16 answers

My Sister Plans a Vacation on the Day of My Daughter's 3Rd Birthday Party

So, my sister Kim (who has 2 kids 6 months older than my kids) decided to plan a vacation and take our mom with (who happens to be the only grandparent our kids have). She tells me last Friday that my mom hasn't told her yes or no. I explained that she never told our mom what day they were planning on leaving and since our mom works, it's pretty crucial to inform her of it. That's when she told me Saturday, Oct. 17th (same day as my daughter, Cait turns 3). When I told her that that's the day of Cait’s party, she said "well, you should have checked with me before deciding on what day to throw your daughter's party". Okay... Cait turns 3 on a Saturday this year and she feels I should have checked with her (yeah, right). Ironically, I e-mailed everyone in my family the party date several weeks earlier (not knowing about their plans to go away). My other sister and mom both responded that they have marked their calendar and I get no response from Kim.

During our lunch last week, she rants about how my mom picks up her kids so late on Friday and then decides to drop them off late on Saturday (no, she would never consider dropping the kids off herself - she expects my mom to do everything), and that she and her husband couldn’t even go to the movies. I asked her when the last time they went to the movies was and she said 2 weeks earlier (the last time she had my mom watched her kids over night). I explained that mom hadn't watched my kids in over a month, let alone have them spend a night and the last time my husband and I went out to the movies without the kids was well over 2 years now so she has nothing to complain about.

She then went on and said that every time she calls our mom, she happens to be with us (just for the record, we invited my mom to attend a kid concert with us and one day at the Ren. Faire this entire summer). Because of that, my mom couldn't watch her kids the whole weekend (as she would have liked). She also had the nerve to say because I plan things with our mom, it impacts her schedule (to have my mom watch her kids (Fri - Sun)). My mom has graciously agreed to watch our kids one weekend a month, which I appreciate and am grateful for.

Anyway, on the way back to the office after lunch, I call my mom and explain that the reason Kimmy hasn't told her the date of departure was because she planned the vacation on the day Cait turns 3. I did, however tell my mom that it would be okay with me if she decides to go on vacation, BUT to understand, I will go out of my way to plan a vacation with her (mom) on one of my sister's kid's birthday parties (just so my sister knows how it feels). She said fine.

My sister decides to e-mail her the date of departure and when my mom replies to her saying that that was Cait's party and then asks her what time they plan on catching the flight. My sister responds with "9AM". When asked why they can't catch a later flight, she replies that they will get there at 3:00pm as it is and doesn't want to get there any later.

Now, birthdays only come once a year, whereas vacations can be taken at anytime. My mom tends to favor my son as it is (it's very obvious and everyone who sees them, can instantly tell). I've already discussed her favoritism towards my son and expressed my feelings towards my grandfather because he favored our oldest sister (and I don't want my daughter to feel that way towards her) - she just laughs it off.

Well, several days have passed; my sister calls me out of the blue and asks me for my zip code. I give it to her (knowing very well, she has it) and then ask her why she needed it again. She said it's for mom's passport. I say nothing and hang up. Over the weekend, she asks my daughter what she would want for her birthday present, since they will not be attending her party (okay, my daughter has no clue that she is even going to get presents, let alone have the ability to blurt out a wish list - besides, my sister and I give the kids money towards their educational fund).

So, I get e-mails from my mom and sister today stating how many more weeks it will be before they go on vacation. I reply to my mom saying please don't include me in e-mails that pertain to their vacation, as Kimmy is already rubbing it in my face.

My mom replies to me saying "Quit being so self centered. Do you think Caitlyn will even remember her birthday? Do you remember any of your birthdays when you were young and if so do you remember your grandmother not being there for yours? Or in fact your grandfather never went to any of his grandkids birthday parties.
So what is the big deal all about? Quit your bitching, Life is too short so enjoy the time we have. This will be the first birthday party that I will miss out on but it won’t be the last. So please stop!".

With my reply of:
Why? Because Kimmy went out of her way to book a vacation so that you can purposely miss out on Caitlyn’s birthday party. Keep in mind; you are the only grandparent she has. Yes, she will not remember, but you not being in any pictures – she will.

For kimmy to say “well, you didn’t check with me before you booked her party” says it all. Also, she has/had the option to catch a later flight, but instead decided single handled that it was more important to have some “sun” time, instead of some Caitlyn time. More importantly, she decided to take you away from it.

No biggy. I’m just going to plan a vacation with you so that we can miss her kid’s party and maybe she will see how it feels.

So, am I over reacting or should my sister have had the common courtesy to not plan a vacation knowing it's my daughter's birthday? I know some of you are going to say I should be the bigger sister and not take revenge… but that’s not me.

So, would you be upset?

As a side note, my kids only have 2 cousins - which happen to be her kids, but I’d be okay with them missing it, I’m more ticked off that she’s forcing my mom to choose.

What can I do next?

More Answers

It sounds like you and your sister engage in some serious sibling rivalry.

If it was me, I probably would be hurt, but I would be more concerned about the deeper issues here than with the bday party. It seems to me that you and your sister are fighting over your mom (like another poster said), and this just strikes me as toxic to your overall relationship. If it was me, I'd be more concerned with trying to figure out how to not have such a relationship.

Your sister booked the trip fully knowing she'd be missing the party and taking your mom. Now you want to do a turn around and do the same thing to her in the future. This just strikes me as childish. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but you really need to figure this stuff out or you will just continue to have this unhealthy relationship for the rest of your lives. You also aren't being fair to your mother --you are putting her in the middle and she does not deserve that.

1 mom found this helpful

This is super petty. You and your sister are fighting over your mom. It's time to invite other children to the birthday parties and not be so dramatic about your mother missing ONE birthday party. She is obviously very involved so let her enjoy her vacation without you making her feel guilty.

I think the problem is that both you and your sister have your mother so involved that it is creating drama.

You are just going to have to get over it. There are TONS of people who never have their grandparents at any of their birthdays let alone only missing the one is pretty good on your mom's part. Your mom is just going to have to make her own choices and you are just going to have to accept them.

1 mom found this helpful

Wow. At first I just thought your sister was rude and hurtful but I see she gets it from your mom. Tha bottom line is you are never going to change them , ever. You have two wonderful kids and a husband who you should worry about not your mother or sister. They will get their due. Trust me you get what you give:) Try to forget it because your sister feeds off of getting you upset.Don't give her the satisfaction. you don't need her in your life so just have minimal contact and leave it at that. have a great party !Hang in there :)

I can see how you would be hurt. I sounds very intentional that your sister made the plans that she did. Not like a vacation can't be taken days or a week later, clearly taking a cut at you. But you can be bigger than that, don't bother getting even, it will only keep the cycle going. There is obviously much deeper issues with your sister and mother.

How about working to not be like them and work on allowing them to be what ever they are, we can't change people. Only you know if conversations with your mom and sister will help this situation. Either way get things right for yourself and don't play their games. Stay healthy and maybe they will follow the leader.

I hope you daughters Birthday is so wonderful that they regret missing it. Enjoy the day with your daughter and the people who want to be there.

Honestly, if your sister and mother are going on a vacation at the same time as your daughter's birthday, who cares??? your daughter is young and will only remeber that mom was really mad around her birthday, which naturally could make her think it is her fault. if your relatives want to do something else, that's fine. you still have the rest of the family and friends to make it a special day for your little girl. let go of the anger and stop focusing on revenge and paybacks. instead, focus on that day being very special for your special girl. Don't talk negative about the 2 that couldn't make it, it is unbecoming and children hear, understand, and remember a lot more than adults give them credit for, believe me!

Have a great birthday party for your child and relax, breathe, and let go of the animosity toward your family members. best of luck...

Hi C.,

I feel for you and I am so sorry you are going through this. My family tends to hurt me in similar ways and I learned to lower my expectations and just try and enjoy what values most, my husband and our children. I try to stay positive because I believe that if you are positive life will continue to bring you positive things and if you are negative then vice versa. I understand it hurts and you want the best for Caitlyn, I love that name!, Of course you want grandma there whether Caitlyn remembers or not! I'm sure seeing grandma there will make her happy, but I also know that her seeing her mommy will make her happy and her day will be just as special because she'll know that you are happy. My daughter turned 4 in May and my mom was sooooo late and everyone wanted to cut the cake so I called her and asked if she was coming soon because everyone wanted cake, she said she was on her way and we waited and surely she eventually showed up. So we sing happy birthday, cut the cake and serve and just as we are getting ready to open presents she says in front of everyone, "I'm leaving now, I have to get some shopping done at the mall." Everyone turned and looked at her and me and I was so embarassed and just held it in and tried to remain positive and calm until everyone forgot about it. It hurt a lot and I wanted to tell her how ungrateful I think she is and rude for her to leave her grandaughter's party, but I knew that would just make things worse. I just continue to lower my expectations so that my children can still have somewhat of a relationship with grandma without it affecting them. I hope this brings comfort and that your mom and sister realize what they are doing and put a stop to it. I don't think revenge is the answer as that will just cause more stress and pain towards yourself and bring negative outcomes. Try to move on and do what makes you happy and your husband and kids happy. I know first hand that it is easier said than done. Don't stoop to their level. Rise above and remain. I dread thinking about the next birthday party because no matter how hard I try I will be sad if my mom doesn't show up and that there is a high chance she won't. I'll just try to appreciate and want what I have and not focus so much on what I wish I had.


do you realize that all of the adjectives you are using to describe your sister could apply to YOU as well? when your sister informed you of her vacation plans, the proper response would be "wow, have a great time, that really sounds fun - we'll have a little cake or something when you get back to celebrate x's bday and hear about your trip!". THAT'S what a loving, supportive sister would say. i know your children are the center of your universe(as they should be), but surely you realize that they are not the center of everyone else's universe. i seriuosly doubt that your sister looked at the calendar and thought "oh boy, x's bday is on a saturday, i think i'll plan a trip for THAT DAY just to piss off her mom!!!!". did you ever consider that that's the only week that she, her husband, and your mom were able to all get off together???????? we have coordinated trips with people before, and it's INCREDIBLY difficult to coordinate weeks off with several working people... and to say that you are going to do the same thing(travel on one of her kids bdays) shows a real lack of character, it's really immature - she probably did this b/c it was the most convenient date for the persons travelling, you are doing it to be hateful - which motive do you think is most self-centered??? you really need to grow up, YOU are making your mom choose, not her - you should just wish them all well - it really sounds like you're mad about not being invited on the trip, and with what you've said in this note, it's not hard to see why you may have been left out(the tit for tat mentality is what i'm referring to)... this is truly a great example of the pot calling the kettle black - you ladies are adults now, not 5 year olds competing for your mom's attention - be the bigger person here, maybe some healthy relationships will emerge, your poor mom must really be upset.

Just let it go- They will realize later what they missed and they will be sorry.

Wow, why do you choose to be a part of and make such drama? Have the party before the vacation or after if it bothers you so much that your mom will miss the party. Also, your daughters party does not have to be on the exact day of her birthday. As far as "purposely" scheduling a vacation to take your mom away from one of your sisters kids birthdays is very petty and childish. In my opinion you need to not get so worked up over such little things...life is too short. Choose your battles, this one is not that important. You are creating unnecessary drama and anxiety in your life. Let it go. Good luck to you.

And I thought my daughters had the sibling rivalry thing down. Now that you are a mom, you need to put aside your needs, and focus on how your actions are going to affect your kids. You are their prime example, and you will be amazed what they pick up on. Some day, you may hear your daughter playing with her Barbies, and the conversation will send chills up your spine. You need to be the grown up in this situation, and count your blessings. My family is all out of state, and I'd love to be able to see my mom more than twice a year. My oldest daughter lives in California, so when she has children, it'll be nice if I see them three or four times a year. Be grateful for the time you have with your mom. If you can't relate to your sister in a positive way, don't relate at all. Some day she may no longer be in your life at all (my brother in law died at the age of 42 from cancer 2 years ago) and how will you feel if she's only experienced your anger? Try to remember: if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
Good luck to all of you.

Personally, I think your sister is a twat. And your mom is having trouble balancing time with both daughters... in the broad scheme of things, is it really going to be tragic to your daughter if they're not there? Probably not - but it will feel like it to you. There are only so many milestones that people can schedule their own lives around. However, I'm of the mindset that stressing yourself out like this isn't healthy. Your sister is an inconsiderate brat, much like my own. I think you're letting this bother you too much though, because inconsiderate people rarely change. Just focus on your immediate family (hubby and kids) and invite the others when appropriate, but don't let their behaviors dictate the fun times you have with your family. I went on a family vacation last week with my parents, hubby, son, and my sister and her BF. By the end of, my husband was like "I finally understand why you don't like to spend time with your sister - it's all about her, all the time" and he doesn't want to be around her for a while if we can avoid it. It doesn't make my sister (or yours) a bad person, but they're both self-centered and will make y ou more stressed out than you need to be. The energy of trying to schedule a vacation with your mom on one of your sister's kids' bdays may backfire anyway. But it sounds like something I'd do... lol. Good luck!

I have to agree, you will have to find a way to let this go. My in-laws have never been to one of our son's birthdays, baby shower and wedding shower. They almost didn't come to the wedding or his baptism all because my MIL doesn' like to take long car rides (30 miles/30-45 min. away mind you) which have hurt not only me but my husband a great deal... he copes by telling me that he need to focus on OUR family and do what is right for us. My son's first birthday fell on a Saturday but since I don't have a lot of family, we moved the date to accomidated everyones schedule and I was so mad that I had to do it. (my cousins were taking my aunt to a concert, and now am thankful that I changed it, because my aunt died end of summer that year) well anyway back to the point, I go to my in-laws, I am nice, never letting on how disappointed that I am, but it bothered me more when they talked about a family reunion they went to (don't know why we weren't invited) that was only 4 miles away from where we live, and they my MIL went to a baby shower for a great niece and what a great time she had (again didn't come to mine) and that baby shower was the same distance. They have to know that this is why we only visit once ever 6 weeks, that and they are chain smokers. Good luck to you. I understand how hurt you are, and that sometimes it sucks to have to be the bigger person.

addition: I just read Lisa's response, and because I did have to change his birthday party, we did something special just us and had a nice dinner. If you do go that route you could always go someplace fun, we choose Friday's but really wanted to take him to the Rainforest Cafe, but the weather was bad (February).

Don't talk to your sis or mom about the bday party again. Don't respond to any more emails. Don't plan a vacation on your sis's kids bdays. Just stop. You don't have to continue the drama.

Yes, you are allowed to be hurt. But you can't control other people or force them to see your side. I'd be willing to bet that there is a whole host of family issues besides this one that have gone on between you, your mom and your sis. I think your mom's response was particularly cruel, so I'm not sure why you'd want to plan a vacation with someone who treated you like that. I'm not sure why you'd want someone who favored one of your kids over the other to be babysitting your kids. I understand that it's your mom, not some stranger, but it's a huge red flag to me. So, let it go. Have fun with your friends and other family. If you really think your sis did it on purpose, then you're giving her exactly what she wants by continuing the fighting.

I seem to be recommending this a lot on this board lately, but here it is again -- go to www.motherinlawstories.com (support and advice for family issues, not just with MILs but any family member) and post this story on the forum for issues with "mothers" or "sisters".

C., I read you note yesterday. I didn't answer then. I waited until today as I wanted to make sure I responded without jumping over feelings that are already hurt. Yes your sister is being very inconsiderate. But it sounds like her trip is out of the country. Do you really thing that a 3 year old birthday party can compete with a trip out of the country. Why even let yourself get sucked into a debate about it. Let it go. It sounds like your mom does a lot with this other sister. Is your anger really about the birthday party or about the fact that she is babysitting etc etc for the sister and not for you. In the grand scheme of things birthdays are what you make of them. if you want your mom to be with your daughter to celebrate then have lunch with just your mom and daughter. and skip the whole hurt feelings about the actual day. your daughter is not going to be upset and your mom won't miss it. I do understand the hurt thing. My mom does this to me over and over. But I did as the other poster below said. Jsut let it go and concentrate on what is really important. your children. good luck

Hey C.,

Yes I would be upset but I would try and move past the feelings as quickly as possible. Try and not let the disappointment you feel in your sister rob you of any of your joy pertaining to this special event. Try and get out of the mess and sink into the joy of celebrating this special day. I know it is hard to let go of the outrage but it is too costly to hold onto it.

Best of luck,


It seems like you are upset about more than just this one party. It seems like your sister likes to take up a lot of your mom's time. I have a sister who does the same thing. So I know how you feel. I think the previous response was a bit harsh. Your feelings are hurt. Your daughter may not remember your mom not being their, but you will. I'd say to not make a big deal out of it for your kids sake. Eventually you'll get over it.

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