Sunday, April 25, 2010

reader question of the week #2

hmmm...this question veers into territory that I have not yet touched on this blog. I long ago asked a friend (ahem, Whitney) to be my etiquette lady on PP but she's one busy lady and thus, hasn't gotten around to it yet. But we'll try out this question to see how it goes and I'll decide from there if we want to go down this road in the future. Which brings me to reader question of the week #2:

"My husband and I want to throw a mother's day brunch at our apartment this year. We would like to keep it to just us and parents but here's the problem... my husband's 21-year-old sister lives at home and tags along to all family gatherings because her parents don't want to her to feel left out. I'd really like our parents to get to know each other without the sister there because her parents sometimes talk down to/treat her like a baby around others. Our parents have never had time together with just us and now that we're considering starting our own family I think time alone would be helpful. Am I crazy? I don't want to cause crazy family drama but have a nice, warm brunch for our parents. I guess my main questions is am I obligated to invite siblings if they live at home? Is there etiquette on this somewhere? -Emily"


this jen day said...
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this jen day said...

I think etiquette questions are really important! Sometimes it is so hard to know what is 'proper', and so very often, what is 'proper' isn't always the most popular option :)

There is definitely etiquette in this case though. Unfortunately, I don't think it's going to make you grit your teeth!!

In this case, the answer is undeniable. And it stems from the underlying purpose of the celebration.

Mother's Day is a celebration of mothers, by their children.

Normally, what would happen is that your husband and his sister would have discussed the most appropriate way to celebrate their mother - as you and any siblings you might have would have planned something for your mother.

Usually, the celebration is a decision made by all siblings and organised by them.

IN this scenario, your sister-in-law and your husband would both be joint-hosts of this event. And as such, she would be present. Similarly, you and any sibling you have would be joint-hosts for yoru mother's celebration.

There are two acceptable solutions to this scenario:

1) your sister-in-law is present, but you involve her in the event (if this isn't her kind of thing, at least task her with bringing a salad!)

2) you have a separate event for your mother-in-law - say a brunch - with your sister-in-law as a joint host. And you have an evening function separately - perhaps canapes and drinks or a simple dinner.

I do totally understand how much you want to create an opportunity to have your parents together - and so you should! Perhaps just not on Mother's Day :)

Liz @ LivingMySweetLife said...

I know you have your heart set on mother's day but can you plan to have your parents together on a different day?
Mother's Day is a day to spend with your children and even tho your sil is older now I am sure her parents may like to have her included.
I would invite her and plan a separate dinner with only the parents for another day.

Cris of Kiss My Tulle said...

I second the suggestion to avoid doing this get together on a day other than Mother's Day (it looks really selfish). Also, when you do plan it - talk to your sister first. Let her know that you love her so much but want special parent time. Then plan a time for the two of you alone (pedis or lunch - be prepared to foot the bill).

I have a sister just like this and it is frustrating. But I always talk to her first and then put my foot down and follow through.

Belinda Madsen said...

I have a very abrasive sister who always comes to everything with my parents too. Is it rude to exclide her from my son's birthday party on Saturday? I really want to enjoy the day.