ejlessard's picture

Grandkids birthday parties with his ex, at her home

My step daughter continues to opt to hold the grandkids birthday parties at her mother's home, my husbands ex wife. The first year, when the boy turned 2 (this actually happened when we were engaged), I agreed to go and give it a try. Agreeing that if it was uncomfortable, that I could say I tried and would not have to go through that again. Well it went horribly. Everyone was tense. I later heard from another step daughter and an external party how the ex wife had complained that she hadn't wanted us there. I really do not blame her. My then finace and I discussed it and said we wouldn't go through that again. We even discussed it with our pastor in our pre-marital counselling sessions. The pastor told him he needs to put his new wife first....

Last year this happened again. My husband talked to his daughter and told her how this makes us feel. He told her we have no issues having a joint party but we would feel better is it was at a neutral place. She seemed to understand but that party was already planned so we did not attend. We spent another evening with them instead.

Here we are again, now with a first birthday party for the second grandson and again she is holding it at his ex wife's. I expressed my distraught feelings and disbelief that we continue to go through this and it is very upsetting for me. When my husband talked to his daughter, now she says she didn't ask for her parents to divorce so we should just suck it up. Now my husband is feeling caught in the middle. He is a people pleaser so he says he will just go even though he doesn't want to. I told him that I feel it is disrespectful, to him, me and the mom's new husband. She says she doesn't feel she needs to have 2 parties. We don't expect two parties, just have it elsewhere!

I feel that until she has gone through divorce and knows how it feels, she cannot begin to understand how awkward it is to go into the ex wife's home. I think my step daughter needs to respect her parent's choices that they divorced and are both remarried. Am I totally wrong here and having blinders on? Am I wrong that I feel this should be a non-issue since we had agreed on this before we married?

downsouthinTX's picture

so an adult daughter chooses

so an adult daughter chooses to hold her childs birthday at her own mothers(her childs grandmothers) home and this is bad?

if this was not a step family situation no one would bat an eye.
when this daughter gave birth and was pregnant, its probably her own mom who she turned to for help and advice. it was her own mom who she called for baby tips. her own mom who helps with party planning, babysitting the grand babies for date nights etc.

so a daughters relationship with her mom should be altered because her parents and parents new partners can't get along?

have you and husband and and the ex wife ever been in another room or event that was neutral and everyone was good with it?

would it be safe to say that the daughter is closer to her mom than her father(your husband)?

ldvilen's picture

No, she didn't ask for her

No, she didn't ask for her parents to divorce, but neither did you. You didn't ask for her parents to divorce either, I'm sure.

Too many SKs as adults expect that SM or step-dad continue to suck it up and take it for them. If anyone has this responsibility, it is their parents that need to suck it up and take it. No adult should ever expect SM or step-dad to do so, especially when the SKs are adults.

This is just me, but personally, in this case, I would let DH go alone. I agree, I'm sure it was very uncomfortable for you to be there and probably somewhat intentionally so. Too many SKs as adults, and even BM have the expectations that when dad and BM are around, dad is supposed to be joined-at-the hip with BM, just like the good ol' days. SM is often blamed for intruding and not minding her place, when in reality she is just acting like what she is--her husband's wife.

Me, I decided to just let my husband pick and choose which events involving BM that he wants to go to alone. This may seem like a SK's dream, but in reality, I can tell you my husband will not go to many alone.


Best thing for step-mom to do at weddings--either go looking like Sofía Vergara in a red dress and play the flaming 2nd wife to the max., or avoid the whole thing and plan a spa day with friends, people who actually care about you.

hereiam's picture

I don't think it's

I don't think it's unreasonable to ask that the parties be held in a neutral location, it sounds like the ex-wife would prefer that, as well. I wonder why the ex doesn't say something about having the parties elsewhere.

Your SD is being very obstinate. A lot of people don't want joint parties at all, but you and your husband are, at least, willing to do that much, she could compromise a little.

Everybody else should just suck it up because she didn't ask for her parents to be divorced? Oh, please. Barf!

Acratopotes's picture

my 2 cents - you are not

my 2 cents - you are not related to this child, just because you married the grand father does not make you a grand mother...... you can decline going and DH can go on his own for an hour or 2 if he wants to


When you are dead, you don't know that you're dead. All of the pain is felt by others...

The same thing happens when you are stupid

ejlessard's picture

We have attended events

We have attended events together at neutral places and they have gone fine. We are all polite to one another but we certainly do not mingle. We have even offered to pay for renting a place to hold the parties.

Another one of the girls is getting married and recently we all got together to pick the rental items. That went fine but after that I met the ex at the mall and she looked away when she saw me. I made a point of saying hello to her. So when someone treats you this way you really do not feel welcome in their home. Their divorce was an ugly one so my husband and his ex will never be besties! Therefore I do not blame his ex for not liking me but we can certainly be civil for the sake of the kids.

SuperJew's picture

Why would you go out of your

Why would you go out of your way to put BM on the spot in public after her body language clearly indicated she wants you to leave her alone? You aren't friends, you just loosely share some family, at best.


"u ashole u think ur new condo is so great..." -Medusa via WOB

notasm3's picture

These big birthday parties

These big birthday parties for 1 and 2 year olds are nothing but gift grabs. Don't anyone kid themselves that the parties are "for the children". These toddlers usually just know that a bunch of people are around (and many don't like it).

It's just an event for the adults to get together. And there's no mandatory reason for exes to party together.

I see nothing wrong with the BM hosting a birthday party for her grandchild. But to defend the BM - she is not obligated to invite every person who shares DNA with that child. I think it's disrespectful to the hostess for her to be pushed to invite people into her home that she doesn't want there.

Other relatives can celebrate with the child at another time and place.

My DH's grandson just had his first birthday. The GF's mother hosted a big party. I conveniently was out of town. DH went for a short while, but said he was bored to tears. He said his ex and her DH came but sat out by themselves in the backyard and didn't talk to anyone. So what was the point in getting all these people together who didn't really want to spend time with each other - well the GIFTS of course. The one year old sure didn't care.


"Education is not the filling of a pail, but rather the lighting of a fire." William Butler Yeats

HRNYC's picture

I disregard, many of these

I disregard, many of these parties are about family, and family wanting to get together. OP does not have to go. I think many times it is much easier to do these parties at home, and the SD may not have a big home.

notasm3's picture

Families getting together is

Families getting together is a GOOD thing. But the exes are no longer a family. I think the SD's mother should get as much of her family together as they want - but why should the BM be pressured to invite non family members (her ex and his wife) to her family gathering?

My mother had 7 sisters. Family gatherings happened all the time. Some of my best memories. No presents for birthdays as everyone was poor. Somebody might stick a candle in a cake and have happy birthday sung if it was someone's birthday, but it was never that big of a deal.


"Education is not the filling of a pail, but rather the lighting of a fire." William Butler Yeats

HRNYC's picture

I agree, the SDs mom should

I agree, the SDs mom should not be pressured, but the SD should not be pressured to move it either.

SuperJew's picture

True, but the SD is also

True, but the SD is also showing a lack of tact in regards for her father's feelings. *shrug*


"u ashole u think ur new condo is so great..." -Medusa via WOB

downsouthinTX's picture

maybe shes just closer to her

maybe shes just closer to her mom than her dad.

i was always closer with my one set of grandparents than the other. and it wasn't because i saw one more than the other. it was their demeanor and personalities.

and shes probably not at all close with OP/SM.

ejlessard's picture

Actually we all have great

Actually we all have great relationships and are close. The SD is closer to her dad than her mother as there was abuse from the mother during her younger years. The SD is now trying to reconcile with her mother which is great and we are supportive of.

HRNYC's picture

Has the father offered to

Has the father offered to throw a party, for everyone, presumably son-in-law's family, that comes to grandmas? Of does he just complain?

downsouthinTX's picture

you stated when the first

you stated when the first child had a second birthday you guys were not married...
so you have not been in these adult kids lives a long time and did not help raise them.

there are many people who have adult step children who did not come on the scene until all the kids were already adults and grown.
the situation could be much worse. MUCH WORSE.

the relationship between adult children and step parents is much different than those of minor children. often they will always go by first names and possibly never achieve the title of "step mom" because the adult child does not view that female as a mom. they didnt raise them.

if your husband feels left out from his grandchilds birthday then he needs to talk to his daughter. he though can not expect his daughter to change how she decides to parent and raise her child to suit his needs and feelings. and if she chooses not to do what her dad wants then that is something that is his own issue/demons to deal with and he must sort that out himself.

the daughter has arranged for you and your husband to see the child on other days and i would say be thankful for that. some do not even allow that. some adult children still live at home and mooch off the parents.
as i have said...it could be MUCH WORSE.

renewal 11-11's picture

My SD has three girls and my

My SD has three girls and my husband and I have been through years of birthday parties. I have attended one. My DH attended 2 without me. I can not stand my SD and DH hates her husband so we don't go. We both do not want to see his ex. Why would we go, it is all so fake. Yes it is for the child but really the child could care less if adults are there. All the grandchild wants is a GIFT. We make sure all 3 grand kids get a birthday gift and they seem to be ok with us not coming to their parties. If you do not want to go don't go. If DH goes with out you plan something fun for yourself to do that day. May I suggest a day at the spa!

Stepped in what momma's picture

I'm probably going to be the

I'm probably going to be the only one that agrees with you because YES her parents did divorce and while that wasn't her fault or her choice the fact is that they are divorced. How would good old SD like it if you invited her ex husband to YOUR home for Christmas dinner because it isn't YOUR fault they got divorced and you happen to have a special place in your heart for the ex? SD would shi* kittens but essentially she is not accommodating the same "special need" in her family that has now been crippled by divorce. This move is just another way that people devise to alienate the new spouse.

I was always very accommodating to my divorced parents, I also always kept my step dad and step mom in mind when planning parties, yes, it did suck to have two of most of everything but having one on one time with my mom and her new husband (vice versa with my dad) while they were able to relax and be comfortable was more important to me than shoving my step mom down my moms throat, plus my own mom didn't want to deal with her ex husband. I would tell my dad that I/we were having a house warming party for moms and her side of the family on blah blah date and then tell him we were having "his" housewarming dinner party for him and his side of the family on the week after. It is just plain old common sense, 99.9% of all of do NOT want to hang out with our EX. This isn't 1920, everyone has practically been divorced once and if you haven't been then count yourself lucky because it sucks for EVERYONE but how you handle it is the key to happiness for everyone involved. I wouldn't want to have to hang out with me EX so I treated my parents with the same respect.


Ain't going to lie- skids make me want to poke myself in the eye

Second to Everyone's picture

Can I adopt you for my SD?

Can I adopt you for my SD? Smiling This response is so considerate. Well done IMO.


Don't wrestle with pigs. Everyone gets dirty, but the pigs like it.

ejlessard's picture

I agree, thank you for your

I agree, thank you for your support.

Disneyfan's picture

If SD moves the party to

If SD moves the party to place you approve of, are you willing to cover the added expenses?

A guest doesn't get to tell a host where to hold her event. If you are do not want to go to BM's home(I do not blame you one bit)then just decline the invite.

downsouthinTX's picture

i think they did say they

i think they did say they offered to pay for someplace.

but what if SD had the party at SD home? and invited both parents...

SD could NOT be having it at her own home for many reasons though.
i know when i was young and had kids parties i wasnt squeezing in 20 people in my tiny apartment. i had 2 parties at my ex-MIL home. other parties i had elsewhere.

Stepped in what momma's picture

If SD has it at her own house

If SD has it at her own house she should alternate parties and years. For example, this year grandma will be at house party and we will go to dinner with grandpa and his side the next week, the next year grandpa will be at house party and they will go to dinner with grandma and her side of the family the next week. It isn't that hard to accommodate, kids adjust and know no different, they just want the gifts.


Ain't going to lie- skids make me want to poke myself in the eye

HRNYC's picture

Unless DAD is willing to pay

Unless DAD is willing to pay for dinner for all, that likely wont work. I suspect that GM hosts her DD, her SIL, maybe some of their family? I don't think you can assume all they want is gifts.

Stepped in what momma's picture

So the next assumption would

So the next assumption would be that they want to see their family.... and they will, they will see grandma at their party and then grandpa at dinner the next week by alternating years.


Ain't going to lie- skids make me want to poke myself in the eye

HRNYC's picture

Is grandpa going to invite

Is grandpa going to invite everyone, the SIL's family out to this dinner? I am guessing grandm does.

Disneyfan's picture

Can you imagine the uproar

Can you imagine the uproar here if a SM were expected to alter her child's party plans in order to please her adult SKs?

The adult SKs would be to grow up and deal with it or do not attend. Why should that view point change when the SM is the one who has an issue with the plans?

MollyBrown's picture

Agreed. Alternating years,

Agreed. Alternating years, multiple parties, that is craziness.

Merrywey's picture

At least you get invited to

At least you get invited to the parties Smiling We don't any more. But I get how you feel and it really is a passive aggressive move on your SDs part. I don't buy this bs that it isn't her fault that her parents got divorced, she can hold the party wherever she wishes...she certainly can. Or she can be a decent human being and consider alternating location so both grandparents get to know and enjoy their grandparents. My daughter and I are very close but if she treated her dad and SM in this manner I would rain fire down on her head. I don't know why so many on this board explain away actions that effectively diminish the role of fathers in their children's lives. For now your DH should go alone, if he is comfortable with excluding his wife from family celebrations. Because as his wife, you are his family too.


"I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it."
Maya Angelou

ksmom14's picture

I think the answer here is

I think the answer here is pretty simple...

You and your DH have expressed your point of view, which is totally valid. However, it's SD's choice where the party is held, and she makes that choice knowing that you and DH may or may not attend if it is hosted at BM's house. You've said your piece, she will make her choices, and you and DH need to make yours. Whether that's sucking it up and continuing to attend, you not going, but your DH going, or neither of you going.

Basically it is what it is, she's and adult and it's her child, she gets to make decisions on where the party is. You get to make decisions on what you want to do about it. Maybe in the future she would consider hosting elsewhere if you and your DH didn't attend because of the venue.

Stepped in what momma's picture

ksmom nailed it, I only said

ksmom nailed it, I only said what I think is fair on how to handle the parties to begin with, but her point is that SD has made her decision on how she will handle the parties and based on that it is up to you to decide what you are going to do. I know I wouldn't go and I am very positive that my SO wouldn't go either, but if he did go, to me parents have the right to decide what type of treatment they will allow from their children in order to have a relationship with them.


Ain't going to lie- skids make me want to poke myself in the eye

ejlessard's picture

My husband is supportive and

My husband is supportive and says we will not be going. I did tell him he can go but not to expect me there (and I do not want him lying to anyone in my defense, I believe in honesty). I just feel horrible over this situation because I feel his daughter is not willing to compromise at any level and I know that it is more hurtful to him than it is to me. We will have a separate party and host it ourselves as we did last year for the other child. It is simply very hurtful that she makes him feel guilty but that is her problem to deal with....and his to discuss with her. The SD does have room in her home to host 11 invited guests so space is not the issue in this situation. But as everyone on here says, it won't be the kids that know anything as they were already separated before the first grandchild was even born. I agree with those that say why would you want a group of people together that want nothing to do with one another at the same party? Why not have separate parties where everyone can be happy? But SD can make her choice and do whatever she wants. Her dad and I still have the right to feel that it is disrespectful to do this and not be accepting of us saying we are not coming to his exes for the party. Her comments are pretty much that if we don't come, then we don't love the boys. Which is totally unfair. It is was it is. Thank you to everyone for your feedback. Greatly appreciated.

Twinkletoes's picture

your sd is being

your sd is being incondiserate of your dhs feelings. He told her how he felt and she just went on anyway. I think you should celebrate the birthday of gkids with them and you. You do not have to go to a party where everyone is clearly uncomfortable. Life is short-who needs all this stress. Plan a special day and take the gkids to chuckeecheese or any place like this. After all that's where the children would rather be anyway, A place where they can have fun. Im sorry but it seems to me like sd is a pot stirrer. Do not enable her-she afterall should want her childs party to be as pleasant as happy as if could be. Why add drama. Theres no reason why this child cant have more than one celebration. That is what divorced homes do.,The child gets to have more than one special day and everyone is happy.

Rags's picture

Yes it should be a non

Yes it should be a non issue... but since it is.... set yourself up to win. SD is right that she did not ask her parents to divorce. However, that is irrelevant to the situation IMHO. But since SD and BM appear to be partnering in this manipulative GSKid birthday event effort it is time to step up and hand them their own asses.

Go to the GSkid B-day parties on your DH's arm. Look radiant, beam your happiness, and own the event. No need to make it about you but for sure do not let it be about the XW either. Being happy and radiant in the presence of a toxic blended family opposition is much like turning on a bright light in a roach filled room. The roaches scurry for the shadows. You be the light, the roaches will scurry.

Be confident and your DH will be proud and confident to have you on his arm. If you are radiant and confident DH will be too and that will set just the right tone for the event and demonstrate to his GKids that G-Pa is a great guy, happy, and engaging and Gma-EJ isn't so bad either. What mother can take issue with her own father and his wife being good grandparents to her children?

And at some other time either before or after the actual party you and DH can have a separate celebration with SD and her family to celebrate birthdays. There is nothing wrong with double dipping on the GK birthday celebrations.

Living well is the best way to win and is also the best revenge. You an DH can use this very effectively to your advantage as you navigate the course of being blended family grand parents together.

Good luck and have fun.


A parent is an example, mentor, confidante, advocate and disciplinarian, not a buddy.-Rags
If you can't listen and learn then you will have to feel.-WLR
If you want to be a part of my life then use your head or STFU and do what you are told.-Rags

Disillusioned's picture

I think if there were lots of

I think if there were lots of people there then I would go and just have the best time that I could.

Yes I understand how this can make you uncomfortable, but if there's a crowd there and you don't have to see BM much, then just go and try to enjoy yourself, and your DH will appreciate the support too

My OSD went through a whole phase (hopefully ended now) where not only were DH & I expected to "suck it up" and be at the same events as BM - which we have no problem with - but these were small family get together's specifically for DH's family only. And BM being at those events was what we had a problem with

DH was pretty vocal about it, it did not end. We stopped going to some of his family's get together's, it still did not end.

What finally seems to have put a stop to it, was at the last big event - this one it made sense that both DH and BM were there - but we had a nice time, completely ignored BM (something I've never done to her before) and so did DH. We chit-chatted with other people at the party, we made a big fuss over the grandkids, we had a really nice time talking with SSIL's parents, and BM finally got the message that she really didn't matter all that much to either one of us.

After this event, OSD has not hosted one more event that is specifically for DH's family only, that included BM.


Well I think they didn't get the desired effect. We had a great time and paid zero attention to them, and that wasn't what they wanted at all. They wanted us (me) to feel uncomfortable, inferior, unimportant - and the exact opposite happened. Not only did we (me) not feel that way, but apparently BM/OSD/SIL did Laughing out loud