Hi All, I'm new here. I am not the most socially savvy gal and you all seem pretty knowledgable about dinner party manners and etiquette, so I had a question.
This is the third year that my mother-in-law has invited us over to dinner to celebrate my birthday on the day of my birthday. I wonder if it is appropriate to decline the invitation?
We see my Mother in Law quite often, since she lives nearby. I appreciate that she wants to do something nice for my birthday, but usually when we go to her house for dinner (or when we have dinner here) my husband and I spend the time talking with her and the children get sent off to watch TV. When the children are with us at the table and in the living room, she get quite tense about their manners and frowns at my son alot. I then feel that I have to focus on more on controlling my children then relaxing. This is perfectly acceptable normally, but it's not really what I want for my birthday. I just want to go out to dinner with my husband and children and relax (this is not to say I won't pay attention to my children's manners in a restaurant, but they do fine in restaurants without much stress...particularly the casual loud restaurant I have in mind).
This year I declined the invitation for my birthday and suggested maybe we could get together another day. My mother asked if we had plans. I said yes. She asked what we were doing. I said we had planned on going out to eat. My mother-in-law seemed taken aback.
Was I rude or wrong. Should I have invited her along? It's not that I want to avoid my mother-in-law, I just would like to relax a bit on my birthday.