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Expectations to buy presents and make appearances for kids of siblings?

  • 17-09-2021 10:03am
    Registered Users Posts: 1,244 ✭✭✭

    Between me and my two other siblings, only one of us has had kids so far. One of these sister has recently had two kids. It's fine for my other sister as they've always been very close, and she loves being the godmother and all. But for me, there's always been bad blood with the one who's had the kids. And as I'm the only other sibling who also lives near by, this makes my lack of presence at certain do's more noticeable.

    She's now had a second kid and its the birthday party is next week. My mom has said that it would be good for me to go over. I was looking forward to that day off. I told my mom I don't intend in going. My mom then said "well then you can tell her so that she'll know not to cook food for you"! Between the birth, the baptisms, the birthdays, and the Christmas presents, it always seems to crop up at the wrong time. It's a good bit of money and time having to go to these occasions that I don't want to be at. I can't relax at her house. Often the only thing that's in my head at these events is "would it seem too soon if I left now?".

    It was grand for my uncles and aunties when I was young not having to show up to any of my birthday parties as it wouldn't really have been noticed if one of them wasn't there... given that there were quite a few of them. Not to mention the fact that my dad's siblings would've had kids of their own by this point.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,273 ✭✭✭km991148

    It sound like you have no interest in having a relationship with your sibling or your nieces/nephews. Is this a problem for you?

    Only you can decide that - but then its probably right that you communicate why - that way you wont have to go through this every time (and not leaving it to your mother etc)

    Is there any part of you that wants to resolve this bad blood and/or have a relationship with the kids?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,244 ✭✭✭Brid Hegarty

    I did try to before... but to no avail.

    The problem is that I'm now constantly in situations where to onus is on me. I think the main objective is to have a busier life. If I'd other places to be in general, then I could avoid certain things like this more easily.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,271 ✭✭✭apache

    Some families just don't get on. I'm in the same boat and have not gone to any family functions or seen my nieces for a long time. I do feel guilty though from time to time.

    Only you knows the circumstances so don't feel pressured into doing something you're not comfortable with.

  • Registered Users Posts: 35 BettyBlue22

    I love my niblings, and I'm close to my siblings, so I sympathise, it must be so difficult to be in the opposite position.

    It's your life, so at the end of the day, if you don't want to be in their lives / them to be in yours, then that's perfectly ok. Would it impact negatively on your relationship with the rest of your family to just draw a line? It must be challenging to feel like they're walking on eggshells around you both?

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,509 ✭✭✭matrim

    Did your siblings actually invite you or is it just your mother saying you should go? If they invited you it's polite to respond saying you can't make it.

    If is just your mother saying you should go then you don't have to respond.

    Either way it would be a nice gesture to at least buy a card and send it on beforehand.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,893 ✭✭✭✭Ash.J.Williams

    do you want to be an uncle or not.....simple, an uncle is more than a blood relation

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,273 ✭✭✭km991148

    I think its a communication issue then - make it clear that you feel you have tried to resolve the issues and then not to bother inviting you etc?

    Better to be honest rather than having to invent a busier life to give you an excuse (unless of course you want a busier life - but that should be a decision on its own, otherwise you will build up some resentment around the things you enjoy).

    If you want to have a relationship with the kids tho (which you didn't really answer) - then maybe that can work too? - just by taking them away on your own/ babysitting etc - minimising time with your sibling.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,244 ✭✭✭Brid Hegarty

    I don't know if it's worth it. One of the last times we were both together at our parents house my dad was holding the 11 month old in his hands as I entered the kitchen. They were all eating and he said "here now let hold him for a bit". As I was about to hold out my hands, my sister (the mother) said something like "oh no it's ok" and gave him to the husband. Then the husband then had to eat with one hand! Things like that piss me off.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,891 ✭✭✭Caranica

    OP I'm not sure if you're using your own name but if you are you might want to ask the mods to delete the thread and repost under a more anonymous account, otherwise Google will pick this up in a search for your name. Might add fuel to the fire.

    Not having a relationship with your niblings goes hand in hand with not having a relationship with your sibling. The question is, is it a price you're ok with paying?

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,893 ✭✭✭✭Ash.J.Williams

    yeah but you can give them inappropriate presents and knowledge and they will worship you despite their parents

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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,068 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard

    Pretty sure the OP is male so I doubt they're at risk of being identified!

    Look, OP, I can empathise to an extent - I've 10 niblings and it does seem like a never-ending carousel of birthdays, graduations, events etc. and yes, that really does all add up over the years. And I say that as someone who has a fantastic relationship with all of my siblings and their children.

    However, it seems to me your issue here is actually with your sister, not with the kids. And if that's the case then it's something you need to unpick, because holding your niece/nephew to account for something they have no part in or control over is incredibly unfair.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,244 ✭✭✭Brid Hegarty

    Did your siblings actually invite you or is it just your mother saying you should go? If they invited you it's polite to respond saying you can't make it.

    No, I wasn't invited actually.

  • Posts: 18,749 ✭✭✭✭[Deleted User]

  • Registered Users Posts: 374 ✭✭Fionne

    It's your decision at the end of the day. Whatever about the relationship with your sister, it's a shame if you miss out on getting to spend time with your nieces/nephews because of it. I have a whole raft of uncles and aunts I barely know (my Mam was one of 10) which I always just accepted growing up but I love being an Auntie now and spending time with my nieces and nephew is brilliant (but exhausting!).

    Maybe you need to have a chat with your mom and explain you don't want to be included in those kind of occasions. Mams always want everyone to get along so she may struggle with it but at least it may stop her asking you to come along each time.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,030 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    Your mam is acting as a go-between to try get you two to have a relationship. If you've never been close, and from what you say it sounds like you haven't been, then your sibling has zero expectation of you.

    I have a number of siblings. But we don't do the big, everyone invited, everyone expected to give presents thing. I have 4 children with a broad age range. I wouldn't invite my sister and her two teenagers to my 5 year olds birthday party. I'd let my sister know it was on and she could call in for a while if she wanted, but there's no expectation. Similarly my teenagers aren't invited to occasions of their younger cousins. I have 1 sister who doesn't speak to me (or various other family members!) and I'm OK with that. I don't invite her to events. She doesn't invite me.

    Your mam is the issue here. You and your sister seem to be quite happy with the relationship or lack of that you have. It suits you both. Ignore your mother.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,448 ✭✭✭✭looksee

    I can entirely understand your lack of enthusiasm to spend most of your day off making small talk about a baby, and if you don't really get on with your sister then it would be even worse. On the other hand a family is something you might regret losing if you cut yourself off completely. I can also understand your mother trying to be a go-between, she naturally does not like to see ill feeling between her children. At the same time she shouldn't really push it too hard, you are adults, you sort your own lives out.

    If you haven't been invited to the birthday then you don't have any obligation and the bit about cooking for you is nonsense. Still, what harm to put a 20 ( or even a 10 or whatever) into an envelope with a card - easily got - and just drop it in on or about the day. The child sounds as though they are too young to notice anyway so it doesn't matter which day it is, and you don't have to stay, just say hi, make an excuse and go on your way. With only two siblings you are not going to be overwhelmed with 'events' to remember and a few bob for Christmas and Birthday isn't that much.

    Its about compromise and a gesture, the amount doesn't matter and you only have to be sociable for a short while. The alternative is to cut yourself off completely, which in the end is going to cause you more complications and argument unless you go off to live on the other side of the country.

  • Administrators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,947 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Neyite

    It's a mammy issue you have.

    She sounds like one of those ones who love nothing better than to see all her brood under one roof. I've one of those and for a while when I wasn't getting along with one sibling it was a pain. The difference was that mine wasn't inviting me to someone else's house. It's possibly the excitement of grandchildren adding to that -she's understandably enamoured and assumes you are equally so.

    Anyway, it's simple. Don't tell her you aren't invited because the pressure will be put on your sister to invite you - and neither of you want that. Just assume that any invite to a persons house should come from them. If you don't get an invite, don't go or make other arrangements. And get busy - work events, overtime, weekend away etc. Always have a ready excuse and then you'll be able to pick and choose which family events - if any- you want to attend.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,138 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    Not all siblings get on.

    If you don't want to go, or maintain a relationship with a sibling, don't.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I go to most of my niece and nephews matches etc and plays or dance thngs. I often buy them things however its not expected by my family. It is something I want to do and I can do it as a single man with no kids of my own. I have a lot of spare time as i don't have a very active social life. The younger me probably wouldn't have been such a factor in their life if they were born then.

    We are extremely close as a family though. Reading all of your post I wouldn't worry about not going if you are going to feel uncomfortable.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,081 ✭✭✭✭mariaalice

    If it is bothering you that much or stressing you that much then do not go and make it clear you will not be going again.

    If you have children in the future it means there will be fewer people there for them at a christening, birthday, etc and you are cutting your own children off from a relationship with their cousins.

    Have you discusses this with your husband or parents or other sibling.

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  • Administrators Posts: 13,030 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    Many children aren't surrounded by dozens of cousins and aunts and uncles and do OK. Friends often play a bigger part in a child's life than cousins. My husband's mother comes from a huge family. Over 20 siblings. He has hundreds of cousins. He knows about 5 of them. He wouldn't recognise most of them.

    I'm close with some of my own cousins and never see others. My own children are close with some cousins and not others.

    I wouldn't be getting too caught up in hypothetical future scenarios where potential cousins are going to be losing out because you don't have a close relationship with your sister.

  • Registered Users Posts: 29,400 ✭✭✭✭freshpopcorn

    Siblings don't get on and that's fine.

    I'm unsure how you feel about having a relationship with your nieces and nephews tough.

    However lots of people dread the parties, presents, etc but they just accept that's part of the deal.

    When I say presents I mean reasonable small gifts that are affordable.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,124 ✭✭✭✭Oranage2

    I know the feeling well and unfortunately you've to just suck-it up. There's more at play that just you and your sister's relationship, there's also your relationship with your mother too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 671 ✭✭✭Oscar Madison

    Move on with your own life and don't do what you're not comfortable doing!