Mom Asks If She's Wrong For Cancelling Christmas At Her In-Laws To Avoid Disrupting Her Toddler's Routine

She claims her toddler will be miserable.

Toddler, Christmas Zoia Kostina / Shutterstock

The holidays often involve a lot of routine changes and traveling to be with family.

This often means that children skip naptime, eat at different times or go to bed later.

One mother claims that disrupting her toddler son’s routine has proven to be extremely difficult in the past, which means she may have to sacrifice family time this holiday season for his sake.

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She shares that she wants to cancel Christmas at her in-laws to avoid toddler problems.

Sharing her story on a thread on the UK-based parenting site, Mumsnet, she asked others if she was being unreasonable over her thoughts.

She revealed that any disruptions to her 20-month-old son’s routine have been a “nightmare.”

“My 20-month-old little boy stayed with my parents on Saturday for the night,” she wrote. “He has learned to climb out of his travel cot as he’s very tall for his age and only slept for three hours.” 

She added that her son has "always struggled with new environments and routine changes," and never sleeps well when these things happen. 


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She's concerned that her son may have autism due to his behavior.

“We’re currently waiting for an autism assessment due to a number of factors with his development,” she wrote. 

“I felt so guilty on Sunday knowing he kept my mum up all night and that he couldn’t sleep.” 

She revealed that she returned to work when her son was five months old, but later had to commit to being a stay-at-home parent due to his ongoing behavioral issues and wanting to spend more time with him.

After what happened at her mother’s house, the woman wants to refrain from changing her son’s routine and avoid sleeping in any environment he isn’t familiar with.


However, her family has plans to make a trip to her in-laws on Christmas Day and stay the night at their house.

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She's stressed and doesn't know what to do.

“Due to him being able to climb out of the travel cot and being far too young and excitable to sleep in bed, I want to change our plans to just an afternoon visit,” the woman wrote. 

She wants to schedule the visit to her in-laws in between her son’s afternoon naptime and bedtime to avoid disrupting his routine. 

“I feel like my in-laws will be disappointed and my partner will likely sulk, but my main excitement for Christmas is to see my little boy happy and excited,” the woman shared. 


“I just think that overtiredness and overstimulation could ruin that for him.” 

Additionally, the woman claims that she would have to be the one to “battle” with her son for hours to go down for a nap and sleep at bedtime while her relatives would be spending time together drinking.

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Some users on the forum believed that she was being unreasonable.

“It's one day. Get on with it,” one user commented.

“Your toddler won't remember how happy he was at Christmas. The rest of your family will,” another user wrote.

“It’s possible that he won’t be so unsettled because you’ll be there,” another user pointed out. “I do understand how you feel but it is a very big deal to make such a big change to Christmas Day plans at this late stage.”


However, other users sympathized with she and did not blame her for wanting to cancel spending the night at her in-laws.

“It’s not like you are suggesting to cancel [the entire gathering] you can still visit and everyone spend time together on Christmas like you said afternoon/dinner then go home, I really don’t see the issue,” one user wrote.

“I think most people who are saying you are [being unreasonable] don't have a toddler who's a bad sleeper and thrives from routine,” another user shared. “It's easy to say it's just one day but the time can throw off everything for a week or so.”

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.