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Mother always ridicules daughter at Christmas party, makes her 4yo cry. + Update

Mother always ridicules daughter at Christmas party, makes her 4yo cry. + Update


"I [25 F] am expected to take my husband and son [4] to my father's family Christmas party tonight. My mother makes me miserable every year during this party."


For whatever reason my mother has always felt the need to show off in front of my father's family. This frequently results in her throwing me under the bus if it will make her look better or more important. She constantly talks over me or for me in front of them, takes things out of my hands, lies about things I have or have not done, ect.

This got significantly worse after the birth of my son. During the annual Christmas party she has ripped him out of my hands, pushed me to the side when he's gotten upset for any reason, undermines me if I need to discipline him while there, ect. She prepared his plates of food, changed his diapers, ect.

Now my husband and I own our own house, pay our own bills, and raise our son together, yet my father's side of the family believes that I am a deadbeat mother that doesn't take care of their child because of the show my own mother puts on every year. My father's side of the family has very little to do with me because of this and I only see them during the Holidays.

I absolutely do not want to go and live through this again this year. My anxiety is through the roof stressing out over it and all I've heard for the past several days, from my mother, is that my father will be crushed if I refuse to spend time with his family.

I love my father and don't want to hurt or disappoint him, but every year I leave the party on the verge of tears from anger and humiliation at the hands of my mother. My mother has also been talking it up to my son and getting him excited to go to 'get a present' and I don't want him to think he's being punished if we don't go.

My husband has said the decision whether to go or not is completely up to me. This would be his first year attending, as his work schedule conflicted with the party in the past. I could really use some advice if anyone has been in a similar situation. I know that I don't want to go, but I don't know if it's the right thing to do or if I should just suck it up and deal with it again.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's initial post:


It sounds like the three of you are coming down with a nasty virus. You should probably stay home and get your rest. Your family will be happy to not be exposed to your illness.


This is the easy way out and the mother wins if you bail because then she can continue to talk crap about you while you're not even there... Perfect...I would show up and stand your ground.

You know your mother and you should know a lot about her. I mean she did raise you. You've gotta stand up for yourself. I'm sure you're just as smart as your mother is. Play her at her own game until she backs down and realizes you're not going to tolerate being belittled.


"Sure, mom, I'll come, but we really need to talk about some new dealbreakers for me. These include:

  • stealing my baby

  • lying about me or my family

  • undermining my discipline methods

I'm putting you on notice that if you engage in any of these behaviors, I will immediately leave the party."

Then, go to the party, be your adorable and awesome self, be sweet and kind and happy. Also be vigilant for your mother to drop a deal breaker. The very first one, pack up and say, "Mom, we talked about this, x is a deal breaker activity and I've already told you I won't stick around for it.

Bye everyone! Sorry I have to go but mom insists on doing x. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!" If your son is upset, tell him he didn't do anything wrong, Grandmama misbehaved and this is her time-out.

The OP responded here:


I like this advice a lot. It wouldn't have worked the past few years as I rode with my parents to the party since my husband drove our car to work. If I go this year, I'm taking my car and leaving when I feel like it.


Yeah always have an exit strategy, lol. It sucks to have to enforce boundaries like that, but sometimes it is the only thing that gets through to people. It's pretty clear from your description and comments that she hasn't seen any consequences and doesn't seem to care that her actions hurt you.

The public calling out is simply icing on the cake and may hopefully rectify your tarnished reputation among your family. Fully expect your dad to call you and act as an enabler/intermediary. Just tell him you told her the rules ahead of time, she chose to break them, this is the consequence.

She can call you with an apology when she's ready. Don't let your self feel guilt for a second. You aren't doing anything wrong by outlining appropriate boundaries and choosing not to engage when those boundaries are stomped on.

The same day, the OP provided another update.

"UPDATE: I [25 F] am expected to take my husband and son [4] to my father's family Christmas party tonight. My mother makes me miserable every year during this party."


After reading all of your advice and talking with my husband more I decided that you all were right and that I had to stand up to my mother and put my foot down. She showed up at our house right at the time we were supposed to be leaving for the party. I told her that I wasn't doing it this year and we weren't going.

She got down on her knees, eye level with my son and told him that I wouldn't let him go to the party where there would be presents, other kids to play with and Santa. He said, "That's awfully mean of mommy" and burst into tears.

I was beyond livid. I told her that was an extremely inappropriate thing to do to a 4 year old. She handed my son an ice cream that she had brought for him and told me, on her way out the door, that choosing not to go to the party for my father was a big mistake.

I had to console my son and try to explain to him that grandma had done something wrong and that he was not in trouble, but at least we didn't go to the damn party. A serious conversation with my parents will be had and her behavior will change or she will see significantly reduced contact with us.

EDIT: Wow, this really blew up overnight. It would take me forever to address each comment so I'll do a bit up here.

In regards to consoling my son after the incident, my husband and I sat down with him and told him very plainly that what Grandma had done was very wrong.

We told him that she had hurt him in order to hurt me and that's what's going on between Grandma and me is not his fault. We stressed that he was not in trouble. Then we spent the rest of the evening playing games, having snacks and doing our own little party.

He will be attending a Christmas party with my husband's family in a few days. This by no means fixes the damage my mother caused, but we are trying and will continue to try.

My father was absent, sitting in the car, during this exchange, as he usually is. He works late hours, and when he's home he's asleep. I suspect this is his way to avoid my mother, but it makes it very difficult for me to talk to him without her there as well.

For those of you saying 'no contact', at this time no contact is not possible. The house we own is several towns over. We listed it for sale when my husband got a new job, as that house is too far of a commute for him. For now we are living in a place owned by my parents while trying to sell our house.

I can't forbid her from coming onto her own property. As of today we are looking at apartments to move into after the first of the year until the house sells. Once the house sells, we will be putting about an hour's drive between us and my mother.

It's not as far as I would like to go, but we still want to remain within a reasonable distance to my mother-in-law. Unless something drastic changes between now and our move, no contact will go into effect at that time. In the mean time, she will not have any alone time at all with my son.

My husband only witnessed the very end of the 'conversation' yesterday and was beyond furious when I filled him in after she left. We went through a similar situation with his father. His father has been in 'no contact' for over a year now, so my husband knows exactly what I'm going through and is being fantastic.

Last night was extreme, even for her. She has a very overbearing personality and acts like a spoiled child, but she does not openly manipulate on a regular basis and this was the first time she intentionally made my son cry as a means to control me.

This by no means is an attempt to excuse her actions, what she did was disgusting and cannot be allowed to happen again. Some of you, however, have gotten the impression that I passively stand by and let this happen on a daily basis. I most certainly do not.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's latest update:


"her behavior will change or she will see significantly reduced contact with us."

She's trying to get your son to hate you so that he'll love her instead. Why would you ever allow her to see him again, under any circumstances?


Seriously I hate jumping on the cut your own mother out bandwagon but I don't think she's going to stop she'll only get sneakier about it. Mark my words op, eventually she'll relent when you say she can't see your son and that she'll change and then starts whispering in your sons ear when you're not around.

I'd tread very carefully, make sure you keep aware of "what grandma is saying" and be prepared to cut her out for your child. Cuz it's gonna be a wreck if she tries to pit him against you at a young age and undermine your authority.


Oh my god after she pulled that stunt with the ice cream and the blame I’d have stomped over to the family party solo and told all them guests in a loud voice that Grandmommy made a four year old cry and that’s why we won’t be attending byeeeee!


Long before that! HAd my mother tried to take my child to make her look good I'd have been blasting her all the time like "Stop pretending you were a good parent. This is my child you don't get to take him off my hands, wtf?" But yeah, this last one, making the kid cry there and then? Gimme that icecream, son, coz gam-gam gonna be wearing it on her face!


OP should not let the mother go anywhere near her child, or any child period. The mother tried to damage the relationship between OP and her son so she could make the son like her more than OP. That there is a good reason to cut contact with her and stay away for good. Anyone who tries to hurt a literal child is terrible person.

So, if you could give the OP any advice, what would it be?

Sources: Reddit,Reddit
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