree either. Our big expenditure/treat was the cost of postage to participate in the card exchange on the board here, which we all enjoy. I know your difficult child is disappointed, and that seems reasonable for a teen. Being hateful however? Not cool and I hope you make it plain to her that it is ungrateful and selfish and narcissistic, that she is old enough to realize this season is not all about gifts, and you aren't choosing this, you have no choice and work hard and do your utter best every day to provide. I think its a great idea to drag her butt to a shelter or something to volunteer serving a free meal. Let her see what its like to REALLY do without. Teens can be this way, even non difficult children. Your daughter isn't some freak. She's human. But dearly in need of a wake up call about appreciate what you have, and understand when expectations don't come to pass.

    As for your mom heart, I know how tough that is even with a understanding kid. I haven't even picked up easy child's one gift. I have never in 20 years not shopped and wrapped and planned and had stashes all over the house to hide. It feels odd. And terrible. And part of me feels like a huge screw up that I cannot do what I want, and what I wish I could provide this holiday for easy child in terms of gifts. To counter my sad spirit, I'm forcing game nights, and family oriented time spending activities. I'm chalking this frugal holiday up to a life lesson on priorities for all of us who can benefit from that ongoing lesson in our own individual ways.

    I'm glad your son is at least being understanding. Hugs.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Why not suggest that this year you are doing a different kind of Christmas, one focused on the reason rather than the amount of money spent or the things received? Set aside time to do something together, whether it is help her color her hair a color of her choosing, available iwth a home color kit (that you can find coupons for), or something you make for her (search for DIY gifts, gifts from the kitchen, pinterest christmas craft/gift sites, etc....)

    in my opinion your difficult child is really pushing you way more than you should be tolerating. I know it is hard, but the more entitled the kid gets, the less they receive from husband and I. We simply do NOT like the focus being on gimme gimme gimme and not even Wiz could make us shake that. We have had many years with almost zero money for gifts, but we shop thrift stores, make things, and give experience gifts. One year a friend's husband got a handheld gps unit when they were very new, this was about a $200 item. He is the least outdoorsy person and he is also super entitled with his gadgets (and can afford to buy what he wants as he consults worldwide at enormous fees). So he gave the gps to his wife to give to me. husband took it and loved it, and he took the kids geocaching on several set dates. You just google geocaching and your region, state, whatever and sites pop up. They had a blast every time, and it cost NOTHING because we filled snacks and water bottles at home.

    I get very resistant to the holidays when I get too much pressure to gimme gimme gimme or ANY "you ruined Christmas" pressure. I simply will dig in and refuse to do it for that person, or to do much for a child.

    in my opinion it is time to tell your difficult child that she can either be cooperative and appreciative and understanding or she can go live with dad and the stepmom who hates her. She has a CHOICE.

    Have you ever thought about getting some help? Yes, it is tough to find the time and money. You CAN find free help, and at least here the NAMI support groups are free and awesome and they have a bipolar support group. If my town has one, yours probably does too. You seem to feel a LOT of guilt and you have an ex and a difficult child who bully you with guilt and you buy in and give in and wonder what to do and why they do this. They do it because they can. You give in to them, appease them as much as possible, and anguish over whether or not things are okay.

    Some of that is normal, but in my opinion the time is coming when this is going to lead your difficult child into seriously dangerous waters and defiance. You already have real problems with hygeine and attendance. I know how hard those are and dealt with them myself with my difficult child. The bigger issue is that she is becoming very defiant and it is leading to some real problems for you. The drnking on an empty stomach that lead to getting very out of control at thanksgiving, the issues with medication, these are ALL signs that you probably need some help coping.

    We ALL need therapy and help coping. I have had years and years of therapy, so have my husband and kids. I have taken antidepresants for years and so has husband and when needed, my kids have had them too. It was hard to carve out the time. We looked at these things as vital to the health of our family , not just ourselves. I think that your drinking at Thanksgiving went over the limit in part because you are so stressed and wanted to cut loose and maybe you don't have all the tools to handle things in a healthier way. We all have times when we are not proud of ourselves. That is being human. We all have to stop and assess that behavior after we do it and figure out if that is how we want to continue and what we need to change if we don't want to do that again.

    I know you are terrified of going to court over custody because you lost custody in the past due to problems. That IS scary. The thing is, if you are getting help, even if it is just a support group from NAMI or alanon or a church support group or whatever, this is a huge good thing in court. The judge would see your problems in the past, and he would see the issues that ex brings up, and what you bring up, and he would look to see what you and ex are DOING about the problems, and if you are getting help? And making sure the kids get help?? these are HUGE points in your favor.

    Please check in with the psychiatrist treating your bipolar to make sure that it is actually safe for you to drink alcohol while taking them, and if he says it isn't, then don't drink. Not ever. If you need help to make that happen, get it. Get yourself to a therapist or bipolar support group or whatever also. There are groups that have forty min meetings here and in most towns and cities so that people can go at lunch. Or take the kids and make them sit outside and do homework if you have to, or make appts for when ex has custody and if he wont' take the kids, take them wth you and have the therapist or group leader document that they were with you but it is his weekend. Someone else verifying that he skipped or shortened visits, esp with no notice, shows a pattern that also will get points for you. The third party documentation doesn't need his reason, just that it happened.

    I know I have said similar to you before, and you have never commented. That is okay. You don't have to comment, but I think you would be very well advised to think about this and maybe ask others in real life and here on the board if maybe this would be good advice. I also think that if you have your difficult child in therapy it would go a long way wtih a judge. Esp if ex is against it. Often school can help arrange this if you cannot afford it.

    As for presents, you can also think of an item or two and go to the local freecycle list and ask if anyone can pass the item along. www.freecycle.org will get you to the info about the group.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    CB and MM... please, contact the local Christmas-hamper organizations - not because you need a hamper, but because you need Christmas. You have one/two kids who deserve to have Christmas. THESE are the cases that they love to help - the people who are really looking after themselves but just getting by, and can't quite make Christmas into what it means for kids.

    Call them. This week. Their lists are NOT closed.
  16. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Good point, Insane. See if you have a local Kiwanis chapter.
  17. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    IC, thanks for the advice. Actually we have some wonderful organizations here. We are okay. It isn't killing easy child to not have lavish gifts. We have a great home, nice things, we have food and will have a wonderful Christmas dinner. We have nothing less than any other year, except less gift opening on one morning out of 365 this year. And we really are okay with it. easy child was given a heads up a couple of weeks back and if she was disappointed, which on some level I'm sure all teens must be and she's human, she seems perfectly accepting. In fact, she and I have been much enjoying working extra hard to do special things together instead, to keep a together feeling going leading into the actual holidays. Having said that, I do hope that CB may have some local options. I know that my easy child at one point was crazy spoiled by her dad, she really doesn't want for anything right now, as she had an overabundance for a long time. That may be different if this is a year from now, but being so recently unemployed (my s/o), we haven't been this tight in a long time and she is well set, thus likely less counting on those treasures of gifts this holiday.

    CB, if there is something local to you, I hope you submit your kids names. There is no shame and in fact it is humbling in a good way to allow others who care to help make the holiday special for you and your kiddos. You weren't yet a member a couple of years back, but we at that time were struggling majorly. And someone submitted our name and someone appeared at my door, with Christmas. Not just the gifts, but the spirit. And I cried and cried and cried happy tears of joy. I was very moved by the giving of others, and it felt so good to provide that to my kids, even via generosity of others. If there is something in your area, please reach out and ask for help. There will come a time you can pay it forward in some fashion by donating or helping someone else.
  18. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Well, you can tell miss 14 year old difficult child that her board auntie says if she thinks she's going to hold you hostage for two weeks prior to Christmas because she thinks she isn't going to get what she wants that she doesn't have a CLUE what Christmas is about, and I hope that you will do your best to enjoy Christmas in spite of her.

    FWIW, I'd stop shopping and scraping things together for her at this point. She obviously won't appreciate it, and that's on her.
  19. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    I teeter with this post........because on one hand.....while it would be SO easy to tear into your daughter who we all think should be XYZ way with a struggling Mom, and times the way they are, and picture her as this horrid child? My other hand (while free) would probably in my case reach out and grab her by the hand and say......"You know what C (I'm calling her C for child) you're right. Times haven't always been the way I've wanted them to be, and I wish things had been different this year, and I wish you could see that while you're Mom is trying ; she's struggling. Come on....with me. Auntie Star wants you to ride with her for a minute. And .......I swear I did this with Dude....because while I had a Mom ......she did not send lavishly - she couldn't on a widows ssi. I had no other grands to help me, I had just myself and for one glorious year....DF and his plumbers paycheck - and then in and instant it was gone, and now he's 110% disabled. So my son......who was the child of a Crack head, and a struggling Mom.....got hand me down EVERYTHING. While he never really complained the rest of the year? On Christmas? It tore me up, more than any other time of the year because I FELT MY shortcomings -----MORE and allowed him to tear at me, and eat away at my conscious.....because in my heart? I wanted so much more for him than what he had. Then one day I walked through the hospital....and I realized OH MY GOD. What HE DOES HAVE.

    What I saw...as I walked down the halls were children who were looking at maybe NOT making it to Christmas, or dying shortly, or in horrible pain. One hall was the burn unit, and the other was the cancer ward. I spent a year in a burn unit as a child.....and I can tell you about some pain. But nothing prepared me for the attitudes of these children. NONE OF THEM......NOT ONE SINGLE ONE......acted, or behaved, or ranted or was yelling or screaming ----"IM ENTITLED TO LIFE." .......They weren't sitting there complaining about Christmas presents or a tree, or how LITTLE their Mother could do, they were just so happy whenever ANYONE came to visit them and read a book for 15 minutes......or do a stupid puppet show, with a tattered donkey that told them to be courageous....while the donkey cried inside for being and feeling SO selfish.,,,,because see while I wanted all that I could give my child? What I couldn't do for those parents????? Was give them anything. Yet there were THEIR kids......so pleasant, and lovely - hurting and not complaining.

    SO I took Dude with me......and we visited, and looked and he saw......and it was like something out of A Christmas Carol. Dude didn't want to think about Past, present or future......christmases for those kids. He left not wanting to think about what he'd been such an entitled jerk about....and in all honesty? In my opinon he had a RIGHT to act out......when he really didn't. What that visit did for him was show him what he DID have to be thankful for. He had his health.....and his Mom....his freedom....and he named so many more things.....and the next CHristmas he asked if he could give his gifts to other kids.......so I know it made a difference.

    He does get SAD, and is possibly BiPolar (BP)....and has a LOT of faults......maybe so with your C........but if I had here here with me? I think I'd show here the other side of ENTITLED .......and let her know just how lucky and blessed she is. SOmetimes it takes someone to remind both the Mom and the child......how lucky you really are. You don't have to look far.

    Perspective is everything......
  20. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your advice and help. To be honest, I don't think I should have to seek outside help for gifts this year. Like I said before, My kids get lots of gifts every year from relatives. My mom just told me what she got both my kids for Christmas this year. WOW is all I can say. She went above and beyond her grandmotherly duty. They will be quite pleasantly surprised Christmas morning (we spend it at my mom's house every year) and my kids will be over joyed with what they got. She basically got them everything they wanted. So I seriously don't feel bad for my kids at all, nor do I want some sort of organization to provide gifts for my kids when they really don't need it. I would hate to take away from other families who really are in need. We are not. difficult child is fine with only getting one gift from me this year. She is more concerned with not having a Christmas tree for our cat. Yes, our cat is her main concern. So anyway, thanks for the tips, but my kids really don't need anything extra more than what they ever had. Oh, and in response to therapy, even though that is not what this thread is about, I am going shopping for a new therapist after the holidays when I can afford it. And difficult child will continue her therapy like she always has.